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:
FIAT Chrysler are to sell 10% of Ferrari via an IPO to new investors. The rest of the business will be distributed to the shareholders of FIAT Chrysler, though not through a corporate related structure.
The news was announced by FIAT CHRYSLER CEO and new Ferrari President, Sergio Marchionne.
Marchionne stated, “Following our acquisition of the minority interest in Chrysler earlier this year, the transformation of Fiat and Chrysler into FCA was completed earlier this month with our debut on the New York Stock Exchange.
“As we move forward to secure the 2014-2018 Business Plan and work toward maximizing the value of our businesses to our shareholders, it is proper that we pursue separate paths for FCA and Ferrari.”
This will mean Ferrari will become a completely separate legal entity, It is believed via the distribution of shares, the Agnelli family will retain about 30% stake in the business though their voting rights will be greater than this.
It is as yet unclear what will happen to the intellectual property and brand image rights, which were stripped away from Maranello and are owned by an overseas subsidiary of FIAT. This is where Ferrari makes most of its profit.
OTD Lite: 1995 – Schumacher closes Benetton chapter
Michael Schumacher secured what would be his last ever F1 victory in any livery bar red at the Japanese Grand Prix on this day. His nineteenth win for Enstone brought his championship to a close as he prepared for pastures new. His final tally for the year would read as nine victories – matching the record set by Nigel Mansell in 1992 but it could have been higher if not for some bruising run ins with Damon Hill that year.
In a similar manner to Vettel joining the Scarlet team, nobody could fully understand why Schumacher was leaving a winning outfit and joining a perennially under-achieving team other than the lure of vast amounts of money. Whilst Vettel has an appreciation of the history of the sport, Schumi never did.
Speculation amongst the media was that Michael had tired of having his name associated with a corrupt regime at Benetton – but most likely his manager Willy Weber knew exactly what a Ferrari title win could mean to his legacy and bank balance.. and yet when Schumacher left the Maranello factory after his first days work there, it was late in the evening and he spoke of feeling the hair on his neck stand up – Ferrari gets to you in the end.
“A warrior is worthless unless he rises above others and stands strong in the midst of a storm.”
The Samurai Jackal
Marchionne officially begins his tenure at Maranello
Sergio Marchionne arrived in Maranello yesterday to begin the turnaround of the Ferrari team. He had been to a press presentation in Milan at the Balocco track as Alfa Romeo unveiled the new Giulietta Sprint and then made his first formal visit to the Scuderia.
Taking control of a rudderless team, he has settled in a new office within the compound and will be a weekly visitor to the factory as he strives to place Ferrari back at the top. The recent poor showing at Monza left the bespectacled boss “raging with high blood pressure”
He met the heads of the various departments and with Team Principal Marco Mattiacci in attendance repeated his desire to see Ferrari back at the top. Although he officially took over the Presidency back on October 13th, he has started to realise the breadth of the problems afflicting the team.
The new 2015 car, which was codenamed 666, is now beginning to deliver better ‘points’ in down force measurements and when compared to the current F14-T it has larger side pods – suggesting a more aggressive power-plant is installed requiring more efficient cooling.
Of course, the team is not optimistic in their pursuit of Mercedes in 2015, but confidence is slowly creeping back into the squad and there are some development parts that will be tested over the remaining three races.
It will be fascinating to see whether one of the most impressive automotive industry executives ever, can empower the Scuderia to move beyond its current malaise. Given the wonders Marchionne worked with the dead duck that was FIAT, you’d be a brave person to risk your shirt betting against that he’ll deliver in Formula 1.
The staggering cost of competing in F1
With Marussia and Caterham having entered administration in the last seven days, the next two teams that are carrying heavy debt is Sauber and Lotus with £22m and £64.9m respectively. Even Williams, currently third in the world championship has declared losses of £20m for the first six months of 2014.
