Ecclestone’s third warning over New Jersey F1 race

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone casts fresh doubt over whether the Grand Prix of America will go ahead at New Jersey in 2013.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Grand Prix of America in serious doubt after organisers’ contract is torn up (The Guardian)

Ecclestone previously raised questions over the race in April and again in June. Now he says the race organisers: “have not complied with the terms and conditions of the contract which is now gone anyway. They don’t have a contract.”

Hamilton saga nearing end game (BBC)

“McLaren believe their offer to Hamilton is broadly similar to Mercedes’, and that in terms of total remuneration he could actually end up earning more money if he stays where is.”

Lewis had “made up mind” to leave McLaren – Ecclestone (ESPN)

“These last couple or three races he has been doing very well. Before that, why he was upset I don’t know, but he was definitely going to move no matter what. He had made up his mind that he was going. Whether he has changed now a little bit I don’t know.”

Niki Lauda Q&A: Alonso will be champion (F1)

“Q: What about Hamilton?
NL: Hamilton will stay with McLaren.”

End in sight for F1’s game of musical chairs? (Reuters)

[Felipe] Massa is also out of contract but the odds on him staying on at Ferrari for another year have moved in his favour after seeming remote.”

Alonso – Ferrari Must Lift Or Lose Title Lead (Speed)

“It can’t always be the case that my closest rival retires, as has happened in the last two races, and we can’t think of carrying on to the end of the season with qualifying sessions like (Saturday) when our performance was almost a second off the best.”

Lotus upgrade ‘to revitalise title push’ (Autosport)

Trackside operations director Alan Permane: “There is a big update coming in Korea, a really good aero update – plus we plan to run our rear wing device in Suzuka.”

Di Resta becomes ‘visible’ (Sky)

“Paul di Resta’s management team are hoping that their client’s career-best fourth place at Singapore will give the Force India driver greater ‘visibility’ as he continues to be linked with teams further up the F1 ladder.”

FIA gives COTA thumbs up! (Circuit of the Americas)

Charlie Whiting: “The track design is fantastic, the quality of the workmanship is excellent and I have no concerns at all.”

Thoughts about Singapore (Joe Saward)

“I suspect that in the future the circuit will change with more of the action in Marina Park, to the north of the current pit and paddock area, where is also room to put the stage for concerts (thus replacing the cricket ground) with the track also zipping into and out of Suntec City. That would retain many elements of the track as it is now, but would also allow for better overtaking places without moving it too far out of town. It would also mean that more of the track facilities could be semi-permanent (and therefore cheaper).”


Comment of the day

Broom (@brum55) on how the championship may be decided over the final races:

If Hamilton keeps winning and Button can finish ahead of Vettel than Vettel may only be taking three points out of Alonso?s lead. Of course this means Hamilton cannot be written off and assumes the status quo at Singapore will remain constant for the remainder of the season which is unlikely.

Ferrari may be better in Suzuka and Red Bull may struggle due to the layout being similar to Spa (where Vettel would have surely finished about five places lower were it not for Grosjean) and if it rains again this year than it will favour Ferrari and Red Bull to a lesser extent over McLaren.

I cannot predict it. I was certain Hamilton would have toppled Alonso were it not for that DNF but now see it as a dead heat. The guy with the fastest car has the most to make up, the guy in the slowest car of the three has the lead. It couldn?t be better written.
Broom (@brum55)

From the forum

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On this day in F1

A chaotic European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring produced the first and only win for Stewart Grand Prix on this day in 1999.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen led the first half of the race before dropping out with electrical failure. Championship rivals Mika Hakkinen and Eddie Irvine took themselves out of contention with poor tyre calls in mixed weather conditions, plus a disastrous pit lane blunder for Ferrari.

David Coulthard, Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher all had spells in the lead only to spin out or retire.

Johnny Herbert called the changing conditions perfectly and claimed the win. Team mate Rubens Barrichello joined him on the podium in third with Jarno Trulli’s Prost in between them.

The race also saw Minardi’s Luca Badoer burst into tears after retiring while running in fourth place. Team mate Marc Gene took the final point for sixth after being passed by the recovering Hakkinen, which can be seen below:

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  • 61 comments on “Ecclestone’s third warning over New Jersey F1 race”

    1. More and more rumors coming in that Massa has been signed for another year.

      Any idea if Roger Benoit of is a reliable source?

      1. No, he’s not. Blick is a tabloid.

      2. Massa hasn’t really been lacking pace, at least not since China. His only problem is that, well, he’s plagued with problems. He can rarely string a perfect weekend together, always something seems to go wrong, but when he does, he’s quite close to Alonso actually. See in China, Bahrain, Monaco, Britain, Hungary, Belgium and Italy he did well, when he go this act together w/o mistakes that is.

