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
Previously on The Judge 13:
Enter a new party in the Caterham con (UPDATE 14:20 GMT)
OTD Lite: 1984 – My kingdom for half a point
In the days before electronics controlled everything, HD TV transmissions and race meetings worth 50 points to the winning driver – men used to sweat to complete race distances, fighting their cars, circuits and each other. Only the top 6 would score points – 9 for a win,followed by 6,4,3,2,1. Unlike the 21st century, scoring a point meant achievement rather than everybody gets a prize for completing the egg and spoon race..
Thirty years ago today, Niki Lauda secured his third world title with just a half point separating him from Alain Prost. If the numbering system makes little sense in where the half point came from, you have to go back to the Monaco Gp that year.
Run in torrential conditions, the race was stopped barely past half distance as the itsy-bitsy Toleman team was about to win with a young newcomer called Senna at the wheel – hence the awarding of half points only.
If the FIA had allowed the race to run its full distance – even if this Brazilian interloper had won the race, Prost would have taken six points for second rather than the 4 1/2 he received for the win.
With that cheery thought we would now be calling Prost the five time World Champion, and Niki merely a double champion…
Enter a new party in the Caterham con
TJ13 has been informed that Caterham F1 have now defaulted on contracts with their Academy drivers. They are owed prize money which the team is retaining.
Neither the drivers nor their representatives have been contacted, but they have been deleted from the Caterham website.
Unlike certain writers who have little knowledge of how these things are handled, this may well offer some security to employees still remaining as employees of the Caterham company referred to above.
Further, the bailiffs have not sold any of the goods they removed from the Leafield premises – not because there is uncertainty over which company owns them as implied by Manfredi Ravetto and publicised by his favourite F1 writers, but because a creditor not represented by the bailiffs when they were given permission to remove assets act – filed a separate legal action – petitioning for the winding up of the company on the 11th November.
This action by the latter creditor protected their interests from being jeopardised in the sale by the bailiffs, where only the creditors who had the seizure order were benefiting.
The owner(s) of Caterham Sports Ltd have since recovered the ball back into their own court from the court hearing listed for Remembrance Day, by applying themselves for Administrative oversight. This action today was a result of Caterham’s own doing.
This will presumably buy them time beyond the hearing on the 11th November (when they may have been ordered to cease activity), to beyond the date of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Employees have been forced to play the “which company is employing me” Hokey Cokey as letters informing them their contracts would be moved to 1MRT (foreign holding company) were issued, then apparently revoked.
There will be NO CONFUSION as to who owns what as the accountants will quickly get to work.
Also, there are UK laws which prevent assets from simply being shifted from one company to another with the intention of asset stripping, particularly when one is listed in the UK and one is listed abroad eg from Caterham Sports Ltd to 1MRT. To avoid this requires highly skilled operatives, detailed planning and usually a string of international operations.
The management/owner(s) of the Caterham F1 team appear clearly to not fit the description in the paragraph above
As TJ13 has stated many times, this appears to be little to do with saving the precious F1 racing license, held by 1MRT – and more about milking parts of the current pay drivers revenue stream to design a car for 2015.
This car is unlikely to appear in green colours and under the name of Caterham.
For now, the Administrators believe, “Positive discussions were held between the administrators and the team manager, Manfredi Ravetto, and also with the financial backers of the team on Friday 17 October and it is hoped that these will lead to a financially acceptable arrangement for the continuation of the relationship between the Company and the F1 Team”.
This illusion may well subside should the misrepresentations which have been made to current creditors and staff continue.
In that case, “if a financially acceptable arrangement cannot be agreed between the administrators and the Caterham F1 Team the administrators will then enter into dialogue with other interested parties with regard to a sale of the business and assets of the Company”.
What is for sure – proper scrutiny of the shady dealings behind the scenes will now occur, and the “Swiss based Arab Investors” will have to put up – or shut up.
If you wish to acquire an F1 team, there are things more precious than running it into the ground to avoid paying creditors a few million pounds in the Administration process.
