BMW denies Ecclestone’s comeback claim

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In the round-up: BMW deny claims they are planning to return to Formula One.


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BMW rubbishes F1 return talk (Autosport)

BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt: “We have absolutely no intention of looking at other categories. We made a conscious decision to withdraw from Formula One.”

Bernie Ecclestone proposes chassis share to reduce costs (Daily Express)

“I believe that customer cars will be a good thing. Everybody needs to agree to that but Frank Williams is the one who is against it.”

In conversation – Bernie Ecclestone and Niki Lauda (F1)

Ecclestone: “I asked Pirelli to make tyres that would not complete 50 percent of a race – meaning we need pit stops. And that’s what they did. It is very, very difficult to predict and say these tyres will last 15 or 20 percent of the race because each circuit is different, we are facing very different temperatures, the cars are different, and last but not least each driver has a different driving style. In the times when Niki was racing his biggest concern was looking after the gearbox and the brakes – not the tyres. Then we got away from that and the drivers didn’t have to think about anything. Now they have to use their brains and start thinking about how to win races.”

F1 tyre changes to be less dramatic than feared (Reuters)

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery: “Some teams have worked in a certain way to maximise the tyre and chassis package and they don’t want that to be lost by radical change. We’re trying to find something that is sportingly equitable amongst the vast majority that allows us to rid ourselves of the tread (problem).”

Kevin Garside: How McLaren would love to be contenders again on the waterfront at Monaco (The Independent)

Kevin Garside: “There have been rumours, denied by Dennis, that he wants back in the paddock to take control of the team. Clearly something needs to happen to stop the bleeding.”

2,500 members of the public will get chance to walk through the F1 pit lane (Straits Times)

“The pit lane is usually accessible only to ticket holders of the Formula One Paddock Club, worth about $8,500. The public can sign up on the Singapore GP website and selection will be through balloting.”


Comment of the day

@TimothyKatz on the BMW rumours:

BMW are having pretty good success in DTM this season and last, so in a way I’d be surprised if they felt a return to F1 would be attractive. But if they decide to become an engine supplier, it would be most welcome I’m sure.

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On this day in F1

Ferrari made their first appearance in a world championship race on this day in 1950.

They had not participated in the season-opening British Grand Prix, making their first start instead at Monaco with three cars for Alberto Ascari, Luigi Villoresi and Raymond Sommer.

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34 comments on “BMW denies Ecclestone’s comeback claim”

  1. Given as every denial in F1 is a confirmation: welcome back, BMW, I guess. ;)

  2. What I don’t understand is how, without a Concorde agreement in place, any one team is able to veto changes such as customer cars and suchlike. Since that element of the governance was specifically outlined in that agreement, which is no longer binding since it expired.

    1. As I understand it, because Bernie wants 10 teams, five A teams who are true constructors and five B teams who buy the customer chassis. Under his proposal, the five A teams would be Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Lotus. That would leave Williams as a B team, but Sir Frank refuses to countenance the idea of Williams not being a constructor. Maybe Bernie doesn’t have the courage to force this on a team with the heritage of Williams, even if there is no Concorde Agreement in place.

      1. The trouble with that is, that with a lack of Concorde Agreement, Bernie does not have much to say, but the teams neither, as its the FIA’s right to define the rules of the competition without having to consult anyone really until they open the signup for next year.

  3. I am pretty sure its not just Frank Williams opposing customer chassis really. I would be surprised if many others apart from Ferrari, Red Bull (including STR) were big fans.

    After all, why have the likes of Caterham and Marussia, gone through the pain of investing in resources to be able to develop a car when they would now have to go out and buy a second hand Ferrari or Red Bull, or even an Enstone built chassis? Not to mention the assets of Sauber’s windtunnel and CFD capacity left over from the BMW times.

    1. I agree, but I think it could be possible for a specialist to manufacture the basic monocoqe safety cell which teams could buy to fit out with suspension, powertrain and aero bits.

