#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 14th November 2014

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Previously on TJ13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: I can Shoot People in South Africa

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Horner says Ferrari anticipate 3 car teams

‘No change’ in Bianchi’s condition – Lowdon

Double points

Renault ‘not interested’ in going back to V8 – Wolff

Sainz may be shock contender for McLaren seat

D-Day for Caterham (Breaking News: Update 14:19) (Update 15:11)


Horner says Ferrari anticipate 3 car teams

The ebb and flow surrounding the discussion of 3 car teams for 2015, remains an item on Ecclestone’s agenda – primarily driven by Ferrari and Red Bull.

Having displayed some reticence over the idea in Austin, Christian ‘for the good of the sport’ Horner has now done another flip-flop on the matter.

Horner mutters vague meaningless words which are intended to convey empathy. “I hope that Marussia and Caterham get their act together,” yes, yes yes spice boy, not what is your real agenda? 

If not, and we had to run a third car, we would be in a position to,” said the spice boy; “But we will need to know pretty quickly – it’s already November. Logistically it would be painful, but if we are called upon to do it then yes, we would be able to support it.”

As TJ13 revealed yesterday, Ferrari are locked in gridlock with their world champion Spanish driver, and to all intense and purposes are holding the line, ‘If Fernando is available, we will run him under his full contractual terms as one of our drivers.

The sticking point to both parties extricating themselves from what is clearly a ridiculous situation, is Ferrari’s demands that Alonso pay the penalties for breaching [should he leave] his services rendered contract.

This amount is believed to be in the 30m plus currency units, and clearly neither McLaren or Honda are not prepared to fund this exit clause – and as time goes by the possibility of seeing Alonso, Vettel and Raikkonen driving three ‘666’ red cars in 2015, grows incrementally larger.

Never one to miss an opportunity, Horner quips, “Maybe they’ve [Ferrari] just been very smart and anticipated three-car teams! It is just that the third driver should be a rookie and it is difficult to say who will be the rookie out of the three champions they have signed.”

Would it be so difficult for Ferrari and Red Bull to leverage their position and have the regulations re-written to permit all three cars the opportunity to score points? Or have their drivers’ lawyers omitted to ensure that their contracts which demand a race seat have ensured this is one which is eligible to count towards both the constructors’ and drivers’ championship?

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‘No change’ in Bianchi’s condition – Lowdon (GMM)

Almost six weeks on, there is “no change” in Jules Bianchi’s condition.

That is the news of Graeme Lowdon, who as sporting director and president has overseen not only the aftermath of Frenchman Bianchi’s horror Suzuka crash, but also the closure of the struggling Marussia team.

Although sounding upbeat that there may be light at the end of the tunnel for the stricken Banbury-based team, Lowdon has less to report on the condition of 25-year-old Bianchi, who remains in a coma in Japan.

There’s no change in his condition,” Lowdon told Britain’s Sky. “He’s still stable but critical, and I think the thoughts of everyone in the team and also his very wide fan base are with Jules at the moment,” he added.

It has also been a poignant and sad week for the family, friends and fans of the F1 legend Michael Schumacher, as the 20th anniversary of his first title triumph in 1994 came and went. The prominent German entertainment ‘Bambi’ awards marked the occasion on Thursday by presenting a trophy to Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm.

Also present was the great German’s rival David Coulthard, his former teammate Nico Rosberg, his friend Ross Brawn and protege Sebastian Vettel.

Michael, you were my idol,” the reigning world champion said in a moving speech.

My room was covered in your posters, but today I am embarrassed that hanging next to you was Britney Spears in a mini skirt,” Vettel smiled.

Schumacher’s current health condition was not mentioned during the ceremony, but as his official website was relaunched this week, an official posting said the family is “confident” for the future.

Your strength is helping us keep supporting him,” the message from his family adds.

Briton Brawn, a former Ferrari and Mercedes colleague and one of Schumacher’s closest friends, said at the Bambi awards: “He is now fighting a new battle, and he will insist upon doing it his own way.

