McLaren help Heathrow reduce congestion

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Lotus test driver Luiz Razia is trying to get sponsorship for a race seat.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

F1 to reduce air traffic congestion (DailyMotion)

Luiz Razia eyes Lotus seat (ESPN)

“We’re working to get sponsors for next year and it could be a way to start early.”

John Surtees describes his Ferrari victory in the 1966 Belgian GP (The Race Driver)

“Peter Windsor talks to John Surtees about his epic victory for Ferrari in the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Should we trust Bernie Ecclestone’s account of the Sky/BBC deal? Alianora la Canta raises some excellent points:

I read the article and the more of it I read, the worse Bernie?s case looked. He has made several assumptions ?ǣ not least the “other channels wouldn?t decide a fee until 2014”, which Channel 4 has refuted.

Since the BBC were wanting to change the contract, Bernie had the right to refuse. If the BBC had insisted, he would have had the right to terminate the contract and charge the BBC for the full cost of F1 in 2013 and 2014 (except for any amount recouped from whichever channel(s) scooped up the replacement deal). That?s a minimum and stipulations in the contract and/or precise jurisdiction may have entitled more recompense than that; varying the cost of a contract is one of the fundamental things which can be grounds for breach of contract, as anyone who?s tried to dodge a fare and been caught will confirm.

As for saying the BBC held all the cards, that ignores basic contractual law. The BBC clearly held some but contract changes have to be mutual to avoid breaches.
Alianora la Canta

From the forum

Lord Stig is looking for American F1 Fanatics who are going to see the Senna film.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to carolynn clarke and socalf1fan!

On this day in F1

Luca Badoer made his return to F1 in practice for the European Grand Prix.

He had been out of action for nine years, nine months and 24 days ?ǣ the second-longest gap between consecutive appearances in F1 history.

Image ?? McLaren

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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49 comments on “McLaren help Heathrow reduce congestion”

  1. “McLaren help Heathrow reduce congestion”

    I thought it would turn out that all the pilots had been watching Button at the Chinese Grand Prix and were all now landing at the wrong airports.

    1. Sometimes wish there was a thumbs up button. Brilliant!

    2. Very nice!

      Couple that with D’Ambrosio’s artistic flare.

  2. As I’m due to go on holiday to Australia and New Zealand in less than 3 weeks time, I’ll be supporting Mclaren if it means my flight leaving on time ;)

  3. We’re seriously running out of round-up articles. Keith must be glad the Belgian GP is just 1 week away!

    1. Yes, me too, but that, unlike me, even Keith has the taste to avoid a link to this ridiculous photo op?

      1. ah, well its better than not having the car there at all, isn’t it?

      2. Could’ve been worse. Those Cowboys could have been sitting on the airbox of two Ferraris.

  4. By the way, poor Badoer. Considering Fisi’s form at Ferrari, I guess at this point, 2 years later, we could say Luca didn’t do as bad as initially thought.

    I remember we destroyed Luca with our comments back then.

    1. I remember we destroyed Luca with our comments back then.

      Not me! After 2 years you’ve admitted you were too cruel :P Why after two years, by the way? By the end of 2009 it was clear Fisichella had not excelled compared with Badoer.

      P.S: are the tag buttons returning soon?

      1. Not after 2 years… :P I realized about it when Fisi struggled right after scoring a podium for Force India. I remember saying something along: “that Fezza must be quite difficult to drive, because even if Fisi isn’t the best driver out there, he surely didn’t forget to drive”.

        But since the “On this day…” bit was focused on Badoer, I thought about commenting it!

  5. Can’t wait for Spa always provides amazing races!!

  6. Do you think I could use McLaren Applied Technology to make my working day more efficient so I can spend more time on F1?

    1. No. I hope you don’t use it because it lacks commonsense.

  7. He has made several assumptions – not least the “other channels wouldn’t decide a fee until 2014″, which Channel 4 has refuted.

    But how do you know Bernie was making those assumptions in the first place? For all you know, he approached Channel 4 and ITV and they both said “we won’t decide a fee until 2014”.

    It’s ironic that you should accuse Bernie of making assumptions when you yourself are. You’re assuming that the coverage of the sport could feasibly be broadcast entirely on free-to-air in 2012, and you’re twisting everything Bernie said to fit that assumption, which is based on your desire not to see Formula 1 move to pay-per-view rather than any substantial fact.

    But nobody has stopped and asked “what if Bernie is right?”. What if the other commercial networks could not or did not want to work out an arrangement until 2014?

