#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 29th October 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

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


Breaking News

OTD Lite: 1995 – Schumacher closes Benetton chapter

Marchionne officially begins his tenure at Maranello

The staggering cost of competing in F1

Prost doubts Renault can catch Mercedes in 2015

Williams memories from the USA

Haas, the F1 drug begins to take effect


Breaking News

London 13:35

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_1520533cMichael 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

 

76 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 29th October 2014

  1. “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.”

    And on this background here’s the sycophantic, nauseating nonsense that Autosport prints under the Gary Anderson column:
    “I have seen a lot of changes in how F1 is managed and I have to say, Bernie, that F1 needs you in control. No one else can do what Bernie has done for F1 and we are now at a critical point. If the teams have any sense they will get behind him.”

    So you have Bernard who has:
    – openly been milking all F1 stakeholders of money (circuit owners, F1 teams, viewers at home, viewers at race weekends, etc., etc.)
    – openly declared that he wanted the new teams to fail
    – and openly resisted any and all attempts to improve the revenue sharing formula so as to prop up the lower-end teams,

    Thus effectively he singlehandedly pushed the HRT’s, Caterhams and Marussias into bankruptcy, hence becoming the main thrust into bringing about the current financial crisis in F1. And it’s not like the signs weren’t on the wall, with Sauber and Lotus jumping and squirming for the best part of a year or two.

    Add to this that he disenfranchised the smaller teams via the Strategy Group, and all is set for a nice, messy collapse of the sport. Include to all this the certified, walking PR disaster that is Bernard, with his bribing the judges on a bribery trial, and open ass kisses to assorted dictators around the world, all consensual activities that are driving sponsors out through the backdoor, with no one there to pick up the slack.

    So remind me, what positive has Bernard done lately for F1? Why does F1 need the toad from Suffolk? Didn’t he already provide enough silicon implants and bikinis for his daughters, at the expense of team, fans, and assorted F1 stakeholders?

    • I quite like Gary Anderson. Are you sure his comment didn’t get heavily edited, and read something like this ?

      “I have seen a lot of changes in how F1 is managed and I have to say, Bernie, that the last thing F1 needs right now is you remaining in control. No one else can do what Bernie has done for himself, and in the process end up shafting F1 quite so comprehensively and we are now at a critical point. If the teams have any sense they will get together to get behind him and stick several large knives in his back, before tossing him out the door.”

  2. You didn’t pick up on this Prost comment:
    A total freeze as it is now is synonymous with stagnation

    There is not a ‘total freeze’ at all. Instead, there are limitations on development, so in that sense there is already ‘compromise’ in existence.

    It’s quite possible to argue that the limits are too strict, but Prost is being highly disingenuous.

    • Came here to paste and criticise that very sentence, you beat me to it!

      The word ‘freeze’ is being bandied about a lot by those with the most to gain from a relaxation, usually in a misleading way. Maybe they all got together and decided it might win them some public support?

    • Thanks for banging that drum, Nigel, no telling what will turn up in Jerez and pointless being fussed about it beforehand.

      Frankly, I’m not really sure of the point of all this gum flapping as the group that would have to approve the “unfreezing” has Merc as a member and requires unanimity to pass, so the chances of it happening are somewhere between zero and none.

      Does make you wonder what they are up to in those smoke-filled backrooms though.

      • and requires unanimity to pass

        Is it the case that changes can be made (with sufficient notice) for 2016 without unanimity ?

          • Areas where development has been frozen from this year until 2019….

