Korea secures deal to reduce race hosting costs

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Organisers of the beleaguered Korean Grand Prix claim they have reached a new deal with FOM to reduce the costs of holding the race.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

South Jeolla cuts costs for F1 Grand Prix (The Korea Herald)

“‘With the successful negotiation, we’ll be able to save a significant amount of money this year,’ said Kang Hyo-seok, director of the Korean F1 organizing committee. He, however, admitted that the F1 race is still too expensive for Korea.”

Australian GP Conference 4 (FIA)

Lewis Hamilton: “I didn’t generally have great pace, so [Sebastian Vettel] may or may not have got passed me, who knows? It doesn’t really matter. He did in the end.”

Button ‘more than marginal’ on fuel (Autosport)

Martin Whitmarsh: “Had we raced unfettered we would not have got to the finish line with either car, so from lap eight we were in severe fuel saving mode.”

Ecclestone’s plan for float divides paddock (The Times)

“The proposals immediately sparked anger, with one senior team executive describing them as ‘outrageous’ and ‘against every facet of European competition law’.”

F1 flotation plans stir up anger (The Telegraph)

“It is believed the story was removed either at the request of Sky Sports, Sky News’ sister company who did not wish to spark resentment on the opening weekend of its live coverage of the sport.”

Heikki Kovalainen via Twitter

“The penalty I got for the next race was cos I passed Vettel before the 1st safety car line when coming in to the pits, marginal, my mistake.”

Comment of the day

JamieFranklinF1 enjoyed the first race of the season but spotted potential for a new controversy:

Jenson was fantastic today. I had a feeling that he’d be able to get in front of Hamilton at the first corner, and when he did, I was ecstatic. The whole race for me was very exciting, and the pace of some of the cars was fantastic to see!

The Saubers looked great, and the Williams as well, although I’m really not a fan of Maldonado and was quite happy when he crashed out on the last lap. It seemed only fair considering he ended Grosjean’s race, who was probably going to have a decent points haul.

At one stage, I had four of the top five drivers in their correct positions for my predictions, but unfortunately, the safety car kind of messed that up for me. Vettel was able to get into second, and Alonso and Rosberg didn’t have the pace to stop Webber getting fourth.

I thought it was quite bad that Red Bull was intentionally positioning their mechanics in the pit lane in order to restrict the McLaren drivers from getting away well, when their drivers weren’t actually coming in to pit. Not only is it unsafe, but it’s very unsportsmanlike.

From the forum

Plus lots of discussion over the battle between the UK’s F1 broadcasters this year:

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Emerson Fittipaldi won the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch 40 years ago today.

Fittipaldi led home Mike Hailwood and Denny Hulme in the 40-lap non-championship race.

Image © Korean GP/Sutton

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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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100 comments on “Korea secures deal to reduce race hosting costs”

  1. Those figures for the Korean GP are very worrying. I know the race must generate plenty in tourism revenue, but a $26m loss is massive, whichever way you look at it. Considering the local government is already in debt, you’ve got to wonder about the venue’s future.

    1. I guess their reputation was ruined after that disastrous first Grand Prix in 2010.

      I’d not miss that circuit, if I’m honest. The whole event is as dull as China, even if the races are OK.

      1. There’s something ‘bleak’ looking about both tracks I think.

        1. they lack character, that’s all. The whole event is a bit boring right from the beginning.

        2. @matt90 – I think you’ll find it’s the lack of interesting surroundings. Shanghai appears to be in the middle of an industrial area. Korea is out in the middle of nowhere; it was supposed to be the centrepiece of a new city, but so far, it has failed to materialise (and when they just lock up the circuit on the Monday after the race and don’t unlock it until the Wedensday before the next event, the city is never going to happen).

          That said, the last two Chinese Grands Prix have both been very good, and they have attracted some of the largest crowds the event has seen. Hopefully they can continue the trend, because I think further Chinese involvement in the sport – either with a driver or as a team – is an inevitablity.