    1. Hate the game, not the player.

      1. That’s what I’m doing: the game is deliberately misconstruing facts to fit an opinion. People don’t want Formula 1 on pay-per-view, and so take anything that is said on the matter and twist it to support their beliefs. Even if Channel 4, ITV, the BBC and every other commercial network in England came out and said “We don’t want Formula 1 in 2012” and Sky Sports was the only channel willing to broadcast it, people would still convince themselves that there was some massive conspiracy to rob them of Formula 1 coverage. The behaviour of some people and the ridiculous theories they keep coming up with suggests they have a Ceausescu-like grip on reality.

        1. You’re right, it is totally ridiculous to believe Bernie might be lying and not interesting in the interest of the fans. I’m not saying there is definitely a ‘conspiracy,’ but something has gone wrong somewhere and people want to work out why. It is not a case of not having a grip on reality, just an understanding that Bernie and the whole system can be slippery. And these people who ‘have a poor grip on reality’ could easily counteract that by saying there is absolutely no chance there was a conspiracy is just very naive.

          Anyway, I don’t know why I’m bothering to get into this again. It’s all just opinions and theories to explain something that looks dodgy.

          1. *not acting in the interest of the fans

        2. Considering that:

          a) Channel 4 confirmed it had counter-bid not long after the initial announcement and

          b) Bernie would have still have had rights under basic contract law to full payment even if your scenario of “nobody wanted F1” was true*,

          what I wrote is not a theory (conspiracy or otherwise) but plain facts. You don’t have to like them, but that’s how it is.

          * – I’m not using “were” because I have good reason to believe that we will face precisely that scenario in 2018/2016.

        3. Also, “the game” Warwick was referring to was “the argument”. An argument cannot deliberately do anything!

    2. Given that Channel 4 counter-bid (which we know about from previous round-ups) and the consequences of contractual law, the “assumption” that F1 could have been shown free-to-air in 2012 is not only a fact, but a fact that could have happened in two different ways. The BBC might not have liked it, but if Bernie had said “either you pay 75% of the bill to share with Channel 4* or 100% of the bill to show it on your own or not as you please” – something Bernie was legally entitled to do on account of basic contract law – then the BBC would have had to comply with Bernie’s wishes.

      For that matter, Bernie didn’t have to approve the BBC/Channel 4 contract either if he didn’t like it. He was perfectly entitled to play hardball and merely say “right, BBC, you’re paying whether you want to or not. You can choose to broadcast or not, but you’re still paying for the rights you purchased from ITV in 2009″. In that case (or in the case the BBC was on a “share with Sky or nobody” attitude), the BBC would have paid exactly the same price whether it broadcast or not – at which point it might as well broadcast, for fear it would be in breach of its Charter. It’s difficult to claim your channels are being efficient with taxpayers’ money if they are not broadcasting something they have purchased.

      I haven’t altered a single word Bernie said to fit anything, and my statements are based on remembering what I was taught about the subject. This stuff is so basic that there is no plausible way Bernie could not remember this.

      To generate the premise “Bernie is right on having no rights”, it would be necessary to either transplant the whole scenario into the Middle East (or other country where “exceptional circumstances” are allowed to unilaterally modify contracts without recompense) or claim the law is in a state which it is not. Since I know neither of those things applies, it would be ridiculous for me to attempt to do anything with that premise unless it was a clearly-labelled work of fiction.

      * – Calculating from the £25 m bid Channel 4 made and the price given for the BBC’s “Bernie fee” each year, BBC would have been left with 75% of the bill (as opposed to 50% of the bill with Sky). ITV has confirmed it did not counter-bid, which makes sense given that it swapped F1 for football only 3 years ago.

      1. Given that Channel 4 counter-bid (which we know about from previous round-ups) and the consequences of contractual law, the “assumption” that F1 could have been shown free-to-air in 2012 is not only a fact, but a fact that could have happened in two different ways.

        But nowhere is it written that the sport absolutely must be shown on free-to-air. The Concorde Agreement only mandates that it must happen “where possible”. This is to ensure that Formula 1 is still broadcast in countries where pay-per-view networks are the only ones willing to show it. The Sky-BBC arrangement still satisfies the condition that Formula 1 be shown on free-to-air where possible.

        1. The Concorde Agreement actually mandates “extended highlights” “where possible”, not live. Hence Australia’s appalling coverage.

          The Channel 4 bid definitely existed. The bid portfolio leaking onto the internet was a good clue. The BBC being forced to keep F1 for the remainder of its contract was also possible. The way contract law works being the evidence for that.

