Tag Archive: Formula One 2013

Nov 17 2013

Formula One 2013: Circuit of the Americas

So, remember Ronnie Reagan?  You know, that senile old actor who sold missiles to our sworn enemies the terrorist sponsoring, embassy despoiling, nuclear developing state of Iran gift wrapped with a cake and a Bible and a perfectly high profile secret spilling hostage NSC head just so he could get a little off the books money so he could finance his own nun killing anti-communist secret terrorist army?

Neither do I.

Nor does Bernie apparently.

Bernie Ecclestone admits to memory loss over details of Formula One reign

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Monday 11 November 2013 16.22 EST

Bernie Ecclestone told the high court in London on Monday: “I have a bit of a difficulty to remember what happened last week.” The Formula One chief executive, who was 83 last month, was facing his fourth day of questioning in the case brought by Constantin Medien.

The German media company claims that Ecclestone undervalued Formula One when it was sold to the private equity group CVC Capital Partners and that he colluded with the German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky – who was jailed last year for eight and a half years – to keep control of the sport. Ecclestone denies wrongdoing.



Earlier, when asked about CVC’s purchase of a controlling interest in Formula One in 2005, a hesitant Ecclestone replied: “By the look of this I – dates – I’m sorry, I can’t keep up with these days.”

Ecclestone also had difficulty remembering a meeting he allegedly had last year, at the time of the jailing of Gribkowksy. Ecclestone and three other parties are accused of paying $44m in bribes to Gribkowsky to undervalue F1 when it was sold to CVC.

But when asked about the meeting, Ecclestone, after a pause, replied: “I don’t remember what the meeting was for but, if you – I don’t remember the meeting but, if you said – I have hundreds of meetings a month but, if you said there was a meeting, there obviously was a meeting but I don’t remember what it was for.”



Asked whether the case is damaging for Formula One, Ecclestone said: “I don’t think so. It’s good because a lot of facts come out of it.”

Sigh.

And nothing to see here-

Lawyer of Bernie Ecclestone’s ex-wife briefly suspected F1 chief had orchestrated robbery at his home

By Tom Cary, The Telegraph

10:17PM GMT 15 Nov 2013

Stephen Mullens, a former legal advisor to the Ecclestone family trust, and his wife and children were subjected to a “horrific” robbery in 2009 that he suspected may have been orchestrated by Bernie Ecclestone himself, a court has been told.



Recounting the robbery on Thursday at the High Court, where Mullens and Ecclestone are co-defendants in a $140 million damages claim brought by German media firm Constantin Medien, Mullens said that he was ready to “change my life, give up my practice and leave the country”, so traumatised was he by the experience which happened in April 2009.



Ecclestone, Mullens and Bambino are defendants in Constantin Medien’s lawsuit, which claims that they paid a total of $44m in bribes to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky in order to steer the 2005 sale of Formula One to its current owners CVC Capital Partners.

Constantin claims that Formula One was purposefully undervalued by Gribkowsky, and that it lost out on a hefty commission as a result.

Ecclestone and Mullens deny the charges, claiming that they paid Gribkowsky to keep him quiet after he threatened to go to the UK tax authorities and make false claims regarding Ecclestone’s control of Bambino.

Bernie Ecclestone court case sees F1 deal-making under scrutiny

Richard Conway, BBC

The case stems from a claim for £90m in damages by Constantin Medien, a German media company that says it lost out because of a “corrupt bargain” when a stake in Formula 1 was sold in 2006.

,,,

But when a verdict finally comes in this case, it will not mark the end of Ecclestone’s legal issues.

A £400m civil case related to the 2006 sale is waiting to be heard in the United States.

And then early next year a German criminal court will decide whether Ecclestone should stand trial on bribery charges related to payments made to Gerhard Gribkowsky.

Gribkowsky, a German banker who was a central figure in the sale of the shares to CVC, is currently serving an eight-year jail term for being in receipt of corrupt payments.

Ecclestone denied in court this week that the £10m he personally provided to Gribkowsky was a bribe and said it was unrelated to the Formula 1 sale.



The job, it transpired, was to ensure Mr Gribkowsky didn’t “shake him down” by talking to the UK tax authorities about the structure of his family’s financial trust, Bambino.

