Button to get five-place grid penalty at Suzuka

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Jenson Button will have a five-place penalty for a gearbox change at the Japanese Grand Prix.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Button to get gearbox-change penalty (Autosport)

“Post-race investigations of his gearbox after the Singapore GP [uncovered] an identical gearbox problem to that which had put Lewis Hamilton out of the race.”

Ferrari to consider three drivers (BBC)

“The team’s intention is to retain current driver Felipe Massa, but Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta are options.”

Schumacher interests Sauber (Sky)

“Team owner Peter Sauber admitted at the Singapore GP that he would sign Schumacher ‘immediately’ if the former world champion became available, while Mercedes are believed to have offered the German a management role within the team.”

2013 Technical Regulation Changes (ScarbsF1)

“Teams do not have to run the fairing, some teams might be happy to simply keep their existing stepped nose design for 2013.”

Japanese GP: Vijay’s Vision (Force India)

Vijay Mallya: “I still remember the situation in 2010 when Williams pipped us by one point at the last race, so I guess it’s not over until it’s over! I’m still hoping that we can do it and one strong podium finish could help to wipe out Sauber’s advantage.”

Ferrari to close wind tunnel for tests (Autosport)

“‘The real trouble is that sometimes the data matches and this creates even more confusion,’ [Luca di] Montezemolo was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.”

Greece Unblocks Subsidy for Formula 1 Track Construction (Bloomberg)

“Greece unblocked a subsidy of 28.9 million euros ($37.2 million) for the construction of an international-standard racetrack that can be used for staging Formula One car racing, the Ministry of Development said.”

Interview with Igor Rossello (F1 Talks)

“Story was based on interview with [Robert] Kubica’s hand surgeon that was printed in Polish newspaper Super Express in the middle of Seprember, but there is one big problem. Someone put in Rossello’s mouths something that he never said.”

An Education from the Professor (Lotus)

Alain Prost: “Visibility at the front was something I found quite difficult to deal with today. Apart from that all the systems in the car, the engine, the gearbox, the brakes – they’re all fantastic. Very good.”

Luciano Bacheta wins the 2012 FIA Formula Two Championship (Williams)

“British driver Luciano Bacheta has clinched the 2012 FIA Formula Two Championship at Italy’s famous Monza circuit today (Sunday, 30 September) to secure a prize test drive with the Williams Formula 1 Team.”

Chris Economaki, 1920 – 2012 (MotorSport)

“For many years Economaki’s keynote Speed Sport News column called ‘The Editor’s Notebook’ was a must-read for everyone involved in American motor racing. He was able to move effortlessly from Formula 1 to NASCAR, midget and sprint car racing, Indycar racing, drag racing and every form of short track oval racing. A mention in Economaki’s column could make and sometimes break a career in the sport.”


Comment of the day

@Joao-Pedro-CQ was very pleased to see an article on Antonio Felix da Costa:

I, as a Portuguese, have been completely delighted with Da Costa’s performances. He is bringing a new hope to our country that maybe, someday, we will be able to win in Formula One, not only races, but also championships. He has been absolutely fantastic, even more since he signed with Red Bull, and it was a shame he couldn’t win GP3.

He his magical and it’s a great feeling for me to watch him racing, it brings emotions I haven’t had in a while. When he gets to F1, he will be awesome!

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Scribe and Stacy!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

James Hunt won the United States Grand prix 35 years ago today – but he lost his championship to fourth-placed Niki Lauda. Between them came Mario Andretti and Jody Scheckter.

Lauda did not return to Ferrari after the race, announcing a switch to Brabham for 1978.

Hans Stuck took the lead from Hunt on a wet track at the start of the race, before sliding off in the early stages with a clutch problem.


Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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91 comments on “Button to get five-place grid penalty at Suzuka”

  1. “Greece unblocked a subsidy of 28.9 million euros ($37.2 million) for the construction of an international-standard racetrack that can be used for staging Formula One car racing, the Ministry of Development said.”

    And this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics – for proving that governments that are fiscally-irresponsible will continue to make poor decisions even after they have repeatedly driven their economy into the ground to the point where the economy of an entire continent is in jeopardy – goes to … Greece!

    1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      2nd October 2012, 0:48

      That’s Capitalism. Think big, spend (gamble) bucket loads of cash on a harebrained scheme, cross your fingers and hope that it works…and if it doesn’t work, sell it at a huge loss and start all over again. Simple. :-)
      That being said, I’d still take Capitalism over Communism. The Capitalist model may have its flaws, but it produces more wealth and has a far greater scope for societal advancement than Communism.