          1. China GP always look very dull. Maybe because of the smog and pollution.

          2. Right, because local air pollution is the deciding factor in the quality of racing.

          3. @prisoner-monkeys, I think @sesku means dull as in not bright. Due to smog/pollution

          4. @dane-1, @sesku – I know. I mean that visibility from the air pollution doesn’t affect the quality of the racing.

          5. For an event that comes to town only once every year, I don’t think it’s that far away. People simply don’t have the interest in Formula 1 maybe. When I lived in Lisbon (1 hour flight), going to Barcelona for a GP was close, and the circuit in Montmeló was full of people coming not only from 20 km away Barcelona but also from further places like Bilbao or Seville, not to mentions Brits, Portuguese, French, Italians end much more. How many people in Europe travel to see GPs elsewhere? Maybe it’s time to rethink Bernie’s global strategy and take F1 back to places where fans are willing to show up.

          6. @jcost – The problem with that is that Europe is already saturated. As you say, fans go to various events across the continent, but that doesn’t mean you can just keep adding races to Europe and expect more of the same. There will eventually come a point where fans stop coming to new events simply because there are too many of them, and they cannot afford tickets to all of them – even with greatly-reduced ticket prices. Besides, Europe cannot afford any more races, since the European economy is weak.

            Secondly, it’s bad for the sport. Formula 1 needs to grow out to new markets. Even if you kept expanding the calendar to new European races, you will eventually reach a point where no new fans can be found in Europe. When you’ve exhausted that market, you have to branch out, and while Formula 1 hasn’t reached that point, “we’re not there yet” is no excuse for not reaching out to new audiences.

            Finally, too much stock is placed in crowd attendance figures. The overwhelming majority of fans watch the race telecasts – even when Silverstone has 200,000 people in attendance, I’d be very surprised if that accounts for more than 1% of the actual people watching, whether trackside or on television. Even if people aren’t attending the Asian races, they are still being broadcast in Asian markets. That was the big problem with Turkey getting crowd numbers in – it was cheaper for people to stay at home and watch the race than it was to go to the actual race. Limiting the calendar to Europe for the sake of fans who will attend the races there will alienate viewers in Asia, Australia and the Americas.

            So in the end, seeing vast crowd numbers might be nice … but limiting the calendar to races on the basis of those crowd figures is a ridiculously bad thing to do.

          7. PM,

            Most sports, if not all, are cheaper at home than attending at the venue. In F1, there’s no doubt you see much more at home than being there, but there are those things your home can’t provide. Noise, smell, talking to other fans, see the cars and drivers closer and so on. To miss that you need passion, if you don’t have it, you will never spend hundreds of Euros to go there.

          8. @jcost – Nevertheless, televised audiences still grossly outweigh fans in attendance. Bernie cannot restructue the calendar to appears the 1% of fans who go to races and expect the 99% who stay home to put up with it. It just doesn’t work. Formula 1 needs to expand out to new markets, which is has done, and has done quite well given how regularly and consistently the calendar is expanded.

          9. But it’s the fans at the circuits that allows the circuits who have invested all the money in set-up to get a return on that investment. Silverstone needs fans to repay all the money it invested upgrading the track ahnd facilities, not TV audiences. Bernie is interested in making as much money from F1 as possible, not in creating “legacies” at circuits. F1 has many of these legacies now, which Bernie is quite happy to let fall into ruin in the endless pursuit of oli money.

            If Bernie really cared about new and emerging markets he would accept the fact that whilst other companies might be more willing to invest outside Europe (which I personally doubt) the fans and locals of that country cannot afford the sky-high prices of attending the GP’s, which means the legacy dream will always fail ans circuits cannot recoup their initial outlay.

          10. The Korean track is located as far from any major city that is physically possible. I live here (Incheon), and since 1995 I have never had reason to go to that area of Korea-for anything. I have been further south many times, but those areas have tourist attractions. It’s another “Turkey”. (pun intended)

      2. Last year race showed how amazing the track is, unlike all the new tracks the layout is well balanced allowing overtaking in all sectors but the track surrondings are obviously frozen its risiculous to see that presentation.