        1. I agree. Surely Massa never faster than Alonso this year unlike rival duos, still Massa has been not so off from Alonso in terms of pure performance. As @kingshark said, the problem of Massa is that he is black hole of crash, puncture. When it is clean weekend, as we saw in Spa and Monza, he was quite competitive. Might not as competitive as Alonso but it’s good reason to retain Massa next year for Ferrari.

          so 1) Massa maintain same performance next year 2) avoid problem he suffred 3) Ferrari improve their car more, then Masssa would be great driver for WCC without hurting Alonso’s WDC campaign. Quite reasonable.

      3. If they get Perez, he woudn’t like to be puppy to Alonso, with Massa they can do it and Massa will follow it. That’s why they need him

        1. I have been thinking about this all week, Alonso is a pretty smart man, he wants a mate taht he can order around, so he wants Massa. I don´t think all this rumors of Vettel/ Perez could bvecome true any time soon. After all, Alonso said himself he has a say in the person who sill sit by his side at Ferrari, so I think Massa is probably safe.

          Perez wants to win, and for all we know he is ready to fight his teammate for it. Vettel and Alonso in the same team, will be problem.

          I feel sorry for Petrov, looks like he is gonna loss his sit, and also for Kobayashi if what I have been reading if true and Sauber is ready to drop him.

          I will like to see Hamilton at Mercedes, just so he could learn how hard is not to be in one of the best teams.

      4. It appears now CVC have shifted over 50% of their holding in FOM that necessary floatation has trundled off into the distance. Maybe the pressure is off to keep adding events to the calendar and we’re back to hardball.

        I read somewhere recently that Bahrain may yet be in jeopardy from the teams sponsors.

        1. sorry – meant to post this in the next set of comments

    2. Can’t say I didn’t see that coming. That NJ proyect was nonsense, kind of like London or Argentina’s street track. I don’t like F1 with no races at the US but neither with more than one. They should’ve never left Indy, but I reckon COTA will be quite good. Time will tell.

      1. They should’ve never left Indy

        Why? It was a horrible circuit.

        1. Agreed, indy was terrible. Just didn’t flow with to many mickey mouse sections. Cota looks good in my opinion.

          1. The first sector wasn’t that bad, even if it didn’t allow for close racing. But the double-hairpin was ridiculous, and the entire circuit was a bit of an embarrasment – they were racing at Indianapolis, one of the most famous and revered circuits in the world … and what they produced was bland and pedestrian and wholly unsuited to the history surrounding it.

            1. Completely agree.

            2. It could have been much better, but Tony George was trying to be Bernie and it resulted in a failed partnership. Too bad as the venue became a failed attempt at what could have been so much more

      2. It was clearly not nonsense like those two- it had a contract, and is currently on next years calender for one thing.

        1. Indeed. And despite the contract being nullified, Bernie hasn’t said “that’s it, they’re off the calendar”. He’s opened up an avenue for them to keep their place:

          “We are pretty close to the final deadline,” he added. “We have got a world council meeting coming up. I think if somebody got behind them it could happen in 2013 because they have come a long way with the circuit.”

          Admittedly, it’s a tight deadline, and if they miss it, he may have no choice but to take it off the calendar. But this is the New York race that he has been pursuing for years. After a Russian Grand Prix, it’s the event Bernie has wanted more than any other. He’s probably going to do everything in his power to keep it on the calendar.

      3. Yes, what @matt90 said: you might not like it, but it wasn’t nonsense. As Bernie himself said, “I think if somebody got behind them it could happen in 2013 because they have come a long way with the circuit.” If they end up not having the backing, then they don’t — but it’s not because it wasn’t taken seriously or was never feasible.

      4. I live about 1 mile from the proposed track, and I did get pretty excited earlier this year at the progress being made. The new parking structure is nearly complete which would serve as the pit lane. The road directly north of turn 14 was also repaved about two months ago which led me to believe the adjacent track surface would also be paved. At this point though, no additional paving seems to be happening or about to happen. I do think though that if the contract is figured out, there is still ample time to get the construction completed as the majority of the track would only require new layer of asphalt.

      5. Well at least the picture quality is going to be better now, if you look at last year’s broadcast it was a little blurry in the fast moving shots, I think it was because of the conversion from ntsc (japan) to pal (europe).

