#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 23rd October 2014


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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Craig – “The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Heard”

OTD Lite: 1977 – Villeneuve huge accident in Japan

Michael calls time on his F1 journey

Vettel just a simple boy at heart

Rosberg appoints himself ‘title hunter’

Doctor asks for patience with Schumacher’s recovery

Official Statement from Tony Fernandes and Caterham Group

OTD Lite: 1977 – Villeneuve huge accident in Japan

It’s amazing how perceptions change over a given subject as the years pass by. With music and film, moments of genius that truly took the breath away at their inception become merely parts of the fabric of life and their significance and relevance become neutered.

Gilles_Villeneuve_Japanese_GP_Fuji_1977_Crash2_resizeOn this day in 1977, Gilles Villeneuve somersaulted out of the Japanese Grand Prix after hitting Ronnie Peterson on the sixth lap. His flight took him into an that was forbidden to the public and his car hit several spectators and a marshal – killing two of the people. The French-Canadian was unhurt and when interviewed later spoke of it being sad that the two had died but he felt no guilt because they were in a restricted area.

What was an acceptable remark nearly four decades ago – in an era of immense danger in F1 – would be abhorrent today and peoples sensibilities have changed enormously. Motorsport is dangerous – reads the legend on the ticket – something that had been considered banished forever.

The Jackal


Michael calls time on his F1 journey

“If he didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all” goes the old saying and if it were to apply to any person in Formula One, not many would argue that Sam Michael’s carries this particular epitaph with him.

TJ13 commented on Monday that several names at Mclaren were about to be culled from the employee register and confirmation was received yesterday that Michael would be returning to Australia with his family after the culmination of the season. Reports suggest that he had resigned back in March which would appear a little unusual as he still holds his post seven months later..

At times over the years, any misfortune that befell any team he was employed by created mirth on forums and motor-sport sites – yet it was difficult not to believe he had upset somebody in a previous life. He joined Jordan in 1994 after his previous employer, Team Lotus, went bankrupt.

He was race engineer to Ralf Schumacher and later Heinz Harald Frentzen before joining the Williams team as Senior Operations Engineer before being promoted to the role of Technical Director in 2004. Finishing fourth that season was the highlight of his years in charge as the team stumbled aimlessly towards the back of the grid. He resigned in May 2011 after the Grove’s team worst ever start to a season and emerged at Mclaren in 2012.

Irrespective of any beliefs in the esoteric realms, Mclaren have steadily fallen away from their usual position at the head of the field and it would seem that Ron Dennis suggested a nice life in the sun may be best for his family.

One down, how many more heads to roll?


Vettel just a simple boy at heart

With the three week break between Sochi and Austin, Sebastien Vettel took advantage of the break and visited the Staffordshire County showground for the Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show – not as a celebrity with all the VIP passes in place but as a regular customer with three friends.


Sharon Tasker said: “We were working our way through the queue and then my colleague Helen just stopped talking. I looked over and there was Sebastian asking for four tickets. We’ve had many star guests come to our Stafford events but they are always a part of the show and are on stage speaking or doing signing sessions.”

“It was a surreal experience to see one of the world’s most famous sporting stars come wandering in and it certainly caused a buzz among staff and visitors.”

The show is about restorations of historic bikes and they have an auction that raises money for charities. Star guests at the event included former World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty and his former rival Pierfrancesco Chili.

Classic bikes and racing memorabilia helped raise more than £1 million for children’s charities at the Bonhams auction. Blur’s guitarist Graham Coxon auctioned seven of his bikes which raised £25,000 in funds for the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) and a further £104,540 was received for a 1914 Flying Merkel V-Twin.


(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Rosberg appoints himself ‘title hunter’

Nico Rosberg has admitted he will think more about his own interests now after Mercedes wrapped up the constructors’ championship in Russia. The German has fallen 17 points behind in the intra-team chase for the drivers’ title, after Lewis Hamilton won the last four grands prix on the trot.