    2. The Australian Grand Prix posted a loss of $50 million (in AUD) in 2010, and it is considered to be a popular event.

      It seems like the only people making money out of F1 are the people who own FOM, and it seems like they see it as a short term cash cow; milk it dry, and then kill it off.

      Massive losses to GP promoters is not a sustainable future for the sport.

      1. Not quite. This years GP cost $50.7 million AUD to run, but that includes setup costs of about $20 million which in reality much of it goes back into the community to local businesses contractors and employees. And that cost is that high because Albert Park is a temporary circuit and so much of the track infrastructure has to to get stored away for the year.

        Income to the GP claws back quite a bit of the tax payers cost. In 2005 it lost about $10 million, but then that doesnt acknowledge the benefits to the wider tourism industry on dollar values with hotels, resteraunts etc all getting a big profit boost.

        This year saw over 300,000 spectators over the 4 days, and about over 160,000 on race day. It was much busier than previous years thats for sure

        1. The Australian GP is Australias most attended single sporting event.

        2. I agree with @theoddkiwi – the event does bring benefits to the community. The problem is that those benefits aren’t immediately recouped; the money fans spend on hotels and restaurants and so on doesn’t go directly to the government, who subsidises the event. And that’s why it’s such a political issue – because the government is expecting to see some direct return on their investment.

          But mostly the cost of the race is used by some aspiring poltiician who wants to make a name for themselves by “playing hardball” with Ecclestone and “getting a better deal for Melbourne/Victoria/Australia/whoever is in government at the moment”. Nothing has ever come of it, since the race takes place year in and year out without change; it’s just a quick headline for a government in crisis to turn to.

    3. Wasn’t there supposed to be an economic zone of sorts surrounding this circuit? What happened to that? Without that economic zone being built, this race will not survive for much longer.

      1. @journeyer

        Wasn’t there supposed to be an economic zone of sorts surrounding this circuit? What happened to that?

        So far, it hasn’t materialised. The teams reported entering the circuit on the Wednesday before the 2011 race and finding that nothing had changed since 2010 – literally. Food that had been put in the refrigerators had been left there, the Williams garage still had Hulkenberg’s name over it, and so on. It was as if the organisers closed the circuit on the Monday after the race, and then only opened it again the week of the race.

        Development also hit something of a snag when the guy who was pushing for Korea to get a race got promoted to dispensing the money for the race, and complained that it was too much.

        1. This is what Korea was meant to look like in a few years,
          but as a few people have pointed out, no progress has been made. Last year they even found champagne corks beneath the podium from 2010.

          1. @tomand95 – That was never going to happen in a year. It would probably take five, at least.

          2. Flying Lobster 27
            19th March 2012, 11:44

            They also found remains of food from 2010 in the fridges… It’s as if North Korea run the place 360 days a year. :S
            And that’s a problem with a lot of these new far-away circuits: they’re more often deserted than the European tracks. Like Istanbul at the end of its spell as a GP circuit, Yeongam hosts nothing aside F1, so no other race in the year to fill up some of the hole it digs by hosting F1!

      2. The people who wanted to do that went bust, I remember reading somewhere. So the whole point of building the circuit in the middle of nowhere was lost, and I predict that as soon as the contract ends, it’ll be lost to the calendar forever.

      3. I laughed when I saw the picture of what was supposed to be built around the track. Google earth the location and zoom out until you can see all of South Korea. Then you’ll understand how ludicrous the track’s location is.
        That development would never have happened, even if the race was a success. As in my posts last year, nothing is built here until it is all sold, then they build things. Very rarely do they build anything here (apartments, commercial buildings, etc.) before they have tenants. It’s weird, but then again, this is Korea.

    4. The race hasn’t generated a lot of tourism revenue, as it is a location similar to Turkey-out in the boonies. I am just surprised that they got the fees reduced so much, but with the other race tracks coming in 2013 and 2014, I am wondering if Uncle Bernie has it in mind to cancel their contract due to such poor performance….

