#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 27th October 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Yes!!! Man DID land on the moon….

#F1 Features: Booing and Boo Punishment

The Top-20 #F1 Constructors who Failed to win a Championship – 5th: Mercedes


OTD Lite: 1963 – Jim Clark – A legend wins in Mexico

Alonso in deadlock with Ferrari over contract

Lotus already prepared for 2015 debut

Minardi – Critical of current Formula One business model

F1 set for three-car teams as more risk collapse

F1 is safe

Qualifying farce in Austin

Kamui Speaks

Comment of the day


OTD Lite: 1963 – Jim Clark – A legend wins in Mexico

Jim Clark. Two words that when combined, makes any aficionado of Grand Prix racing dissolve into monochromes, as they remember delicate low slung cars being driven with the soft touch of an artist. On this day in history, Clark’s victory in Mexico would equal the record – of six victories in a season – that Juan Manuel Fangio had set in 1954. The Scotsman would also win the last race to take the record to seven by year’s end.

Yet in the last decade or two, we automatically assume that domination is achieved by a great car, irrespective of the talent behind the wheel. Watching Vettel winning constantly was to believe that his car was the dominant factor. Yet if this were true, why did Mark Webber not consistently finish as runner up?

Jim Clark dominated with the 25 because the combination of driver and car was supreme. The results of his team-mates prove that the car was not the world beater we always assume it was.

Jackie Stewart: “He was so smooth, he was so clean, he drove with such finesse. He never bullied a racing car, he sort of caressed it into doing the things he wanted it to do.”

“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world” – The Samurai Jackal

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Alonso in deadlock with Ferrari over contract

An intriguing rumour has appeared in Spanish publication ‘Marca’ about a possible reason for the delay in Ferrari announcing the signing of four time World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

Currently, the Scuderia drivers entered for next year’s championship stand as Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. The tense situation between the Italian giants and the Spaniard appears to be in deadlock because although Ferrari keep placing deadlines for Fred’s departure he just lets the dates slip by.

Marco Mattiacci received a cool reception from the Asturian when he first joined as a replacement for Stefano Domenicali – yet within months the frostiness had thawed a little with Fernando praising progress within the team structure.

Over the summer the Spanish Samurai began making noises that he wanted to remain with Ferrari because that was where his heart was and anyway, there was a penalty to be paid if he wanted to leave. Sergio Marchionne and Mattiacci made it clear that they would waive the sum and he was free to do as he wished.

In Suzuka, following the Red Bull announcement that Seb was leaving the Milton Keynes squad, Marco and Fernando had a heated altercation and Alonso made it clear he was not going to leave the team so easily. Initially the media thought he had asked to leave the squad something which he later denied.

It appears that he is, in fact, in no hurry to leave the Maranello concern and take up a tenure elsewhere which could be far riskier; therefore his departure is nowhere close to being settled. The Scuderia have assured Vettel that the contract he has signed still stands but first they have to dispatch one of their drivers. The announcement could come in Austin, possibly Brazil or even be delayed until December.

Part of the problem is that to offload the Asturian, Ferrari would need to pay him an estimated €50 million as recompense for the next two contracted seasons – which has similar undertones to what happened when they decided to force Kimi out in 2009 to make way for, ironically, the Spaniard and the Santander sponsorship.

Without doubt, Alonso is recognised as one of the toughest competitors on the track but it remains to be seen how he measures up to one of the toughest business leaders in the corporate world – Fiat-Chrysler boss – Marchionne. Although if the teams have to run three cars…

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Lotus already prepared for 2015 debut

Unlike 2014 when Lotus took the decision to miss the first of the winter test sessions, the team is very advanced in their preparations for 2015.

After enduring an abysmal 2014, the fresh impetus of running the leading Mercedes Power Unit has galvanised the Enstone team as they lay the foundations for their upcoming new car.

Lotus will be running a new nose in Austin free practice as has been decreed by the change in regulations for next season. Technical Director, Nick Chester has confirmed that it will only be for evaluation purposes and to get some feedback of the aerodynamic data.

“It will be a design that will feature on the E23 as it hasn’t been optimised for the current E22- it will be an interesting comparison.

Since the Hungarian GP “all resources have been directed towards the E23 and we are starting to build the first chassis. The transmission has been signed off and we will begin constructing that too. We have spoken with Mercedes about the unit’s cooling requirements and the installation of the engine.

“Mercedes have been really professional and our working relationship is great. Next year I will have been at Enstone for twenty years and we have always been powered with Renault engines. There are differences between their working practices but to be honest changing manufacturers for next year is far less complicated than it was from the V8 engines to the V6’s for this season. It is an exciting time working through the different solutions.”

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Minardi – Critical of current Formula One business model

As ever, Giancarlo Minardi offers a quite unique viewpoint on the current situation that is facing Formula One. As a much respected member of the F1 community and a former team owner, his voice carries a certain authority and whilst at times people compare him unfairly to BBC pundit Eddie Jordan, his wisdom rarely fails to encompass many people’s feeling about the state of the sport.

The ex-Faenza boss writes a column for Minardi.it and this week he offers his feelings in regards to the financial problems that have afflicted the two newest teams that have had to go into administration and how it is a ‘bonus’ to avoid having to travel to the American continents because Bernie has allowed them to.

“It’s a bad blow for F1 and it is a shame these two teams and the four lads driving for them will be missing. The changes in regulations have brought a heavy financial burden on these teams that were already struggling – yet it seems very strange that Marussia who currently lie ninth ahead of Sauber and Caterham – after the points they scored in Monaco with Jules Bianchi – have taken the route to administration. Points at the end of the year become money from the television rights which would make life far easier.”

Ignoring the top teams, all others are not finding life easy. Then again the powers-that-be should have counted to ten first before making decisions about new power units and double points to avoid finding ourselves in the situation where teams welcome the ‘bonus’ of not participating at a round of the pinnacle motor-sport.”

“The FIA needs to take more control too. It is ridiculous what is happening with Caterham. How can you have rescuers who turn up and disappear just as quickly as a soap bubble.”

“I don’t like the idea of three car teams but if it has to be adopted then it should be used to bring on young talent. But what is of more concern is the declining TV viewers. Could it be that the calendar is too busy? Twenty races means twenty weekends in front of the television and maybe these days that is too much.. because even the truly passionate fans are losing interest in the sport…”

The rules on customer cars at present do not allow as Ecclestone has suggested, one team providing a car ‘good to go’ to a customer. Further, only Ferrari and Red Bull are likely to run a third car at present, so if one more team were to fail, 18 cars in Melbourne would be the smallest F1 field since 1966.

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

F1 set for three-car teams as more risk collapse

F1 risks sliding into crisis and having to reinvent its very DNA as struggling backmarker teams begin to succumb to collapse. HRT folded in 2012, and now F1’s two other newest teams Caterham and Marussia are in the throes of financial administration.

Organisers of next weekend’s US grand prix look set to welcome just 9 teams to an 18-car grid, unprecedented since BAR-Honda was banned for a time almost a decade ago. “It’s a fantastic sport,” departed Caterham founder Tony Fernandes said on Twitter at the weekend. “Bernie (Ecclestone) has done an amazing job but it needs to relook at itself.”

And former HRT driver Narain Karthikeyan added: “F1 just too expensive and completely unsustainable for minnows.” Max Mosley, the former FIA president who warned of a looming crisis in F1 years ago, quietly pointed a finger at his successor Jean Todt. “It seems that the chickens have come home to roost,” Mosley is quoted by The Times.

