#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 30th October 2014


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Previously on The Judge 13:

#F1 Features: GP2 or back of the F1 grid?

#F1 History: 1988 – Ayrton Senna wins his first Formula 1 World Championship

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

OTD Lite: 1988 – Senna wins first title

Mr E – the mischevious old man

Hulkenburg settled and waiting big team chance

Fernandes – Big teams have too much money

OTD Lite: 1988 – Senna wins first title


Ok, I couldn’t resist, but if you want to read more… click here

To know and to act are one and the same. Tomorrow’s battle is won during today’s practice. Control your emotion or it will control you.

The Samurai Jackal


Mr E – the mischevious old man

Even at 84 years of age, Bernie Ecclestone has a mischievous side to him. Whilst the business of making money dominates his every thought, he is not shy when it comes to stirring up a hornets nest.

With both Ferrari and Renault championing the relaxation of the freezing regulations to assist parity between the engine manufacturers, Mercedes has quite obviously taken the opposing view.

With Jean Todt seemingly in terror of making any decision which would enhance the pinnacle of motor-sport, it is left to the Octogenarian to inject a little humour into the proceedings.

“The thing to do is to freeze the Mercedes engine but not the others,” stated Mr E. “That would make sense but it won’t happen. I was saying the other day, that if Renault improved their engine and Ferrari and Mercedes gained similar amounts then it would be status quo.

“Hamilton and Rosberg would still be racing between themselves as they are competitive men who want to win but it would be better if they were fighting with other teams.”


Hulkenburg settled and waiting big team chance

Nico Hulkenburg remains many peoples choice as the most under-valued driver on the grid. On countless occasions his name is offered in connection with many of the top teams and yet he never seems to get the break to prove his ultimate ability.

Ferrari held serious talks with the Hulk during the summer last year before ‘texting’ him to say his services wouldn’t be required. As reported on TJ13 several weeks before the announcement of Kimi Raikkonen being signed by Ferrari, speculation centred on Hulkenburg being in the prime seat to replace Felipe Massa.

In actual fact he was lined up in the event that Alonso chose to leave Maranello for pastures new.

Speaking of his re-signing for Force India for 2015, Nico offered a sage point. “It is great to have a stable environment for a change and not have to change teams. The contract renewal was in fact very easy to complete.”

Since his debut in 2010, the German driver has changed teams every year but his focus remains on the future: “My day in a top team will come, but until then I will do my utmost and enjoy my work.”


Fernandes – Big teams have too much money

According to Tony Fernandes, there is no place in Formula One for teams like Caterham. He also mentioned something that we at the chambers have been suggesting for a number of weeks – specifically that one of the grandees was potentially looking to purchase Caterham.

Speaking on Sky Sports News, TF spoke about why he had turned his back on F1.

“People can blame whoever, but the big teams are as much at fault as anyone. The gap has become way too big and it’s money. And so I thought, ‘Well, I can’t compete’. But I can compete at QPR; I can compete at Air Asia.”

“The sport has to examine itself as well. Ultimately we couldn’t carry on and we would have eventually gone into administration anyway or closed down the team.”

As administrators moved in last week, Fernandes admitted “There are people who want to go racing, for different reasons and Caterham has everything there to do it.”

“There may even be teams within F1 who want a second team – a Red Bull/Toro Rosso situation. So we’ll give it maximum support but it’s not something I want to get involved in anymore. You’ve got to immerse yourself in it. Racing’s over for me.”

His final rebuttal highlighted the commitment needed to run a successful F1 team : “Unless I give up and become a Ron Dennis – scary thought.” Although by Ron’s own standards his complete focus hasn’t delivered success yet either.


51 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 30th October 2014

    • Props to Bernie

      Just the raving of a megalomaniac who thinks all the sport needs is to give him absolute power to fix it.

      I’m not even sure he understands the concept of sport. Or rules. Or structure.

      • *Clears throat*


        “Hamilton and Rosberg would still be racing between themselves as they are competitive men who want to win but it would be better if they were fighting with other teams.”