  2. I thought you weren’t allowed to bring your pit crew into the pit lane unless your car was coming in, but everyone seems to ignore that rule completely.

    1. Maybe they can say: “oh, we indeed were to get our cars in the pit lane, but we thought better of it”. How can you monitor that?

      1. true true, but if you slap a fine on in every time they do it, they will start to become more reluctant to do it.

      2. I don’t think it was intentional. They brought Vet in on the next lap.

        Certainly the idea of putting bodies in front of F1 cars is a ridiculous idea. I can’t imagine any team wanting to put staff in harms way unless it was unavoidable.

      3. Don’t allow the mechanics out of the garage until the car has entered the pit entry road.

        1. @guelph – That might work for teams like Red Bull and McLaren who are stationed at the far end of the lane, but what about the likes of Marussia and HRT, who have the first pit bays? Albert Park might have a long pit lane, so all of the teams would have time to be ready if they only move once the car enters the lane, but just look at circuits like Monaco – the pit entry is so short that the likes of Marussia would have only a handful of seconds to get into position. It’s not enough time.

    2. @harvs – You can step out into the lane if you’re expecting your driver in that lap. If the driver decides not to pit, then there’s not much that you can do about it. However, if you repeatedly step out without actually pitting anyone, the race stewards will have some strongly-worded advice for you because it might be constructed as an attempt to trick another team into bringing their car in to cover off the next car on the road. So they’ll give Red Bull the benefit of the doubt this time, but if it keep happening, they could be in serious trouble – the kind of trouble that ends with a stop/go penalty.

      1. Barring Silverstone last year, I haven’t seen one of those in a long while.

  3. Agree with COTD. Button looked like he was going to hit the Red Bull mechanics trying to squeeze out in the first stop, and Brundle said that he had actually clipped an ankle of one of his own mechanics. Immediately another car’s pit stop was shown, with the mechanics in the box in front professionally backing away. I also heard that Red Bull were out during a later McLaren pit stop, but no Red Bull came in. Is that because they really thought one of their cars was coming in, or because they saw an opportunity to get it the way, restricting McLaren’s getaway using a wall of people?

    1. @matt90 Probably trying to sell a dummy I guess. It was done many times last year much to my disdain. That said Vettel could not have managed to overtake Button on the basis of a second or so of delay. Towards the end of the race they were more or less matched for pace with the McLaren being that bit faster. It would be a very very serious incident if it were done intentionally and I don’t think teams would want to risk something so early into the season.

    2. Every micro second lost during a pit stop is an advantage to the opposing teams. Redbull will try to make Mclaren’s pit stop as difficult as possible within the rules.

      1. Even if there is nothing about it in the rules, the stewards may take execption to Red Bull using their own people to slow McLaren down by having the crew stand in the garage and force the McLaren drivers to take a slower, tighter path out of the pit bay. It’s reckless, irresponsible, and downright dangerous – we saw how close Button came to hitting one of red Bull’s mechanics.

    3. Yep, COTD is quite right. I was quite horrified watching the Red Bull mechanic standing directly where he knew the McLaren would need to go. There’s an element of “human error” you have to expect in these situations, but there was no need for the rear jack man to be there in the first place, even if he expected one of his cars in. Furthermore, we know how hard the pit crews are drilled, and while they might make a mistake in the heat of the moment, it’s difficult to accept that they don’t know where they’re supposed to stand.

      I think this boils down to “do you believe Red Bull are cynical enough to try something like that?” I think the Red Bull of 2009 probably weren’t, but the Red Bull of 2012 is a different animal. I’m going to watch the pitstops at the next race very carefully indeed.

    4. I am not sure of the motivation of RBR’s pit crew at that point in time but for the first time I am giving them the benefit of the doubt. I consider myself to be more of a McLaren fan than RBR so I went to youtube trying to find a video of the incident in question to see if I could judge for myself… Instead I found something of the complete opposite nature. I just started following F1 last year but it seems to me that I have found direct evident of McLaren doing something along these lines (twice in a row nonetheless!).