      On the subject of Jenson’s grid penalty. At least McLaren have learnt from the Singapore GP and taken the decision to preempt a gear box failure and take the penalty, rather than needlessly risking it and hoping that lady luck is on their side. Had they opted for the safe route (and taken the 5 place grid penalty), Lewis would have started on the 3rd row and at least finished on the podium, and when you consider that there were two safety cars, he would’ve had a chance at snatching the win.

      1. @tmcs88, correction, after “that’s capitalism” and before “money” you left out “some-one elses”.

        1. sorry, “cash”.

        2. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
          2nd October 2012, 18:45

          You’re right, without some-one elses money, the whole system would fall apart. Which begs the question, why does everyone continue to hand over their hard earned cash?

      2. Truly we are living in a bizzare world. lol.

      3. Actually, that is socialism…

        1. Actually, it’s global plutocracy.

          1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
            2nd October 2012, 15:43

            Plutocracy and Capitalism are one and the same, they only differ in name (and possibly severity of application). Much like tangerines and satsumas or Nectarines and Peaches, or a self-effacing, amoral, do anything to make an extra buck thief and Bernie Ecclestone. :P

      4. Politicians of all stripes have been spending tax money on bread and circuses to keep themselves popular and in power since antiquity. It’s not exclusive to capitalism, socialism, plutocracy or any other economic system.

    2. Whole idea of having countries that run grey/black economy in a Union with developed countries is bound to fail especially considering the amount of new participants. Of course it fuels the expansion in a short run, but due to “various”/incompetence reasons it is not possible to bring those new countries up to the same level.

      EU is like that young naive girl, that keep asking: “Are you really going to be my boyfriend?”. And them complies with everything, just to get tricked again. Frankly what else do you expect when you are the only one playing by the rules due to ethical reasons, while the people you help (mostly people in charge of course) feel morally obligated to get one up on the “system” :)

      It’s like kids in Somalia wanting to be a pirate, cause it cool job and pays well.

    3. Drop Valencia!
      2nd October 2012, 1:08

      $37.2 million isn’t going to sink Greece, but an F1 race in a few years may help Greece send the message “we are back in business” Greece is never going to “cut” itself out of it’s troubles that’s for sure.

    4. Yes, probably not the best use of resources but you do have to invest in an economy to make it grow. With all of the cutbacks Greece at the moment is a bit like someone who stays at home from work because they want to save money on the bus ticket to get there. That said, an F1 race isn’t what I’d call a solid investment for any country who isn’t in the position to lose money. Does anyone have any ideas about what races actually make money? I can’t afford a subscription to Formula Money.

      1. The data we have in Formula Money shows that all of the races except for the British, Brazilian and Italian Grands Prix make a loss before receiving government funding. These three races happen to have no government assistance so that in itself is quite telling. In some cases even the races which get government funding still make a loss after receiving this financial assistance.

    5. Greece and the greeks (especially the fascist Golden Dawn greek party and its growing supporters) will do whatever they can to not give back the money they got from EU. And on top of that, even during a economical crises they will try to get even more money form the EU, if that means money laundering via a construction of a racetrack – so be it. Work less, but get bigger salaries is their moto.

      P.S. I just know them too well, they’re (unfortunately) my neighbours and have blocked my country’s progress for 2 decades now……

    6. And here I was, thinking that there were rules in place to prevent a country from having two races. First we get two races in Spain, then we get two races in America, and if this plan for a race near Xalandritsa goes ahead, we’ll have two races in Germany.

      1. It’s all about the money

      2. Wasn’t that just something Ecclestone said once or twice to get rid of the two german races? I don’t think there was ever actually a rule in place about the number of races per country… Anyway, the Greek race isn’t going to happen.

        1. The extra races are European or for some tiny country sort of in the neighborhood. There never was more than one race per “country”.

    7. @prisoner-monkeys No really it’s a bargain! 3 Projects at 50 million Euros each will make 800 more jobs. Yes a fantastic 800 more people that can be taxed by austerity measures, so they’ll get most of that back. Out of the 800 it’s probably around 500 project managers, all with their own Porsche to get to work. :)
      ….and once it’s finished I’m sure the owners of the track will have no problems keeping up with a Bernie escalator contract for the privilidge of hosting F1.

    8. Why was I so certain they wouldn’t build it anywhere near Athens, where roughly half of the entire Greek population lives?

    9. But you’re not paying @pm. We are (dutch), massively! To keep afloat this European dream, which turns out to be more Orwellian than 1984.