            Year New items included in development freeze
            2015 Upper/lower crankcase: Cylinder bore spacing, deck height, bank stagger.
            Crankshaft: Crank throw, main bearing journal diameter, rod bearing journal diameter.
            Air valve system: Including compressor, air pressure regulation devices.
            2016 Upper/lower crankcase: All dimensions including cylinder bore position relative to legality volume, water core.
            Valve drive – camshafts: From camshaft lobe to gear train. Geometry except lift profile. Includes damping systems linked to camshaft. Exhaust and Inlet.
            Valve drive: Position and geometry. Gear train down to crankshaft gear included, and dampers.
            Covers: Covers closing the areas in contact with engine oil cam covers, cam-timing covers.
            Ancilliaries drive: From ancillary to power source. Includes position of the ancillaries as far as drive is concerned.
            2018 Valves axis position: Includes angle but excludes axial displacement.
            Valves drive: From valve to camshaft lobe. Position and geometry. Exhaust and inlet. Includes valve return function inside the head.
            Crankshaft: Except crank throw, main bearing journal diameter, rod bearing journal diameter. Includes crankshaft bearings.
            Oil pressure pumps: Including filter but excluding internal if no impact on body.
            Oil scavenge systems: Any scavenging system.
            2019 Cylinder head: Except modifications linked to subsequent modifications.
            Combustion: All parts of parts defining combustion including ports, piston crown, combustion chamber, valves geometry, timing, lift, injector nozzle, coils, spark plug but excluding valves position.
            Con rods: Including small and big end bearings.
            Pistons: Including bearings and pin. Excluding crown.
            Oil recuperation: Oil/air separator, oil tank, catch tank.
            Engine water pumps: Include power unit mounted water pipes.
            Injection systems: Power unit-mounted fuel system components e.g. high pressure fuel hose, fuel rail, fuel injectors, accumulators but excluding injector nozzle.
            Inlet system: Plenum and associated actuators. Excluding pressure charging, trumpets and throttle associated parts and actuators. Trumpets and associated parts and actuators. Throttles and associated parts and actuators.
            Pressure charging: From compressor inlet to compressor outlet. From turbine inlet to turbine outlet. External actuators linked to pressure charging.
            Ignition system: Ignition coils, driver box.
            Lubrication: All parts in which circulates oil under pressure (oil pump gears, channels, piping, jets) and not mentioned elsewhere in the table.
            Friction coatings
            Sliding or rotating seals
            Complete Motor Generator Units for Heat and Kinetic energy – all internals including bearings, casing, etc…, their position, transmission and power electronics.
            Energy Store: Cells.
            Energy Recovery System – Cooling/lubrication: Including energy store jackets, pipes, pumps, actuators.

        • I think for 2016 a majority is sufficient as long as the decision is made in this season. Next year it would require unanimity IIRC.

      • Hey NY mattpt55, can I assume you were down at the Today Show plaza this morning, to see Lewis?

        Watched the segment, I think he was only on for 3 mins, and they showed like 5 sec’s of F1 coverage (some of Bahrain this year). I’m sure FOM were d-heads about that as usual. So stupid.

  3. “Although as an ex Team Principal for Ferrari – with a budget unmatched by any others at the time – it is unlikely he will have a real world view of finance in any case.”

    You’re kidding, right? The guy doesn’t know how to send an SMS, let alone an email. Of course he is a highly respected team principal with impressive success at the top level, but I wouldn’t bet my bottom that he can count farther than his ten fingers.

  4. “Renault were arrogant enough to believe that the FIA would grant them favours as in the past and allow development beyond the initial homologation date back in February.”

    Someone should remind Renault and their ambassadors that it was RENAULT who kicked and screamed that they wanted a new eco-friendly engine formula, and that they wanted it to happen with rigid development freezes. They even threatened to quit the sport if progressive development freezes weren’t enshrined in the rules, because they didn’t want to spend too much on development.

    So what exactly are they complaining of right now? All said they got their wish, invested little (either budget or man-hours), and produced a sickly pony twat. What else were they expecting?