      Can someone please explain what the McLaren crew was doing? I often see the crew’s move the pneumatic hoses out of the way when another team is exiting as an act of courtesy. I have no idea what was going on here.

  4. i swear mclaren always run it risky with fuel… WHY?! be safe and stop making silly errors like that.

    1. Because if they hadn’t they wouldn’t have the pace to get away at the start? All these things are based upon simulations and making sure you haven’t left any time on the table. At the first race of the year it makes sense that their simulation (which must also have taken into account how many safety car/yellow flag phases there would be) might be a bit off.

      In any case you shouldn’t complain because it means the McLarens aren’t as dominant as Button made it look yesterday. :)

      1. I don’t know if a race on fuel-saving mode with a lighter fuel load will bring a quicker pace than a race on normal fuel mode with a slightly heavier fuel load.

        1. But their fuel strategy might have assumed that there would be more safety cars, or longer safety car periods, or yellow flags – opportunities for fuel saving. Alternatively, they might have programmed a different engine or gearbox setting to the race compared to what they used before. There are all sorts of variables that we’re not aware of. But on the basis of the amount of time and effort McLaren spend getting and analysing data, I think it’s unlikely to be a case of “got their sums wrong”. My gut instinct is that they thought they didn’t have the long run pace on Red Bull and underfuelled intending to keep as close to them as possible. They looked suprised to have a gap in qualifying, and took a chance intended to keep level, based on larger opportunities to save fuel.

  5. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
    19th March 2012, 0:52

    This might be a bit off topic but I just wanna wish Fabrice Muamba well and hope he gets through this..I pray that he will recover..

    1. +1. hope he’s ok.

  6. For those who may want to know, José Carlos Pace, Brazilian F1 racing driver, passed away 35 ago on a plane crash.

    1. Thank you for sharing that! Gone but not forgotten.

    2. From what I know(I wasn’t even born then) he was a very fast driver and a good person. RIP Carlos.

    3. Oh. Many people don’t know, but Brazilian GP is held at “Autódromo José Carlos Pace” :)

      P.S.: My name is José Carlos too :)

  7. I hope Koreans will manage to continue hosting the race. Even though the surroundings are dull, the track has character and produces good racing. Contrast it to Valencia which is a boring track located in a great city, I’ll choose Korea any day.

  8. i find it hard to see how a statement that was happy to see another driver crash is comment on the day.

    1. Oh come on… don’t take it so seriously.

      1. yeah fair enough

        It would of been more understandable if he had just slid off, but it was quite an impact.

        i was more gutted for williams. they really need a good driver in there. JA or sutil. cos pastor though he did well had already been off countless times.

    2. @q85 That was my initial reaction too. But I guess the COTD was the last paragraph talking about pit stop controversy. Anyway, Fer no. 65 is right.. Just forget it. Keith might be busy and can’t cope reading hundreds of comments a day :)

    3. I love crashes where my driver isn’t involved, and no-one is phyically hurt. I’m not alone either.

      I think most fans enjoy carbon carnage but feel like a heathen if they admit it.

      1. Speak for yourself.
        Real fans of F1, want to watch an exciting race, and want to see drivers taking the cars to the limit. But crashes, I don’t think I have ever watched any race expecting to see a crash.

  9. Can anyone help me with a chart that says which venue is paying what sum of money to Bernie for hosting F1?

    1. @wasif1 – That information isn’t exactly in the public domain. Most of the venues keep pretty quiet about how much they spend. It’s only in places where the money spent is a political issue (ie Australia, South Korea, etc.) that details get disclosed.

  10. “Had we raced unfettered we would not have got to the finish line with either car, so from lap eight we were in severe fuel saving mode.”

    sounds like Martin-speak for:

    “Well, we could’ve gone faster if we wanted to, but we still had an easy win anyway.”

