Judges Chamber: Has #F1 gone down the rabbit hole and up the spout all at the same time?

Seldom has a Formula One weekend been so packed with rumours and stories of such a wide-ranging and diverse nature. Further, seldom have such grave issues been at the forefront of F1 and the various participants speak so openly and freely about them.

I, and the TJ13 site have been advocating what is now called ‘the virtual safety car’ from almost since the website’s inception. I personally, along with a few others in a group, took this matter up with ‘the horses mouth’ earlier this year.

The conversation was lengthy, and I presented the fact that double waved yellows were meant to be an immediate extreme caution to isolate a dangerous section of the circuit where the safety car could not be present in an instant.

A number of other scenarios were discussed, but were dismissed out of hand because we were told, “the safety car is currently the highest and best intervention we have studied and settled upon”.

In addition the comment was made that the end of the safety car would be bad for the show and that Bernd would lose his job.

No matter.

So it’s good to see in Austin, finally, the virtual safety car being tried for the first time, though with a mixed response from the drivers. Grosjean complained he found managing the delta times “vey very difficult”, whilst Maldonado commented, “it’s very easy.”

Formula One drivers eh?

Despite Whiting’s rhetoric in Sochi, this solution does not “take it out of the drivers’ hands” how fast they drive, but merely replaces the previous FIA reduction in speed the divers were compelled to deliver – of 0.5 seconds for a double waved yellow cautioned mini sector. A ridiculous regulation which breaches the FIA’s own Sporting Code.

We shall see whether the FIA admits they were wrong in their F1 interpretation of the WMSC Sporting Code regulation, which requires all motor sports competitors to “Slow down… and be prepared to stop” – in whatever category of racing they are competing.

One lighter moment which has occurred this weekend is the renewal of Ted Kravitz’s, Sky presenter, spat with Christian Horner. I hear Kravitz said live on air to the Red Bull supremo (of sorts) “I’ve been trying to catch up with you all day; what’s going on?”

Horner replied, “Friday’s a busy day Ted, you should know that”. Kravitz compulsively quipped, “It is… for the rest of us”.

What followed was the furry faced Christian Horner explaining what would happen with Sebastian Vettel during qualifying in Austin. Predictably this included stabs at “fragile engine units” and “silly rules” which apparently Red Bull never complained about though have been in existence all year.

Horner’s lament invoked the plight of the fans, apparently all desperate to see four times world champion compete properly in the qualifying event. However, Christian revealed that Sebastian would complete merely one lap in Q1 to ensure he was not thrown out of the race under the 107% rule.

This suggests Red Bull have been leaned on by the FIA over their proposal to ‘not bother’ sending Seb out at all in qualifying, as previously other drivers have not competed in qualifying, but demonstrated in the free practice sessions they are competent to race.

Bernie Ecclestone has been holding one on one meetings with all the ‘larger’ team principals here in Austin and from his publicity stunt on SKY with Ted Kravitz, you have to assume he is pushing an agenda for less teams, B teams and the death of the current smaller competitors in F1.

In defiance of the FIA’s agreement with the commercial rights holder, Mr. E declared that if 2015 saw just 14 competitors in F1, that’s the way it would be – and life would continue as normal.

This seems to be in response to a threat made by Force India, Sauber and Lotus to boycott Sunday’s race in Austin. Though Lotus later tweeted a denial they were refusing to race, stating,”That’s kinda why we’re here.”

Bob Fernley though claims there is an agenda from the bigger teams to driver the rest out of the sport.“CVC and the teams they have empowered have got some form of programme in place because nobody (otherwise) would have teams going out of business.There is a (financial) split that is inequitable.”

If you listen to Toto Wolff’s arrogant and dismissive attitude in the FIA press conference, its easy to see where Fernley is coming from.

Further, Ecclestone stiff armed Bobby Epstein – promoter of the COTA event – to tell SKY viewers F1 was not the same without the noise of the old V8 engines. Ecclestone then empathetically added that it was not fair on the promoters, because they had signed contracts for ‘a product’, which was now not being delivered.