The evidence heard in court so far has shone a light on how business and deals are conducted within Formula 1 – with everything from the Concorde agreement between the F1 teams and the sport’s governing body and commercial arm to the potential for a rival breakaway series under discussion.

Well, at least it’s not global thermonuclear war or anything like that in the hands of a senile old rich man.

Tires on offer are the Hards and Mediums (which show no particular speed advantage).  Top 10 will all start used Mediums.

Engine failures are a possibility as the track is fast and has considerable elevation changes that are not visible on TV.

Live coverage is on NBC main.

Nov 16 2013

Formula One 2013: Circuit of the Americas Qualifying

A Drivers Tale

What a shallow “sport” this is.  You know, much as I hate to admit it, Fernando Alonso is the only driver who makes a damn bit of difference at all because he can make a piece of crap look like a contender.  Otherwise they’re interchangeable parts except for the truly bad ones who’s only qualification is the amount of personal sponsorship money they bring to a Team (I’m sure I’ve mentioned that almost every seat in Formula One is bought and paid for by bribery, not based on talent at all).

Sebastian Vettel is a despicable arrogant asshole who only knows how to drive one kind of race- get out of range quick, where he is aided and abetted by Red Bull’s massive sponsorship (2 Teams of 11, Red Bull and Toro Rossa) that allow them frequent passes when they violate formula rules for competitive advantage.  Otherwise he’s a talentless hack who’s challenge to Michael Schumaker’s records is as meaningless as Mark McGwire’s steroid dependent Home Runs (not that I’m a huge Schumaker fan either).

Though that does bring us to the subject of Lotus/Renault’s driver changes.  After the disappointing performance of Scuderia Marlboro and Mercedes at Buddh they suddenly find themselves in contention for 2nd in the Constructors’ Championship.  They haven’t been paying Kimi Raikkonen anyway, about which Bernie says

He has signed a contract with somebody, they need to pay him. He now needs to do what he can to get paid. I feel sorry for him but he should have been a little more sensible when he signed the contract and know what he was signing for. If he drove for me, I’d have paid him. I am not his manager, but I would not have let him get into that trouble in the first place. If he wants to stand down for a couple of races, that’s up to him.

Well, as it turns out Raikkonen has been driving hurt with a back injury and underwent surgery for it last week.  He will not finish the season for Lotus.  After offering the seat to Schumaker (told you there was a connection) who is very happy in retirement and turned them down (deadbeats) they turned to Heikki Kovalainen.

The other driver news comes from McLaren who have unceremoniously dumped Sergio Perez despite his out qualifying Jensen Button on 8 occasions this year and beating him 5 times.  He’ll be replaced by rookie phenom Kevin Magnussen, their Danish development driver.  He’d better be prepared for a short stay since rumor has it that McLaren is going to wave serious wads of cash at Alonso when his contract is up in 2015.

Fat chance, though he’s a good fit for McLaren because he can make “a piece of crap look like a contender” as I said above.  He’d be a fool to leave the Scuderia just when it looks like they’re poised to deliver a reasonably good car.

Finally, it looks like Lew Hamilton has been driving around on a cracked chassis for the last 2 or 3 races so he gets a replacement.

Ecclestone’s convenient senility tomorrow.

Live qualifying now on CNBC, repeat at 6:30 pm on Vs.

Nov 03 2013

Formula One 2013: Yas Marina

Boring.

Yup.  Even more boring than Schumacher.  bmaz says so and I agree.

Let me tell you how it goes.  Vettel grabs the lead at the start and pulls out beyond the DRS margin (1 second) in the first two Laps before DRS is enabled and then drives off to a tire changing delta (15 to 20 seconds) and then there is no race at all.

No Bernie, position changes between back markers don’t count.  Both Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships were clinched last week.  Why watch?

Not that it’s a total excuse for my lack of updates, truth is I’ve just been too busy to do it.

I have a life you know, and after 18 hours of hard work the absolute top item on my priority list is to grab a 3 hour nap and watch (yawn) Formula One because I’m just so into sports and it’s much more entertaining than America’s Cup or Major League Baseball or NCAA Hoopies or the Olympics or the Triple Crown or the Super Bowl or…

Anyway I do a lot of sports coverage and it’s just a grind after a while, especially when they are dull like Le Tour and Formula One turned out to be this year.  Sorry if you think that proves I’m less than serious about my art, I’m really very good at reproducing Elvis playing cards with dogs on black velvet and my prices are quite reasonable.