For now, F1 and its race promoters will have to cope with a diminished grid as big teams are promised at least two months notice before having to field three-car teams. Dipping below 20 cars is the trigger for the three-car stipulation, giving Ecclestone a buffer so as not risking his contractual promise of at least 16-car grids to the big-paying race promoters. But with Caterham and Marussia looking set to fall, it now appears possible F1 will lose even more small-sized independent teams, particularly after the sport baulked earlier this year at introducing radical cost-cutting or even a cost cap.

“Formula one is not so great that it cannot fail,” Sauber team boss and co-owner Monisha Kaltenborn is alarmingly warning, according to Italy’s La Stampa. It is not only the Swiss team that is worried. Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport claims that Force India needs to make an engine payment to Mercedes by Monday or risk joining Caterham and Marussia in missing the US grand prix.

And Force India deputy boss Bob Fernley admitted more teams are in danger of collapse. “We’ve had three new teams since 2010, and all three have collapsed,” he told the Telegraph. “The writing was on the wall from the beginning. Only five teams have a say in the running of formula one — we’ll lose more teams if we carry on like this,” said Fernley.

If the F1 grid keeps diminishing, three-car entries are inevitable. Auto Motor und Sport said Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren are lined up by Ecclestone as first in the queue to start supplying third cars. If any of that trio declines, Mercedes is reportedly the next in line. Ferrari and Red Bull have apparently already given Ecclestone the green light, while McLaren for the moment is hesitating, perhaps due to uncertainty about who should pay for the third car — Ecclestone or the team.

Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko told Sport Bild he does not see a problem. “We have the capacity at Milton Keynes, and it would also solve our luxury problem of having too many good drivers for too few cars,” he said.

And Karthikeyan, who only drove for backmarker teams in his F1 career, thinks the slowest cars will not be missed. “18 cars in Austin,” he said, “but sadly no one will miss the absentees once the opening lap is completed without incident. That’s the truth.”

TJ13 comment: It is a misnomer to suggest that F1’s DNA is two car teams. Ignoring the pre-war Grand Prix era that was predominantly led by national teams and manufacturers, since the 50’s when the term Formula One was first introduced there have been multiple car teams competing in F1.

Ferrari in the 50’s entered multiple car entries in races and world championships, as did Alfa, Maserati and Mercedes. Of course these are all huge manufacturing companies and they would dominate motor-sport but by the time of the 60’s Cooper, Lotus and other manufacturers would enter multiple cars and this continued through to the mid 70’s.

It was only with the signing of a piece of paper in 1982 – The Concorde Agreement – that F1 became two car teams with every team having to design and build their own cars.

Il Padrino stated in 2010 that these three new teams made F1 a joke and they would struggle. Of course the likes of Richard Branson used the media to portray Luca Di Montezemolo as an antiquated leader and the new bosses embraced the promised budget-capped F1 – which never came to pass.

Team Lotus, Tyrrell, Brabham, Ligier, Brawn and many others account for a great number of Grand Prix victories between them but they have all disappeared from the F1 landscape – representing just a chapter of the sport. So when Karthikeyan states that no-one will miss these minnows, he is absolutely right.

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F1 is safe (GMM)

An experienced F1 recovery vehicle driver in Brazil has defended his Japanese colleagues in the wake of Jules Bianchi’s horror crash. Brazil’s Globo Esporte says Rafael Ricciardi has been driving the vehicle charged with removing stricken cars from the Interlagos circuit near the pit exit for four years running.

Marussia racer Bianchi is fighting for his life after striking a nearly identical vehicle at Suzuka during the recent Japanese Grand Prix, but Ricciardi insisted: “Have no fear, everything is safe. Formula one will never be 100 per cent safe.

What happened in Japan is just part of the risk of racing. In terms of the rules, there was no problem, the procedure that had to be done was done. What happened (with the actions of the marshals) in Suzuka was right,” he said.

“An accident never has one cause, it is always a combination of circumstances. Formula one will never be 100 per cent safe,” Ricciardi added.

 TJ13 comment: TJ13 readers may ponder the timing of this individual’s comment and further who may have prompted its media coverage.

However, the technology we will see to protect the “mini sectors” (up to 20 per circuit) under caution in Austin, has been in use all year. Clearly, the new action which will be taken to protect these cautioned sectors taken at the USA GP clearly demonstrates Charlie Whiting does not think – “everything is safe”, otherwise we would merely see the status quo continue.

Certain WMSC rules are enshrined to bring incremental safety, and are in no way within the Sporting Code for whimsical reasons.

If these rules are ignored, then the incremental risk of disaster is inevitable.

So far TJ13 has highlighted 2 substantive breaches by Formula 1’s regulators of the World Motor Sport Council’s bible – the Sporting Code.

Firstly, the enforcement measure used to penalise F1 drivers during the 2014 season – of a 0.5 second slower through the mini sectors than their personal best under double waved yellows – is a woeful and inadequate representation of the regulation as stated by the WMSC. “Slow down… and be prepared to stop”.

Secondly, serious questions must be asked as to why the race was running when Bianchi crashed. F1 cars can only be on track in any session, if a recognised hospital with a trauma unit is within 20 minutes by either road or helicopter from the on track medical centre.

The F1 FIA employees with responsibility to ensure this happens stated that at 10 am on Sunday morning in Suzuka, they believed the journey time to be 25 minutes. This was sufficient in their view to run the race.

The actual journey in the ambulance for Jules was either 32 minutes or even 37 minutes – depending on which source who attended the Sochi FIA briefing you believe.

Whether this affected Jules or not is irrelevant. The real question of why the cars were racing at all is one which must be addressed.

The 20 minute rule in the 2014 Japanese GP, was in fact a measure of the prevailing weather conditions – which both affected the transfer time for the ambulance to the hospital and also the appropriateness of the conditions the drivers faced as they raced on track.

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Qualifying farce in Austin

The reason why F1 requires at least 20 cars, may become apparent in what could become a qualifying session of farcical proportions.

Adam Cooper implies he has been informed by ‘a source’ that once the stewards in Austin are informed they have only 18 cars, they will turn to the rule book to adopt the appropriate qualifying elimination protocols.

However, none are laid down for 18 cars, so Cooper suggests he has been given ‘the nod’ that it will be 4 cars eliminated in Q1 and four in Q2.

Sebastian Vettel is about to change his entire PU for a new one, the 6th of the year. He stated n Sochi he would not run in qualifying in Austin, but would fit the all new PU and as the regulations state, then start the race from the pit lane.

The regulation which sees incremental grid penalties for each a 6th component of the PU is introduced will encourage all teams requiring to take a 6th component for the Power Unit – to go the whole hog and fit an entire new PU instead and start in the pit lane.

This avoids a total of 30 place grid penalties being applied which could be apportioned over 2 consecutive races.

Further, by not qualifying, Vettel can set up his car for a higher top speed in the Austin race, just as he did in Abu Dhabi 2012 – when the team chose to break the parc ferme regulations rather than start from the rear of the grid.

So, if another 3 cars follow the Vettel route on this, then once again Q3 would become redundant. We are now presented with the likely farce that will see just one car being eliminated at the end of the first session of qualifying.

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Kamui speaks

Here is the latest comment from Kamui Kobayashi on his facebook page.

“Unfortunately, due to team’s situation, I will not able to race in United States GP and Brazilian GP. I am very sorry for the fans looking forward those races. While I am carefully observing the situation, I will evaluate possibilities and make best choice for my future.”

