Cost cap impossible for some teams – Wolff

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff says the FIA’s plan for a cost cap failed because the complexity of some teams would have made it impossible to enforce.


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Toto Wolff claims smaller teams can be saved if they accept range of proposals ahead of crisis meeting (The Independent)

“We realised some of the other big teams could not follow that path (of a cost cap). Ferrari are a good example as they have everything – the road car business and F1 – in one entity, and it’s difficult for them to have everything screened.”

Formula One holds its breath as Bernie Ecclestone’s bribery trial begins (The Guardian)

“The judge Ecclestone will be up against does not take any prisoners; or rather, he does. Peter Noll convicted the former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, a central figure in the Munich hearing, and sent him down for eight-and-a-half years in 2012. In his concluding statement, Noll said: ‘In this process we assume the driving force was Mr Ecclestone.'”

Ecclestone faces battle as bribery trial begins (The Telegraph)

“The prosecutors have also been buoyed by a significant recent victory. This year they successfully brought a case for tax fraud against Uli Hoeness, the former Bayern Munich president. Evidently, no fish is too big to fry. Furthermore, the 256-page indictment, which paints Ecclestone as a man desperate to retain control at all costs, is incredibly thorough. They have spent nearly two years since Gribkowsky’s conviction preparing the case.”

German Prosecutors Reveal F1’s Bernie Ecclestone Was Blackmailed (Forbes)

“The indictment acknowledges that when the banks were suing Mr Ecclestone ‘Gribkowsky endeavoured to create pressure in connection with the FOA Litigation against Bambino and the Accused by repeatedly insinuating to the Accused and Bambino at the beginning of 2005 that the Accused himself and not Slavica, his wife at that time, was the so-called settlor of the Bambino Trust and was therefore effectively in charge of the trust which – if this were true – would have had negative implications for the Accused and also for the Bambino Trust in view of the tax audits underway at that time. The insinuations made by Dr. Gribkowsky constituted a nuisance for the Accused since the tax investigations could take longer in the face of such information.'”

Force India boosted by China result (Autosport)

“We’ve struggled [in China] throughout the years, so to deliver the level of performance we’ve done, and we’ve been fundamentally finishing in the top six in all four races, at four completely different circuits, is encouraging.”

Activity behind the calm (Ferrari)

“President Luca di Montezemolo has been very clear in his words to Mattiacci and his staff, recognising the need to ‘step up a gear in the work of the Gestione Sportiva.'”

Mercedes F1 W05 – intercooler advantage (F1)

“With so many different systems on the cars now requiring cooling, this is a real packaging benefit for Mercedes, and one which will be difficult for other teams to copy.”

Government funds to exploit Formula One technology (Belfast Telegraph)

“Projects that will put Formula One technology into buses and diggers and develop the next generation of engines are to receive money from a joint £1bn Government-industry fund.”


Comment of the day

Double points is to F1 what ‘fanboost’ is to Formula E:

Did they get rid of that ridiculous “vote to win” mechanic yet?

Seriously this isn’t motorsports, this is just some stupid social media experiment.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Mags and Tim!

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

Silvio Moser was born on this day in 1941. The Swiss driver competed in occasional races in the late sixties and early seventies, picking up points on two occasions but more often failing to qualify his outdated machinery.

Sadly Moser was killed following a heavy crash in the 1974 Monza 1000km, three years after making his last grand prix start at the track in an uncompetitive Bellasi chassis.

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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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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59 comments on “Cost cap impossible for some teams – Wolff”

  1. Sorry to sound like a miserable old so and so, but when are McLaren going to stop going on about the MP4/4? They’ve designed other cars haven’t they?

    On a positive note however, great to see F1 linked to everyday technology and being a little bit more relevant to today’s world… These stories should be celebrated.

    1. when are McLaren going to stop going on about the MP4/4? They’ve designed other cars haven’t they?

      It’s that, or MP4/13. :)
      But it was a real beauty. Check this jaw-dropping orange version.

    2. You don’t John you sound reasonable to me. McLaren appeared to become a lot less dark and gloomy in year past when Whitmarsh was still the dummy. Now I thought they were going to become corporate again, shaving the beards loosing the shorts, shelving the dorky fleeces and go for something more slick more engineered, but in the meanwhile the tweeter people are still indulging in selfies, and making smart comments and brag but not in the elegant Lotus way. Brags about the past is what they think they have left. What ends up sounding old is McLaren not you John.