I have been asked several times this weekend, what I believe to be Ecclestone’s agenda, and the answer is simple: to create as much chaos and uncertainty amongst the F1 participants that, like headless chickens, they fall prey to the lurking fox.

It could be that Bernie is calling out the FIA in defiance of the 100 year commercial rights agreement, whilst all along he has GP1 trademarks, agreements with circuit owners and Ferrari in his pocket to set up a new series.

He and CVC do own GP2 and GP3 which would be an attractive offer to race promoters as a package to travel the globe to each GP1 race event.

There have been a number of rumours this year about Ecclestone showing an interest in ex-F1 engine manufacturer – Cosworth, though none confirmed. Still, its not a leap of unbelievable proportions to envisage a GP1 series being proposed with Ferrari and Cosworth engines available for all series competitors, whilst the simultaneous call is made to Mercedes and Renault being “join us if you like”.

Of course for the Scuderia to split from the F1 brand with which they have become synonymous, would be truly astonishing. And whether the new Ferrari management are prepared to get in bed with Ecclestone the way Il Padrino used to do is up for question.

All this just points to the kind of threats and pressure various F1 participants are likely to face in the coming days and there will be huge choices for them to make which could see a split in the global premier racing series similar to that which occurred in North American single seater racing over a decade ago.

In the space of just over an hour, Toto Wolff appeared to make himself the pariah which all genuine Formula 1 fans should revile. In the most compelling FIA press conference maybe ever, he propounded the view that Formula One was at the very “high end” of motor sport, and if you can’t afford to be in the sport, you should just bugger off.

He was clearly well briefed on the idea of a two tier Formula One which would see 5 big teams run 5 ‘B’ teams as the sport begins to look more and more like DTM from a participants perspective.

There was a moment of stark reality where Toto Wolff proved he is from another world and that alien life forms truly do exist. He attempted to argue it was impossible for large companies to account for the cost of stuff they made???

This is the reality of Formula One land, but not the world of international commerce, where the last staple utilised is frequently accounted for in many properly run organisations.

Jean Todt clearly had some influence on this panel of team bosses, as Gerard Lopez, Monisha Kaltenborn and Vijay Mallya (sporting the finest mullet seen since the days of Chris Waddle) were open and frank about the plight of the smaller teams.

Gerrard Lopez put to bed the lie that the smaller teams just ‘spend what they can’t afford’ and explained how costs have been forced upon them without their consent. Further, that the funding they receive is a pittance when compared to the cost of designing a car, buying an engine and turning up to race at each event on the F1 calendar.

Lopez attacked Wolff and the big spending teams, suggesting if 4m could run a GP2 outfit for the year, then the managers of entities running big Formula One teams spending 300m more than this to gain a few seconds over a GP2 car was beyond economic logic and an efficient use of capital.

The Lotus boss also revealed there are teams in Formula One who receive 160-170m for ‘just showing up’ and that no multinational sponsor of note has chosen to get involved with F1 for many a year.

Further, even Eric the believable concurred that the distribution of the $900m funds to the teams should maybe examined again. Wolff as defiant, stating he would not support this proposition.

As someone who felt a wealth of goodwill towards Mercedes at the start of the year, I have to say Wolff is destroying any goodwill amongst passionate neutral Formula One fans, with his arrogant know it all attitude – all gleaned in the 2 minutes he has been part of the sport.

Stuttgart would do well to study the FIA press conference form today, and ask themselves some hard questions over the image one of their brand ambassadors is presenting to the world.

Today saw the staff of Caterham allowed back onto the Leafield premises for a meeting where their futures were outlined.

The staff are being forced to take 2 weeks unpaid leave whilst the Administrator deals with acquisition enquiries from between “6 and 12 interested parties.”

The administrator admitted he was finding it difficult to contact Colin Kolles as certain questions of impropriety require attention.