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Comment of the day

As a second team goes under in #F1

 

untitled

 

Pitpass.com remarked, “Surely, a “let them eat cake” moment for #F1″

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115 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 27th October 2014

  1. “Watching Vettel winning constantly was to believe that his car was the dominant factor. Yet if this were true, why did Mark Webber not consistently finish as runner up?”

    Simples, because the Newey toys were custom-size tailored to Finger boy’s needs (cf Alonso vs Raikkonen), and old dog Mark just couldn’t learn the same driving tricks that the young lad could muster.

    • On top of that, it’s very superficial comparing two completely different eras separated by 50 years of development and F1 evolution. I honestly hope the writer doesn’t imply that Vettel is as good as Clark !!!

    • A response that exposes your rabid disdain of Vettel. The car wasn’t ‘tailored to his needs’. The car was tailored to Adrian Neweys ideas and as a result they required a counter-intuitive driving style. Vettel could adapt to it, Mark couldn’t – hence the difference.

      • Oh stop it hippo, we’ve heard even Horner use the same phrase of Seb driving a car that was tailored to his needs and driving style.

        • Because it isn’t a two week project. And btw. Despite his probs in 2012, he was still the better placed of the two RB’s when the big update came.
          As far as this year goes, you are right, but the picture is skewed. Mainly due to lack of running by lost tests and free practices, which amount to a loss of four full GP distances (1.200 km). I would suggest with an additional 1.200km he’d be much more adapted to the new cars. People seem to think you can fundamentally change your driving style in just a few weeks.

          • “People seem to think you can fundamentally change your driving style in just a few weeks”

            The best can do in a far shorter time than that……

          • That’s not true. Lewis couldn’t adjust to the new breaks on the Merc for a long time. Does that mean he’s not one of the best?

          • But he still managed to win a race and beat his teammate at the same time, so that’s not really a good comparison, also Lewis was in a new team where everything was different from what he was used to, Seb is in the same environment that he won 4 titles with.

          • The difference between last year’s car and this year’s vintage is miles wider than Lewis’s old Macca and the Merc. That’s a stale argument.

          • F1 will unravel because of the Top 10-only bonus $$$ scheme, which is really a revenue share amongst the top teams. If the sport is to be viable in the future, they need to look at the National Football League’s team model for sharing revenues. Though there will be differences like franchising teams rather than having independent owners and unless the constructor’s championship is eschewed altogether, ALL teams should share in a large enough percentage of revenues to allow each team to compete regardless of their stature in the sport. You can still give bonus $$$$$ for the winning team but that money should be tightened to the first five teams because all teams do an equitable revenue share.

            Secondly, F1 needs to seriously expand its casual fan and female audience. The NFL did this through comprehensively pushing fantasy play to further pique the interest of the casual fan and through advertising directly to women. Present domestic violence issues aside, the NFL has done a wonderful job at targeting women and growing their fan base exponentially through women. And even with this present domestic violence issue, the NFL has already positioned itself to appear to “lead” in dealing with dom. violence, as evidenced by the tv ads they’re airing.

            F1 also needs a dedicated F1 channel, a la the NFL where former drivers, ream principals rule the messaging for the sport. The advent of the NFL Network was a masterstroke by the league. Sure they do pro-NFL propaganda but they are not at all above criticizing everyone from the team owners to the commissioner (who’s actual role is being union chief for the owners), to the top stars in the game; criticizing is done, obviously, to get ahead of negative stories, but in doing so they give the appearance of self-reflection – and, again, I can’t help but think this is done largely for women and the independent but important, blogger media types.

            The network creates the perception of a main hub for the league that is conjoined at the hip to NFL.com. At every turn you see women in prominent roles in the studio as, not only conversation facilitators, but as knowledgable and rabid supporters of the game, teams, and players. And NFL-sanctioned and produced fantasy leagues with large prize pools are consistently pushed in commercials.

            Team revenue share and modernizing advertising efforts are the tow keys to F1 digging itself from its present perilous position… oh, and one more thing: F1 needs to take control of its “minor leagues.” Unlike the NFL, F1 doesn’t have to deal with a feeder system – college football – that is a billion dollar business with a COMPLETELY different messaging agenda. Because of that , F1 needs to consolidate GP2, GP3 and all viable F1 feeder racing right down to owning the rights to an age-based, World Karting Championship, separate from andy other existing championships. Making the minor leagues an official part of F1 racing representing the pinnacle of each minor league step (also, in part, funded by F1) again tailors the sport to women – mothers particularly – as well as to fathers and sons. Through these minor leagues F1 further expands its reach and gets to tell – control – the stories of drivers from the cradle to the pinnacle of the sport.

            Finally, F1 NEEDS to continue too be maintain a separation from geo-politics (but inclusive of geo-social issues) —- to the point where it acts, if at all, as a place where all countries can put side their differences and enjoy in the global effort it takes to produce the races.

            I hope, fat hippo, this dispels any notion that I would be “drunk” when commenting here ;-).

          • He did actually adjust to the brakes but just doing that meant he could not brake as late as he usually did. – He still outperformed his team mate and didn’t get a pounding from his team mate at all.

          • The two of you, you and fortis, begin to bore the hell out of me. Whether he still beat his team mate or not wasn’t the point of the discussion. The point was that it was submitted that the best can change their driving style in less than a few weeks and Lewis, thought to be one of the best, did need close to half a season. Whether that was still enough to win is secondary. The conflict between the two statements is still there.

            One would think with Lewis winning the title this year you’d finally be done with your Vettel bashing. He doesn’t win this year, so you should be happy right? Nope, not you lot. You need to poke further. I’d say that doesn’t reflect overly well on you, especially since the two of you are screaming the loudest if someone dares saying something not-so-nice about a driver you don’t happen to hate.

          • Can’t be a stale argument Hippo if you’re going to use as a point of reference to somewhat justify Seb’s performance. The fact still remains, he struggled with his brakes, but still out performed his teammate in every area except on race wins and DNFs and that’s despite Nico being in the team for longer and is more use to his equipment. No one expected Seb to be behind Ric much less finding it so hard to adopt his driving style to suit his new toy.

          • I don’t think it’s Vettel “hate” hippo. It’s much more, Vettel has had the luxury of, mostly, a far superior car and receives more credit than he’s due.

            We sit on the sidelines and watch and judge and opine. Some of us refer to the people within the sport for expert analysis about the drivers, team principals, chief mechanics, designers, etc. However, for you, judgement and opinion with context-omitted factions are too often the only place your summations seem to come from, with Lewis Hamilton. Plus you MUST toss Lewis Hamilton into ANY conversation you have regarding the worth of top drivers, going out of your way to do so. Then, when your opinions are challenged or you tossing in a negative aside about LH is outed, you go from ad hominem attack to butt-hurt with little else in-between.

            The initial comment didn’t mention Hamilton and YOU were the first person in the thread to mention LH. YOU initiated this hippo, no one else.

            How about sticking to the topic at hand – only – and moving the conversation forward rather than forcing everything to come to a halt so you can rant on with your reductionist, Vettel = F1 god, Hamilton = one-off pretender argument.

            Not written by a drunk (fact: I neither drink nor do drugs; that portion of youthful folly has long passed).

          • I have a news flash for you. This years championship will be won in an even more superior car. Does the first sentence apply to this years champion too?

