#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 2nd December 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: We will fight them on the beaches

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Sidebar Outtake from Ep 12: Most embarrassing sporting moment ever?


OTD Lite 1997 – Tyrrell sells his team to B.A.R

The engine “Freeze” Propaganda

Fernandes responsibility in Caterham ownership dispute

Williams and Avanade Announce New Partnership Agreement

Seb’s last day in Milton Keynes


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.

jackie_stewart__monaco_1972__by_f1_history-d5snbxz

The Grumpy Jackal

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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 [2014] 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.

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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.

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Williams and Avanade Announce New Partnership Agreement

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.”

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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?

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24 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 2nd December 2014

  1. “But according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, 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.”

    Laughable. There is a big riot going on about the power units while Renault and Ferrari cant even “spend” all of their tokens for next season? That means getting rid of the engine token system won’t matter anyway as I think, I think Ferrari & Renault – RBR can’t buy extra time.

    How can they expect to use all of the allowed tokens for 2016 if they cant seem to use all of them for 2015? Why arent they pushing for a mid-season engine update? Exactly who is ruining the sport again?

    • Thats a rage post about Ferrari and RBR btw. ;D
      They’re playing the victim part, like they’re being held back by the rules while they have been making the wrong decisions.

      • Precisely, it’s like a football team playing badly and losing a game and then blaming the ref!!!

  2. My 2 cents here:
    1) When the rules related to the engine (or any part of the car) change so dramatically, there should always be the possibility to have significant updates at least for a couple of years. Otherwise there’s a concrete risk for monopoly. Honestly, this season had some pretty entertaining races, but the championship was “killed” by Mercedes. I hope next year there will be at least 2 or 3 contendant for the title.

    2) Ferrari has been doing a horrible job in developing the car through the championship in the past years. My theory is that they do a lot of development pre championship and somehow reach the limit of the car somewhere sooner than the others, therefore is the car is a lemon, well, they’re stuck with it.
    That said, it is quite inexcusable that today they are late with the development of the new engine, considering that they basically gave up on the F14T months ago.

    • Great to hear from you Walter and points well made

      … But don’t Williams, Force India and Lotus (was McLaren) have Mercedes engines too?

      • True, however, Williams and McLaren started the season with an evident performance gap compared to the top teams (reminiscent of last year’s relatively poor performance).
        Williams also took some … odd choices in terms of race strategy.
        Force India, in my opinion, is limited by budget, so they take much longer to “tune” their cars. They end up the season always higher than when they started: for example, noticeably ahead of Ferrari in terms of race pace.
        I am very happy to see Williams back at the top: it has been too long; the performance gap that they had last year compared to the top teams was huge and they did, evidently, an excellent job in taking advantage of the Mercedes engine.
        Why was McLaren unable to match Williams, is not very clear to me: I have the feeling that the years with Whitmarsh must have left a deeper internal scar than visible to the outside world.

  3. ” 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.”

    Eh?

    I thought none of this is now in Fernandes’ hands, and it is all now a matter solely for Finbarr O’Connell, the Administrator.

      • …. perhaps because they have been ill advised ? (just as they perhaps were in their initial attempt to buy the team!)

        Go to any lawyer and he/she will tell you you have a good case, as long as you pay them upfront.

  4. I think it’s hysterical that they started development so late they can’t even use all their tokens. Also, think it’s great that Mercedes offered them extra tokens so they could sort the turbo layout for this year and they said no.

    Really, these people aren’t the least bit serious. Renault and Ferrari are planning a political coup to get engines they can build rather than ones that are actually cutting edge, and frankly, any bit of mercy I feel for them has departed. They’re like a student offered an extension on homework who still fails to get the assignment turned in. Here’s hoping Honda figures out electricity before the start of next season.

    Oh, and my understanding is despite spending the most on development, Mercedes engines actually cost the least. So there’s that, too.