All the seized equipment from the various bailiff companies has also been returned to the jurisprudence of the Administrator including the simulator rig, the car and the other assorted parts and memorabilia which had been removed.

In a separate and bizarre turn of events, Romulas Kolles – ex director of Caterham Sports Ltd explained in an interview in Romanian that he had recruited ”spies” during his brief tenure as director. One of these was the man affectionately referred to as ‘Mario’ by the Leafield staff – the ex Romanian footballer cleaner come Romulas Kolles replacement as company director.

Other ‘spies’ presumably included a whole new set of race weekend drivers to ferry the race team around at each event. Though, TJ13 sources informed us they didn’t understand English and slept in the minibuses over night.

If you’re going to do something, at least make a vague effort do it properly.

In a separate interview, Mario (Cojocar John Constantine) now admits he was recruited to “design and build race cars for Caterham and Forza Rossa”. Cojocar also confirmed that despite their assertions to the contrary that Forza Rossa have “obtained confirmation of their permission to participate in the FIA Formula 1 2015 season”.

Romulas is ill in Germany and was contacted by ProSport – a Romanian publication. They extracted from Kolles father the fact his son is now ‘somewhere in America” and he was merely “a consultant to Caterham”.

Critically he revealed Kolles and Ecclestone have been ‘working together’ and that Mr. E had been using his influence to help Colin achieve FIA approval for a Formula One team entrant.

I am proud of the reporting TJ13 has delivered on this story, despite consistent ridicule from those in the established media. Our sources on the whole have been impeccable.

That said, in one or two cases certain individuals left Caterham preceding the Administrator’s takeover, joining other teams such as Lotus and Red Bull. These friends of TJ13 then stayed in touch with their colleagues back in Leafield, though information via them from their friends still at Caterham became a slower process, especially from the Caterham logistics team.

Yet facts such as Kolles using Caterham Sports Ltd resources to design LMP1 cars such as Lotus under the name CLM – became transparent pretty quickly – CLM, Caterham Le Mans? The car debuted in Austin in September, its origins shrouded in mystery.

What is clear is that Colin Kolles is a reprehensible individual, a liar and probably a thief. He has been assisted by his side-kick Mafredi Ravetto – who whilst maintaining a pretence of “Hi know nothing” becomes less believable by the day.

As has happened in other sports, it is imperative the FIA set up a process to identify “fit and proper” individuals who are licensed to own and run Formula One teams.

Amusingly this question was asked earlier this year in the House of Commons. ‘With the recent conviction of the former owner of Birmingham City for money laundering, the fraud convictions of the putative owner of Leeds United and the fact that we still don’t know the identity of the individuals that own Coventry City, will you agree with me that we need a proper fit and proper person test to be applied to the owners of football clubs, administered by the authorities and if necessary given the legal security of being underpinned by statute?”

These charges could all probably be laid at the door of a single individual and levied at his recent period of dalliance with the livelihoods of the Caterham staff and families.

None existent Swiss based Arab investors spring quickly to mind. Start a liar, end a liar.The FIA needs to act and act swiftly on a multiplicity of levels; so the time is ripe for Jean Todt the hero to emerge and save the sport, though understandably, many of us are not holding our breath.

Wow. There’s not much in life surprises me, and many of us have been calling this period that F1 has entered as inevitable. Yet the speed of events, the utterly delusional and incredulous self absorbed responses of certain F1 senior personal is quite shocking.

And at the same time the frivolity of the peripheral paddock posse continues with abate – as indeed expected.

Oh and by the way, there’s is apparently a race this weekend – somewhere in the US of A. And Lewis continues to dominate his team mate in free practice, by just 3 one thousandths of a second.

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58 responses to “Judges Chamber: Has #F1 gone down the rabbit hole and up the spout all at the same time?

  1. That press conference was just unbelievable. Wolf came across as an out of touch, unctuous, self serving, prick. I fear for the future of F1 after witnessing that performance….

    • … I think Wolff should fear for his job. It is impossible Stuttgart will want to be represented and portrayed in that manner. There must be a backlash…

      But it was astonishing stuff….