          • “I have a news flash for you. This years championship will be won in an even more superior car. Does the first sentence apply to this years champion too?”

            Design-wise the Mac is, as explained by Mark Hughe/SkyF1, is far superior than its competitors. However, like all the cars in this first season of the “power unit,” Merc has reliability problems. When the car is right, it’s right as rain, when it’s wrong… well, we’ve seen the teammates be forced to bow out of races at inopportune times.

            So, all in all, I’d say whichever Merc driver wins the WDC, the other likely coming in 2nd, is a season of dominance we haven’t seen the likes of since McLaren’s 1988 season.

            Because of their history racing versus each other, barring a Rosberg psychological breakthrough, if the cars perform evenly, Hamilton walks with the WDC. And yes, a portion of my first sentence applies.

            However, Hamilton has proven often that he can, as his peer Alonso says, “Win” with a car slated to finish “7th or 8th.” Alonso pointedly said Vettel has yet to do what Hamilton has already done with lesser cars. According to his former teammate, Jenson Button, LH “might be the quickest driver ever” to race in F1. Hamilton is, according to the team principals who did not play “my guys” favorites (2 of them) the “best driver on the grid today.”

            From these people with a vast amount of actual F1 field experience, no one else was or is in that conversation. No one.

          • Mr. Alonso obviously missed the fact that Mr. Vettel still holds the record for being the only one finishing first or fourth in a Toro Rosso, a car that certainly wasn’t expected to finish higher than 7th or 8th. In fact it rarely did if not driven by a certain Mr. S. Vettel. I think if you look up TR history, you’ll find that you need only the fingers of one hand to number the times that a TR had finished better than 7th if not driven by Vettel. I think Mr. Alonso was talking bullshit. As are you.
            Hamilton never had anything but a top car. McLaren might not have beem a WCC car in all his seasons, but if a McLaren is the worst car you ever drove, you certainly never had to prove yourself in a ‘lesser car’. So what’s the point you’re trying to make?

          • @dwil….

            Thank you, I’m glad you recognised what the hippo was doing, hence why I chose not to reply any further.

      • I like your honesty Carlo, there is a history, the drivers you dislike ending up there, Just had to comment on this! I will go back to lurking now, me old mate.

        • Welcome to the courtroom my friend. Don’t be a stranger your views would add to the community as does everybody else’s.
          As to honesty… not all Italians are crooks… 😉

          • Thanks Carlo, no there not all crooks, just the politicians and those in power. I was thinking about the third car options, how does this grab you all? Suppose established  successful  single seater Teams from junior formula like DAMs, Arden, ART GP could run a third car, for a driver from the hosting GP Nation or established name with limited or no F1 experience.

            For example Jolyon Palmer entered for British GP, A budget for a single race would be easier to raise, it would add local interest for fans, and it would attract the kind of new Teams F1 requires for its longterm future, they could gain experience and dip a toe in the water so to speak, with little financial risk, they may then commit long term with some good results behind them, who knows?

            There would obviously  need to be a relaxation with rules, and agreement with existing Teams, but this i feel would add to the Championship, quality Drivers and established Teams.

            A example of this from past Desire Wilson RAM Racing Williams FW07, a then current chassis, Part funded by John Webb Brands Hatch circuit owner, host of the 1980 British GP. Desire failed to qualify but Team mate Rupert Keegan raced reasonably well, just a idea of mine.

  2. I’d rather see 3 F14Ts, RB10s and W05s than wheelbarrows we have at the back of the grid currently.

    • Absolutely not! What fun will it be seeing 3 Mercs, 3 RBs and 3 Ferraris in the top 9 positions at each GP? Week in, week out? Really? What a boredom. If something could kill off F1, this might be it.

      And consider the moment when RB necessarily bows out, ahem, slams the door. Then you have a net 6 cars off the grid. And do you feel there are sufficient Kolles’ and Ijaz’ in this world to fill up the grid with cars that actually have a working suspension? Given current business model and practices in the F1 universe, 3 cars might be the stupidest and dumbestest idea ever.

      • What fun will it be seeing 3 Mercs, 3 RBs and 3 Ferraris in the top 9 positions at each GP?

        Well, if Merc’s lineup was Rosberg, Hamilton and Alonso, quite a lot, actually.

        Which three drivers would we like to see for Ferrari and Red Bull ?

        • Absolutely. If we could get 3 or even 4 Mercedes cars on the grid we’d pretty much be guaranteed a great race every time.

          • You’re looking at it from a short-term perspective. What happens when Alonso and Hamilton retire. Look at what happens in 5-10 years’ time. I won’t like it.

          • But there will be always be 2 or 3 drivers that are cut above the rest every generation, so they will be replaced, don’t worry n

          • “But there will be always be 2 or 3 drivers that are cut above the rest every generation, so they will be replaced, don’t worry”

            Looking at the Schumacher era, it took F1 ten years to produce more than one driver “cut above the rest” after Senna died and Prost, Mansell and Piquet retired. This is not meant as an insult to Hakkinen, Hill, Villeneuve etc., but, as much as i disliked the man during his reign, they were not in the same league as Schumacher and the grid at that time didn’t even come close to what we have since 2007, or what it looked like before Imola 1994.

    • To create a segue back into the Alonso/Ferrari topic above:
      “Although if the teams have to run three cars…”

      …then Alonso would probably jump ship to join Mercedes ;). That’s the irony of the situation Ferrari is in — as long as there are two cars per team they need three, but the moment it’s upped to three, they’ll only have two drivers!

      • But the article says……

        “If the F1 grid keeps diminishing, three-car entries are inevitable. Auto Motor und Sport said Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren are lined up by Ecclestone as first in the queue to start supplying third cars. If any of that trio declines, Mercedes is reportedly the next in line.”…..

        So are we forgetting Bottas and the teams reserve driver?

        Furthermore having Alonso in a 3rd Merc would be of no benefit to the team, because even if they fielded 2 cars, they’re still the team to beat. Also given the view by most that the 3 headed management team has failed miserably in managing their current drivers, add Alonso to that mix and that could be the beginning of the apocalypse.

    • Having three car teams will lead to the death of F1. Imagine what would happen if one team had a dominant engine and a superior engine. They would finish 1, 2 and 3 almost every race. If this happens 1 season other teams and manufacturers (Renault, Honda, Ferrari) can think “Oh well we just have to a better job next year” but imagine what would happen if that happens three years in a row? First sponsors would just leave because if you don’t have a relationship with the top team you don’t get the TV coverage you want to achieve with F1. But eventually the other manufacturers would leave too because there is no chance to win. But maybe even worse imagine what would happen if there are no small or midfield teams anymore. That automatically means that a manufacturer finishes last. That is the kind of publicity no manufacturer wants and if that happens within a year the manufacturer will leave F1 because the negative publicity of finishing last is unacceptable to a major manufacturer.

      • Exactly so. Sir Williams said as much about 2-3 years ago, that 3rd cars would kill his business.

        Now imagine that weekend in, weekend out McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus have performances of max 10th place, or last (not that different from what Lotus, Sauber and Marussia are doing this year); each time behind triumphant Mercs, Red Bulls and Williams’. How long do you think that McLaren will take before bowing out and focusing on selling high-speed cars? How long will it take before all sponsors jump the sinking Enstone? The negative publicity of being constantly outside point-scoring positions would be even more devastating for McLaren than its current 2-year lull are.

