This page will be updated throughout the day.
Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.
You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly.
Rivals say Mercedes not easily caught (GMM)
Mercedes’ rivals have acknowledged the gap to the dominant championship leaders will not be easily overcome.
Reports on Sunday suggested Red Bull was quickly catching up with the silver clad team in the development race, after Sebastian Vettel finished within striking distance of the second-placed Nico Rosberg in Malaysia. But Red Bull’s Christian Horner said after Sepang: “It’s a big gap. They have plenty up their sleeve.”
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, acknowledged the Italian team is not yet even in a position to beat the second force of 2014, Red Bull.
“For Bahrain we can’t expect any miracles, because we are practicing again in just five days and so no teams are going to make any sudden, giant steps,” said the Spaniard. “Top speed is also important in Bahrain and so I expect Williams to be strong as well. I want to be in the top five again. “We need to keep finishing as close as we can to the top, so that we can think about the championship later on if the car is more competitive,” Alonso is quoted by Speed Week.
As for McLaren, racing boss Eric Boullier was forthright when asked if the British team can close the gap to Mercedes for the start of the European season, when the first major development steps will be made.
“No,” he answered. Is Boullier confident the gap can be closed at all in 2014? “That’s the right question,” he added. “Maybe by Europe next year, yes.”
More fuel flow problems for Red Bull (GMM)
Red Bull continued to grapple with fuel flow problems in Sunday’s Malaysian grand prix.
While Sebastian Vettel finished third, it was his teammate Daniel Ricciardo’s sister RB10 – disqualified in Melbourne over the very same issue – that was once again affected. The sensor failed early on, but the team avoided disqualification this time around by simply following the FIA’s advice about how to comply with the rules in the absence of the troublesome Gill device.
“Yes,” Dr Helmut Marko told German television Sky, “this time the FIA asked us to check the correlation of our data and we did it.”
Team boss Christian Horner suggested the continuing problems demonstrates that Red Bull has a strong argument to put forward at the forthcoming appeal hearing. “I think it clearly demonstrates that there are issues with these sensors,” he said. Horner added that he has “no idea” why Red Bull is having more problems than any other rival.
A theory has been bouncing around the paddock that Red Bull’s Total fuel might be a contributing factor. “We are yet to understand why we always have problems when the others don’t — it could be something related to the fuel, but we are trying to understand,” said Marko.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said the Lotus driven by Pastor Maldonado in Malaysia also had a fuel sensor problem, so another theory is that the frequencies produced by Renault’s turbo unit could be causing issues. The publication also said it is possible that installation modifications made to the Gill unit by the Renault-powered teams could be damaging it.
Ricciardo’s problems did not stop at the fuel sensor at Sepang, as he struggled with a pitstop problem and a subsequent stop-go penalty and a wing failure. The ‘unsafe release’ from the pitstop will also cost him ten grid places in Bahrain this weekend, but boss Horner says he has been impressed with the Australian so far in 2014.
“Today didn’t go his way but he gets out of the car and he’s got a smile on his face,” he said. “He knows that it will come right.”
Drivers stall over new boss for F1 union (GMM)
The future of the F1 drivers’ association appears in danger.
We reported after the season-opening Australian grand prix that current GPDA president Pedro de la Rosa wants to step down. Speed Week said the Ferrari reserve driver informed his colleagues in Melbourne and scheduled a vote for his successor to take place in Malaysia.But the same publication now reports that while the matter was put on the table at a meeting at Sepang, the drivers could not find a willing candidate.
The issue will reportedly be back on the agenda this weekend in Bahrain. Alongside 43-year-old Spaniard de la Rosa, the other GPDA directors at present are Jenson Button and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Marko keeps pressure on ‘sick’ engine supplier (GMM)
Dr Helmut Marko is continuing to pile pressure on Red Bull’s engine supplier Renault.
Although the total calamity of the winter season was overcome, the always-outspoken team director Marko insists Renault cannot even take the credit for that. He told F1’s official website that when the seriousness of the winter problems became clear, Red Bull “intervened”.
“Together with Toro Rosso and Renault (we) started a collaboration to move forward,” said Marko. However, he still claims the only “sick” part of the RB10 package is the engine, insisting designer Adrian Newey’s 2014 car is better than the dominant Mercedes.
“Yes, (with a better engine) we would be at the top again,” said the blunt Austrian. “But right now with a deficit of around 80 horse power that’s simply not possible.” Marko hinted that if it was technically possibly to simply dump Renault and switch to a better engine, Red Bull would do it.