      Lopez was remarkably eloquent – and should get out more. He killed the illusion/lie that the small teams are reckless with their spending – and that they should cut their cloth accordingly.

      The smaller teams have been battered into submission and silence for too long and appear to be prepared to say – Fuck it – if we’re going to die, we’ll go down kicking and screaming.

      • I agree entirely. I thought Lopez knocked it out of the park.

        He, Vijay and Monisha should get out in front of the media at every opportunity, not just the odd official F1 event. Most followers of F1 probably don’t understand just how royally the smaller teams have been screwed over the last couple of years.

      • Lopez was remarkably eloquent – and should get out more. He killed the illusion/lie that the small teams are reckless with their spending – and that they should cut their cloth accordingly.

        +1 – he was very eloquent. Especially how he explained what you described as the costs forced on the teams against their will. Mallay spoke articulately, too – passionately, even. He came out looking like a very, very serious and realistic person who knows his stuff (he’s also president of indian motorsports fed tho, right?).

        WHo cares if indian gov. is gonna seize his GOA villa? lol. F1 is frakked.

    • I haven’t seen it yet, but I imagine ‘the monopoly test’ of human nature is applicable. I.e. stack the start in favour of one player, and see them take it to heart that they are ‘simply better’ than everyone else, and that ‘others could win if they tried harder’, while they take immense glee in winning, showing no mercy or sympathy for the other players..

      Having that advantage ‘melts into your ego’.. top teams vs. the rest in F1 matches up with that scenario quite well. How long has Wolff been involved at Mercedes? Struggling at Williams must seem like a distant memory…

      • “‘simply better’ than everyone else, and that ‘others could win if they tried harder’, while they take immense glee in winning, showing no mercy or sympathy for the other players..”

        Murica-land tends to shower itself with these kind of attitudes, too… 🙂

        • Wolves are incredibly intelligent animals that overtly exhibit a deep understanding of empathy —- a trait this Mercedes-domesticated Wolff sorely lacks.

          (“The U.S.” didn’t derive that attitude in a vacuum. It was brought here from Europe.)

    • “Wolf came across as an out of touch, unctuous, self serving, prick. ”

      Did Woof develop a Horner complex? I think the two of them would make great lovers…

    • After reading the press conference transcript, it was clear that Wolff has no notions whatsoever of “unfair competition” or “abuse of market power”. For a financier, this is strange…

  2. Wow, Wolff really shows his colours. What an oaf.

    Imagine Brawn in the same press conference. Mercedes must be missing him.

  3. Wolff’s and Daimler’s arrogance and hipocracy is exposed further when you look at DTM. Mercedes was shockingly bad this year in DTM, a long way behind Audi and BMW. Dis Audi and BMW gloat and say ‘should’ve done a better job buddy’?
    No, they allowed Merc an in-season development of their car. In fact they were allowed to bring in a completely new one. In F1, where they are the one’s to have a huge advantage, they block anything that could level the playing field.
    Pub Quiz question. Who’s in charge of Merc’s DTM program?
    Correct: Torger Christian Wolff

    • Showing the difference in class between those in Ingolstadt and München –

      and a company that builds taxi’s ……..

  4. Serious prose, Judge. Thank you.

    “I have been asked several times this weekend, what I believe to be Ecclestone’s agenda, and the answer is simple: to create as much chaos and uncertainty amongst the F1 participants that like headless chickens they fall prey to the lurking fox.”

    I think you’re spot on on this. This would also explain Bernard’s constant push for double-points, the recent lovemaking with one Putinesque dick-tator, etc., etc. It does seem rather clear now that Bernard’s end game is to push the sport to the brink, and then either look at it collapse or seize it all on an old, crippled but white pony.

    Two points. This week Bob the maker of fast cars went berserk:
    “FIA ‘IMPOTENT’

    Fernley believes that the fate of F1 is now in the hands of CVC, but doubts the firm cares about the smaller teams.