Some believe Rosberg is tightening up just as Hamilton is hitting his stride, but the German announced he will “attack with full force” beginning with next weekend’s US grand prix. “The remaining tracks are among my favourites,” he said, referring to the final flyaway trio of races in Austin, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

“I have never felt pushed into a corner,” Rosberg is quoted by Germany’s Sport Bild. “I am a hunter, I am hunting for the title and I have no reason to give up. There will be a tough fight over three challenging races,” he continued, “and I have no doubt that after thinking about the team, now it is going to be more about our own interests.”

Alain Prost, the F1 legend, agreed that although Hamilton is ahead in the standings and on form, Rosberg cannot be counted out yet. “It’s more in favour of Hamilton,” said the Frenchman, “but he can always make a mistake at the wrong time. I would say it is 55-45,” he told Spain’s AS newspaper.

TJ comment: ……………………………


Young Nico?

It’s fine to take a few moments to recollect yourselves. If this were a war zone, Hamilton would be the Special Forces operative, stationed within yards of the target on which he has sent the co-ordinates back to  action a bombing run or gathering intelligence reports in dangerous live environments. 

Nico would be grasping his rifle in hand, more than likely taking a swig of water to keep hydrated and then immerse himself in the latest Call of Duty game…


Doctor asks for patience with Schumacher’s recovery (sourced from Der Spiegel)

Jean-Francois Payen was one of the doctors, who worked with Michael Schumacher for months after the German’s skiing accident last December. After visiting the seven-times world champion in his home in Switzerland, the medic gave a few encouraging words to RTL Radio.

According to Payen, Schumacher is no longer comatose, but will need a lot of time. He reckons that a recovery from the massive brain injuries is possible in one to three years. “Live after brain trauma progresses in stages.”

The Doctor said he visited Schumacher to assess the progress of the patient and asserts that Michael is in best hands. Schumacher’s wife Corinna cares perfectly for him.

“The wife has done everything possible to assure he can make progress. Being surrounded by family is good for the recovery. She has an unbelievable strength of will”

After 9 months in hospital Schumacher returned home on Sept. 9th and has since been continuing his road to recovery with the family.


Official Statement from Tony Fernandes and Caterham Group

Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group co-Chairman:

In June 2014, I decided, together with my co-shareholders, to sell my stake in the Caterham F1 team. We agreed in good faith to sell the shares to a Swiss company named ‘Engavest’ on the basis that Engavest undertook to pay all of the existing and future creditors, including the staff. The continued payment of staff and creditors was so important to me that I ensured that the shares would not be transferred to the new buyers unless they complied with this condition.

“Sadly, Engavest has failed to comply with any of the conditions in the agreement and Caterham Sports Ltd (the UK operating company of the F1 team) has had to be put into administration by the bank, with large sums owing to numerous creditors. Our agreement with Engavest was very clear: there was no legal obligation to transfer the shares to them unless certain conditions – which included paying creditors – were met. Those conditions have not been met. Our lawyers have asked Engavest several times to comply with these conditions but they have failed to engage.

“If you agree to buy a business, you must pay its bills. They have breached that promise and now, sadly, it is others such as the employees and the fans of the Caterham F1 team that will suffer if the team ceases to race. I sincerely hope that this will not be the case and that a solution can be found.

Graham Macdonald, Caterham Group CEO:

We genuinely believed, at the time, that the sale of the team was the best route for the staff and creditors of the Company, as we felt it secured its long term future. The whole agreement with Engavest was based around a low consideration for the business, with easy payment terms so that creditors and staff could be paid.

“The buyers were made fully aware at the time of all outstanding liabilities. However, it appears to me that they never had any intention of paying these liabilities.

I go on to question how anyone who was interested in the long term future of the business would appoint one of their  cleaners – Constantin Cojocar – as the sole director and shareholder of the UK operating Company?