        I reiterate, he deserves a tip of my hat for saying just that bit. Many a true word is spoken in jest. With those few words, there is at least some tacit acknowledgement that the MB intra-team contest isn’t so great for F1. I rejoice at that.

        Broadly speaking, this season has been rolled-gold guano from a racing perspective, livened up mostly by that smiley bloke having fun in his first decent F1 conveyance.

        The WDC ‘battle’ has been anything but. All the interest has been in whether the two MB’s would maybe take each other out in a ding-dong, no-holds-barred, cut-and-thrust fight for the lead in the two stand-out cars for 2014. Instead we get mistakes, “mistakes”, car failures, brain failures and team-ordered boredom. There were a few interesting laps in Bahrain … errr …yay…!

        Lastly, Churchill suggested that the greatest lesson in life is that even idiots are right some of the time. I don’t agree with much of what BE is/says/does, but I reckon he was right in what he said. He gets props for that from me.

        • There are 20 other cars out there on track apart from the Mercedes team though (well, not this weekend, but you know what I mean…) – I’ve read quite a few comments here about how boring the season has been this year typically focussing on the Rosberg/Hamilton battle, but I’ve found a lot of the racing going on further down the order to be pretty exciting. There have been some great overtakes, battles and drives from a variety of drivers from different teams, and to boil this seasons championship down to “It’s just a case of which Merc driver wins” is selling the overall season very short.

          • There’s no choccies for fourth place, so this year “it’s just a case of who’s going to come third”. Silver 1-2 with no on track interest – pfft…

        • it would be better if they were fighting with other teams.

          Doesn’t take a genius to state something most will agree with – but Ecclestone’s idea of how to get there is typically stupid.

          • Can’t agree with you there either, sorry…
            Firstly, I’m sure Bernie’s comment was actually said in jest and you’ve taken it on face value then reacted with a comment most people will agree with… 😉
            Second, as much as the comment was a bit glib and the content rather extreme, he’s got it pretty well right (vis-à-vis sprinklers).
            Bernie’s so wrong he’s often very right 🙂

  1. Re: Fernandez….

    But isn’t he facing the same problem in the EPL? Does it not all boils down to spending power in the EPL as well? Man City’s strongest starting XI, is probably worth more than what he paid for the club itself.

    When QPR got promoted back to the Premiership in the 2012-13 season, they went on massive shopping spree, bringing in somewhere in the region of 11-15 players and what was the reward at the end of the year? Relegation back to the Championship. Now that they’re back in the EPL, they’re yet again sittinf at the bottom of the table in the relegation zone.

    At the end of the day, to win, you’ll need to spend big and that is the same in any sporting arena, F1 is no different. All the top teams at one point in time, had to endure the struggle before they were able to compete with the far more well established teams.

    Maybe being lured into the sport under the false pretence of the budget cap system, was what clouded his vision of being able to compete on a somewhat level playing field with everyone else.

    • The difference between the EPL and F1 is that in the EPL you can become last and still get only around 50% less than the #1 while in F1 you finish last and you get around 10% of the money the #1 gets 😉

      But maybe more important just looking at the costs a small club must make in the EPL to finish a season is not much more than the amount of money they get from television rights while in F1 the money needed to survive a season is a lot more than even a mid field team receives from FOM. There is no balance in the way money is distributed in F1 compared to the amount of money needed to run a team.

      • Fully aware of the distribution of tv and prize money. My point is, that at the end of the day, there will always be an imbalance between the top teams and the smaller teams, irrespective of how the funds is distributed.

          • They’d be able to sustain themselves for sure, but will they be able to compete? Sure, with the teams that are closer in stature to them, but not against fully backed factory teams.

            Even if the budget cap was successfully implemented, Caterham and Marussia would still be propping up the back of the grid, solely because they’ve not got either the infrastructure, man power or technical staff to challenge the bigger teams. I’d say it would take one of these new smaller teams atleast 6-10 years, before they could even compete with a FI even with a budget cap and equal distribution of prize money.

            They may throw in the one or two shock performances (Marussia in Monaco), but i think sadly, that’s where it ends in this modern era of the sport.