“You are bound to what you have,” he said, “as there is no way of saying ‘hey, from tomorrow we will use a Mercedes engine’ – if they would give it to us – because this car is built around the Renault powertrain,” he said.
Marko claimed that Red Bull had to use Renault’s Melbourne-spec software in Malaysia because the Sepang version was “not working”. But Renault insists it is now ready to take the next development step for Bahrain. “The positive is that, unlike Melbourne we don’t go to the next race with a substantial job list of rectifications, rather items that will deliver more power and performance in Bahrain,” said Remi Taffin.
Marko, however, suggested Red Bull is taking the problem of its straight-line speed deficit into its own hands. “We are trying everything possible to find more speed on the straights without affecting the corners,” he is quoted by German television Sky, “and I have to say that from this point of view we are progressing.” Marko told Bild newspaper: “We are bringing a few new parts from our factory to Bahrain, and also Renault has yet another update for the engine software.”
Please if you haven’t voted, tell us what you think….
Vettel could be charged by the FIA
‘Band-waggoning’ appears to be a favourite pastime for some in F1, and particularly at the start of the year following regulation changes which see some benefit and others not.
Of course some waggons have been rolling a lot longer than others, however as TJ13 reported at the weekend, it appears the ‘engine noise’ wagon train headed up by F1 ringmaster Mr. E has reached its destination.
Ecclestone has been prophesying doom over the sound of the new V6 turbo’s for some years, but we learned at the weekend, he hadn’t bothered to go check them out in person, even though they were on track in Jerez 9 weeks ago.
Anyway, all is well with the world. Bernie says, “it’s better than I thought, though we could do with getting it up a bit”.
In Bernie speak – that’s a huge U-Turn. Then surprisingly on Saturday, Ecclestone told the BBC that he believed they could ‘get it up’. “They’re working on it and I think we’re going to get it done.”
The difficulty is that ‘Bernie speak’ means its not clear whether he was referring to the engine manufacturers or the sound engineers of FOM.
No matter, but there are reports coming to TJ13 that the SKY F1 UK TV broadcast was far better balanced between track noise and the commentators than was the case in Australia. That said, at times the track noise appeared not to correlate with the pictures. Speculation is that SKY have mixed in some additional sound to improve the balance between the commentator’s and the cars.
The BBC broadcast sound levels however, were similar to those recorded in Australia.
TJ13 was critical of the quadruple world champion last week when asked about the sound of the new F1 power units “It’s shit,” said Vettel, “I think we have to [change it]. I was on the pit wall during the race [in Melbourne]. It’s better in a bar! That’s my opinion. I think for the fans it’s not good. I think F1 has to be spectacular, and the sound is one of the most important things.
I remember when I was a small child, I don’t remember much, but the first time I was about 5 years old, 6 years old when we went to see the cars live during free practice in Germany. The one thing I remember was the sound, how loud the cars actually were, and to feel the cars through the ground. The whole ground was vibrating. It’s a shame that we don’t have that any more.”
Speaking in German, Vettel criticised the the entire direction in which F1’s course has been plotted by mocking the energy recovery emphasis of the new engines – stating that batteries should be kept for phones.
Red Bull’s Christian Horner disagrees and believes his number one driver was entitled to share his thoughts. “He should be applauded for saying what he thinks. We live in quite a politically correct world but part of Red Bull’s philosophy, which has sometimes been quite uncomfortable, is to allow the drivers freedom of expression. Sebastian has expressed his opinion and I don’t think anyone would blame a driver for making an opinion. He’s not alone. There are different opinions and he’s entitled to his.”
Very true Mr. H – there are very different opinions around on this matter. Not everyone jumped on the ‘noise’ band wagon and Valtteri Bottas had this to say in the drivers’ press conference. “I like it. I really think the cars are good fun to drive. I hope it looked good from outside I think we made an exciting race with the new cars, new engines, so I think it’s good”.
F1’s elder statement Jenson Button is dismissive of Vettel’s position. “Go and race something else if you’re not happy,” said Jenson. “As drivers, we don’t have an opinion where the cars are in terms of sound and feel. When you’ve crossed the finish line first and you’ve won a Grand Prix, you don’t care what it sounds or what it feels like. You’ve beaten the best in the world, and that’s what you care about.”
