This page will be updated throughout the day.
Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.
You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly
Previously on The Judge 13:
London High Court announces Caterham debts of £16.2M (UPDATE 14:19 GMT)
OTD Lite: 1930 – Birth of a visionary money making leviathan
“As a Scorpio born on October 28th, you are known for your ambition, passion and cool nature. Outwardly you are calm and may even appear calculated to others. This outer reserve is the opposite of your inner workings, which is greatly passionate and this drives you to get all you want from life. Highly ambitious, you will work tirelessly to achieve your goals, but your drive and people skills create a variety of options for you to explore. Your ambition will be well-suited for a career in business or media.”
Who said that horoscopes were hocus pocus? On this day, Bernie will possibly take time out from his ambitions of running the world or from having countries around the globe kissing his wrinkled derrière whilst enjoying immunity from public prosecution.
Bernie may well be sat simply with his
friends… associates and just playing a round or two of monopoly.
In dutiful servitude, proffering the drinks and nibbles, will be the the BBC and Sky F1 broadcasting teams, as they revel in his omnipresence, before publishing copy that would shame the internal Russian media system.
Satire aside, Mr. E is responsible for galvanising a rag tag and bobtail bunch of petrol heads into a global sporting phenomenon that they claim ranks alongside the Olympics and the World Cup.
Yet greed and power appear to have transformed what could have been an outstanding sporting legacy into a cynical epitaph. Chin chin Bernie..
“I have a high art, I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me.”
The Samurai Jackal
Indian brothers make ‘serious’ offer for Marussia team
Baljinder Sohi and Sonny Kaushal, the Indian steel billionaires have made an offer which has established them as ‘serious’ in the eyes of the Marussia Administrators, FRP Advisory LLP.
The offer is to fund the team to the end of the season, and depending on the monies received from FOM, settle the outstanding creditors – not in full – but to a percentage of what they are owed.
Currently, Marussia by finishing 9th in the F1 constructors’ championship, stand to earn just over $60m. The debt in the business is reputed to be $46m.
This would see the brothers then double the balance of cash remaining having paid the creditors in part.
The figure of a £55m ($88m) – cited by the Telegraph – is an offer made by the brothers to the Administrator and is based upon $44m remaining from the cash in and the debtor’s being settled, with a further $44m being added to fund the team for 2015 from the brothers.
The Administrator has made a counter offer, which is being considered.
Sohi claimed today, “We are very close to a deal, but it has to be the right price. We have put in a serious offer and we will see what happens.” $16m was the estimate of the difference between what the Administrator requires and what the brothers originally offered.
Time is short because the team are funded to the 31st October, however, if a buyer is not found by then, the Administrator will be forced to declare the business no longer ‘a going concern’.
Toto Wolff prioritises the manufacturer teams
An interview with Toto Wolff scheduled for publication in Friday’s Financial Times, the Mercedes boss for many will reveal the current ‘newbie’ attitude in Formula 1 towards the smaller teams.
“We have a certain responsibility to the rest of the field, but this cannot be our main objective. We have seen in the past more than 100 F1 teams that have come and gone. It’s good that in the past the commercial rights holder has tried to take care of the very loyal, important teams for F1.”
“It is clear that Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Williams those guys have been around or ever and they have healthy business models. It’s clear that you are trying to put more emphasis and priority on keeping those teams in the sport than teams that have just come in, where it is unclear what the shareholders’ purpose is, what the shareholders’ targets are, whether funding is a bit of a struggle from year to year.”
“But I think this is how F1 has always been. It hasn’t changed massively (compared) to the past.”
The problem with Wolff’s view which appears to support the idea of fewer teams going forward in F1 and a sport only made up from those who have the best financial backing is that this process of natural selection will always eliminate those who are toward the rear of the grid.
Kill off Caterham and Marussia, maybe Sauber and Lotus too, and we can have the super teams all competing with 3-4 cars each and there is no fear of a team running into financial disaster.