          • But isn’t a 6-10 years timescale to achieve potential success –

            better than 3 years and BUST ?

          • Caterham very quickly got to only 1 second off in 2010 – the complexity of blown diffusers pushed them back in 2011, as it did for Williams. So, with a budget cap, they would have easily been competitive in 2010, i.e. straight away.

            Even with a slightly more equal distribution – see Southampton FC for ‘how to do it right’. Their academies were part of a TV series years back on how they were rebuilding from the bottom up, using the grass roots and not buying everyone under the sun.

            Look at the players they have produced and sold on recently – Bale, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Shaw, Chambers… they even had Lambert bought by Liverpool/turned into an England player, and he was in Division 4 only 5 years ago.

            What they did was reinvest their money wisely – hence still being in the top 4 at this current time, even after selling on those players. It’s like Lotus getting 2nd last year and using the $17.5m they denied their rivals, to get Mercedes engines straight away and keep position where they were (i.e. where Williams are now).

            The other option is ‘to do a Burnley’, don’t spend anything, and watch that £60m roll in – club secured for the next decade. Marussia can do that if they survive 2014, secured until 2017 (when Haas can challenge them for top ten prize money). Unless McLaren or anyone buys Caterham.

          • @manky et al EPL less healthy than it appears.

            Distribution of funds in a more equitable manner is one thing. However look at the debt and manic expenditure at some football clubs. Easy parallels between certain EPL clubs and the top spending F1 teams. Man City = Ferrari? Chelsea = Red Bull?


    • Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t… I would highly recommend the book (not movie) MoneyBall for a good examination of how smaller market teams can compete with the big boys. Though centered on American Baseball, the economics are going to be similar in any team based sport and would likely apply to Premiere League as well.

      Not sure if it would work as well in F1, but I would be fascinated to see if any of the midfield teams had pursued that kind of analysis.

      • @ Matt

        I still think the NFL model – where every team receives an equal share – is the optimal solution.

        Even the Superbowl winning team gets exactly the same as the worst team in the league.

        That allows for security and sustainability.

        Something totally lacking in F1.

        • Manky, I was referencing the way the teams spend to the top. W/R/T models, frankly I’m a level playing field person myself, preferring cleverness and talent a fair chance along with the possibility of the upset.

          In Moneyball, a team with a small budget completely changes who they hire and what they do based on data analysis rather than tradition. As a result, they get players for cheap and constantly employ optimal strategies and come close to winning the championship with, I don’t remember exactly but somewhere between a half and a tenth of the budget of the big teams.

          It’s a fascinating tale and well written by one of my favorite authors, Michael Lewis.

          • Matt –

            to use your Moneyball analogy

            given the same car / equipment – would it be better to hire

            10 x Max Chilton’s or 1 x Fernando Alonso ?

            Which would score you more points ?

            Which was the thinking behind that idea.

            You’d probably end up with more points with 10 x Max’s …..

            Unfortunately you can only have 2 drivers in a team …

            And you don’t have 162 GP’s per year either.

            Which is why I think the Moneyball analogy is completely inappropriate with regard to F1.

      • It’s fair to say that I think that’s how the midfield operates.. Marussia do for sure – see how long it took them to get KERS, despite the easy 3 tenths gain per lap. They could spend that money on getting more elsewhere first.

        That’s why I like how Force India take it to McLaren on half the budget… then drop back each year from the inevitable lack of cash.

    • Sorry but disagree with the analogy of EPL or BPL and F1. To be accurate comparing football and F1 we should be taking about champions league and F1 as EPL is not the highest level of football no matter how commercially popular it may be.

      With champions league in mind it’s clear you can’t survive without deep pockets. In EPL Swansea and Southampton are almost making mockery about some of the big spenders. But they can only do it in England, to go level higher in Europe you can’t do it with small budget.

  2. ““Hamilton and Rosberg would still be racing between themselves as they are competitive men who want to win but it would be better if they were fighting with other teams.”