You’d be forgiven for not realising these are the words of a 19 year old kid and not a world champion as Kvyat observed. “Well, it’s quite popular to criticise Formula One nowadays, I think, and there is always some new technology coming and it has happened for me to debut in a new Formula One, let’s say. It’s quite interesting, I would say. The standard, with the new technology, has to change at some point and I think it’s quite interesting. It’s still fast, it’s going to be faster all the time and we will see at the end of the year how much better it is or not, so it’s early days”.
Kobayashi remembers the last time there were big changes in F1. “I think I definitely enjoy driving them [the new cars] because of course it’s definitely not easy at the beginning but I remember there were quite similar headlines before, but after a few years or a few months everybody forgot, so I don’t think it’s a big problem. But for us we’re still enjoying driving. It’s more challenging to drive in dry races, so I’m pretty happy”.
And of course Nico Rosberg could afford to be blunt and speak his mind, “I think it’s been all good for F1. It’s changed around the pecking order which is definitely good for everybody because the same guy winning last year… we needed a bit of a change to that, so that’s been good. The cars are great to drive, that’s fine, so I think it’s all good”.
Following the race, there were reports from various F1 paddock pundits suggesting the president of the FIA, Jean Todt, was unhappy with Vettel’s comments. Mark Huighs, Sky Sports analyst and Autosport/Sunday Times columnists states, “FIA president Jean Todt is said to be ‘furious’ with the World Champion after he disparaged F1’s new soundtrack as “s***”. Todt was dismayed that the World Champion should be so publicly critical,’ added Hughes.
Todt could punish Vettel under a regulation which stipulates that drivers “cannot bring the sport into disrepute”, which includes openly criticising the sport. Hughes writes, “Threatening to punish Vettel for his negative comments could conceivably be used as leverage by the FIA to convince his team to withdraw their appeal.”
Christian Horner denied anyone from the FIA had mentioned the matter of Vettel’s comments to him.
Deja Vu for Felipe Massa
from Die Hard F1 Fans
FIA regulate to punish hard ‘unsafe releases’
“We win as a team, we lose as a team” is a mantra we often hear from drivers when they feel they have ‘done their bit’ but been let down by the team.
At present, no one must be feeling the harsh reality of the togetherness of ‘losing as a team’ than Daniel Ricciardo. After a stirring drive in Melbourne, he was stripped of his podium prize and record due to the decision of ‘the team’ to disobey the FIA. Hopefully in time we will discover what performance it would have cost Ricciardo had the team complied with the instructions to reduce the fuel flow rate. Then we will also be able to judge if Ricciardo was made a sacrificial lamb as part of a Milton Keynes agenda.
It was beyond irony that following the events of “multi 21” in Malaysia last year, were heard a team instruction “default 1-3” issued by Red Bull yesterday – which was amusingly interpreted by some as “the default position of our cars’ running order will be 1 (Vettel) and 3 (Ricciardo)”.
Within minutes of the radio message, the spectre of Mark Webber descended further upon proceedings as Ricciardo was released from a pit stop without one of the wheels being properly secured. The TV footage shows clearly the red light has been extinguished on the gantry above the car and the car dropped from the jacks before the Aussie pulled away – so driver error is eliminated immediately
Daniel lost the best part of a lap as the garage crew retrieved their number 3 car, and fitted the wheels properly and as per the regulations, Ricciardo was subsequently issued with a drive through penalty to add to his misery.
Most people watching the race didn’t realise that this would not be the end of the matter. The teams agreed over the winter with the FIA that any unsafe release this year would be further punished with a 10 place grid drop for the car in breach at the following GP. Nobody cares for an errant F1 wheel hurtling down the pit lane which could kill someone given the right set of factors.
It must be clearly understood that TJ13 is NOT suggesting, Red Bull deliberately sabotaged Ricciardo’s race to ensure that Vettel’s pre-eminence was ensured. However, it didn’t take long for the “luck” conversations to begin following the chequered flag.
It used to be Webber who was declared to have all the ‘bad luck’ at Red Bull, and after qualifying 2nd and 5th in his first 2 races for the world champions – both followed up with determined drives – the ‘unlucky mantle’ appears to have fallen on the shoulders of Daniel Ricciardo.
Particularly galling must be the knowledge that wherever the Aussie qualifies next Saturday in Bahrain – he will be at least half way down the grid by the time the lights go out for the race.
Yet, “we win as a team, we lose as a team” is the accepted notion – so that’s just the way it is. This philosophy is enshrined further by the fact that the teams can legally issue team order to their drivers which if obeyed will result in their relative finishing positions being determined by that instruction.