    10. Although i’m Greek and i should be happy with this news, taking into account that a proper track construction was an unfulfilled dream for every Greek petrolhead , i am not. And this is not only me, a lot of greek motorsport fans think the same.
      Beside the bad timing, the total cost of 100 million € budgeted will probably end up costing more then 150m ……… and 800 work places?
      Aren’t that too many people? how many people are working in other tracks like Silverstone for example?
      With a quick calculation the expenses only for the workers will be 15 million/year minimum.
      And with another 15m for the rights to hold an F1 race ……. we are talking about 30 millions/year without adding all the other costs like maintenance etc. I don’t think the income from tickets will cover more than 1/3 of that cost.
      So, how will this investment be profitable or at least sustainable? What will be different from Istanbul’s failed investment?
      Also the track layout is not that impressive, it looks more like an amateur kart track than a real F1 track . I am not suggesting by that , that the design should involve Tilke but it should look at least a little more professional.

    11. See, this sort of thing is why I was deeply unconvinced by your economic argument that Argentina would not host a race…

  2. Scarbs’ blog post about the regulations was just as interesting as everything he ever writes. I’m so glad the 2014 regs are gonna force the cars to look like this: https://twitter.com/ScarbsF1/status/252907298232598528

    That’s how I think about F1 cars. Low nose, kinda like the FW15!

    1. I hope the “modesty panels” will be painted to identify the car they came from, the track-workers deserve some good souvenirs to hang on their walls.

      1. Probably will be full part of the livery. Would be nice t have the car numbers on them though :-)

    2. I hope the modesty panels don’t work loose due to vibration, wind pressure or minor contact and become an airborne missile just in front of the driver’s head. I’d rather keep the horrible stepped noses.

      1. When DRS was introduced, a lot of people were against it because they thought it would be unsafe and that we’d have a DRS failure every other race that resulted in cars cartwheeling every which way. And while we’ve witnessed the odd DRS failure, the dire predictions have so far amounted to a whimper, rather than a bang.

        So I don’t think there is going to be any problem here. We are, after all, talking about Formula 1 teams. They are the very best at what they do, and so it’s unlikely that we’re going to see modesty panels come flying off at the slightest puff of air under them. The teams know what they are doing.

        1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          2nd October 2012, 21:28

          I should point out that the teams told us it would be categorically impossible for DRS to fail open/active though and that’s happened at least twice.

    3. @fer-no65 Mmmm, eye candy!

  3. Funnily enough, Reebok is now owned by Adidas. Puma was founded by Rudolf Dassler (Adolf Dasslers’ brother), both are based in Herzogenaurach – so ‘running alongside’ each other is what both brands (and brothers) have being doing for since inception.

    1. ‘running alongside’ each other is what both brands (and brothers) have being doing for since inception

      Mostly as fierce competitors and with a lot of feelings of antipathy between them though!

  4. I’d love to see Schumi at Sauber or Williams or Force India, F1 needs drivers who have nothing more to prove but drive because they love it, and we would have a yardstick to gauge the cars by. I hope Schumi is still driving when he is 50 providing he is still enjoying it and is still competitive.

    1. I disagree, what F1 needs is spare seats for new talent, enough rotating the same drivers around. Michael has shown poor results since returning, if he was any other driver people would have been speculating over his replacement months ago.

      1. Whether or not his performances were poor is up for debate. Certainly, 2010 was the worst season in his career, but his game has been rising over the past two seasons, and he has cut back the deficit to Rosberg, to the effect that he has actually out-qualified his teammate this season. The important question is that of prestige. Throughout his career, Michael has never been forced to search for a new team, he has always done it on his own will. But if he now moves to Sauber, having been shunted aside by Mercedes, it will echo the second-half of Rubens Barrichello’s career. His legacy will be tarnished. If Michael wants to continue racing he should go to DTM or WEC or something like that. He must understand that his Formula 1 sojourn is at an end. There is also the risk factor, his slower reflexes might result in an accident that could ruin his or someone else’s career. I am also extremely disappointed by Schumi’s other fans(I’m one of them) who want him to stay on, to cling on, and wait to be shunted out a la Barrichello and not retire on his own terms. Let us hope that Michael’s better sense prevails.

        1. I hope someone replies to this.

        2. “his slower reflexes might result in an accident” you have to be kidding, Michael is pushing a midfield car towards the front of the field, he would be making regular visits to the podium if he was drivng a McLaren or RedBull, younger drivers also make occasional mistakes .

          1. I’m not against Michael, I don’t doubt his speed and tenacity. But what happened at Catalunya with Senna and Singapore with Vergne was not something he would have done in the past. It is also better to retire on a high than to be pushed out. I would like it if he retires and like Prost or Stewart, forms a team of his own.

      2. But he is not any other driver.. so .. ur point?

    2. agreed

    3. Honestly, I don’t think there is a place for Schumacher in the sport anymore. His return hasn’t gone according to plan, and he’s been upstaged by both younger drivers and other returning drivers. What he has achieved has been great, but now he’s just treading water. I’d much prefer to see Sauber take on a promising young talent, like Frijns, da Costa, Evans or Wickens, rather than taken on Schumacher.