    • Playing devil’s advocate here:
      From what you’ve said, it seems Renault were keen to make engine costs more reasonable in this new turbo era. They invested what they thought was a reasonable amount on initial development and were keen for development restrictions to keep ongoing development costs in check. Ferrari took a similar approach.
      Along comes MB and instead of playing a similar game for the good of the sport (close racing) they go wide open throttle on the purse strings and pretty much screw it up for everyone except them and their customers. And they say loud and proud “F*ck you, Jack, I’m OK” while casual viewers go find something else to spend their attention on rather than watch another silver car 1-2.
      That Renault apparently charge the most for their PU’s and yet MB spent twice as much developing theirs just tells me that mothership MB is shuffling LOTS of costs to ‘marketing’. That’s a sustainable business model, right there 😉
      Finally, generally, the overbearing schadenfreude of those who support MB-powered teams when it comes to this ‘freeze’ thing is unflattering in the least.

      • Nice take. 🙂

        I also remember that at one point, when Merc was in its first 1-2 years, Brawn took a very reasonable approach to spending in deference to the Resource Restriction Agreement. After seeing Red Bull, then Ferrari, use the RRA as toilet paper for the best part of a year or so, Merc woke up and said: All righty… Let’s go on a hiring spree! And off they went! And here they are!

        You can’t really blame any of the teams for spending obscene amounts of money, as long as the regulator doesn’t police spending, at all, while the commercial rights holder showers chosen teams with mountains of greenback. If you have at least one team blatantly cheating under the RRA, then expect all other to start cheating in their turn.

        • Wasn’t there a report that after witnessing what was being done at Brackley and Brixworth, Ross wasn’t too happy and basically told them to start all over, because they were being too conservative and they needed to start thinking outside the box.

          It cost a lot to think outside that box.

        • You can’t “cheat” something that hasn’tz been put in place. The RRA was never properly inmplemented, hence it never applied and you can’t expect the teams to adhere to it ‘voluntarily’.

        • Yh, I hear you, landroni. RBR and Ferrari can’t go casting any stones here when it comes to overspending.
          In this particular case though (PU’s in 2015 and beyond) something resembling parity is impossible because everyone is locked out of pursuing some avenues of development regardless of how much coin they’re prepared to throw at the effort.
          I know it’s not a perfect argument but even when the RBX’s were laying waste to the rest of the grid in the hands of Seb it was entirely open for any other team to take on Newey’s design if they had the nouse and the cash to do so.
          This locked-in advantage MB have with their PU is bonkers for a sport struggling to maintain it’s market share, let alone expand.
          The situation is just another plume of smoke rising from Rome. The shame of it is that right at the moment we’re seeing far more fiddles being tuned up than fire extinguishers being lifted from their wallmounts.

          • I couldn’t have put it in better words. That’s exactly the difference between not being ABLE to catch up and not being ALLOWED to keep up. Even if Merc doesn’t find any additional power for next year, they could easily pour all their tokens into making it more reliable, which would remove the only achilles heel that engine has. Ferrari and Renault meanwhile have to split their tokens between performance and reliability and will inevitably at best catch up in one of the two areas – if at all.

      • Roger, you are quite right and it was ever thus: Ferrari in the 2000’s; RB in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s; MB over the past couple of years.

        FOTA put in place the RRA which, regardless of the arguments about policing it or what was included/excluded, was specifically designed to stop the financial arms race and give smaller teams a chance of both surviving and competing – and relied upon the teams all staying within the “spirit” of it rather than the “letter” of it. And it died because, when the competitive chips were down, the teams have no concept of the good of the sport – just the good of the team’s chances of winning.

        MB ARE wrong in how much they’ve spent (IMO) just as RB were and Ferrari were. As always, it would be more shocking if the team spending the most does NOT win.

        • landroni – thank you for the sober thinking…

          “X” many wrongs do not make a right. However, Renault has no complaints. There is no way they were thinking of keeping costs down for the benefit of anyone other than themselves – and they, and RB with its 800 dedicated to F1 development stable of employees, got bit. It’s not a good look for Renault so their response is to go into spin control mode.

          Taking a look back during the season, remember when Christian Horner openly chastised Renault for failing to meet the demands of deriving an adequate power unit to RB? Horner spoke of Renault not spending their resources in the right places to supply their primary purchaser with a competitive power unit.