    No sh!t Sherlock!!!….everyone knows I’m the leader of the Hamfosi’, but even I am getting tired of seeing the same 2 drivers at the front week in week out. After Nico got a brain fart at Sochi, I only watched the race because I had nothing else to do and I couldn’t be bothered watching a re-run of the Aussie V8 race at Bathurst.

  3. Senility has obviously taken him to the night. Even Muhammar al Ecclestone hasn’t that much dictatorial power to get through with a plan like that. Mercedes would scream bloody murder if the half billion they’ve thrown at it was in vain.

    • FH, did the wrinkled one bitch similarly about RB ever? If not, perhaps it was down to 2nd place always being in play for whatever reason.

      I am beginning to think that much of the unhappiness with Merc is due to the fact they have a guaranteed 1-2 every race, barring reliability issues, and their “stage managing” of the races for late lap excitement is just become a bit too obvious. Mayhap they will give it up now they’ve got their Constructors and we’ll get to see some spectacle before the end of the year.

      • Problem is that Merc want to convey a clean, ‘Germanic’ (no offence intended) image, some would call it boring. When you had Senna and Prost at Macca/Honda, it was a bloodbath, they didn’t care about the image of the team to the same extent as Merc and F1 fans were loving it despite the fact you had one team dominating everything.

      • Nope, Wolff said in an interview with Der Spiegel today that as long as RIC is still within a theoretical shout, there’ll be no free running between ROS and HAM, indirectly admitting that in fact there never was except for Bahrain.

  4. Any truth about the Audi F1 rumours?
    It’s been reported and denied over this week but missed of there was any discussion here about it.

    That could save F1 if there was 5 engine manufacturers and 10 teams. Each could have first team to compete seriously and second team to bring in young talent.

    • Why would Audi want to enter F1 now that there’s so much criticism and negativity. They dominate rallying (via VW), they dominate WEC (via both Audi and Porsche), they have formula E, DTM, etc.
      Can’t see a reason whatsoever.

      • @ McL78

        I think you’ve got thing the wrong way round …..

        It’s VW – who dominate.

        Audi – like Porsche – is merely a subsidiary.

        Or had you forgotten that Audi used to be owned by Mercedes ?

    • This rumour has it’s tenth anniversary this year. There’s no substance to it. I managed to source the rumour to a single writer. The autoexpress one ran first, then the same author repeated the same in two other publications and from there it took off to other sites.

      There’s no sense in those rumours. Why should Audi, who have spent a fortune on developing a Diesel hybrid, give up all that to start over from scratch with a petrol? If anything Porsche has an engine that’d be much closer to F1 spec.

        • I don’t think it’s just Bernie or CVC that’s the problem – it’s the FIA too.

          The FIA have done a pretty good job of overhauling many motorsport championships.

          Look how popular WEC and rallying have become again. More and more manufacturers joining. Spectator and viewing figures increasing.

          But they haven’t or won’t touch F1.

          We all know it’s broken – but no one is interested in fixing it.

          • @manky

            The FIA have done a pretty good job…….. – but no one is interested in fixing it.

            Agree with you about the other championships. It’s interesting how they did it, by ‘franchising’ out the organisation and promotion to others. At the same time retaining close control of the rules, and having the option to terminate the franchise within a reasonable time frame. No 100 year contracts! When the promoter/franchisee or big teams suggest something stupid, everybody revolts, like they did in Rallying and GT. Lessons to be learned.

  5. Here is how much impact and exposure F1 gets in the States. This is a list from the Seattle Times, a major newspaper in a major market in the US, of sports links/stories.


    High School
    UW Huskies
    WSU Cougars
    SU Redhawks
    College sports
    Sounders FC
    World Cup
    Reign FC
    Snow sports
    Other sports

    Way to go FOM. You are really promoting/building the sport in the US of A. No one in this country, bar a few diehards, know there is a Formula 1 race in Texas this weekend. Oh well, at least I’ll be awake enough, as the race isn’t at 5:00 am, to have a beer while watching a pirated Sky broadcast.