        All said, a scary prospect…

  3. “yet it seems very strange that Marussia who currently lie ninth ahead of Sauber and Caterham – after the points they scored in Monaco with Jules Bianchi – have taken the route to administration.”

    Two questions, Judge.
    1. Is Marussia starting to feel the frosty bite of Western sanctions on Russia money?
    2. With Caterham and Marussia out for next GP, and there being less than 20 cars on the grid, does the FIA have legal grounds to snatch back the commercial rights from FOM? And is Todt up for such a move?

    • Im not the judge, but for purposes of discussion…

      There is no question the banking sanctions are hitting the Russian billionaires, and that’s who has been keeping Marussia afloat. I said months ago that Marussia would make it only as far as Sochi. It appears they filed for administration 2 days after the race.
      There was no way Putin was going to host a GP and not have a “Russian” team. Now that the politics are over, Marussia can die.
      But I don’t think they will. Marussia will be back at Abu Double. The cost-reward formula works much better there. Without Caterham around, their odds of scoring points go up, and that makes them more valuable to a potential buyer.

      As far as the rights go I don’t think anyone has an answer. I have heard “less than 20”, “less than 18” and “less than 16” all used to describe the cutoff point for the FOM-FIA deal.
      There is no Concorde agreement, so what it appears bernie has done is sign individual mini concordes with each team, and the FIA, all independent of each other.
      the cutoff point in each contract is different. So bernies deal with the teams probably says “if we drop below X, you have to help me” in an effort to keep the total number of cars above the cutoff he has with the FIA. I think that number is 16, but it may have clauses giving grace periods, etc.
      Bernie also has to fulfill contracts he has with the circuit owners, which again are not connected with the teams or the FIA.
      Its all secret, so no one but bernie knows the whole story.

      I think the contracts bernie has with the circuit owners might be his weakest point. He has been pushing them around for decades, charging them huge fees, laying all the risks on them, and generally being a d*ck. If an important track stood firm because there were not enough cars to fulfill the contract, it could get bernie in some serious hot water with the FIA.

      Unfortunately COTA doesn’t have a written contract, so they have no power. bernie already has lined up a race in Mexico, so he could drop COTA and laugh (obviously not the race this week, but starting next year). Abu Doubles trillionaire sheiks don’t care how many cars are on the grid, so that just leaves Brazil this year. I don’t see them rocking the boat.
      So bernie will skate through this season deals intact.

      But even if bernie does fail to fulfill one of these contracts, then, as you say, Todt would have to publicly terminate the FIA deal. Since the contracts are secret, no one would know to challenge it, so Todt would have to grow a pair. I am not holding my breath.

      Just a rough estimation of bernie’s contracts:

      11 separate Team contracts (+haas and maybe FRR?)
      20 or so individual contracts with the circuit owners
      A contract with FIA
      contracts with every TV broadcaster (20?)
      Pirelli contract
      etc.

      All agreements go through bernie (FOM/CVC), and they are all essentially secret.

      Judge please correct me if I am wrong.

      • … that just about sums it up perfectly.

        I think the number 16 emanates from certain circuit deals. 20 is with the teams for a third car – and 18 sits nicely in the middle for those who like to sit on the fence and get a spike up their arses 😉

      • @Tourdog

        Thanks a lot for taking this up. Very interesting information.

        I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that the “less than 20 cars” clause was related specifically to the contract with FIA, namely as a condition when the rights were bought. We probably need Matt on the job, to sift through the documents… From what I gather, if there are less than 20 cars, the FIA can unilaterally nullify the sale of the rights. Is there any truth in it?

        “I said months ago that Marussia would make it only as far as Sochi.”

        Yeah, remember this prediction. Spot-on.

        • I know the “less than 20 cars” number has been thrown around a lot, but I think that number is related to bernies deal with the teams, not his deal with the FIA. The speculation is that once we fall below 20 cars, bernie can activate a clause in the contracts he has with the two top teams (RB and Ferrari), and make them run 3 cars. (if more teams fail, then Mercedes, Mclaren, Williams, in order, would have to step up) This would stabilize the grid with enough cars to stay above the minimum number stipulated in his contract with the FIA. Again, we aren’t sure, and we don’t know what the actual number is, just that there is one.

          Now, in the last week, bernie has been quoted as saying that the “3rd car” would not be run by the team that made it. He essentially said, Ferrari or RB would have to give a wholly complete car, sponsors, drivers and engineers, to another team to run under their own name.
          This is as ridiculous as it sounds, and could realistically never happen. But bernie is famous for throwing large amounts of sh*t at the wall, knowing only a fraction of it will stick. What he really needs is 6-7 teams to run 3 cars each, and this may help scare Mercedes, Mclaren, FI, and Wiliiams into falling in Line.

          The rabbit hole of “if’s” is so vast that it is almost not worth discussing.
          We realistically will never know what the deals are.

          The underlying point is that all bernie cares about is keeping the contracts alive. If that means 2 teams with 12 cars each, he will make it happen. The contracts are worth billions.

  4. I did wonder if something like that had happened at Ferrari, everyone assumed it was Alonso that over a barrel. With 3 car teams looming, it could be a way out for both. If I was Vettel I wouldn’t happy about Alonso still being there in the same car, bearing in mind Alonso nearly beat him twice in a much slower car, imagine how that’ll turn out in the same car?

    I’m really starting to hope we get 3 car teams!

    • If it were to really happen Alonso would drive a Mercedes W06 for free instead of a Ferrari

    • “With 3 car teams looming, it could be a way out for both. ”

      From what I understand, with 3 cars the 3rd would be reserved to less experienced drivers. Presumably having 3WDC in 3 cars shall be banned.

      “I’m really starting to hope we get 3 car teams!”

      I absolutely disagree. See my rant above.

    • Maybe this is Alonso getting one over Seb after Helmut and Horner let the cat out the bag that Seb is off to Ferrari, thus weakening his bargaining power with Macca.

  5. If you did 3 car teams you would need to have points all the way down the grid or teams would lose interest at the back.

    • If i understood this right, there will be no 3 car teams, but the big team will have to give a car to one small team.
      And i honestly do not believe, that let´s say a F14T in the hand of Marussia will be a Top10 finisher. It´s not just the third car, there´s more behind.

  6. I don’t think it’s fair comparing a bygone era of multi-car entries with today’s money-hungry corporate-lead era. Can you honestly compare the old Division 1 with today’s Premier League where only 3-4 teams constantly dominate?

    So, all those in favour 3-car teams, how would like to see the top 10 of the Premier League for example being:
    Chelsea, Man City, Chelsea B, Arsenal, Man U, Man U B, Liverpool, Arsenal B, Man City B, Liverpool B. Fantastic eh?
    Not the best analogy, but I hope it drives the message home.

    PS I’m not a supporter of any of these teams (I actually support Glasgow Rangers), so don’t take offence in this imaginative ranking.

  7. If Fred can’t get himself into the 3rd Merc I think he’ll stay put, if only to go up against Seb in the same equipment. Herr Hippo had best start preparing the excuses 🙂

  8. Minardi does speak a lot of sense on many issues, but I’m not sure about there being too many races on the calender, in the days of the many, many different ways of watching and recording television and watching online and on catchup, no dedicated fan has to miss a minute of any coverage.

    I think it would be a mistake to reduce the number of races, folks would lose interest much more if there were more huge gaps in the proceedings… look at FormulaE, I’ve forgotten all about it already.