    3. It is obviously a significant car for the team but they do bang on about it more than they probably should. What about The M23, it won two world championships with two different drivers? What about the MP4/2, it won both world titles in 1984, 1985 and the WDC in 1986! I can’t think of a car with a better record (maybe the Maserati 250F or the Lotus 72?) What about MP4/5/6/8/13/14/20/22/23, are they all insignificant?

      I tend to agree with @john-h, they seem to bang on about it more than they should.

      1. Although a very significant car, the 250F was less successful than you would imagine. It only won 8 races (I won’t bother saying what percentage of entered races that is, as the use of customer cars skews it unfairly). It contributed to one of Fangio’s championships (although not as much as the Mercedes which didn’t enter until mid-season- less than a third of his points total in fact) and was solely responsible for another. Perhaps if Moss had been luckier in 1956 it would be another story. If the WCC existed back then it would probably only have a single title in 1957, meaning 2 1/3 titles in total. Impressive, but less so than the 72 or MP4/2.

      2. Heck, the MP4-22 was so good it caused the team to implode.

  2. Whether the teams like it or not the cost cap is coming and it cannot be implemented soon enough in my opinion. I think Formula 1 is on a very greasy pole at the minute and has not truly recovered economically since the recession. I obviously do not refer to its profits but more its teams. Since we lost the major automotive giants in 2009, only one engine manufacturer- Honda – has announced any intention of joining the sport. Now, teams which were brought in on a false premise are struggling and really to my eyes not adding a great deal to the sport in the way a Minardi or a Tyrell once did. Bare sponsorless cars may look nicer but surely they highlight that this is almost an area of crisis where 3 top teams are either title sponsorless or promoting their own car division. All ata time when the costs spiraling to £300 million for a season of racing.

    Hass for me will be a defining measure of the cost cap. F1 should want it to be easy for teams across Europe and especially America. Bernie tried since the early 1980’s to raise the profile over there but I feel that a few teams would follow Hass’ lead if it were to be a success.

    I say all this, but I am certainly not in favour of equality across the board. The winning teams should still earn a financial advantage through larger and better distributed prize money but also have a limit on the financial stake raised by the title sponsor of say £30m. Also a limit from the driver so pay drivers would less desirable. So in theory the winning teams would still have more to spend than privateers but not to the ridiculous state we see today. Hopefully a decreasing scale will be brought in over the next 5 years limiting teams to £150m a year or so as anything else seems a waste.

    If we consider parc ferme regulations, electronic power boosts and drag reduction systems were seen as unbelievable in the past, the cost cap seems rather plausible.

    1. @rbalonso – “Whether the teams like it or not the cost cap is coming and it cannot be implemented soon enough”

      Ignoring, for the moment, the good point made by Toto Wolff regarding to complex differences in some teams and how to screen actual costs, just one question should be answered. How would penalties for budget cap violations be handed down?

      Would it be in the form of financial penalties? That would just be a cost of doing business for the richer teams.

      Would the penalties be in the form of post race place adjustments or disqualifications? Or, would they be applied with future race grid penalties or disqualifications? How would either one of those methods play out? Since the forensic accounting will likely not be complete until some time after the season this whole process is likely to be ugly and acrimonious and gather many negative headlines for F1. If the penalties are applied to the results of the same season, then I guess we’ll have to wait for the bean counters to see who is left standing afterwards and whose results are kicked out. If the penalties are applied to the next season, what if a penalized team is no longer even in F1?

      How to assess penalties and apply them is merely one aspect of this potential boondoggle. It would be great to be wrong about how all this could work without doing more harm than good to F1. I think the real way to cut costs is through better technical regulations designed with limiting costs in mind while still preserving the unique aspects that make F1 different than other racing series.

      Limiting spending also limits innovation. Let teams innovate as much as possible within the regulations. F1 should be about innovation, not limits. Simply throwing money at the sport does not guarantee results. Ask Ferrari and McLaren, for example. Some teams have spent less and produced good results, Lotus and FI come to mind.

      Why are new teams willing to enter F1 when there is no budget cap in place? F1 must have some kind of prestige and desirability, even without a budget cap.

      1. @bullmello The teams must be respect to the governing body. Max Mosley’s stance on these matters was based on deception. If the team lied and were found guilty the consequences would be far, far greater than if they had come clean. Breach of the cap should be made clear that it is instant disqualification from the championship. It should be treated as part of the challenge.

