#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 16th December 2014


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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Well that solved entirely nothing…

The Fall of the Empire: Part Two, The nuts and bolts of revolution

OTD Lite 1982 – Chapman dies leaving astounding legacy

Gutierrez signs as third driver at Ferrari

Montezemolo still bitter at Ferrari exit

Haas buying Marussia bits

Formula Sochi Bankruptcy Filed

Hamilton again accuses Rosberg of cheating in Monaco

OTD Lite 1982 – Chapman dies leaving astounding legacy

Ahh dear friends, as usual in the months of winter, there is little to pick other than births and deaths of different individuals. But today’s anniversary is arguably the most influential designer of cars that motor-sport has ever seen.

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman died of a heart attack back on this day in 1982 and a chapter of racing history was brought to a premature close. The company he had started had danced on the world’s greatest circuits and overcome the might of Ferrari but with the sad demise of this genius Lotus floundered on before collapsing in 1994.

His cars became icons of the sporting era and whilst his design innovations are beyond doubt, maybe his longest lasting legacy was the introduction of non supplier sponsorship with the Gold Leaf Lotuses in 1969. Throughout the 70’s the cars became synonymous with the black and gold of JPS and he oversaw their last title victory in 1978 – tossing his cap high as they took victory once more.

Books have been written about his treatment of various drivers over the years, his disregard for their safety have become the stuff of legend and the DeLorean scandal would have seen him serve time at Her Majesty’s leisure but to anyone that rejoices in the beauty of a Formula One car – we thank you Mr Chapman.


The Grumpy Jackal


Gutierrez signs as third driver at Ferrari

Mexico has one of the world’s largest economies, it is the tenth largest oil producer in the world and is the largest silver producer in the world. The world’s richest man, Carlos Sims, originates from these parts.

Whilst Ferrari American CEO, Marco Mattiacci, was in charge he stated that Mexico would become Ferrari’s new China with a burgeoning market ready to enjoy the luxury brands. As a man who had helped grow the distribution network in South East Asia he would seem to have his finger on the pulse.

Where once Sergio Perez enjoyed the attention of being a Ferrari Academy driver it should therefore come as no surprise that fellow Mexican Esteban Gutierrez has been appointed by the Scuderia as their third driver for 2015 – joining Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastien Vettel.

“It is an honour to become part of the Scuderia Ferrari family,” commented Gutierrez. “A team with such an exceptional history, it is for me the beginning of a new path for my future and I’m going to do my utmost to contribute to the achievement of the targets set by the Scuderia.”

“I want to thank everybody for their belief in my potential; this will bring a great opportunity for me to develop further and get to the top in the near future. With all my passion and dedication, I’m now looking forward to the start of this new venture.”

Maranello’s new team principal Maurizio Arrivabene added: “We are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to Esteban who, although young, has plenty of experience relating to the new generation of Formula One cars, I am sure that, with his experience, he will make an important contribution to the development work of the team in the simulator.”

“Welcoming Esteban also means opening the gates of Ferrari to a driver from Mexico, a country where the Scuderia still has a lot of fans, just as was the case 50 years ago in the days of the Rodriguez brothers.”

It remains to be seen what happens with the remaining Spanish contingent that joined the fabled team in the Alonso era as support drivers – but Pedro De La Rosa has tested and raced with the Mclaren outfit prior to his signing for Ferrari in 2011.


Montezemolo still bitter at Ferrari exit

Luca di Montezemolo received an award along with other notables from the motor-sport world including biking legend, Giacomo Agostini.

In a ceremony held in a hall of honour in Rome, the gathering received the prestigious Golden Collars – which is seen as an award of merit amongst the athletes and celebrities.

The award is in recognition for contributions made to the Italian national motor-sport clubs and careers and Il Padrino received a “Man of Sport” award for his 24 year career as President of Ferrari.

As stated several months ago on TJ13, Montezemolo is now running the Alitalia corporation but gave his thoughts on the current state of Ferrari.

“I always root for Ferrari, but for me a chapter has closed – and possibly for Ferrari too. Now another opens that seems more financially focused but it is still an important stage.” he said in pointed reference to his replacement Sergio Marchionne.