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Sainz may be shock contender for McLaren seat (GMM)

Carlos Sainz jr may have emerged as a shock candidate to be Fernando Alonso’s teammate next year. The Red Bull-backed rookie Spaniard now appears out of the running to make his debut for Toro Rosso next year, with the energy drink company likely to instead pair the young Max Verstappen with the more experienced Jean-Eric Vergne.

But Italy’s Omnicorse claims a golden option may have emerged out of the blue for 20-year-old Sainz, the son of the world rally legend and the newly-crowned Formula Renault 3.5 champion — the youngest in its history.

McLaren, having survived without a title sponsor in 2014, and new partner Honda are reportedly breaking the bank to sign the highly-expensive Alonso for 2014. Team boss Eric Boullier hinted in Brazil that the team is open to welcoming Spanish sponsors to accompany the 33-year-old.

Santander, Madrilena … there are no serious negotiations, but if they want to come, there is no problem!” he laughed.

Omnicorse claims one of them could be the Telefonica-owned Spanish mobile operator Movistar, which may “open a door for Carlos Sainz jr as the second driver“. One prominent Spanish motor racing figure, the former F1 manager and Epsilon Euskadi chief Joan Villadelprat, is tipping success for Alonso and McLaren in the years ahead.

I have no doubt the Honda will be a powerful engine,” he told El Confidencial, “because they have had time to do things well rather than repeat the errors of Renault and Ferrari.

And I see the marriage of Alonso and McLaren as more fruitful than the first (in 2007),” Villadelprat insisted.

To start, this time Fernando is the undisputed number 1. Secondly, I think they (Alonso and McLaren) are both very intelligent and have both learned from the past and forgotten it.

Fernando needed somewhere to go, Ferrari was not going anywhere, the relationship with Marco Mattiacci is zero.

The McLaren option is good because they have taken every experience this year with the Mercedes engines, Honda will have learned from it and with their resources I am convinced it will be a tremendous engine,” he added.

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Renault ‘not interested’ in going back to V8 – Wolff (GMM)

Toto Wolff has hit back at claims F1 is heading into a spending war because of Mercedes’ attitude amid the engine ‘unfreeze’ debate. Christian Horner, the boss at Renault works team Red Bull, said in Brazil that because dominant Mercedes is not helping F1’s struggling suppliers to catch up, the entire cost-limiting freeze could be ended altogether beyond 2015.

With a majority vote, 2016/17/18 can be opened,” he said, “which is ridiculous because we will all end up spending a lot more money over a longer period of time.

Horner’s Mercedes counterpart Wolff, however, clearly suspects Horner is applying pressure and making threats that are not likely to be carried through.

No serious company would allow that to happen and none of the current engine suppliers could allow that to happen because costs would escalate totally out of control,” he said.

Wolff even claimed he knows that Red Bull’s works supplier, Renault, does not want the engine ‘freeze’ to be totally relaxed.

Where Mercedes and Renault are currently 100 per cent aligned is that with the current V6 technology it is state of the art, road relevant and is the future,” he insisted.

Wolff suggested Horner’s other threat – that F1 might be better off reverting to cheaper and more performance-equalised V8 engines – is also empty.

His comments follow Niki Lauda’s warning that if the V8s do return, “Mercedes will be gone“.

If we drop the current format,” Wolff confirmed, “I can assure you certain manufacturers like Renault and Mercedes would not be interested in supplying any other power unit.

TJ13 Comment: Christian ‘for the good of the sport’ Horner is certainly morphing into Bernie Ecclestone – or maybe Ecclestone is ‘assimilating’ him. The notion that the V8’s will return to Formula One is utter nonsense.

Further, Ecclestone does appear to be losing a certain amount of ‘intimidatory’ impact and maybe control in F1 as he cajoles and badgers the TP’s each weekend to accept 3 car teams and then the idea of a F1/GP1 grid, where we have WEC style races – with different catagories on track simultaneously.

When all the hullabaloo about the future of F1 dies down, the most likely scenario due to intransigence will see 18 cars and 9 teams on the grid in Melbourne.

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Double points

As has been suggested here on TJ13 previously, double points is unlikely to affect this years title, due to the dominance of the Mercedes car.