    • “Minardi does speak a lot of sense on many issues, but I’m not sure about there being too many races on the calender”

      Indeed. Actually I for one am staring in disbelief at all the brouhaha as to: why, or why are viewership ratings falling? Well, you don’t need all these experts and research teams to answer this question:
      If with the brush of a contract signature you put (most of) the races and all the quality coverage behind a paywall (Sky in UK, Canal+ in France, I hear Sky in Germany, etc.), then no wonder that you mechanically and immediately have a decrease in viewers. What did they expect? That casual fans would immediately start forking on an expensive pay-channel on the say-so and wishes of Bernard?

      For an institution that is doing its utmost to court “casual” viewers, with gimmicks like late-to-dangerous race starts in far-off dictatorships, DRS, double-points, tractor sprinklers and flying pumpkins, they have mastered the art of turning those same fans away by putting (1) broadcasts under a paywall, (2) race weekends under prohibitive prices and (3) banning the sharing of catchy/interesting/*attracting* videos on the internet.

      With such policies in place, what else do they expect other than a wholesale flight of viewers, followed by scared sponsors. Bring on the 3 car teams, and sooner rather than later Enstone and McLaren will go belly up. And bring on the tractor sprinklers!! This should lighten the mood…

      And who are left? Disgruntled hardcore fans ready to abandon the sport in disgust…

    • I hate to sound old, but BITD there was a race every two weeks, with a three week break in the middle. You knew when races were, they were evenly spaced, and there were no huge breaks. The season ended at a reasonable time and didn’t become winter sport; there’s snow in the foothills now, for God’s sake. There are too many races; it’s becoming NASCAR like. I am losing interest BECAUSE there are too many races; it’s getting boring and the double points race doesn’t help the situation. Thanks Bernie.

      • an offer of £55m

        Which £55m apparently includes the taking on of £30m of debt… not much of a return for the (alleged/reputed) £185m put in to the team thus far.

        The F1 business model is pretty well broken at the moment.
        The entry costs are prohibitive, and there is no likelihood of getting a decent return in either prize money or sponsorship unless you’re near the top end of the grid.

        I agree with most of the objections to three car teams – the sticking point is what it would do to the decent (I exclude its various owners from that label) midfield teams like Force india – but unless the way cash is sucked out of the sport (and the way the remainder is distributed) changes very soon, it’s getting hard to argue against their being necessary.

        • Not such a bad deal. Isn’t Marussia due £90m or so for 9th place? That’s a tidy profit for not having to even run a race.

          • But that is guaranteed for 2 years remember, if Caterham goes bust, and Haas can only challenge them in 2017 for 2 years in the top ten..

            It makes no sense for the Russian to sell now, why not wait 6 months and at least get some of that money back (and sell when only ten teams, making them more valuable)?

  9. The regulation which sees incremental grid penalties for each a 6th component of the PU is introduced will encourage all teams requiring to take a 6th component for the Power Unit – to go the whole hog and fit an entire new PU instead and start in the pit lane.

    This avoids a total of 30 place grid penalties being applied which could be apportioned over 2 consecutive races….

    If Hamilton is sensible, he’ll do the same, to give himself a more bulletproof powerplant for the season finale.

    Which leads me to ask, how do they decide the order of starting from the pitlane ?

    • …by the order they inform the FIA/stewards of their intention – hence Red Bull already ‘got in’ by declaring their intention publicly even though the formal process can only take place in Austin.

      • It’s based on where they qualify, if they qualify. So if you qualify 1st, then elect to start in the pit lane, you will be first in line in the pit lane, regardless of who else starts there.

        This was how Magnussen started ahead of Hamilton in the pit lane at the Hungarian GP. That’s for those that start in the pit lane, and never take to the grid. In Hungary, Kvyat couldn’t do the formation lap, so was pushed into pit lane, and so started 3rd behind MAG and HAM.

        Article 38.2 of the Sporting Regs:

        17 minutes before the start of the formation lap, a warning signal will be given indicating that the end of the pit lane will be closed in two minutes.

        15 minutes before the start of the formation lap the end of the pit lane will be closed and a second warning signal will be given. Any car which is still in the pit lane can start from the end of the pit lane provided it got there under its own power. If more than one car is affected they must line up in the order in which they qualified.

        However, any car reaching the end of the pit lane after the five minute signal must start behind any car already at the pit exit.

        All such cars may then join the race once the whole field has passed the end of the pit lane for the first time after the start.

        So if Vettel doesn’t qualify, he will be behind anyone who participated in qualifying, and then elected to start in the pit lane.

      • I’d go with Brazil. Given that it’s not a power dependent track compared to that of COTA and Abu Dhabi with its long straights. Factor in the likelyhood of a possible SC car at Interlagos, the penalty may not be so extreme.

      • Overtaking ought to be dead easy for Merc at Austin, don’t you think ?
        (And with the higher likelihood of a SC (collisions) in Brazil, isn’t it better to run around in front ?)

        @fortis – Nico isn’t in the same situation – he’s behind on points.

        Hamilton can quite happily finish second to Nico’s win in Austin, get his extra powerplant & still be able to go to Abu Dhabi ahead on oints, and with a fresher engine. Rosberg can’t afford to give away a win like that.

        Seems like a no-brainer – the only drawback is that Mercedes PR probably won’t allow it, as it might reflect on their reliability…

        • I agree, Austin would be the better place to take it, out of Austin or Brazil. In Brazil you can pass along the pit straight into turn 1, and also on the run down to turn 4. Once you get into the twisty middle section, I think you’d have to bide your time following. Could lose a lot of time there. Of course, there is more chance of crazy weather at Interlagos.

          In Austin, you have the back straight with DRS, along the pit straight up the hill into turn 1, and also the turn 14-15-16 complex where passing is eminently possible.

          I’m still not convinced that either Merc driver needs to go that route with their PUs. It would be helpful if we had more information re: mileage on each of their PUs, etc.

    • But Nico is also in the same situation as lewis? They’ve both used 5 ICE and 4 each of the other components.

      Doesn’t it also depends on what the mileage is on the PU’s? And I wouldn’t go as far as labelling a Merc PU as ‘bulletproof’

  10. It would be useful if those ‘in the know’ could give us some analysis on the Marussia situation.

    Joe S seems to be suggesting that by going in to administration they are in effect gone. Whether he is right I don’t know but what he says makes sense – an insolvent team loses all rights and benefits (including the entry…). Therefore, they have no right to continue in F1 and will lose the money they would have been due for finishing 9th this year.

    If this is correct then it is very significant as it in effect means we only have 10 teams as of now and one of them is on life support.

    I don’t know the ins and outs of the situation but if they really have lost the entry and prize money then things must be really bad for Max’s father to have not bailed them out to the end of the season just to keep the things of value.

    • Joe S seems to be suggesting that by going in to administration they are in effect gone.

      In truth none of us know – it will depend upon the wording of their agreement(s) with the F1 commercial rights holder. Just going into administration might not be sufficient to breach the agreement.
      While in administration, the company is operated as a going concern, and assuming it can secure more funding, can continue to exist.

      Assuming they already carry at least £30m of debt, bailing them out to the end of the season might be just about worth it for the prize money if (and only if) you were willing and able to negotiate a deal to buy/sell the team.
      Just doing so on the off chance makes little sense.