          (The following statement is deductive reasoning based on Horner’s valid complaints, not fact) Sounds like there were many meetings between RB and Renault, many assurances and reassurances by Renault to which RB grudgingly bought in, and Renault failed RB, confirming the suspicions the prime movers of RBF1 had all along.

          Now that Merc’s “secret to power unit success” is public, it’s interesting that competing teams and F1 heads are complaining about them simply moving their compressor away from the extreme heat generated by the spinning turbine of the turbocharger and placing it in the front of the power unit.

          We see the results of their logical, inside-out look at drag-reduction every time we see a photo of the rear of the W05. While other teams are scrambling to replicate Merc’s compressor move, Merc is concentrating on exterior aerodynamics —- which, in the end, makes what they did on the front end of hybrid PU development more cost-effective on the back end.
          .
          Mercedes AMG is not at all my favorite team (as stated before, McLaren and Lotus are) but I give them big kudos for the cars they produced this season.

          • @dwil

            “Now that Merc’s “secret to power unit success” is public, it’s interesting that competing teams and F1 heads are complaining about them simply moving their compressor away from the extreme heat generated by the spinning turbine of the turbocharger and placing it in the front of the power unit.”

            That’s only a minor part of what makes their PU successful. As you say, the aero is a place to look.

  5. I know it’s not mentioned today, but so far from what I can make out from you’re article yesterday and other bits I’ve read;Alonso is still on contract with Ferrari, will cost them 50 million for him to leave, they have signed Vettel on a multi year deal at 30 million a year? but Vettel signed on the understanding Alonso would leave(I can see why he’d be scared sh*tless in the same car) and Kimi is also on a multi year contract, whom Ferrari would look foolish if they paid off once again.

    So does this sound correct, and I wonder how it will play out?

    Also everyone thought Redbull were screwing over Alonso, but it could be Vettel that they have shafted, and that would fit the management style of Redbull, vindictive!

    • I think laying off Kimi would be the best course of action. For one, it’s probably the least costly. Kimi has only one year of contract left.

      • I don’t know. Alonso – Vettel probably’ll end in tears, costing more money in the end.
        Developmentwise, I think Vettel / Kimi are a better match.

        If their ridiculous rewards from FOM stay the same and they get one year earlier to WCC without Alonso, I think they save money.

        • Both Vettel and Kimi have similarly suffered from problems with adapting to the new brake-by-wire system, as both rely on stabilizing the car using the brakes on corner entry. So if Ferrari were to pour resources on that, with a Kimi-Vettel combination they would stand most to gain.

          As far as ALO-VET goes. I’m not conviced that Vettel signed on the premise of ALO leaving. It looks to me that Marchionne and Mattiacchi want him gone more than anyone else.

    • Judge,

      Some questions.

      1) If Ferrari have already decided that the want to get rid of Alonso, then why is it that they are waiting till now to announce the departure? I can understand the amounts involved in paying him out but why is that it is taking such a long time for a company like Ferrari which has posted record profits?

      2) If Vettel has really signed for Ferrari, then why should he bother about anyone. He himself can tell that he has signed with Ferrari? Or is Ferrari stopping him from doing so?

      3) I am not aware of the deadline for the entry list for next year, but if the same situation exists, how would the entry list look like for 2015.

      4) Or have ferrari and alonso patched up again and are going to continue contrary to the words of LDM.

      • …Well maybe Vettel having never left the Red Bull family – has been precipitous in his resignation….

        Has he not heard the stories of certain Ferrari contracts not being worth the paper they are written on?

        The again – if he has a water tight contract with Maranello and Ferrari tell him to stay schtum, then as his new employer he will do so for a while.

    • …Very interesting Jamie indeed. If we hear nothing in Austin, then my guess is you may be right..

      Alonso insinuated he may take a year out – and it looks like on FULL Ferrari pay.

