Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 27th January 2014

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UBS Leaving Formula 1 (10:21)

The Lotus-McLaren Job Swop (12:30)

Perez to drive first (12:45)

Torro Rosso reveal…… (17:30)

Mercedes teases with a peak of their nose (17:30)

Troubles at Renault (21:00)


UBS Leaving Formula 1

In 2010 the Swiss bank UBS signed a 5 year sponsorship deal worth $200 million with Formula 1 to become its global partner. The deal saw UBS’ logo sit above the start lights at every race, a first for a sponsor in the sport, while the company’s branding appeared in a variety of television friendly locations, including angled logos in the white sections of kerbing.

News report now suggest that current chief executive Sergio Ermotti is studying the “wisdom” of the deal entered into by his predecessor Oswald Grubel and in all likelihood will exit the sport at the end of the year. The news that UBS is considering exiting the sport at the end of the year is not really significant as this is the last year of the deal so it is more than likely that they will be reviewing their strategy.

Vodafone, having gained the positive global brand awareness they set out to get (and probably a bit more they did not want – Bahrain), have decided to leave the sport. It would be safe to assume UBS has also achieved what they set out to achieve and therefore are reconsidering.

Earlier this month TJ13 reported that Repucom.net “a single, global source of independent market insights and consultancy” claimed Infinity’s partnership with Red Bull Racing was worth in excess of $1bn.

Hmmm… assuming Repucom.net is correct where else will UBS gain the same exposure as that in F1?

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The Lotus-McLaren Job Swop

Last year McLaren treated us to the “Where is Paddy” question when he was not present at the launch of the MP4/28. This year we have “Where is Martin” courtesy of McLaren.

Since Big Ron took back over at Woking, Martin Whitmarsh has disappeared. No word has been spoken by the man who was McLaren’s team principal since 2009 yet reports are linking him with the now vacant position of Team Principal at Lotus. Lotus have confirmed “there has been contact” with Whitmarsh but also others and one have to ask the question if a role with Lotus would suit him or indeed if he would want it.

At McLaren he had unlimited (almost) resources while the financial troubles of Lotus have been well documented over the last year.

The job swop and some more…

Over the weekend it was reported that Boullier will be joining McLaren at Jerez however this seems to have been put on ice for the time-being as the Daily Mail claims he wont be at Jerez at all now. Although the latter is not significant it could be a signal of some trouble brewing between the teams.

Both McLaren and Lotus are said to have been courting Sony Entertainment for sponsorship with Lotus making a much better offer than McLaren. Considering how well Lotus did last year and that they are the F1 circus’ social media kings it may be a wise move for Sony to partner with them, at a much better price than McLaren.

Could this be the reason why Boullier is not attending testing as part of the McLaren team, maybe contracts have been dusted off an everyone was reminded of the “Garden” clause?

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Perez to drive first

Checo and HulkForce India has confirmed that Sergio Perez will be the first of their drivers to sample the VJM07 this year. Checo will take to the track for the first day,  Hulkenberg the second and Juncadella the third.

Fourth day go to the driver with the best behaviour?

#1 or #2? hmmm….

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Toro Rosso reveal……

Held in high regard by most in the F1 paddock James Key has lifted the veil on the STR09, Toro Rosso’s steed for the year. (please note a lot of restrain has been exercised here to keep the post as concise as possible)

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Mercedes teases with a peak of their nose

Take note of the strange looking appendages. Mercedes have for some time been saying that their car is quite different to others. Perhaps this shot shows us a hint of that. What is obvious is drastic drop from the chassis much like Ferrari.

Mercedes W05

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Troubles at Renault

For those who are tired of seeing Red Bull Racing romping away with both Driver’s and Constructor’s championship…

Renault Sport F1 2014 © RenaultToday TJ13 has learnt that Renault are having trouble with their engine, specifically the crankshaft and it was described as a flaw. For months now TJ13 have been hearing rumours of a certain team having problems with their engines and that they just could not make it last.

This has to do with the internal vibrations that a V6 engine creates as apposed to a V8, the latter running much more smoothly. Add in the complexity of the turbo harvesting power as well as KERS… Tomorrow we may see Renault (and perhaps other engined teams) circulating at relatively low speeds so if track times appear slow, it is because they are 😉

Maybe Williams F1’s move to Mercedes was a inspired moved, then again…

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65 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 27th January 2014

  1. Well tbh if I were a marketing executive for a big name electronics company looking to strike a deal with an F1 team, I’d not choose Lotus given it’s state of chaos. McLaren would be the better but more expensive bet. But logic does not fit very well with F1 and marketing deals.

    Hulkenberg is probably #1 at Force India pending race results, he’s got more experience than Perez and he knows the team. Perez gets to do all the donkey work, Hulkenberg gets to refine things.