        I think you fear a sort of spec series with everyone building teams for £30m. That simply will never happen, but there must be a desire to limit costs across the garages. If anything the technical regulations could be widened if a cap was in place. The top teams would be able to innovate in different areas and we could have more diversity on the grid.

        I understand and wholy agree with you that f1 should not place limits but there must be a time when serious measures are taken. Limits in the past have regarded ground effect, turbos, driver aids and made cars slower and we accept this and move on to something more relevant.

        I don’t agree that limiting spending limits innovation at all. That could easily be fixed by adjusting the hours limit set on wind tunnel, track and simulator testing. Part of the budget cap would be set aside for future investment.

        I confess, I hated the idea of a budget cap in 2008 but since then I have become increasingly disillusioned by the way the sport is run in every department. We arrive at races which neither the fans nor drivers want to be, have artificial measures to improve the show and have sponsorless cars with manufacturers actively seeking other categories due to the rules. Seeing the second best team on the road for much of last season chase a mystery man and end up having to choose a pay driver to cover their losses as well as seeing far too many empty grandstands and decal-less cars have led me to change my mind. The teams together will never change.

        For me, the only other alternative is customer cars or essentially a spec-series in 5 years time, both of which i hate when we consider the waste at the top of the tree preventing new entrants.

      2. Ignoring, for the moment, the good point made by Toto Wolff regarding to complex differences in some teams and how to screen actual costs, just one question should be answered. How would penalties for budget cap violations be handed down?

        Only the issue is, this is not a good point at all @rbalonso.

        On the one hand you have Ferrari saying this too, on the other hand you have RBR who claim the opposite, that because a team like Mercedes have their whole company in a separate entity, they can hide use of resources. Both are wrong, its no technical issue with reviewing invested resources, only a matter of setting a value to it. The biggest issue is, that neither of the 3 big spenders see any advantage for themselves, and I think McLaren voted with that because they believe to be in much the same position again next year.

        For me, this only shows that these big teams are indeed wary of the possibility of the smaller teams challenging the effects on competition with only part of the grid represented in the rule making process. In effect, Toto offers them some concessions up ahead of the meeting just like Bernie likes to offer teams nice deals to break a unified front.

        1. Let me add to that, that I think that if Toto is clever, and the new Ferrari boss is worth his salt as a salesman, they will convince Red Bull to indeed agree to a cost cap of sorts, and make a deal out of it that gets Todt on board too, so that they are best prepared to make a stable framework to go on for the next year or 2 when inevitably Bernie’s power dwindles.

          If not, they only give Bernie the ledger to somehow hang on to power in the chaos.

    2. If you have a track by your base, you use it for testing. If you have a simulator, you use it. If you have a wind tunnel, you use it. But money, oh, god, no. Money no! Instead of capping budget, they really should try to reduce costs.

    3. What Wolf says is perfectly in line with Ron Dennis remarks. If you can’t be in F1, try something else. F1 can be more efficient but leveling the field by the lower level will not be positive either.

      Cost cuts would imply downsizing, and that’s not a good thing for many talented folks out there.

    4. The solution is not a cost cap, but cost restriction.
      Hospitality units, Driver and Team Personnel salaries, equipment, should not be part of a cost cap. We can’t reduce teams to the lowest common denominator.
      The areas, competition areas in which most of the costs are expended, such as aerodynamic research, should be the chief focal point for any restriction.
      We can’t say because team V can only afford to employ only 45 team members, so everyone should be forced reduce their staffing to 45.
      But we can ensure that the aerodynamic rules become less complex, and the profiles of these components, be they wings or barge boards or floors, are very simple components to design and manufacture. This can be achieved by reducing the number of elements on say a front wing for instance, from the current high component number, to say something like 3. Same goes for the floor, and the rear wings.
      No more loop holes like we have in the crash structure around the radiator/side pod area.
      This way, increased spending only guarantees a minimal increment in performance differential.
      And then the Revenue should be shared among the teams in a different way than the present formula.
      Formula1 is not a poor man’s sport, racing itself can be very expensive, but not everyone has to be in Formula1 and there should be the possibility of others coming in from the outside when those currently in there do not succeed, else we will be left with the current teams forever.

    5. @rbalonso

      Whether the teams like it or not the cost cap is coming

      No it’s not. The FIA have tried twice to get it off the ground and got nowhere.

      As much as I dislike the excess of power Ecclestone has concentrated in the hands of the sport’s richest teams, they are entirely right when they say a cost cap isn’t realistic.

