€1m whistleblowers for Ecclestone’s cost cap plan

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone proposes enforcing a cost cap by offering ?����?�1 million (?�?�830,000) to anyone who provides accurate information about a team breaking the rule.


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Bernie Ecclestone offers huge reward for evidence of F1 rule breakers (Daily Express)

Ecclestone: “The plan under consideration is to give ?����?�1?�����?million to any whistleblower whose knowledge is proved to be accurate. We will then say to the team that the following year you will lose three of the maximum points you have scored. Then let?������s see if they want to cheat.”

Caterham: Lotus drive hurt Kovalainen (Autosport)

Tony Fernandes: “It was a whole mixture of a lot of things but in any decision there are pros and cons.”


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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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107 comments on “€1m whistleblowers for Ecclestone’s cost cap plan”

  1. Are any employees going to risk their career for 1M euros?

    1. I’d certainly be tempted.

    2. It’s always a risk with whistleblowers, but I think it is a plan that could work. There are real, lasting consequences up-front: losing your best three results will not just hurt, but make it virtually impossible to win the title.

      The problem is that there needs to be a clear definition of what constitutes cheating so that there can be no doubt.

      1. would red bull have lost the title last year if they had been penalized like this? i dont think so…

    3. More to the point, is anyone going to trust Bernie to pay them?

      1. That’s what came to my mind immediately…

    4. A budget cap is unenforceable and unrealistic, even if nobody technically cheats. A Ferrari F1 engineer gets together for coffee with a Ferrari Road Car engineer. He casually mentions an idea that he had which could prove useful, but budget caps prevent him from testing. He proposes getting together for coffee again next week. The next time they meet, the Ferrari Road Car engineer mentions that he got curious about his friend’s idea and tested it in the lab. Alas, it didn’t work as his friend had hoped. Test done. No cheating, just friends having coffee and chatting. The cost for Ferrari F1 is zero. Anyone can come up with many ways of circumventing the cap like that.

      1. Who pays for the coffees in a situation like that?

        1. Ding, Ding!

        2. The engineers themselves, since it’s strictly a non-business, friendly chat among friends who happen to share interests. The cost for Ferrari F1 is zero. ;)

      2. @ironcito – And then one of the Ferrari accountants starts wondering why the team has somehow developed parts without paying for them. So he goes to his friend at the wind tunnel and the two start talking, and realise that the final parts arrived for testing, fully developed. The guy in the wind tunnel goes back over the testing logs, and they find that there is no record of the parts being developed at all – they just appeared. The two go to the FIA, and explain their theory, using evidence to show how it works. The FIA investigate, and discover that the road car division paid for and developed parts that have no application, and the whole scheme falls apart.

        The teams have to document everything for their own purposes. They need to know where materials come from, how much it costs, how much time it spent in the wind tunnel, they need plans so that they can go back and develop parts of it, data so that they can see how it evolved over time, and so on and so forth. Everything goes somewhere, and there will always be a paper trail no matter how well it is hidden. If resources are missing or parts suddenly appear, it is *very* suspicious.

        1. If the team in question is Ferrari there will be no problem – they’ll have another special exemption that no other team has.

        2. @prisoner-monkeys A technology or concept could very much apply to road cars as well as F1. Or to Le Mans, or to any other category that doesn’t have a budget cap. Of course, it wouldn’t be something as obvious as a finished F1 front wing, but some things are more generic. At the very least, it’s a gray area.

          Let me give you another situation. Somewhere in Germany, a non-F1 Mercedes plant (or a subsidiary) purchases a very expensive industrial machinery. They use it for a day and then they realize that they don’t like the color its painted, so they decide to sell it. “Hey, maybe the folks from Mercedes F1 are interested, I heard they were looking to purchase one of these. Of course, these machines lose half their value the minute you drive them off the lot, so we’ll have to sell it to them for half of what we payed.”

