Bernie Ecclestone, 2011

Ecclestone faces new ??244m damages claim

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Bernie Ecclestone, 2011In the round-up: A new legal claim will be filed against Bernie Ecclestone in the new year.


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

BayernLB to file new damages case against F1 boss Ecclestone (Reuters)

“German bank BayernLB plans to bring a $400 million [??244m] damages claim against Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone in London next month, the latest legal battle relating to the sale of the motor racing business in 2005.”

Judge boosts Bernie Ecclestone hopes in F1 bribery trial (The Guardian)

“In court this week Mr Justice Newey said: ‘I have to say I find the idea of a bribe being paid to get rid of the banks more plausible than the idea of a bribe being paid to undertake an arrangement under which shares were sold at an undervalue.'”

Caterham: F1 drivers should contribute (Autosport)

Cyril Abiteboul: “Drivers saying ‘I am not a paying driver, I don’t want to be one of those’, is almost irresponsible because we are investing massive money to create value around those people and around those drivers.”

De la Rosa and Bianchi on track in Bahrain (Ferrari)

Pedro de la Rosa and Jules Bianchi will take to the track in Bahrain at the wheel of a Ferrari for the Pirelli organised test from 17 to 19 December.”

Lola-Ford T97/30, 1997Lola Formula F1 cars for sale (eBay)

This 1997 Lola T97/30 chassis is listed for 99p – but you’ll have to pay ??115,000 shipping if you’re in Europe.

Changing the rules to stop brilliant Vettel is beyond ludicrous (Daily Mail)

“The latest F1 ruling is ruinous, preposterous, a directive of such game-changing crassness and stupidity that it suggests a sport in retreat, not just from the principles of fair play but from reality.”


Comment of the day

@GeeMac believes a few more breakdowns next year will be a good thing for Formula One:

This era of hyper-reliability only came to being relatively recently. Mechanical breakdowns are a part of the sport, always have been, always will be.

Now I?m glad that the gearbox in my road car doesn?t decide to seize up every morning on the way to work, but we all expect a highly strung racing car to give up the ghost from time to time.

A few more retirements in races will add a nice variable to the sport and will allow Marussia and Caterham to get a more realistic sniff of scoring a few points, which can only be a good thing as it makes results like Webber 5th place in Australia 2002 possible again.

The fact that the teams won?t be as ready as they?d like is a result of many things (lack of funds due to tough economic conditions, lack of testing time) but you can?t honestly say it is a bad thing for the sport if we get a few rouge results at the start of next season.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Andrew Hey and Christian Andrade!

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-times world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, who is 67 today.

More birthday greetings go to Renzo Zorzi, a competitor of Fittipaldi’s from the mid-seventies who was also born this day in 1946 in Italy. He scored the only point of his career in the 1977 Brazilian Grand Prix, driving for Shadow, but lost his F1 drive for good three races later.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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  • 51 comments on “Ecclestone faces new ??244m damages claim”

    1. So Catterham expects drivers to bring sponsors as a part of their job description?! And here I thought it was the teams job to do that. Looks like Heikis chances if getting a seat are looking fairly slim now…

      1. Exactly what I made of reading that @yoshif8tures, I guess it might be VdGarde and Pic for another year. Or maybe others that will bring their own funding with them like Guttierez (I think I saw it mentioned that he was rumoured to have visited their factory), or Sutil or maybe Chilton?

      2. @yoshif8tures – I think you will find they are opposed to drivers who insist they don’t have to bring sponsors to the team as a condition of their racing. And you can understand both sides of the argument: drivers don’t want to resort to finding sponsors until they absolutely have to, because once you start down that path, it’s difficult to get off it. But at the same time, Formula 1 is extremely expensive, and teams are only willing to humour drivers for so long. In the case of Heikki Kovalainen, he is talented enough to be in Formula 1, but he is no Alonso or Hamilton – he needs to bring sponsorship to make up the difference between the talent he has and the talent needs. If he thinks otherwise, he’s – for want of a better word – kidding himself, and wasting the team’s time.

      3. Frankly, driver sponsorship is nothing new is it? If you look at most of the teams near the bottom, most of the sponsors on the car have come directly from the drivers. I guess it’s attractive to a company to sponsor a young, up-and-coming driver as opposed to backmarker team.

        It’s nothing new that your chances of getting a seat in F1 dramatically increase if you bring sponsorship to the table. I understand that most can’t get anything on the same level as Maldonado or Chilton but I don’t think that’s what Abiteboul means.

