Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 8th September, 2015


McLaren finances set to take a $100m hit in 2016

Ron Dennis is known to play hardball. Following the withdrawal of Vodafone and their $100m a year title sponsorship in 2013, Dennis was confident there was no problem.

“Our cars will not feature a title sponsor at the first event [in 2014],” he said. “But it will definitely feature a title sponsor in the next few events.”

Big Ron made it clear, he would not be discounting the rate card for advertising/sponsorship despite the economic malaise many large corporate entities had been experiencing for some years.

Also with just a year to wait for Honda to march into Woking, Dennis was confident that they would not have to report to short term sponsorship deals for just one year.

“I know what this company is. I know what this grand prix team can achieve and that requires the correct recognition when it comes to the commercial relationship with the principal sponsor. We turned away stopgaps.”

Yet as 2014 rolled on, the loveable but clearly irritated Eric Boullier was repeatedly asked about sponsors – each time with a winning smile of embarrassment he’d kick the topic down the road.

It transpires according to the Telegraph that in fact Jonnie Walker – who have partnered with McLaren for 10 years – offered them $70m to become the team’s 2013 title sponsor. Dennis declined requiring them to match the Vodafone rack rate of over $100m.

Now having lost long term partner Hugo Boss to Mercedes, McLaren could lose another $30m from Jonnie Walker and Santander. The banking group have been withdrawing from the excessive levels of sponsorship they committed too in the mid to late naughties and their contract with McLaren is up at the end of the year.

However, Jonnie Walker are believed to be looking for another F1 partner, though McLaren did claim at the weekend there were “ongoing discussions” with the liquor brand.

Further, if Mclaren-Honda’s on track fortunes don’t improve, they are set to receive $35m less from the F1 prize money pot than in 2014.

No wonder Honda’s Mr. Arai is feeling the heat and once again Jenson’s future is looking uncertain.

Monza, oh Monza

There has been much anguish and gnashing of teeth this weekend over the possibility that F1 racing in Monza is now finished. A number of the broadcasting networks ran historic features on F1 at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’. These were followed by presenters discussing the terrible hole that would be left in the soul of F1 should Bernie

Having been thoroughly spanked by Ferrari’s corporate paddle together with a dressing down from Bernie, Sebastian Vettel had been sweetness and light with the media throughout the Monza weekend. Then as though to prove he still owned a remnant of his former persona, Vettel apparently decided that another bout of public cussing was an act of rebellion he may get away with.

Vettel stated that if Monza was dropped from the F1 calendar, the heart would be ripped out of Formula One and merely – “for shitty money reasons”.

Seb then waxed lyrical about his passion for the Autodromo, just north of Milan. “The emotions here are incredible. You stand on the grid and people left and right are happy to be part of it.

It makes our day. Thank you for this emotion.”

Race winner Lewis Hamilton joined in the lament.

“This circuit is such a special one for me and all the drivers. When you stand on that podium you feel incredibly proud to be among all the greats that have stood up there.

The sea of fans is unlike anything I’ve seen.

It’s one of the best tracks in the world. This has to stay here for moral reasons.

You’ve got all those fans out there who come every single year.

Another grand prix would not have that same impact. We definitely have to keep it.”

Fellow podium sharer and passionate Latino – Felipe Massa – gave no quarter in his defence of the home of ‘the parabolica’.

“Here we are in the history of Formula 1. We race for the people here.

When I see the podium here, people screaming and crying, we cannot lose that.

This is part of our blood and we cannot lose these type of races. I really like to go to new countries, we go to amazing countries, but you cannot lose something that’s in your blood.”

Well unfortunately Felipe, it has been alleged that Bernie Ecclestone – unlike us mere mortals – has something other than the red stuff running through his veins.

Money talks! And somebody, somewhere in Italy needs to find around 20 million euro’s – otherwise the Autodromo will become to F1, merely ‘the Cathedral gone to seed’.

Red Bull left engineless

TJ13 reported yesterday that Red Bull was in the process of formally severing ties with engine supplier Renault. The speculation in F1 circles was that a Mercedes engine deal was imminent, but could not be announced until the Renault divorce was signed.

