A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,
FIA acquits Ferrari of wrongdoing
According to Finnish paper Turun Sanomat Ferrari got a surprise visit from FIA’s aerodynamics expert Marcin Budkowski, who was assigned the task to go through the wind-tunnel logs at Maranello to check if Ferrari had extended their wind-tunnel time by using time booked by customer Haas F1. Championship leaders Mercedes had complained to FIA that Ferrari’s large Barcelona upgrade would not have been possible within the current limitations of wind-tunnel use. McLaren and Red Bull joined that protest.
After reviewing Budkowski’s findings, FIA have explained that there were no abnormal findings that would hint at any breach of current rules regarding wind-tunnel use.
Germany could lose free-to-air F1 coverage
You know F1 is in bad shape, when a broadcaster reduces its coverage in the 24th year of its contract to fit in an additional reality-TV show to make up for the diminishing advertising revenue. The scenario is not hypothetical, but the grim reality for German viewers of RTL, who have been showing F1 live in free TV since 1991. Their current contract runs out at the end of this year and according to German media reports the broadcaster will not seek an extension of the contract if Bernard Ecclestone does not compromise on the costs. Since 1991 RTL has paid more than 1.1 Billion Euros for the privilege.
It is however highly unlikely that Ecclestone will even think about that, as he has currently discovered that he hates Germans, calling Germany a “terrible market for F1” and blasting Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg for not being Hollywood enough to promote F1 better. He later even stooped as low as telling Nico Rosberg to his face that he was bad for his business during a joint interview in Monaco.
What that shows is, that Mr. E might know how to scam people out of their money, but he doesn’t know the first bit about Germans. We are stereotyped as humourless for a reason. We laugh as much as the next guy, but we do so in the sanctity of our homes, preferably hidden from view in the basement. Leading the extroverted life-style of a Lewis Hamilton or the incessant unasked-for supply of Samurai wisdom of a Fernando Alonso is a sure way of becoming unpopular in Germany. And the reason for that is simple. The majority of Germans, even the young generation, thinks that someone, who needs to make a clown of himself in public has something to make up for. It might be a bit 1950, but that’s how many of us are – hard-working, but not inclined to let the public know about that constantly. We like to keep our lives to ourselves, and that includes most of our sport stars. Deal with it, Bernie.
RTL meanwhile has put more effort into acquiring rights to show more football. Sky Germany has already signalled that they would be all too happy to strike an exclusive deal should the RTL contract not be extended.
Schumacher media strategy explained
Sabine Kehm has been spokeswoman for Michael Schumacher since 2001 and took over his complete management upon his return to F1 in 2010. Since the near-fatal accident of the seven-times world champion Kehm has been the press-liaison between the Schumacher family and the public. In addition she’s also the manager of Schumacher’s son Mick.
In an interview with Spiegel Online, the 50-year old has now vented her frustration about the ongoing harassment of the Schumacher family by Paparazzi. Some media have in the past criticized the lack of updates on Schumacher’s condition, but Kehm explains that the parameters which decide the media strategy are the same they’ve ever been. The same rules apply that she once worked out with Michael. “Michael had strict rules,” Kehm explains. “He has always strictly distinguished between private time and his job, and he never broke those rules. There has never been a home-story and no journalist has ever been given his mobile phone number.”
Schumacher is currently undergoing rehabilitation treatment at his home in Gland, Switzerland, strictly shielded from the public, but Kehm notes that this sadly does not stop some of the more obnoxious elements from trying to get pictures of Schumacher. According to Kehm, Paparazzi hide in the woods around the Schumacher estate or use low flying helicopters to try and photograph the ailing star in his home. She explains that every move that requires taking him outside his home has to be planned meticulously to avoid exposing him to the lenses of the stalkers. “It is never easy. In fact it is permanent stress.”