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OTD Lite: 1978 – Brabham fan-car wins Swedish Grand Prix
Mattiacci delivers a two months report to the Ferrari team
Lotus joins the corporate anti-gay paymasters
Doctors urge caution after Schumacher ‘good news’ (GMM)
Red Bull Ring rookies in ‘the know’
OTD Lite: 1978 – Brabham fan-car wins Swedish Grand Prix
When Niki Lauda first tested the fan-car at Brands Hatch, he reportedly beamed when he emerged from his first run. It had taken him a little while to actually re-adapt his classic style to benefit the car. When he lifted as normal, the car would slide and feel unstable but when he applied the throttle in mid-corner the car gripped harder than anything he had ever driven.
They headed to Sweden’s Anderstop circuit with the intention of sand-bagging throughout practice and only unveil their true speed during the race. Another incredible design from maverick Gordon Murray, the car simply re-wrote the rule book for it’s one race which it dominated. The harder the throttle was applied, the harder the car was sucked into the ground – the limits truly mind-blowing. After protests the Brabham team decided to retire it from Formula One for good.
Mattiacci delivers a two months report to the Ferrari team
Marco Mattiacci arrived in Formula One as existing CEO of Ferrari America. His success preceded him on a global scale and unconfirmed rumours suggested he was in-line to eventually take over from Luca Montezemolo himself. Il Padrino continues to this day working towards a political future which means a successor is needed at Maranello.
Given the choice, Ferrari fans would respect a Todt type character in charge than some of the tragically comedic figures Ferrari have had over the decades. It may just be Ferrari have unearthed him.
When he first arrived, Alonso was publicly cool to his appointment stating it would take months to turn around the team and that his third place in China was credited to the out-going Stefano Domenicali’s work.
In recent weeks his demeanour towards the team has changed, he appears less scathing in his remarks which may result from one or two things. He recognises that Mclaren – with the Mercedes power unit – are currently in worse shape than Ferrari therefore his options for movement are limited or MM has made real progress within the Ferrari infrastructure which Alonso would have been aware of.
Two months on – Mattiacci brought together all the staff and associates in the Nuova Logistica building to explain the key points of the plan to revamp the team. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo was on hand to give his support to this ambitious plan, as Mattiacci spoke of the changes needed to make the team operate more efficiently and quickly stressing that Ferrari’s one goal was to get back on top.
Mattiacci also spoke of his medium and long term plans which included creating a team of people who can put the team on a consistent winning cycle with innovative engineering solutions. Or in English terminology, push the spirit of the rules to the limits once more as they did in the period of Schumacher’s domination.
Lotus joins the corporate anti-gay paymasters
Lotus upset some Russian backers back in February with a Tweet at the start of the Sochi Olympic games which clearly was in support against the violation of civil right in Russia. It was removed as an authorised message but Stephane Samson, Lotus’ Brand Director revealed via Twitter he had learnt he had been sacked because of this.
Samson had been responsible with his Facebook entries and use of social media to raise the Enstone team’s profile from 50k to over a a million fans. We complain about the lack of social media being utilised by Formula One and yet the teams themselves have lost their sense of irreverence. Maybe Bernie Ecclestone is right in a way, social media is becoming another method of getting a corporate message to the consumers and if it offends…
Doctors urge caution after Schumacher ‘good news’ (GMM)
Doctors have urged caution following Monday’s official news that Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma.
Lewis Hamilton summed up the mood of almost the entire world when he hailed the statement issued by Schumacher’s management as “amazing news. I’ve been trying to keep an ear out for what’s going on but not really hearing much improvement,” said the Mercedes driver. “To hear this is really encouraging.” As well as saying the seven time world champion’s almost six-month coma is now over, Monday’s statement revealed Schumacher left the hospital in Grenoble for a “long phase of rehabilitation”.
It said little else, but warned of legal consequences should the media report further, including the location of Schumacher’s next destination. But publications promptly claimed Schumacher, 45, was moved to Lausanne university hospital, a 30 minute drive from the family’s home in Switzerland. The hospital confirmed the news. The media also began to quote the opinions of medical experts, like Oxford university neurosurgery professor Dr Tipu Aziz, who told AP news agency it is clear the former Ferrari driver will suffer “long-term side effects. With rehabilitation, they will try to train him to cope with the disabilities that he’s got to achieve as much life function as possible,” he said. “If he’s had a brain injury, he may have weakness in his limbs secondary to loss of brain function. He may have problems with speech and swallowing.”
