A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,
Why I Disagree With Our Chief Editor
a counter argument to CUSTOMER CAR DECISION BRINGS SHAME ON F1’S GOVERNANCE by TJ13 Provocateur in Chief Fat Hippo
Yesterday our Editor In Chief Andrew Huntley-Jacobs wrote a ‘The End Is Nigh’ article about the devastating effect he believes the customer cars will have and I disagree with that notion. One effect it will have is that most likely a lot of people will lose their jobs. But that is merely the price we pay for not electing a Dear Leader and living in socialism. It is a grim reality of a market economy that people will be made redundant when the economic circumstances change.
Another effect will be, that it will be an economic game changer. The vision of surviving a season on 50 to 60 million quid will become a reality and those customer cars will probably be slower than the works offers, but not in the region of four to six seconds, like Manor at the moment. I’ve written extensively about that in my article 18 months ago.
What our Chief Editor is rightly bemoaning is how that change came about – the big teams ganged up on the small teams in collusion with Ecclestone. But then his criticism is a moot point. Because a small elite calling the shots on the vast majority with only their own interests at heart is a daily reality – it’s called democracy. We delude ourselves into having a say in the form of elections, but everybody with half a brain knows that we don’t. Whomever we ‘elect’ into Downing Street Nr. 10, the Bundeskanzleramt or the White House, the result will roughly be the same. The decision to send German soldiers to war again was not made by the right-wingers – it was a coalition of the left-ish social democrats and the Green Party, which comes from the 1980’s peace movement.
No matter what power you have, you are faced with certain realities. You can only push through so much of your agenda. Ecclestone forced the double-points idea against the majority, and it got abandoned in a damn hurry when it didn’t work. The same is happening here. Customer cars was Ecclestone’s pet project – everyone bar Red Bull was against it. Now the big teams seem to swing towards the ‘aye’ side. I’m with the Chief that it doesn’t happen out of charity – there is something in it for them. But that’s where our opinions diverge.
Unless you’ve been living under rock since 2009, you know what effect it has to win too much. Red Bull, who won a lot between 2009 and 2014 are almost universally despised and admitting to be a fan of theirs would be like walking into Maranello wearing a “F*@! Ferrari” T-Shirt. Mercedes is on an express train to the same treatment. The Hamilton crowd can only support their juggernaut for so long. What they need is being seen wrestling down a Ferrari and a McLaren in a fierce fight. Currently they’re looking more like whacking babies and stealing candy from them. Wins like the one in Barcelona don’t have any marketing value.
We wouldn’t be seeing the whole VJM08 saga if the customer cars come. Without having access to Force India’s accounting, I would hazard a guess that for the money they wasted on nailing that Frankenstein car together, they could have bought last year’s Merc chassis. They’d probably still be a second a lap slower than Merc, but now they fight with Marussia for last place, two seconds behind. And what our enraged Chief is overlooking: If the rules were changed to allow buying a chassis, Sauber, Force India and Lotus could legally implement the co-constructor idea they’d been pitching.
One can bitch and moan about the way this decision has come about, but the truth is, I think it is what Formula 1 needs. In that regard it doesn’t make the least bit of difference if the decision was made by a Greenpeace committee or by Kim Jong-Un, as long as it is the right one.
I don’t agree with the Chief’s fears of two tier racing either. Customer cars have been in the very DNA of F1 since the early days. We’ve had several driver world champions before the constructor championship was even introduced. In 1968 a certain Jackie Stewart won the first GP for Tyrrell – in a Matra MS10 chassis with a Cosworth engine. 2008 Sebastian Vettel won the Italian GP for Toro Rosso in a Red Bull chassis. Customer cars do not mean crap cars. All it takes is a few engineers with good ideas and an upcoming young driver with a point to prove and the chassis supplier might end up scratching their heads how the hell they’d been beaten by their customers. And as the years go by and after healing financially, some of the customer teams might be in a healthy enough state to give the construction business another shot. Both Williams and McLaren started out that way.
Instead of blasting the decision right from the bat, we should make sure to keep an eye on how they implement it, because if done right, F1 could look a damn site healthier in a few years than it does now.
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“Jackman” Is Back In The Gene Pool
Overshooting the mark on pitstops seemed to be the flavour of the day in Sunday’s Spanish Grandprix. Lewis’ Hamilton’s second stop was relatively slow as his car’s final position didn’t quite confirm to everybody’s idea of accuracy, Pastor Maldonado injured the foot of one of his mechanics, Fernando Alonso went straight through his crew with cooked brakes and poor Jason ‘Jackman’ of Lotus fame was sent flying with an almighty clout smack bang into the family planning. He was later seen icing down the Gentlemen’s jewellery.
Lotus have now announced that man is back in the gene pool and Mrs. Jackman can stop looking for… erm alternative methods of cross-pollination.
Busy Weekend for Miss Nordschleife
A busy weekend lies ahead for ‘Miss Nordschleife’ Sabine Schmitz. The Nürburgring Nordschleife expert will be part of this weekend’s 24h of Nürburgring for Frikadelli Racing in a Porsche GT3 R, but beforehand she’ll be a guest starter in the first WTCC race on the iconic 25 kilometre track.
Despite missing test mileage the German qualified fifteenth for the WTCC race. She wasn’t overly pleased with the lap, but felt halfway comfortable in a touring car for the first time. Her vast experience of many 24h hour races makes her one to watch in the race.
For the main event she’ll start in 14th position out of nearly 300 cars. The 24h race of Nürburgring will start today at 1500 GMT.