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Previously on The Judge 13:
OTD Lite 1997 – Tyrrell sells his team to B.A.R
On this day, Ken Tyrrell sold his World Championship winning team to the BAR consortium headed by Craig Pollock. After having won three titles in his first six years as an entrant, the teams fortunes slowly gave way to midfield mediocrity before the cost of racing forced this proud man to sell. After a disagreement over Riccardo Rosset with the BAR team, he removed his name from the 1998 entry and survived a further three years in declining health.
Jackie Stewart had played a huge part in the early years and his protege Francois Cevert was killed at Watkins Glen in 1973. Over the following years, Tyrrell introduced the seminal six-wheeler car and would prove to be a supremely gifted talent spotter but the writing was on the wall as F1 entered the decadent 90’s.
With the last victory for the team being Michele Alboreto’s victory at the 1983 Detroit Grand Prix, the team saw out their remaining years with ever decreasing performance – although Jean Alesi in 1990 surprised many – and although the team became a fixture in the history books, the genesis of the current Mercedes team can be traced back to the remains of the glorious blue Elf sponsored cars.
The Grumpy Jackal
The engine “Freeze” Propaganda
There has been a lot of propaganda regarding engine ‘freeze’, particularly from Mr. Horner and whoever is sat in ‘The Chair’ in Marenello when the music stops next.
However, Andy Cowell attempts to put matters in perspective. Speaking to Spanish publication El Mundo, he explains “The situation is clear,. You can develop the engine in different ways throughout the year  and then start with the best version at the beginning of next season”.
Having listening to the rhetoric of Horner and the Red Team Boss, this may come as a surprise to many Formula One fans. Cowell adds, “There is a very long list of development opportunities for our opponents to take a big step forward.”
Indeed, around 47% of the engine can be completely replaced/renewed, whilst the other 53% is still subject to the usual regulations which frequently allow components to be ‘upgraded’ for reasons of ‘safety’ and ‘durability’.
Given this level of freedom, there is a hollow ring to Christian Horner’s threat that there will be a ‘no cost spared – free for all’ from Renault and Ferrari engine divisions for 2016.
Auto Motor und Sport are suggesting that Renault and Ferrari have again fallen behind Mercedes in the ‘in season’ engine development allowed so far this year for testing in Jerez. Apparently neither engine manufacturer will actually use the full number of tokens allowed (ie the 47%) despite the fact that Renault has engaged the services of renown specialist – Mario Illien.
Renault and Ferrari are now running out of time to prepare meaningful upgrades to their ‘power units’ before 2015. The report said neither engine maker even looks set to use all the available ‘tokens’ of allowed performance upgrades by the end-of-February freeze deadline.
Word from Marenello would suggest that Ferrari will present for 2015 a more Mercedes like engine layout, though as has been expected for some time Nikolas Tombazis will be leaving the team. Admits all this Sebastian described his first day with the Italian team as “magical”.
The unofficial voice from Ferrari-land, Italian journalist Leo Turini, penned the following words from an unnamed inside source in Maranello. “In the midst of all this euphoria, we should not forget to apologise in advance to Seb and Kimi for the car they will drive in 2015.”
Of course Ferrari fans may cling to the hope that this is sand bagging, and as part of project ‘Body bags from Maranello’, Luca Marmorina was exited in the summer, whilst a number of Mercedes engineers were recruited.
The problem is that the Mercedes engine architecture cannot be completely mimicked without some relaxation of the current regulations, though Mercedes offered an additional 5 tokens freedom for Ferrai and Renault, however, they rejected this.
Should Ferrari and Renault be allowed to simply copy the Mercedes engine design, or should they receive a reward for delivering the best solution today in the era of the new F1 V6 Turbo PU’s?
Here’s a quick summary of the engine design and redesign regulations as they stand.
The PU is divided up into 66 ‘token’ components and each is given a token weighting of 1,2 or 3.
For 2015, the teams have been allowed to redesign/change 32 of these tokens. Mercedes offered to allow a further 5 tokens to be added, 12 were requested by Ferrari and Red Bull. No agreement was found.
From the moment the engines were homologated back in February this year, the teams have ben free to work on the engine redesign for 2015.
Each year the number of tokens available for change will reduce by about 9%. Thus by 2018 there will be 15 tokens available for change – around 23% of the engine.
Fernandes responsibility in Caterham ownership dispute
The mess that is the Caterham F1 team ownership story rumbles on. In summary, the business – both 1 MRT and Caterham Sports Ltd were to be sold, however, the shares in 1 MRT were never transferred.
On the appointment of the Administrator, Tony Fernandes tweeted, “If you buy something you should pay for it. Quite simple”. The implication is clear, the deal was never satisfactorily concluded.
