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Red Bull Renault divorce? (GMM) +TJ13 Comment
You may have noticed the daily news is regularly being sponsored by Express Mortgages. Interestingly they are not just interested in acquiring a few UK based mortgage resident enquireies, but are promoting their ‘recommend a friend scheme”.
Having traded through the worst economic climate in mortgage land the UK has ever seen, our partners quickly discovered the best way to acquire new clients was to reward those who spread the word.
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This is a 20/1 shot of winning a GP weekend tailored to your preferences.
The offer is now open, so referrals from TJ13 readers will already be recorded for the draw, we are just experiencing some small technical challenges getting the unique click through up and running which will service TJ13 referrals.
TJ13 will never flood our pages with pop ups and advertisements, but we are looking for partners like Express Mortgages, who will engage with our readers with prizes and offers, whilst they in turn receive some commercial benefit for their support.
Join the TJ13 Predictor League
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The Game and the Competition to win Prizes is currently open to residents of United Kingdom (“UK”) (excluding Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland), South Africa, United States of America (“USA”), and Australia, Netherlands, Germany and Spain. Scoring the most points in the next race of the 2014 Formula 1 season could win you a Sony PlayStation 4 with five games and a PlayStation camera.
You have to be in it to win it!
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Unique code to join this league: 6a70171018802287a2ef60e04396f1a0
Nothing in F1 at times appears to be what it claims to be. When the Indian GP opted for a sabbatical, it was claimed that this was due to scheduling. The promoters couldn’t afford a race this year in the Autumn, and then another in the new slot Ecclestone was insisting upon as part of the early 2014 season flyaways.
TJ13 reported at the time that the 25% ‘entertainment tax’ slapped on the promoters was killing their business plan. Some Indian politician had it in for Jaipur Sports and argued that F1 was entertainment and not sport, persuading the tax hungry Indian government to levy such a duty on the gate receipts for the F1 event.
Well the sabbatical notion has now been exposed as a lie. Ecclestone tells Reuters that, “At the moment, India won’t be on [the F1 calendar] for next year for sure. Probably 2016… they’re gradually getting over all the bureaucracy with the tax position inside the country and the general finance,”
The abolition of the 25% entertainment tax may yet prove not to be decisive, as the attendances for each F1 race weekend at the Buddh International Circuit have been in decline since the inaugural race in 2011.
Last year saw around half the number of paying spectators attend the event when compared to the inaugural year of the Indian GP. The likelihood of the Indian GP returning for this reason alone appears slim, regardless of whether the Indian authorities deign to make life easier for the promoters and the teams to put on what they deem to be ‘a show’.
Despite problems with the German legal authorities consuming a vast amount of Ecclestone’s focus, Bernie appears to have a crystal ball over what will happen between the Ukraine and Russia. “Don’t cancel”, was his advice to anyone with a flight booked to visit Sochi in October.
I realised today, having read Ecclestone’s comments, I’m getting bored of the charade that surrounds the F1 calendar. Its persistent intrigue, is wearing and in fact becoming tiresome.
As I began this piece stating, nothing in F1 appears to be what is claimed. This is the normative position regarding Ecclestone’s boring and now predictable on/off announcements over where the F1 world championship will be fought each year.
Nurburgring sold for up to EUR 70m (GMM)
The Nurburgring looks to have been sold for between EUR 60 and 70 million. This week, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said he had been outbid for the fabled German grand prix venue, having offered “$50 million“.
Now, the leading business weekly Wirtschaftswoche reports that Miami-based private equity company HIG Capital was the high bidder, having pledged EUR 60-70m for the circuit, amusement park and nearby hotels.
The report said the Nurburgring trustee had actually wanted a three-digit million sum. HIG Capital declined to comment.
Asked if the Nurburgring will return to the calendar as scheduled next year, Ecclestone told Reuters: “It depends who buys it.”
Grosjean lost cool in Lotus garage (GMM)
Romain Grosjean wasn’t his always-smiling self during one dramatic moment at the Bahrain tests last week.