    “Responsibility lies with the people in control and that is CVC,” he said.

    “I think the FIA are both impotent and powerless, and that has been proven this year in that they wished to bring in cost controls and used their best efforts to do so, but they were completely overpowered by CVC and the five teams.

    “One would have thought if there was any concern the commercial rights holder would be trying to bring together the disenfranchised teams and there has been nothing at all.

    “If there was any concern at all about it, you would presume the head of CVC would be here. And he is not.”

    He hinted that the midfield teams could now take action.

    “I think the disenfranchised teams need to look very seriously at what they are going to do over the next few races,” said Fernley.”

    For me this is an official declaration of war. Now with Caterham and Marussia firmly under the bus (and the medical helicopter refusing to lift off), I am starting to sense a whiff of European Commission investigation in fair play competition within the sport. Sauber and Enstone have now clearly seen where they’re headed, whether they refrain from fighting or not, and faced with extinction of proud histories they have precious little to lose.

    • It makes me think of the old expression that you should never leave a man with nothing to lose. I also think this will go the Europe now and personally I think they will win. The only question is at the speed Europe moves will it be in time?

      • With Monisha’s legal background I really am puzzled why Sauber hasn’t dropped it into the EU’s lap. Certain that the anti-competitive aspect would be right up their street. Be careful what you wish for maybe but sight unseen I’d rather see that route taken then another that would favour Bernie. His GP1 stinks!

  5. What a fine piece, particularly the business of Colin Kolles – the #TJ13 guys have nailed it..!

  6. This sort of article and comment is just why so many of us fell in love with you and your site a couple of years ago. Long May You Reign… but don’t forget the little folk… 😉

  7. The Whole situation in F1 over the last year or so has got ridiculous, like I said yesterday, there has always been an element of high drama and ‘hand bags at dawn’, and it has always liked the smell of its own farts, but its just gone way out of control, and the whole thing is farsicle beyond belief. Your last line sums it up perfectly Judge, the racing is almost secondary to talks about stupid tyres and conspiracies and politics and DRS, paydrivers, engine philosophies, money, regulations, and just…. everything, every damn corner has some ‘issue’….. blah blah blah blah… No wonder audiences are running away in droves.

    Thanks for your reporting on this, and the general financial crisis/Caterham/Marussia stuff and Suzuka/Jules stuff. I know I was a little constructively critical of some of the conspiracy stuff over the summer, but hey we are big lads and can agree to disagree, but the reporting on these latest issues has been top notch and you and the team SHOULD be proud, its pretty much the only place we can come for it. What sickens me the most is that whilst all this shit goes on the main stream media (with the notable exception of a few good eggs) is still toadying around the teams and management. Thanks to all at TJ13.

    As I said on twitter last night: “Rome burns and Skysports are carving pumpkins…” says it all.

    • No grudges carried here my friend.

      The irony of the pumpkin thing was not lost on me either.

      What we wanted was a debate on ‘the issues’ – we got froth.

      • I’ll give Ted Kravitz his due, he often at least references or alludes to stuff, especially in the notebooks, but you can see he’s not able to just swing for it. James Allen and Dieter Rencken often ask some decent stuff, but no one ever really gets to maul anyone, its sickening really.

        • Liked Dieters observation to Wolff, ‘if you get less money, the smaller teams get more. So they’ll recruit the numbers off staff you let go’ (WTTE) ie the “thousands of jobs leaving F1” lie was exposed.

          Wolff. “Errr…..”

        • I have a lot of time for ted, he alludes to lot of things, it’s sometimes more in what he doesn’t say. I’d love to see him let off the leash, maybe have a drink or two just before doing teds notebook.

          And judge, fantastic piece !!!!!!

  8. “all along he has GP1 trademarks, agreements with circuit owners and Ferrari in his pocket to set up a new series.”