Yet when the current smaller teams are gone, it will mean the likes of Force India are at the back of the pack. Their sponsors and backers may then get sick of coming last and decide, enough is enough.
Even were F1 a sport filled with rich manufacturers spending hundreds of millions each a year – someone will finish last in the constructors’ championship. The result is predictable, because just as in 2008/9 when we saw the wealthy corporate entities like Honda, Toyota and BMW leave Formula 1, this will happen again.
So what then if one of the BIG FIVE has a poor year, finishing always at the back – there comes a time when even these vast empires of wealth can’t compete – and they leave.
Wolff’s short sightedness borders on absurdity. In Autosport, Ross Brawn said in November 2013, “We’re not a supporter of customer cars, we think the identity of the teams is important, the fact that the teams design and build their own cars is important”.
Two factors may be contributory to the demise of Caterham and Marussia. As James Allen noted, this was the year the V6 turbo arrived and engine prices to all teams skyrocketed.
Further, as TJ13 suggested in last nights post, The FIA and FOM share the blame equally for failing #F1 teams the FIA granting new F1 racing licenses, diluted the value of any goodwill value that Marussia and Caterham had in terms of permission to race in Formula 1.
King of the F1 world, Toto Wolff, only knows success and glory. Yet had he spent a few years working for another team, even Ferrari, he’d tweeting a slightly different melody than one which embodies the message.. ‘survival of the fittest’.
2014 US GP – Equal smallest grid in a decade
With eighteen cars set to take the start of the U.S GP it will be the lowest number of starters since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix when BAR were completing their two race ban for technical infringements following that year’s San Marino Grand Prix.
Of course many will site the 2005 US GP at Indianapolis as the lowest number with just six reacting to the startline lighting gantry but it’s often forgotten that the cars all assembled on the grid. Due to a dangerous design inherent in the Michelin tyres, all teams that ran on the French rubber were advised to withdraw. At the end of the green flag lap, they all followed pole sitter Jarno Trulli’s Toyota into retirement.
Of course stifling boredom followed but Ferrari’s Jean Todt was never going to allow changes to the circuit – to accommodate the Michelin runners – in a year that the Scuderia were handicapped by tyre regulations. Max Mosley supported his stance and placed the blame squarely on the French tyre manufacturer’s shoulders.
Either way, a historic day for Minardi as they finished with both cars in the top 6.
London High Court announces Caterham debts of £16.2M (UPDATE 14:19 GMT)
With Caterham having applied for administration last week, the London High Court has shown a list of around 400 crediitors that the racing team owes monies to. The Anglo-Malaysian team is shown to have debts totalling £16.2 million with the prinicpal amount being against Renault which stands at about £7.4M. The unpaid bills are for the provision of the French company’s V6 Turbo engine as used by Caterham this season.
In addition to the aforementioned, there are the following: £754,090 to the Total oil company; £711,134 to Dell Computer’s; £111,281 is owed to McLaren Applied Technologies and the last significant debt is for £20,942 which is outstanding to Formula One and Events Hospitality Services, a service company headed by Bernie Ecclestone.
Other smaller creditors include the Haymarket Media Group which are publishers of many retail magazines including Autosport. The Group was set up in the 50’s and remains privately owned by former Tory Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine.
And it all began with a pack of lies from a Charlatan who had no intention of ever concluding a transaction with Fernandes.
Here is a letter provided to TJ13 from one of the creditors. It was sent to them days after Kolles announced he was ‘taking over’.
The FIA needs to ensure better corporate governance and scrutiny is placed upon team owners and the financial state of the teams. At present they rely on Bernie’s Autumn annual guestimate of the F1 competitors financial health.
Further, to protect employees and creditors – it would not be difficult for the FIA to regulate that any transfer of an F1 team’s ownership mid-season must be done via external independent Insolvency Practitioners. This would prevent in the future the kind of scams as pulled by Colin Kolles.
Further, it would ensure that team owners take their responsibilities to their staff and to the sport in which they chose to compete more seriously. This in turn would prevent the apparent whimsical fashion with which Tony Fernandes treated his Caterham F1 team.