Footage has emerged of the Frenchman angrily thumping the tool benches in the Lotus garage as he apparently discussed the new Renault-powered E22’s obvious problems with an engineer.
Having sat out the first test at Jerez amid recent financial problems, the extent of Lotus’ situation with its troubled 2014 car became clear only in Bahrain.
“Of course,” Frenchman Grosjean is quoted by Speed Week, “we are still far away from a good performance.
“We need to understand the brake-by-wire system, the new power unit and charging the batteries and in these areas, it doesn’t look so good,” he admitted.
“But together with Renault, we will work in the next two weeks until Melbourne to improve.”
Asked how he will keep his ever-present smile on his face early in 2014, Grosjean answered: “Think of my son.”
Wolff would quit F1 to start family (GMM)
Susie Wolff has revealed that if she ever has children, she will quit motor racing. The wife of Mercedes boss Toto, 31-year-old Briton Wolff has stepped up her role with the Williams team this year.
She will get two chances to drive the FW36 in the Friday morning practice sessions at grands prix, at Silverstone and Hockenheim in July.
“Competing in a formula one race has always been the ambition,” she told the Telegraph, “and as of last week I’m one big step closer.
“I just need the chance. And I’ll do everything I can to make it happen.”
In the male-dominated world of motor racing, Wolff has struggled at times to be taken seriously. Some think her burgeoning role at Williams smacks of little more than marketing.
“There are far more deserving cases, male and female, who would merit the chance to drive in an F1 practice session,” Simon Arron, editor at Motor Sport magazine, is quoted by London’s Times newspaper.
“Whether this is tied into any marketing programme, I don’t know, but she doesn’t have a record which suggests she should be near F1.”
Former F1 race winner David Coulthard, however, said Wolff is definitely a top-level driver, having been beaten by her “more than once” in the German touring car series DTM.
“Does she have that last bit of speed to make it as an F1 driver? I absolutely don’t know,” said Coulthard, a fellow Scot.
“She will have her opportunity and if she delivers, she will continue. If she doesn’t she won’t — and we’ll all have the answer.”
For how long Wolff will continue her racing career, however, is not clear. She admits that when the urge to become a mother overtakes her need for speed, she will quit.
“I will never race again once that (starting a family) happens,” said Wolff.
“I want to have kids and I know that when I do have them I have to have finished with this. Because I could never put myself at risk knowing that there is a child at home relying on me.
“At the moment I love my life but I think that there will come a point where the need for a child will be greater than my need to race, so I’m just waiting for that moment,” she admitted.
The inaugural Long Beach Grand Prix was held in 1975, and was a Formula 5000 event. The cars raced on the downtown streets of LA, and in 1976 the race became a Formula 1 event.
From 1977 F1 saw the introduction of Turbo engines, though unlike today, these powertrains competed alongside normally aspirated engines. Long Beach hosted F1 until 1983, but never once saw a turbo powered car take the chequered flag first.
Long Beach also was where the lowest ever starter on the grid, recorded a victory. In the final F1 meeting held here, John Watson in his McLaren started 22nd on the grid and went on to win the race. 22nd is still the lowest starting position to win an F1 race.
CART/Champ car/Indycar have raced at the Long Beach GP since 1984 but their contract expires in 2015. Mr. E has been making overtures towards the Long Beach city council which would see F1 return to the streets of LA.
Yesterday the council met in a closed session on to discuss whether to extend the current contract held by the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, which runs the IndyCar event, or to open it to a potential F1 return led by Long Beach race founder Chris Pook.
The council was split on how to proceed, and so further representations will be required from Formula 1 before the matter returns to the agenda.
Were Formula 1 to return to Long Beach, the circuit and facilities would require a significant upgrade, so who would pay for that is not yet clear. From Ecclestone’s perspective, it would be easier and probably more profitable to take the oodles of oil dosh from Azerbaijan. Though in a world where the next ‘potential’ F1 race host city is used to intimidate a current venue looking for a better deal, Calafornia Dreamin’ is a most useful past time.
On this day – lite
This man won, what, where and when?