    • @Stephen Hughes/Nigel

      It depends on which Marussia racing company has gone into administration. Is it Manor Holdco or Manor Grand Prix Racing, and which has the F1 entrance agreement, and which has the deal with Bernie for prize money. Wasn’t there any Irish registered company involved? £30M in debt, they wish!

      http://tinyurl.com/m5awzdm http://tinyurl.com/oxcco3f

      Third cars. Never going to happen. The midfield would be pushed to the back, and those currently near the back, would be much nearer to the fate of Marussia and Caterham. Anyway, it appears that every team would have to agree to a third car, and when have they all agreed to the same thing. The couldn’t even keep FOCA together.

      • This is what I’m asking really, Joe seems to be saying that Marussia didn’t do this ‘trick’ where the company that holds the license is different from the one that runs the cars. I’m just wondering if that is correct as if so that is one very big trick someone has missed…

        I see what you mean about the debt levels though, I can’t see it is worth them carrying on to be honest, even if they don’t spend a single penny for the next 3 seasons they will still end up in the red.

        • …. it’s a ‘trick’ of little worth.

          A racing license without the ability to quickly manufacture a car is pointless.

          One without the other is worthless – particularly when a team goes down mid-season, time is of the essence, so the division of legal personage has little – if no value.

        • @Stephen Hughes

          Debt. What’s that saying about banks and debt? – If you owe them £50,000 then you have a real problem, owe them £50M then they have the problem! How the other half live!

  11. The problem I see with third cars is so much depends how they are implemented. If each team only gets a third car for 4 or 5 races of a season, how do the find drivers to fill the seat?

    They can’t easily keep a driver on the books ready to go out and match the leading drivers on pace and results. This in itself would push the third drivers a little way back behind the top drivers of the other teams unless there was a massive performance gap.

    Could you even end up with say the Merc 3rd driver turning up at Lotus, Williams and FI to put in an almost full season to improve their performance? It could even end up written in to engine contracts…

    If there is a limitation on experience for the third seat then you could end up with the situation where you have loose cannons at the front of the field playing ping-pong at the first corner… Or, heaven forfend even the F1 equivalent of ice hockey ‘Enforcers’ – someone how is just on the team to take out the oppositions star player.

    It would also be interesting to know if teams could re-nominate drivers during the season. If the #2 driver is having a ‘mare and the ‘3 driver gets some good results could they be swapped?

    Indeed, would it just be the #1 and #2 drivers who scored team points, or the top two from each team, or…?

    Maybe the WRC way of doing it would just be better, run the #3 car as a second team…

  12. Ack! My above comment on growing F1 was supposed to be an independent thread, not a reply to Fortis… sorry about that.

    • @ dwil

      don’t worry

      everything you said has already been advocated here on TJ13 years ago

  13. I have theory, just hear me out,
    Bernie knows his days at the top of F1 are numbered whether it be dismissal, I’ll health or death. He looks at his empire knowing he and his family are financially secured for generations to come, so he doesn’t want others benefiting from his hard work and clever business skills, so let’s the whole thing crash and burn, so to end the Ecclestone era and let others try and achieve what he has, off their own backs and with a starting point of almost zero. He’s a vindictive old Bugger and I could definitely see him taking this route. After reading a book on him (No Angel) although I’m not gonna say I like the guy, you have to respect just how shrewd a businessman he and only EVER looks at what is in it for him, bottom line. I have no doubt when F1 gets to its lowest point, Bernie E will step back and watch the chaos ensue. It will have served it’s purpose in his eyes, he made his fortune, let someone else worry about it.

  14. How to run extra cars

    Say 4 extra cars are needed to bolster the grid up to 20, then the 4 teams that need to run a 3rd car must nominate their 2 main race drivers at the start of the season, they are the only points scorers for those teams. The 4 3rd cars willl have to be driven by juniors with less than 5 grand prix starts to their names, they would also have their own 6min qually session to find their own order but they wil all ways be 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th. That way we don’t get glory dashes on the start and 1st few corners upsetting the main championship contenders, also starting at the back, even the best has to make up 7 places to get in the points, so less disruption to midfield teams chances of points. This is by no means a perfect idea, but if 3rd cars have to be implemented then the route I’ve suggested tries to limit the hurt for mid-grid teams while still making it worth the bigger teams getting track time for their juniors.
    I could only see a problem for next year, as we have Hass F1 coming in 2016 and if it’s to believed, Kolles has an entry for Forza Rosa for next year. I can’t see Sauber going over the winter, or Force India to be honest, do we may well still have 20 cars next year IF Forza Rosa come good, failing that it will be 18 cars next year and back to 20 for ’16. It’s all a fuss about nothing.

  15. “The FIA needs to take more control too. It is ridiculous what is happening with Caterham. How can you have rescuers who turn up and disappear just as quickly as a soap bubble.”

    What an accurate description of Dr Kolles’ high-flying therapists team…

    Now with Caterham fully under administration, I can’t help by notice no noises from disgruntled Arab-Swiss investors who got ripped off by the British judiciary. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not smelling any desert sand or cheese in these whereabouts, but there is a distinct whiff of mămăligă.

    • In fact Kolles has been making noises in the German press about the ridiculous web of companies and subcompanies. He all but admitted that he basically just wanted to strip the lot of parts.

  16. Now we know why Mattiacci was evasive and short during Suzuka, saying he “had a lot of work to do.” If Alonso does not have a ride elsewhere and there are still two cars per team, I expect it would be cheaper to jettison Kimi again. Tough call with the bad blood between Alonso and the two M’s. Do you want a talented petulant driver? Or one who is motivated to fix the car so he can win with it? No idea what input Alonso gives the engineers but his input has not worked so far.

    • I’d pay the money and get rid of Alonso, Ferrari will likely want to build itself around Vettel. Having Alonso as his team mate would mean there would be a lot of strife and would not make for a harmonious team that’s working towards building itself back up into a winner again.

      The decision has probably already been made by Marchionne, he seems like he takes his time before he announces anything, his time table not the time table of the press or fans. Alonso will probably only have one choice – sign on the dotted line with Honda and McLaren. I think the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull just wouldn’t want to take Alonso on at this point given his history and age. I expect Bottas will move up to Mercedes if either Nico or Lewis leave the team.

      • Maybe everyone is waiting to see what happens with the 3rd cars. Merc may prefer to get Bottas a chance on the Merc but M probably wouldn’t want to risk seeing Alonso at either Merc or RBR. He would prefer keeping him close at Ferrari, even if that upsets Vettel.

        • I think that depends if it’s 2 cars plus a rookie driver in the 3rd car (which might be the FIA’s preference). Either way I think Alonso might be viewed as more trouble than his worth at Ferrari. It wouldn’t be much of a risk at this stage given where Ferrari are – well behind Mercedes. Keeping him would just smack of sour grapes and wanting to deny him a chance of getting a car that can win titles.

          Though I suspect there are a few more surprises in the driver market to come.

          • There is also ( depending upon what’s in the contract ) the option that Ferrari nominate Fred as the reserve driver.

            Give him all the menial tasks – 24/7 in a simulator etc.

            If he won’t jump – maybe a bit of ” constructive dismissal ” might appeal to Ferrari ?

            I’m not sure whether that would even be illegal under Italian law ?

          • “There is also ( depending upon what’s in the contract ) the option that Ferrari nominate Fred as the reserve driver.”

            Ay, caramba! That’s too salivating to entertain…

    • Why wouldn’t they get it in writing from Alonso that he wanted to sever the contract, and that it was done mutually (i.e. Alonso wants to leave, Ferrari waive the get-out clause payment)?!? Total amateur hour from Ferrari there!