Luca continued: “In this hall, there is a wonderful Italy with a great team spirit. This is an Italy that has both values and determination. Looking from above, my 19 world championships prove that what unites us is our great passion for our country. By putting into action this cohesion, this passion and determination – we will always be world champions.”

Whilst this is a rhetorical performance from Luca, there is no denying the stereotype contained within of Ferrari. The Scuderia would rather glory in being Ferrari – than win anything – which is reflected in the barren years since the end of Brawn, Schumacher et al.


Haas buying Marussia bits

The rather sad event of the auction of over 2500 Marussia F1 team lots is being held today. You can watch live here http://auctionhq.net/view-auctions/live-sale/id/91/


The doors open today on the auction for the assets of the defunct Marussia F1 racing team. The Marussia prize money for finishing 9th in the WCC is to be distributed amongst the teams, though this will be weighted by the percentages used to allocate the current ‘pot 2’ prize funds.

One of the bidders at the bankruptcy auction will be Gene Haas, who announced he is considering locating his Haas F1 European operations along with 250 staff in the old Marussia F1 team building.

Haas model for building a Formula One team has been questioned, but he again hit back last night remarking. “If we did it the way Caterham and Marussia did it we would have the same result so I think we are going to do it differently.”

It appears that Haas is awaiting a regulation change in Formula One which will allegedly allow more parts to ‘bought in’ rather than manufactured in house by each team.

Gene is clearly proud of his revolutionary view of how to run a Formula One team. “A lot of the teams in the UK build everything themselves. They seem to have this English mentality that this is the way it has to be done and that is just not our business model at all.”

A relaxation of the customer components rule was not on the Doha agenda for the World Motor Sport Council, and the agenda for the F1 strategy group meeting set for Thursday this week is packed with more pressing matters.

Further, even though a standardised of F1 car parts appears to be more cost effective, the smaller F1 teams have opposed this to date, presenting their own options which include a restriction on the number of iterations of a component design during the season.

Finally, it is also uncertain whether the FIA – who granted Haas F1 license under the current component manufacturing restrictions – are willing to make this concession.

As ever – the politics of bartering reign supreme in the viper pit. Even Ecclestone has suggested the teams tear up their remuneration contracts with FOM – and re-write them to deliver a fairer distribution of income.

Yet for anyone following Formula One even in the last five years, it is evident that being promised something – like a regulation change – and the promise being carried out – are two distinct and separate matters.

So even if Haas gets the regulation change, the team will have just a short time to demonstrate whether his rhetoric and subsequent actions are harmonious.


Formula Sochi Bankruptcy Filed

Yesterday, the Krasnodor Court of Arbitration received a petition to declare the race promoter for the Russian GP – “Formula Sochi” – bankrupt. The full extent of the liabilities were undisclosed.

However, there is a petition listed by “Formula Sochi” on December 23rd, to reclaim 2.5m roubles from ex-CEO Alexander Bogdanov and Sergei Bondarenko, as well as ex-business manager Alexei Belousov.

The claim states they misappropriated Formula Sochi funds totalling around $38,000.

What is certain is that the cost to anyone who wishes to promote the Russian GP in 2015 will require double the number of roubles to meet the Formula One hosting fee that was paid for the inaugural race in 2014.

This morning at 1am, the Russian Central Bank announced it would raise its key interest rate from 10 to 17%. This is the single largest increase in Russia since 1998, when rates soared over 100% and the government defaulted on debt.

The cost of Russia’s battle with the West over Crimea and its actions in Ukraine has seen an unprecedented. $80bn of Russia’s currency reserves spent unsuccessfully defending the rouble in 2014 alone. Further, the capital drain from the Russian economy this year stands in excess of $130bn.

Adding to Russia’s woes is the fact that the cost of a barrel of Brent crude fell below $60 yesterday for the first time in over 5 years. According to Moody’s, Russia derives about half its budget revenue from oil and natural gas taxes. As much as a quarter of GDP is linked to the energy industry,

The BBC reported the deal struck by Ecclestone for the Russian GP to be for 7 years – 2014-2020 – with an annual hosting fee of $40m.

The highest annual fee ever paid by a Formula One host was around $60m funded by the South Jelloa regional government. Given the current exchange rate, the cost of a Russian GP in 2015 would be the equivalent of an original deal for a staggering $80m, and given analysts outlook for the future of the rouble, we could see this number even double again.