It may be the creditors are awarded 10 pence in the pound for the monies they are owed and some form of Caterham could rise as a phoenix to continue. Though with the brain drain and bad reputation as an employer within the industry, good staff will be reticent to darken the doors of Leafield if they have other opportunities in F1 valley.
Then again, if you just want to pillage a company for all its worth, buy it out of insolvency on the cheap and ship it off abroad – you wouldn’t care.
Sometimes being an F1 writer and close to those at the top of an F1 entity has its disadvantages, when their explanations are deceptive by intent, and you are too close to the tree to see the forest.
Kobayashi Concerned over safety of his Caterham car
Drivers rarely drive into the team pit garage during a race, climb out of their cars without knowing what is wrong with them. Even when this happens, by the time they speak to the press, they are ‘in line’ with the teams thoughts on the matter.
The news from Russia once again saw Manfredi Ravetto doing his Fawlty Towers wide eyed uncomprehending Manuel stare, as he declared “Hi know nothing” about the claims made by Kamui Kobayashi that the team had retired the car to save mileage.
Ravetto added, “We saw an issue on the brakes – a problem that Kamui had already reported on Saturday during FP3 – so we decided to change them, but the problem persisted so we decided to stop.”
What we didn’t know was that Kamui had seen something on his car which scared the life out of him. He posted on his facebook page, “Scary! Last night a suspension defect was found. There’s no spare so it was repaired by wrapping it in carbon.
It’s checked all the time but, even so, being asked to race like this is too scary! I want to go home already.
From here on there are still practices and the race to go. I’m seriously troubled. As a racing driver, should I drive? Should I safely decline? I drive again in 15 minutes…”
In Japanese this means F^@k, S*^t Bo()ocks, I'm going to die
The team confirmed there had been “small defects” discovered and rectified.
Lets see whether the FIA act to ensure there are no safety issues with the Caterham cars, following what some see as remiss safety decisions made by FIA representatives – which may have led to the tragedy in Suzuka.
Its one thing being a bunch of allegedly rich “Swiss based Arab Investors” who refuse to pay the debts of the previous owner, but another when they can’t be bothered providing proper funding to build sufficient components for the car.
These people surely do not exist – and are a creation not of Kolles imagination, but of wilful impropriety.
Neither do serious investors in Formula 1 have a revolving door of directors listed at companies house.
F1 fans remember the death throes of HRT where the drivers were flying off the circuit into tyre walls a few laps into the races, because the team had no money for decent brakes.
Charlie Whiting needs to order repeated and systematic scrutineering of the Caterham cars from now to the end of the season – and prior to each session the drivers are obliged to drive.
Any doubt about their safety – must lead to them being disqualified from participating.
Sid Watkins’ hometown – Liverpool – to honour memory with new building
Professor Sid Watkins is to be honoured with a new three-storey building named after him. The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust building will include a complex rehabilitation unit, pain management programme, medical training facilities as well as a brain injuries unit run by mental health trust Mersey Care.
The Sid Watkins building will open in January.
His widow Mrs Susan Watkins said: “My husband would have been proud to know that his name has been attached to this rehabilitation facility, both its calibre and scope reflect his own attitudes to patient care, and his concern for the ongoing needs of those who suffer from neurological diseases.”
‘Sid’ as he was affectionately known, was one of the true pioneers of Formula One. He never raced a Grand Prix car but from 1978 through to his retirement in January 2005 he was a pivotal figure in the enhancement of safety throughout the F1 circus.
His passing on 12th September 2012 was mourned and celebrated equally amongst motor-racing fans throughout the world but none had greater cause to thank him than the generations of Formula One drivers who escaped serious injury because of advancements he made to circuit safety.