However, here’s how double points would have affected a few other F1 world champions

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D-Day for Caterham

Today is the deadline for the Caterham team to reach its Crowdfunding project of £2.35m. Even though as of 10:00 GMT, this is over £950k short, Finbar O’Connell, the administrator from Smith & Williamson, believes the team will still go racing in Abu Dhabi.

O’Connell said last night: “We are talking to a number of parties who could make a substantial investment. It is possible then if we got to £1.8million tomorrow and had pledges of £0.5million from sources then we could make an executive decision to go.

I don’t want to take the drama away but it could be that we get close with fans’ donations and then it is topped up by some serious investors. We are trying to sign contracts which will fill a big chunk. I still strongly believe we will be racing.”

There was an expected sceptical response from Bernie Ecclestone, who quipped, “The question if they get to Abu Dhabi is whether they will have enough money to come home. I have been talking to the administrator regularly. If they get to Abu Dhabi, they are in the championship.”

This morning, Chris Medland – editor of Crash.net tweeted, “The crowdfund figure is expected to get a big boost during today. Full story soon”, though whether the team can deploy new pay drivers – which would take them to more than four drivers in one season – is at present unclear.

This project has been run by Caterham employees, who have dedicated their time and energies probably for free, though there has been widespread scorn within F1 poured on this crowdfunding attempt.

Ecclestone stated, “It is bad for the image of F1”. Yet behind closed doors, others believe the drama of the Caterham Crowdfunding is assisting the current efforts of Lotus, Sauber and Force India, who are publicising abroad exactly how Formula One distributes its wealth amongst the teams – something previously shrouded in mystery.

Gerrard Lopez has led this public engagement in the debate over Formula One finances and he makes his position crystal clear, when he states. “It’s a one-off [the crowdfunding] and I think it’s sad. If you think about what it’s being used for. Formula 1, which is a $1.6billion business, and distributes over $900million, and we’re being asked if crowdfunding is a good idea to bring a team back. Seriously? Then it’s even more disastrous than I think it is, in terms of ethics.”

‘Breath’ and ‘wasted’ – spring to mind Gerrard.

Citing ethics in Ecclestone’s world, is an absurd notion.

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

Bernie Ecclestone commented to Austosport today on the plight of Marussia and Caterham.

“Nobody will miss the two teams because they’re not frontrunning teams; they’ve only got a name that people would know because of the problem they’re in,” he said. “If you want to get recognised you’ve got to do something.

 “This poor guy in South Africa [Oscar Pistorius], for instance, has got more interest because of what happened with him than when he was winning gold medals. He won medals and afterwards nobody thought about him.”

Interestingly, here’s this week’s offering #TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: I can Shoot People in South Africa

UPDATE: TJ13 has learned Caterham today have been packing up the freight in Cranleigh and preparing to take the cars and the race team to Abu Dhabi.

The crowfunding effort had funded about 60% of the monies required but the rest has been provided by an ‘investor’ who is apparently serious about a longer term relationship with the team, together with new sponsors.

Finbarr O’Connell, the Administrator states, “These are just for one race. This is normal commercial funding but because this sponsorship wouldn’t exist other than for the original crowdfunding initiative, it’s been agreed that the benefit of it will go in to the crowdfunding pot.”

The team were good to go and just waiting on gearboxes from Red Bull racing, which arrived at the last  minute

Then a final hitch was discovered; permission was required from Bernie Ecclestone. Given Ecclestone’s dismissive attitude to the smaller teams and Caterham and Marussia in particular, this was a moment of deflation for the project team who have given Caterham F1 a glimmer of hope.

TJ13 was informed at 14:14 GMT, “The dwarf has given the green light”, so we can assume the team are on their way to the desert race in Abu Dhabi.

The name of the drivers is still a closely kept secret, though Ericsson has terminated his contract with the team. TJ13 has been informed that Jolyan Palmer will be partnering Kamui Kobayashi for the green team next weekend and that the reports of Alice Powell driving was never a starter.

TJ13 sources reported Palmer visited Leafield twice in the fortnight prior to the factory shut down, and that Joylon’s application for a super license had been sent out from Caterham F1’s administration department.