The big news this week is Kimi Raikkonen’s DQ for car non-compliance after Qualifying, not so much for the position change from 5th to 22nd as for what it reveals about Lotus-Renault’s finances.

You see 4th place and almost 100 points ahead of 5th (and only 24 behind Scuderia Marlboro in 3rd) should imply your program has some kind of credibility.  As it turns out Raikkonen hasn’t gotten a paycheck all season and unless the sponsorship deal comes through Team Lotus is unlikely to attract even a second rate driver like Hulkenberg as a replacement and will have to settle for Maldonado who never saw a crash he couldn’t get involved with.

Well, that’s just how it is if you’re not Red Bull.

I mentioned replacement and it’s old news that Raikkonen has been tapped to follow the ill-fortuned Massa at Scuderia Marlboro (who had the grace to stick with him through his injury, but who has been turning out sucky cars for 4 seasons now).  I wouldn’t read too much into Massa’s recent successes, I think he’s getting a gold watch for loyal service; it would be nice if he ended up with a car, but I don’t see it.  Kimi may even skip the last 2 races with Lotus-Renault to rest up for his new gig.

What really mixes up everything next year is the new blown six power plants and the fact that not only can they and their components break, but weight distribution and aero characteristics will change.  It will go to the teams with the best designers; Vettel is not only not that good a driver, he’s also a total tool who can’t take direction- a diva.  Witness the elevation of the distinctly mediocre Ricciardo as his second.

Of course my Dad (who’s the other reason I watch Formula One, the first being that it’s normally good blog fodder since it’s time predictable and limited) will think I’m missing the lede which to him is Alonso failing to make Q3 because he was sitting in the garage saving tires and then a spin left him without time to put in a hot lap.  I think it’s the remarkable performance of Mercedes with Rosberg and Hamilton and how they will do without Ross Brawn.  I personally think it’s a big mistake even though they’re replacing him with Paddy Lowe, formerly of McLaren, despite Hamilton’s sanguine reaction (remember, Lewis worked with him at McLaren) because if there’s one thing you can count on McLaren to do, it’s screw up race tactics and lose.

Softs and Mediums are on offer.  2 DRS Zones.

Pretty Tables below.

Sep 22 2013

Formula One 2013: Singapore

So Super Softs and Mediums.  1.5 Seconds between them.  Hardly anything else really matters.

BTW Massa has retired.  Raikkonen is in at the Scuderia.  Big News?  We’ll see next year if Alonso is as good (.5 seconds a lap) as I think he is because Raikkonen is no slouch.

I’d rather focus on how fucked up the TV coverage is (you know, because it screws up my sleep schedule and I get really cranky).  Qualifying at 1 am after a day of college throwball?  I’ve gone on strike for less.

I’m at 6es and 7s about how to handle the Winter Olympics.  There is no doubt that Russia is engaged in a progrom on LGBTs and I’m conflicted because it’s a big part of my blogging history and I really like curling.  Shuffle board on ice, what’s not to like?

But there is no denying that Putin is playing the Russian Orthodox Church on the social issues card and it’s killing people.  This is something our president deals away to prove how “liberal” he is and I feel bad about disagreeing with John Aravosis on this issue because I’m not gay, but I don’t think it’s a substitute for how he’s killing brown people in Yemen with drones or brown people in Detroit with SNAP cuts.

Oh, you just think he’ll stand fast.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  And I choose Detroit for irony.

So not back to Formula One.  In other races where billionaires spend billions Larry Ellison is but a single race away from losing the America’s Cup.

As Atrios frequently says, things are fucked up and shit.

Sep 08 2013

Formula One 2013: Monza

Well the big surprise is that Hamilton didn’t get out of Q2 ending his run of poles.  Given how little he has converted Grid to Finish I’m not sure if fans should be worried or not.  Sutil was handed a 3 Grid penalty for impeding which is, I’m sure, little consolation.

All Red Bulls at the front which leads one to believe that this will be another of those boring races where Vettel gets out of the Drag Reduction zone before it even opens (active in 3rd lap, must be within 1 second of the car you’re looking to overtake).  Hulkenberg’s Sauber is somewhat unexpected as an interloper in third and Massa outqualified Alonso which may be pure charity.

