Bernie Ecclestone, 2013

Ecclestone admits trials a distraction from F1

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Bernie Ecclestone, 2013In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone admits his ongoing legal cases are distracting him from his Formula One work and he is looking for someone to assist him.


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

Ecclestone prepares for exit from F1 (Financial Times, registration required)

“I’ve been spending time on this [civil] case and to spend time on Munich I am not able to give what I normally would do, 24/7, to the business.”

‘It is fair to say that once again we have made some real progress’ (Renault)

Renault Sport F1 deputy managing director Rob White: “Melbourne will be an anxious weekend! Conducting a normal race weekend, in which both cars run well during each session for every team, would be a great relief.”

Haas expects F1 entry decision soon (Autosport)

Gene Haas: “They [the FIA] said they were going to have a decision by [last] Friday. They notified us on Friday that, no, they were just one part of that decision-making process, that the decision making process would come later.”

Nothing boring about new F1 – Sutil (ESPN)

“I don’t know why there is such a negative mood in the paddock. It’s a new challenge, it’s boring if everything is the same. There’s new regulations, we have much more work, it’s good. It’s a challenge to make something better. We had V8 here for a long time which we knew how to work those, but now it’s the next one.”

30 minutes in the life of a Formula 1 car (McLaren)

“On his fourth lap, Kevin [Magnussen’s] voice crackles over the radio: ‘Box this lap – there’s a problem with the car.’ ‘No problem, Kevin,’ says Mark calmly. ‘You did the right thing.'”

The racing wisdom of Mario Andretti (MotorSport)

Mario Andretti’s former race engineer Brian Lisles: “He was always optimistic that the next change was going to be the one that really made the difference. And that optimism never, ever died. I think in Mario’s view there probably really was no such thing as an ultimately bad racing car.”


Comment of the day

For the fifth year we wonder whether the not-so-new ‘new teams’ will finally get in among the points scorers. Nyoko is optimistic, at least as far as Caterham is concerned:

If Caterham’s reliability holds up, they have very strong chance of picking up a 10th place point here or there. So far they have proven to be the most reliable Renault powered team. They are not the fastest, but with the lack of laps they others have done due to technical problems, they look like the ones with the longest legs. What Caterham needs to do it make the most of the early races. I don’t see them being able to our last the other Renault teams for very long.

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  • 50 comments on “Ecclestone admits trials a distraction from F1”

    1. FIA being professional and all, not respecting deadlines, putting potential entrants in a bad position.
      Should they start working on their F1 program, just to end up being passed by FIA for someone else, or should they wait for FIA’s decision and face the race against time, as if entering F1 with a brand new team and making it competitive isn’t next to impossible anyway.

      1. The reason for postponing it was that they needed commitment/agreement from FOM on the commercial side of bringing in 2 extra teams

        1. Haas says in the article that FIA want to make sure they could succeed. I guess there are several definitions for success but I am skeptical that a series that gives Ferrari extra veto power and money, and then has BE saying double points are to help Ferrari, is that interested in a new team succeeding. Perhaps surviving is a better term. The lesser teams are barely surviving and water the product down with pay drivers so that must be success.

          I think a key thing Haas should do if in fact he is accepted into the circus, is to have an American driver, preferably a paid one. I think that will create some marketing buzz for the team and F1, as well as in North America. I also think it should be a two-way street, and Haas should be able to grill the FIA just as intensely on what they can expect down the line if they enter F1, in terms of further gadgets, gimmicks, and points schemes that have been eroding the product. What’s their Plan B once BE is gone? Will they be in Russia, at a time when the US is talking about sanctioning them for their escalating actions with the Ukraine? Will there be a New Jersey GP? Once the new regs get sorted by the teams will they be going back to banana peels for tires? Will it be 3 double points races for 2015, or any other scheme that so far hasn’t been concocted? Etc. etc.

          1. His plans are to become a satellite of Ferrari. Using their engines and Italian dallara chassis’.

    2. And he uses Formula 1 as media distraction from his trial. Full circle.

    3. There was more than enough time to think that double points was a brilliant idea though, wasn’t there?

    4. Absolutely disagree with the CotD. They may have run more but they had about the same number of failures as Marussia in Bahrain – and the MR03 seems to be quicker for me at least right now; who knows what a couple of developments bring by Barcelona when the development curve is this steep.