    • That’s still better than the impact and exposure F1 gets in the UK …. 😀

      The Great British Bake Off & The Great British Sewing Bee – easily outperform F1.

      Hmm – maybe that’s why the BBC ditched F1 in favour of these thrilling programmes ?

      • Not seen them, but I imagine they appeal to a bigger audience than F1 does, are miles cheaper, hence they moved in that direction sadly. That’s democracy!

        If there is an undertone of ‘cook your own food and make your own clothes, it’s way cheaper’, then arguably, it’s also doing more public good than ‘lets watch the racing we mostly export, and fill Bernie’s bulging pockets, which for UK tax purposes have a (worm)hole in them that leads directly to Liechtenstein’

  6. Well, Judge, Manfredi “Hi know nothing” Ravetto has just called you a liar:


    Ravetto also rubbished any suggestion there was a scheme behind their Caterham plans to help set up the Romanian team Forza Rossa.

    “Not at all,” he said. “At no time was Caterham F1 team supposed to become Forza Rossa, or to transform itself into Forza Rossa or to swap the entry, or to move into Kolles premises.

    “All of these stories were rubbish. I have read the most incredible and to be honest humiliating stories – like the ones that said that the cars went to Germany straight after Sochi. That is not true – the cars have not been out of England for one single minute.””

    What do you have to say for yourself?

    • Ive been reading all I can about this today, Adam Cooper has a one-on-one interview on his site with Manfredi.

      This line stuck out from Ravetto:
      “Everything was ready to finish the season, and everything was ready to start building the 2015 car.”

      compare that to this statement:
      (sept 26th F1.com interview)
      “We are currently testing our 2015 car in Cologne, at Toyota’s wind tunnel”

      To be fair, they could have been testing the 60% scale model at the Toyota wind tunnel, not the actual car. But it is obvious his intent at the time was to imply that the 2015 car already exists.

      I don’t believe the 2015 chassis was ever built, but if it was, where is it? Couldn’t have been in the UK, because it would have been seized.

      Kolles states in his interview on Motorsport Total published Oct 23rd:
      “The race cars are not the CSL, but the race cars are 1MRT”
      “Later, the CSL was sold to Romanian investors”
      I cannot find any announcement of the sale of CSL to any Romanian investors.

      Cojocar states in his interview today in The Independent:
      “I have found it very difficult to contact my backers in Romania.”

      Interesting. So it seems Manfredi “discovered” the janitor Cojocar in September and brought him to Kolles.
      Early October CSL gets raided by the “Sheriff’s Office”.
      Oct 8 Romulus Kolles and Michael Willmer resigned as directors at the CSL and Constantin Cojocar was appointed to the Board.
      Crojocar becomes Owner of CSL with “Romanian Backers” shortly thereafter.

      Oct 21. Smith & Williamson legal firm seizes control of CSL and 1MRT

      I’m still trying to piece it together,
      but Ravetto is either willfully blind, lying, or the 3rd biggest patsy in history after Lee Harvey Oswald, and Cojocar

      • also according to Independant interview:

        “In his statement Cojocar says that he bought Caterham Sports with the intention of it designing and building cars for Caterham and Forza Rossa.”

        So a janitor/former footballer (or handballer?) jumped to owner of a company that is going to supply F1 cars to 2 separate teams by January. He has accomplished this with unknown Romanian backers in the span of 1 month.

        Sounds legit to me.

          • Yeah it’s a real Cinderella story for Cojocar:

            “I came to England in August to find work, cleaning or working in a warehouse” he says. “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 start a coaching career.”

    • “Not at all,” he said. “At no time was Caterham F1 team supposed to become Forza Rossa, or to transform itself into Forza Rossa or to swap the entry, or to move into Kolles premises”.

      TRUE – the plan was to take the 2015 IP on the quiet.

      The logistics guys at Caterham were told the cars would be going to Germany following Russia. AHJ cleared this up on his visit to Leafield the first day the staff were locked out of the facility.

      It transpired at the last minute, there was no “official” authorisation in place for the Caterham Cars to be dispatched to/from Germany to ANYWHERE the world, so the cars came back.

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