Exekutor at Lotus
The farce that team Sauber staged at Melbourne still seems to send seismic waves through F1. To refresh your memory, Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber’s team principal, signed five drivers for three seats. Unlike many drivers in the past, however, Giedo van der Garde did not just sigh and accept his fate. Instead he fought for his rights and a Swiss court backed him up. Kaltenborn blatantly ignored court orders endangering the team.
This seems to have set a example and drivers, especially those who bring sponsor money with them, are no longer accepting their fate without complaint. One of those drivers is Charles Pic, one in a long line of ‘test and reserve drivers’ at Lotus, who have been signed for the sole purpose to collect their sponsorship money. Pic has sued Lotus for breach of contract as the team apparently did not uphold their promises towards the driver in exchange for his money. The court agreed and the bailiffs were knocking on Team Lotus’ doors in Spa.
On Thursday evening Lotus broke the curfew and the team had to explain to the Stewards, why Lotus personnel was still in the pits after 11pm. According to Lotus, the team members were there to guard the cars, should the bailiffs try to impound them. This folks, is the new logic of F1. Disregard courts and when the bailiffs come, fight them off. Just conducting business in a way that doesn’t land you in front of a Judge seems to make entirely too much sense.
Things are not over for team Lotus though. Even if they somehow manage to keep their stuff long enough to run in the race, they are not allowed to leave Belgian soil.
RTL schools Bernie and keeps TV rights until 2017
It isn’t often that someone resigns a contract with Bernard E. and pays less than before. Exactly that happened in Germany, when free-to-air broadcaster RTL resigned the contract that started with the 1991 season. For the last twenty-four years RTL has been showing each Formula race live on free TV, paying over 1.1 billion Euro for the privilege over the years. The current contract saw them pay 32 million Euro per annum, but RTL has negotiated a new deal that costs them 50 million Euro for two seasons with an alleged option to extend the contract until 2019.
The new deal means that the status quo remains in Germany. Viewers can choose between free, advertising-financed RTL coverage or pay TV competitor Sky Sports. It remains to be seen however if this was a one-time occurrence or if Bernie starts collecting more business defeats.
Vettel says he was involved in Raikkönen’s contract extension
Several names had been bandied about when it came to speculating about Sebastian Vettel’s team mate for 2016. Many were hoping for a re-match of the 2014 season with Daniel Ricciardo, as his detractors hope he’ll be beaten again. Others saw Valtteri Bottas in the best position for the seat, but the Finn has most likely wrecked his career at Melbourne, when he injured his back so badly, he had to admit recently that he will have to do special back-exercises for the rest of his competitive career. In addition he was not nearly as convincing in comparison to Massa as he had been in 2014.
In the end Ferrari chose to use the option in Räikkönen’s contract and extended it by another year. Soon voices made themselves heard, saying that the Iceman had been Vettel’s preferred choice all along. The German has no qualms admitting exactly that, but not for the reasons that are often cited. “It’s definitely a good thing to retain some stability,” Vettel explains. “Enough happened over the winter, so many new faces. We are well situated right now and it’s time to do our home work so that we can reap the rewards of the hard work.”
Vettel has always maintained he had no active role in Räikkönen’s contract extension, but admits he was not a complete bystander either. “Of course you are involved to some extent. You’re asked for your opinion. In the end I sort of don’t really care who my team mate is, but Kimi and I are a good pairing. We get along great. We don’t waste energy on petty details, concentrating on ourselves and the team work at hand instead. That is what counts the most at this point and neither of us has an ego that would get in the way.”
“It’s no secret that we always got along well, even if we look very different from an observer’s point of view. The first and foremost goal is of course to beat each other on track, but if that doesn’t work out, the respect is big enough to doff the hat and say ‘Well done’. Next time you try to reverse the roles. Kimi is very easy and pleasant to interact with. That wouldn’t work with everybody.”
The topic of Vettel’s need for harmony within the team has been a topic in German media since Turkey 2010, where a crash involving Vettel and Mark Webber soured the atmosphere in the team, a feud that should not end until Webber’s departure and culminated in the mud-slinging that is commonly known as “Multi 21”. According to Motorsport-Total and Auto Motor & Sport Vettel had lobbied within Red Bull for Kimi Räikkönen as his team mate since the time the final contract extension of Webber was discussed. Mind you, at that time the Iceman was still winning races for Lotus.
Mr. Alonso, you will start in Germany
We’ve all read about those ridiculous court verdicts, mostly from our perpetually confused friends in Americaland. One hundred ninety years in jail or thirty time life imprisonment. Now, even someone as senile as Bernard E will know that in either case it merely means that you’ll be locked up and you’ll leave the building like Elvis – feet first. In most cases such verdicts are given to document the severity of the crime.
F1 has issued its first capital punishment for a serial killer – Fernando Alonso, who was convicted for killing six Honda ICEs. As a result a brutal thirty place grid penalty was issued. The verdict given gave a detailled account that the sentence calculates as follows
10 – use of 7th ICE
5 – use of 7th TC
5 – use of 7th MGU-H
5 – use of 6th MGU-K
5 – use of 6th CE unit
Since the grid drop exceeds the number of cars significantly, rumours could be heard that Mr. Alonso will have to start from the market place at Aachen, Germany.