CVC ‘would fire Ecclestone over wrongdoing’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: CVC say Bernie Ecclestone would be fired from his position in charge of Formula One if it was proven he had broken the law in his dealings with imprisoned banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

CVC would fire F1 boss Ecclestone if found guilty (Reuters)

CVC co-founder Donald Mackenzie: “If it is proven that Mr Ecclestone has done anything that is criminally wrong, we would fire him.”

How Ecclestone ‘forgot’ $44m of alleged bribes is questioned (FT, registration required)

Mackenzie: “I asked Mr Ecclestone how he could have forgotten that he made these payments [to Gribkowsky]. He said he was embarrassed having forgotten them.”

Maldonado: Williams criticism was wrong (Autosport)

“Maybe some people changed in their approach and I was taking that personally. It was not all the team.”

Lewis Hamilton: “I was doing a lot of soul searching…” (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“We came here and was just going to try and work even harder if I could, and then we found that big crack, and the car has been night and day different this weekend. I’m pretty happy with that.”

Vettel proud of eight wins record (BBC)

“You realise what it means to look back at those names. People look back and talk about certain drivers. One day people might talk about our time.”

Stefano Domenicali Q&A (Sky)

“Unfortunately we didn’t do any kind of step in the second half of the season while it seems other teams have done it. Mercedes for example may not have done a step, but they have improved more than us so something has happened that we need to rectify immediately.”

2014 rule changes – ERS battery position, exhausts, rear wing (F1)

“The batteries for the Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) must weigh between 20 and 25kg and be contained in single pack (not split, as Red Bull have done in recent years).”

Oakley team up with Ferrari for ‘multi-year’ period (SportsPor)

“Eyewear brand Oakley has signed a ‘multi-year’ contract to work with the Ferrari Formula One team.”


Comment of the day

Following another strong race for Romain Grosjean @MazdaChris believes he can go all the way in F1:

What a great race this was for Grosjean. Really vindicates all the faith Lotus have shown in him over the past couple of years when things have looked pretty bleak for him.

I’m happy, long been a fan of his through feeder series, so it’s great to see him now delivering on the promise he’s always shown. Put this boy in a race winning car and you’ve got a world champion right there.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Joao!

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

And happy birthday to two-time F1 race starter Philippe Adams who is 44 today. He made his two F1 appearances late in 1994 with the increasingly cash-strapped Lotus team. He spun several times on his debut at Spa and eventually retired. He missed the Italian Grand Prix but returned in Portugal where he finished, four laps down.

Image © Force India

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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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69 comments on “CVC ‘would fire Ecclestone over wrongdoing’”

  1. I know there are a lot of fans who dislike Ecclestone, but you can hardly deny his share in making Formula 1 the huge, global sport it is today. I would be sad to see his career end this way, even if it’s his own fault. He has to go eventually though, he’s 83 – I don’t know anyone who still works as hard as he does at that age. Just crazy.

    1. Bernie is the always visible invisible “1” on the F1 logo. I think we are ever more aware of his contribution to F1 in spite of all the legal issues that have come to surface lately.

    2. There is no doubt that Bernie is a canny business man and maximised the income coming into F1, but at what cost, F1 was a star attraction befor Bernie tied them into a contract that gave him 50% of the profits, F1s big income boost was the introduction of world wide communication satellites making it possible to broadcast races in real time all over the world, without Bernie I am sure F1 would have still been broadcast worldwide and a regular Sports Agency would have arranged it for a far smaller cut than Bernie takes.

      1. without bernie and his dinosaur-old business model of maximizing profits by taxing and licensing everything from past to present, F1 would be so much more popular and interactive via internet, videos, games, affordable ticket prizes, more races and so on.

    3. Gotta say, I just can’t get with the line of thinking that says ‘he might be a total **** but look how the sport has grown’. Well I’ll bet you that in the hands of someone who cared at least as much about the sport as about money (big giant unbelievable money) the sport could have grown too, just differently. It didn’t have to be a total sell out. It could have kept an identity.

      1. @maciek You sir, are correct!

    4. I’d agree with you that he actually did some good early on. However he was also the guy who got too greedy, negotiated separate deals with teams and played them against each other and made sure that the latest attempt of collective bargaining among teams was doomed to fail.
      Also his business model is outdated – there’s enough profit to have 11 financially healthy teams with performance incentives and 20 profitable races each season – if he cared about sustainability.
      The situation won’t change immediately after Bernie’s retirement but it would break up a web of secret deals that might give the sport a chance to start with some urgently needed changes.