      Anyway, I think it is exactly the opposite: having a pace advantage along with similar reliability levels (only less lucky in terms of the timing of the failures) Marussia is the one, which needs to capitalise early on.

      1. The way things are going in the Ukraine they may have to take their Roubles and go home!

      2. Arguably, the teams further back would be better preparing their car to not last the 5 races, and get some extra performance to score those points. They’ll loose the least space at the back of the grid for that last Power Unit change towards the end of the season.

      3. I think it’s a totally fair COTD.

        How is it NOT their best chance out of all the seasons to score points in the first few races?

        *There’s now only 22 cars rather than 24
        *Bar about 3-4 teams, everyone is in the same boat as far as reliability goes (So it’s a bit of a crap shoot, to a certain degree, which evens the playing field! See ‘wet weather racing’)
        *They’ve done some of the most running out of all the Renault teams – that cannot be bad. That also means they’ve learnt more about their car by virtue of it being on track for longer

        This is a fine, fine opportunity at Melbourne, a place where we usually see a few retirements, anyway. I think we may even see a couple of spinners what with these new brakes/higher torque.

        If I were Caterham, i’d have one car slightly more tuned up than the other (Kobayashi). Let Ericsson have a slightly tuned down car that they’re sure (as sure as can be, at least) will finish the race and not explode.

        That way, if there’s only 10 finishers (I highly doubt it, but you really don’t know), they’re certain to score. But, if there’s more than 10, they can tell Kamui to push like hell!

        Either way, I can’t see the downside to ‘splitting the strategy’, per se.

    5. This has to be the year that Marussia and/or Caterham get their first points. I mean, with all the reliability problems all the teams are having – and will most likely have in the first few races – it’s crucial that they capitalize on that.

      They’ll probably never get an opportunity like this again. If they can’t do it this year, I don’t think they ever can.

    6. Re the COTD…It would be nice to see Caterham and/or Marussia finally score a point or two in the opening races, even if it only happens by managing to keep their cars circulating for an entire race. In the early days of this new formula, that would be an accomplishment.

      1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
        4th March 2014, 1:09

        @schooner nd specially if you consider some “old” teams may have a WIlliams2013-like season where the points grabbed in ALL the season were minimal. Maybe this year Red Bull and Lotus will be nowhere for 10 races or so.

    7. So Sutil doesn’t understand the negative mood in the paddock, could your lack of understanding be because you’re not using a Renault PU?

      1. Well I don’t like the talk of driving round waiting to be told to go faster, but the rest I agree with totally.

        1. It will come down to what the product is like. The new challenges are great and all, and I don’t even really care if the cars are slower as I do agree that as time goes along they’ll get faster, but that won’t matter if the racing is processional and the only passing is through DRS. And if the drivers are just passengers there to monitor a moving science experiment.

          I think the viewers, no matter what direction F1 is going or it thinks it’s audience is going for the future, must see close racing and have the impression that the drivers are racers behind the wheel doing a difficult and challenging thing. Slower cars and 30% less G’s and delta running is not going to cut it if we don’t somehow in there see some apples to apples hand to hand combat between drivers. That’s what I watch for and will continue to do. Without that, what’s the point?

          1. Except that the new cars are actually faster down the straights and more difficult to control out of the corners due to the reduction in downforce and higher torque. So surely the drivers will look (as they are) more like racers rather than less?

            1. Yeah it sounds good on paper, and I’m very hopeful, but I think we’ll just have to see how much racing they’ll be allowed to do and still be able to finish the race in terms of reliability and fuel economy. Higher top speeds and slower speeds in corners sound like a good start to some potentially great battles. Hope they don’t all get erased with DRS and instructions from the pits to not race for fear of not finishing.

          2. I can’t stand the DRS, but this will be the firs season in a while that they’re basically back to the Bridgestones (definitely sounds closer to that format, anyway), meaning drivers will actually be able to TRY and defend against DRS.

            I seem to remember DRS not being too much of an issue in the first season, then it just got completely ridiculous and began spoiling races for me.

