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Previously on The Judge 13:
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…………..