So, why is it just Ricciardo who suffers because of the team’s error yesterday? Red Bull and every team has two drivers who both score points for them in the constructors’ championship. Surely if ‘unsafe releases’ are the new category 1 offence, why not punish both cars with a grid drop in the following race?
One thing is for certain, conspiracy theories about teams sabotaging their No. 2 driver and the notion that it is this driver who gets all the ‘bad luck’ would be dissipated in a moment.
Still, Ricciardo comes out of all this more than impressively. Given the opportunity, he is clearly capable of challenging Vettel when he discovered he would be starting in the mid-field in Bahrain, Daniel tweeted the following which says it all about this young man’s character.
Sauber’s Russian deal may be back on
We learned in 2013 that buying into an F1 team can be a process which is incredibly elongated, and has more up’s and down’s than a ‘whore’s drawers’ – so to speak.
Further, it is prudent to weigh the desperate need to announce inward investment which may keep drivers and suppliers happy against the huge loss of creditability when a supposed ‘done deal’ is incomplete 6 months later.
Both Lotus and Sauber fell into this trap and whilst it is clear the details of control under a partial equity sale can often take months to resolve, better this done before a new ‘love in’ is announced, otherwise the public negotiations which follow leave one party with a sour feeling and a poor public image.
Sauber have announced that Sergey Sirotkin will drive on day 1 of the test in Bahrain – the week following the race. This will enable him to gain his super license.
We can only assume there is still an opportunity for Sirotkin’s backers to invest in the Swiss team as common consensus appeared to rule him out as an F1 protégé deserving of a chance.
Meanwhile, ex-Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde will be getting his first outing in a 2014 this Friday in Bahrain, as he will replace Esteban Gutierrez in FP1.
Massa – Out of the Frying pan – into the fire.
Williams has never had the best of relationships with its South American drivers. Maybe it was the no nonsense attitude of founder Frank Williams, and his partner Patrick Head, which didn’t communicate well with the continent’s natives but relationships between the team and drivers including Carlos Reutemann, Nelson Piquet and Juan Pablo Montoya have not finished well.
Over the winter Felipe Massa had spoken at length about his new found freedom, “I have very good respect for the team and I believe they respect me and that is very important,” and yet in his first competitive race for the Williams team he heard the words that have given his fans nightmares for four years.
“Okay Felipe, Valtteri (Bottas) is faster than you, do not hold him up,”
Massa ignored the initial order and the team then told him, “Valtteri has better tyres, we need to let him go. Do not hold him up.” Massa ignored the order once more.
He spoke to the BBC afterwards, “I was just fighting to the end, that’s the way I wanted to do it and I will fight for my career and for what is right. I don’t regret what I did.”
Bottas – of course thought otherwise – he believed Massa should have obeyed. “I think there was a really good chance for me to get Jenson. I was approaching really quickly but, like I said, we need to speak with the team.”
He was supported by Toni Vilander, a Finnish racing driver who believes Massa should have “swallowed his pride and let Valtteri through.
Despite team-orders being once again recognised as part of Formula One – following the infamous Ferrari call in 2010 – teams still carry issues regarding their use – (multi 21)?
When questioned by Sky, Claire Williams responded “How could we do that to Felipe?” It was not elaborated if the meaning was because of what Massa has been through previously or if it was a denial of team-orders within the Williams camp. “At the end of the day, Felipe finished ahead of Valtteri,” she insisted. “They were both told to cool it.”
Williams’ chief engineer Rod Nelson simply replied that Massa, “didn’t do what we would have preferred him to do.The facts are we felt that Valtteri stood quite a good chance of getting past Button because his tyres were about five laps younger”
“There’s nothing else going on in the background,” Nelson insisted. “We don’t run like that — it’s not like other teams where they have a number 1 driver and a number 2 driver. We’ve got two number one drivers, the idea was simply to give Bottas “a go” at passing Button, and if he failed to do it, we would have swapped our drivers over again. We will go through it with the drivers and discuss what we expect,”
Niki Lauda, mischievously commented he believed Massa did nothing wrong. “Racing drivers are racing drivers – they race for themselves. I would do exactly the same and my drivers would do the same,” added Lauda.
Even if Mercedes continue to dominate, Niki may find his team having to adjudicate on one or two matters during this year.
Tension grows between Rosberg and Vettel
Contrary to opinions in certain quarters, Sebastian Vettel is not universally liked in the paddock. Of course it irks all the wannabe world champions that Vettel has won 4 consecutive drivers’ F1 titles in a row – and this alone would lead to some carping.