      1. It would be great marketing for the team though. I dont think Sauber have ever had a champ racing for them (Villenueve when they were BMW Sauber maybe..). But to have a 7 time WDC join them would be a huge achievement for their team.

        1. But do they really need marketing? They’re square in the middle of their most-successful season to date. Sure, they’re losing Perez, who has been responsible for most of their results, but given Schumacher’s disappointing comeback, do they really need him?

          1. Again, he’s been faster than Rosberg this year. If Rosberg rates a Mercedes seat, why doesn’t Schumacher also rate a seat in a compettive car?

      2. Schumacher has been faster than Rosberg this year, if less reliable. Is there any particular reason to believe that any of those promising young talents would be a match for Rosberg, whose lower formula record outclasses all of theirs?

        1. artificial racer
          2nd October 2012, 16:44

          Actually for Rosberg vs. Schumacher this year:
          Qualified ahead 7 7
          Average qualifying gap +0.293s –
          Finished race ahead 1 6
          Laps spent ahead 347 275


          That is not really enough to say “faster than Rosberg this year” and kind of sidesteps Schumacher’s crashes. I’d say they’re basically matched this year at least. I’ve found Schumacher often to be stronger in races, reminds me of Kubica sometimes with his relentless focus. Although Nico finally got his win this year… but Schumacher’s race there was destroyed by a pit stop.

          It does seem like this year Schumacher had the ability to be a winner again. But the car did not intersect. The thing is at 43 how much longer can he perform? I’d rather have Schumacher around than certain other drivers… like maybe Bruno.

  5. Schumacher to Sauber! Now that would be an interesting prospect.

    I hope whatever he does, he stays very involved in F1, and doesn’t let Merc turn him into a Merchandising puppet.

  6. Next year, how about we just penalize the teams, not the drivers, for a gearbox replacement? So, no grid penalty, start where you qualify and race as normal. Driver scores the points due for the finishing spot.
    After the race, the team can choose a 10 point penalty in the constructors’ standings only OR the equivalent of 5 places down the finishing order (in terms of points scored, not promoting other drivers), again just for the constructor’s championship. This would never penalize the trailing teams like HRT, but nor does the current system. It caps the penalty for high finishers at 10 points but penalizes less for lower placements where there’s less to lose from that race.

    Could obviously be tweaked, but it’s best kept simple so as not to confuse the TV commentators…

    1. Sorry, but that sounds horrible. Formula 1 is, as has been pointed out on many occasions, a team sport. A driver is a part of the team, and so if the team needs to change a gearbox, then the driver should be penalised just as much as the team. In your points-penalty scenario, what would you say is a fair penalty if a team has to change a gearbox because a driver ignored an instruction to be gentle on the gears, and so damaged the gearbox? You’ve separated team and driver, but in this scenario, the team gets the penalty for something the driver did. Furthermore, as soon as you start giving teams the option of post-race points penalties, you’re going to cause all manner of headaches. We’ll see teams strategically changing their gearboxes because they think taking a hit in the Constructors’ standings is worth it for the advantage they will get.

      The current system works just fine: your gearbox must last x number of races. If you have to change it before its scheduled change, you get a grid penalty. It’s as simple as that. If any change is needed, the one-free-change rule that was in place last year should be brought back. But honestly, I don’t miss it. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of precision engineering in racing cars. And that applies to every part of the car. Teams should be able to make a gearbox that lasts the mandated number of races; in fact, most of them have. Fernando Alonso, for instance, has not had a gearbox penalty all season. It’s not like the FIA are asking the teams to leap over the moon.

      1. The assumption is that it is a team sport, but like sayed Alonson when it was at Renault when he tried to push the team : who will be remembered in the future? The driver, not the team. F1 has built his legend with hero drivers(and many deaths) not name of team, except a little bit Ferrari. i reckon that time is changing and WCC has more importance because driver has less, there are many reasons for that. Put ll of this aside, it is right that it looks impossible to not put penalty to the driver. Besides, the team is penalized to, half of their car will score less than expected.

      2. F1 may be a team sport, but it has separate championships for drivers and constructors. That being the case, why penalise a driver for a construction problem?

        1. why penalise a driver for a construction problem

          What, like an engine failure during a race? Likewise why should a constructor suffer a loss of points just because a stupid driver puts his car into a wall? Should a driver be docked points because he had the unfair advantage of a car that was faster than his competitors?

          Any attempt to significantly separate driver and constructor points will be artificial, divisive and unfair.

          1. Because its part of the car that might be better because they shaved off a few grams of weight off the gearbox, or used the engine with a tad more aggressive engine maps, etc.
            If you don’t want to punish drivers for having a bad car (either slow, or unreliable, or whatever) you would have to go to a common chassis and engine, but even then you can have one team/driver needing to change more parts than another.

