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Previously on The Judge 13:
OTD Lite 2009 – Iceman confirms move to rallying
“I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point. Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of the series with the Citron C4. This is a very exciting challenge. I’m really looking forward to testing the car and taking it to the start of the first rally”
With this confirmation, on this day the tifosi waved a warm farewell to the 2007 champion who had proven underwhelming in his title defense and his final season in red. Well so we thought at the time…
When news first appeared on TJ13 back in July last year that a Richter scale announcement in regards Kimi to Ferrari had been completed, it wasn’t only the media but fans of the red cars that shook their heads in disbelief. Surely Raikkonen had proven his ability the first time round and this return would simply end in tears.
Sadly, the 2014 seasons results for Kimi appeared to prove those sceptical amongst the tifosi to be correct. Did Ferrari in fact waste a precious seat at the Scuderia on mere hype which has fuelled the ‘Iceman’ legend for the past decade..
The Grumpy Grumpy Jackal
Vettel Helmet takes auction record
Back in 2012, a genuine Senna helmet sold for £71,000 at an auction at Silverstone. At the time this was the highest price ever paid for an F1 helmet which has now been surpassed by a helmet worn by Sebastian Vettel at the 2013 German Grand Prix.
Bonhams sold the helmet for a reported £72,500 and the proceeds were donated to a charity that conducts research into spinal cord diseases.
At that same auction, another helmet that belonged to the late 1976 World Champion, James Hunt, also sold for over £37,500.
It’s difficult to predict the rising value of this type of memorabilia or even to suggest how much more a Senna helmet would achieve now. Ultimately Senna is hailed as a legend of Formula One, and his helmet design remained the same – whereas young Seb seemingly changes his design at every event.
The proliferation of helmets and designs means that is is difficult for collectors to place particular significance to any particular Formula One helmet design, unless it was linked with world title success.
Further, the price of Vettel’s helmet probably was influenced given it was placed in a charity auction.
Yet the price of current Formula One driver memorabilia may be argued demonstrates well just how difficult it is to get close to the drivers in Formula One.
FIA changes rules for superlicence qualification – finally
If Max Verstappen had been born two years later, he would not have been in a position to obtain an FIA superlicence when the new regulations come in for 2016. The FIA announced some months ago that they would be looking in to the system and how drivers were being selected for F1 positions.
Following the announcement by Toro Rosso that they had signed Max Verstappen for 2015, apparently the general criticism from most quarters in Formula One has pressed the sport’s governing body into action.
From 2016, the driver will need to have a driver’s licence, be of age 18 or older and must demonstrate a proper understanding and knowledge of the Sporting Regulations. The driver’s experience must include 300kms in either an old car (at least two years old) or a modern car at a test. More importantly, as many fans here at TJ13 have suggested, the driver must have two years of experience in one of the lower formulas.
‘Lower Formula’ is vague – and possibly deliberately so. However, surely the FIA will predominantly restrict this to Renault World Series 3.5, GP3 and GP2.
So Max Verstappen will most likely hold the record for the youngest ever F1 driver in history for many a year. These regulations make sense, because for PR purposes, Verstappen’s record age could have been usedas merely a target to be beaten
Interestingly, Max fails to meet the new criteria the FIA have listed – on three of the five counts!
The Fake F1 Race
The 2015 Formula One World Championship calendar is confirmed by the FIA as follows:15/03 Australia 29/03 Malaysia 12/04 China 19/04 Bahrain 03/05 Korea (TBC) 10/05 Spain 24/05 Monaco 07/06 Canada 21/06 Austria 05/07 Britain 19/07 Germany 26/07 Hungary 23/08 Belgium 06/09 Italy 20/09 Singapore 27/09 Japan 11/10 Russia 25/10 USA 01/11 Mexico 15/11 Brazil 29/11 Abu Dhabi
There was a significant amount of surprise as to the reappearance of the Mokpo event in South Korea. However, the rumour within F1 circles is that this is in fact a fake race – and will never take place.
Formula One engine regulations for 2015 state that each driver has just four engines for the season, one less than in 2014 – EXCEPT – “if the number of events in the championship, as originally scheduled, exceeds 20”.
Korea back to back the week before Barcelona looks a tough ask, though not impossible.
Further, ill considered plans are often exposed for what they are. The FIA report following the crash of Jules Bianchi which was released just yesterday recommends, states. “It is also recommended that the F1 Calendar is reviewed in order to avoid, where possible, races taking place during local rainy seasons”.
A logical extension of this notion, would surely be not to reschedule an F1 race – without good reason – to a time of the year when the local rainfall statistics are significantly higher than during the originally allotted month for the race.