        Pic and Van Der Garde don’t anything near what Maldonado has in terms of sponsorship but they have worked hard to secure something. Coming along saying that you only want to race cars is fine but it won’t get you a seat. You have to do the donkey work these days – constantly speaking to sponsors, offering your time to appear at your potential sponsor’s events etc.

        I’m not saying I like it – I’m just saying that it’s been a known fact for years so there’s no excuse for bringing nothing to the table.

      4. Doesn’t sound good for Heikki then! VDG, Pic, Ericsson, Gutierrez all line up..

        I think what Cyril meant was that if the team is bringing say $80m with all it can bring, if you can use your connections to secure another $10m for the team then both parties will benefit, and the car is likely to be faster and more competitive as a total package. So being anti-this is just denying the reality for the lower teams, and in some way is almost anti-F1.

      5. Struggling to see what ‘value’ Caterham offers their paying drivers. There’s something about that statement which just sounds like the team waving the white flag as if to say “we can’t raise any money ourselves, the drivers will just have to do it.”


      6. Call me a traditionalist, but usually the employees don’t have to pay the company to work…

    2. A lot of talk about the double points rule debacle being anti-Vettel. If past performance is an indicator of future expectations, Vettel is most likely to be the greatest beneficiary of the double points.

      A stupid, counterproductive proposal as there ever was.

      1. Over the last 5 seasons, Vettel has won the last race of the season more times than not anyway…

      2. You missed the point of the rule, which is to keep the championship in the balance until the last race.

        1. @ CNSZU – “You missed the point of the rule, which is to keep the championship in the balance until the last race.
          No, I think the point of the rule is quite clear actually. It is to artificially stimulate the last race of the season (a typically boring one in the case of the 2014 season) by devaluing all the other races of the season. This premise allows for the likelihood of hyped attention from fans and media because of the altered point structure of the race (and season), not because of the already thrilling and dramatic nature that each Formula 1 race and season already provides. The FIA is providing a false cure for a symptom that may not even exist in the next season. If the FIA is keen on addressing what they see as a weakness, they should address the cause, not the symptom. This folly is something that could be expected from the Circus and PT Barnum, not the pinnacle of motorsports racing. This way to the great egress…

          The reason for making the anti-Vettel reference is that is how a lot of fans and media are perceiving the double points in the last race rule. Vettel and Red Bull have spoken out against the rule even though past performance indicates they could benefit from it. I wonder if the FIA sees the irony in that.

          1. @bullmello indeed, it would’ve helped Vettel comfortably win the title in 2010 and may have provided him with a shot in 2009.

            Albeit, he would’ve lost the 2012 title but in 2011 and 2013? No change. Also, it would have ruined the 2008 and 2012 finales.

            And so I provide a synopsis of how the change may have affected the excitement in the last 6 seasons (of course, personal opinion).

            2008 – ruined one of the best championship finales ever.
            2009 – Vettel would have still been in contention, but if results remained the same it would make no difference.
            2010 – Vettel would merely have won it more comfortably. Alonso and Webber may have changed strategies but it would have ruined any tension.
            2011 – no difference whatsoever.
            2012 – ruined a great championship battle, again.
            2013 – no difference whatsoever.

            However, it could indeed have cost some constructors a lot of money. All it will do is make it worse I think.

    3. I’m very pleased that Ferrari are letting Bianchi test for them, he was the pick of the rookies for me and carrying on his relationship with the Scuderia makes sense for all involved.

      Thanks for the COTD. :)

      1. Brilliant COTD :D

      2. Yeah it’s at least good to see the young drivers/test drivers get a run out. I’d expect Kvyat, Buemi/Felix da Costa, possibly Ricciardo. Mercedes I expect will take Rosberg and Hamilton instead of Bird, Hartley/Davidson.

    4. I was waiting for the round up, but i am disappointed to see F1 world remains silent about the double points. The only comments so far are from Vettel and dr. Marko. But what is the position of the teams (other than Red Bull)? If some of them support it, i want to know why. If none of them support it, i want to know what they are doing to prevent it.

      1. @vasschu – The teams *agreed* to it. They’re not going to oppose it.

        Also, it’s the holiday season. If no-one is saying anything, it’s probably because they’re on vacation.

