#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 19th February 2015

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OTD Lite – 2006: Bernie slams engine rules again

McLaren collects some more kilometers

Bahrain vetoes Qatar race

Pascal Wehrlein gets Force India Test role, sort of

McKinsey: Smaller teams could theoretically run entirely on Bernie Money


OTD Lite – 2006: Bernie slams engine rules again

The Suffolk Toad launched a scathing attack against the FIA and the F1 manufacturers today as he slammed their decision to introduce 2.4l V8 in replacement of the 3.0l V10’s. His argument centred around the costs involved in producing these new power-plants.

No doubt the FIA reasoned that lopping two cylinders off the engine and reducing the engines was the work of a moment. Take the hacksaw out, start sawing and hey presto you have lost two cylinders. Except Bernie Ecclestone knew that F1 being F1 – all the teams would spend millions developing the engine to nth degree.

Fast forward to the current day and we have Mr E moaning about the current engines and their noise and the costs involved. In two years times the rules are being prepared for 1,000bhp with associated costs and yet Bernie’s song sheet doesn’t change and the manufacturers will plow millions into developing power units that only vaguely have anything to do with road car technology.

Much like Bernie – but without the finite time limit – they will go round and round in circles and fail to make any changes that will impact positively on the experience, spectacle and drama that F1 was always famous for. What next? A twin cylinder turbo charged engine sourced from FIAT…

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The Grumpy Jackal

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McLaren collects some more kilometers

After the frighteningly low number of laps the new McLaren-Honda combo has managed so far – five last year in Abu Dhabi and 79 over the first four testing days of this season – the MP4-30 has managed a few more vital laps during two filming days in Jerez, right before the next testing period starts in Barcelona tomorrow.

Although shod on rather hapless demonstration tyres, and probably not using all systems at full chat, every lap could be vital as Honda find themselves in an equally tricky situation as Renault did last year and unlike the French manufacturer they only have a single team, so any lost mileage hits them doubly hard.

Meant to “visually document the beginning of a new era”, as the McLaren F1 team informs in a press release, the team has now used up the two filming days allowed for each team. A car is allowed to be run for up to one hundred kilometers for filming purposes per day and must be fitted with special demonstration tyres.

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Bahrain vetoes Qatar race

The losses and mishaps seem to pile up lately for Mr. E as another potentially lucrative deal is likely to slip through his fingers. Qatar, who are believed to have offered at record bribe license fee for a race at Losail will most likely be vetoed by Bahrain.

Sheik Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa told crash.net that with Bahrain and Abu Dhabi the region has all races it needs.

“The culture of F1 in the Middle East is growing and we have seen that consistently since we started ten years ago. During that time, we were happy to welcome Abu Dhabi back in 2009, but we were always clear that there wasn’t any rivalry there.

“With our race at the start of the season and Abu Dhabi at the end, plus the fact that our race is far more focused on the GCC (Gulf region) audience compared to Abu Dhabi’s international reach, there is a natural place for both.

“From our perspective, we are not sure whether the region is ready for another F1 race and we can only really speculate on what that race might look like and how it may be different.

“However, I am sure that given the continued growing interest in the sport, it is certainly something we would welcome further in the future.”

Ecclestone confirmed several weeks ago that he was in talks about adding another race in the middle east, but mentioned that any potential newcomer would have to reach an agreement with Bahrain as they had a veto right. The good Sheik, however is not willing to share details about that.

“As you would expect from an F1 race promoter, we have an ongoing and regular dialogue with the commercial rights holder concerning a variety of matters. We would not wish to comment whether certain matters are or aren’t discussed as part of that private dialogue.”

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Pascal Wehrlein gets Force India Test role, sort of

The Formula One boom in Germany has thoroughly ebbed off as Schumacher’s glory days are long gone and Sebastian Vettel, despite his four titles, failed to ignite a new one. The latter is probably in no small part rooted in the fact that every team – football, motorsports, battle knitting or extreme gardening – that is sponsored by a certain Austrian drinks company is almost compulsively hated by many Germans. This culminated in a recent scandal, when east German football fans of Erzgebirge Aue, defamed fans of rival club RB Leipzig as Nazis and showed banners depicting company owner Dietrich Mateschitz as Adolf Hitler.