    Oh, with LdM gone I don’t think Bernard has Ferrari in his pocket anymore. I think the serious lad Marchionne is one of the first to recognize that all said more competition is good for the sport, and that Bernard is the first who should go. After we’ve seen the brutality of the clean-up in Ferrari-land, expect Mrchionne to start sharping the knives and preparing to pull the rug from under Bernard’s wrinkled arse at the first opportunity…

      • I think Marchionne is a serious pr*ck that has firm grasp of the economics of a business. And I also think that with LdM out, all Ferrari romanticism and ass kissing towards F1 is long gone.

        Look at how he’s willy-nilly giving up Alonso, arguably the best driver out there (top 2 anyways), for the off-chance to set up a sane and constructive working environment at Maranello. Marchionne clearly has no taste for political games, and I see him throwing away the cash handout if he expects a longterm improvement in the standing of the sport and in Ferrari’s image, which has long been tarnished by Ferrari International Association talk or we-walk-away/no-we-don’t posturing.

      • No they won’t and that’s a major part of the problem. That could’ve also been the reason why Redbu secretly went and did their own deal with Bernie behind the FOTA members back, which resulted in its collapse.

        No sane person would give up that huge chunk of money and Bernie wouldn’t dear try and take it away from them either.

    • Has has also spent years screwing circuit owners, along with the rest of the sport.
      I really can’t see a breakaway series lead by Ecclestone is going to be in the least attractive to anyone. He is a man who shows complete contempt for basic social norms, let alone the rules of motorsport.
      If you wanted to escape a dysfunctional F1, why follow the man responsible for the dysfunction ?

      • Yeah, good points. After all the misery that Bernard has heaped upon the likes of Silverstone, Monza, Nuerburgring, Hockenheim, I don’t see any single reason for them to embark into yet another thrilling financial adventure with Bernard.

  9. I agree with Fernley, there’s an agenda behind it all, and that might be having a sport of 4 big teams with their sidekicks.

    McLaren – Force India
    RBR – Toro Rosso
    Ferrari – Marussia or Haas F1 (led by Alonso?!)
    Mercedes – Williams

    • But Bruno Senna said something that was quite interesting….

      “Having B teams aren’t good for the sport either, because if their parent team decides to leave the sport, you’re not losing just 2 cars, you’re losing 4, the sport needs independent teams.”

      Example, Redbull and Torro Rosso.

    • So where would FOTA have sat on this? Was it the self interests of the bigger teams that killed that potential mouthpiece?

      • I don’t know, but it would’ve at least shown some form of unity, even if it was just a ‘mouthpiece’ as you say.

  10. Judge how did you not touch on Bernie’s comments in that same interview with Ted, where he said….

    “We want people who are serious about racing and not those running around with begging baskets”

    Now that clearly supports BF’s comments that there seems to be an agenda to force the smaller teams out of the sport. Because the only begging that they’re doing, is to get a fair and equal share of the pie.

    I did not see the team principles press conference, but if that’s how Toto came across, then thats not good for him or the image of Mercedes.

    It would’ve been interesting of a certain Mr Horner was there and Monisha, Lopez and Vijay could’ve layed into him as well about his behind the back dealings with Bernie, which resulted in the collapse of FOTA.

    But to be fair to Toto, he has inherited a situation that has been around even before he got involved with Williams, only problem then was, it didn’t seem like anyone cared too much to say or do anything about it. Now it has gotten to this state, no everyone is concerned, when it’s way too late.

    • Its unbelievable how it always comes this far. Every single time they acknowledge a problem when its already to late and serious damage has already been done. Safety, money (tracks, tickets, teams), weird noses, mediocre racing, unsafe tyres (misused more like), tarmac run-off area’s (tarmac jungles) etc.

  11. Eric BOULLIER vs Gerard LOPEZ.
    Only last year they were on the same boat “begging for funds”. Now Eric sings a totally different tune. A song bird that changes it’s tune for each season.

  12. I’ve a friend at Cota just now and it turns out that the Toad from Suffolk has banned GoPros from the circuit. Normal cameras are fine but no GoPros?? Further proof he refuses to get with the times.