Further, there is an unconfirmed source informing us that Jonathan Palmer is close to closing agreement with the creditors which would see him buy the Leafield outfit.

TJ13 understands that a number of the components on both Caterham cars are over their ‘safe’ mileage lifespan and due to the Leafield factory shut down, the replacements have not been completed.

Therefore we may not see much of the green machines running in Abu Dhabi, and there are questions over whether they’ll complete more than a handful of racing laps. The team will however, be paid their appearance monies.

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51 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 14th November 2014

    • We may have to wait till the pre-season testing to understand the results. There have been so many reports on Honda. Earlier Honda themselves said they wont feature prior to February 2015 when Mclaren were telling that they ll use Honda engines for post Abu Dhabi GP test. Now we are talking about a filming day/shakedown etc etc.,.

      So it is best left to the guesses of everyone of us as to whether Honda would be dialed-in from the get go.

      Judge,

      Why are we missing the Jackal and his OTD lite these days?

      • …. He’ll be back – got some stuff to attend to at present…

        Also we a bit thin on the ground news team wise…. so its for times like this GMM is useful – to provide the courtroom attendees with topics to debate….

        Should be some TJ13 news coming today though too….

      • Going OT here, but wanted to get it higher up the comments thread so as to get the most views. Anyways, for thejudge13 stats pro’s, and any others out there in the gallery, has there ever been an instance, in any racing series, of a driver winning over half of the races in a season, and not being declared champion?

        In F1, the closest I can see is 1958 when Moss won 4 races (out of 11 races, 10 if Indy 500 is excluded), Tony Brooks won 3, and Hawthorn won once. Hawthorn won the title by one point, though in that season fastest lap scored an extra point. At 5-3 FL’s for Hawthorn over Moss, that proved the difference.

        • All racing series – especially those that award points to a large chunk of the field, award consistency over outright winningness. Hamilton’s ‘problem’ is that despite his many wins, the car was so utterly superior that his team mate almost always finished 2nd in those races, so he never could take a large chunk of points out of Nico. It took four wins in a row, just to make up for the DNF in Australia.
          That’s the difference to the Red Bull days. The RB wasn’t superior enough to guarantee a 1-2, so Vettel could take more points out of Mark with the help of Alonso and Hamilton. With a car as superior as the Merc, a DNF is devastating news as with the almost guaranteed 1-2, it nixes 4 wins.

          • It rewards consistency? In terms of points-per-finish (PPF), Lewis stands at 22.27, while Nico’s at 19.81. Remove the two finishes where Lewis was hampered in qualifying (GER and HUN), and his PPF rises to 23.38. Winning 4 out of 5 races, and finishing 2nd in the 5th, gives a PPF of 23.6, so Lewis is just under that.

            F1 didn’t reward consistency over wins in 1988 or 1964, with the total points leader finishing 2nd in both cases.

            As you allude to, it’s more a case this year of reliability being a main determinant, given the strength of the Mercedes.

        • I do think that a loss for Hamilton this year would rank alongside that of 1958 for Moss, losing on F.lap points vs. double points. If Hamilton had also lost 2008, instead of winning it at the final turn, then the analogy would increase yet again..

          We could even compare Ricciardo to Brooks, in that, DR has been more impressive than Nico, but in the history books, would be forgotten if he gets eclipsed by RB juniors from next year, like Brooks was by leaving BRM for 1962…. the plaudits thus going to Graham Hill, while Surtees was in a crap car and Clark retired in the final race.

      • You must keep in mind, too that in the past at this time the F1 season was already over, so other than births and deaths there is little OTD material in the coming weeks. But as the gavel wielder wrote, Carlo has important stuff to attend to and the site has to take a backseat to that as we all do it as a hobby.

  1. Re: Christian Horner on return to V8s

    This was tocuhed upon in today’s podcast. With all due respect for his succesful TP role at Redbull, its no wonder why people tip him as successor to Mr.E. This guy and the boss of the energy drink company last year went on to threaten to quit the sport entirely if they dont get the tyres they want. Its no secret that such tyres helped redbull and Adrain Newey admitted the same post season in an interview.