      You could probably make one work on teams like Sauber and Force India who are F1 teams fiirst and foremost. But when you’re talking about teams which are small parts of massive global car manufacturers you will never be able to track whether every last penny they’ve spent has only gone on their F1 operation.

      Particularly at a time when everyone is talking about the increased ‘road relevance’ of F1. This being the case, it would surely be easier than ever for a car manufacturer to hide F1-related development costs in their other areas of research.

      And when you’re talking about engine builders who have different numbers of customers from year to year, I doubt you could design a equitable spending cap to begin with.

      F1 needs serious cost cuts to create a full grid of healthy teams to improve the quality of racing and to make sure seats go to drivers because of the scale of their talent, instead of the size of their wallet.

      I hope those running the sport are skilful enough to force serious concessions to cost cutting which can be enforced through the regulations onto the richest teams who have the most to lose. But as Ecclestone prefers to buy them off while the smaller teams wither on the vine, and Todt blundered down the cost cap cul-de-sac for several months, I’m not optimistic.

      1. Yes, if FIA managed to implement a cost cap, the immediate outcome would be higher operating costs in some partner companies, i.e., Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes road car divisions would see their Opex go up and Red Bull would find a way to fit part of their F1 Opex into their energy drink business financials…

      2. @kiethcollantine From what Mosely says, whether he is to be believed, he would have got a cap in in 2009 were it not for the news of the world. I am also aware of the Machiavellian maneuvering possible by Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull Technologies in deceiving the FIA. But I feel the FIA must do something to reduce these costs at the top end. I do not want the sport to be at the whim of the manufacturers who can leave as they please.

        I agree that the huge variables and parameters are difficult to fairly implement or police but the FIA could begin large figures and decrease it as I say. I would also expect it to be limited to car design and testing. For me it is certainly not about making everyone in line with a start up team and I think we share the same view on this in that the big teams should be where restrictions are made.

        In my eyes, the cost cap budget would be higher than most teams run now say, £150m. I don’t understand how cost cutting can be made to only the top teams, it is an across the board measure. I think teams would only hide behind their other sectors if the cost cap was set at something ridiculous like £80m. I believe teams would comply if serious consequences were applied.

        1. @keithcollantine apologies for the typo there!

        2. Mosely wanted a single engine supplier for F1 to cut costs, though he failed to totally achieve this, the engine equalisation and development freeze that ruled in the V8 era had the same effect as far as team costs are concerned, but as a panacea for rising costs it was a total failure, it’s main effect was to reduce interest in F1 powertrains, not only amongst fans but amongst car manufacturers as well. There are no simple fixes that will ensure the competitivenes of budget teams, if F1 is to remain a development formula costs can only be reduced by regulating what cannot be done, not what must be done.

    6. I really don’t get how people can claim that cost caps are impossible or unrealistic. Ferrari and Red Bull don’t want it with their mega budgets of course. They will say anything to pretend that it’s impossible. In reality it’s perfectly possible.

      The claim that someone might cheat is completely irrelevant too. Ferrari and Red Bull have budgets that are at 50% to 60% higher than the budgets of McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus. So even if someone cheats, will it be by that huge of a margin? That’s highly unlikely.

      F1 needs a budget cap. FIA keeps on proposing cost savings, but they are utterly useless. The teams simply spend the “saved” money on something else.

      It’s clear that the F1 budgets translate pretty much into championship points. Although Ferrari keeps under performing for their immense budget, but McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus had comparable budgets and usually comparable results. Force India and Williams are more or less in the same league (similar budgets also). Caterham and Marussia at the back with the smallest budgets.

      So for a new team to enter they either have to be content to play second fiddle to the bigger budget teams (notably Red Bull), or put up the money to be able to fight them. Car manufacturers don’t have that kind of money to “waste”. Or at least their boards won’t let them.

      Now if the budgets are reduced to something like 200 million. Still an insane amount. Then anybody can potentially win the championship and it’s a budget that a car manufacturer could be persuaded to pay. So we could potentially have more works teams as a result. BMW, Toyota, one of the Volkswagen brands etc.

      So the teams scores are related to their budget. Now what if those budgets are more equalised? Then obviously the teams would all be more equal too. We’d have a better competition with more fighting and more unpredictable results.

      What’s more, with a slightly lower budget cap the development wouldn’t go so fast and hence rule changes, to slow the cars back down, wouldn’t have to happen so often either.