Hamilton again accuses Rosberg of cheating in Monaco

In a documentary being filmed for Sky Sports F1, Lewis Hamilton states, “From Bahrain Nico did one thing, Barcelona I did one thing, and then Nico took it to another level in Monaco which definitely made it very difficult for us, for me,”

Hamilton is referring to the use of ‘unauthorised’ engine settings used by himself and Rosberg in Bahrain and Barcelona. He goes on to reiterate he believes Rosberg cheated in Monaco and indirectly appears to suggest the team then lied to the stewards when defending their German driver’s actions.

“Nothing has changed about my opinion of what happened [in Spa], it is the same for Monaco”, Lewis adds. ”But that is cool because I am world champion now.”

Just when you thought it was safe…………..


42 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 16th December 2014

  1. So Ferrari are now taking pay drivers, or could it simply be, now we’ve seen Kimi left in tatters by Alonso and doubts about Vettel’s speed in the current generation of cars, maybe they don’t want a driver who will raise to many questions marks over the race drivers, should he get a go.

  2. Hahaha! My favourite has to be ‘The Pervert’ – Schumi looks like he knows it was a bad move. ‘The Hobo’ deserves a special mention, too. Any ideas for names for Ross Brawn’s scraggy effort of a beard?

  3. I don’t get it. Hosting fee for Sochi is 40m dollars and then we say that due to the exchange rate this can go up to 80m dollars?
    If rouble gets being devalued, then yes, the hosting fee in roubles will double or triple, but in dollars it should stay the same. Right?

    • It was meant to illustrate the equivalent $ at the time the contract was signed – article amended.

      Gazzilions of roubles doesn’t really mean anything to anyone at 0.084 to the GBP and 0.0131 to the $

      It appears the interest rate hike has failed too – as now the Rouble has fallen another 10% today

  4. Conversely, if the Russians had negotiated a price in Roubles, Bernie would be get less in $ with a plunging value of the Rouble.

    Note that Russian oil exports earn US $, and therefore the drop in oil prices is countered by the fact each $ now converts to more Roubles.

    • ….??? Roubles are no use to the government when their value collapses by 10% in a day. Plus the Russian government has pissed $80bn of roubles up the wall to achieve nothing – other than spending the dollars they get in receipts for oil.

      That is not a compensatory cycle – and is of no comfort.

      • There are two things to keep an eye on –
        1. Putin’s stooges. So far they’ve lost a combined $50 billion. The Russian Government is pretty much a Mafia, so don’t be surprised if the Tiger wrestling Putin is toppled (but it would have to get extremely bad Economically for that to happen).
        2. The Russian people, if prices increase on staples and other items then Putin will come under immense pressure to fix the problem. That either means he faces the humiliation of backing down over Ukraine or he does something utterly stupid and provokes NATO in the hopes of stoking up nationalism to protect his position of power. I get the feeling we might just be seeing the fall of Putin from power, but he’s a survivor so best not to write him off.

        All in all, I think at this point we are unlikely to see a race in Russia next season. It really depends on what Putin does to fix the Russian Economy – back down in the hopes of sanctions being lifted or the NATO sabre rattling route.

      • You have to distinguish between inflation and the exchange rate when you talk about the value of money. While the inflation may be high in Russia, it’s nowhere as high as the volatility of Ruble/USD exchange rate. In the end, everything is sold in rubles, salaries paid in rubles, etc. The exchange rate affects only the prices of imported goods.

        Nonetheless, clearly the Russian government’s revenue is lower, even when remunerated in rubles, while the inflation and expenditures are high. I believe a big part of the Russian economy’s troubles is not just from the oil prices or sanctions but because of the enormous increase in the social spending by the Russian government in the recent years. In the early-00s, the Russian government was quite fiscally conservative, even when the oil tax revenues at one time created a half trillion dollar cache of hard currency savings around 2007 or so. They could balance their books when a barrel of oil sold for 30-40USD.

        But in the last few years, the Russian government started spending so much that it does need a 100 dollar a barrel oil just to balance its budget. Salaries of military staff had been tripled. Doctors, teachers, and others on government payroll also received bigger compensations recently.