    5. @roald I really cannot share your view on this. Old-fashioned capitalist, I wouldn’t miss him if he had to step aside. Teams and interests in F1 have to move forward and Bernie should leave; 2014 is a good time for this old man.

      1. didn’t he say a few weeks ago he can’t remember what happened last week. I am no scientist, but when that starts happening, then its probably best to quit your job.

        Hopefully, someone with a more modern business model and sense will take over and stop F1 breaking apart.

    6. @roald
      The thing is, while Ecclestone has undeniably been instrumental in growing the business of F1 to proportions which, even ten years ago, would have seemed impossible, this growth has not come from a genuine desire to improve and expand the sport for those who watch and participate, but instead stems from nothing more than a pure desire to make himself and his commercial backers as rich as humanly possible. F1 is bigger than ever, and yet the teams receive an ever shrinking slice of the pie, while the value of team sponsorship has been marginalised by the wholesale promotion of just those companies with which FOM is allied – Fly Emirates, Pirelli, Rolex, etc etc. The visibility of team sponsorship is now entirely limited to stickers on cars, with not a single piece of bridge or board space available for them. And at the same time the CRH treats the teams like fat cash cows, milking them increasingly vigorously by ramping up the cost of participation, and block booking local services to races (hotel rooms, hire cars, etc etc) and then forcing the teams to pay significantly over the odds for them.

      These are not the actions of altruistic businessman who loves the sport of F1 and wants to see it grow for the benefit of the sport and everyone involved, they are the actions of a ruthless and manipulative individual working purely to service his own selfish interests. He’s sold out the long term financial viability of the sport and created a situation where only the very richest teams are now solvent, while other outfits who are successful and should be able to compete fairly, are squeezed to the point where they report multi million euro losses every year. To the point where even front running, race winning teams are struggling to find the money to pay drivers, and are relying more and more of wealthy philanthropists to bankroll their losses. All the while Ecclestone and his corporate backers extract hundreds of millions of euros per year in pure profit from the sport. Money which never gets anywhere near to being reinvested in the sport. All of this before we even get into the shady undertones of secret, backroom deals, bribery, tax evasion, and corruption. Where murderous despotic regimes are actively encouraged to use Formula One as a medium through which they can improve their images, while F1 is only too happy to turn a blind eye to the death and suffering occurring all around it, all for the sake of the bountiful, blood-soaked dollars they can stuff into the pockets of the CRH.

      So personally, I think to take the view that Ecclestone has been a positive influence on the sport is extremely short sighted. He’s made himself and his corporate backers staggeringly, sickeningly wealthy, by turning what used to be a financially stable and solvent sport into an enormous, increasingly anaemic looking cash cow. Ecclestone is a parasite, nothing more. And the worst kind of parasite – one which is taking more than the host can sustainably provide, to the point where the host cannot possibly survive much longer unless the parasite is removed.

      1. @mazdachris +1. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

      2. That is certainly one of the best descriptions I have ever read about Bernie Ecclestone. Comment of the year. +1

      3. Roger that. F1 needs a leader focused on the sport, and not on personal profit. I have been waiting for the Ecclestone cartel to break up or fail for years, while reading far too many accolades for the man. His departure will not come a day too soon.

      4. Another +1, excellent.

        1. +10,000,000 for comment of the year.

          1. No surprise that I heartily agree and I am heartened that many others are also in agreement, viva la revolution.

      5. Absolutely true +1. F1 needs a passionate f1 fan running the show. Preferably someone with an engineering background, who knows what the sport needs to become the pinnacle of mortality again, and can steer the sport in that direction. (I don’t believe f1 is the pinnacle anymore, its more of a show than a sport)

        1. Motorsport not mortality haha, awkward auto correct fail there!

      6. Double plus another one. Well said!

  2. QOTD is correct. I’m glad to see the fruits of all the turmoil from last year.

    It’s amazing to think that Grosjean is the second highest total points scorer from Italy to Austin, scoring 79 points.
    Compared to Alonso (76 points), Webber (66 points), and Rosberg (65 points)!

    1. And that includes a DNF in Singapore!

      1. Given that Webber’s fastest race lap was slower than that of Valtteri Bottas, it would be really interesting to see what Bottas and Grosjean could do in a similar car to Vettel. But we will see next year how much closer Ricciardo can get to Vettel.

