Judges Chambers: Staring down Monza



F1 finds itself back at Monza this weekend, one of the few revered historic tracks remaining. Such is the awe which Monza inspires, that for many it is part of the trinity of most esteemed circuits and only LeMans and Brooklands should be mentioned in the same breath.

Yet, once again we are not talking about history, but rather about money.

“They have to sign the contract. I am happy to do it if the people at Monza want to as well. For years, those at the Autodromo have done as they wanted. This model no longer works. The world has changed.” said Mr. Ecclestone.

Bernie is more than doubling the race hosting fee for the Italian GP – and he will happily cull Monza from annual F1 jamboree, unless the piper is paid.

Then again, Monza has had preferential treatment for many years, paying the least amount of all the F1 events to secure its place on the calendar.

Only Monaco has been paying less – because they pay nothing at all. But that’s another story – one about an enormous debt of gratitude owed, repaid with an F1 race for almost free.

However the poster boy for “special deals” is staring back at Bernie when he looks in the mirror. Bernie is all about special deals – and he loves the wheeler dealer nature of the negotiations.

Every team in F1 has a different contract with FOM, and Bernie is the only guy that knows what they each contain.

The Monza race fee was all about a ‘special deal’ so long as Bernie’s long time good friend was running the show. A generous discount was affordable.

Enrico Ferrari had been running the Italian GP race organisation for many years but he was sacked along with 6 others following an alleged scandal over fraudulent tickets sales.  Those implicated included Director of the circuit along with the technical director Giorgio Beghella Bartoli, the accounting officer and the president of Franco Becchere Acp & Partners – Marco Villa Luca, who manages the sponsorship of the racetrack.

From that moment onward, the writing was on the wall for Monza. No more ‘special arrangements’ would be offered when the contract renewal came around. This state of affairs sits nicely with Mr. E, because making more and more money is another amusing pastime for the self appointed F1 Supremo – and this frivolous bit of ‘sport’ probably keeps Bernie from the grasp of the grim reaper.

Ignore the troll. There is nothing anyone can say or do, no matter how the castrated “F1 media” pushes and pleads and reasons – Bernie will not lose even just 1 dime, for the sake of nostalgia.

Anyone seen construction crews at Mugello recently?


In other news, and separate announcements, Renault has quietly let us know that they are changing Power Units on 75% of their cars. That may or may not be news, depending on how many they have used before, which is too many. So the Red Bulls and Chilli will start from the back, and depending on how many parts they change, they may not even run in qualifying. If so, their order would be determined by whomever contacted the FIA first.

Hmm, I wonder? If it was Ricciardo….

If Renault pulls the same trick Honda did last week, who knows, RB may install THREE complete new power units the weekend, and rack up a record 165 grid position penalty for each car. Everyone loves it when a record gets broken in F1 – right?

Oh… just in – Honda did it again. They’ve smashed the ICE replacements record. This weekend more new shiny ones are to be deployed. This is now 9 for Fernando Alonso.

It’s almost like the good old days eh Fred? – a new engine each race.


On behalf of everyone at TJ13, we wish our thoughts, and offer our condolences to the friends and family of Indycar driver Justin Wilson.

His tragic accident has again raised the debate over open cockpit racing, a debate that has raged for several years now. It is encouraging to hear the likes of Charlie Whiting openly discussing the concept, which would have been unheard of 2 decades ago. Though depending on which article you read, and which sentences they chose to publish, Charlie said both that closed cockpits were still unlikely, and that Closed cockpits will eventually happen. Leaves his ass covered in either eventuality I guess.

The most common argument we hear against it, is always the same, and I think Alan McNish summed it up best:

“Another argument made against head protection is that it could obstruct a driver trying to get out of a car quickly if it overturns.

But that point is anachronistic. I cannot think of one incident in the last 10 years in which a driver has had to scramble quickly out of an upturned car.

That’s because the advance in fuel-cell and fuel-line technology means fire is not the risk it used to be.”

His article on the BBC website is worth a read.


But of course, the only real news this week is that Pirelli represents everything that is wrong with F1. After all, they nearly killed the poor victim that was Sebastian Vettel during the last race.

The Tyres, the Tyres the Tyres. The F1 media columns are full of it.

Or to put it another way. ‘Tyres, tyres everywhere – and not a one to drive”

Some thought the day would never come, but following the Belgian GP – a few of us here at TJ13 Towers actually expressed small shreds of sympathy for poor Mr. Hembery. Lets face it, the man has an impossible task.

Build 4 types of tyre, to cover every single different track in F1, for all temperature conditions, that degrade perfectly into a 2 stop race, without ever having a single unexplained failure, and without being able to test. Oh and if anyone gets hurt, the “blood is on his hands”.

Oh well Paul, even the son of God was crucified for no good reason. You’re in good company.

Let’s hope the rubber Pirelli has brought for this weekend is indestructible. Because should Little Lewis or Sassy Sebastian blow a tyre and damage their shiny new cars – worse still… lose some points!!! Ole’ Paul’s going to need Federal protection and a new identity.

Enjoy the race everyone.

9 responses to “Judges Chambers: Staring down Monza

  1. Nice one, your honour.

    If Monza goes, I think I will be substantially closer to that indefinable line of wondering if F1’s worth it for me. At some stage, it’s just not F1 Grand Prix racing anymore.

    Mini-WEC style formula racing a calendar of slowly increasing Tilke-dromes ad ever diminishing race tracks… there’s a line, and it’s getting mighty close. Especially as MotoGP keeps my blood pumping to the chequered flag.

    Good article. +1

    • But upon considering my above comment, I suppose people like me are not the target demo anymore. The purist makes way for the show, whatever that show may be.

      The writing was on the wall when DRS was introduced. KERS I could grasp as energy recovery was somewhat relevant to auto makers and all drivers could deploy it when they wanted. The sporting element wasn’t diminished as the overtaker could use it, but so could the overtakee. Strategy was still needed. Race craft. A brain. Bravery.

      But DRS was/is deliberately increasing the performance of a passing driver (and only the passing driver) in order to pass, as if the pass is what matters, not the sporting fight and the pass being a beautiful football-like goal as a result of a strong maneuver.

      Anyway, I’m ranting. I should go before I start my pornographic related analogies.


    • Monza won’t go.
      I think that Bernie just is goin through the motions and will re-sign the deal.

      Maybe he puts some pressure on ‘m, like with Spa. But at the end of the day he knows he needs the temple/cathedral just as he needs Spa and Monaco.

      However, I also have maintained a scorched earth- like scenario, with Bernie devaluatinf the sport and buying it back on the cheap (fir his daughters?). But… Time IS running out and he knows it. My conclusion is that he’s just trying to balance the sport in the way which makes his employers the most money in the fastest way.

      After all, who cares about horse racing? Driving won’t be a skill anyone aspires to have.

  2. “Enrico Ferrari had been running the Italian GP race organisation for many years but he was sacked along with 6 others following an alleged scandal over fraudulent tickets sales.” I have only a vague hint of a memory of that. Were there legal proceedings resulting from the allegations?

  3. Intriguing though this article is, it sadly misses the key issue of the moment – namely the striking golden coiffure sported this weekend by the Revered King of Bling. Truly majestic in its concept, how can anyone deny that this bold statement is anything but the mark of a true champion ?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.