You see in offtrack news Ricciardo has been confirmed as the Red Bull replacement for Webber.  He’s a reliable back bencher who will pile up constructor’s points while being easy on the machinery and unthreatening to Vettel.  Yawn.  Ferrari wants Raikkonen who’s a legitimate contender in a fast car which, unfortunately for Scuderia Marlboro, they don’t have.  They do have Alonso who is good for .5 seconds a lap regardless of what hunk of junk you strap him in and he’s not threatened by a talented second because in his mind there is no driver who is close to his talent.

And he’s absolutely right.

Raikkonen would be a step up for Ferrari, but loyalty is part of the Scuderia mystique.  Massa has never really recovered from his head injury (not that he was top tier before it) but it was one for the team and with a good performance in front of the Maranello home crowd he might get renewed out of sentiment.

Another contract that will probably get picked up is Pirelli.  They have a hate, hate relationship with Bernie but they’re really the only game in town as Michelin (which was being used to threaten them) has no interest at all in developing tires that degrade on schedule in addition to the fact they got unceremoniously dumped the last time they worked with Formula One.  It was never really a credible alternative, merely a negotiating position and I hope Pirelli jacked Bernie up good for a whole pot of money for screwing with them.  On offer this weekend are Hards and Mediums which are remarkably conservative picks but have shown the most predictability and are favored by the teams.  The main difference between them is not speed but durability and not much at that.  Hards will typically last from 5 to 10 laps longer than Mediums.

And all strategies could go in a cocked hat if the weather deteriorates as predicted (Thunderstorms).  Monza is the fastest track with the least downforce and it’s very straight except when it’s not.  Even so that would favor the Red Bulls who have the most mechanical (as opposed to aerodynamic) grip.

So we shall see how entertaining a race this is.

Pretty tables below.

Aug 25 2013

Formula One 2013: Spa-Francorchamps

I don’t know what I hate more.  Far East Starts, European Starts, or Tape Delay.

I suppose I hate them all equally which makes me an odd guy to follow Formula One.

There were really no surprises in qualifying despite the rain other than di Resta on the Force India and Caterham making Q2 along with the Cosworths.  Cosworth engines will not be making the transition to blown sixes which means this is the last year for them.

Spa is the longest track and arguably the fastest one and has the greatest elevation change (most hills).  Cars will be running minimal down force to maximize speed and the Red Bull advantage in mechanical (non aero) grip should serve them well.  The commentators are already giving the season to Vettel but it’s not as cut and dried as that, a few DNFs and Alonso and Hamilton are back in the hunt.

Of course Red Bull could park for the rest of the year and win constructors, really the only question is how they transition.

At this level and at the halfway point there is nothing to eat but dust baked in the cake.  Even so it’s more interesting than bumper car figure eight Turn Left “racing”.

Aug 24 2013

Formula One 2013: Spa-Francorchamps Qualifying

At Spa if it’s not raining it’s getting ready to rain.

Qualifying is tape delayed and I know how it came out even if you don’t because I read the funny papers. Two hundred ninety nine cases of undisputed, self-reported, illegal NSA intercepts- isn’t that funny?  I can hardly stop laughing myself.  They didn’t make it a round 300 because that would be too pat and unbelievable like a $2.99 burger actually costing $3.06 with sales tax.  It sounds so icky that way that you can barely choke down your cholesterol grease disk and still have room for the fries you want.

But it’s all about the money and the Gasoline Circus is visiting the Bulge in the place you go to get rid of those unsightly muffin tops.

The good news is that the 3 practice blow outs were due to track debris, NOT a design flaw.  The bad news is that Michelin is still sniffing around Pirelli’s vacant 2014 contract despite their last snub with vast chunks of cash burning a hole in their pocket when it could just as well be in Bernie’s better insulated one.  Alas for the fans of the Stay-Puff Marshmallow, Michelin has publicly said it has no interest at all in developing the timed degradation tires that represent the only excitement in the “race”.

On offer this week will be the Hards and Mediums.  Not that it means much since the likelihood of at least one lap on the Inters is high to certain so for the purposes of speculation teams may be considered to have an unlimited supply of whichever they favor and any requirement to run  two compounds satisfied.

With Webber retiring from Red Bull many teams are looking at how much money a driver can pay for a ride which is far more important than whether they can actually race or not.  It’s now generally acknowledged that Alonso is worth .5 seconds a lap regardless of what piece of crap you strap him into, but that doesn’t mean he’ll jump to the Bulls since Vettel is not interested in rivals, he wants servants.