            Fingers crossed the FIA will finally start reviewing their DRS zones in a more pro-active (or conservative?) fashion, and reduce the lengths of the zones based on last year’s action!

            Was far, far too easy on most circuits.

            1. I’ll believe it when I see a bloke able to defend against a DRS pass. At which point, if they can do that then they should just get rid of it for it will not be serving it’s purpose at least as F1 has intended it. F1 wants to promote passing for the sake of quantity not quality at the expense of the integrity of the sport.

    8. Youve certainly got to give it to Putin, he knows how to get things done alright. So what are the odds on the Russian GP happening this year?

      1. Seems a bit unrelated to anything in this roundup, or am I missing something?
        All I can tell you is, if this confrontation turns out to be big enough to derail the Russian GP, you can be sure it will be big enough to cancel the whole season.
        And we should all hope that this scenario doesn’t happen, so stop wishing for it.

        1. Sir OBE, no doubt you got your gong for diplomatic service, however perfidious Albion is not the power it once was, possibly because of diplomats (and PMs) that don’t realise there actually are choices other than war or nothing. It’s not in the Roundup but it is relevant to F1, wishing and hopeing won’t help.

      2. @hohum – Bernie will be giving his opinion soon, this will be a good distraction for him.

        Since diplomacy from the west would seem more likely to wage war with financial sanctions than with military options, the Russian Grand Prix could indeed be in jeopardy.

        What I wonder about Putin, how far will he go?

        1. @bullmello,Bernie and Vlad are both great believers in the pre-emptive strike and raising the stakes till it’s a lose-lose situation for everybody. Putin has built his popularity by being a nationalist strongman, he may feel he can’t afford to lose this one.
          Interesting paralells with (another of Bernies heroes ) Hitlers invasions of Austria and Chekoslovakia to “protect their German speaking population”, we all know where that went.
          Let’s hope sanctions and financial isolation win the day.

          1. Lets add Poland to that one, yeah, I think its a very viable point raised @hohum.

          2. I don’t think Czechoslovakia is a similar case. First Hitler took the German areas, it was with the permission of the West (UK, France, Italy), it made sense (Germans did not want to be a part of Czechoslovakia and were included by military force in 1918-1919) and if he stopped there, there would have been no war. Then he took over the rest and this step was definitely not “explained” by the need to protect his fellow Germans, it was an open agression, so no parallel there.

            Austria looks like a good example. Great many Austrians actually wanted to unify with Germany already decades earlier and they were prevented from doing so by the Versailles treaty. When Hitler took them, it was not by force, and Austrians were mostly content it seems, and if he stopped there, again, there would have been no war.

            In fact, Putin is only doing what every other power has been doing for centuries, protecting its immediate neighborhood(just check out USA and Latin Americas from 1840 on). Not that us who live nearby like it, of course, we were occupied by Soviet Union for 20 years and good riddance.

            1. @ph, it appears we have merely swapped “Western colonial imperialism” for “Eastern colonial imperialism”.
              And yes, the USA knows the dangers only too well, that’s how they stole Texas from Mexico.

            2. I don’t think Czechoslovakia is a similar case. First Hitler took the German areas, it was with the permission of the West (UK, France, Italy), it made sense (Germans did not want to be a part of Czechoslovakia and were included by military force in 1918-1919) and if he stopped there, there would have been no war.

              Ehm, right.
              The parallell is very much there. Not all of Austria wanted to become part of Germany, nor did the 40% of Crimea population that is not ethnic Russian want to become part of Russia. As for Chechoslovakia its much the same. Yes, large part of the population in the Sudeten was from German origin, but it was certainly not all of them (again, not unlike Russians in Crimea).
              But it was exactly the folly in thinking that until then Germany would not go to war, because the war had been on the Germans cards all along. Trading land with Russia has been a step to make sure they would not have to fight 2 fronts.

      3. Almost certain @hohum, after all Putin gets things done. And surely no one will even think of objecting to holding the race in Sochi, to avoid “mixing F1 with politics”, right.

        1. @bascb, looking like Putin has achieved his goal of double points in 1 racecontrol of Crimea, and wont follow through on the threat of control of the last all 3 parts of Ukraine so unless somebody does something stupid I imagine Sochi will go ahead, Putin will present the trophy and Bernie will swoon.