With the F1 boom over and plummeting TV viewership numbers, despite the fact that Germany is one of the few countries left where F1 is still available on free-to-air TV the times when there were six or more Germans on the grid are over and new talent is hard to come by. Daniel Abt, Marvin Kirchöffer, Pascal Wehrlein and Mick Schumacher – that are already about all the hopefuls that perhaps could make it to F1 one day, according to a recent commentary broadcast on German channel Sport1, and Schumi’s son has only just made the switch from karts to openwheel cars.

Mercedes, however, thinks that the twenty-year old Pascal Wehrlein, who will continue to run for Mercedes in DTM, will be ready to step up in 2016 with a bit more on-track experience. One has to wonder what Lewis makes of that premise while he still haggles for a new contract. To give the youngster the necessary track-time Mercedes have ‘convinced’ Force India to volunteer some of their testing time for the third driver of the works team and Wehrlein will board a 2014 VJM07 at the upcoming Barcelona test for two of the four days.

Of course this gracious offer has absolutely nothing to do with the claim of Motorsport-Total that Vijay Mallya’s outfit hasn’t quite managed to pay the outstanding engine bills yet. Time will tell if Force India will come up with the dough. MST speculates that further delays in payments may entice Mercedes to ask Force India to invite Wehrlein to do some of the free practice one sessions throughout the year.

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McKinsey: Smaller teams could theoretically run entirely on Bernie Money

The consulting company McKinsey has done a study solicited by FIA that is meant to look at the current cost structure of teams and find potentials to save money. Not counting the fact that a more equitable distribution of the F1 income would solve most of the problems, reducing costs would be another way to halt the continued demise of smaller teams.

Although FIA have been a bit parsimonious with details about the exact nature of McKinsey’s findings, several news outfits, among them Germany’s Auto motor und Sport, report that McKinsey has researched an exemplary team with a budget of 80 million pound (108 million euro). That is a lot more than what Caterham and Marussia failed to get through the whole season with – 70 and 60 million euro respectively.

According to McKinsey, 25 percent of costs could be saved on the power units alone, although it begs the question what the manufacturers of said devices have to say about that particular observation. Another 35 percent could be shaved off the costs for design and manufacturing of the chassis, McKinsey reckon, another 15 percent from race weekend spending and the testing procedures would hold another 20% of cost saving potential.

If the study and the sparse information known so far about the study are to be believed, teams like Sauber and Force India could entirely survive on their share of Bernie money, although that will be a fat zero this year for Monisha’s squad, should Manor manage to pull off the biggest comeback since Lazarus.

That the costs for privateer teams could really be reduced by 50 percent over all, as the study outlines as the ideal outcome, can be safely considered wishful thinking as the current political climate in F1 would preclude the introduction of the necessary rule changes. The McKinsey study lists 25 to 30 percent cost savings as ‘desirable’, but reckons that the perpetual discord among teams makes 15 percent a more realistic target.
 

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5 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 19th February 2015

  1. Re McKinsey report…..

    What a load of CROCK!!! Is that report somehow aimed attrying to say that what Bernie are giving the smaller teams is enough to survive on, so it’s totally fair?

    • Note to self…..

      Don’t try to type a comment when standing in a packed train!

      What a load of CROCK!!! Is that report somehow aimed at trying to say that what Bernie is giving the smaller teams is enough to survive on, so it’s totally fair?

  2. Mmmm…..Some breaking news from Mercedes……

    “09:49 Lewis Hamilton will not continue for Mercedes today:

    “An unplanned stoppage keeping us off track at the moment. @LewisHamilton is unwell and not able to continue driving today…,” the team reveals on Twitter.

    “… so we’re just adjusting the car for Pascal #Wehrlein to take to the track this afternoon. #MusicalChairs”

    • Test-run for 2016, if Lewis doesn’t sign a contract? It’s Monza all over again Fat Hippo 😉 practice ahead of time..

      Tests.. FP1s.. surely we’ll see Wehrlein drive 5 races before this year is out, unless Mercedes will rely on the FIA ‘special dispensation’, unless that is code for ‘pay us some money and then we’ll say A-OK’.

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