        2. This +1

          This sums it all up really.

      3. “Teams should be able to make a gearbox that lasts the mandated number of races; in fact, most of them have.”

        Only 4 teams have gotten to this point of the season with no gearbox failures. Red Bull McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus, Williams, Sauber, HRT and Force India have all had gearbox failures.

        1. Which goes to show that it really is not unfair to penalize when they can’t meet the requirements IMO @matt90

          After all, they could have build more reserve into the gearbox, but it might be a bit slower, heavier and bigger if they did.

  7. Poor Button. Reliability will be crucial as the season closing.

    1. “McLaren still backing Lewis (Sky)”
      They do it wrong.

      1. I bet now a conspiracy theory will spark that Mclaren deliberately didn’t change Lewis’ gearbox for Singapore so he’d get a DNF, vengeance for the fact that he’s leaving the team. :P

        1. You started it

    2. @eggry . I dont think Button stood a chance at winning the WDC anyways being 75 points down on Fernando. This could be a huge turning point in Mclaren’s support for :ewis for the remaining races. If Jenson leaves Suzuka with more than an 80 point deficit to Fernando, I think Mclaren will just throw all their weight behind Lewis and make Jenson a support driver for the rest of the season

      1. @todfod I’m not saying Button’s chance is over because of the penalty. I have thought it was over a couple of races ago. What I’m saying is it might not be big concern for Button himself(because it’s virtually over) but might be for WCC. Also the fact that both drivers suffered from same problem at the same race makes me think MP4-27 is so unreliable. Even though Mclaren said the problem is already sorted out but…

  8. @MSC – i really hope he forgets about this management role and….. pls sign sauber!!!

  9. I wonder, why Ferrari won’t reconsider Giancarlo Fisichella for a test or “third” driver role. Not only has he raced for Ferrari, he has also raced with and been a good partner for Alonso at Renault. Also, there is the “Italian” driver incentive. Certainly he can’t be worse than Massa and he did quite well for Force India too. The season when he raced with Ferrari, the car was horrid. How, Kimi kept it on track then still amazes me.

    1. Fisi was just as good as badoer when he replaced Massa, and he was the regular driver in the force india. Fisi as partner of Alonso in the renault was as good as Massa now, totally crushed, wheras Alonso was not at hist best, Trulli matched him in those days. Fisichella…

  10. Do it Sauber!

  11. Schumacher / Kovalainen at Sauber. That’s something I would pay a ******** to see. Too bad there’s practically no chance this will happen. There are too many cons to this Schumacher story. He’ll probably stay at Mercedes and start working on his Jean Todt impression for a hefty salary while Sauber will prefer Alguersuari or Gutierrez to Kovalainen.

    Changing the subject, I swear I don’t understand Ferrari anymore. Think about it. They have Montezemolo almost having a heart-attack, shouting Perez is not experienced enough for Ferrari, they refuse to sign him and they back Massa up. Meanwhile McLaren signs Perez – a Ferrari Academy driver. Now, Ferrari change tactics, decide maybe Massa is not that good of an option after all (again!) and they start looking into Force India (a team that kind of runs Mercedes factory drivers, both just as experienced as Perez). Seriously – I hope they already signed Vettel for 2014. It’s the only thing that would justify their strategy at this moment. Otherwise, there’s more logic in willingly and repeatedly banging your head against the wall for no reason whatsoever. Either that or it’s all a very well directed soap-opera.

  12. I really have to say that, being a Schumi fan aswell, I would love to see him in Sauber!!! It would be like indirectly driving for Ferrari… And if he gets one more win in a Sauber, that alone would have made it even more worth while to have come back!! Imagine that!! No go in Mercedes but YES in a Ferrari owered Sauber! That would be awesome!!!!

    DO IT MICHAEL!!!!!!!

  13. So let me get this straight, people in Greece are struggling to find work and feed themselves and yet they’re thinking of hosting an F1 Grand Prix?

    1. And you do not imagine that the mega corrupted government of thailand associated with the son of redbull coowner, murderer of a cop, will host a giga wasted light flooded racetrack wheres more than 80% have just 200€ to live every month in a far far less conditions that Greece is? The blood money of Bernie…

      1. Thailand is no more corrupt than Italy or China or Brazil or India, all of whom host Grands Prix. And although GDP per capita has crashed owing to the 2006 coup d’etat and political protests of 2010, it is recovering, and is still comparable to China’s GDP, and is higher than India’s.