Bild newspaper, claiming that Schumacher cannot yet talk, also reported that the rehabilitation “could take months if not years”. “But there are hopeful signs,” British rehabilitation consultant Dr Ganesh Bavikatte is quoted by the Telegraph.“He is physically fit, he is relatively young and I assume he did not have many pre-existing medical conditions.”
Others are less optimistic. Germany neurosurgeon Dr Andreas Pingel told the Focus publication that “Only between 10 and 30 per cent” of patients in Schumacher’s situation have “disabilities which are tolerable”. And Germany’s society for neurology president Dr Andreas Ferbert warned that Schumacher could now be in a “waking coma”, resulting in a “permanent vegetative state”.
However, Bild newspaper had claimed Schumacher was communicating with his family. “We do not know exactly what ‘communication’ means,” Finnish neurosurgeon Dr Mika Niemela told the MTV3 broadcaster. “Eyes open does not necessarily mean communication. I do not want to be a pessimist,” he added, “and I hope he does improve, but if the information that has been given is correct, then yes, the chance of recovery is fairly poor. If he has been five and a half months in ICU, the trauma was significant. Yes, he is probably in constant need of assistance.”
The medical consultant for French television BFMTV, however, said Monday’s news was a “real step”, because earlier updates indicated Schumacher remained at least partially in coma.“Now it is possible to do a complete neurological evaluation and know exactly what has happened,” said Alain Ducardonnet. “Based on this information, an appropriate rehabilitation will start.” Another expert, the chief of neurology at Tampere University, said that Monday’s news makes the “Forecast of recovery slightly better” than before. “But I am unable to comment on what his ability to function in the future will be,” Dr Heikki Numminen told Turun Sanomat newspaper.
Professor Heinzpeter Moecke, of Hamburg hospital, agrees that it is not publicly known what level of consciousness Schumacher is currently achieving. At any rate, he said the F1 legend will “probably have to relearn everything: swallowing, movement, walking, talking. It is a very long and tedious process with many small steps.” Asked if Schumacher can recover, he answered: “No one can say at this time. In principle, nothing is impossible. But that he will go back to before is at least unlikely.”
Former F1 driver Olivier Panis told RTL television on Monday that his friend “will not be paralysed, that’s for sure. He will not be disabled in a wheelchair. But as for the brain, we do not know. We have to be patient,” said the Frenchman.
Should room 101 in Munich not prove kindly to the elderly English gentleman known to many as “Mr. E”, it appears Mr. E will not let his paymasters down to the last.
The bilateral agreements signed with the teams (in pace of the most recent Concorde agreement) gained consent from all for Ecclestone to organise up to 25 races per annum as part of the F1 championship calendar.
TJ13 noted the recent “bargain basement” 10 year deal with Canada may have been signs that CVC and Mr. E have recognised the obvious – there are now few shiny new venues pitching to replace the heart of where Formula One has raced for decades.
Hence where better to hold F1 races? At the circuits where they have been held for decades!!! Yet those circuits do now have the tens of millions to pay up to CVC.
Whilst the Nurburgring now has new owners and financial resources, back in 2013 it was up for sale and due to insolvency, had no obligation to either host a race or pay a fee to F1. Ecclestone’s apparent desperation not to reduce the calendar to 18 races, led them to conclude an 11th hour deal which by all accounts saw FOM receive no hosting fee.
The newspaper Rhein Zeitung claims todat that the Nurburgring has agreed a new contract with Formula One to hold a race each and every year for 5 years. Further, that there may yet be a “long-term strategic partnership beyond the next five years.”
This has led to fevered speculation that Hockenheim is in danger. Yet by reviving the old European GP, we could see every other year both German events are on the F1 calendar. Neither of the German circuits is likely to pay much more than Canada.
Last week Magney Cours was in the news looking for an F1 deal and a Mexico return appears to be a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’. Then we have Mr. E telling us Ajerbaijan will welcome Formula 1 in 2015.