Yet Sebastian has been outspoken over a number of issues, and he has used his platform as world champion to add weight to the causes which his team boss has griped about. To this end the Red Bull PR machine have done their man no favours. It would have been best for Sebastian had he stayed aloof and let his servant Christian slug it out with the FIA and whoever else over ‘unsafe tyres’ and ‘dodgy sensors’.
Nico Rosberg took an extra-ordinary public exception to comments made by Vettel during the Autumn of 2013. Buoyed by his invincible RB9 and defending accusations that RB had been the main influence behind the change in the Pirelli 2013 tyres, Vettel had unwisely suggested the real reason for his team’s advantage was because the good ole folks at Milton Keynes simply worked harder than everyone else in all the other teams.
The silly nature of this observation was not lost on Rosberg because clearly how could Sebastian know how many hours people worked in all the other F1 factories. Nico was swift to oppose his fellow countryman and observed that Vettel’s was getting what he deserved when he was booed by the crowd.
“Sebastian brings the boos on himself. He talks about my b***s that I hang in the pool and then the boos come”.
Jenson Button was more circumspect in his response to Vettel, though no less dismissive of his claims. “It is incorrect and wrong of him to say that,’ said Button speaking ahead of this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix. We are obviously not doing a good enough job to beat Red Bull and no one is at the moment but that doesn’t mean we are not working hard. Every team is working as hard as Red Bull.’
It could be the needle between Rosberg and Vettel has its roots in the events occurring during the Monaco GP weekend. It was Rosberg who revealed that Mercedes had tested with Pirelli and Vettel who told Marko. The rest – as we know – is history.
Interestingly, the comments made by Nico about the Pirelli test were clearly of a private nature and not a public declaration at the drivers’ briefing otherwise the rest of the drivers would have returned to their teams and the story would have been far more widespread more quickly.
This weekend just gone, it appeared during the dying seconds of Q3, Rosberg darted ahead of Vettel into the final corner, and then was very slow to begin his run at a final last lap. Vettel waited for the spray to clear and to begin his run to the start finish line for one final effort.
Yet Sebastian misjudged the clock and subsequently failed to get over the line for his final attempt before the chequered flag fell by a mere second.
During the post qualifying FIA press conference the following exchange occurred.
SV: Nico couldn’t see much in his mirrors, I guess. Obviously I was on a flying lap and Nico was preparing his hot lap, if that’s correct, and not much happened. Obviously I was pissed off at the time because… sorry, I was angry at that time, at that moment because I turned into turn 12 not knowing where to turn in because I couldn’t see anything. The lap was lost but equally I think there was another car in front of Nico…
NR: I don’t think that was me.
SV: No, so then it was Lewis. I think it was a Mercedes.
NR: I don’t think it was me. I never had anybody behind me.
SV: Anyways, I ran into traffic, not really, there were two seconds or three seconds gap but enough so that the next corner was completely blind. That’s it.
Lewis was then asked another question and during his answer, the following occurred. “Red Bulls get a little bit closer to us when it is wet. That’s something we have to work on but naturally I think, they’re always quick in the wet. [Turns to Vettel – Hey guys, I can’t even hear myself talk.]
SV: We’re still figuring out who it was…
Vettel was adamant Rosberg had baulked him and Rosberg was indignant protesting his innocence – though by now the TV broadcast had finished. The conversation above is part of the post qualifying drivers conference interview posted on the FIA’s website.
For the record, on the final laps of qualifying, Sebastian was actually following Fernando Alonso, who was following Lewis Hamilton who was behind Ricciardo. Rosberg was behind Vettel until he lunged up the inside at the end of the back straight.
If Vettel was upset about Nico, he had the perfect opportunity to repay the favour during the start phase of the race on Sunday. Both cars got away fairly similarly then 3 into the race, Rosberg’s Mercedes began making swift progress as the second phase of the start began.
Vettel saw this and swerved across to try and block Rosberg, however even though Nico was inches from the wall, he refused to be cowed, kept is foot in and the German powered car out dragged the RB10 into the first corner.
Rosberg was clearly rattled by this and he made an icy reference to it during the post race podium press conference.
“I had a really good start, so I was happy about that because it’s not so easy this year. The rear tyres are harder and we have more torque. So it’s very difficult to get it right – but it felt great and got away well……… and then Sebastian…….. I thought he was going to put me right into the wall, but he stopped just before – so thank you for that!” Nico added with a hint of sarcasm.
Vettel was ready and quipped immediately, “I had a similar experience last year…”. Sebastian was of course referring to his forbidden overtake attempt on Webber up the main straight, where Mark pushed him across towards the wall.