          And it doesn’t even have to be something with bad intentions like that. I’m sure that there are genuine overlaps and economies of scale that benefit teams like Ferrari or Mercedes that have big engineering operations outside F1.

          1. This. Plus just own more teams ala Red Bull and Toro Rosso and spread the budget around

    5. What happens when everyone starts claiming the prizes? What about framing eaxh other, is that espionage, and worth 100 million.
      I thought i would win the cotd.

      1. “It was the other rig’s fault” As in you didn’t lose the title because of Symonds rig but the fuel rig problem. Were those the actual coordinates of piquets crash, or Symonds own words.

      2. The wording is that for the money to be paid, there has to be substance to the allegation. What this does is that it raises the risks involved in cheating the limit, to me it sounds like on of the things that could make it work (to some extent) because the bigger teams will be wary to risk this happening @peartree

    6. The problem isn’t just whistleblowing it is how you decide who has spent the money. Is it red bull racing or red bull technologies. This is a grey area no amount of whistle blowing can fix.

      1. that is not a big problem though @bertie, because teams suppliers activities are often included already (see them having to stop all activities for a team during the summer break as well) under the FIA rules. All money/resources spent on behalf of a team count, not binded by what legal entity partakes.

  2. 1mln euro confidentiality clauses from 2015 for everyone in my F1 team. If I only had one

    1. Unenforceable @crr917, any court would throw out such an obvious attempt to get employees from whistle blowing.

      1. @bascb No reason for any court to bother (unless the limit of the financial compensation is less than 1mln euro in the country). FIA is not the law and the law doesn’t care about FIA. FIA can’t negate confidentiality clauses.

        1. Of course FIA can just fine the team and cover any such clauses instead of the whistleblower.

        2. Wrong, there is all reasons for a court to bother when an employeer-employee relation is on the table (with a confidentiality cause) @crr917.

          1. And cheating is a pretty serious issue. Chances are that by doing so, laws have been broken. When the Singapore scandal first broke, there was talk Briatore and Symonds could have been prosecuted under Singaporean law.

            Any attempt to buy the silence of employees by offering rewards for confidentiality would immediately be seen as suspicious enough for the FIA to investigate.

          2. @bascb Confidentiality clauses are legal. If there is no breach of law the court has no power and can’t nullify the confidentiality clause. At least this is how I see it.
            Then again there would be a breach of contract between a team and FIA and some legal action can be taken. But even this is meaningless as in F1 going against the authority is unwise. Thankfully the authority has a price :)

          3. How much are you into the subject @crr917? In the EU a court has indeed a very strong mandate to cancel any such clause if it is out of proportion to the potential damage an employee can cause, their salary and is not compensated for monetarily by the company.
            That is why gardening leave in F1 is maximum 6 months, more cannot be upheld, because it would unfairly impair the employee’s ability to earn themselves an income.

            In case of a company enforcing such a clause towards an employee who informed the regulatory body involved (for F1 that is the FIA) about misdoings of that company, that would be completely null and void. The FIA is the official regulatory body, and an entity has to oblige its rules. Not doing so (by violating the budget cap rules) is an infringement of the rules that entity operates under, regardless of being law or sporting regulations.

          4. @bascb I am not into these things at all. But gardening leave and the duration of confidentiality clauses are different. It’s not the same thing at all. Confidentiality clauses can last years after leaving a job. (Also isn’t gardening leave payed?)

            Are you saying a car club has the same power as the state?

          5. They are certainly not the same, no @crr917, and yes gardening leave has to be payed by the former employer.

            Confidentiality clauses have a different purpose. They work very well in partnerships between companies, but its problematic to use them to bind employees to not use what they learnt during their spell at a team. And they cannot be used to keep employees from whistleblowing about rules infringements to regulatory bodies though.

            As for you wondering about the power of a “car club” vs. a state, or international organisation, the FIA is indeed acknowledged by governments and the EU as the official regulatory body of the sport F1, and as such its rules are considered binding under common law for all its participants.
            To illustrate, if you recall the court case of Briatore who wanted to elude the FIA ban, his argument (which the courts agreed with) was that as a team principal he was NOT a participant – only licence holders, like race drivers or the team itself are. Since then the FIA has changed their rules and made team principals also explicitly stated as participating in the championship.