          The point, as I see it, is not whether what Bernie did was legal. Simply because I do not believe Bernie is telling the truth and have provided considerable factual evidence pointing to that conclusion does not mean he’s broken the law (either in his statement or in the actions that set up the situation), and at no point have I argued that. Non-libellious errors are not subject to criminal action unless actual harm can be proven to one of the other involved parties. Courts tend not to rule “short-term gain, long-term pain” arrangements based on errors to be illegal unless the harm was deliberately hidden, and in this case it’s far more plausible that the non-BBC parties involved simply didn’t do their sums. The courts would assume that they went in with their eyes open, since I’ve yet to hear of any deliberate attempt to keep them closed.

          What my argument is establishing is simply that Bernie’s statement – and by extension, the philosophy behind Bernie’s decision – is wrong.

          The point is whether what he did was in the best interests of his own medium-term interests, let alone those of F1, the teams or the fans. My main beef with Bernie’s action is that his behaviour ultimately benefits nobody. A commercial director is supposed to at least do the economically sensible thing, which Bernie has singularly failed to do. My frustration at losing half the TV coverage is minimal compared with my anger at Bernie creating a situation whereby many teams are going to suffer massive losses – first from sponsorship drying up over the next few years, then TV money suddenly evaporating in 2018/2016. This will make F1 suffer a lot, especially since the interconnected nature of team and CVC incomes means that the latter will not be able to help F1 get out of the trap.

          Do you understand?

          1. It will certainly hurt any UK-based companies considering F1 sponsorship. If they were undecided before, now an assumed loss of 25% of the total number of season-long viewers (half of the races will get half their current live coverage, and delayed highlights will be far less watched than the current live shows) will likely prevent many new companies committing to sponsorship deals. As these will likely be smaller companies, it may well affect smaller teams. Imagine if HRT were finally on the verge of attracting a sponsor. I bet that sponsor would at least re-consider now, losing HRT the finances they need.

    3. Quit banging on about the unknown contract details,either Bernie accepted a lousy contract from the BBC in which case he is incompetent and should no longer be allowed to represent the interests of F1 or he is being disingenuous when he says he had no options.

      1. Due to the legal principle that all signatories to any contract are bound to either comply with it or recompense the other signatory/ies, we can rule out the former. There is nothing the BBC could have put in the contract to prevent that, even if they’d wanted to do so.

        1. I agree my response was to PM, he has been going on and on about how we don’t know what was in the contract and therefore should accept that like the Agha Khan Bernie is worth his weight in gold,annually. I know nothing could be further from the truth.

  8. Haha, McLaren you bunch of jokers! These guys can hardly get their pit stops right nor can they use their commonsense to do a banker lap before the rain comes & they manage to screw up easy 1-2’s mess up tyre choices and can’t properly fit a tyre.

    I sincerely hope for the safety of air travelers that heathrow officials drop mclaren from this project if they want to avoid another tenerife.

    McLaren haven’t won a constructors championship for 13 years lol

    1. If you bothered to watch and listen to the video, rather than imagine what you saw, you would realise that the software is a tool for helping the team to make decisions. And it is actually an enhanced way of presenting data currently used by air traffic controllers. So in actual fact; a good idea.

      Your comment might have been humorous was it not dripping with bile and hatred. Have you ever considered becoming a football fan?

  9. “We’re working to get sponsors for next year and it could be a way to start early.”

    But is there even a seat going at Team Fernandes in 2012? Sure, Jarno Trulli is one of the older drivers on the grid, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be retiring. Especially since the team are keen to have him stick around. That means he could be racing in 2012. And they certainly won’t want to be giving up on Heikki Kovalainen any time soon. But Razia has an even bigger hurdle to clear – the GP2 grid. He’s not exactly setting the world on fire, and if a vacancy opens in Team Fernandes, there’s a few other drivers standing in his way. If, for example, Robert Kubica comes back to Renault alongside Vitaly Petrov, then I could see Renault trying to get Romain Grosjean into a Team Fernandes seat. And then there’s the likes of Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic who will be wanting to get into Formula 1. Razia’s connection to the team doesn’t guarantee him a seat.

    More worrying is this:

    At the moment his goal is to try to get a seat for his home Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of the season and then to use that as a platform for next year.

    If Fernandes gives Karun Chandhok a run at the Indian Grand Prix, and then gives Razia a drive for the Brazilian, it’s going to set a really poor standard – that they’ll take a driver on the basis of his nationality for a few extra sponsor dollars rather than choosing the best driver for the seat. They’re not going to crack into the midifeld if they keep doing this.