    • Nicely put @Mattpt55 Renault especially look the most stupid as they new pre-Jerez their engines were rubbish, so should have been developing the hell out of it for 2015, even looking to 2015 while preparing for 2014, as I’m sure that is what Mercedes have done, while having their “reliability” updates developed for this years engine, they have had a team solely focused in 2015. I am guessing Renault have concentrated on getting their 2014 engines just operating, then looked at 2015. You would think after realizing they had been out spent and out designed, Renault would have thrown the kitchen sink at the project, but alas, they, instead of acting like a top flight engineering project, they have behaved like spoilt kids who, a) haven’t learned from their mistakes, and b) too bizzy throwing toys out of their pram to realize they should be learning from their mistakes. As for Ferrari…….. they are a near laughing stock given they have close to the same budget available as both Mercedes F1 and Mercedes HHP, so all you can say about the red team is that they have all the gear and no idea!

    • I think it’s hysterical too Matt.

      And then I remind myself that it’s only conjecture. We don’t know this as a fact and as the preseason and early races were such eyeopeners, late starting I just can’t regard as factual.
      Late out of the blocks is apt in regard to Renault and hiring Mr Illien, only.

  5. Alarm bells should have been ringing for Ferrari and Renault after the first couple of races, and most definitely after Bahrain. They should have realised that there really was no point in trying to hang on in there and lay hope on Merc somehow agreeing to let competitors catch up and potentially take away race wins and championship points. There should have been a massive push at the beginning of this season from both manufacturers in making sure that the engine for next year is a big step up and making sure they utilise all their ‘tokens’.

    Now we are hearing they haven’t even used up all their tokens for next season at this late stage! Even if Merc did agree to the ‘free for all’ that Ferrari and Renault were pushing for, there probably wouldn’t have been a change in order in light of this latest revelation. Absolutely unbelievable.

    Renault can’t seem to make an engine that doesn’t resemble the characteristics of one fitted in a truck. In the V8’s they were slow off the line and needed a relaxation of the rules to catch up. Now in the V6 era, one which they were pushing for, they rock up to 2014 pre season testing limiting the teams to a certain mileage because they couldn’t be bothered to make an engine and test it properly. It seems all they are really good for is copying engine designs other manufacturers have come up with and hope for the best.

    • But in truth, is it Renault and Ferrari pushing for an engine change/unfreeze?

      The only person making the most noise is Christian Horner. We’ve hardly heard a word from anyone at either manufacturer. Didn’t a Ferrari engineer not say, that it wouldn’t require a complete relaxing of the rules to make the necessary upgrads that they need?

      2016 should be very interesting…..

      • And didn’t James Allen openly state (during FP2 Austin) that within the system controlling, things will be very different next season.
        With Mercedes solution adopted even……

  6. Re-Williams
    I do hope that with their resurgence of form and the chances of extra sponsorship good on track form brings, helps them to truly fight for championships as Rob Smedley confirmed in Abu Dhabi, Williams cannot use an engine mode higher than the works team is running as it risks both teams engines failing and costing the works team a DNF and championship points. Hopefully as the engine technology matures, the customer teams will learn about the power units sufficiently to be able to manage engine modes, maps and mixtures themselves, rather than being dictated settings be their engine supplier. But with the fact currently being that they must respect their allocated Mercedes engine engineers during the race, Williams must work on aero to try and take the fight to Mercedes works team and we all know that costs money. Let’s hope the extra prize money and sponsorship that is coming their way gives them the edge they are looking for.

    • You give MB far too much credit. It would seem implicit in the sale of power units that you aren’t allowed to embarrass the manufacturer by either beating the works team or by blowing things up. Also if you’re slow then you have to say it’s the car’s fault, not the PU. That is unless you are piling on to a preexisting narrative as with “not enough power” Renault and Ferrari story – even then the works team are pretty much the only ones who can say very much. Customers need to shut up and be grateful for the sale of corporate egos.

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