        1. oops, this was in reply to the Fuji tv post…

        2. it wouldn’t be the conversion but maybe they were not using the top-spec digital cams FOM are using…. personally i think the FOM feed is good but too homogenised for my liking, no innovation…

      6. @carlitox, I think you rubbish the project far too early. Bernie wants it, that is why he gave it a relatively good price in the first hand. But he is a tough bargainer and that is why his pet website and editors are hyping up this news to put pressure on the organisers to pay up.

        Its something we have seen almost exactly like this before the calendar for this year was confirmed with Austin on it, and I think it was much the same for Korea and India as well and these kind of things keep coming up for Russia too once in a while, so maybe just take it as part of the F1 folklore.

      7. They should’ve never left Watkins Glen, or at least move it to another one of their many great road courses instead of ****** street circuits.

        1. @necrodethmortem Watkins Glen was a terrific track and it’s a shame it went. But apparently they still haven’t been paid for the last race there:

          “Formula One at Watkins Glen” reviewed

          1. Yes, one of the best in the world. But I’m afraid it’s probably too unsafe for F1 nowadays and it’s also pretty close to Montréal.

            Personally, I think Road Atlanta would be perfect. The South is America’s motorsport heartland and the track is sublime: short (~1 min lap), massive undulation, great corners and a perfect overtaking spot. No idea why F1 never ended up there.

            PS sorry for the swearing, it was out before I realized :D

    3. …him on the podium in third with Jarno Trulli’s Jordan in between them.

      Trulli was driving for Prost that year :)

    4. Good news, FOM are directing this year’s #JapaneseGP and not FujiTV! – via @dkidner

      — F1 Broadcasting (@f1broadcasting) September 25, 2012

      What have been the criticisms of FujiTv’s coverage previously?

      1. I believe they have tended to focus on local drivers a lot in the past. I know everyone loves to see Kobayashi, but there was one year where they followed Takuma Sato almost exclusively, and everyone missed all the action everywhere else.

      2. @mustalainen Many compained about FujiTV last year. I can’t remember why… it’s always been like that, really, they used to show Takuma Sato a lot more than the rest of the guys, even if he was stuck in the midfield. Same with Kamui (though at least Kamui got it right plenty of times at Suzuka).

        1. If Kamui’s gonna drive like in 2010 then I don’t mind that.

      3. Poor camera angles, not enough cameras, poor camera panning and zooming, Poor camera work, Poor sound mixing & poor directing among others.

        There are forum threads dedicated to the F1TV coverage on Autosport & Digitalspy where the quality of the fuji-tv coverage has been complained about for years.

        FOM have taken over the coverage for everything but Monte-Carlo now & the overall quality of the coverage has improved greatly. When the local companys directed the races it was hit or miss depending on what director you got & there was a ton of local team/driver bias in the coverage which many fans used to complain about.

        I was still at FOM when they started becoming the world-feed broadcaster at most races & one of the reasons we did it was to improve the quality & consistency of the coverage. Its something we initially planned after the Digital service ended in 2002 but for 2003 we coudn’t get out of the existing contract with the various local broadcasters, In 2004 we signed up for the new races (Bahrain, Malaysia & China) + Melbourne, Added USA & Canada for 2005/2006 & then took everything bar Monaco, Brazil & Japan for 2007 & took over for Brazil in 2008. Since then only Monaco & Japan have remained under the control of local broadcasters, With them getting Japan now only Monaco’s left.

        Worth saying that most motorsport categories now have a dedicated company (usually the promoter) handing the tv coverage for all races. Doing this allows for more consistent coverage as you have the same group of people covering every race so they know the teams/drivers & people involved so are far better positioned to know what to follow.
        Also since its a dedicated motorsport crew of people who have been around motorsport tv for years (in some cases decades) you often get better trackside camera locations & a better understanding of how everything works.

        1. On the digitalspy forum the user stefmeister has posted some videos showing how fom covered suzuka (when we were doing the ppv digital coverage) and how fuji-tv have done it-

          1. Thanks, but I’m more concerned that Yoongs Minardi sounds so much better than todays Ferrari!

            1. One of the things that stands out after watching them back to back was how bad last years cars sounded with the off-throttle blowing.

          2. Thanks for that, it really does make a big difference when they keep the camera in one place and let the car drive towards it and away from it, instead of keeping it more or less focussed on the car.

            1. it really does make a big difference

              For me, it doesn’t. Having watched both videos I don’t feel that the speed is better conveyed by the FOM approach, looking at a toy car on a wide band of road.

              It’s a mission impossible anyway: I have never seen any race broadcast that could even approximate how those cars look and sound in reality, how much power and speed they carry.

              I think broadcasting quality is more about the director’s ability to actually understand the race.

              There is e.g. this new craze of replaying the start from eight different angles at around lap 2-3 when the field is still bunched up, and I definitely do NOT want to watch replays for more than a minute when the live action is at its most exciting.