    [mod] fixed that for you and removed the correction post. Trying to keep it tidy 😉

    • @Dave Pyett.

      Laughed at that! I wonder if they know the difference between an EOS 1D and the C (Cinema) version. I suppose the next thing will be a ban on tripods and a long lens.

      • They beat you to it:

        AUSTIN, TX (Sept. 28, 2012) – In response to fan feedback, Circuit of The Americas has updated the list of prohibited items for the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX, Nov. 16-18, 2012.

        Patrons with still cameras featuring detachable lenses smaller than 10 inches in length WILL BE permitted on site during the Grand Prix event. However, detachable camera lenses longer than 10 inches will be prohibited.

  13. One possible solution…
    (After disposing of Ecclestone, which is sine qua non.)

    The commercial rights for F1 should be put up for auction on (say) a three year rolling basis.
    Red Bull should get out of running a team, and buy the sport instead. They are in the business purely for image purposes, and the amount of money they can commit to ensuring that they win on an ongoing basis distorts the sport.
    As owners, they will get the image benefits without the risk of losing.
    They would also be more likely to negotiate free to air TV deals than the current bunch of venture capitalists, and could write off some revenue shortfall as marketing expenses (something which is of no interest or value to the current owners.

    Let the teams spend what they will, but make the payments for participating and prize money much more equal. And abolish the Ferrari bung: it too distorts the sport and tarnishes their sporting image.

    Without a sound underlying structure which aligns the interests of F1’s owners, teams, sponsors, circuit owners and fans, everything else (engine regs, spending caps etc) is mere detail.
    Having the commercial rights owned by an entity which is interested in the exposure and popularity of the sport rather than one which is interested only in how much cash they can squeeze out of it next year would at least be a step in he right direction…

  14. Thank you Judge.
    Earlier this year I spent a great deal of time lingering around other F1 sites on line. I know all of them. Some have decent reporting, some have decent comments. Tj13 seems to have it all. I credit not only you and your staff, but a large group of commenter’s that have more to say than just ranting and unfunny quips at each others expense.

    This piece is exceptional, the comments are enlightening, and it is why I am here. It is refreshing to know that I am not the only person on the planet that can see what is really going on, and not the only one flabbergasted by the lack of coverage from the “mainstream” F1 press.

    The TP press conference was better than any reality show that has ever aired. Unfortunately, the effort put in by the press in their questioning is too little too late. The fall of F1 has already started.

    It is sad to say that I really wish Lotus, Sauber and FI had boycotted the race. It is going to take the absolute embarrassment of the sport for action to be finally be taken. The uproar if the US GP was run with only 12 cars, echoing the 2005 race, is the only kind of butt kick that will solve these problems.

    To me, the most interesting tidbit of info is that Kolles Sr. actually mentioned bernie by name. Nailing bernie to the whole Caterham/kolles/FRR situation is the most likely way to get rid of him. Keep digging Judge. Together we can make a difference.

    • “To me, the most interesting tidbit of info is that Kolles Sr. actually mentioned bernie by name.”

      From the interview it seems to me that Kolles Sr. indicated that Kolles Jr. had helped butter up Ecclestone to obtain an entry for Forza Rossa. I don’t think it was linked to Caterham per se.

  15. Similar stories of non English speaking strangers arriving at the factory to carry out repair and upgrade work at unfavourable rates and the invoice being traced back to Germany or Romania. Several L/H drive German registered vans were under a long lease with caustic early release clauses left in the car park for example.
    CK and his father has quite a reputation of creative accounting which affected Force India long after they left. There was a *reason FI were late sending in their first company accounts…..

    I don’t believe it’s a simple as giving the smaller teams more money.

    It’s an easy ‘fix’ to throw money at the problem but it won’t stop the smaller teams going bust. That is proven by the fact that teams have been going bust since F1 started. It may be worse now but keeping teams going so the TP’s can fly round the world in first class isn’t necessarily the responsibility of Bernie or the FIA

    *2m black hole (allegedly la de da)

    • “It’s an easy ‘fix’ to throw money at the problem but it won’t stop the smaller teams going bust.”