Kind of quashes any rumors about Raikkonen also.  Too Damn Good.  So they’ll probably pick someone like Ricciardo, you know, a loser.

The two week August vacation is strictly enforced, not that they needed much this year.  McLaren has given up and will do no more development after wasting their time on a 2013 chassis that is not only slow, but one which they’ll have to scratch in 2014 when the blown 6s make their debut.  Everyone else is doing the same thing, they just did it earlier and are not talking about it.

That said, there is still room for some surprises in the second half of the season.  Tonight at 7 pm we have Louis Vuitton Cup racing for those of you who prefer tearing up even larger piles of money in a shower.

Jul 28 2013

Formula One 2013: Hungaroring

Java.  We hateses it.  I think I have it cranking enough to do the timing and scoring thing, but you never know and it’s come at the expense of a more detailed exposition.

Mediums and Softs.  Hamilton on the pole which has rotated between Red Bull and Mercedes.  Grosjean and Ricciardo unexpectedly high, Webber didn’t even bother with Q3.  At the halfway point Alonso and Räikkönen hunting Vettel, Hamilton a rather sad 4th.  Mercedes and Scuderia Marlboro duking it out for second, McLaren looking lost in 6th behind Force India.

Jul 27 2013

Formula One 2013: Hungaroring Qualifying

Hmm… not that there aren’t developments, but many of them are unresolved and require more research and clarification.

Let’s start with the big one, the Concorde Ageement.  Reuters reports they are getting closer to one but the details of what’s in it are sketchy at best and it could easily blow up BECAUSE…

Bernie has finally been indicted in the Gribkowsky bribery scandal.  If convicted ‘El Supremo’ is pretty surely going to be dumped by CVC so they can proceed with their $15 Billion IPO.

Not that getting rid of Bernie is a bad idea.

Speaking of personnel changes, the duel for Webber’s soon to be vacated Red Bull seat seems to have narrowed down to Raikkonen and Ricciardo.  The smart money is on Ricciardo, the inferior driver, because Vettel doesn’t want a rival.

At Nürburgring a camera man was taken out (broken bones!) when a wheel came off Webber’s Red Bull in Pit Lane.  As a consequence access to the pit has been restricted and the speed limit has been lowered from 60 to 50 (like that will help).  The bottom line is that pit stops are going to take longer, whether that will change the racing remains to be seen.

This is pretty much the mid-point of the season, race 10 of 19.  There will be 22 races next year as they are adding New Jersey, Austria, and Russia.  When they return on August 25th there will be two European races left (Spa and Monza) before they head out to the far east.

The Hungaroring is the second slowest circuit after Monaco.  It’s very hot and because it’s seldom used there are rubbering issues.  On offer are Mediums and Softs, 2013 compounds on 2012 Kevlar bodies.  Because of the earlier ‘secret’ test with with Pirelli, Mercedes was barred from a general test during the recent break.  Though they’re complaining up a storm, it’s hard to figure if they’re at a competitive disadvantage or not as the ‘public’ test used only developmental drivers and teams were forbidden to change the set ups.

Jul 07 2013

Formula One 2013 Nürburgring

So the story is tires, tires, tires.

I’m tired of it.

The upshot is that we’ll be racing Mediums and Softs with 2012 Kevlar and 2013 compounds.  And Super Glue.  Pirelli (which is steadily gaining support among the teams for a 2014 contract) points the finger at the teams for side swapping and running too much camber and too low pressures.

Let me uncompact that.

Camber is the angle that you wheels set your tires at.  Narrower is better for speed, wider is better for grip, so ideally you set your tires so you have maximum grip in corners and minumum drag in straights.

The lower the tire pressure, the more tire you have in contact with the road.  Pressures were running at 12 pounds (less than atmospheric) rising to 15 at race temperature (exactly atmospheric).  Yes, this does run counter to the negative camber principle.  Ask the wonks.

Side swapping is the practice of extending the life of your tires by putting used rubber on the opposite side where presumably it has been less stressed.  Unfortunately the 2013 tires are entirely (another pun, I kill myself) directional and can’t be swapped left to right.

Oh, and the steel belts retain more heat.

So the teams have been over ruled which is a good or bad thing depending on your view of anarcho-syndicalism.

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