We continue to see claims and counter claims from the F1 team which are totally unfounded. Not only have they failed to pay the creditors (and have even left our shareholders to pay some of the creditors on their behalf), but they have failed to pay us anything for use of our factory and site, or anything for the use our brand name.

“In short the new owners have paid us nothing and now the administrators have been appointed they want to walk away from their liabilities.


37 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 23rd October 2014

  1. Just saw your Caterham headline on FB, this is really getting nasty and I truly feel sorry for those people who are now potentially out of a job.

    This was a tweet from previous owner TF….

    “If you buy something you should pay for it. Quite simple.”

  2. It’s such a pity what is happening at Caterham and all the people there. Unfortunately it shows the path F1 has gone down to the past few years with all these new races taking place is some questionable places and attracting questionable investors and F1 owners at the same time. Well done Bernie, going after the dollars pays big, doesn’t it? Especially for those poor lads and lasses at Caterham.

    • This is why we badly need a more equitable distribution of prize money – we could have 13 teams of at least 300 staff each, and still more at the big teams like now. If team 11 goes bust, that’s almost 300 staff redundant, and 600 that could still have been hired (12 and 13).

      Considering Marussia could add 100 more staff with some money, that’s 1,000 jobs not in F1 that easily could be…. instead the money is with BE and CVC. That’s financial efficiency from the owners… to the detriment of everyone else.

      • Keep in mind CaterhamF1 was lured into existence under the false pretence of being able to compete on a level playing field established with a 40millionGBP spending-cap promised by FIA, who OWN the freakin’ F1 Championship!! In fact, they lured four new entrants total at that time under said false pretense.

        • When you think about it, at that time (2009) F1 was in serious danger of falling below a grid of 20. What happens? Mosley gets some tail-enders in on a false premise, to sure up Bernie/FOM’s grid before swiftly departing…..

          • Toyota and BMW quitting left 8 teams, 16 cars… that was the time to move to 3 car teams, if so desired. But Peter Sauber came back to rescue Sauber, and then the 3 new teams were finally set up.

          • ….Bernie has no guarantee of 3 car teams. Ferrari will play ball as will RB probably… the rest???

            The third car under the current unanimous agreement – should they be introduced – scores no points – further, should it finish say third – the fourth place car will still only be accredited with points for fourth – no third place points will be awarded for either championship

          • Which then hits the FIA right where it hurts – in the wallet! Their freshly negotiated ‘points fee’ thus loses it’s potence.

            Could Bernie need more than 2 extra cars? I’m sure Mercedes and McLaren would eventually put them up as well – for McLaren, it could be a way of pushing the baying midfield away from overhauling it in points every so often, i.e. it’s in their own self-interest.

  3. “Nico would be grasping his rifle in hand, more than likely taking a swig of water to keep hydrated and then immerse himself in the latest Call of Duty game…”

    Would that rifle be an AR-15 PS4 with laser sites, suppressor and vibrating controls?….. 🙂 🙂

      • Oh come now, ‘boosting’ partners are readily available in all Call of Duty games. The more i think about it, Nico would fit in quite comfortably as a Call of Duty ‘hacker’ manipulating code to ensure his place on the Leaderboards.

  4. I’ve seen one website reporting Bernie’s happy to see Caterham go under, whilst the BBC are reporting he’s helping them out. I don’t know who to believe!!! The common sense in me thinks surely it’s in his best interest the team keep going, what with needing to have at least 20 cars on the grid, but at the same time this is Bernie we’re talking about.
    Surely, he can realise 3 car teams will be the death of F1. If there was a choice of that and customer cars, surely the latter is the only real viable option if the smaller teams can’t afford to fund building their own cars anymore.
    Three car teams will mean the likes of Force India, McLaren and Toro Rosso etc. who are fighting for the left over small points will be nowhere. Competition would go down the toilet surely. What a mess the sport’s letting itself get into. Until someone with a long term plan for the sport gets in control things are only going to get worse.