              It also ****** me off when we’re in the middle of a thrilling chase, and then the camera cuts to a midfield/backmarker car stopping on the lawn and we get to see the driver get out, communicate with marshals, replace stuff and walk away (30 seconds), then his people on the pit wall staring incredulously into the distance (yet another 10 seconds).

              All this, when any director with half a brain would dedicate about 5 seconds to the whole ‘saga’, then cut back to the actual race.

              Also, at about half-distance, directors tend to give up on showing us the time gap between drivers, and begin to present just a list of names with “1 stop”, “2 stops”, or not even that, just names.

              When we’re talking about such a high-calibre sport, a viewer shouldn’t so often feel compelled to shout at the screen, ‘Are you ******* out of your mind?’, addressing it to the director.

          3. The trouble here is that I think every FOM race now looks more like the FujiTV one than the old FOM one anyway.

      4. Unfortunately FujiTV are only guilty of the same mistakes as FOM’s directors, just to a higher level, which means we only have a decrease in the level of mediocrity rather than an actual improvement.
        Showing pictures of Nicole Scherzinger and guys sitting on deck chairs in the garage rather than on track action, or showing guys on slow-down laps rather than hot-laps in quali are just two of the big ones.
        Aside from that FujiTV are only guilty of the same things regional broadcasters have all been guilty of, notably an increased focus on local hopes.

      5. Local broadcasters seem to concentrate on local celebrities, not just on the track but off, as though it were a horse racing meet .

    5. Can a new race EVER have a smooth transition onto the calendar, where we don’t have Bernie’s incessant he said, she said; race is on, race is off; contract is torn up **? It all gets rather tiresome & to be honest I’m beginning to think: WHO CARES?

      1. Can a new race EVER have a smooth transition onto the calendar, where we don’t have Bernie’s incessant he said, she said; race is on, race is off; contract is torn up **?

        That’s up to the race organisers. They were the ones who broke the contract here.

      2. @sennaboy3 He’s just applying the pressure to make sure they deliver on time.

      3. Not when it’s in America. Bernie’s probably still trying to figure out a way to get COTA off the calendar for this year.

    6. It is a interesting how Ferrari are upbeat and reallistic about their title chances for this year. One thing is great, that Alonso is committed to the team till 2016 and his desire to end his F1 career with them. However, if Ferrari end up loosing the title in the end, like it did in 2010, I don’t think it will go well with him. Gone are the days that Ferrari dominated the early 2000 season with their most celebrated driver, but the constant rule/spec changes including the 2014 engine change will only put him in a level playing field with the other champion drivers. I will be surprised if Alonso could salvage 2 WDC in the next 4 years.

      1. if Ferrari makes best engine for 2014, 2014 title would be no brainer. Don’t rule out tthe case. Someone who has most powerful engine in 2014 would win the title. When regulation changes dramatically, especially engine regulation, there’s high possibility of unbreakable dominance. so 2 title is not something you should be surprised. Absolutely it would be if Alonso win this year.

        of course there’s no guarantee that Ferrari would have best engine. I think Mercedes is more confidence about it but who knows? Might be Renault?

        1. @eggry

          I dont know if Ferrari will build the best engine for 2013. The reason I say this is because a turbo charged V6 isnt really relevant to their road cars just yet, unless they are planning to change their philosophy. I remember LDM was not impressed with the switch to V6s when the decision was made. I am no Ferrari aficionado, but turbos arent really in their DNA is it? They prefer NAs. But then again, Ferrari is Ferrari, they live for racing, so I would hope they come out tops in 2014.

          For Mercedes and Renault, this V6 engine would be perfect for their road cars. Mercedes already produce excellent V6 Ks for their road cars, the extra research and development will only improve their existing designs.

          My prediction is Mercedes will be the strongest in 2014.

          1. @jaymenon10 I think road relevance or DNA is not the matter. as for turbo, actually Ferrari is more friendly to turbo than Mercedes historically because they experienced turbo era and made turbo charged road car as well. Their recent lineup is NA but it doesn’t mean they can’t make good turbo engine. also LDM doesn’t like V6 but he hate inline 4 much more. as far as I concern, the reason I4 concept was abandoned was Ferrari’s request.

            also You shouldn’t think it’s just turbo or V6. I believe all 3 of them would very good at V6 and turbo. The matter is Energy Recovery System. the 2014 rule allows much more variants of ERS and nobody know which configuration is the best now. That’s why I think we will see massive gap in 2014.