    This bloke should not be allowed to manipulate f1 into further doom. The very fact that Honda has returned is because the current f1 technology can be transformed into road cars. And we expect Audi with Domenicalli at its helm to make a concerted effort to enter f1 in the future. At this point a return to v8 being propogated by Mr.E and one of the succesful TPs s#^ks.

    So commonsense regarding cost control should prevail. Else we would be forced to watch a two tier series which is no fun.

    • It’s an empty threat. Renault, Mercedes, and Honda would all pull out. So it’d be Ferrari vs. RBR-Ferrari, and the prevailing story would be that Ferrari and Red Bull couldn’t beat their competition, so kicked them out instead.

    • Except that the current engines are not good for cost control. The old engines cost about 7M, now the teams must pay 25M, which is almost four times as much and with their huge spending, Mercedes force Ferrari, Renault and Honda to spend a lot of money or remain far behind Merc forever. The new engines didn’t reduce the costs, they sent them through the roof and played a major role in killing the smaller teams.

      • So, it begs the question why f1 did not think about it three years ago when these rules were announced. I do feel that a fairer distribution of total revenue would solve a lot of problems. CVC should also come out and share a better percentage of revenue with teams thereby giving a larger pool of funds to allocate/distribute. Further this being the first year of this hybrid technology, the engines may become cheaper next year due to advancement in the process/new methods.

        Also why not f1 think about having limited production of front/rear wings say 3-5 per season each one having a different configuration.

        • Re: Front and Rear wings etc

          Oh it has been thought of, but it takes a regulator with balls to enforce such things, and the F1 commission is now death by committee for F1.

          Horner and Mattiacci’s equivalents at the time were equally addicted to the ridiculous qualifying engines, run with almost no fluids, which lasted no more than 100km – So – not so Mad Max – slapped a parc ferme on them after qualifying.

      • And with a cost cap, say 11.5m per season for customers, surely this could have been avoided a little? Mercedes could still have spent big, but on the understanding that more of that spend was for winning PR/R&D.

        If Renault pull out, that could also help Cosworth to replace them, for RB and small teams, while Honda could undercut Ferrari for their customers.

    • @ ramanan1987

      ” And we expect Audi with Domenicalli at its helm to make a concerted effort to enter f1 in the future. ”

      I think you should stop smoking whatever it is you are smoking ……

      Domenicalli isn’t at the helm – and he hasn’t even been given a sporting position within Audi.

      It’s more likely he was recruited for a job at Ducati or Lamborghini

      And here’s some more crack smokers writing about Audi + Alonso + Domenicalli coming to F1 in 2016

      http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/audi/89171/audi-to-join-f1-in-2016

      http://gas2.org/2014/10/26/audi-f1-in-2016-w-alonso/

      ho ho ho ….

    • Any chance Horner is following Bernie’s lead in talking crap while the boy’s out of sight work hard on completing RB”s own p/u contender for 2015.
      I mean, there has often been lines of ‘news’ of such, even on this very site?

  2. Hmmmm, is it me or are a few news stories being updated in the last couple of days without a note to say they have been updated? I’ve almost missed a couple of the extra updated bits – and I’d hate to do that 🙂

  3. Judge,

    If i could contribute something to today’s discussion then this is one. Poor old ecclestone thinks f1 need not attract fans of younger generation. His entire interview is available in the following link which is BS simply.

    I must add that Mr. E never fails to amuse me whenever he is in front of a mike.

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/116761

  4. There’s an article on Autosport at the moment, it’s an interview with Bernie, in it he says he’d rather focus on 70 year old fans with lots of dosh to spend on the goods F1 are sponsored by, opposed to poor young fans on social media who can just f@@k right off as far as he’s concerned, as they have no money to spend.

    I’ll just leave you all with those opinions and run I think!

    Here’s a link if anyone else is up for being angry this morning……http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/116761

    • Ecclestone has got to go…. Look at all of his blurting the past few months. How can investors have faith in him at this point?