      It’s a whole lot of wins, held back by the two biggest spenders in the sport. Ruining the sport by their dominance as a result.

  3. I think that if “fan boost” is implemented into E1 (is that even the name?? I don’t care enough to follow) the best way to do it would b only on the start.

    If a driver gets all the votes they would get a boost like Massa’s in Bahrain 2014, if no one votes for them they won’t get anything.

    1. It would be ‘FE’, surely?

    2. No. There is no best way to implement “fan boost” except putting in a shelve far far away.

    3. Fan boost will inevitably lead to farcical situations like drivers promising to do the macarana around the car in Park Ferme if they win the race.. Or worse…
      Ridiculous beyond any reasoning!

    4. Good grief, I had assumed “fan boost” must be something like the fan assisted cars of the 70’s not Eurovision on wheels.

  4. It’s not in the round-up today, but can someone explain to me the situation with fuels in F1? I was under the impression that the rules state that the cars should run on standard petrol, or at least something very close it. However, I get the impression that part of Mercedes’ advantage is attributed to their Petronas fuel, and I’ve heard reports that Ferrari’s upturn in form in China was due to a more efficient fuel, with Total bringing a better fuel for the Spanish GP. Is there a development war on between the fuel suppliers?

    1. The fuel is very close to pump premium. There is room to make the perfect blend that might have a 1 or 2 second laptime advantage over pump fuel so yes, there is a war over it.

      1. The perfect engine oil can give you better performance as well, and teams don’t use the same oil either.

    2. @adrianmorse Here’s a nice article from the FIA on how they check fuels:

      The relevant part is

      The first change is in the fuel approval process because every team has to have their fuel pre-approved… Some teams have more than one fuel pre-approved for the season and a sensor can be calibrated against two or three different fuels

      This means the teams aren’t stuck with one blend of fuel for the entire season, but what I don’t know is if that approval process can be made mid season.

      1. @mantresx @adrianmorse Being a chemist, I found it interesting in looking at these details awhile ago, however I seem to remember that you were allowed to change your fuel as often as you like provided it’s approved before racing.

    3. @adrianmorse, me too, I am sure that was supposed to be the situation in the past.

  5. With Formula E I wouldn’t mind a system like this. If a driver has spent time behind another car and is struggling to get past, harming the overall excitement of the race, the fans can nominate them to a council of unbiased FE management. The FE management can decide if this driver is given DRS/boost mode to help them overtake cars. I get this idea from not really liking DRS ,but getting frustrated seeing drivers charge through the field and get stuck by a driver with a low downforce set up.

    1. Assuming then that the television race director is unbiased in what they show, then? There is usually plenty of action around the track but how will the viewers know if they are’t being shown a battle?

      Too much of a reality show for me, it is not racing.

  6. It’s not in the round-up either but I just watched the Sky F1 mid-week report and one of the hot debates was Rosberg’s frame of mind and also his form. The pundits discussing him were an ex-Red Bull engineer and a tabloid journalist, forgiving them that though, they knew their F1.

    One opinion was that Rosberg was being “destroyed”. I don’t see it that way. Of course he was upset in Bahrain, that was fair and square and it hurt. In China though, he was on the back foot, first his quali lap mis-reading and then no telemetry in the race. I hope that’s what he was thinking about on that second step Sunday afternoon looking so forlorn.

    Both ROS and HAM are fantastic drivers, arguably at the peak of their careers, I really hope that ROS can keep the pressure on him to keep up the spectacle that we were treated to in Bahrain. I wasn’t watching F1 at the time of Hunt/Lauda or Prost/Senna so for me the best inter-team mate rivalry has been ALO/HAM so far. I want more of that please ROS even though I’m slightly more of HAM man :)

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      24th April 2014, 5:32

      if rosberg is being destroyed, how should one call what vettel did to webber?

      1. That’s the intricacies of some driver’s sensitivity to change. Seb’s a great driver although I never mentioned him in my post?

    2. I think Rosberg is driving well and he’s fairly close to Lewis, who’s a great driver and probably could beat anyone in the same car.

      Not long ago, many people where used to say Rosberg is mentally stronger and better equipped than Lewis to master this new era of Formula 1 but after 4 races, Hamilton is silencing doubters one win at a time and now they’re pulling the “mental strength card” again, but turning Rosberg onto the weakest in terms of emotional stability…

    3. Rosberg is bound to be a little dejected as so far this season the score is basically Qualy 3-1 to Lewis, Race 3-0 to Lewis. But overall, i don’t think his state of mind will be too bad, and still have some hope he can compete over the season.