It may be when Bernie is long gone and the teams could be trecking around 25 race weekends a year for some time to come.
A tale of two teams
Canada saw the Force India team again score points, though there are question marks over whether the one stop strategy employed by the drivers was ultimately the quickest for the team.
Perez was dying a death on his fading tyres and brakes, and as soon as Ricciardo managed to pass the Force India he romped away from the Mexican at a rate of knots.
Perez has scored the Silvertsone based team’s only podium of the season (15pts) yet has a mere 5 points from the other 6 races. By contrast, Nico Hulkneberg hasg scored points in all the rounds so far this year and is just 3 behind world champion Vettel in 6th place for the WDC.
Hulkenberg was pleased with the result in Montreal. “Yes, we have shown once more to be both competitive and consistent, and to come away with ten points after a very busy race was really positive. I was on a different strategy from everyone else, which meant I was under pressure for most of the afternoon, but I think we were on the fastest strategy for us, even if the early safety car didn’t really help. But everything worked as planned and we came away with a very strong result”.
Turning to the ‘new’ circuit in Austria, the German believes there is no reason but to expect more of the same from his team’s challenge to McLaren. “Together with Russia, this race is one of the big question marks for everyone this year. The track has some long straights and a few slow corners that should suit us, and we can count on making the most of softer compounds as we did in Canada. When you go to a new track it’s even more important to maximise the practice sessions because there is so much more to learn.
“The lap is quite short so the gaps between the cars will be minimal and even small mistakes can make a big difference. We have shown once more to be both competitive and consistent, but we will need to keep our guard up and keep working hard as we did from the start. There will be tracks where we will be stronger and where we can capitalise on the opportunities we have, and tracks that will be more of a challenge. I know what plans the team has for the rest of the season and I see no reason why we cannot keep battling at the level we are at now.”
McLaren played down their chances of a good result at the Canadian GP in the run up to the race weekend. Eric Boullier stated there would be a number of upgrades for the car coming to Austria, but little for Canada itself.
Some attrition and other factors saw Button score a fourth place which Boullier accepts philosophically. “Jenson’s fine fourth place in Canada was more the result of some great team strategy calls and a hungry and opportunistic drive from Jenson himself than an improvement in the overall pace of our car. Kevin drove very well in Montreal, too, although his race was thwarted by traffic and ill luck. Still, it’s a mark of the strength of the organisation that we can achieve results like these at a track where it’s often easy to falter”.
The McLaren looks short of downforce and the upgrades coming to Austria (medium downforce circuit) don’t appear to be filling the Woking team principal with confidence.
“For this weekend we’ll be evaluating a number of short- and long-term performance steps. It’s still too early to feel confident about calling them raceable options – it’s more about evaluating their applicability at the circuit than simply hoping they’ll improve lap-time. Nonetheless, we hope the steps will pave the way for an improvement”.
Force India are 11 points ahead of McLaren in the WCC at present, which could have been so much more had Perez maximised his chances. Yet with Woking focused on the return of Honda, this is a big opportunity for the Silvestone team to forge ahead of McLaren into what could become an irretrievable lead this season.
Red Bull Ring rookies in ‘the know’
Two drivers worth hearing from about the upcoming visit to Austria are Daniel Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen. Why? Because they both raced here more recently than anyone else.
Kvyat raced here in 2012 during 2 rounds of the Formula Renault Alps series, notching up 2 wins in the double header weekend. “I had a great weekend and really loved the track. Last year I went back to the Red Bull Ring with Formula 3 this time and again I had great memories taking three poles out of three, followed by three second places in the races. It’s my kind of track, with heavy braking points and it is quite a technical track. It has some fast and medium speed corners which I really enjoy”.
Kevin Magnussen was also racing there in 2013 in the World Series by Renault, “It’s a very cool place – it’s a circuit where you never really get to rest in the cockpit because the track is always going somewhere; there’s only really one ‘straight’ straight, along the start/finish line, but it’s book-ended by fast corners so the opportunity you get to relax is pretty minimal”.
The secret to a good lap the Russian driver believes is, “you need to find a good balance there as there are some reasonably long straights. But it’s mainly about high speed corners which is where you find most of the lap time.” – ooh errr… “find a good balance” – Jenson look out!