            In terms of ERS technology, I should say Mercedes and Renault have more experience in road car but the one of 2014 engine is much more advanced, aggressive one than road car. so my answer is, nobody knows yet. I remember BMW was very confident in 2009 and it turned out they had garbage of car. Confidence doesn’t always reflect actual picture.

            1. @eggry Ferrari are doing a lot of experimenting with Energy Recovery Systems I believe. Their new hypercar is expected to be unveiled either at the upcoming Paris motorshow, or maybe Geneva next year, and people are expecting it to provide extra power through a sophisticated system.

        2. Such a shame Honda and BMW left the sport, now they knew how to build a turbo engine.

    7. The Straits Times had the overseas visitor number increase due to the GP at 150,000 over the first four years – not every year according to Saward. 37,500 extra per year seems more believable as there’s only 87,000 seats at the track and, again according to the Times, 40% of seats were sold to non-singaporeans.

      I’d be keen to see any track redesign drafts if anyone knows of any.

      1. @thecollaroyboys

        I’d be keen to see any track redesign drafts if anyone knows of any.

        There are none that have been released. The Singaporeans have a year to get any redesign sorted out, so they’re probably not in any hurry.

        Based on Saward’s comments about moving to the north of the current facilities and avoiding shutting down the Nicoll Highway, I’d expect something like this, if it goes ahead. However, Saward contradicts comments from the organisers about moving the circuit to the south, around the Marina Bay Sands. If that were to happen, it would be extremely difficult to keep the current pit facilities.

    8. FujiTV, much like how Monaco’s GP organizers act independently from FOM and display ad boards as they see fit, has always had a much different (and dare I say better) sound quality to its broadcasts.

      I’ll reserve judgment, and it’s entirely likely that I’ll thoroughly enjoy five plus hours of Suzuka coverage from either broadcaster, but I will probably notice the difference.

    9. Lewis should just pick up and go. This is a perfect opportunity for him to beef up is already healthy bank account and improve himself as a driver. I wasnt old enough in 1995, but what did people make of Michael Schumacher’s move from Bennetton to Ferrari then? This is a similar situation. Michael was double world champion, going to a team who hadnt won a WDC since 1979? Although it took Michael a further 4 years to win, but he worked and developed himself and the team to become the undisputed best. This is Lewis’s chance, to build a team around him, and take Mercedes to the World Championship title. Mercedes have the financial backing and personnel for him to achieve this.

      1. I think people have to remember that Schumachers success at Ferrari was the exception rather than the rule. Think about all the other WDC drivers who have moved from their team to a slower one, and got nowhere.

        Villeneuve is of course one of the first names that springs to mind, moving to BAR. Hill to Arrows. Manselll to McLaren, even (dare I say it) Senna to Williams, Piquet to Lotus. The list is endless. I think he would be wisest to stay where he is. The only move that would make sense for him is to Red Bull, and Mark Webber’s inexplicable drop in form must be raising some eyebrows in Milton Keynes.

        1. Villeneuve move was unique, he went to his friend. Hill was fired, Mansell was over his career ending, Piquet i don’t remember but Wikipedia has the answer, and Senna was in front of all the three races before crashing if i remember, he could have been champion this year. Prost moved successfully to Williams (after a one year break) and all champions i know moved, Hamilton case is maybe unique : born, raised and retired in one team, strange life ! Ferrari is a very top team, then the Shumi move was considered “normal” at this time whereas the Villeneuve move was far more risky. But he earned a lot of money then not so bad. I think there are no rules, that Mercedes can be a great team, they have legacy in this sport, and the move can be the same as Rossi in motoGP from Honda (winning team) to Yamaha (very far behind), where he acquired a star status. I don’t see Hamilton to be a great among the greats if he stays, he has to build something elsewhere.

    10. Bernie, Bernie, Bernie, what on earth are you on about? On the one hand you are casting doubt on the US F1 race ever taking place yet on the other hand your Charlie W is reporting that he has already given the venue the seal of approval!!. Give us a break man!!!!!

      1. You’re getting confused between the New Jersey GP and the Austin GP. The Austin GP is the one with Whiting’s approval.

        1. I guarantee that this issue of naming the race at ‘Circuit of the Americas’ the ‘United States Grand Prix’ and the one at ‘Port Imperial’ ‘American Grand Prix’ will cause a whole lot more confusion among casual fans and could even put off a whole bunch of potential American fans.

          1. Talking of name confusion, I remember the story of one French competitor in a single-handed round the world yacht race that started in Nerwport, Rhode Island, his
            container full of spares, sails, provisions etc. arrived in Newport Virginia, and his wife arrived in Newport Beach Cal. to see him off.

        2. OOPS!! Thanks Andrew for setting the records straight!!

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