        1. Unfortunately Ricciardo isn’t as good as Grosjean, and I can confidently say that Bottas’ rookie year has been more impressive than Ricciardo as well

          If Red Bull really wanted some young gun to challenge Vettel, they would have taken a Hulkenberg, Grosjean or Bottas over Ricciardo

          1. @todfod
            I have to agree with you, i don’t know why Red Bull promoted him in their first team instead of signing Kimi, maybe they want to prove something via their junior program, i find him extremely boring to watch (personal opinon)

          2. Given that not one of these guys have raced in the same team what are you basing this assumption on? Ric has monstered Verne this year (who many believed was better) especially in qually. How are you to know how the torro Rossi is this year. Redbull have enough data on Ric to know wether he is good enough or not.

          3. @tifoso1989 (cc @todfod)
            For exactly the reason you mention – pretty much every driver would abandon their driver program if it was proven to be a dead end because the furthest you’re likely to proceed is the B team.

            Taking Raikonnen over RIC/VER because of money/the need to win the constructors for Red Bull Racing would have been terminal for the entire concept.

          4. @optimaximal

            pretty much every driver would abandon their driver program if it was proven to be a dead end

            The point of a driver program is to pick the best possible talent, and if they develop into a great talent, give them the glory seat.

            Ricciardo didn’t get the most coveted seat in Formula 1 because he was the best driver on the grid.. heck .. half the grid was more impressive than Ricciardo.

            He got the seat because Red Bull needed to justify the existence of their Driver program. I agree with you, that there is no point in having a driver program if you’re not going to use any of the drivers, but that shouldn’t justify putting in an average driver in the seat reserved for the best.

            I think they don’t want anyone challenging Vettel either.. so I guess Ricciardo is the right guy for the seat then

          5. The point of a driver program is to pick the best possible talent…

            …from the pool of drivers you have.

            Cherry picking from outside the program for commercial/sporting reasons would be fatal to the entire concept of moving talent up, regardless of the team behind it.

            Instead, they need to take punts on the best talent they have, even if it’s just to clear the decks further down the line. As good as Mark Webber and Felipe Massa have been, they’ve also created log-jams in their respective teams driver programs.

            Re: the second Red Bull seat – Yes, Raikonnen was (on paper/in the car) the best choice. Red Bull openly admitted that. But they want someone to mould into Vettel 2, not a mercenary just in it for the money and glory.

          6. @todfod I think their decision was mainly motivated by 2014. They wanted a guy they can put in the simulator as early as September and make the transition as short as possible.
            Which would add further complications to the development process if they choose someone outside the RB organization – also not knowing what their off track performance looks like.
            Based on on-track performance I agree that they could have done better but in general I think their decision makes sense.

          7. Yep and Kimi hates simulator work btw …

            But he looks pretty quick in quali, I hope he’ll deliver :)

          8. @optimaximal

            How are Hulkenberg, Bottas or Grosjean mercenaries just in it for the money and glory?

    2. Not sure sponsors are agree with your sentiments, hence the financial issues.

      Boulier had too much influence on as Grosjean’s manager rather than Team Principle on where team should be heading.

      I hope they on the grid next year.

      1. I don’t see Lotus’s lack of steady sponsorship as a reflection on the team itself. It’s hard to see why any sponsor would have doubts about their participation based on team performance. In fact they seem ideal. Great image, hugely popular, proven winning credentials, and the ability currently to compete with, and even beat, teams with virtually blank-cheque budgets from major corporate backers.

        In the past ten years only three teams have managed to win back to back championships – Ferrari, Red Bull Racing, and the Enstone team now known as Lotus. There is no reason to think that with major corporate backing, this team wouldn’t be up there with RBR fighting for the championship. Especially when they’re currently the ‘best of the rest’ despite living hand to mouth with their budget.

        I don’t think the issue is entirely one of sponsorship either. It must, at least in part, be attributed to the (IMO frankly borderline illegal) current commercial setup of the sport, which means that Lotus could win every race of the season and become world champions, and would still only receive a small fraction of the money which Ferrari would receive, even if Ferrari didn’t score a point all season. Combined, now, with the fact they are outside of the ‘inner circle’ created under this new style Concorde agreement, which means that they have absolutely no representation nor influence when it comes to ongoing technical and sporting changes. Again, despite being effectively up there with the best on the grid both in terms of current performance and in terms of past success. And at the same time FOM are bending over backwards to give Mercedes sufficient preferential treatment to encourage them to commit long term to their participation. All of which would be absolutely baffling to potential investors who would question whether any amount of investment would actually result in success in an arena which seems artificially weighted in favour of certain teams and individuals, and where visibility (and hence return) of their investment would be extremely limited.