The circuit is has medium abrasion surface and most of the grip is expected to be mechanical as Pirelli choose the super soft and soft compounds for the weekend. Magnussen loves this place, “every lap is a real adrenaline rush because the corners never stop coming. You need to really be on top of the car around here, you want it to be doing exactly what you ask of it, simply because the lap is so physical, the driver is actually doing a lot of work, so he needs his car to take as much of that burden as possible”.
So for once, unusually it will be a couple of rookies who have the advantage of knowing the track well as just 3 drivers on the grid last raced here in F1 over 10 years ago.
Too bad we don’t see more solutions along the line of the fan car or Tyrrell’s 6 wheeler these days. Frankly I’d settle for a battle of different displacement/ES/cylinder # etc ala WEC, not that I realistically expect to see it. WEC has the budget and competition that F1 seek. I know part of it is down to clever rule writing on the part of ACO, but my question is is the rest just down to the more complex aero due to open wheels? Or is it really just terrible rule writing?
As far as Lotus, color me unsurprised. In a world where even “live” performances are often pre-recorded for TV in order to avoid “surprises”, is it any wonder that the Lotus paymasters are more interested in avoiding controversy than building a loyal fan base. Samsone was incredibly good at his job and that particular picture had the potential to bring some new audience to F1, so naturally firing him was the smart thing to do. Meanwhile, the execrable state of this years team is a visceral example of what the banksters do best: take something with established value and loot it from the inside out until nothing is left but a rotting shell with no value whatsoever. Then move on, rinse and repeat.
“so naturally firing him was the smart thing to do.”
The smart thing for him to do was not mix his personal views with corporate views, something any brand director should have known.
Totally agree. The other thing that I’d like to say and will probably be shoot at the wall for this, is that not everything is black and white. I definitely don’t condone the violence or belittling comments towards people because of their sexual orientation, however, we should also respect people who are uncomfortable or disagree with this way of life because of their personal and/or religious convictions. It has to be a two way relationship in respect.
But drumming the CEO of Monzilla out of his job because he donated his own money to a group opposed to gay marriage in the US was deemed acceptable.
From the very first article I found, assuming you meant Mozilla http://goo.gl/f0NuUF
“Computerworld – Brendan Eich’s ignominious departure from Mozilla this spring wasn’t, as most of us think, due only to his opposition to gay marriage……
In the story, Mozilla under fire: Inside the nine-day reign of fallen CEO Brendan Eich, Shankland points out that “Mozilla’s board struggled to find a new CEO, settled hesitantly on Eich, and didn’t support him strongly. The gay-marriage issue may just have accelerated a falling-out that would have happened anyway.”
He was CEO for 9 DAYS. And clearly there were other problems. RTA
It was not smart to fire him over this. If enough people complain about this to Unilever and Burn, Lotus might lose them as sponsors.
Or more importantly, how well has it gone for Lotus since they fired him. Before, talked about virtually every week. After, hardly anything. So all the audience they built up for themselves and their brand seems to have dissipated under new leadership. Just saying they might have been smarter to give him astern talking to or clearer guidelines rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater so to speak.
Smart company’s prohibit employee’s from using the company’s platform as a forum for their personal views. End of story.
Neither one of us knows what brief he had. Your assumption is that it was his personal view. As you say, show me the evidence.
Didn’t you get the ‘end of story bit’ Matt?
The oracle has spoken, and is now taking his ball and going home 😉
” ….. my question is is the rest just down to the more complex aero due to open wheels? Or is it really just terrible rule writing ? ”
Allan McNish said at the Canadian GP that LMP 1 cars have more downforce than F 1 cars.
So maybe closed wheels help ? I don’t know ?
But I do think it’s more about terrible rule writing.
Don’t know if it’s just about rule writing. Maybe it’s also about innovative approaches that sometimes backfire. the ’07/’08 cars looked beautiful and was hoping we would get back to this with this year’s rules. What happened though was that we ended up the silly appendages for noses because people were trying to recapture the aero benefits of the ’09-’13 period.
Lol, and I thought this was the interesting part of my comment. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if it really did come down to open vs closed wheel vs cost.