Williams Martini Racing
As expected, today Williams announce a new title sponsor and the historic Martini Racing livery returns to F1.
Martini’s first F1 association was with a rather poor Italian entrant called Tecno in 1972. After 2 unsuccessful seasons, Martini withdrew.
Brabham were the next partner’s for the Italian vermouth producer, and in 1975 the Cosworth powered BT44B saw the livery set on a white background. Brabham changed engine supplier and ran in 1976-77 with the Alpha flat V12 and the colour scheme changed to a Rosso background.
Martini jumped ship in 1979 to the title winning team of the previous year, Lotus, though they didn’t achieve a single victory despite their livery being chauffeured by Mario Andretti. Martini withdrew from F1 until 2006 when they appeared on the Scuderia Ferrari as a minor presence.
Now Martini are back, and back in a big way.
“We are thrilled to welcome MARTINI to the Williams family and officially launch WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING,” said Sir Frank Williams “Williams and Martini share a rich history in the world of motorsport, and the values of our two brands and our shared passion for racing make this partnership a natural fit. It will be great to see the distinctive stripes of Martini Racing™ return to Formula One™ once again in unison with Williams.”
As always at these occasions, the love in was reciprocated accordingly.
“The decision to partner with Williams was a natural one for us as it provides an unparalleled opportunity for the MARTINI brand to connect with consumers through one of their lifestyle passions, Formula One™ racing,” said Andy Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer of Bacardi and President of Bacardi Global Brands, who oversees marketing for Martini’s other premium brands in the Bacardi portfolio. “Martini will give consumers a taste of life in the fast lane, bringing a renewed sense of Italian style and glamour to the track and beyond. WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING provides a powerful, integrated marketing platform and delivers dynamic opportunities that will strengthen the MArtini brand.”
You can now find advice on cocktails and recipes on the Williams F1 team’s website.
Ron Dennis speaks
When certain team bosses speak all I hear is “Yeah…no”, followed by a load of contradictory PR gobble-de-gook which is designed to be seen to be saying something, yet in fact saying nothing at all. Not Big Ron.
For many there was a coup d’état in leafy Woking back in January, as Ron Dennis assumed control of the entire McLaren group as CEO. He promised a review of the team and its structure and personnel and that an announcement would be made regarding the team principal today.
Predictably, Dennis has delivered a barnstorming call to arms from his troops today, and he began by outlining where he believes the company is at following his review.
Step up, or move on
“As I said to everybody some time ago, if everyone matches my own passion, commitment and focus then we will most definitely win. The company was a little unfit and it needs to get fit. There’s pain to getting fit and so hopefully everybody has got the right mindset – and that’s what it’s about, mindset – to understand what we expect of each other and what I expect of them.”
The old attitude of not suffering fools gladly is clearly still burning in the British Entrepreneur’s soul as he makes it clear his people will have to step up to the plate.
“It takes people time to understand what is expected of them and if they don’t get there then they won’t be with the company. But I will give everybody plenty of messages what I expect out of them and if they get the message then fine, and if they don’t get the message then move on. It will take time to get to where I want to be.”
Specifically Denis refused to comment on Martin Whitmarsh’s future, he did though reveal. “”I appointed Martin to this company 20 odd years ago, and he has been alongside me for those 20 years. He is a friend and he has always been a friend.
The situation is 100 per cent between him and me until its resolution. I know I am tough, I know people have different opinions of how I run companies and how I function, and people see my attention to detail as a negative.
But I see it as a positive. And one thing I am is very principled, and the behaviour of this company to its employees is exceptional. There is a way to do things, and I have to lead by example to everybody.
Boullier approached by Whitmarsh
Whitmarsh has been retired from the racing team, and Boullier brought into a role called “Racing Director”, which has led to speculation that Ross Brawn may yet be recruited by McLaren, though the terms of his garden leave may prevent this at present.
It appears Whitmarsh instigated contact between McLaren and Eric Boullier, as Dennis reveals. “Strangely enough outside of the company, meaning not in any capacity, I made contact. Pretty much in parallel Martin made contact, so there was a bit of overlap”.