        I do believe the Yoovidhya family is co-operating with Bangkok police. Just because Vorayuth Yoovidhya, the grandson of Chaleo Yoovidhya – the founder of Red Bull – killed a police officer, that does not automatically make them all corrupt. Also, the police officer’s death, while tragic, was not murder. Going by police reports, it was an accident. Murder implies pre-meditation, and from what little I can find on the matter, Yoovidhya hit a police bike by accident and attempted to flee the scene, accidentally dragging the officer with him. Whether or not Yoovidhya can be charged with murder, because the death occured during the commission of another crime – fleeing the scene of an accident – is a matter for Thai law, and my knowledge does not extend that far. Even most countries with this provision would be hard-pressed to make anything more than a manslaughter or criminally-negligent homicide charge stick, neither of which are the same as murder.

        Finally, there is only an agreement in principle to host a race in Thailand starting in 2014. No terms have been agreed-upon between either party. It simply gives Thailand the right to a preliminary place on the calendar, provided that a contract can be negotiated.

        At this juncture, it has to be said – you’ve been wrong on pretty much every single item in your post. And before you ask, these are not issues that I am intimately familiar with. I learned everything I just wrote after spending five minutes on Google. But hey, you don’t have to be right if you’re attacking Ecclestone, right?

        1. I think I read in the paper that Youvidhya already apologized and offered to pay the family of the police officer a big amount of money to console them. Not that it makes up what he did, but to me that certainly reads as a rich family working to make the public fall-out as small as possible just like they would be doing in just about any country.
          In a really corrupt country they would just give the prosecution, or judges or both a sum of money to make the problem disappear.

          1. I think I read in the paper that Youvidhya already apologized and offered to pay the family of the police officer a big amount of money to console them. Not that it makes up what he did, but to me that certainly reads as a rich family working to make the public fall-out as small as possible just like they would be doing in just about any country.

            And yet, when Pastor Maldonado and his family pay for the treatment and the rehabilitiation of the marshall he injured at Monaco, people decry it as a bribe to allow him to continue racing.

            Anyway, I wasn’t aware the family had offered to pay compensation. But thank you for pointing that out; it reinforces my point. ubik is assuming that because Yoovidhya was involved in the death of a police officer, it was a murder and the whole family is corrupt, which is clearly untrue at this point. And he seems to have jumped to that conclusion for the sake of criticising Bernie Ecclestone. I am bothered about the blase attitude of some people – to them, it seems to be okay to post something potentially libellous if it means criticising him.

    2. @robk23 – I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I had a similar reaction to begin with, but I’ve been reading up on it, and I think I can see what the Greeks are trying to do.

      First of all, they’ve never actually said they want to host a Grand Prix – only that they intend to build a circuit capable of holding one. There does not appear to be any plan to actually bid for a Grand Prix, and even if that were the case, then 2015 is probably the earliest conceivable start date given that construction would take at least two years. That gives the Greeks two years to find their way out of trouble, still assuming that they want a Grand Prix at all. Building a circuit to Grade-1 standards might simply be a ploy to prolong the construction period, keeping more jobs for longer. And secondly, only a third of the money is coming from government funds; the rest is private equity. It’s conceivable that if Greece were to lobby for a race, the sanctioning fees would be paid entirely by private backers. Even then, the $25 million it costs to hold a race yearly is only a fraction of the entire economy. Finally, with the Greek economy in such ramshackle state, any and every expense is going to be critically analysed by the government, the people and probably the German banks that keep bailing them out. There is no way they could get a project like this approved without, at the very least, public approval, and from what I’ve seen, there hasn’t been much in the way of backlash.

      It appears that the plan is to create jobs by starting the construction of the circuit. Once completed, they will try to host regular events of various international categories, trying to lure visitors and foreign investors in. It’s no accident that the location of the proposed circuit is a stone’s throw from Athens, where half the country’s population live. That way, visitors will stimulate the local economy by staying in the city and contributing to small businesses, which form a significant part of any economy, but are usually among the first victims of economic strife. I would not be surprised if the government is looking to build other projects around the city. Construction is always a good way to boost employment as it doesn’t require professional training, but with no growth in the economy, housing projects are out of the question. Finding other facilities to build is the only way forward. A racing circuit might seem like an unnecessary luxury right now, but the government has to play the long game here. If they keep trying to fix the short-term problems and ignore long-term growth, all they are going to do is chase their tails for years. This whole project looks like it might be a way of breaking the circle by creating hundreds of jobs that are guaranteed for two years with minimal investment from the public sector, one that is intended to reap the benefits for years to come, provided that it is managed properly.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys

        It’s no accident that the location of the proposed circuit is a stone’s throw from Athens, where half the country’s population live.

        The track will be built near Chalandritsa, 230 km away from Athens; 20 km from Patra, Greece’s third city. You’d have to be a demigod to throw a stone that far.