Formula 1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart OBE said: “Professor Sid Watkins was one of the greatest men of medicine that I have ever encountered. His dedication to the cause, his constant search for new methods of treatment and prevention have been a boon to the world of medicine, and for all those who have had the good fortune to be treated by him. His contribution to saving the lives of many people in motorsport will never be forgotten”
Verstappen has same English teacher as Vettel
“It’s bulls**t”, exclaims young Max Verstappen about the application of mental strength in the pinnacle of motorsport. At just 17 years of age, the talented teenager is about to embark on his maiden season in F1 after having finished third in his first season of single seater racing.
“I have no problems at all with mental strength,” he told Red Bull’s website. “I’m really relaxed and I don’t want to think about mental stress, or how strong you are mentally because, to be honest, I find it a bit bullshit.”
Shockingly, since the world collapsed in outrage when Vettel used the four letter word – whilst discussing the acoustics merits of the current engines – it would seem that Red Bull were quite enamoured by their young protege.
Although considering his talents were being offered to Mercedes before the fizzy drinks company took over, it is difficult to appreciate how much influence Red Bull has had – other than to force the FIA to actually look at the qualification process for a Superlicence – in their usual considered manner – from 2017..
Mclaren and Podromou gearing up for 2016
The highly regarded James Allison was courted by Red Bull back in mid 2013 to replace Adrian Newey. After leaving Lotus, many rumours emanated from F1 of the different teams he would sign for and eventually decided to join the Italians in Maranello.
His arrival in autumn last year was too late to have any impact on the 2014 design and he set about working with the different departments leading up to his 2015 design.
Peter Podromou was Adrian Newey’s right hand man at Red Bull and decided to leave the Milton Keynes based squad to return to the Woking squad. He assumed his new role in mid September after his required gardening leave and has set about integrating himself within the depleted team that he has found there.
With Pat Fry having joined Ferrari in 2010 he then recruited from Woking – James Tortora, Ioannis Veludis and Rupart Daraker to the Gestione Sportiva. Similarly a number of engineers followed our favourite enforcer, Paddy Lowe, to Mercedes with the effect of destabilising Ron’s team further.
By all accounts, the Anglo-Cypriot has already designed a new front wing that will debut at the Abu-Dhabi finale and is having an influence over the design direction of the Mclaren MP4/30. This car will be more Red Bull inspired than traditional Macca – which may not be a bad thing.
Either way, Ron Dennis is aware that Mclaren is likely to have to write 2015 off as they seek to establish a new engineering matrix. Beyond this is talk from several Italian sources that due to no title sponsor Mclaren is having to streamline their operation with rumours suggesting a culling of staff including current CEO Jonathan Neale, technical director Tim Goss and sporting director Sam Michael – with Racing Director, Eric Boullier taking on more responsibility within the team… surely a Technical Director in everything bar name.
Hulkenberg secure for 2015
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “Everybody in the team is delighted to see Nico remain a Sahara Force India driver for next season. We rate him very highly and he has done a tremendous job this year by consistently picking up crucial championship points. We know him extremely well: he’s a true racer and he knows how to motivate the team. I am convinced he is one of the best talents on the grid and I am proud that he will continue to race in the colours of Sahara Force India.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s good to confirm my plans for next season. This is a team I know extremely well and we’ve enjoyed a great year together with some special results. The team has big ambitions and I believe we can have a competitive package once again next year. We have a strong partner in Mercedes and everyone in the team is motivated and hungry for more success. I have a good feeling for 2015 and there is a lot to be excited about as we try to build on the results we have achieved this year.” (Sahara Force IndiaTeam).
So this year Vijay Mallya is not playing his usual party game of ‘here’s a lovely Christmas present Mr. now ex-driver – your P45 notice”. Nico Hulkenberg gets another season in Formula 1 racing for the Silverstone outfit.
There had been rumours the much liked and talented German driver would be forced to give way for a driver bringing more cash, though as yet the Indian government hasn’t caught up with Vijay – as they have with Sahara boss Rubrata Roy.