My own opinion is that they got it wrong by not specifying outcomes. Rather than limit the solutions, limit the resource and leave the teams to sort it out.
Agree. We’ll see some real innovation then.
Also, limit spend and actually have the balls to enforce it.
F1 is more about advertising car companies and encouraging spending than about real innovation; its too prescriptive.
I’d love to see Ron choking on his Darwinian mutterings if he had to deliver results on a force India budget.
Its easy to preach about companies being allowed to fail when you’re spending 3 times as much as they do, and getting bonuses because of your standing in the sport.
Innovation on budgets of 100 million dollars capped, including assistance from your own head company, would be great for the sport and would reward strategy, decision making and real innovation.
It would also mean that brands would be fairly rewarded for the right reasons, and not just cause they spend more.
“and loot it from the inside out until nothing is left but a rotting shell with no value whatsoever.”
The team was toxic after Crashgate which was why Renault unloaded them. Sponsors wouldn’t touch them and many of their main engineering people left. The team had little value when Genii bought them, and now Genii / Genii’s owners have incurred $150m in debt from owning the team. That doesn’t sound like the Lotus owners looting the team does it.
Dunno Cav, I see team Lotus all over US telly adverts and they lost engineering and drivers because they stopped paying salaries i.e. not investing in infrastructure. I would guess they did that so they could keep more money for themselves, i.e. looting but they were sold a team that was capable of a top 3 finish and now they can’t even finish a race. The only explanation that makes sense is looting, though if you wish to posit sheer incompetence that would explain it too.
There’s absolutely no evidence that Genii looted the team. If anyone is being looted it’s Genii to subsidise Lotus. Renault was in steep decline after 2008. And they’ve won races under the current ownership. Something which very few teams during that time can say.
Subsidise is not the word for the situation, the money Genii put into Lotus is put on the balance as a debt. If Genii was subsidising then there would be no debt.
It is still weird that Genii put their name on the side pod and lended money instead of calling it sponsorship. The advantage for Genii is that they can now write off the loan in what ever bookyear it might become handy.
There is evidence they looted the team. Any time you see a situation where a hedge fund etc., owns an entity like Lotus and they stop paying salaries and get rid of all the experienced workers chances are they are looting it. Otherwise, if they needed it to still do well to make money that they would invest the resources to ensure it does so. The fact that we don’t see the looting (maybe wealth extraction bothers you less, IDK) doesn’t mean it’s not happening. How much have they borrowed against the team? That’s how CVC payed its dividends, borrowing against the value of F1 and leaving the sport to pay the debt. Or maybe it’s as Hedgehog says, some kind of complicated tax scheme.
One thing I’m fairly certain of is for the most part the people who run these sorts of things are not stupid, and if it was really costing them that much money they would have already sold it or shut it down.
Though if you really wish to posit they were incompetent and got sold a pig in a poke, OK, but I’m willing to give them more credit than that.
“There is evidence they looted the team.”
You claim there is evidence, then make an argumentum ad populum. Cite the evidence.
Inference is inference, not ad populum. Just ask Sherlock.
And I’m not kidding about how clever one must be to get where the owners of Genii are. Sentimental, not so much. As it stands, it can’t be costing them much or they’d ditch it without a second thought.
whoa whoa. slow down. “all over”? I’ve only seen the ad about three times thus far this year. twice during a GP. And once during some other event on NBC. I’ve also seen a Mercedes ad a couple of times on NBC featuring a split second shot of the F1 car and no mention of hybrid technology (makes you think if in practice it’s actually relevant to them). Not to mention the Lotus ad has last years engine note, and the Benz ad has music over it with no engine note. Overall a very poor, basically non-existent showing for F1 in TV commercials here in the US.
I’ve easily seen it a dozen times or more, on more than one channel and it’s the first ad in the US I can recall that ever featured an F1 team so prominently, including close ups of a very serious looking Pastor Maldonado. I do believe it’s an ad for Microsoft Cloud Computing, who must be providing them with IT support.
So yeah, not exactly an ad for Mcd’s in primetime in terms of saturation, but relative to what previously existed, I would call it all over the place.