Whilst Fernandes was happy to ship out the team and operating companies for the nominal consideration of £1, he wished to ensure the liabilities of around £16m were also taken care of.
In his statement to the Administrator, Constantin Cojocar – cleaner turned company director states, “I understand that the sale and purchase agreement was a conditional agreement and completion has not yet occurred, but that the Purchaser appointed directors to the Company and 1MRT, and the previous directors resigned.”
If true, this means the Swiss based Arab consortium represented by the company Engavest clearly didn’t satisfy the contractual arrangements for the sale of the business. The fact that they were allowed to appoint directors is irrelevant in the ownership debate, because UK statutory directors of limited liability companies may have no ownership interest in the entity they are responsible for.
Following the appointment of new company directors – by what were in effect agents of Tony Fernandes as the shareholder of 1 MRT – the issue of who would fund what and pay which bills and creditors was never resolved.
Cojacar confirms this in his statement where he reveals that he was promised £2m a week to run the business by the Swiss Arab Investors but alleges they were frightened away by the Bailiffs actions.
This said, the period from June to the first arrival of the Bailiffs in October is not an inconsiderable period of time, and it begs the question what had prevented the deal being done prior to this.
Interestingly, today we learned that Engavest is seeking compensation from Fernandes and his partners, and has requested an arbitration process to expedite matters rather than have to await for legal rulings from the court.
As TJ13 has continually reported, the Swiss based Arabs represented by Kolles appear to have never acted in good faith over this transaction. £16m for a readymade Formula One team is a pittance, given the annual costs to merely run the team are way in excess of this figure.
The prize is now the Intellectual Property for a 2015 F1 car and the race license held by 1 MRT. That said, the FIA would almost certainly look favourably on a Kolles et al application for an F1 racing license for 2015, could they be persuaded that an appropriate car can be delivered – and the annual business plan to fund the team is in hand.
However, there are serious questions to be asked of these faceless individuals and the seriousness of their intentions.
The carnage caused over their agency management of the Caterham team has left hundred’s unemployed and Creditor’s out of pocket – and why? Because these ‘investors’ refused to take responsibility for a mere £16m of debt and acquire the team for £1?
Should the ‘investors’ manage to prise the IP and racing license away from the Caterham F1 team as it is now in administration for less than £16m, it will have been a successful venture in a management team failing to deliver on their fiduciary duties to a UK based company – Caterham Sports Ltd – and they stand accused of deliberately wrecking the company in order to buy up its assets a knock down price.
If Tony Fernandes is to come out of this with any respect, he must ensure these people do not get what they want for a mess of pottage. It may cost him a few million should they offer now £4-8m for the transfer of the 1 MRT shares.
Yet the staff will not be re-employed and Fernandes can drag the matter out to ensure that no ‘on the cheap’ racing license or IP is granted.
The apparent lengths Kolles et al have been prepared to go to in avoiding taking proper responsibility for the Caterham F1 racing team MUST raise questions with the FIA regarding the suitability of these people to be included as competitors on the F1 grid.
RIP Caterham F1.
Williams Martini racing has just announced a new multi-year technology partnership agreement and sponsorship with Avanade, a global business technology, cloud and managed services provider.
Avanade and Williams will develop a suite of tools to ensure that the team fully optimises its new enterprise platform. Williams will also be drawing on Avanade’s expertise to make sure that future digital and cloud investments lead to improved business performance both on and off the race track. The partnership agreement and sponsorship will see the Avanade logo appear on the side pod leading edge of the team’s racing cars and team apparel from the 2015 season onwards.
This then is clearly a cash plus services kind of deal.
Avanade supplies customers business technology solutions, cloud and managed services that combine expertise focused on Microsoft technologies. The company, founded in 2000 by Microsoft and Accenture, has 22,000 professionals active in more than 20 countries.
Speaking about the new partnership Stella Goulet, Avanade chief marketing officer said; “Avanade is excited about becoming a technology partner and sponsor for WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING. Together with the team, we will leverage the Microsoft enterprise platform and focus on digital business priorities to optimize technology both on and off the track. Avanade highly values the development program in place at WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING focused on the next generation of women and engineers. We look forward to realizing results together as we build on our mutual business priorities.”
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal and Commercial Director, added; “Williams has undertaken an ambitious project over the past 18 months to invest in new technologies that will help keep us at the cutting edge of motorsport and advanced engineering. With this new partnership we will be working closely with Avanade to make sure that our investments are delivering their full potential. Avanade also understands the strength of the synergies between our two companies in areas such as technology innovation, gender diversity and encouraging the study of STEM subjects in schools and we will be looking to continue to enhance our involvement in those areas.”
Seb’s last day in Milton Keynes
Remember what trophies look like laddy – it could be some time before you see any more.
Also isn’t the Bull……. rather……. errr… Ginger? Anyone seen Geri recently?