Force India consistently punch above their weight, given the meagre budget their once billionaire owner affords them. It appears that for now, the Slim family are putting on hold their search for a Formula 1 team to play with, and so Nico has another year of relative disappointment to look forward to.
Force India’s modus operandi is – start well – run out of money to develop the car – slide back towards the head of the rest of the field.
It may be tougher for the team next year, as Vijay’s co-share holder is clearly is short of cash.
Subrata Roy was jailed in March this year for defrauding $billions from millions of small Indian investors who were sold outlawed bonds. He was ordered to repay the investors in full, but its been a long hot summer for Roy in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
He did win the right to special privileges, 14 hours a day access to a conference room to facilitate him negotiating the sale of assets to meet the $1.4bn bail tariff.
Having failed for months to deliver on his promises, Roy was given a final 15 days to sell his hotels, which include the Grosvenor house in London and the Plaza in New York.
It is presumably difficult to sell such real estate at market value when potential buyers are aware of your situation.
Roy came up with nothing.
So on October 1st, Roy was sent back to his cell and the privilege of the use of an air conditioned luxury conference suite was removed.
Tihar jail DIG Mukesh Prasad informed the media (one imagines with a grin), “We received no further extension orders from the court and the duration for which Subrata Roy was allowed to use the conference room with special facilities ended yesterday. He has been shifted back to the jail today. He will be staying at the central jail here in jail number one,” reported the Indian Times.
Mallya is more fortunate than Roy. He has
defrauded defaulted on billions too, however, his victims are the financial institutions of India, which is a country that has no bankruptcy laws, foreclosing on assets pledged against loans is a long and difficult road.
Vijay oowns an Indian cricket team in the lucrative IPL as well as a share in Sahara Force India, however, he is the the first such high-profile businessman to be declared a ‘wilful defaulter’ by the banking institutions of India.
The Indian Times suggests this reflects, “a growing frustration within India’s banking system, and beyond, about local tycoons living luxurious lifestyles, even while claiming their companies cannot repay debts to state banks”.
For now Vijay is tantalisingly beyond the reach of those who would see him put on trial. However, his public image in India has been substantially tarnished. There are still thousands of Kingfisher employees who worked to keep Vijay’s symbol of vanity and pride in the air – and have not been paid for several months work.
In the meantime – F1’s Jabba the Hutt – continues to gorge himself on any publicity – amongst other things – he can claw into his grasp.
FIA panel of experts appointed to examine Bianchi crash encouraging
Following Jules Bianchi’s horrific accident at the Japanese GP, the FIA pressed F1 Race Director and safety delegate, Charlie Whiting, to complete a report into the surrounding circumstances and within four days faced the accredited F1 media – behind closed doors.
An emotional Jean Todt attended the media event in Sochi, promising he would establish a ‘panel of expert witnesses’ to examine what should be done going forward.
This may have been a loose form of words, however, many F1 fans are angry with the implication – who did what and when in Suzuka, is now complete.
The FIA have now announced the panel, which will be headed up by Peter Wright, President of the Safety Commission, and it includes some eye catching names.
In a statement released by the FIA, they said: “The group will carry out a full review of the accident to gain a better understanding of what happened, and will propose new measures to reinforce safety at circuits, with recommendations to be made for the FIA President.
The work of the group will start this week and a full presentation of its findings is to be made at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 3 December 2014 in Doha, Qatar.
Peter Wright, Chairman of the FIA Safety Commission, has been entrusted with the Presidency of the newly established accident panel.”
Panel members:-Presidency : Peter Wright, President of the Safety Commission Members : Ross Brawn, former Team Principal of Mercedes F1 Team, Brawn Grand Prix and former Technical Director of Scuderia Ferrari Stefano Domenicali, former Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari Gerd Ennser, Chief Stewards’ representative Emerson Fittipaldi, President of the FIA Drivers’ Commission, F1 Steward Eduardo de Freitas, WEC Race Director Roger Peart, President of the Circuits Commission, President of the ASN of Canada, F1 Steward Antonio Rigozzi, Advocate, Judge at the International Court of Appeal of the FIA co-opted by the teams Gérard Saillant, President of the FIA Institute and President of the Medical Commission Alex Wurz, President of the GPDA, drivers’ representative
It has been amusing to read some of the F1 media writers’ impressions of this investigation once the panel was announced; particularly those who dismiss this exercise as a sham.