I’m in the NE so if you’re elsewhere perhaps that’s why you haven’t seen them as much. Or possibly you only watch TV at “normal” hours, LOL.
you’re right. I’ve seen that one a couple of times. and yes any f1 in any form in tv commercials here can be considered a vast improvement over say 4 years ago. I live in nyc but 75% of my tv viewing is from the dvr
Lol, another NYCer. Perhaps its time to found the first chapter of Two US F1 fans in the same city club. Bet that’s never happened before
Losses can be quite convenient. Don’t know everything about International accounting rules, but smart guys like Genii do. F1 is ridden with debt – and so is Lotus.
Untill all the dust settles and all books are closed, I stand by my point that Lotus is making money for their owners in unseen ways.
Your comment is a variation of the broken window fallacy.
Maybe an explanation instead of a dismissive statement would help educate us all on what you know. Or suspect.
Being dismissive without reasoned arguement is both lazy and rude.
Has F1 taken a wrong turn ?
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo’s call to arms for Bernie Ecclestone to hold a meeting on the future of Formula 1 has reignited debate about the state of the sport.
*** FALLING AUDIENCES ***
One of the talking points in the paddock this season has been the decline of television audiences following F1.
Although some markets, like Britain, are holding up viewing numbers despite the Mercedes dominance, other territories are faring less well – especially Germany and Italy.
The extent of the drop in followers has become a concern for teams and sponsors, who are short of answers as to why it has happened.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said recently: “Viewing figures so far this year are extremely disappointing, there’s no doubt about that.
“And that comes on the back of a season where it was dominated by one car and one driver for the fourth time in a row essentially.
“It’s important to understand why this year something’s happened that, even after a period of domination, has created another important hit on the viewing figures.”
There are some suggestions that the decline in audiences owes more to changing viewership habits that an out-and-out disinterest in F1.
But F1 should not just try to guess what is happening. It is important that it finds the answer and reacts by adapting to how fans want to consume modern sport.
full article here –
If the rules were too complicated, then WEC/Le Mans would only have tenured Professors as viewers. Every company needs to be reinvented at some point, and F1 is no exception. Mr E is the person who took the wrong turn. Much has been made of the internet generation and their approach to viewing. Yes there is a feeling that things should be free, but it has been proven beyond doubt, that if the offer is attractive, then they will pay. But not the level of money demanded by the current subscriber model. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people say that they are uninterested in all the sports offered by the Sky package, but they would pay a moderate amount for F1. Of course Le Mans showed how it should be done. Unless you are a rapper or into the hip hop scene, ostentatious displays of wealth are now considered slightly distasteful by many young people. F1 with its glitz and glamour at Monaco are one thing, but another concept entirely when it comes to a muddy field at Silverstone. I put much of the blame at the door of poor journalism. How many have talked up the new engines and technology? How many create real excitement and interest with their writing or commentating? So who would you have as a TV commentary team? Mine would be Charlie Cox(Australian) and Eddie Irvine. They would be known as ‘The blunt brothers’.
IMO – Charlie Cox was bloody dreadful on BBC Moto GP – and I would never let him near a microphone.
Personally I like Toby Moody – although better known for motorcycling – he’s very knowledgeable about cars too.
I’ve never heard Eddie Irvine commentate – but do love his opinions – so I bet he’s just like James Hunt in that respect.
Oh I liked Charlie, because he knew when to keep quiet and let Steve give the expert commentary. Watching the highlights on ITV4 this year, I keep thinking a couple of truckies are sitting having a bacon sarnie at Watford Gap services and doing the commentary.
I still think its farcical that kids (both big and small) can’t race virtually against cars in F1 in realtime.
Seriously, am I the only one that thinks there is a fantastic amount of moola to be made from this untapped market?
There’s no downside. Kids stay involved till the end of the race, Bernie gets to licence it to gaming cos, gaming co’s compete against each other in a tech war where developments can be used for TV and web streaming, advertisers are delighted with mega amounts of bums on seats through numerous platforms, and racing can go back to free to air.
Apart from initial investment there are no downsides.
Fantastic suggestion, Col.
Do I sense that some common sense may have crept into the minds of Bernie, CVC and/or FOM by actually racing on tracks that are good and that people enjoy. Surely not, someone reassure me please 🙂
Don’t worry, they’ll get over it. 😉
Haha!! Comment of the day 🙂