Last year, Martin Whitmarsh warned F1, “I fear that we will have a crisis and then we will have to get real and sort it out. I cannot see, in their shoes ( the smaller teams ) how you can construct a sustainable business model”
Around the same time Bob Fernley, Force India’s deputy team principal said that CVC had been “a disaster” for the sport. “I think they have done an absolutely awful job. In my view they are the worst thing that has ever happened to Formula One. They have done nothing whatsoever for the sport.”
When one considers they have made an estimated $8.2bn from the investment back in 2006 and the teams have to split an annual prize fund of around $750m it’s not impossible to see why the teams that Luca di Montezemolo branded a joke in 2010 have all disappeared.
Autosport received a copy of a letter that Caterham, Marussia, Sauber and Force India sent to Jean Todt detailing the expense of F1 which didn’t include driver salaries, hospitality and marketing.
Hybrid power system $28 million
Gearbox and hydraulics $5 million
Fuel and lubricants $1.5 million
Tyres $1.8 million
Electronics $1.95 million
IT $3 million
Salaries $20 million
Travel and track side facilities $12 million
Chassis production/manufacturing $20 million
Wind tunnel/CFD facilities $18.5 million
Utilities and factory maintenance $2 million
HR and professional services $1.5 million
Freight $5 million
TOTAL $120.25 million
Of course this is merely the average cost, Mercedes according to some have spent four times as much this season.
Times are tough.
Mclaren have chosen to forgo the revenue from a 1 year title sponsor whilst they await Honda and that Williams has sold its title to Martini for significantly less than the going rate 10 years ago.
Then there are plenty of teams whose livery is but sparsely unadorned with cash paying sponsors. Perhaps it is time that Mr. Todt, woke from his slumber and regulated F1 to reduce costs – as did his predecessor Max, who by the day is looking a preferable choice of FIA p[resident.
The problem is, Jean Todt is an ex Team Principal of Ferrari – who during his tenure had eye watering annual budgets in excess of the GDP of some medium sized sovereign states. It is therefore most unlikely Monsieur Presidente will arise from his Louis XV four poster bed and embrace the reality of ‘the real world’ in which mere mortals do indeed dwell.
Prost doubts Renault can catch Mercedes in 2015 (GMM)
F1 legend Alain Prost doubts struggling engine supplier Renault can catch dominant Mercedes in 2015. Having faltered at the start of the new turbo V6 era, Renault – whose prominent F1 partner is the outgoing world champion team Red Bull – can upgrade its 2014 engine to the tune of 48 per cent under the existing ‘freeze’ regulations.
But Mercedes’ rivals are arguing for the ‘freeze’ to be further relaxed.“It will be hard for them (Renault) to catch up with Mercedes,” quadruple world champion Prost, a Renault ambassador, told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
“But it also depends on whether there is a change in the development timetable (the engine freeze) by the FIA. A total freeze as it is now is synonymous with stagnation,” Prost argued. “But just opening up everything is too expensive. A good compromise is needed. We should not make a final judgement about Renault until next year,” he added.
At the same time, Prost thinks it is understandable that Renault fell behind Mercedes just as the rules changed so dramatically, given Red Bull’s run of title domination at the end of the V8 era. “It was almost inevitable that Mercedes would start with an advantage,” he said.
“Last season I was saying that it would be hard to beat them as they started developing much earlier. Renault was always defending a world title in the last years,” Prost explained, “while Mercedes was able to concentrate fully on the new project.”
TJ13 comment: The Renault brand ambassador speaks of a Renault that seriously underestimated what the Stuttgart manufacturer was willing to invest, not only in man hours over the last three years but also a spend double that of Renault and Ferrari.
Renault appear to have been complacent believing that the FIA would grant them favours – as in the past – and allow 2014 development beyond the initial homologation date back in February.
Whilst we may believe it is ridiculous that a new technology has restraints against it and the other manufacturers cannot close the gap, but it would have been the same if Ferrari or Renault had produced the dominant engine.