    1. Playing the game with Horner and Vettel saying they could have passed Hamilton even if not for the SC, right @journeyer

      1. but considering Buttons re-start I fully believe him, …. those first 2 laps were brutal…

        1. Sure, they did have some extra in reserve (just like RBR had last year), not saying he is lying. But I doubt any team would build a car where they have enough fuel to go full power for the whole race. Just remember a few litres of fuel effect car speed quite heavily in Australia.

  11. I believe that Kovalainen’s penalty is too harsh. Maldonado got away after he brutally knocked Grosjean out of the race. Kovalainen gained nothing by formally breaking the rules.

    1. @girts – It’s not like Maldonado’s move was deliberate (which a lot of people seem to think it was; too many people are using this incident as a surrogate to judge Maldonado for Spa last year). His left-rear hit Grosjean’s right-front, which means that Grosjean was in Maldonado’s blind spot. In that case, the burden of responsibility rests with Grosjean, because Grosjean could see Maldonado when Maldonado could not see Grosjean.

      1. Well one could also argue that the way he placed his car into that corner meant, he had shoved Grosjean off the track.
        Grosjean claimed, Maldonado braked so late into that corner, meaning he Grosjean, was more or less taking avoiding action.
        Whatever Maldonado did at Spa last year, has already been judged, his actions were deliberate. You could have put it better if you said, his actions at Spa last year was being used to judge this particular incident.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys I also don’t think it was deliberate (in fact, collisions in F1 are almost never deliberate because you cannot take your rival out without risking to crash yourself). But Maldonado just acted as if Grosjean wasn’t there. Maldonado had to know that Grosjean couldn’t have suddenly disappeared and leave him some room. In my view, this was similar to the clash between Massa and Hamilton in India last year where Massa got penalised. Well, I am actually against any penalties except in case of deliberate collision or when one has gained an unfair advantage, while breaking the rules. But rules must be the same for everyone.

        1. @girts – The way I see it, Grosjean blew it. He ran wide through 13, giving Maldonado the opportunity. Maldonado probably figured that he could slip through. Grosjean kept going, because to do so otherwise would mean running off the circuit and losing even more position. It just so happened that they both ran out of road.

          What I found really bizarre about the incident was that the slightest tap from Maldonado broke Grosjean’s steering arm – but Bruno Senna was launched into the air at the first turn, landed heavily, and kept going. It wasn’t until he got tangled in Felipe Massa that he retired with damage.

          1. I was amazed that Webber’s car survived what looked like quite a shunt from both sides in the first corner without damaging the front suspension on at least 1 side.

            I guess there must be some luck as to exactly what angle the impact force is relative to the angle the suspension and steering arm have greatest strength.

          2. I agree PM, it was a racing incident really. Maldonado didn’t leave him any room, but Grosjean should have seen that coming if he thought Maldonado was late on the brakes. It was very marginal anyway, I wasn’t even sure they hit until I saw the in-car replay.

  12. Im quite good on the Korea tract on F1 2011 :)

  13. Withmarsh should not make this kind of comments about fuel levels, it creates suspicion of the teams policy.
    By suggesting that the drivers were conserving fuel from so early on, it also implies they were not allowed to race each other, as they’d obviously have been given a slower engine mode to race with. You also have the possibility of both cars not being on the same engine mode as had happened before in Turkey of 2010.
    The emphasis was thus, securing a Button win, rather than gambling with both drivers getting close to each other.

    1. Whitmarch always tries to make Mclaren car look more awesome that they are. It’s ridiculous really.

      1. @solo Why is it ridiculous? Leading teams all revel in secrecy and providing miss-information, it’s not like he’s doing anything different to any other team principle. In fact you could argue that Horner is more prolific at it than Whitmarsh.

  14. Well done on the COTD @jamiefranklinf1 Though I’m sure Red Bull brought Vettel in very shortly after both McLaren’s pitted at the same time.