Rosberg clearly not happy refused to let the matter drop with Sebastian. “…that doesn’t make it right to do it again! My heartbeat skipped a beat a little bit but I kept right on it”,
Having made his point Nico clearly didn’t want to let Vettel see he had been overly affected by the incident, so he concluded, “it was OK….. anyway…. it wasn’t that bad”.
This could be an interesting one to watch this year, as there is clearly no kindred spirit between these 2 drivers based on nationality.
Reports are emerging that the Williams team will not run its regular Martini livery during the upcoming weekend in Bahrain due to the countries anti-alcohol laws. Of course Bahrain has strong anti alcohol laws and the UK government advice is as follows
“The consumption, importation and brewing of, and trafficking in liquor is strictly against the law. Drunken behaviour in public or driving under the influence of alcohol is a punishable offence, making the offender liable to a fine or imprisonment and/or deportation and withdrawal of the driving licence. Sentences in prison are not uncommon.
Bahrain has a zero-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving. You can be charged and imprisoned if you are caught with even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system”
Yet, despite Bernie Ecclestone’s best efforts to make the Force India car invisible during qualifying, in 2012, they have clearly run at the Sakhir track in Bahrain with Kingfisher premium lager, Valdivar and White and MaKaye emblazoned on the livery.
Williams will in fact run with a “Williams Martini” logo, rather than the usual “Martini” branding previously seen.
No explanation has been given by the Al Khalifa arm of the ruling family which runs the Bahrain GP as to exactly what difference this will make.
Boullier criticises Red Bull
Graham Lowden commented last week that were the Red Bull appeal against Ricciardo’s DQ in Australia to be upheld, the entire governance of F1’s rules would fall into “chaos”. He has been joined by McLaren’s Eric Boullier who criticises Red Bull’s stance on the fuel flow sensor matter.
“We have been told to use it, so we use it. No debate. When you have two systems to measure your fuel flow, there will always be discrepancy between them. If you find an interest in using system A because you find more performance, I understand you may choose this way”.
But if in a regulated championship you are told to use B, [it’s] out of the question [not to]. We have to respect the fuel flow so we have to have a system to measure it. The FIA went with the sensors and we have to respect it”.
There appears to be a glimmer of support for Horner’s suggestion there should be a discussion over the sensors, as Boullier adds, “Whether we change the way we measure the fuel flow is another debate.”
Red Bull admitted to having a sensor fail completely on Daniel Ricciardo’s car last weekend, however unlike in Australia, the Milton Keynes team chose to run with the advised offset given to them by the FIA technical delegate.
Deadline for cost reduction/spending limits looms
In an extensive Q&A, the president of the FIA was asked by Germany’s Welt am Sonntag, how after 3 failed attempts did he envisage enforcing spending limits in F1.
“They all want this limit and it must be in writing,” says Jean Todt. “Then it will be binding. The teams came to me and Bernie Ecclestone and implored us to finally introduce a budget limit.
Lotus has reportedly not paid its driver. I hear that Sauber and also Williams have problems. It can’t go on,” the Frenchman insisted.
“I am worried that we will lose teams. Many are crying out for help, and our job is to listen to these cries. Formula one is in intensive care and time is running out — by the end of June, a solution to this problem must be found,” came the grace warning from Todt.
The world of F1 is consumed with fuel flow sensors at present, where there is the time to take seriously the matter of cost control is anyone’s guess.
The latest accounts for Caterham F1 show that pre-tax profits trebled to £4.8 million and revenue more than double to £46.7 million. This due in part to a major sponsorship deal with American industrial giant GE, which pays the firm an estimated $15 million (£9 million) annually.
Caterham’s turnover is however mainly derived from the management fees it receives from its Malaysian parent company, which in turn gets its income from sponsors such as GE.
However, these numbers are for 2012, and in 2013 Caterham failed to get the tenth spot in the championship and the associated cash prize associated with the ‘last prize paying’ position. This would have cost the team some $14m (£8.4m).
Further, costs in 2014 will soar by over well over $10m (£6m) due to the cost of the new engines.
The accounts also revealed that Caterham received £5.3 million loan from Export-Import Bank of Malaysia, part of which was used to invest in a new plant and machinery.
Since Caterham joined the sport in 2010, Fernandes and his co-owners have invested an estimated $219.5 million (£132 million) into the team. This gives them the dubious honour of investing more money in an F1 team without the success of a point – than anyone else in the history of the sport.