Marussia brake-by-wire being investigated by FIA
Autosprint carried an article yesterday that the FIA informed Marussia that they were to investigate their brake-by-wire system immediately following the Japanese Grand Prix.
In simple terms it’s a device that automatically compensates for the lack of sensitivity that the drivers experiences whilst it is harvesting energy. As the driver applies the brakes the electric motor absorbs the kinetic energy being produced. The brake-by-wire installation consists of a control unit and actuators but Marussia manufacture their own design rather than use the one produced by their engine partner – Ferrari.
Eye witnesses have declared they saw no braking effort made and there were no tell tale marks left which would show any application of them before the accident. It has to be taken into account that they would have proven ineffective on wet grass but it has triggered the FIA to request that Marussia check the operation of their system in certain conditions.
The collated evidence is to be provided to the panel of experts that have been assembled by the FIA, which includes Ross Brawn, Stefano Domenicali and Mekies Laurent who was a former chief engineer for Toro Rosso.
Ferrari drivers and cars
As part of our commitment to social media, we occasionally bring to your attention the efforts of other like minded F1 fans, who may not (yet) be part of the TJ13 circle of love.
Here’s an offering from
@diehard_f1_fan who you can also find on faceboob and google+
Similarly… continuing the horse/ass theme…
Airlifting stricken cars on circuit was tested by the FIA
Air Zermatt believes they have had a workable solution to car extraction from the circuit following accidents. The Swiss aviation company suggests that F1 cars should be recovered by a helicopter.
In 2005, in conjunction with the FIA, Air Zermatt ran tests at the 2005 A1 GP in Dubai.
The recoveries were successful and would prevent the scenario where Jules Bianchi hit a land based recovery vehicle.
“The [Bianchi] accident could have been avoided with our rescue system”, claimed Air Zermatt’s Jürgen König to Swiss publication Blick.
One of the reasons this solution was not pursued, was because it was argued that the safety of the marshals was not reflected in what was an expensive solution.
Further, those of a more cynical inclination, may believe that the use of helicopters for vehicle recovery – would also make it too transparent when weather conditions were unfit for helicopter use.
COTA claims annual economic benefit to Austin is $900m
Circuit of The Americas (COTA) generated $897 million in economic impact to the Austin area in 2014, according to a study prepared by New York-based Greyhill Advisors.
The analysis represents all COTA events, activities and annual operation for FY 2014, defined as October 1, 2013, to September 30, 2014. The time period captures one full cycle of COTA’s major annual events, including the 2013 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, 2014 MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas and ESPN’s 2014 X Games, as well as track rentals, and concert and events at Austin360 Amphitheater.
The full report, available here, was commissioned by Circuit of The Americas.
“COTA has turned out to be much more than just a racetrack,” said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “It’s a job creator, a revenue generator, and a destination for quality, year-round entertainment. These benefits to taxpayers result from racetrack construction that was solely funded by private investment. I commend COTA for its positive impact on our community and its contribution to Austin’s emergence as an international city.”
According to the report, there were 1.1 million attendees across all COTA events in FY 2014, leading to $731 million in economic impact. An additional $166 million is attributed directly to COTA operations.
Over the course of the year, COTA hosted six motorsports and other major sporting events, 18 concerts and 110 track rentals and other events.
Formula 1 generated $507 million in economic impact for the Austin metropolitan area
All other major sporting events, including ESPN’s X Games, generated $161 million in economic impact
Concerts and events at Austin360 Amphitheater generated $49 million in economic impact
Track rentals and other miscellaneous events generated an additional $14 million in economic impact
COTA’s annual activities and operations combined to support 9,100 jobs in the Austin metro region representing $306 million in annual payroll for Austin-area workers. Direct visitor spending injected into Austin area business establishments such as restaurants, bars, hotels and retailers totaled $423 million.