  3. While HK didn’t exactly shine in his two drives for Lotus last year, I would doubt that was the main reason for him being overlooked for a seat at Caterham. The fact that he would actually cost the team some money was probably the biggest issue.

    1. Well, at least he got to drive the Lotus, so no loss there imo :)

    2. Well, I do think its the kind of thing that swayed their ideas about what they needed @schooner. Money was not the biggest issue, as HK was never competing for the seat that got bought for Ericsson, he was in competition with Kobayashi for the first seat.

  4. If I were a team like Caterham – that needed money and probably won’t be effected by losing points the following year. I would break one aspect of the cost cap intentionally and get 100 trusted employees to “whistleblow” to the FIA. Thanks for the 100 mil Bernie!

    1. Great minds think alike. But nobody would believe Caterham could break the cost cap. They’d have to borrow money just to break the cap so they could collect the whistleblowers’ fees, then pay back the loan.

  5. If we needed any more evidence Ecclestone’s mind works like an autocrat’s: ‘Tattle on your friends and you’ll get a reward’. I mean, how much more comically (or is that tragically?) clichéd can you get?

    1. Eureka! What has F1 come to? Has it always been like this ???

      1. ummm, private industry and government are full of examples of rewarding individuals who report malfeasance using official channels (ie, not leaking classified data to the media) or who protect the integrity of something, or who save money for company/organization, etc.

        of course there are counterfactuals, but this is a great idea from Bernie and it shows a seriousness about pursuing cost-capping that is a great sign for the fans who care about F1’s viability.

        There will be a limited pool of employees who may have access to evidence of cheating, but 1million should strongly incentivize them, especially if actionable evidence can be provided w/o requiring the naming of the source (in public).

        1. @joepa
          That there are examples of the philosophy elsewhere does not make it a good thing. Euphemisms like ‘incentivize’ may have gained currency by now, but they don’t change the fact that this line of thinking is based on the assumption that honesty can, should, and must be bought. Second, it is not a sign of seriousness about pursuing a cost cap (Ecclestone serious about capping costs? Please) but an attempt by a fading autocrat to keep himself at the center of power.

  6. Sorry, the whistleblower proposal is truly one of the stupidest ideas to ever emanate from the ever fertile mind of devilish concoctions we have come to expect from Mr. Ecclestone. This does nothing to solve the well documented issues that prevent a fair and equitable budget cap from ever becoming a reality. What it does do is create a scenario that could likely become a bigger spectacle than what takes place on the racetracks of Formula 1. Bernie should begin his new career as soon as possible, creator of diabolically shameful reality shows for TV.

    1. It’s intended to stop teams from spending more than they should by hiding money in companies outside the team itself. That has always been the biggest issue preventing a budget cap from being workable.

      1. The problem is research could be legitimately done by the road car division and then subsequently used within F1. Can you imagine how insanely hard proving this would be. The whistleblower would literally need an email or document explicitly stating that they are hiding money this way. The idea is terrible.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys – The upshot of this would be that were the FIA to adopt this proposal they would in as much be admitting they cannot enforce it on their own.

        The biggest problem besides enforcement is defining the allowable spending between the various different types of teams. Some manufacture consumer and/or exotic cars, some manufacture F1 engines, some do both, some are engine customers, some teams are wholly owned F1 racing teams, some are part of other non-F1 racing businesses that have overlap to their F1 racing operations. I don’t see a way to define regulations to cover all these different entities that will be fair and enforceable across the board to all teams, regardless of a snitch payoff rule. Also, it is hard to imagine the richer teams ever voting for anything they deem detrimental to themselves.