As TJ13 reported in the face of the “ousted” headlines, Martin Whitmarsh knew what was coming. “For some time I have been discussing with the shareholders and with everybody that this is not working. So inevitably Martin had to face the facts and it was not working. It is not surprising that there was a change”.
Relationships frosty with Mercedes?
The announcement that McLaren is leaving the Mercedes stable for a Honda engine in 2015 has led a number of commentators to believe this will be a difficult year for relationships between Brixworth and Woking. Dennis is candid, “Being open and being committed I think is the best environment in which we can work with Mercedes, and that’s how we will continue,”
We will win, I believe we will win races this year. I really believe that. How many we can win I don’t know, how quickly we can win I don’t know, but the focus and commitment that I’ve given to that part of the company is huge, but not to the detriment to the growth of the rest of the group”.
Ron’s seen it all before
Big Ron’s impact
The big question is, has Ron Dennis’ presence already been felt within the team? Jenson tells SKY, “Yes, and I think in a good way. He is quite an unusual character Ron, I have a lot of respect for what he has done in the sport – this team wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Ron.
I think everyone is excited, he is looking forward to this challenge and it gives everyone a lot more confidence within the team.
So yes, I think him being back at the team is very important for the future of McLaren.”
McLaren will start the season for the first time since the days of Yardley with no title sponsor, though Dennis claims this will not be the case for long.
“Our cars will not feature a title sponsor at the first event, but it will definitely feature a title sponsor in the next few events. Why? Because I strongly believe we are [the] Manchester United [of F1].”
Rumours of Sony becoming McLaren’s new title sponsor have grown in recent months, though a deal has been tough to get done as Lotus were pitching to the same prospect and asking for a smaller investment.
Dennis is adamant, “Inevitably, when you have a run of poor results people push the rate card down. But I won’t accept that. I know what this company is. I know what this Grand Prix team can achieve and that requires the correct recognition when it comes to the commercial relationship with the principal sponsor”.
In usual Dennis style he ridicules the idea of a cost cap, describing at as “almost impossible” to achieve. He points out the irony of the situation which sees the same people who have forced F1 to create the most expensive engines in motorsport history, are now suggesting the teams spend less. “It’s pie in the sky. People spend what they have. If you can’t afford to be in F1, don’t be in F1.”
There’s still someone else to recruit
Jonathan Neale remains as temporary CEO of the racing team and Dennis confirms, “Jonathan absolutely accepts that he is nominated on a day to day basis but effectively not only would he love to have the job, but he may well do the job. Whoever may or may not be considered for that position, it will be against his [Neale’s] abilities and his commitment and whatever the situation is at that moment of time”.
The old British bulldog clearly has plans which as yet cannot be revealed. “The key thing to understand is that supplementing Jonathan’s, Eric’s and Sam’s (Michael) capabilities with my own, for a short period of time, is adequately going to address the challenge of winning in F1.
That choice of person is critical to the long term future of the company and I will take my time.
Ultimately with such an important decision, it will not be mine and mine alone. I would expect to share that with the shareholders and key individuals. It is not at the moment at the top of my must do list. I am comfortable with what we have in place at the moment.”
Big Ron, boss of the garage for now
The role of team CEO will eventually supersede the role of team principal at McLaren because Ron explains for the duration of “the first four races this year, the team doesn’t come back. With the former role of team principal, it was like being out of the company for four months. I defy anyone to run a company and have four months out of the company.”
Dennis is identifying a potential breakdown in communication between the ‘head honcho’ away in Asia and the necessary link required during with the base back in Woking.
So Big Ron is back in charge of the race team in all but title, despite all his denials, and will be with the team for the season opening flyaway races. “We have tremendous competence and I am fully involved in the moment… But I won’t be active at the circuit – I will be there to observe.”
Haha… (hushed commentary voice) “Ron Dennis is quietly observing the proceedings in the garage… but ultimately keeps his own counsel!!!”