    I don’t want to get into a debate about Hamilton but I do think it’s quite important for him to realise that Vettel being faster in the race is a big deal. Obviously the Safety Car helped Vettel but he’s probably McLaren’s biggest rival for the championship. Vettel was constantly and quickly reigning Hamilton in. Doesn’t bode well for the next 19 races.

    Still, early days!

    1. Thanks @AndrewTanner quite unexpected :)

      I do agree with your point about Hamilton. If he wants to be a contender this year, then he does need to stop sulking when he can’t win, and focus on having a good points haul. There are so many drivers out there who would have been ecstatic with a podium today, whether they had the car to do so or not.

      Maybe that’s one of the key elements that puts Button ahead sometimes. Obviously any driver is a little disappointed when finishing behind their team mate, but the good drivers take the positives from the race and build on that.

  15. Seriously? No comment on the horrible tactics of Red Bull and Ferrari along with the FOM?
    Having a share of the sport too? Pure insanity. Why compete in a sport own by your competitors. Why can’t this team fight on fair ground and always want to have a position that gives then unfair advantage? Are they that incapable in winning with their own strength despite the money the have?
    And who the hell is Red Bull supposed to be that will get any preferential treatment anyway? Ferrari always used excuses like “oldest team in the sport” etc. What is Red Bull suppose to be? This guys have gotten to high on their horse.

    1. Just after commenting, was surprised to no one had commented.

      Absolutely disgraceful behavior. I really hope the other teams stand up this time and tell Ferrari and Red Bull were to go. Like said in other comment it is not like they are going to run a championship on their own.

    2. @solo

      Seriously? No comment on the horrible tactics of Red Bull and Ferrari along with the FOM?
      Having a share of the sport too? Pure insanity. Why compete in a sport own by your competitors. Why can’t this team fight on fair ground and always want to have a position that gives then unfair advantage? Are they that incapable in winning with their own strength despite the money the have?

      I’m willing to bet that Bernie has every intention of offering the FOTA teams a stake in the sport – but he’s dealing with Red Bull and Ferrari first because they are not in FOTA, and one is the reigning Constructors’ Champion, and the other has been involved in all sixty-three seasons to date. Once the FOTA teams see that Ferrari and Red Bull are getting a slice of the pie, they will quickly want the same, but because Bernie dealt with the non-FOTA teams first, the FOTA teams’ collective bargaining position is significantly weaker.

      And the reason why there have been no comments about it in the round-up is because it was discussed in the round-up two days ago.

  16. That leaked Sky document was disgraceful. It time for the teams to play hardball and not sign it like they did before when Ferrari got the extra amount. Paints Ferrari and Red Bull in very bad light. At least Ferrari does bring a massive amount to the championship but what does Red Bull bring?? If any other team deserves extra it should be McLaren rather than Red Bull.

    I just hope the teams stand up this time and don’t sign it as Red Bull and Ferrari aren’t going to have a championship on their own and the new team getting a year old top gear makes it a complete joke.

    1. Edit “top car” not “top gear” meant!!!

    2. @snowma

      At least Ferrari does bring a massive amount to the championship but what does Red Bull bring??

      They’re the reigning champions, and they control a second team. They also happen to be outside FOTA, like Ferrari, and by dealing with the non-FOTA teams first, Bernie has weakened the position of the FOTA teams.

      I just hope the teams stand up this time and don’t sign it

      It won’t happen. If there was a breakaway series, the first thing Bernie would do is sign an exclusivity contract with every circuit currently on the calendar. The breakaway series wouldn’t have time to get a calendar organised, much less a full series.

      Besides, the teams do not dislike Bernie the way fans do. For some reason, the fans assume that the teams are automatically and always behemently opposed to him. This is not the case at all.

      1. You’re right that the FOTA teams don’t dislike Bernie; they do, on the other hand, dislike Ferrari. A very large amount – and what’s at stake is increasing Ferrari’s power here. I don’t think there would be a breakaway series, but Mercedes might just withdraw and redirect their energies to sportscars and/or touring cars. That would be extremely bad for F1.