    • Is the downgrade on Sony’s credit status to Junk by Moodys relevant at all? Given that pre-crash all the sub-prime mortgages had good ratings.. It was done here on expectations that their revenue streams will be falling soon (I thought they’d be doing OK with the PS4 unless they are subsidising its sales like with the PS3.. or is it that the PS3 makes more margin? Yen weakening?).

      • Sony’s woes are not a complete surprise, if you’ve been following the company for the last few years then you’d know all about it. The PS4 stands a good chance of dominating the console market if the games are better than the Xbox One’s (a very subjective thing). As things stand the PS4 edges the Xbox One in the hardware specs and Sony made it cheaper by not including the PS4 camera with the console. It comes down to a question of the price of the sponsorship deal and betting on which F1 team is going to be successful to increase your exposure time.

  2. “… Checo will take to the track for the first two days of the test while Hulkenberg will complete the third and fourth day.”

    So what is this then,@Judge13??

    Sahara Force India ‏@clubforce 3h
    Here is our Jerez Test schedule – Tuesday: @SChecoPerez; Wednesday: @NicoHulkenberg; Thursday: @dani_juncadella; Friday: TBC. #FeelTheForce

    According to this tweet by FI official twitter account,Perez and Hulk get 1 day each,with Juncadella 3rd day and 4th day driver to be announced..

    • Sounds like Mercedes didn’t like the sound of it and reminded them that their engine subsidy means they get a say in running Juncadella perhaps.. Last day is a toss up between sponsor money/Perez running again after doing the shakedown day vs. Hulk as lead driver and probable optimal points scorer.

  3. I see Jensen will drive the first 2 days – kinda puts the who #1 driver theory out of the window……

    • …and Lewis will drive first too…although Rosberg drove at the recent filming day in Silverstone. Who knows!

    • I think in that case it is much more sensible to put someone who has F1 experience in first rather than someone who has no clue if the car is good or bad.

        • Just goes to show you didn’t read or understand my comment…. When they are testing cars to new regs with new powertrains, is it really sensible to have the first day or two run by a rookie with very limited F1 mileage? Magnussen will be more worried about getting used to driving an F1 car rather than giving any useful feedback to the team. Jenson will be able to confirm their basic design, give direction as to what needs improving and provide a good base-line setup to get Kevin up to speed as fast as possible.

          I also don’t remember making any comment on the capabilities any drivers, I merely pointed out that the situation at McLaren is rather different to that in the other top teams.

          • Good point re letting the experienced driver have the car first. I don’t think too much can be read into when someone drives this year. Too much have changed since last year and track time is track time …

          • @ Stephen

            I thought your comment was in relation to Mercedes – not McLaren – my bad 🙁

            However – ” I also don’t remember making any comment on the capabilities any drivers …. ”

            saying ” … someone who has no clue if the car is good or bad. ” – is a comment on Kevin’s capability.

          • No, it’s a comment on the fact that Jenson has spent a decade driving F1 cars while Kevin has had a handful of laps.

        • @manky – hey dude, chill out, eh?

          the nice thing about comments in the Judge’s Chamber is that they’re usually devoid of irrationality, hyperbole and disrespect.

          @Stephen Hughes said nothing remotely close to “Nico Rosberg is shit & useless”….

          • Thanks, Joe. FWIW, I have an inkling that Merc may well have similar reasons for putting Rosberg in first – they feel he is the best of the two drivers to give good technical feedback to direct the development process.

            I actually feel that Lewis and Nico are the most interesting pairing on the grid – very similar in speed but coming from different angles. Lewis is a very instinctual driver and while that can lead to very fast lap times it isn’t always best when it comes to being able to explain what a car is doing and how to improve it.

          • ” …. I have an inkling that Merc may well have similar reasons for putting Rosberg in first …. ”

            Stephen Hughes: But I thought somewhere above it says Lewis is going in first?

          • @ Joe Papp

            You know nothing about how I am feeling.

            So I’d appreciate it if you don’t tell me what to do ……

    • I thought Jenson sounded very down on the new car and the required driving style at the launch, although this might be down to personal circumstances of course.

  4. What is the weather forecast for next 2 days at Jerez??Sunshine or rain??Advantage #1 or #2 driver??

    • Do you mean Aussie No 2, as in the second Aussie in succession, or do you mean the No 2 that just happens to be another Aussie. Probably the latter eh? 😉

      Or both! It serves two purposes, just like Ferrari’s nose, aerodynamic effect AND vacuum cleaner. Dyson, eat your heart out!

  5. Lotus have apparently approached Whitmarsh (not the only person they’ve approached of course)…how funny a swap would be!

  6. If the Hippo is offended by the McLaren, he really ought to avoid seeing the Torro Rosso at all costs.
    It’s not merely phallic; the front protruberance is a positive penile facsimile.

    • ” … It’s not merely phallic; the front protruberance is a positive penile facsimile. … ”

      Should I be worried – because mine neither looks anything like that, nor is it that big?

  7. Hahaha, the new Toro Rosso is the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in autoracing. Seriously, is this the top autoracing series in the world? I’m considering moving to a more serious sport as spectator, does anyboby know when the next world championship of croquet is?