      2. Maybe they’re hoping it died down and we get over it.

      3. Ricciardo commented too about them on Twitter

      4. maarten.f1 (@)
        12th December 2013, 9:47

        The position of the other teams (and hence the drivers) is whatever they feel that gains them an advantage. Double points in the last race would give them an advantage if they feel they’ll be chasing Red Bull again.

        In part it is good that there’s this F1 strategy group, allowing the teams to be part of the decision making process. But in part it isn’t, because the teams only work towards what’s best for themselves, not what is best for the sport as a whole.

      5. Well, it was reported that Ferrari and Mercedes voted in favour of double points, and Red Bull against it. Which I find surprising, given that it has generally been Red Bull that had a much better second half of the season than first, so they are more likely to benefit from the rule than the others if that pattern continues. I’d love to see the faces at Ferrari and Mercedes if Red Bull or Vettel actually win the championship at the last race because of the double points rule.

      6. Wasn’t the strategy group helipng FIA and co in decisions? And that includes McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes who probably voted for double points and RB against it.

        The problem for RB is that a bad race (retirement/ very miinor placing) at Abu Dhabi for Vettel/ Ricciardo means that the other driver in the title challenge having a gap of even 45+ points can win with a…win. RB know they have had the most complete package over the year since atleast 2010, so they dont want one bad race.

        1. Especially true when considering that Ferrari typically has great reliability, so are likely to capitalise on any RB issue in Abi Dhabi.

      7. @mike-dee, @udm7, @maarten-f1

        This is lottery. No team can know for sure who will benefit from this. This is pure gambling. I don’t know what they’re thinking and what calculations they made, but i don’t think they will help them in 2014.

        1. @vasschu
          Agreed. Total Gambling.

    5. As for BayerischeLB suiing for 400 Million, I would guess that if they wouldn’t take up the opportunity to be a claimant in this case they (their management) could, and likely would, be seen to neglect shareholder value / the best interest of the bank.
      So it doesn’t really mean more than that this is a serious case for Bernie to have to adress, and it will cost him and CVC a lot of money if they do lose. But from what I read about the case earlier (and not just from Beries friend C. Sylt), its pretty doubtful that Constantin can establish with enough certainty that the sale WAS clearly undervalued at the time, as the bank was certainly getting more than its worth in their books.
      Maybe it would be more clear a case if the Germans had found Bernie guilty of bribing Gribowsky to help selling cheap, although that trial seems to go more in the other direction, saying that Bernie was bribing the guy to save what was in Bambino from the UK tax authorities.

    6. So Eric how much do you pay for Caterham to employ you?
      How much money does your personal sponsors pay to the team?
      Does the team chef have to provide all the ingredients himself?

      I’ve just asked my PA how much she would be willing to pay me just for the pleasure of keeping her job. I have say her resignation letter was very well written, and contained vocabulary I hadn’t seen before. What does F*#* O## mean.

      1. This is a perfect case of trying to have your cake and eat it, too. You want the teams to employ drivers without needing them to bring sponsors, but at the same time you want them to somehow pull $50 million out of thin air.

      2. My thoughts exactly.

    7. What the hell is that woman wearing in that picture of the FIA gala in the Daily Mail article? Was someone trying to sabotage it? If they’re trying to show off skin she may as well be naked. I’d be OK with that.

      1. The gala was in the Moulin Rouge and she was one of the dancers.

      2. @lateralus Vettel’s face is priceless xD

    8. Those Lolas. Just read the ad on Ebay. Apparently these cars were 11-13 secs off the pace. Shows how incredibly close the cars are these days.

      1. … and how incredibly underdeveloped the car was! Their entry was initially planned for 1998 but they were forced to enter a year early in 1997 due to commercial pressure from MasterCard.

        1. @geemac i’d buy it if I had the money ! stick a Clio MKI engine at the back and you have the exact same F1 car that tried to race at Merlbourne

    9. That Daily Mail article is full of rubbish (what else is new). It just looks like whoever wrote it has piggy backed on the views of the whole F1 community while not really knowing what he’s talking about. Stating that under the double points finale rule Alonso would have won the championship unfairly last year is all well and good, but to state that it was unfair because Vettel was clearly the best driver last year is rubbish.

      Any journalist who has even moderate knowledge of F1 would know that Alonso was by far the best driver in 2012. His F2012 was on its own nothing compared to the RB8 and yet he finished within 3 points of Vettel. You can’t just look at the championship table and go “right, this is he order of how good all the drivers were this year.” It’s not as simple as that, look at Hamilton. he finished fourth in 2012 but was generally considered the second best driver of the season in a quick but terribly unreliable car, just as Alonso was the best driver, finishing second in a car with absolutely no pace.