Possibly the most misleading part is the assumption that Renault were fighting on two fronts – developing both the V8 and V6 engines. For some years there had been a development freeze on the V8 engines. Of the engine manufacturers pre-2014, Mercedes were considered the most powerful, and perhaps Renault the most frugal but Renault were twinned with Red Bull.
Of course Renault is using the four-time F1 champion to posture on their behalf, but before every fan walks away in despair, ‘unfreeze’ or ‘no unfreeze’ – Mercedes should be affected by the law of diminishing returns.
Put simply, using state of the art current technology, if Mercedes have designed an engine that is 90% delivering what is achievable given its architecture, then most likely they have a smaller number gains left to make – relative to Renault and Ferrari.
Williams memories from the USA
Courtesy of Martini Williams Racing.
For large views, click on the pictures – you can then scroll 1 by 1 through these fabulous photographs
Haas, the F1 drug begins to take effect
Before we start, FOR THE RECORD, this author would seriously love to see a USA backed F1 team running and being successful in F1.
Yet Haas F1 is ploughing a tough furrow by basing its operations in the US of A. If we park up the issues of travel, which are immense, the big question is whether Haas F1 can attract enough experienced F1 engineering talent to make a real go of producing an F1 car that is competitive.
It is beyond doubt that even by assembling even the most brilliant scientists the USA has to offer, without the data from competing in F1 for years, were Haas F1 be forced to build their own car to the current regulations – it would be a fail.
Experienced F1 engineers, designers and race strategists is something Haas will struggle to get in sufficient quantities to relocate to Charlotte, but this will be no problem; because Haas has been told the regulations which force teams to predominantly produce their own cars are proposed for change.
If this change transpires into reality, The NASCAR team owner may indeed benefit from being an F1 customer team – the like of such are not present in the sport. of Formula One.
However, following the departure in 2008/09 of a number of big manufacturers from the Formula One, Bernie and the FIA promised three new entrants that things were about to change. Budget caps would be introduced and the cost of competing in F1 would be significantly reduced to accommodate their meagre budgets.
‘Lies, lies and damned lies’ has been proven to be the epitaph, for HRT, Caterham and Marussia.
So, let’s be clear. At present Haas F1 must produce predominantly their own car until the regulations re: bought in components are in actuality altered.
Haas F1’s business plan is built upon this regulatory change being enacted and just like HRT, Caterham and Marussia is at present on a promise – that things will be different.
Despite all this uncertainty, Mr. Haas appears to be getting a ‘fix’ already from the F1 drug of eternal promise.
USA today reports, “In early September, Gene Haas was at a trade show in Chicago when he realised how much his decision to start a Formula One team already was paying off”.
An ebullient Gene Haas said, “I’ve got all kinds of people wanting to take their pictures with me. That’s never happened before. … It was insane the number of people coming by saying, ‘Great to know you, great to know you’re involved in Formula One.’ Everybody sees we’re aligning ourselves with ultimate motor sports project.”
Even in the NASCAR garage, most of the drivers now are shaking my hand,” Haas asserts. “I think they’re interested. They say, ‘We’d like to see what that Formula One stuff is about.’ I say, ‘Sure, come on over.’ I think they have a natural curiosity.”
Be not mistaken. Gene Haas is going for this project in earnest. He’s opened a new 125,000-square-foot building to house Haas F1 and has recently signed Adam Jacobs, the former sports marketing manager for beer giant Anheuser-Busch
“It’s a great opportunity to develop and launch a global brand in an organization led by someone as driven and accomplished as Gene Haas,” said Jacobs in a press release. “With strong support and leadership already in place, Haas F1 Team is clearly positioned for success. I look forward to helping shape the ways we achieve that success on and off the racetrack.”
What’s for certain, if Haas F1 fails to succeed in Formula One, it won’t be because of small minded thinking or a lack of ambition.
However, Formula One throughout history has demonstrated its inability to accommodate new members into its exclusive club. At times this has been though ineptitude and on other occasions via intransigence – and with the sport once again in crisis, accommodating the needs of others is the last thing on anyone’s mind.