        Unfortunately, the cap itself and enforcement by snitching, then the subsequent acrimony and procedures to prove or disprove the snitching evidence sounds like planning every season to be like multiple versions of 2007. What about the possibility of fake snitchers paid of to wreak havoc on opponents? The resulting drama of all these possibilities would likely grab more headlines than nearly anything that might take place on track. The drama should be on the track, not in having entire teams living in constant fear and trepidation of false or even honest, but mistaken accusations.

        Now I could be totally wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time. ;)
        But, I just don’t see the cap or the snitch rule working.

    2. @bullmello said

      the whistleblower proposal is truly one of the stupidest ideas to ever emanate from the ever fertile mind of devilish concoctions we have come to expect from Mr. Ecclestone.

      I thought the sprinkler system was his worst idea…

      1. What about shortcuts?

        And of course, double points. :)

  7. Yet another ridiculous idea from Bernie, the FIA shouldn’t rely on snitches to know if the teams are breaking the rules or not.

    Imagine if they tried to do the same with the technical regulations and instead of checking the cars before every Grand Prix they just let them race until someone ratted their own team.
    All I can say is, and I quote: “Bet it doesn’t happen”.

    1. Then how are they supposed to know if teams are breaking the rules or not? Max Mosley tried to introduce a budget cap that would have required the teams to submit their accounting work to an independent auditor, and the teams refused.

      1. Just remember that nick leeson was audited twice before bringing down bearings.

    2. @mantresx The cars are there to been seen the same cannot be said of the books that may not even exist, not to mention channeling resources woes that Dietrich as been talking about.

  8. Sorry, but I have to agree with Bernie here. There is no other way a budget cap can be enforced apart from getting teams to work against each other (which the whistle blower idea is at the heart of it). It is the classic ‘divide and rule’ policy that he is advocating here.

    The best part about this idea is that it does not need external policing. All the previous ideas of implementing budget caps have involved either external policing or self-control of expenses by the team, neither of each is possible to implement.

    Bernie’s idea is in fact easy to implement. If Red Bull does try to violate its budget cap, spies from Ferrari and Mclaren will be on to it immediately knowing that they stand to gain not only 1 million pounds but the added prize of Red bull not scoring points for 3 races. So, that will automatically dissuade Red bull from cheating. Eventually, it is the competition between teams that will ensure that the budget cap will get enforced.

    1. It’s a terrible idea: no more than a fading grasp at keeping power over the teams by sowing mutual distrust by a man who knows his time is up.

      1. I think that while it feels completely wrong, this is actually something that could make teams stick to a budget cap @maciek.

        1. Hey @bascb
          To me it just reeks of the same tactic any autocratic system uses to keep its subjects in check: fear that someone might report you. All I see emerging in the long run are systems of disobedience (say, secret agreements between teams to cover for each other) but coupled with generalized mutual mistrust in the paddock, resulting in only more power for Bernie, which I believe is his real motive for the proposal – since when has Bernie been interested in reducing costs?

          The only thing that would work would be transparency and rigorous auditing – but whether that’s feasible in the world of F1, I don’t know.

          1. Yes, I understand that @maciek. And I agree that its too close to having fear make people into spies on their neighbours that all oppressive regimes use with far too much success for comfort.

            With Bermie being the first to use every trick in the book to avoid transparency, he would certainly not be the one that should hand out such a payment, if anything it should be part of the FIA checks and balances.

            Personally I do not think its impossible to have transparency and rigorous auditing, but we will still need some kind of whistleblower function to make sure that well hidden secrets do get out in some way. Because teams will try and look at going right to the edge of what they can do unless there is a significant risk to their future in case they take it too far.

    2. No, the whistleblower is on the violating team. That’s how whistleblowing works. You don’t need to give a prize to the competition to turn you in. They’ll just do it.

    3. It could also backfire. It could become a trick of blackmailing. Imagine the whistleblower would first try to get more money from the team rather than the price of Berny.

    4. If he has to resort to whistleblowers to do this then it shows what a desperate situation he is in. It is literally impossible to enforce and insanely hard to prove. Unless the whistleblower has something explicitly stating they are cheating it will never happen.