      It will. Of course individual teams will at one point be failing, but not HALF of the grid. And now we have 1 team dead long ago (HRT), 2 teams not yet cold (Caterham and Marussia), and 2 teams in the emergency room (Sauber and Lotus). Only Force India is breathing heavily but unscarred thus far.

      • Sorry but they will just get used to spending higher sums as history has shown. The larger teams will always outspend the small teams to ensure they stay at the front. Doesn’t take away the fundamental problem with the small teams trying to compete. The only way to progress to the front is if a team gets bought by a rich owner buying his way to the top table. That is the way of modern sport

        David never wins in the real world. Why give money to teams who just throw it away on fancy trailers and alike. Bernie highlighted this when he spoke about Minardi spending money on non car related fluff..
        There have been a lot of stupid comments about Bernie being dumb uncaring money grabbing out of touch etc but ultimately he is the kingpin of everything to do with F1 and what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. Sure he has abused his position for his own personal gain but he’s made most TP’s rather rich from the front to the back of the grid. I don’t like the idea of Ferrari getting a bigger kickback than half the teams run on but that was done for a reason not a whim

        Of course he gets things wrong but many people have underestimated his prowess and got rather burnt because of it.

        Financial adjustments wont work in the long term.The only possible way to level the field is to have a handicap system whereby a win of 25 points brings a weight penalty of 25kg type arrangement etc

    • Thanks for that. Confirms what I said in comments in the week about German registered minibuses being used for race team transportation.

      I guess you work/worked in Leafield

      • With Romanian driver, I may add. Important detail, as it’s hard to see our Swiss Arabs plucking for German rentals with Romanian operators…

  16. Bobby Epstein Friday Oct 31, 2014 on BBC live podcast:

    “Nascar’s on TV 30 weeks a year, so they got a little head start, and I think now that we’ve got a permanent venue like this, as people come here and experience this and they get a chance to see the sport in person, and hear that engine and feel it rumble, it’s just, ah, we’ve seen it go up and up and I think theres another level of technology to share with people, and I think as americans get engaged in that they’ll appreciate it more and more.”

    Bobby Epstein Friday Oct 31, 2014 on SKY in front of Bernie:

    “I don’t think we have any problem with the number of cars. If the competitions good up front, that’s really what matters. If the competitions good the number of cars total doesn’t matter, but it’d be great to hear em.”

    Bobby doesn’t care how many cars are on the grid, so there is no need for Sauber, FI or Lotus to run. They should take this as an invitation.

    Although it would give me great joy to skewer this crook over apparently contradictory noise statements. I will refrain. (Bobby is by definition a crook because he has financial dealings with bernie).
    In fact, I will go so far as to commend him. He may genuinely feel that the reduction in noise pollution is a bad thing, and it matters to him in regards to the spectacle. I disagree with this, but I can respect that opinion, especially since he is the guy taking a financial risk. (well, him and the taxpayers)
    Despite his apparent disdain for the situation, he went on BBC and sold it to the audience. He didn’t go on there and bad mouth the sport, he went on and tried to sell the product he has.
    This is Ten times more effort than the people in charge of F1 have put into the selling of the new technology all year.
    In fact, the rights owner has gone out of his way, multiple times, to badmouth the product he owns. Bobby probably would not have even made the second statement if bernie wasn’t standing next to him forcing him to say it.

    Up until this point I had figured bernie was just the greediest son of a bitch on the planet.
    Now I am sure he is actively trying to kill the sport for his own selfish purposes. It may be greed, it may be hubris, or possibly he just knows he is going to die, and thinks he can take the whole thing with him.

  17. i just read an article fron the telegraph interview with mosley at how “teams used to throw money at problems”, oh man with this article sums it up perfectly.

    and gerrard lopez’ lecture on business managemebt is spot on. i read his whole interview and just shows totto as a spoilt kid in a rich family

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