      Watch for Mattiacci to be pushing for 3 cars this weekend…

      • And if they get their wish, then they will have no more excuses, because they’ll have a driver lineup that has a combined 7 WDC titles.

        But to note, next season should see some serious fireworks if they field all 3 drivers.

        • Just imaginary for 2015 if Ferrari field all three and the car is mediocre

          Kimi : I need more front end and if we put it the rear goes off and the balance gets disturbed;

          Vettel : I need more rear downforce for better cornering speeds and we are working towards it.

          Alonso : We are in talks with an investment firm for fielding a cycling team for 2016. And about today’s result, we did the max we could do. We are nowhere in both the championships. We lack pace. #BestisYetToCome.

          Mattiacci : We are on target in our three year plan and we fully support engine unfreeze which would ensure lesser costs to customer teams.

          PS : Only for fun.

  6. Oh, Prost. Such irony. Before talk of an engine unfreeze, didn’t he say that Renault will catch up next year and challenge Merc?

    • Renault have to say they won’t catch up to try and add weight to their ‘unfreeze’ argument, if they say ‘yes we’ll catch up easy’ then the unfreeze is out the window.
      If Caterham stay dead, then Renault only need to produce 8 engines next year as the number of engines allowed I think drops to just 4 units, compared to 20 units over 4 teams this year, they can bring changes a lot easier if the unfreeze is allowed, where as Mercedes will have to produce twice as many engines so rolling out upgrades across the board will be far harder from a logistical and lead time perspective.
      I get the feeling Ferrari know exactly where they went wrong with the FIAT they produced this year and I think they may well be the comfortably second placed PU, I mean let’s face it, the scalextrics engine they put in this year has made them look very silly. Compare them to Renault and its appears Renault are still pissing in the wind some what.

      • Ferrari realised where they’d gone wrong very early on. Before the season started significant offers were made to Mercedes Brixworth staff. This included relocation costs etc.
        Quite a few have joined Ferrari including one who wa at a very senior level -his name escapes me currently.
        As to engine freeze rule, Mercedes is moving to 500lb injection system for next season which accounts for 2/3 of available tokens. Ferrari has been running theirs at that level all year so their expenditure of tokens will be placed elsewhere. Renault have decided to stick at 250lb so who knows what benefits apply to the teams.

        • @Carlo I heard that about the Merc injection system and the proportion it takes up of the permitted changes. This may be a red-herring by Merc, to make the others think they that that is where they believe most gains can be made and maybe dupe one of the others to make that change, waiting valuable tokens. Ferrari never reaped the rewards a 500lb injection system is said to supposedly bring, so it begs the question as to what Mercedes think they can get out of it that Ferrari haven’t?

  7. The costs are really shocking. Any team has to budget something like 50-60 millions USD on “fixed expenses” such as the power unit, fuel, tires, gearbox, hydraulics, freight, and trackside facilities before it can even spend a dime on driver and staff salaries, its physical facilities, or on chassis development. That’s why we need more customer parts, including chassis IMO.

    Another big cost problem here is that the teams have to adhere to the 20-race per year schedule. That’s a lot of races, and therefore the teams need a whole lot more power units, other parts, freight and travel services. If Bernie really wants the 20-race calendar to remain, he should pay the teams more and distribute the prize money more evenly.

    • The more races per season the bigger the prize fund at the end of it. So I think saying too many races is a non starter as it increases revenue. The problem is, as has been said a gazillion times already, is the way the prize money is distributed, period! Until that aspect of the sport changes we will continue to see teams in financial trouble.

        • $500,000 for appearance fee!! It cost them more than that just to turn up to a race weekend.

          Going by the figures above, it cost $12m per annum (give or take) for travel and trackside facilities, so for a 20 race season, that works out to be $600,000 per race, so already they’re operating at a loss. Brilliant!

          • I could be wrong, but I believe FOM pays some freight for the top 10 teams.

        • Hmmm, so if I buy 2 working cars from Caterham, hire a paydriver and only do 1 lap in Q1 – well outside 107% – I can make a profit?