          1. Bugg Bother, I was sure I stopped the delete after LAST,
            it should read I give up, “of the last” should be crossed out, and “all 3 …” to the end should not be crossed out.

            Note to self; Don’t be a clevercloggs.

            1. :-) oops

      4. Guaranteed it’ll go ahead in Russia. If you look at the size of Russia and where Sochi is in comarison to Ukrain, there is no chance it’ll be cancelled.

        1. Wow that was a lie – I thought Sochi was right the other side of Russia but no. It’s right next to Ukraine. Perhaps it’s not in such good shape then.. I’d expect this all to be sorted well before then though.

        2. I saw your comment and you just beat me on correcting you as for the location of Sochi @peterbaldwin, non the less, if Bahrain went on in the last couple of years, I don’t think there is much that will stop the Russian GP from happening.
          After all no one is going to do any serious boycotting of a country like Russia, waging war with Putin is not a realistic option either, and we all know how Bernie nor Todt likes to reflect on these things. Unless Putin would cancel it himself.

        3. Although the site of Sochi is irrelevant to this case, you do know that it is in the same region as Crimea which has access to the Black Sea and from where Russia can control it and through it the Mediterranean.
          Even if Sochi was on the other side of Russia, how would it feel to have a race at a country which is in clear political and possibly military (hopefully not) conflict with Europe?

          1. Bahrain went ahead when that country was in a fairly major rebellion, with Saudi tanks lining the roads to keep the F1 press from harm’s way (or from noticing anything was wrong…) Mere ethics have rarely stopped F1.

            1. It is a bit different. In Bahrain there is unrest within it, it is an internal conflict. You can not interfere with internal politics and how the “people” exercise their will. In Ukraine is an international conflict, I am sure that if things deteriorate the governments of EU can influence the teams and F1 to not hold that GP. (does not mean that I agree with holding a GP in Bahrain anyway).

      5. You’re desperate to get us talking about this aren’t you?

        2 or 3 comments about this from thin air in this section.

        There’s a forum if you want to chat about world affairs, this is a Formula 1 blog.

    9. Actually this bespectacled man appearing in the news daily is the only distraction to f1.

      1. @hamilfan
        I’m laughing out loud in the middle of the night! :)

    10. I was into “Caterham” in 2010 but from 2012 onwards I gained more respect for Marussia, it’s not like their respective gaps to the leaders gone down over the years nevertheless, both have survived and both seem surprisingly well prepared in relation to their counterparts, this is especially considering that Marussia often missed all pre-season tests.

    11. I have to agree with Sutil. I’ve never known the F1 community to be so skeptical about regulation changes in all my time following the sport. Yes it will be different, but the world is a different place and motor racing is moving in a new direction to keep with the times. The teams and drivers are careering head first into a brave new era of racing which is going to shake up the established order and give us fans new things to discuss and be amazed by. There will be dull races I have no doubt, but there are going to be classics as well I assure you. I haven’t been this excited for a new season in ages.

      1. @geemac, me too, I’d much rather be discussing amazing new technologies than amazing new gimmicks.

        1. I have high hopes for this new format, in spite of the gadgets and gimmicks, but that said I think that what Sutil is not saying is that it has to be exciting for the fans, not just the drivers. I think that if it is going to be processional, or the only passing will be through DRS, or they will have to be doing delta time running too often, then the exciting new technology will mean far less.

          I think it is highly debatable as to the direction F1 has been going and if that is indeed ‘keeping with the times’ then I bemoan the times being about fake and artificial entertainment as opposed to gladiator vs. gladiator creating the show on the track which is what I thought the pinnacle of racing should be, and for the most part is what has sustained F1 at least up until a few years ago.

          1. @robbie, I feel exactly the way you do about the drivers but I am also excited about the return of a technical challenge other than aerodynamic flow induced downforce, ie I want to see which company can build the best PU.

    12. I’m sure that McLaren article makes the engineers feel very important, but it’s not exactly James Hunt, is it?

      1. “Verstappen Jnr’s progression comes as the man he replaced at Stewart F1 in 1998, Jan Magnussen, oversees his son Kevin make his F1 debut in 2014.”


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