        I think you have it mixed up with Chalandri, a suburb of Athens, which would make a whole lot more sense, but of course that’s not the case.

        1. @necrodethmortem – I was going by the Autosport article, which says “the circuit will be built in Xalandritsa, near Patras”, which I misread as Piraeus (it’s quite literally all Greek to me) and is the site of a proposed circuit (serves me right for reading Pitpass).

          Nevertheless, my points still stands. Autosport describes Patras as “Greece’s third largest urban area”. It’s miniscule compared to Athens; the capital has a population of over three million, but despite being the third-largest urban area, Patras has a paltry two hundred thousand residents. So the Greek government is probably trying to stimulate local growth with an ongoing construction project in the local area, just not the local area I thought it was.

          1. For Greece, it would be best to develop the rest of their country, because their economy is dangerously centralized in the Athens-Piraeus metro, but for racing events that are supposed to attract as many people as possible, it doesn’t make any sense not to hold it near it’s biggest population centre. An F1 race would probably draw people from all over the country, but would WEC or Formula Renault?

            I was actually beginning to think you thought 230 km wasn’t all that far, as I’m sure there’s Australians that have neighbours further away than that, but to us Europeans, anything further than 100 km is like a different country :D

          2. @necrodethmortem – Right now, I’m guessing that holding races is only a secondary concern of the government. Actually building the circuit would be the priority.

            When the economy is in recession and you need to stimulate growth by creating jobs, construction is usually the best way forward. You don’t need a whole lot of skilled labour to be able to make it work; what training is needed can usually be provided on the job. But because the economy is in recession, housing projects are out of the question, because nobody is going to buy them. Greece needs a big, long-term construction project. A racing circuit fits that description – it would take at least a year to build. And since the government is planning a circuit built to Grade-1 specifications, that is likely to extend the project out to two years (which is how long Abu Dhabi, Korea, India and Austin have taken). So they’ve created eight hundred jobs that are guaranteed for two years, and which would require foreign investment to work (for instance, Grade-1 circuits demand a very specific gravel mix for the tarmac, and only two quarries in Germany are capable of supplying it). And in the long term, there is the potential for tourism, which means more stimulation for the economy.

            As you say, the Greek economy is concentrated on the Athens-Piraeus greater metropolitain area, which is why building the circuit near Patras is a good idea. It creates jobs outside the major urban areas, encouraging exurbanisation (the process of people migrating away from cities), stimulates the local economy, and stabilises the national economy. Of course, it only works if the Greeks have other, similar plans – perhaps not racing circuits, but large-scale construction projects with private equity invested in them – around the country, but for now the plan appears to be stimulating the regional economies rather than actually hosting races. And if Greece manages to pull through in the next few years (it can be done; Australia went through a recession in the early 1990s, but we weren’t in as bad shape as Greece), there is the prospect of hosting a Grand Prix in 2015 and 2016. Since governments frequently support Grands Prix because they’re something of a status symbol, to show that they are on par with West (which failed spectacularly in Bahrain earlier this year), the Greek government might be planning a race once their economy stabilises so that they can rejoin the West and prove to the world that their economic woes are over (though ironically, borrowing heavily to pay for another sporting event – the Olympics – has been held up as a leading cause of Greece’s problems).

          3. Yes, this is obviously part of a Greek Keynesian New Deal. The catch is that Greece already has debts they can’t possibly get out of, so starting a spending spree may not be as beneficial to them as it was for the Americans after their Great Depression, but this is subject matter for top economists and I’m not one of them.

            Also, creating some hundred jobs for one or two years is all fine, but if the investment will not pay off, because nobody will end up using the track, it will have cost them a whole lot more than they gained from it. Which would make it typically Greek, or by extension Southern European, but charming as it is, that’s not really a good thing right now.

            I would also like to point out that Australia still doesn’t have a permanent race track that comes even close to Grade-1 and it seems to serve them well. They have a popular domestic racing series and an annual F1 GP, what would they need an expensive Grade-1 track for? And why would Greece?

    3. Tom Haxley (@)
      2nd October 2012, 9:17

      Bernie is one hell of a salesman isn’t he :)

    4. And “generating 800 jobs from it” – still not a great deal with almost 30.000 EUR government money per job created

  14. On Button’s penalty, the Autosport article says Hamilton will not get a penalty because he did not finish the race. But is this because it was shown the gearbox failed, or do you generally have the opportunity to charge the gear box if you don’t finish?