          • Could even be as easy as Marussia, just present a car for scrutineering?

      • Why would Bernie change the prize distribution currently in place? Fact is that F1 may lose Caterham and Marussia this year, but it already has Forza Rosso (?) set to replace one next year and Haas the other one the year after. Bernie knows the world doesn’t watch to see the backmarkers trundle around, so he sends the money where it will do F1 the most good. Now, if Lotus and/or Sauber go bust he may need to rethink things a bit, but as long as there are suckers willing to pay to be also rans, why would he change anything? (Don’t get me wrong, I believe it should be more evenly distributed, but I was trying to put myself in Bernie’s shoes, and that’s what I came up with. Now my feet are sore and I need to take a shower).

        • Those teams aren’t even confirmed as of yet are they though? The problem is that those backmarkers aren’t getting the money needed to improve their heap of junk cars

    • FIA could easily mandate a $10m per engine supply per season cap… at that point, it’s then up to the manufacturers on how much they wish to sink in as ‘R&D’, or whether to spend less.

      Mercedes have spent most.. and have the cheapest engine. That could be exacerbated, or rules could be lifted and thus everyone else could catch up for a pittance, thus meaning they are less likely to spend into the wind, but still allowing development, despite a max $10m price for all customer teams.

  8. Something that every article I read that was about the loss of f1 teams stated that a less than 20 car grid would lead to CVC/FOM’s loss of the rights to f1. Suddenly when the <20 grid is coming up, I cannot find a single news source / blog that talks about this. Have I missed something?

    • … No, the problem is that we need transparency from the FIA/FOM and the Teams on sporting arrangements within their contracts.

      We believe the recent contracts with circuit promoters state there must/should be 16 cars or more.

      The old Concorde agreement which stated 20 cars – has now been replaced by a series of bilateral agreements between FOM, the FIA and the teams.

      So the FIA may well still be able to act were less than 20 cars to be on the grid, though getting our glorious leader Jean Todt to do anything without unanimous agreement is not easy.

  9. MORE F1 TEAMS TO MISS AUSTIN RACE

    Following news that Caterham and Marussia will miss the forthcoming US Grand Prix, F1 sources say that Ferrari has also been given special dispensation to sit out the next race because ‘it’s not fair’ and they ‘don’t want to play’.

    Ferrari’s absence will mirror that of rivals McLaren who say that Sam Michael ‘forgot to book’ their tickets to the US and struggling Lotus who say that employing Pastor Maldonado means they have now ‘run out’ of spare parts and cannot take part in the American race.

    Also missing the Austin event will be Sauber, who have been excused because it clashes with the important Swiss National Festival of Quietness, Force India, who have blown the rest of the their 2014 budget on re-signing Nico Hulkenberg, Red Bull, who have ‘had enough of this stupid season’ and ‘didn’t want to win anyway’, and Toro Rosso, who do whatever Red Bull does.

    F1 management insists the race in Texas will go ahead and that they will be able to honour their contract with local organisers.

    In unrelated news, Williams and Mercedes have been asked to enter the US Grand Prix with 10 cars teams.

    * sniffpetrol

    • normally, you just post the link to the picture like this:

      MOD [baiting another commentator – now all comments from you will be automatically placed by WordPress on the naughty step and be made to wait for JM or AHJ to check – before being allowed out to play]

    • Lol to the picture, I didn’t really understand the point of having him on there though. I’ve felt the studio F1 show this year has been the weakest link in Sky’s coverage.

      • I’m convinced the camera man knew what he was doing if you watch the whole program.

        I agree with you, I think teds notebook is the best bit, but it’s given the least amount air time, and who is Simon sucking off to keep his job, of all the sky crew, he’s the weakest by miles, sometime it’s just plain awkward and uncomfortable to watch him.

  10. A thoughtful piece on everyone’s-new-best-friend, Gene Haas. Thanks for that.
    I wish Gene and Team-USA the best of luck – they’re gonna need it 🙂

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