    • It’s in Bernie’s interests to see that Caterham’s racing entry from the FIA is not revoked in the short term aka until his 3 cars from the bigger teams demand becomes a reality. I doubt Kolles and co had any intention of keeping Caterham going long term. Transfer the racing entry to a new team with no debts and off they go. Which leaves the Caterham staff adrift, having to hope they can find employment elsewhere quickly. Anyway if it’s true about Dell (think I saw that here) wanting it’s hardware back there isn’t much point in having the cars back.

  5. “I go on to question how anyone who was interested in the long term future of the business would appoint one of their cleaners – Constantin Cojocar – as the sole director and shareholder of the UK operating Company?”

    May I point out that just as our beloved Călin Colesnic (aka Colin Kolles), Constantin Cojocar is very obviously a Romanian name. Add in Kolles’ father with a senior position in the pyramid, and it becomes crystal clear that the Arab-Swiss investors are simply Romanian-based scammers.

    • Or, the people behind the Forza Rossa entry, with the government minister soon to step in with his Ferrari connection and make it a 2015 Ferrari B-team.

      • “Or, the people behind the Forza Rossa entry, with the government minister soon to step in”

        That’s indeed what I meant.

        As I noted before ( http://thejudge13.com/2014/10/07/f1-features-the-caterham-scam/#comment-96755 ), Dr Colin Kolles is a Romanian-born medical doctor. The Forza Rossa head Ion Bazac is also a qualified doctor and former Romanian health minister. Add to this that Dr Kolles’ Monaco-based father is in a senior position in the corporate structure, and that apparently a Romanian janitor—Constantin Cojocar—is a director at Caterham. Given that the mysterious “Arab-Swiss” investors won’t say who they are nor would pay their bills, _any_ bills, it makes all the more likely that all the scam is orchestrated by this Romanian clique.

        It just can’t get more obvious than that… There are no “Arab-Swiss” investors. There is only Dr Kolles who walks a tightrope with the law trying to milk Caterham of the last drops of red blood, fund 2015 IP for Forza Rossa, and run for the doors at the first hint of trouble. Now with the cars impounded (and with a scotched suspension), the exit protocol has just been activated. I so much hope that these crooks would stand trial soon enough…

      • Oh, but if you mean that Bazac would step in to rescue Caterham, no freaking way. Why would he start paying off Caterham’s debts, when he can skim the 2015 tube while starting Forza Rossa from scratch with no debts to be paid…

        • Yes, the latter… he’d step in to get the new entry with Ferrari backing, or just to secure the entry for Forza Rossa once Caterham F1 has gone to the wall.

          • I think the tea leaves point the other way.

            Now Kolles has started to shape the narrative (thank Autosport!) that he so nobly was doing his utmost to help the poor Caterham lads and lasses, and that now since ownership is in wrong hands management threatens to quit. (If they get paid, since when do managers care about ownership??!!!)

            All this points to their hitting a legal road-block, as the cars were impounded, and consequently losing the cash flows. Nothing left to necrophiliate from Caterham, so they pack their bags with healthy organs and bags of blood, and run for the doors. Expect in the coming days (oh, wait, today it already started) a lot of media fist-fighting that Fernandes is or is not the true owner and responsible for Caterham’s mess (and debts)… While Kolles shall argue that “Hi know nothing” and “Hi can’t work in these conditions”. And in the meantime the administrators shall order a coffin…

          • If so, that could also be why the FIA has been silent on a Forza Rossa entry. Perhaps if Caterham folds, the FIA will fast-track through a replacement entry for Forza Rossa?

          • Why would FIA want to fast-track a replacement for Forza Rossa?