      Without that, you cannot then go tell Vettel that “we’re ready”, or whatever it is that they’re rumoured to have told him.

  17. I did a copy-paste of a misplaced comment addressing how F1 can assure a better future. It was buried among comments dealing with another topic. I’m adding it again as a separate thread starter to, hopefully, have the minds here at the judge give their thoughts as to whether to not my observations are, at least in part, viable for F1… here, again is the comment:

    F1 will unravel because of the Top 10-only bonus $$$ scheme, which is really a revenue share amongst the top teams. If the sport is to be viable in the future, they need to look at the National Football League’s team model for sharing revenues. Though there will be differences like franchising teams rather than having independent owners and unless the constructor’s championship is eschewed altogether, ALL teams should share in a large enough percentage of revenues to allow each team to compete regardless of their stature in the sport. You can still give bonus $$$$$ for the winning team but that money should be tightened to the first five teams because all teams do an equitable revenue share.

    Secondly, F1 needs to seriously expand its casual fan and female audience. The NFL did this through comprehensively pushing fantasy play to further pique the interest of the casual fan and through advertising directly to women. Present domestic violence issues aside, the NFL has done a wonderful job at targeting women and growing their fan base exponentially through women. And even with this present domestic violence issue, the NFL has already positioned itself to appear to “lead” in dealing with dom. violence, as evidenced by the tv ads they’re airing.

    F1 also needs a dedicated F1 channel, a la the NFL where former drivers, ream principals rule the messaging for the sport. The advent of the NFL Network was a masterstroke by the league. Sure they do pro-NFL propaganda but they are not at all above criticizing everyone from the team owners to the commissioner (who’s actual role is being union chief for the owners), to the top stars in the game; criticizing is done, obviously, to get ahead of negative stories, but in doing so they give the appearance of self-reflection – and, again, I can’t help but think this is done largely for women and the independent but important, blogger media types.

    The network creates the perception of a main hub for the league that is conjoined at the hip to NFL.com. At every turn you see women in prominent roles in the studio as, not only conversation facilitators, but as knowledgable and rabid supporters of the game, teams, and players. And NFL-sanctioned and produced fantasy leagues with large prize pools are consistently pushed in commercials.

    Team revenue share and modernizing advertising efforts are the tow keys to F1 digging itself from its present perilous position… oh, and one more thing: F1 needs to take control of its “minor leagues.” Unlike the NFL, F1 doesn’t have to deal with a feeder system – college football – that is a billion dollar business with a COMPLETELY different messaging agenda. Because of that F1 needs to consolidate GP2, GP3 and all viable F1 feeder racing right down to owning the rights to an age-based, World Karting Championship, separate from andy other existing championships. Making the minor leagues an official part of F1 racing representing the pinnacle of each minor league step (also, in part, funded by F1) again tailors the sport to women – mothers particularly – as well as to fathers and sons. Through these minor leagues F1 further expands its reach and gets to tell – control – the stories of drivers from the cradle to the pinnacle of the sport.

    Finally, F1 NEEDS to continue too be maintain a separation from geo-politics (but inclusive of geo-social issues) —- to the point where it acts, if at all, as a place where all countries can put side their differences and enjoy in the global effort it takes to produce the races.

    • and here’s my copy and paste reply –

      @ dwil

      don’t worry

      everything you said has already been advocated here on TJ13 years ago

      • Really? Awesome! I didn’t know people here knew/understood the NFL model and how it used it’s ever-evolving model to become and remain the king of U.S. sports. Then, I wonder why the F1 media hasn’t picked up on the idea and openly advocated for something like it — or, have I missed pronouncements of this sort? And, if I have missed them, please, please point me in a direction where I can read what’s said!

          • “They” who, judge? “manky” replied you said this “years ago” but when I checked the archives the site has been up since Sept. 12, 2012 (RIP Dr. Watkins), scarcely two years; a couple of years, not years ago.

            I’d appreciate it if you pointed me to the posts dealing with something similar to my comment since they may or may not be stand-alone pieces, and since visitors to the site must have previously shared their feelings and opinions in the comment section.

          • …. I’m not sure as to the detail you require – The Franchise idea has been an early TJ13 suggestion – even pre-dated the site.

            However, it may not be appropriate for you to be dismissed accordingly by others for stating something that maybe a number of folk have had thoughts upon previously.

          • I see there’s some confusion. I am staunchly anti-franchise. My sentence was so convoluted I can see where anyone perusing it would think otherwise. Even the caveat, “unless the Constructor’s championships was eschewed…” didn’t save the sentence from confusion.

            UNLIKE the NFL, I do not at all see how or why franchising works in F1. Lotus, Merc, McLaren MAKE cars for people to buy. If I am one of those three F1 participants, or Red Bull that financially pushes an entire sport – Extreme Sports – there’s no way I’m going to allow my company to be subsumed into franchisement under the umbrella of another, shell entity… where its power and money is derived, in large part, by these corporations machinery and advertising clout!

            And just to make myself totally clear: definition; franchise – the right or license granted by a company to an individual or group to market its products or services in a specific territory.

            Why on earth would the aforementioned corps. want to be further under license – amounting to restrictions on their brands and products – to market its products or services in countries where it already operates and likely has franchises of its own under operation there!

            NFL teams were created from thin air and their worth to the public is solely entertainment value, rather than actual, goods produced-based value. This aided greatly in creating the need for the formation of a corporation called, “The National Football League.”

            TO JUDGE13 READERS. AFTER JUDGE BROUGHT THE SENTENCE TO LIGHT, I WAS ABLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW AND WHY NO ONE WOULD READ FURTHER MY SENTENCE CONCERNING FRANCHISES EARLY ON IN MY “NFL MODEL” COMMENT WAS WRITTEN SO POORLY THAT IT EASILY GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT I AM REITERATING THE CONENT OF PRIOR POSTS.

            I AM ANTI-FRANCHISE. THE NFL MODEL I AM APPLYING TO F1 CONCENRS THE NFL’S PUBLICITY MODEL AND THE METHODS IT HAS AND DOES USE TO CREATE A, “FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE,” FAN BASE.

            Thank you judge for continuing to reply to me. I greatly appreciate your patience.

          • …No worries…. I agree with your comments re: Franchise restrictions being unacceptable…. and the examples you use are just so

            but the teams already have many obligations under the agreements with FOM….

            Maybe we say – 11 or 12 racing licenses ONLY granted from the FIA – transferable ie they can be traded – which is in keeping with the notions of goodwill value for a team as stated in the article

  18. Hey Judge, so I just want to clarify something.

    If Force India finishes ahead of Lotus this season, Lotus will loose their seat at the table in the Strategy group, and FI will get that spot, correct?
    Is that immediate? start at the beginning of 2015? or not go into effect for another year?

      • So if things continue the way they are, Lotus is going to be near worthless by the end of the season. Deep in debt, possibly without an engine contract, uncompetitive, no vote, done.

        Though I don’t believe that audi are going to jump in to F1 as has been rumored, if they, or any other manufacturer were to do so, the only two choices would be to buy out RB (huge investment if available) or FI (in comparison to RB a cheap way into the strategy group). A seat at the strategy group table is a necessity.
        FI might be at it’s peak value at the end of the season. (the next step is a huge leap in investment, and an exclusive engine manufacturer) If Vijay was going to get out, now might be when the gettin’ is best. He seems to have some personal financial problems. just sayin’…

        • You’re also just sayin’ that you don’t seem to think Rotus have an engine contract…..

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