Mercedes AMG dashed those hopes on Monday by voting “no go” to supplying one of their main rivals with their top rated Power Unit. This puts RB in a tough spot, if they indeed were counting on Mercedes to be their savior.

Ferrari has come out publicly at least twice in the last several months, most recently at Monza, saying that they would be happy to supply Red Bull. This may appear to be valid option for the once dominant fizzy drinks company, but we all know that any relationship with Ferrari comes with some anchors attached to those strings.

Red Bull seem to have the opposite problem to Lotus. Lotus have no money, few sponsors, and multiple engine options. Red Bull is flush with cash, has more logos on their car than a newly licensed NASCAR fan, and can’t beg themselves an engine partner. 

The world has turned upside down.

Bernie the flip-flopper

Taken from the formula one website.

Q: How can Nico crack Lewis?

BE: Well, in the end, by being faster! Generally I still believe that Lewis is the best champion that we have had in a long, long time. He manages to get to all different walks of life: red carpet, fashion business, and music – you name it. That is not your [Nico’s] fault or his. You two are just very different characters.

Q: Can you explain what you mean when you say Nico is a very different character to Lewis? Probably more low profile?

BE: Nico is not seeking the limelight as Lewis does. Lewis wants to be famous.

BE: Let’s put it this way: I am happy that we have somebody like Lewis. I also couldn’t be like Lewis. I don’t like gold jewellery! (laughs)

BE:  But when it comes to F1 I am a huge Lewis fan because he is a super promoter of the sport. From a pure business aspect – sorry Nico if I have to say this – you are not so good for my business.

BE:  Sebastian (Vettel) is also not doing much for F1. People hardly recognize him on the street.

That of course was F1’s own Bernard Ecclestone, in May of this year. But in a sport measured in thousands of a second, and hundredths of a millimetre, time has a way of passing quickly.

“Maybe he’s gone too far in recent months,” Bernie is quoted as telling Bild am Sonntag newspaper.  “I don’t know if it’s good for him.”

Good for him or good for your wallet Mr. Ecclestone?

And in another moment that is pure Bernie, he flips back on Sebastian in the next sentence.

“People are beginning to respect Sebastian that he is the way he is. I don’t want everybody to be like Lewis. Perhaps it was unfair to criticise Sebastian. Actually he’s a bit like me.”

“We don’t want the limelight. I want to do my work, and if there is no drama then I’ll see if I can make one! But the big show, I’ll leave that to the others,” added Ecclestone.

Once again I would like to remind everyone to see everything the troll says through the prism of money. When he looks at the drivers all he really sees are walking dollar signs, his feigned concern for Lewis’s well being and newly supportive tone towards Seb are only expressed to further pad his own coffers.


22 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 8th September, 2015

  1. Can someone tell me why the digs at Vettel and Massa were necessary in an article about Monza? We don’t need to descend into Ralf Bach or Joe Saward territory, even if the Judge has put the bar pretty low with his drunken ramblings lately.

      • Lol. No, the article is unaltered, but to continue the metaphor developed in yesterday’s comments on the Gary piece. You accidentally hit the nail on the head….

        Some people are just way too sensitive when it comes to the love of their lives.


        • Glad it’s not just me then, read it three times and couldn’t for the life of me work out what could be classified as a dig for either driver.

          Does mentioning a driver at all count as a dig these days? In which case… Bottas *runs away*

      • Oh, a dig at a driver is nothing bad per se if it makes sense. But why troll about Vettel’s Pirelli comments at Spa in an article about Monza? They have nothing to do with each other.

        A proper dig would be comparing Lewis’ comments 2013 re: Vettel Domination against him saying at Monza that Merc Engines for Red Bull would endanger their dominant position and therefore a bad thing. Now that’s a dig worth exploring.

          • I’m quite enjoying the comedy workshops below-the-line!
            I like my judge with a dash of The Onion…and a hefty side order of Hippo, (add a pinch of Fortis96 and WTF1 to taste).