“COTA is a thoughtfully designed facility that has helped Austin successfully compete for and host events that put our city in the global spotlight,” said Bob Lander, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO. “We attract over 21 million visitors annually – three times as many as only a decade ago. Tourism has a substantial impact on the Austin economy providing nearly 54,000 jobs and $6.2 billion in direct traveler spending. World-class facilities like COTA greatly enhance our ability to attract new international audiences and markets that widen our spectrum of business.”
Since it was announced in 2010, COTA’s cumulative economic impact on the Austin metro area has been $2.8 billion, with an average annual impact on the Austin area of nearly $700 million per year, according to the report.
Included in the cumulative impact was construction of COTA’s 1,500-acre campus, which supported more than 7,100 jobs representing $350 million in annual wages. The economic impact from construction was $918 million, the report said.
“We built COTA to be a part of the economic and cultural fabric of Austin,” said Circuit of The Americas Chairman Bobby Epstein. “We’ve created a place where Austinites can enjoy world-class sports and entertainment, and it’s gratifying to see the enormous benefit to local businesses big and small.” (Source: COTA)
Massa face exchange
Felipe is having some fun here… tweeted, “face exchange”… Look closely
The mystery of the Caterham cleaner revealed
TJ13 was the first to question the sacking of Colin Kolles father from the board of Caterham Sports Ltd and the appointment of Constantin Cojocaru – previously the cleaner at the company. That said, he is well liked by the staff and nick named ‘Mario’.
Having contacted Tony Fernandes PA, Shelley, to inform her of the accusations being made against Fernandes by Kolles side kick Manfredi, she began following the mailing list of thejudge13. Presumably it was there she saw the story of Constantin Cojocar.
Interestingly, as part of his eventual rebuttal to Kolles, Tony Fernandes mocked the appointment by Kolles of ‘a cleaner’ to the board of Caterham Sports ltd.
Yet no one was certain from where Cojocaru had emerged. Of course he was made the stooge director when Kolles decided to place the Caterham business into voluntary administration.
Racecar Engineer have revealed who in fact Cojocaru is; a 52-year-old former Steaua Bucharest footballer who played for Romania’s best team for two seasons. His career high was in the 1988 European Cup (Now the Champions League) semi-final with Benifica when he replaced team mate Dan Petrescu for the final 14 minutes of the game.
Having been friends for some time, the relationship between Cojocaru and Popescu appearsd to have broken down, as Racecar Engineer discovered in an interview Cojocaru gave to Romanian sports website Prosport.
“I came to England in August to find work, cleaning or working in a warehouse” says Cojocaru. “I left Romania because I had financial difficulties there. I had bills to pay and as the Chief of a bus depot in Brasov I was paid less than 200 pounds a month. After I finished my career as a footballer everything was grim. I had no money and nobody wanted to help me starting a coaching career.
“My former room-mate during training camps, Gheorghe Popescu, promised to help me but he didn’t. The only one who really helped me was George Becali (the currently imprisoned former owner of Steau Bucharest). I told him: ‘Gigi, help me please. I’m hungry.’ Every time he offered me money. Finally I gave up. I was ashamed to ask him any more help.”
“An Italian [or Spanish waiter], a kind of an owner here at Caterham recognised me as a former football player. He told me: ‘It’s absurd for you to clean the floors, you are a known footballer. From now on you are a director here!’ And I was appointed as executive director at Caterham Sports Ltd.”
The rest is history. Though Caterham staff TJ13 spoke to on the first day they were locked out of the factory, complained the toilets were never the same following Cojocaru’s promotion.
Clearly, Constantin is enjoying his new work and is a faithful servant to the man who gave him his big break.
“I represent the interests of Kolles, he offered me this chance. There are some serious problems here. I have to remain here right now I have no other choice. Once you enter the game you have to play it. Right now I’m in Germany, in Munich, at the main company who bought the team headquarters.”
Mmm. Constantin….. yes you are at Colin Kolles Munich base…. and maybe you should check the paperwork for that alleged acquisition….. just in case you signed for it huh?
Still, this tale is much like the Eddie Murphy story, “Trading Places”. And for Constantin, let’s hope it all ends well…