    1. Robert Kubica is never going to make a comeback to F1. Have you seen pictures of his hand? It is as if half of his hand has peeled off. Its so thin.

      But I agree with your point on driver nationality. I’d not put in beyond bernie to indulge in race fixing for the India GP. He will make sure that Force India is on the podium and Chandock and Narain finish in decent positions.

      1. Robert Kubica is never going to make a comeback to F1. Have you seen pictures of his hand? It is as if half of his hand has peeled off. Its so thin.

        His doctors believe he can possibly make a comeback. They won’t know for certain until his next round of surgery.

        But the point I was trying to make is not that Kubica will come back; rather, I was just putting forward a scenario where Team Fernandes might look somewhere else other than Razia. Razia seem to be playing up his chances of a seat with the team based on his existing connection to them, but he’s not the only one – Fernandes is powered by Renault, and Renault are working on getting Romain Grosjean into Formula 1. So it’s conceivable that if their 2012 line-up is locked out, they might try and get a seat for Grosjean with a customer team. And sicne Grosjean is better-qualified for Formula 1 than Razia, and has a similar connection to Team Fernandes.

        But I agree with your point on driver nationality. I’d not put in beyond bernie to indulge in race fixing for the India GP. He will make sure that Force India is on the podium and Chandock and Narain finish in decent positions.

        Bernie has no control over what the teams do. And Chandhok and Karthikeyan are so slow that if Bernie wanted them on the podium, he’d probably have to drug everyone else.

        1. It would be good to see the Indian contingent do well but saying that Bernie will fix the positions. Just silly.

        2. I doubt a Genii F1 driver is going to race with Team Lotus anytime soon, surely the Lotus connection is enough to stop that happening?

      2. I doubt Bernie will even care where the Indians finish, as long as they do well enough to please the crowds. If they don’t, he’ll just tell the teams to find some better Indians.

  10. Happy birthday to both carolynn clarke and socalf1fan :-)

  11. “McLaren help Heathrow reduce congestion” – cue the sly digs at McLaren strategy and pitstop performances.

    It’s easy to mock but this is actually a pretty good example of how technology developed in F1 has much wider benefits. In an era where environmental impact is becoming more and more important, this sort of technology transfer bolsters the case for F1’s survival. Racing improves the breed and road relevance is important, but it’s not everything. The heat of competition means new technology becomes better more quickly. F1 may be caricatured as an unsustainable, fuel-guzzling dinosaur of a sport but the McLaren/Heathrow example demonstrates how it can be harnessed to reduce carbon emissions with no impact on the racing. And looking beyond F1’s immediate impact helps make the case for its long term survival.

    It’s possible to draw a parallel with NASA and the space programme – massively expensive and what did it achieve? The space shuttle programme generated more than 120 technology spin-offs, from heart pumps that have saved hundred of lives to better lubricants now widely used in other industries.

    1. Not sure if you’re based in the UK, but did you see the Science Museum’s excellent F1 exhibit last year? It was on exactly this subject:

      The diagnostics “pod” is particularly awesome.

      1. I saw that a couple of years ago. It was fascinating.

    2. Great comment. There are many great breeding grounds for technology, one that springs to mind is CERN/LHC, but if you add a competitive element to that things develop much quicker…they have a reason to! You’re seeing more and more road cars with F1 and Le Man’s style diffusers, albeit a little more subtle. It’s in ways like this that F1 has the most to be proud of.

    3. and where would we all be without the microwave oven?

  12. Keith, thank you for the COTD :)

    1. Thank you, A la C for the other excellent comments on this subject as well.

  13. RE COTD:

    As for saying the BBC held all the cards, that ignores basic contractual law. The BBC clearly held some but contract changes have to be mutual to avoid breaches.

    That’s making a lot of assumptions about the contract – there could have been all sorts of get out causes for either side. A good example are F1 driver and footballer contracts – often they mean very little and are more of a token gesture of loyality by the player and/or team, they can be bought out and forgotten pretty easily.

    1. Yes they can be BOUGHT out, that means money changes hands.

      1. Correct, HoHum – money changing hands is a form of recompense for the unfulfilled element of the contract.

        The ease of which contracts are bought out is due to the relative wealth of the teams compared with the value of the contracts they sign with their competitors.

    2. Not at all Graham…

      Simple, basic contract law always asks for mutual consent to any considerable changes made.

      And in this specific case, Bernie Ecclestone is certainly not someone having any contracts

      mean very little and are more of a token gesture of loyality

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