  4. Good to see the site back up

    As I stated yesterday, I believe there is no value for BMW returning to F1 and I dont believe it will happen, unless Renault or Mercedes pull out as a engine supplier. Customer cars are not the answer to F1’s money problems and I agree with Frank, each team should be built on its own merit within restrictions outlined by the governing body. Speaking of governing bodies, if Bernie changes his mind on his opinion about tyres once more I might actually believe he is guilty and has nothing to hide, unlike Paul Hembery who’s really got his back against the wall right now after his brand has been backed into a corner. Dennis needs to return to the Mclaren garage, I can’t confirm statistically, but I’m sure the Mclaren downward spiral begin when he left and they certainly need direction for the remainder of the year and the upcoming future developments. I’m sure if that paddock club pass is in another currency but in Melbourne I walked through the pits twice Thursday and Sunday with $8000 change in my pocket from those figures. No wonder nobody wants to go F1 in Singapore, as that is the only way to see the race due to limited track side viewing. Finally, what is the crowd attendance tweet referring to??
    Is it praising that attendance of the audience during the first V8 race recently or saying it failed?

    1. Attendance figures are referring to the recent races at COTA.

    2. F1’s money problems stem from Bernie siphoning off 50% of revenue.

  5. Thanks for selecting mine for COTD.
    I wonder if I am the only one who finds this quote from Bernie odd
    I asked Pirelli to make tyres that would not complete 50 percent of a race.

    I thought it was the FIA who decided tyre spec, not Bernie. Or is it that the durability of the tyres isn’t actually the specification (and therefore not the FIA’s decision). In which case, can’t Bernie ask Pirelli to change them again without referrence to the FIA? I’m not sure who is in charge here.

    1. Grrrr. Block quote out of position!
      This bit should be in quotes-

      I asked Pirelli to make tyres that would not complete 50 percent of a race.

    2. Or is it that the durability of the tyres isn’t actually the specification (and therefore not the FIA’s decision)


      When it comes to the tyres the FIA simply select the supplier (With agreement from FOM & the teams) & the general specification with regards to wheel/tyre size. They also handle the regulations surrounding tyre usage during race weekends.

      Its then totally down to the supplier on how they manufacturer the tyres & what construction, Compounds & wear characteristics they have.

      The common misconception regarding what Pirelli were asked to do is that it wasn’t actually the FIA who asked Pirelli to make the tyres that wear to force strategy, That was a request from FOTA as well as Bernie (When they signed the commercial deal with is a separate thing to the supply tender & which actually runs longer than the supply deal).

      In terms of what Pirelli were asked to do, As Bernie said (And what I’ve said a few times the past year), The initial brief was never to ensure 2-3 stop races or to make tyres that can’t go more than 10-15 laps.
      There brief was only ever to ensure the hard compound each weekend wasn’t able to go past half distance & the softest compound was marginal for 25-30% race distance with at least 5-8 tenth performance difference between them.

      I think where Pirelli went wrong is that in 2011 they did things pretty much exactly as they were asked to but then decided to change a lot of things for 2012 to generate a bit more degredation & add a further challenge by reducing the operating windows. For this year they changed the construction & played around with the operating windows a bit more as well as making the entire range softer.

      1. @GT_racer Thanks for that. So they operating window, soft/hard qualities are nithing to do with the FIA?
        But I have to say I can’t quite reconcile it with this quote from Autosport that was in the round-up on Saturday “In a blow to outfits like Red Bull hoping further tweaks would help them overcome tyre difficulties they have faced, the FIA has made it clear it will not tolerate further changes aimed at reducing the number of pit stops or decreasing degradation.” If as you say, and as Bernie appears to be infering, durability and degradation is *not* an FIA decision, surely Pirelli can make whatever performance (not safety) alterations they see fit?
        I don’t necessarily want changes, I’m just confused as to who drives this; Bernie or the FIA.

        1. If as you say, and as Bernie appears to be infering, durability and degradation is *not* an FIA decision, surely Pirelli can make whatever performance (not safety) alterations they see fit?

          The FIA don’t tell Pirelli how to make the tyres or how quickly or not they should wear, But they still need to be Homologated by the FIA.

          Pirelli decide what they want to do with the tyres for the following year & submit the designs to the FIA in September. Once they go through that process they cannot be changed unless for safety to ensure everyone knows what there dealing with & that things are not changed every race to benefit anyone over anyone else.
          Its also done to save cost’s.

          Same thing happens to the chassis, Engine’s & gearbox’s among other parts of the car. Once they go through the Homologation process the design is locked in although the FIA can grand special dispensation if a genuine issue is discovered.

          1. Got it. Thanks.

          2. John Bergqvist (@)
            24th May 2013, 13:20

            GT_Racer, do you have a twitter feed or Facebook profile that I could add (My twitter page is at @FOM_Fan)? I’m trying to set up a FOM information/resource website, about the graphics and technologies that they use for the world feed and the extra channels, and it would be nice to have someone to check things over with. Thanks :)

      2. that is sportingly equitable amongst the vast majority

        So mid season changes to the tyre compounds are to be made.