  9. ..so a 200 million cost cap is ok? How is that going to help the smaller teams?

    Only Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes can afford to spend anything close to that…so its status quo then?

    1. Yes, it’s a very strange rule. I think the idea must be to lower the fastest lap times (by restricting their budgets) in order to allow the back markers to make the 107% rule.

      1. Indeed. They probably set a high cap to start with so that they can iron out the best way to police it, and then gradually lower it over the next few years.

    2. Its a start @jaymenon10. The biggest issue is to first agree on what is inside those 200 milliion. When all is covered, they can then gradually lower the limit in the future. But even if they don’t, at least it does put a stop to further snowballing of budgets upwards.

  10. Today is the closing date for the second round of new applicants for the 2015 (or 2016) grid. Reports out of Germany claim that the FIA has been impressed by both Gene Haas’ entry and the Colin Kolles-supported Romanian bid, and that they are open to accepting both teams to the grid. We will know for certain on the 28th.

      1. You don’t think they will have learned from that experience? Nobody, least of all the FIA wants a repeat of that episode.

        But sure, continue to judge them based on something that happened a) five years ago and b) months before the problems became apparent. Going by the comments from some former employees of USF1, the facilities were in place, but the problem was Ken Anderson constantly over-riding everyone on the design team and pushing through one particular design.

  11. It is interesting that while Kovalainen insisted that the Lotus drive would cement his chances at Caterham, his dismal performance has actually had the opposite effect. It seems that the Lotus decision to take him on was even sillier than it seemed at the time. Did anyone actually benefit from it?

    1. @red-andy

      Ferrari and Mercedes, potentially :P

  12. So people who blow the whistle on cost cap cheats in F1 will get a million Euro. That sounds great, but I don’t think Bernie realizes that anyone who does so will also probably also lose their job. So I doubt this will happen.

    1. Considering that those employees would be working for a team that is *cheating*, they would have enough motivation to quit on their own. And it probably would not be hard to find a job with another team – once one is found to be cheating, everyone else will be very careful.

      1. Considering that those employees would be working for a team that is *cheating*, they would have enough motivation to quit on their own

        What world do you live in?

  13. I believe that Fernandes is simply looking for excuses. Kovalainen drove for him for three years and continued to help the team in 2013, yet Fernandes is judging Kovalainen’s potential by two races that he spent in an unknown car? Come on. In 2013, Caterham never reached the same heights as they did when Kovalainen was driving for the team. Marussia showed more decency when they dropped their best driver ever.

  14. Newey & Co., get ready ! You’re toasted ! Ahahaaaaaaaaa

  15. In other news, Bernie has lost his marbles. though this is kinda old news.

    Yes, let’s turn Formula 1 into an even bigger soap opera, CSI:Ecclestone and farce to laugh at. We’ll end up with ”whistleblowers” going directly to the team instead to get an even bigger reward for not ratting out and also headlines such as ‘Presumed F1 whistleblower found badly injured in hotel room. Visited previously by 3 anonymous figures wearing Red Bull outfits’.

    1. @andrewf1 – There is a name for that: extortion. If the employee in question is only looking for a pay day (rather than the spirit of sportsmanship), they would go to the FIA. Going to the team and asking for money in exchange for silence would result in a criminal conviction. The team would simply have to report them to the police, and the claim that they were cheating would be undermined by the criminal action.

      1. Honestly, PM, I think that in many teams the employee would indeed get that pay rise they asked for to keep things under the hood. Only when it gets personal (like we saw with Alonso and Ron Dennis in 2007) its likely that one of the sides would want to tell anyone about it.

      2. if it about the spirit of sportsmanship that will make an employee go to the FIA then the 1million as reward does not make it easier for him but harder since as an honest person that doesn’t like working for cheating company he will also probably not like being treated as a guy after the 1million instead of simply doing the honorable thing.