Rainfall in the South Jelloa region of S. Korea in May is at least three times greater in average volume than when the race was scheduled in its usual October slot.
It could be there is a genuine political reason for scheduling and running this race when the FIA have declared it will be. This weekend sees Spa, Belgium host their round of the WEC series race – “The six hours of Spa”. So Nico Hulkenberg has some choices to make.
Having been previously threatened by Bernie Ecclestone with a French Formula One GP on the same weekend as Le Mans, the FIA regulated last year that there can be no F1 events on the same weekend as the historic 24 hour race.
So, has the FIA finally decided it can regulate unilaterally on Formula One after all? The process is usually that FOM propose a race schedule and it is ratified by the FIA.
If this scheduling is an act of trickery to deliver the same effect as would a simple FIA edict on engine regulations – say on the grounds of safety – does this do anything to dispel the stereotype of a timid FIA administration led by the invisible man? Or is this the beginning of a brave new world?
That said, maybe the fans are hoping that the proposed race in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2016, is also a ploy of some mysterious kind. This is after all Formula One in the twenty first century.
The effect of a new ‘4 hour before sunset’ race start regulation
One recommendation from the FIA panel investigating the circumstances around Jules Bianchi’s crash in japan, states. “It is proposed that a regulation or guideline be established such that the Start time of an event shall not be less than 4 hours before either sunset or dusk, except in the case of night races.”
The F1 Broadcasting blog has produced a list of races which would be affected by this recommendations implementation.
The first time listed is the local time and the second is GMT. Given the dates of the 2014 races, here is how the changes would look.
Australian Grand Prix – 16 March=> Actual: 17:00 / 06:00 => Proposed: 15:00 / 04:00 => Sunset is 19:38
Malaysian Grand Prix – 30 March=> Actual: 16:00 / 09:00 => Proposed: 15:00 / 08:00 => Sunset is 19:22
Chinese Grand Prix – 20 April=> Actual: 15:00 / 08:00 => Proposed: 14:00 / 07:00 => Sunset is 18:26
Japanese Grand Prix – 5 October=> Actual: 15:00 / 07:00 => Proposed: 13:00 / 05:00 => Sunset is 17:33
Russian Grand Prix – 12 October=> Actual: 15:00 / 12:00 => Proposed: 14:00 / 11:00 => Sunset is 18:43
US Grand Prix – 2 November=> Actual: 14:00 / 20:00 => Proposed: 13:00 / 19:00 => Sunset is 17:43
It is Ecclestone and FOM who have in the past stated when the race start should be, based upon the audience reach achievable for broadcasters to the European F1 audience. So races East of Europe are pushed as close as possible to the end of the day, to prevent them being broadcast live through the night when people are most usually asleep.
The big losers under this proposal would be the Australian and Japanese GP’s. Then again, rain, and the subsequent ‘time out’ of daylight, have been problematic at both of these events in recent times.
German viewers ‘turned off’ and F1 Pay per View creep continues
The F1 TV viewership in Germany this year has seen a slump of spectacular proportions. 30% less Germans are watching the sport, which is an unparalleled drop never seen in the UK for a year on year comparisons since audiences have been properly counted.
German viewers have a choice of Free to Air channel RTL or Sky Germany, though unlike in the UK, both channels broadcast the full season’s races live.
Sky Germany managed to attract just 180,000 viewers at the peak time during its Abu Dhabu broadcast of the showdown between German driver Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. RTL by comparison peaked at 5.7m viewers for the F1 season finale.
However, Free to air broadcaster RTL has said it is considering pulling out of Formula One when its contract expires at the end of 2015. They cite “incomprehensible rules” and what is tantamount to consistent bad publicity for the sport as the reasons they believe their viewers are not tuning in.
RTL are believed to pay FOM around 50m euros a year for their full season of races package. Which appears good value when stacked up against the BBC deal believed to be around 36m euros for just less than half the races live.
The inevitable drift in Formula One broadcasting continued this year as an Australia, Network Ten will be sharing their rights with pay TV group Foxtel from 2016 onwards. Network Ten will still broadcast every race live, though Foxtel will have exclusive access to the free practice and qualifying sessions.
In South America, there is a new F1 channel to be launched by MediaPro. This deal excludes Brazil, however, the new channel will have exclusive access to every F1 session and share just 10 race weekends with Fox Sport.
Despite claims that the new engine sound, lack of competitive on track action and consistant negative publicity are to blame for F1’s falling TV audiences.
The fact of the matter is simple.
Pay-per-view TV deals restrict the total audience available for a sport. This particularly hurts when the sport is ‘occasional’ in its competition and irregular in the timings of its live broadcasting.
depends of course on the pay TV penetration, but it is not good from a viewer perspective seeing Formula 1 behind a pay wall.