      Things in his favour: 1) He still leads the championship 2) He is sitting in by far the best car on the grid

      I think one thing is clear, if it wasn’t before, and that’s that Lewis is superior in wet conditions. While that is a benefit to Lewis, i don’t think Nico should be too concerned about it. How many sessions are likely to be wet over the year? We’ve probably had the majority of wet qualifying sessions that we’re going to have over the year, so Nico should take some comfort that in the one dry qualy he came out on top.

      In race pace, again there’s not too much to be concerned about. Australia there is nothing to compare, Malaysia was worrying from his point of view but likely a setup issue, Bahrain he was marginally faster, and China they ended up in different races so again it’s difficult to compare.

      Overall, i’m sure Nico will be dissappointed any time he stands 2nd on the podium behind Lewis but i don’t think he will be demoralised yet. If another 3-4 races pass without him beating Lewis on merit then that could change.

      Finally, there is always the wild card of reliability. The Mercs have looked strong since Australia but there might still be a few failures to come over the year, odds are there probably will be. As i mentioned in another thread, a failure in Abu Dhabi would undo over 7 wins worth of points if the opposition is 2nd in each of those races. I’m sure that’s not how Nico would want to win the championship, but i’m certain he’d take it if that’s how it worked out.

    4. @grez76 The stats are very much against Rosberg at the moment:

      Nico Rosberg 2014 form guide

      But with only four races done, three of them with wet qualifying sessions and both drivers having some technical problems I think it’s too soon to say much other than Rosberg needs to beat Hamilton on a day when they both finish to be considered a serious title proposition, even if he is leading the points.

      1. @keithcollantine, Adrian Newey mentioned before the start of the season that this year’s championship will be decided by reliability. I’m sure he didn’t have the current situation between the two Mercedes drivers in mind, but because of reliability alone Rosberg is in the title hunt. One DNF more for Hamilton, and Lewis might score six more wins than Rosberg and not be champion (and that’s even without double points).

        All it takes for both the stats and the perception of Rosberg’s championship chances to change is Nico making it to the first corner first in the next two Grand Prix. In Barcelona it will be probably very hard to overtake, and of course in Monaco it is nearly impossible (especially if, as a team mate, you cannot try the undercut).

        I’m a Hamilton fan and I think Lewis has a slight edge over Rosberg, but in motor racing that does not guarantee scoring more points. One example is Hamilton’s 2012 season, where I felt over the season he was considerably better than Button, but after Brazil he had only 4 more points to show for it.

        1. I would be very surprised if NR wasn’t extremely stoked about this year. This is the first time he has had a consistent race-win/WDC capable car. Of course LH is a formidable teammate, but they get along and are both likely feeling on top of the world with this car.

          LH had a DNF but NR has now had a race with no pit comm/telemetry or however you want to define his issues in the last race. I think all NR is thinking right now is that he and LH are extremely close, and as the team introduce upgrades they may get even closer. He will only be thinking positively, and is likely having the time of his life now that he has what all racers who aspire to be in F1 dream of…a capable car.

          Let’s see how it all plays out. I used to love playing table tennis as a kid…still do but just haven’t played in eons…but what I learned as a kid is that the best I played was when I was playing someone better than me. I say let’s give NR the season to rise to the occasion as the car also developes, and not relegate him to already being ‘destroyed’ when he likely feels he is only just getting started. He won’t be surprised at how LH is doing…none of us are…but at least he has the car to surprise LH and the rest of us, and frankly if/when he does outdo LH in some races, LH won’t be surprised, nor should we.

      2. @keithcollantine, yes Rosberg’s form guide is pretty bad, but like you said it’s early days. I just hope Rosberg doesn’t let it get him down. FYI there was an article on BBC Sport’s website this morning with Toto suggesting that Merc may rethink team orders. Just gives more kudos to the other teams in the Bahrain showdown, since they were also scrapping it out with other teams.

        Just to clarify, I meant to point out that I acknowledged that I was off-topic with this post as Rosberg wasn’t in the round-up today. I didn’t mean any criticism.

  7. RE Bernie’s “hopefully” imminent deposition. He’s already tried to tout Horner as his best replacement, but isn’t there a better candidate in Big Ron. Horner has done a good job with his lot over the past few years, trying to maintain face in the light of some ugly situations. Honestly though he has appeared a little slimy trying to find a balance between friend, Webber, “prodigy”, Vettel and Helmut Marko. Maybe that’s what attracted Bernie to him.