        Of course Bernie never thought his million could count as counter-incentive because such pride of honor and sportsmanship is unknown to his pattern of thoughts.

  16. petebaldwin (@)
    10th February 2014, 9:42

    And by suggesting this idea, Bernie has admitted, inadvertently, that a cost cap will be impossible to police. Why rely on whilsteblowers, if you can monitor what is going on anyway? Obviously you can’t so you rely on people grassing the teams up!

  17. [Off-topic]

    The Russian government has employed huge resources – human and financial – to protect Winter Olympic games in Sochi from a real threat of terrorist attacks. The region is being called the safest place in Russia but I can’t help but ask whether it will be case by the time Russian hosts its first ever Formula 1 GP later this year.

    Being the second most important sport event in the country in 2014, I expect extraordinary measures to guarantee nothing bad happens but I’m still concerned that significant scaling down of security measures in place for the Olympics may expose F1 GP to real security risks. On the other hand, the ongoing Olympic games should help Russian authorities fine tune their security apparatus and make it more effective down the road and F1 GP could actually be better guarded, in terms of efficiency, than Sochi 2014…

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      10th February 2014, 12:01

      Atleast they might get a few of the hotels finished by the time F1 turns up!

  18. @keithcollantine

    Dear Keith,
    Can we have the following features in the comments section, it would make life a lot easier:

    1. Option to edit one’s post (with an optional justification) – This will save lot of unnecessary posts to clarify on mis-spelled words etc

    2. Vote up / Vote down or Like/Dislike or Agree/Disagree : This would provide a perspective on the best comment, which can be provided as a sorting option to the readers. This would also reduce many +1 posts

    3. A small button to recommend for COTD, this would make it easier to identify a possible COTD

    4. Badges system, for example a gold badge whenever your comment is made as COTD, or a silver one if you get 1000 agree or likes on your post.

    Overall, these features can be used to crown the best commentator of the year or any thing like that. Hope others have similar ideas and can add to this.

    All these features above can then also be

    1. All these features above can then also be

    2. @noob Thanks for the suggestions, however please keep in mind any further development on the site requires time and effort (and usually money). Furthermore something which may be fairly straightforward from a technical point of view, such as allowing editing of comments, would create further complications in other areas, such as comment moderation. There’s more detail on this on the forum but obviously that’s not available at the moment, which brings me back to my original point about site developments taking time and effort!

      1. @keithcollantine I understand what you are trying are say, since I also look into IT developments in my organization and I know its easier said than done.

        I agree that money is required to a great extent to come up with new features, so I request all here to donate generously. Will try to do the same myself.

      2. @keithcollantine, so while you are making notes for future improvements I hope you will consider a “return to home page” button at the bottom of every page.

    3. I really do not think those features are necessary or desirable @noob.

      To allow edits to a post makes sensible discussion much harder (because one can change the original argument after reactions have come). Making edits possible would have to be with mandatory explanation of what was altered, or allow people to see the previous version.
      Instead it would be better if we all just learned to both proofread our own comments and on the other hand, and more importantly, be far more tolerant of inevitable mistakes made (especially because of people using touch screens and predictive spelling!)

    4. Reacting to the part about “voting” a comment up or down or even recommending it for COTD seperately, as this would be a bit of a change of focus rather than making life easier.

      I would actually be interested in hearing the arguments pro-/contra such a system from people. Personally I am not a fan of making popularity of a comment decide on its prominence, or even see people make comments to feel good for the “likes” it generates. On the other hand, it does offer an interesting feedback if you see how many people reacted to your comment that way – it wouldn’t even have to be visible for others then though.

    5. @noob I’m against it, we need high-quality discussion instead of popularity contest, just like we need high-quality racing instead of DRS and double points.

      The concept of the COTD works so well exactly because @KeithCollantine doesn’t always choose popular opinions, he sometimes picks controversial statements or seemingly unimportant bits and pieces, which then often lead to good discussions.

