May 25 2013

Formula One 2013: Circuit de Monaco Qualifying

Is this the end of Formula One?

Hmm… not quite the headline I thought I’d be posting on Monaco weekend.  Like the Kentucky Derby it’s one of those gluttonous celebrations of the glitterati and ultra rich that appall through mere excessive display at what is an otherwise minor and uninteresting event.

I thought that would be the lede.

Instead there is decay and rot from the top down and the bottom up.

Bottom feeding first- There are only 10 Teams competing in Formula One (Red Bull sponsors 4 cars, 2 Renault Powered Red Bulls and 2 Ferrari Powered Toro Rossos).  What would it be like if there were only 3?

Seven F1 teams face crisis over looming bill for extra £1.32bn

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Friday 24 May 2013 17.30 EDT

The warning has come from one of the sport’s biggest players, Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren team principal who is also chairman of the Formula One Teams’ Association, on the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The teams, who are absorbing the terms of the next Concorde Agreement, are already angry that the private equity firm CVC Capital, who hold a controlling stake in F1, take out more than half of the sport’s $1.5bn income.

These seven teams are already incensed that most of the money goes to the four biggest operations, Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren. CVC are scheduled to increase payments to the teams from 47.5% to 60% of the sport’s income – but the extra money will go to the big four. Fernley said: “There should be a more equitable distribution. It’s quite right that Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes get recognition. I would like to see Red Bull recognised in 20 years’ time but not after five years of pumping money into the sport.”

(I)t is the spiralling costs which have focused the teams’ attention. Between them, them will have to find $2bn over the seven years of the three-cornered Concorde Agreement, which will tie them to Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone and the international racing authority, the FIA. The biggest bill is for engines, as Formula One moves from the 2.4-litre V8s to 1.6-litre V6 units in 2014. It is understood that each team will have to find an extra $15m per season.

Whitmarsh said: “In addition, under the new agreement, the teams will to pay Pirelli $105m over the seven years.” Fernley added: “Everything we’re doing at the moment is about increasing costs. There is no initiative at all about reducing costs. If we don’t sit down and address it very carefully we’re going to lose teams.

“I think all teams are struggling. You would be surprised by how high up they are. We should never underestimate the resolve of Formula One teams. But it will be tougher and tougher.

“If we do in-season testing that will be a massive increase. But look at our basic operations. Do we really need to be running wind tunnels 24/7?” He reserved his most scathing remarks for CVC. “I think CVC have done an absolutely awful job. In my view they are the worst thing that has ever happened to Formula One.”

The article keeps referring to 11 teams, but they’re just being lazy and dividing 22 by 2.  There is no indication that Red Bull is scaling back its commitment (click the damn link already would you?).

So- Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren (60%, they have no other business) or Mercedes (40%, they actually make cars).  Eight cars in total.  Feel the excitement!  It will be just like watching a winter testing session at Circuit de Catalunya (yawn).

BUT WAIT!  There’s more.

Pirelli still does not have a contract for 2014.  As they put it

“Apparently on September 1 we are meant to tell them (the teams) everything that they need to know for the tires for next season. We are now mid-May so you can imagine how ludicrous that is when we haven’t even got contracts in place,” he said.

“So maybe we won’t be here anyway…”

Asked how much of a maybe that was, and how seriously Pirelli were considering walking away, the Briton added: “At a certain point somebody has got to make a decision.

This is a big deal, in fairness to Pirelli the challenges next year with the engine switch are already immense-

Formula One is switching to a new 1.6 liter V6 turbocharged engine with energy recovery systems next season and the tires will also have to change to cope with the new unit’s characteristics.

Hembery said the indications were that the power delivery and top speed would be very different, the aerodynamic loads would change and even the size of the tires was to be decided.

Wider tires could be necessary to create grip, due to reduced aero downforce, and there was the risk of having excessive wheelspin.

“It’s not a case of maybe putting a harder compound onto this year’s tires,” he said. “The changes are so dramatic that we probably need to do a thorough re-engineering of the tire and that takes time.

“So the longer this goes on, it makes our job impossible and there comes a point where probably you say ‘Well, we don’t have time to do the job anymore.”

So, what about Formula One with only 8 cars racing on rims?

If Pirelli were to pull out, any other supplier – should one be found – would struggle to provide tires from scratch in the time available.

Asked whether there was therefore a danger of no Formula One next year, Hembery replied: “You’d have to ask the teams that. We’ve been trying to say that something needs to happen and quick.”

Exciting huh?  Myself, I like Figure 8 Bus Racing- there’s some excitement, you betcha.


Let’s get to the Fish Head-

Bernie Ecclestone F1 future under cloud as bribery charges are prepared

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Wednesday 15 May 2013 09.15 EDT

According to the Munich daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, Ecclestone faces charges in Germany relating to the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery case. Investigations into the case are complete, according to the newspaper, and a Munich court is preparing to file charges in the case within a month, although there may be a delay as the details need to be translated into English before being delivered to Ecclestone’s lawyers.

Ecclestone has maintained his innocence throughout, but has already admitted that he would be forced to resign if charged. He said earlier this year that the sport’s owners, CVC Capital Partners, “will probably be forced to get rid of me if the Germans come after me. It’s pretty obvious, if I’m locked up”.

op. cite

To make matters worse, teams complain that there is a lack of leadership from the FIA while Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s chief executive and commercial rights holder, faces the possibility of prosecution over allegations that he paid a $44m (£29m) bribe to a German banker. Ecclestone, who will be 83 in October, already faced an uncertain future and CVC are believed to have drawn up a short list of names to succeed him. If he is charged, it could potentially jeopardise the planned $12bn (£7.9bn) flotation on the Singapore stock exchange later this year.

Yah think?  Pobrecito Bernie, his constant cheating and stealing may cost him his Billion dollar payoff.

The only reason Ecclestone is perhaps not the biggest and most corrupt asshole in sports is that the competition is so fierce.

Nineteen hours of coverage, most of which has already happened (except for the ones that got crushed like bugs with NHL Playoffs).  8 am Qualifying (now) NBCSports– no repeats.  7 am tomorrow NBCSports Pre-race.  7:30 am NBC Live.  10:30 am NBCSports Monaco repeat (also 11:30 pm Monday).

GP2 Live @ Midnight on NBCSports, repeat @ 1:30 pm Sunday- if you care.

Enjoy Qualifying.

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