    Ron brought F1 into my heart when he openly sobbed after Kimi’s amazing win at Suzaka in 2005 after making a previously unimagined overtake in 130R on Fisichella on the final lap. I still feel that emotion today, I started watching F1 in 2004. He then went on in his uncompromising manner to give us some more racing in 2007 (politics not considered by him), with his two drivers finishing on equal points. Amazing.

    Further still, amongst the controversy of “spy-gate” he stepped down to save the team some face and possibly greater punishment even though he was never proved to be involved.

    Can you imagine the world of F1 if a genuine fan of racing was at the helm without any selfish motivation.

    1. Ron brought F1 into my heart when he openly sobbed after Kimi’s amazing win at Suzaka in 2005 after making a previously unimagined overtake in 130R on Fisichella on the final lap.

      Kimi got past Fisi at the first corner, but it was still a cracking move. There was a memorable pass at 130R in that race, however it was Alonso on Michael Schumacher.

      1. Thanks, I remember now. Gonna watch it again on my VHS recording just to make sure ;-)

    2. Skinny Rhino
      24th April 2014, 9:34

      Can you imagine the world of F1 if a genuine fan of racing was at the helm without any selfish motivation.

      My god man, you are naive! Suggesting Ron Dennis is unselfish or an ideal choice to run F1!!?

      1. Feel like explaining your reasoning?

        1. Skinny Rhino
          26th April 2014, 0:47

          @raceprouk Feel like explaining your reasoning?

          That Ron Dennis is selfish and not an ideal candidate to replace Mr. E??? Seriously?

          Just see Dennis’s incredibly short-sighted and unashamedly selfish comments in opposition to any effort to limit spending by the richest teams and pursue more equitable distribution of revenue! Ron Dennis opposes a fairer, “healthier” F1 not skewed by massive structural inequalities – the elimination of which could reasonably be expected to improve the sustainability and long term economic viability of the sporting business of Formula 1.

          That Dennis so vehemently opposes anything that does not convey exclusive benefit to his organization evidences his inability to serve as a responsible steward of Formula 1 – the sport or the business.

  8. I think it’s important to see f1 technology trickle down into real world applications as it is a venue to showcase automotive and technological innovation. I think a prime example is the new lot of super cars using hybrid power. Love it or hate it, given increased pressure on governments to regulate emissions and fleet economy figures – high performance hybrid technology is the future. Manufacturers should be drawn to this.

    But reading the above, it is also fascinating to see that governments are encouraging this technology in heavy industry. I can see hybrid technology paired with turbo diesel engine being increasingly valuable in heavy industry.

    Perhaps the naysayers concerned about the new hybrid f1 cars should look at the bigger picture. F1 is on the cutting edge with these new regulations – the formula needs to continue to evolve so as to stay in touch and shape the automotive current.

    1. Manufacturers have already embraced the technology and F1 is going to help further steps. If you watch Mercedes AMG Petronas YouTube channel you will see how important these new Power Units are for road cars division.

      This units are not only aiming at improving our environmental footprint but also our budget; and people probably are more sensitive to their money than environment…

      Plus, as mentioned, associating hybrid technology to the pinnacle of motorsports will impress greatly doubters and lovers.

      1. Hybrids aren’t better for the environment it’s simply a myth. They are worse in every way for text environment over the long term due to the manufacturing required.

        We would do less harm to the environment if we drove 20 year old 4 litre jeeps

        1. It isn’t about the current generation of the technology, which may well be a net environmental loss as you say. It’s about developing the technology to a point where it is beneficial, in everything from the systems themselves to the manufacturing processes behind them.

          The fact is that we can’t just ignore the environmental effects and drive “20 year old 4 litre jeeps” for generation after generation. Resources will run out, or become so innaccessible/expensive that they are no longer an option, so we have to pursue alternatives. Like it or not, hybrid technology and electric vehicles are the future. Burying our heads in the sand won’t make the problems go away.

        2. @DD42

          Your idea of keeping driving old cars sounds plausible but it is not right (not sure about hybrids though but I guess it is true for them as well). I think for the average car, 90% of energy used and 90% of CO2 emissions occur during the use of the car, and only 10% during manufacturing.