        1. Combined, now, with the fact they are outside of the ‘inner circle’ created under this new style Concorde agreement, which means that they have absolutely no representation nor influence when it comes to ongoing technical and sporting changes.

          Actually, Lotus are currently ‘in’ that circle – the 6th position is decided by the finishing spot in last-years championship.

  3. Putting the batteries inside the fuel cell sounds like the most dangerous and stupid new regulation I have read. I can understand fixing the exhaust exits in a small area where they can’t be used for exotic aerodynamic purposes, I can understand reducing the size and complexity of the wings, I can understand, but disagree with, virtual 1-design engines, but why oh why do we have so many other non safety related restrictions like weight distribution, rear wing pillar location and now this battery location which to me is a hoorible accident waing to happen, no doubt we will be told it will be safe but then Boing were sure it was safe to run electric cables through the fuel tank of a 747 ( I know it was really a US Navy missille, it will be terrorists when it happens in F1).

    1. hoorible=horrible, Boing= Boeing.

      1. Boeing? Like a 747?

        1. @todfod, yes, the 747, flight XXX that exploded over Long Island sound several years ago, official cause; Short circuit in main fuel tank”, conspiracy cause SAM.

          1. explosion of the center wing fuel tank (CWT), resulting from ignition of the inflammable fuel/air mixture in the tank.

            Big difference: It’s a fuel/air mixture in the CWT, meaning instant explosion if ignited. The fuel inside the fuel cell of an F1 racer is not mixed with air, which makes it much less volatile. Even if battery goes crazy, any fire would either be extinguished immediately, or slowly burn through the fuel cell bladder. No big explosions.

    2. I doubt the batteries will be literally inside the fuel tank, surrounded by petrol. Chances are they’ll just be within a punch inside the kevlar bladder.

      Other regs, such as weight distribution, are to keep costs down and focus development on other areas.

    3. @hohum – I doubt that there will be any contact with fuel and rather be a separate compartment underneath the fuel cell. And the position is mainly dictated due to the restrictive weight distribution given by the regulations.

      1. @tmf42,I hope you are right but the article says nothing about seperate compartments and I doubt the bladder or indeed the fuel itself could resist the temperature of a battery fire.

        1. @hohum – an F1 fuel cell is compartmentalized to avoid disturbances caused by the fuels inertia- therefore it wouldn’t really fit inside anyway. if it’s outside the bladder then the cell can also withstand the heat – I think they are build to withstand something around 800°C (not sure if true or just a false memory).
          In general I think this will be manageable also from a safety perspective but I would agree that the location isn’t the best.

  4. Nice non-apology apology, Maldonado. You are the worst, and even the Venezuelans I know despise you. Enjoy driving a nascar in two years time, if you’re lucky.

    1. Agreed. I can’t stand Maldonado. I call him Crash1 (used to call Grojean Crash2) I sincerely hope nobody picks him up for next year. I think he is nothing more than a menace to the sport.

    2. Pastor Maldonado is quite possibly the only driver in the world who can somehow get even more criticism for swallowing his pride and admitting he was wrong than he can for being out of line in the first place.

      1. PM, not so much swallowing pride as a backhanded apology IMO… He is a liability and I’m sure Williams will be much more grateful to see the back of him and get in Massa. Good luck to whichever team is desperate enough for his (I.E. Venezuelan government’s) money… I think it will be a false economy — any money PDVSA might give will be lost in extra carbon fibre and lost points in the WCC.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys
        Better check his interview. He did not take back his allegations (team screwed him). He just said it would have been better to keep his mouth shut and not everybody in the team is screwing him.

      3. I know what you mean, I remember last year everybody talking about how he can’t take the blame for anything. After his false start at Spa he said that the clutch had simply slipped out of his hand and a heard a few people genuinely claiming he was blaming the coefficient of friction on the clutch.

        What he said was stupid, and I’m not exactly his greatest fan (though more than most people it would seem!) but sometimes whats happened has happened and people need to get over it. The guy is fast and did get into F1 on merit as well as the money, he was GP2 champion after all.

  5. I don’t remember seeing this in the roundup, but I apologize if I missed it. Sebastian Vettel was profiled in the New York Times during the buildup to the USGP:

    On Track and Off, Vettel Sets His Own Pace

    1. Very interesting, great share!

    2. Yes, thanks for sharing. Funny how easy going he seems to be off the car

    3. That is a beautiful article . Must read .

  6. While Maldonado has shown the occasional flash of brilliance, he has also shown (and continues to show) that he’s a bit of a loose cannon. On and off the track. I don’t see him ever landing a seat at a team that doesn’t have the need for his huge sponsorship.