First to consider, is the personal connection between Jean Todt and the Bianchi family, and for that reason alone there is hope to believe the FIA president will insist proper scrutiny is applied. His selection of experts demonstrates this most convincingly.
On the whole, this is a group of individuals with a diverse and substantive weight of appropriate experience and the inclusion of Ross Brawn and Stefano Dominicali adds gravitas and an element of integrity, for those unaware of the other members and their background.
Specifically, TJ13 is highly encouraged to see the appointment of Eduardo de Freitas, WEC Race Director, on the panel. He is a calm and measured individual, who is recognisable to sports car racers around the world and perceived as a reassuring and consistent presence to not only the series’ organisers but also to its competitors.
As race director of the WEC, Freitas has multi class series races to oversee, where the braking capabilities, acceleration – and therefore closing speeds, together with top speed of the cars in the lowest class – are a gulf apart from those racing in the premier class. Ensuring the safety of all on and around the track in this form of racing, is probably the biggest challenge in world motorsport.
The Portuguese WEC Race Director, speaks five languages fluently and first became involved in motorsport almost 40 years ago briefly as a mechanic.
However, he quickly moved trackside spending time as a marshal then a Clerk of the Course. He has been an FIA WEC Race Director since 2002 and has unparalleled experience in covering single seater, touring car and endurance racing championships on a global basis.
Whiting’s background is as a grease monkey. He was chief mechanic for the World Drivers’ Championship successes of Nelson Piquet in 1981 and 1983. Charlie was appointed by the FIA as F1 Technical Delegate in 1988 and in 1997 became the Race Director and Safety Delegate.
Blash too has a motorsports mechanical background, and having hung up his spanner, he moved into various team management roles, until he was recruited by the FIA in 1995 as their Deputy Race Director at all GP’s.
The different dynamic of how Race Control in the WEC operates as compared to F1, is notable. Though this is the remit for another piece, maybe from ‘the voice of the fans’.
What is of absolute certainty, is when Eduardo is called upon to make split second decisions during a race, his experience of manhandling wrecked cars trackside… as a marshal – whilst racers hurtle past – is firmly embedded in his psyche.
We shall know whether trust in this body is well placed or not, presuming that post the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Qatar, December 3rd, a proper public presentation of their reports findings is made.
Moscow Raceway gets green light for F1
The FIA have upgraded the Moscow Raceway circuit license to a Grade 1 so it cold host a Formula 1 GP.
This would add to Hermann Tilke’s ever expanding portfolio of Formula 1 events, should President Putin feel he has more chance of making the race on time, if it’s in his back yard.
The F1 journalists who were not privileged to be accommodated in Alders Disney Hotel, were universally critical of the location of the inaugural Russian GP. Some likening it to Mokpo, but without the bars and restaurants which actually had food in their larders.
However, Moscow Raceway is actually located 100 km from the capital city near the villages of Sheludkovo and Fedyukovo, so whether this will prove to be much more cosmopolitan than Alders is questionable.
Still even an upgrade from the Alders staple diet of the cold soup Okroshka, to the hardly extravagant but warm borscht or shchi may at least warm the cockles of the scribblers’ hearts as they bash out another interview with Jenson – or not.
A statement on the Raceway’s website says, “Moscow Raceway now has a new FIA Grade 1 license
Since its opening in 2012 the track was approved by the highest sporting authorities and received T1 license which allowed to host world racing races and F1 tests and rides. After three successful international seasons Moscow Raceway has upgraded its status and now can host all kind of races including Formula 1.
Who knows, maybe we’ll have two Grand Prix in the largest land mass country on planet earth.