        1. Just out of curiosity, how do you KNOW that the other teams dislike Ferrari?

  17. themagicofspeed (@)
    19th March 2012, 9:49

    Ominous news that the Macs were under fuelled – they could have gone quicker had they not been in what Whitmarsh described as ‘severe fuel saving’ from lap 8, and makes Button’s whitewash of the entire field even more of a triumph. I am no McLaren fan, in fact i hate them with a passion, but to see somebody other than Vettel and his god damned finger winning something is a blessing from the divine. It’s a breath of fresh air in an F1 that has become (yes, im going to say it) boring and predictable. Few would have forecasted such stunning dominance from Button. I hope he keeps it up, and as my 2nd favorite driver (after Alonso ofcourse) I hope he wins the title. He has proved again that what he does not have in raw, on it like a bonnet speed over Hamilton, he more than makes up for in all round talent, brains, balls and a cool head, which set him above Hamilton. Ferrari will not be winning any rookie awards this year let alone a title, so the best i can hope for is a well deserved title for JB. Hell, the worst that could happen is another Vettel bore-fest. Here’s to a good season of Red Bull getting pasted at their own game.

  18. Interesting story here: the BBC’s highlights of the Australian Grand Prix drew 3.2 million viewers – up 100,000 on last year.

    1. Is that variance (3%, more or less) statistically significant? It’s not particularly surprising, and it was a pretty gloomy day in the south of England. I was up at 4:30am to watch the Sky show but friends/family expressed shock and horror at the thought.

    2. The 3.2m peak was higher than last year but the actual number of people who watched the full program (2.73m) was the lowest since 2008.

      Figures from Sky’s Live program was 874k with a peak of 1.02m.
      That may seem low compared to the BBC’s figures but is actually higher than expected (Considering the race start time) & is much higher than usual for a subscription based channel at that time of the day.
      Actually bodes well for Sky when we get away from the Flyaway races & get races on a better times for UK viewers.

      Something I would point out is that as is done elsewhere the figures from Sky & BBC will be added together to produce a total viewership for the UK & those will become the official figures.

      1. Sky needs at least 600,000 new-to-Sky subscribers for each complete calendar year, watching only F1, simply to break even. Taking the 1.02 m figure as a basis (the amount of F1 watched by a given viewer doesn’t matter for this calculation), Sky would currently need to be able to use 58.8% of each viewer’s Sky subscription on F1 to break even. This may not sound brilliant but it is at least possible. The deal may not be quite as disastrous, economically speaking, as I first thought.

  19. I thought it was quite bad that Red Bull was intentionally positioning their mechanics in the pit lane in order to restrict the McLaren drivers from getting away well, when their drivers weren’t actually coming in to pit. Not only is it unsafe, but it’s very unsportsmanlike.

    I had been wondering about that. I thought there was a rule saying you’re not allowed to go out in the pit unless your driver is actually coming in?

    1. themagicofspeed (@)
      19th March 2012, 22:35

      If it was my team I’d do it too. Its a simple, cheap and effective way of screwing over your rivals. Said rival team’s drivers can’t drive dangerously or attempt to gain time in the pitlane while the personell are in the way or you could sucessfully allege dangerous driving in the pitlane. You can cover your back by saying it was a decoy to fool your rivals into beleiving you were making a pitstop.

      Spend untold millions on R&D or get in the way in the pitlane? I know what i’d pick.

      Plus, if it’s an important race and your gonna lose out to them, do a decoy pitstop and ‘accidentaly’ drop a wheelnut in such a manner that it rolls across into the pit-road just before the rival team’s car arrives….wouldnt that be an awful shame.

      1. You don’t consider that cheating and lying?

  20. Anyone have thoughts on which races will be cut next year? Aren’t there two new tracks coming in 2013 and 2014? I think 20 races a year is the limit for the teams. I live in Korea, so I’m seriously thinking that Korea is first on the shopping block. Any other opinions?

  21. Report in the Telegraph on that letter, says Sky News were ordered to remove the story from its website.


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