      • …you would have thought CVC would exit him pronto – then again – Ecclestone has stuff on them – they would rather not become public knowledge…

        For your wish to come true it appears the grim reaper is the only solution…

      • The bloke’s an utter psychopath, his moral compass is up on that asteroid with the space craft that’s just been landed on it!
        Surely, CVC can see he’s essentially just trying to run the business into the ground, what hold has he got over them??
        I don’t want to come across as ageist, (probably will) but what other huge multi-national business’ are run by a hugely decrepit old fool who is so out of touch with the world going on around him?? Everytime he’s interviewed he comes across as a man who’s marbles went down the plug hole many moons ago. It’s getting to the point now where I’m seriously wary about the future prospects of the sport as a whole. He has to go now, before it is brought to its knees.
        Give him a little pat on the back for getting it this far but seriously just leave would be by message if I was CVC. Never happen though, he’ll have it written into his contract that his coffin has to be paraded at every Grand Prix weekend for ever probably. *shudders*

        • I loved the coffin bit. How about a statue at every possible race venue and a salute to Mr. E after each national anthem by all the drivers in future once he hangs up his boots and a possible Bernie fund in f1 to meet shortfalls in the budgets of small teams

          • He already has his name plastered all over various parts of the track so why the hell not!!

        • I thought Bernie used the money he paid them to buy back into CVC? Thus still owning a lot of F1 and now CVC, who make money from other things also.

          • How much MORE money that this guy want ?? Greed is really a disease in his case. And unfortunately in our world all problems can be solved through money, just look at the bribe case, he bribes the judges and gets away with it by bribing even more people… Afraid of nothing, yeah obviously. I hope someone is equally unafraid of just shooting the guy down in broad daylight just for the sake of putting an end to his reign and start anew. Something has to be done, we can wait for the Grim Reaper or accelerate his demise.

  5. Re: Alonso must pay to leave
    From earlier Posts, I understood Alonso was free to go. But if he is fired he gets severance of 30 million. So I thought he now tries to get fired and get the severance. So both parties have an incentive to not end the contract.

    Was the ‘free to go’ info wrong?

    • I really hope that this competitive appendage measurement gets totally out of control between Fred and the Ferrari mob. I want the stalemate to continue past Xmas and right up to the winter tests. There’s already a fair bit of bad blood between Ferrari and McLaren and Fred played a key role last time so it shouldn’t take too much for them to start chucking darts at each other.

      A massive implosion followed by a very public bust up would be great to keep things interesting in the off-season.

    • Yeah, and the reason why Hamilton is able to preserve the rear tires, vis-a-vis Nico. I think the fuel effect wasn’t a big factor in Brazil (a lower fuel use circuit), plus it’s a light-on-braking circuit. Those two factors, along with the fact that the weather didn’t deviate that much from Saturday to Sunday, meant that Nico didn’t have as hard a time finding his “groove” during the race, compared to Sunday in Austin.

      Abu Dhabi is a medium-level fuel use circuit, and is medium on brakes as well. Sunset will be 10 minutes earlier than last year, b/c of the later date.

    • That is very interesting.
      “When we first ran Lewis in an F1 car at McLaren in a test, we could see from the traces there was a lot of instability in the car in the braking and corner entry phases – and I mean a lot,” says Lowe. “Enough that our then current race drivers [Raikkonen and Montoya] would have been bitching about it when they came in. But Lewis didn’t mention it. So we pushed him about it, asked him what the car was like on braking and corner entry and he just said, ’fine’.”

      The article makes some great points (even if it does rather elide the point that Hamilton was only 0.033 slower in the most recent quali despite a lockup).

  6. Re: Caterham…..

    Finbarr O’Connell has just released a statement that they will be racing in Abu Dhabi.

    • …. and on the same day made all of the staff redundant. Statutory pay from the government only. Good luck building a car if a buyer is found.

  7. Re 3 cars for Ferrari:
    imagine a team with 3 WDC and Kimi and Seb with their favorite driving style with very controlled front and Fred on the other side in a B-car.
    You could see the last 2 races with Kimi much more competitive.
    If we can get this, i happily will see Caterham and Marussia go down the river.

    • ” If they have components past the sell-by date, they shouldn’t be allowed to run. ”

      Ferrari have had cars past their sell by date for the last 7 years – yet they’re still allowed to run ……

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