    3. Bernie knows where all the skeletons are buried so what Bernie wants Bernie gets, when it succeeds it was his idea, when it fails it was the FIA.

  6. Is that an olive branch I detect in Bernie’s comments about Pirelli?

    And where did my avatar go, is it related to the site issues in the last day?

    1. @tdog mine’s gone as well – it is related to the site problems.

  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking of a Ford comeback.

    Smaller displacement, but still powerful turbocharged engines have been their thing for the last few years with the EcoBoost program(me).

  8. Monaco will be a 1-2 stopper.. Canada will be dramatic I think: 3-4 Stop there with the Soft tyres.. Silverstone should not be more than a 2 Stopper and Monza, Hungary, Germany should be all 2-3 Stop races.. Spa could be bad especilly if there is graining on the cooler Temperatures..

    Then You go back To Singapore, India, Austin and Abu Dhabi which could be all 1 Stopper depending on Tyre Compound chosen.. Suzuka could be a bit of a mess

    So its Canada, Spa and Suza which they have to worry about.. Rest should be fairly normal

    1. *Spa and Suzuka

  9. Bernie Has this standard repertoire: sprinklers, customer cars, no place for poor teams, Pirelli etc etc
    Sometimes he mixes them, sometimes he says the opposite of something he said earlier. And it keeps on generating free press.

  10. Seems STR are going to announce their change to Renault engines this weekend (reports from Bild)

    1. I wonder if Ferrari will get a new customer for next year then. I’m sure plenty of teams would be interested in having the new Ferrari engine in their cars for 2014, on the basis that it will be expected to be as competitive as the Mercedes engine.

      1. I’d imagine it’ll be someone who’s running a Ferrari development driver, and similar red and black colours…

        The Toro Rosso story’s interesting though. Sounds like the customer cars arguments will kick off again in the coming months. Nobody ever won anything with a Ferrari customer engine (not forgetting Vettel in 2008 – but the engines were “frozen” by then, and the chassis was a you-know-what) but I don’t doubt they and Red Bull will be seeing how much design-sharing they can get away with, from the powertrain outwards.

        Where does Claire Williams stand on customer cars…?

    2. Surely, there should be some rule regarding fair competition that should prevent Red Bull and Red Bull (in Italian language) running the same engine, gearbox and whatnot. It will essentially become the same 4 cars sooner rather than later.

      1. So how would that be any different to Force India running McLaren rear ends? And I’m sure there was some sharing agreements between Caterham and a front runner (possibly Williams so forget the front runner comment) as well as Toyota and Williams back in the day, so it’s not entirely unprecedented. However we all think STR and RBR might be different because they effectively have the same owner. If all STR was going to do was use a customer car like they did before the why spend the money on hiring James Key? I’ve often wondered if some of RBRs success might have come through young designers and engineers from STR being drafted into the top team once they had some experience. They d that with drivers so why not tech staff?

      2. Power trains don’t really matter as they have to build their own chassis and do their own aero anyway. It’s just one area where maybe the costs could be shared.

  11. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    21st May 2013, 18:51

    Personally I wouldn’t be surprised to see BMW return to F1. They are very much stealing Audi’s crown of the “Motorsport Masters” with their incredible return to DTM with the revolutionary M3 E96 DTM and the DTM title last year with the once F1 destined Bruno Spengler. Also in GT they are definitely exceeding their own expectations with the often underestimated Z4 GT3 and the equally surprising Alpina B6 GT3. However whilst touring cars and GT is all very nice, next year, when Porsche join WEC, BMW will find themselves as the only major German car manufacturer not in a major international racing series, with Mercedes in F1, Audi in WEC and Volkswagen in WRC. Ignore what Mr BMW is saying, because entering a major series is a commercial must for BMW. Personally, I’d expect BMW to either return to F1 as an engine manufacturer or see them enter their RS3 into WRC in an attempt to rekindle the glory days of the 1980s, with the later probably being the most likely. However, BMW blew all other German car manufacturers away last year in terms of road car sales, so its not as if they not have the revenue to invest in another F1 venture.

    1. But do they need to?

  12. Bernie putted Frank Williams in the spot there. I think this just means that the Williams team is the last real F1 team left.

  13. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher)
    21st May 2013, 22:22

    To be Frank, given Williams’ history, he should be the last person to be against customer chassis….

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