    1. My favorite term for him was when Toto was still with Williams, he called him an unguided missile. So true.

  7. “The batteries for the Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) must weigh between 20 and 25kg and be contained in single pack (not split, as Red Bull have done in recent years).”

    Ah good, so the rules are getting even tighter then. :/

    1. Wouldn’t want someone to have an idea that gave them an advantage, would we?

      1. I know the sentiment and the point your making. But ahead of a massive rule change and an (arguably) larger shift in car design than we have had in a long time, I really don’t think it is unreasonable to have restrictions and a quite a big number of them… These cars are built from scratch, theyre gonna have different solutions.
        Some areas are seemingly deemed to be unfit for tangling with, maybe they are assumed to be cost ineffective in the sense of only richer teams have the possibility to explore areas such as these, or safety reasons or whatever…
        My point is that compared to the end of a generation like this one, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to have some restrictions, I’m sure someone wiill pull a trick out of their sleeve anyways.

        1. I say; What better time to allow some freedom of design than at the beginning of a cycle, someone might actually come up with a simple and economical formula for success, it would be great to see a team like Caterham have a performance advantage like RBR currently have even though it would only last a short while before their idea was copied. Meanwhile hugely expensive and radical solutions like installing the Ark of the Covenant to charge the batteries could be banned for 2015.
          The more restricted the rules are the more expensive every .001 seconds gain becomes.

  8. Thanks for the COTD, @keithcollantine

    I think one of the best things about Grosjean’s current success is that you can really see how much it means to Boullier when he talks about him. When he says he considers Romain to be among the top drivers on the grid right now, he genuinely believes it, and feels that Grosjean can be a very strong team leader going forward. That kind of strong emotional relationship between team and driver is something that very few drivers ever achieve, and is often the foundation upon which lasting success can be built.

    1. @mazdachris And not to mention that Boullier is Grosjean’s manager (still think that’s an unhealthy thing, to be team boss and manager at the same time). So it’s not in his best interest to downplay his performance. That said, Grosjean really looks on to it last couple of races, he seems like a completely different man from last year. I do hope he can keep up this performance, and that Lotus can give him a competitive car next year (which remains to be seen, especially with the exodus going on right now)

    2. @mazdachris, you deserve (but wont get) another one for your BCE treatise above.

    3. Grosjean has always been incredibly fast, perhaps the fastest on the grid, but this year he has polished the rough edges off his race craft. I think he could possibly be the best driver on the grid next year, if not already. Remember he thrashed vettel at last years roc. He beat vettel 3 – 0 in equal cars, meaning over different classes of vehicle he is better over one lap than a four time world champion. Now that his race craft is up to scratch I reckon he’s a future champion for sure. Hopefully he gets the machine capable of showing his talent, as vettel has. Remember he also beat schumacher 1 – 2 (beat him when it counted to eliminate him) and he also had to get past kristensen to take the title. I can’t wait to see him at roc this year. I wish Hamilton and Alonso would go to roc so we could see how they’d go too.

  9. I’m exhausted with all these comments about F1 being all about the cars and it should be more about the drivers. And now even Tiff Needell… F1 has always been a constructor’s championchip. I love the cars. I love the different concepts. Of course Prost vs. Senna vs. Mansell was important and amazing to watch… But it was also Newey vs. Byrne vs. Barnard etc. And why would anyone deny them their competition?

    If you love racing for the cars, Indycar is about as interesting watching paint dry.

    1. It does seem odd that Needell has decided now that he dislikes the very principle behind F1 and most other racing series in the world.

    2. I would argue that Tiff has missed the boat as the only real differences in the whole field are the suspension mounting points and some extremely subtle but critical aerodynamic widgets.

  10. What is the effect of a crack in a chassis? I see a safety issue issue in case of a crash, but it shouldnt effect speed, there is the bodywork over it doing the aero work, and it is still stiff as all hell carbon so should make no difference in cornering.

    1. Carbon isn’t infinitely stiff. A crack in a chassis will reduce stiffness by x percent no matter how stiff it was to begin with. And that added body flex WILL have an impact on the suspension behaviour under different loads. The severity of cause depends on where the crack is, and how large it is.

    2. I believe they found the crack after they found out the chassis was much more flexible than it is supposed to.

      Also remember that the forces on a F1 chassis are _huge_. Small changes in flexibility can mean big movements when raced.

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