      1. Agreed. COTD is not a popularity contest.

    6. @bascb

      Most of my suggestions are based on the experience here in F1F. How many times do we see people posting comments, just to clarify what they said or to spell correct.
      My suggestions also come from my various experience of other popular forums (not related to F1) and I would have loved that comments here get to experience the same. If anyone is familiar with http://stackexchange.com/ they would know how good the experience it.
      Edits can be controlled and moderated, and technology will also allow users to see what was modified.

      Even though you deny endorsing comment popularity, wouldn’t you have ever put a word saying you agreed to what somebody said. Voting / Likes can also be a tool for many ‘noobs’ like me, who may not do much value addition by way of a technical comment, but can find it easy to connect themselves with someone else’s comment.

      Also, I did not suggest the COTD be decided based on votes, but voting can be some kind of indicator to a comment, and as always it is upto @keithcollantine to decide which becomes a COTD. Again, don’t we see comments after comments on how people feel a comment should be a COTD!

      @girts Please don’t take my suggestions as DRS / DP system, but as improvement for televised graphics of onboard systems / telemetry by FOM, and I didn’t say vote will decide COTD, but it will just be an additional indicator of what fanatics say.

      Finally, in this high tech age, as F1 is becoming more tech relevant, lets embrace the same at F1F and not be stuck in the roaring eras of V12 and V10.

      Sorry for such a long post.

      1. No need to apologize for the length of the post there @noob, it was an interesting contribution to the discussion to read more about what you propose and why. I deliberately gave my view in 2 posts, as the editing part is more of a technical issue and the like/COTD button more towards the purpose and functioning of the comments section as such in my view

        I am glad that we can leave picking the COTD to Keith without that indicator, as mentioned I think such an indicator or like function, if having it at all, should be directed at the poster only, to give feedback. However I still value comments with substance as to why one likes, or indeed disagrees with the view expresses far more. After all, this is a comments section to debate things, not to boost our egos, even though most likely all of us sometimes get their ego boosted (or pulled down to earth) again!

  19. A very Ecclestonian approach to tackling the cost cap… it’s certainly better than nothing.

  20. It really bothers me that HK has been permanently Friendzoned by Caterham. I rate him as a driver, he has good consistency and experience, but ever since he lost his drive with Caterham originally, Fernandes has kept him sweet, dangling that carrot that he’d get another drive, so HK does what any besotted man would do and stick by, even though in his heart of hearts, he knows he’s not getting anywhere. He just keeps holding on in the hope that they’d pick up his option again.

    The truth is, Caterham wanted pay drivers, and that was always going to be the case. What Fernandes should have done was be clear – you want to drive, you need money. It’s a sad state of affair, but in the current reward structure and economy, not to mention the team’s last place finish in 2013 – this cannot be helped.

    I personally don’t think the Lotus drive did any harm, in fact, it gave him good exposure to a 2013 car, and although the rules have been reset this year, having recent racing experience can only be a good thing.

    Sounds like Fernandes is just using the Lotus drive as an excuse to cut the ties.

  21. @keithcollantine

    Thanks for CoTD, although i think a lot of people made the same joke in different ways ;)

  22. Realistically, Formula 1 will have to impose a budget cap of sorts within the next 5 years. There will be endless negotiations about start-up teams unfeasibility to run and construct wind tunnels etc on one years budget, but it must happen sooner rather than later. Whilst I’d argue it is unenforceable at the minute, I can not see F1 prospering under the current set-up. If Mercedes or Materschitz lost interest tomorrow, F1 would be in big, big trouble. The sponsor-less cars this year should be testament to the fact the financial model is archaic and broken.

    The solution, in my eyes, is to reward the fans. I am aware Bernie has a desire to keep the sport ‘exclusive’ but this is apparently a dead end. F1 is not like football or rugby or tennis where there are an infinite number of games per year.Formula 1 has at most 20 events to showcase per annum. Allow fans to access content from years gone by and you will interest sponsors as they are getting more exposure. Employ a financial system which teams with no sponsorship can survive and sponsorship is rewarded. In elite motor racing atm, drivers loaded with sponsorship has become the norm but instead of complaining about ‘unworthy’ drivers, set a limit to sponsorship that drivers can bring to a team’s budget, say £15 million.