            It’s in THEIR interests, too, to see FOM fail to meet the minimum grid requirements. In fact, it’s in everyone’s interest for that to happen except FOM and Ferrari. But it’s especially in FIA’s interest to finally see Bernie fail and die so they can get the commercial rights to F1 back and then start getting a proper return on them (not the pittance for which Max corruptly sold them to his @zzhole buddy Bernie).

          • True, but Marussia getting 9th place this year means they’ll actually get even more prize money than Sauber for next year.

            Just ten teams from 2015 also means that Marussia is guaranteed $50m – that’s enough for them to run, adding in some sponsors and sponsored drivers. If they kept things cheap, they could even turn a profit!

            Thus, the FIA wouldn’t be able to cut back more teams, unless it can collectively make teams fail, like Sauber, Marussia and Caterham. To do this, they need to ‘divide and conquer’ the tail-ender parts of the prize money.

          • ….Trust me, we’ll be hearing eulogies from Ecclestone soon – about what a sterling job Colin Kolles has done to deliver a 2015 Forza Rossa car to the grid 😉

          • The best way for that to happen, would actually be to let in Haas and Forza Rossa.

            12 teams means two can miss the $35m double top ten pot, with two existing on a pittance from the WCC position pot, so you could theoretically bring down 4 teams in one go, if circumstances fall just right.

          • @Joe Papp, exactly and I’m puzzled as to why this isn’t gaining more traction. Seems an ideal, fortuitous, situation……

  6. Hi all. Apologies no Caterham story today

    But, The Judge is away on business, and JM and Myself spent the day in Leafield.

    We received information around 6am from a couple of sources who have been talking to us over the past few weeks, that the factory would be closed to employees, and the Caterham staff would be assembling outside the gates.

    There was a lot of anger, naturally, and we were asked to contact the media to get them down there if we could, so people could express their feelings.

    We did this through contacts we have at SKY and at the request of a couple of individuals we went over to Leafield to talk to some of the staff ourselves, who have been reading TJ13 regularly.

    TJ13 has been a source for many of the Caterham employees of information the management have failed to disseminate as well as appreciated for our candid reporting of the FACTS which has been in scarce supply anywhere else.

    We learned a lot about peoples recent personal experiences today, and have read a lot of nonsense propagated again by those ‘in the know’.

    We adjourned to the Fox pub in the village where we met a couple of people from a front line role in the Caterham team, and had another good chat for some time.

    As we reported, following Sochi, Kobayshi’s car was most unsafe – the process of carbon wrapping used was not ‘normal’ or ‘regular’ as claimed by Manfredi – such that some of Kobayashi’s mechanics refused to fit the botched rear wishbone arm as they believed it to be dangerous.

    We asked whether this was a ‘normal’ process for fixing such components – one of the guys responded, “Its about as normal as standing on the bar, butt naked at 10 O’Clock in the morning and taking a piss” – He was not German 😉

    There is still a chance that Kolles et al will deliver what the Administrator requires, which would allow the cars to be shipped to Austin with the rest of the FOM freight on Saturday, though time is seriously running out.

    We wish all the employees of Caterham, nothing but the best, and have attempted in our own way over the past weeks to support them by providing those of them who have been reading the TJ13 site with information their own management have refused to disseminate – and to raise the awareness to the world of F1 the nature of the Charlatan’s who have been running this team.

    Caterham Race team employee comment today: “You know more than us”.

    • Bit OT to the intention of this site perhaps but wasn’t there a sudden closure of a night club in London a few months back, that had eyebrows raised?
      Caterham Tony was one of the leading lights there, read an owner. Place was the epitomy of where to be seen, the glitteraty loved it….

    • I feel very sad for the Caterham employees, stuck in the middle of all this mess and likely to get the thick end of it when it all falls down.

  7. Interesting pickle they seem to have gotten into….
    Aside from the bluster of 3 car teams and the trigger for that there is the more, to me anyway, interesting aspect of the field drop which enables the dormant FIA to awaken and diminish the toxic FOM influence.

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