          • Only a pinch, dobzizzle? In some cultures, Fortis and I are considered a staple food. Sure, it’s the ones where “beggars can’t be choosers” but still, it counts.


          • Some of us have bigger pinches than others!
            I’d be most upset if you or Fortis were taken off the menu.
            # blessed
            # hungry

        • Well given that ‘tires’ has been the main topic since Spa, then surely it makes sense.

          As for Lewis’s comments, I guess the Mercedes board came to their senses.

        • It all makes sense. Hell, If we talk about a certain driver I’ll even dig up some pushing actions in 96 and 97. If you do or say something you have to know people are going to bring that up. That’s life

  2. If a driver can be hauled over the coals for saying Pirelli make shite F1 tyres, why should we be surprised when the Red Bullies are put in the stocks for being such arseholes to Renault. In the 10 years RB have been in F1, they’ve made few friends and probably a lot of enemies.
    Let’s hope Dietrich Mateschitz doesn’t use his massive wealth to buy out CVC now his teams have been black spotted.

  3. Redbull acts only in their own interest, I don’t feel sorry for them. I hope Ferrari give them the engines Manor currently use.

  4. This engine thing is getting interesting and confusing at the same time.

    We currently have:
    Mercedes: Works, Lotus, FI, Williams
    Ferrari: Works, Sauber, Manor, (Haas)
    Renault: Red Bull, Torro Rosso
    Honda: McLaren

    Now, if Ferrari were to supply both of the Bulls then they’d either need to ditch Sauber and Manor, or the rules would have to change if the limit of 4 teams still applies.

    If Renault don’t buy Lotus then there is no spare Merc supply available – assuming Lotus survives that is.

    Personally, I can see Renault just walking away meaning there will have to be rule changes so one or more of Merc and Ferrari supply a fifth team. If that happens then McLaren may well tie in with Manor as a second team to run Magnussen and / or Vandorne with a Honda engine.

    • I think the supply next year will be:

      Mercedes: Works, FI, Williams, Manor
      Ferrari: Works, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Haas
      Renault: Works/Lotus, Sauber
      Honda: McLaren


      • If Renault stay then yes, they will take at least Sauber and quite possible offer Manor a good deal so they’ve got three teams worth of data.


        Personally, I think they will walk. RB are dissing them, Bernie isn’t interested in recognising their contribution – which is easily equal or better than Red Bull and Mercedes over the years.

        And even if they put that aside, they aren’t going to be anywhere for the next couple of seasons. Too little has been spent on car development. The engine is a bag of spanners anyway. It will take a fair chunk of cash and 2 or 3 years minimum before they drag themselves off the bottom.

        What CEO could justify that to a board, let alone a board that includes a national government?

  5. RE Bernie

    Very simple, Bernie wants to create two giants in F1 who are opposites. Hamilton was better than Alonso in their single year and Alonso is now is a dog of a car and max 2 years away from retirement. Rosberg has been bettered byLewis is their 3 years together. Lewis and Vettel have never been in the same team. They will be the greatest of their generation. Then help Ferrari catch up to Merc and there you have it. The two best drivers, opposite in every sense in the two best teams, opposite too in every sense. Of course the ideal from a Bernie perspective would have been to have Lewis in the Ferrari and Seb in the Merc.

    • For sure.
      It is beneficial for F1 to have two opposite drivers competing on every level, to sell an all too common narrative. Good vs bad, rebel vs conformist, Brit vs German. etc.
      They tried to sell this as Lewis vs Rosberg for 18 months now, and Lewis had made mincemeat out of Rosberg. Time to bring in a new foil for Lewis.
      Tickets must be sold, stories must be written and money must be made.

  6. Planet F1 forum was the same when Vettel was winning, everyone whining about Vettel and Red Bull. They still dont like Vettel nor Red Bull, I guess every F1 site forum is dominated by the fanboys of some drivers. At least here, most if not all comments are allowed as a free forum. I like Vettel more than Hamilton but cannot say anything against Hamilton because its same as Vettel a few years ago…..let the boys have their 15 minutes of fame each, but who will it be next?

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