  8. Eric Boullier may have left Lotus because the team breached his contract in some way (by not paying him, or changing his responsibilities without his agreement). If that is the case, ‘gardening leave’ may no longer apply.

  9. Re fat hippo: a wise man once said, a winning car is a beautiful car… giving up f1 cuz of some bad noses is like never listening to music again because there is one direction out there…

  10. Am hearing in the paddock today, that Renault have dropped a bollock. We may well see the Renault powered cars running much slower than the others tomorrow due to concerns over the capabilities of the crankshaft.

    The engine manufacturer who dominated the V8 era appears to on the back foot at the dawn of the new V6 turbo age.

    • Well given the complexity of the V6’s, I don’t think you can read much into how each engine supplier is going to perform based on how well they did with the V8’s. The V6’s represent a completely different technical and engineering challenge. I’d not be surprised if Ferrari and Mercedes have also dropped a bollock on their engines in different areas.

    • The engines have been homologated (i think that’s how it’s said) for 2014 now haven’t they?

      If so that could make it very tricky to make a change.

      Can anyone shed more light as to wether this is the case and if it will make Renault’s headache bigger.

    • Makes Seb’s comments from last year quite prophetic ‘we must enjoy these days whilst we can’

      Then we have Matt pointing out in both the Ferrari and Sauber articles how – ‘suffice to say that Ferrari must have done an exceptional job with the thermal efficiency of their Powerunit.’

      Also it wasn’t that long ago that TJ was saying the Mercedes engineers were astounded that Ferrari and Renault were already running their engines and were now burning the midnight oil.

      Is it all misinformation? Ferrari were very proud of their unit at launch and the exotic materials in their design? Who truly knows..

      • An additional thought, if Ferrari have the best engine and chassis package this year, lets bless LdM for signing Raikkonen, can you imagine a year of Alonso being trailed by Massa again?

        • I believe Stefano was the driving force behind bringing Kimi back, and who said he wasn’t gutsy enough?
          We have Fire & Ice at Ferrari 😉

      • A last epic title battle between Raikkonen and Alonso would be a fabulous 2014. Could go very 2007…

  11. from Guardian, re. Whitmarsh where is he? (w/ very nice dig at Dennis):

    “Whitmarsh was an effective No2 to Dennis but was found wanting when given the ultimate job. He is now expected to receive a pay-off from the team he joined in 1989. On Friday night it was understood that he had retreated to his holiday home on Ile de Re off the west coast of France, missing the launch of McLaren’s new car for the 2014 season on Friday…”

    and

    “Button added: “This team, under Ron, has won multiple world championships, back to the days of Ayrton [Senna] and Alain [Prost]. There’s so much history of Ron in this team. He’s a true racer, he’s a true fighter, and he really has built this team up over the years. It’s good for the team and good for Ron that he has the chance to drive this team on again.”

    And yet, when Dennis resigned as team principal in 2009, handing over to Whitmarsh, McLaren had not won the constructors’ championship for a decade.” Fin

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/jan/24/eric-boullier-mclaren-team-principal-lotus-resignation

  12. Ha ha, looks like Torro Rosso just took last years car, stuck a finger on the front and took 100mm out the center of the front wing and stuck it back on.

    I’m sure there is more creativity gone into it, but at 1st glance it certainly looks that way!

    • I thought this as well, but Matt Somerfield’s analysis makes me think James Key has done a good job with it, like the 2012 Sauber. Their problem could now be the engine.. He’s definitely being trialled for Red Bull post-Newey.. Adrian was copying things off his 2012 Sauber for Red Bull!

  13. I would have thought McLaren would only want 1 major Japanese sponsor and Honda are coming on board next season. Although I’m sure in that case that McLaren will have more Japanese speaking staff than Lotus have and good lines of comunication are always important

  14. I know this has been mentioned on here before but it is looking like the BBC have lost Gary Anderson. They have unveiled Alan McNish and confirmed Susie Perry as the anchor still – which will go down somewhat akin to the proverbial lead balloon – but no mention of Mr Anderson which I feel is possibly the most significant loss to FTA coverage since Murray retired.

    • With the limited budget that BBC have, Suzi Perry is the best they can afford. They can’t take on anyone on a long term contract because there is no guarantee that BBC F1 will be around much longer beyond 2015.

  15. WRT to UBS, I mentioned in the NASCAR article that dwindling TV viewership would make sponsor dollars harder to obtain. Repucom can claim whatever it likes, but the fact that FOM refuses to publish an actual viewing figure in its 2013 report kind of says it all IMHO. The writing was on the wall for UBS with its change of execs and Vodaphone with Bahrain, but getting a new title sponsor at the same price will be a difficult sell indeed.

    Of course, the move to pay TV would have improved the underlying stock valuation for the float that never happened, which would have been very good for Bernie and FOM, but the cost is viewers and sponsor dollars for the teams.

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