      1. @celicadion23 The Ferrari was not THAT bad. It was more reliable for a start, and it was quicker than the Red Bull on quite a few occasions.

        Just because Ferrari say a car is really bad doesn’t mean it is. They claimed to have the 4th best car this season, but it was quicker than the Lotus and didn’t eat its tyres up like the Mercedes.

        1. I agree they did try to claim their car was worse than it actually was to an extent this year, but the F2012 was a snail, especially at the start of the year. It was reliable, but it was a snail. It had pretty fundamental handling problems and was a second off the pace. Ferrari also tried to claim in pre-season testing that there was nothing wrong with it.

          If it wasn’t for McLaren’s terrible reliability in 2012 they definitely would have finished 3rd in the constructors, possibly even 4th if Grosjean had been more consistent in the other Lotus.

          1. The F2012 was awful only in the first race. After that, they only had problems in qualifying as DRS had to be used around the lap, and the airflow didn’t attach properly to the F2012 rear wing when closing the DRS, making the car unstable under braking. A huge problem in qualifying because it happens at many corners, but not an issue in the race, when it only happens once or twice a lap when following or overtaking another car. @celicadion23

      2. David not Coulthard (@)
        12th December 2013, 11:20

        Any journalist who has even moderate knowledge of F1 would know that Alonso was by far the best driver in 2012. His F2012 was on its own nothing compared to the RB8 and yet he finished within 3 points of Vettel.

        Well, that’s perhaps >3/4 as rubbish as a statement saying Vettel was the best driver last year.

      3. Stating that under the double points finale rule Alonso would have won the championship unfairly last year is all well and good, but to state that it was unfair because Vettel was clearly the best driver last year is rubbish.

        Probably worth also adding that Vettel did what was needed to win. If double points were on offer, he would have finished in a higher position. Absolutely no doubt he would have won the championship regardless.

      4. @celicadion23 Martin Samuel is their lead sports writer (he covers everything basically), so it’s not that surprising he isn’t completely on top of his facts. Not that their motorsport writers are much better.

    10. Interesting the name of the judge in the Ecclestone court case, I expect allegations of Red Bull bias to follow shortly!

    11. I’ve just had a thought. If they don’t want a driver who wins a lot to run away with the title, why have they kept a points system which favours winning driver more than it did from 2003 to 2009? I personally like having a win valued highly, but I would rather see the points spread less top heavily than a stupid double points gimmick.

      1. Exactly my thoughts.
        I was talking to a friend, and we devised the following points table that goes down to 12th (to take into account the whole Caterham/Marussia issue, also):
        1: 25
        2: 21
        3: 17
        4: 14
        5: 12
        6: 10
        7: 8
        8: 6
        9: 4
        10: 3
        11: 2
        12: 1

        It’s not the most numerically appealing table, but it does reduce the win difference from 7 down to 4, with 4 still being the largest difference.
        Comparatively speaking, it rewards any podium position more than any other, as all other positions have a difference of only 1 or 2 points to the position below them.

      2. I actually think the current points system is great. Not too exclusive or too open, and seeing victories properly rewarded is one of the more appealing parts of F1 to me.

        I’m a recent convert to F1 (2011), growing up in the USA with NASCAR. The point system there for years gave absolutely no bonus for winning and teams/drivers realized that being content with a 4th or 7th was better than pushing for a win and wrecking. Champions in a 35 race season would have only 1 or 2 wins but because they had 27 Top 10’s they’d win the title over the wilder (“fun”) drivers that had 8 wins but 8 DNF’s.

        If you think degrading tyres bring less than aggressive driving, try having a points system that inspires more placing than racing…

    12. On potential poor reliability next season. Back in the 80s when reliability was poor, drivers could drop some of their results to allow for that. Instead, next season we get the opposite of that – the last race counts double so poor reliability in that particular race could affect the whole championship.

    13. I’m still having a very hard time believing these double points are actually going to happen. They can still amend the regulations prior to the start of 2014, right? I’m hoping this is all some kind of cruel joke that Bernie’s playing so that there’s less focus on his court cases and what not. That’s my hope. That’s all I have right now.

    14. F1 is not trying to stop Vettel if anything the opposite, the only thing that can harm Vettel is if the tyres change its characteristics to understeer.

    Comments are closed.