    Overall, the top teams are simply too good for private entrants to come in and challenge straight away, which is acceptable, however for Catherham and Marussia to be the same distance from Williams as Williams were to Red Bull is a joke after 4 seasons. No wonder they struggle to attract sponsors. Set a high budget cap of £250m for 2018 reduced by £50m every 2 years until we reach a limit of £100m excluding sponsorship and drivers salaries and the field immediately closes up and new entrants and therefore sponsors are attracted.

    A budget cap is a win-win for the teams, the sport and the fans, tbh why have the powers that be not gresped this sooner?

    1. Sounds reasonable until you realise the end result will be just another racing formula with only obscure differences to the cars that only a laser measurement would reveal.

      1. @hohum No-one asks for a spec series. But at the minute we will have no series at all in ten years. F1 is unsustainable in the current model and the only solution other than a cost cap is the dreaded customer cars. When that happens, not even a laser will be able to differentiate between half of the grid.

        1. @rbalonso, without a development budget the only development that will take place will be the copying of the most successful car which inevitably will lead to a de facto spec car, and an outdated one at that.
          F1s problem is not that it doesn’t earn enough money to continue, the problem is that so much of the money the teams earn is taken away from them as a result of the sweetheart deal between Max and Bernie, that gave Bernie the revenue to distribute or not as he liked.

          1. @hohum. I agree but once Bernie is out of the way the revenue will, almost certainly, be split more fairly and evenly. I disagree however, that the cars will all tend to the leader. When Virgin joined the sport from zero, their car was developed only using CAD software. Now whilst they were off the pace they were still competing within the 107% rule. CAD is almost negligible in an f1 teams costs, the money is spent on ridiculous simulators and wind tunnels.

            I’d also let new teams have a bursary or allowance to develop their own wind tunnel. £100m is not a small amount of money, many teams on the grid can survive and be very competitive in that format. Williams, a winner in 2012 can’t surely be spending much more than that and Sauber, aside from their excellent BMW-paid-for wind tunnel can not have costs much greater either and they produce a lot of the best designs on the grid.

          2. @rbalonso, I wish I had your optimism, some quick points to consider
            1. Zimbabwe is still waiting for Mugabe to die
            2. CVC have already made several hundred percent return on the money they paid to buy Bernies rights to F1 earnings and they don’t show any sign of returning more money to the teams, in fact they want to sell to new investors before they come under any more pressure to help the teams.
            3. In the recent era of restricted design, every time the rule stays stable for a few years the tailend teams become more competitive by following the design lead of the top car, I don’t expect that to change in the future with even more restrictive design regulations.

          3. And further, if F1 was being run properly with an eye to reducing costs then FOM could have set up an independent wind tunnel for use by all teams financed initially by FOM and thereafter by user fees, but Bernie prefers the teams to be financially unstable, it makes it easier for him to keep them under his thumb.

  23. Am I the only one to be confused by the Fernandes quote: “Lotus drive hurt Kovalainen” – I completely forgot for a moment that Lotus is now Caterham and thought Fernandes was referring to 2010 to 2012.

  24. I see, so the two 14ths hurt Kovalainens’ chances? Two 14ths isn’t bad, I mean, he hadn’t driven in an F1 race for a whole season (almost)!

  25. I think so, this idea doesn’t work.

  26. Most of the “safety” rules were enshrined years ago (a good thing apart from most Tilke ideas.) All other rules have only served to intrinsically slow the cars down. So what happens? The “richer” teams spend inordinate amounts of money to find loopholes in the rules. This has nothing to do with developing proper race cars, it’s all become an expensive lawyer’s wet dream. Colin Chapman must be turning in his grave.

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