Pull the other one 😉
Red Bull Renault divorce? (GMM)
Inevitably, as the scale of Red Bull’s early season crisis becomes ever clearer, rumours of possible splits are now beginning to emerge.
Many of the reigning world champions’ problems are undoubtedly down to engine supplier Renault and the French marque’s struggle with the new V6 ‘power unit’ rules.
So it is no surprise Red Bull, having won every title on offer since 2010 and every grand prix on the trot since last July, is supposedly on the move.
But team boss Christian Horner on Thursday played down rumours of a switch to Honda, the incoming works supplier of turbo engines to McLaren next year.
It is said Honda is the logical choice for Red Bull, given the fact F1’s existing engine suppliers, Mercedes and Ferrari, are arch rivals.
But Horner insisted: “There’s still a huge amount of trust (between Red Bull and Renault).
“We’re certainly not looking outside the current agreement we have,” he told the Telegraph.
Also rumoured to be eyeing greener grass is world champion Sebastian Vettel, despite Red Bull playing down rumours he recently threw a “hissy fit” when he realised the extent of the team’s 2014 problems.
But with Red Bull so obviously struggling, the Ferrari rumours were never going to be far down the road.
Vettel insists: “I’m not a guy who runs away when it gets difficult. That’s the case both in my work and privately.
“Of course there are always those who want to tell you the grass is greener somewhere else, but we shouldn’t forget the values of honesty, loyalty, the handshake.
“This should apply especially when things are not going your way,” he added.
Vettel said he refuses to pin all the blame on Renault.
“Everyone has in the past made their mistakes,” said the German, “but we are a team that in the last few years has had so much success and now we are sticking together.”
He said he is not setting any goals or even expecting the worst next weekend in Australia, where many pundits are tipping a struggle for Vettel to emerge even from the ‘Q1’ qualifying segment.
“Once we are there,” said Vettel, “we will do the best job we can and then adjust our goals accordingly.
“If we are competitive, of course I want to win again,” he told Germany’s Sport Bild. “But at the moment it makes no sense even to talk about the title.”
TJ13 comment: The Vettel ‘hissy fit’ story originated with Andrew Benson from the BBC. It has been denied by Red Bull via official and unofficial channels, yet the problem is that Helmut Marko added flames to the fire when speaking in the German media last week.
When asked about Vettel’s mood at present he replied the quadruple title winner was, “not amused” that Red Bull is “so far behind”. Adding without prompt, “But getting angry won’t bring us anything. Sebastian is always informed of any developments.”
So Seb’s not amused, but not angry? Of course amusement and anger are not opposite ends of a linear scale, but come on – the lad is seriously hacked off with someone.
Many people talk about Vettel needing to drive for another team before we can call him great. Vettel driving in an uncompetitive car will also reveal a great deal about the man over the next few weeks.
Vettel speaks well today, but if he finishes a lap down in Australia, what will we hear from him then? Lewis has revealed himself to us aplenty, unlike the carefully managed and private Seb. Huge frustration and disappointment may well open a chink in the young German’s well veneered façade, and then we’ll see what’s really inside.
On the Renault/Red Bull split.. this is ridiculous. Who is writing this stuff? There may be severe finger pointing (hehe) going on, and relationships may be very strained. But Red Bull have nowhere else to go.
Ferrari and Mercedes will not offer an engine to Red Bull. Honda are locked down with McLaren exclusivity for at least 1 year – and TJ13 reported at the time the McLaren/Honda linkup was announced, the Woking team had negotiated a clause excluding Honda supplying Red Bull for the duration of their contract with the Japanese manufacturer.
Hey… this is the partnership bringing 4 consecutive WDC’s and four consecutive WCC’s – give me a break.
Rosberg race pace in Bahrain
Lorenzo dug this up and tweeted it
Today’s pics from around the net
How many cars will finish in Australia
Our recent pole saw an unprecedented number of you taking part. Here are the results
Over 21 1%
The top 5 results were
11 which would be half the field was 7%
Fascinating how sceptical you all are following Lauda and Marko’s comments that half the field at least would DNF.
What the hell do they know anyway 😉