        • The best guess is another Russian government default is on the horizon – which given their standing amongst the institutions who may help in these circumstances – is fairly catastrophic.

          Today’s interest rate hike was intended to be a sacrifice of the economy – in support of the currency. It appears to have failed – even though having suffered a significant fall in early trading – the rouble rallied – though again this was due to Russian intervention to support the rouble on the currency markets.

          • The current situation is still quite different from 1998. For one, it’s estimated that Russia has about 400 billion USD in foreign currency reserves (cash, gold, etc). Second, oil prices, even in real terms, are still higher than in 1990s. At the current cash burn rate, Russia could remain financially solvent for a couple of years. So there is certainly some financial cushion and time left for Russia to implement structural reforms or for the oil prices to go up.

          • ….But they have some very large government bond repayments to make to UK and European Banks next year – $billions – if they default….

            Further, the capital drain from the economy will create an ever increasing spend curve – also the interest rate hike is going to hit the economy hard – and it failed to stop the currency slide – so what next rates rise to 25%…

            This is about political pressure – not necessarily causing Russia to go bust…

    • Price of oil dropping like a stone ATM, in contravention of basic Econ. The West crushed the Soviets by getting them to wreck their economy chasing military parity (not necessarily on purpose) and looks like they might be doing the same with petro prices this time round.

  5. Nothing has really changed, because the majority still thinks Rosberg cheated in Monaco, even his most staunch defender Brundle, something which he has mentioned on live broadcast.

  6. Hey a controversial Lewis article, and just as the comments section was slowing… wait… I… ah, I see what you did!

    Yes, he probably should can it, but thats Lewis for you. This is how he is. He’s right too if you ask me, and it would seem many Mercedes mechanics. As I said on twitter, it often has a funny way of coming and biting him on the arse though.

    • Hehehe, my thoughts exactly!
      Having said that, it’s not the judge’s fault, other F1 sites report the same thing. A bit overblown coverage by others of course to get the circulation going. He was obviously asked about Spa, so what did people expect him to say, “well, I over-reacted really, it’s all fine”?

      • … so what did people expect him to say, “well, I over-reacted really, it’s all fine”…

        Yep 🙂

        I’ll give him Monaco, but I still think Spa was just an error of judgement on Nico’s part.

        • But he could choose to not answer the question at all and ignore it. That would get all the journalists to have their knickers in a twist though as they would not be able to make up stories from random lines Hamilton throws at them.

      • Gah. Does Lewis really need to be this petty? All the success he has, all the glamour, and now the 2 titles, does he really need to keep acting this whiny? I think this is really just setup for 2015. Lewis reminding Nico about Spa, putting the boot in again because he knows Nico will remain his only competition next year and he needs to keep him cowed.

  7. A bit off topic, but in relation to today’s OTD on the anniversary of ACB Chapman’s untimely demise I’d like to add that among his design masterpieces was the redoubtable Lotus 7 – surely the most ripped off car design in history. Since the Series 1 broke cover in 1957, I think there’s been a hundred or more versions around the world (including the one in my shed :D)

    • In parts or driveable?
      Did you buy or build it? As a kid I always wanted a Donkervoort. That one is still open. Did live in a hotel (Capone style) and owned an Alfa Spider.

      • I bought it built ‘cos the price for the spec was just too good to ignore. Building was always my plan but it’s an expensive exercise. I made a heap of tweaks when I got it but the basics – S15 SR20DET. S14 5-speed, Cosworth diff, double wishbones all round and Wilwood brakes – were spot on already.

        It’s certainly driveable – I went for an early morning blat in the hills today actually since I’m on holidays 🙂 I dropped in on the Peter Brock memorial in Gidgegannup to remind myself to take care.

  8. Re-Gutierrez to Ferrari
    Looks like they found a #2 (who will be just glad to drive) to partner Seb when Kimi goes, so no issues with team orders in favour of Seb, very similar to the Shumi model.

  9. Judge, there have been no GMM identifiers on any of the postings lately. Are you still using GMM content? If so, please resume identifying it as such.

  10. BOOM

    Pat Fry out of Ferrari as well as Tombazis which was expected.

    And Bisignagi replaced by Antonini.

    Not looking good Seb…

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