    1. @tricky The relevant bit of the rule in question says:

      Unless the driver fails to finish the race (or is unable to start the race for reasons other than a penalty imposed by the stewards) the gearbox fitted to the car at the end of the Event must remain in it for the remainder of the five race sequence. Any driver who failed to finish the race at the first, second, third or fourth of the five Events for reasons which the technical delegate accepts as being beyond the control of the team or driver, may start the following Event with a different gearbox without a penalty being incurred.
      Sporting Regulations article 28.6 (a)

      So the answer to your question is ‘a bit of both’ – providing the FIA are satisfied the driver retired for a legitimate reason, they can change the gearbox.

  15. Great to see Luciano Bacheta got the job done. Lots of really promising British drivers on the way up at the moment, with him and Calado and Nick Yelloly. Haven’t heard much about Dean Stoneman, 2010 F2 champion, and whether he’s able to resume racing next year – but wouldn’t it be good to see him and Bacheta in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2013.

    Meanwhile, I hope he gives ’em hell (and says the right things to Toto Wolff) at his Williams test. I suspect Williams will be on the lookout for a new Bottas…

  16. Another good Scarbs article. It will be interesting to see how these covers shape up and just how obvious they will be. I assume there will need to be some sort of mechanism where it could just detach rather than become stressed and potentially dangerous?

  17. Wow, the silly season started with a bang, but things seem to be getting a little complicated now. There are empty seats at Ferrari, Force India, Sauber, Lotus, Williams, Toro Rosso, Caterham, Marussia and HRT.
    Ferrari’s seat next season is one of the most important. The Italian manufacturer have never left it this late to announce their driver line-up for the following season, mainly because, very much like 2006, they need a no.2. Massa’s game has been steadily rising, but he is still a long way off his teammate. What he needs is a podium to break his 35(gulp!)-race barren streak. I he can do that he’ll have done enough. However, Ferrari will be anxious to see their 23-year-old prodigy Jules Bianchi get a race seat(possibly at Force India) soon, which is why di Resta and especially Hulkenberg have been linked to the seat. For Force India, the decision isn’t too difficult. Obviously, they have no moral obligation to hand over either of their drivers to Ferrari as they aren’t a customer team. However, Bianchi next season would be a good appointment as he is experienced, and fast. Sauber is a strange case, with the likes of Heikki Kovalainen, Jaime Alguersuari, Charles Pic, Esteban Gutierrez, Nico Hulkenberg and even Michael Schumacher all named in being the replacement for McLaren-bound Sergio Perez next season. However, throw in the fact that even Kamui Kobayashi has not yet got a contract for next season, and things become even more spiced up. Lotus, on the other hand, have stayed away from the madness by saying that they are certain to keep their current driver line-up next season, although Grosjean has yet to announce his plans for 2013. In Williams, it seems increasingly probable that Bottas will will replace Senna next year. The madness we saw at the end of last year at Toro Rosso keeps me from saying anything about the Red Bull cadet-training team. It all depends on who does better in the last 6 races of the season. I would have imagined in mid-season that the lack of any Red Bull rookies in the main feeder series(GP2 and FR3.5) would mean that both drivers would be confirmed for next season, but Antonio Felix da Costa’s meteoric rise might still provide an element of uncertainty.Caterham are another team who are not sure about their line-up next season. Charles Pic has been linked to Vitaly Petrov’s seat, the latter who is almost certain to leave F1 next season due to lack of funds. But if Kovalainen moves away, the most probable replacement should be 27-year-old Giedo van der Garde. He might not be the best, but if you to choose between Rodolfo Gonzalez(who has as many GP2 points as F1 tests) and Alexander Rossi(who is probably not ready yet), he would be the best option. Marussa look certain to lose Charles Pic, but they have a ready replacement in Max Chilton, who could bring much-needed funding into the team, while Timo Glock is certain to stay for a 4th consecutive season. HRT have one empty seat, and there is no certainty as to who will be appointed.

  18. These round-ups are very interesting and useful, Keith. Thanks for the work you put into them. Please consider including interesting foreign-language content, however, to go along with that published in English if no alternative direct source exists (in English). For example, BayernLB will Schadenersatz von Ecclestone ‘Es geht um 41 Millionen Euro: Diese Summe hatte die Bayern LB einst an Formel-1-Chef Bernie Ecclestone gezahlt – als Provision für den Verkauf von Anteilen an der Rennserie. Jetzt beantragt die Landesbank Einsicht in die Ermittlungsakten der Staatsanwaltschaft – und will ihr Geld zurück. Sie ist nicht das einzige Unternehmen, dass Forderungen stellt.’

    After all, a browser like Chrome will offer to automatically translate that full article, opening up loads of interesting content. Cheers.

    1. @joepa Thanks for the suggestion. I don’t think automatic translations are accurate enough to rely on them solely at present. I can converse in a couple of other languages but not enough to regularly rely on them for this sort of thing.

      1. Fair enough. Thanks, as always, for the courtesy of your reply and thoughts on the matter.

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