          I read a study that the fuel efficiency gains of modern cars offset the additional energy used in manufacturing the new car after a relatively low amount of km (maybe 50,000 or 100,000, can’t quite remember).

          So purely from an environmental perspective (e.g. energy use, CO2 emissions) it is only worth it driving an old car with higher fuel consumption if you drive very little. Otherwise, the environment is better off you getting a newer, more fuel efficient car.

        3. I’m a bit skeptic on the man made global warming and what we can do about it. But in line with the widely accepted theory that fossil fuels accelerate the earth warming process and admitting that hybrid vehicles burn less fossil fuels, they indeed will produce positive externalities on the environment. But again, selling hybrids as a “good expensive machines to save the earth” won’t work because money saving is a better deal-breaker.

          Brazil is well advanced in hybrid technology because they reacted after a global oil shock and to save money they invested in alternative fuels (notably ethanol). That’s how hybrids should be marked: more efficient machines that allow us to spend less money on petrol. The “greener technology” banner tends to apply more to a niche but economic efficiency has broad appeal.

          Plus, I’m almost sure that European Union at some point will impose strict rules on car engines bounding towards the power units rules imposed by FIA, just like they want to do with UEFA’s financial fair play rulings.

          As this season progresses, we will better understand how inspiring was the idea to reform F1 and make it – again – a center of automobile research and development.

          1. @jcost DD42 is correct in saying that the manufacture of these batteries and hybrid systems are far more damaging than burning fossil fuels, however, there will be a far greater lifetime of battery production… for example, if we were solely running on batteries since the invention of motor vehicles, our battery technology might be highly evolved but the metas/organometallics used in the batteries may be reaching our maximum cost to performance value, and then say, suddenly someone invented the combustion engine; things would be drastically different and there would be quite a large surplus of oil and natural gas drilling/exploration. But what I’m saying is that studies point to the production of batteries and R&D in batteries are NOT more efficient than burning fossil fuels, without taking into account the total reserves in the world.

          2. @beejis60

            Well the process is suppose to get better over time, and as I said, this technology will not triumph due to its alleged greener aspects but because it will reduce our petrol bill. Once people realize that cars can be reliable, fast and more efficient they will jump in.

          3. I won’t profess to understand the exact footprint of making/operating a hybrid car vs. gas powered vs. electric but I just watched a little news segment on electric cars like the Tesla that goes 400 km and is apparently one of the nicest driving cars of ALL cars. Sure the battery has issues of toxicity, but as most seem to agree, that technology will improve. Point being though, once a bloke drives the car off the lot he no longer has to go to a gas station ever again.

            All cars…really all products globally, take fossil fuels to manufacture them, and take other toxic chemicals too. But one of the things that struck me the most in the news item was the massive footprint of actually extracting, refining, and shipping oil around the world in supertankers, and then in 18-wheelers to get it to gas stations.

            So for now based on that I am not convinced that the toxicity of batteries neutralizes the fossil fuel negatives. The bottom line of this news article was that by 2050 we will likely still be needing a mix of high-efficient fossil fuel engines with hybrid systems, as well as electric cars, just as solar power and wind turbines cannot substitute directly our hydro-electric dams and nuclear reactors but a mix can lighten the dependence on the most damaging to the earth.

  9. I appreciate that this is utter fantasy, but personally I’d love to see a commercial arrangement whereby, rather than the controlling stake witting with a third party, the controlling majority stake of the commercial rights to F1 are divided equally between each of the teams and the FIA. Giving them ultimate control over the commercial side of the sport, whilst also ensuring that the division of money is equal between all parties, and most pressingly that the commercial structure of the sport cannot be used by third parties as a source of political leverage for their own interests (namely the relentless acquisition of wealth..).

    I think if the teams had more control over the commercial aspects of the sport, it would make F1 a far better place for competitors to do business, attracting new sponsors and new teams, all of which would see a benefit from the popularity and profitability of the sport. Rather than the current situation where the richest, most powerful teams wield all the power, getting richer, while the poor teams at the back of the grid are forced into a position where they have no political influence and virtually zero revenue. And of course, zero prospects for improvement.

    Given that the FIA now has IOC accreditation, it would be interesting to see whether any of the backmarker teams would want to challenge the inequitable political, financial, and critially sporting setup of F1 at the moment by lodging a complaint with the IOC.

    1. Skinny Rhino
      26th April 2014, 0:53

      EU Directorate-General for Competition has been made aware of potential anti-competitive behavior and abuse of dominant position by CRH in Formula 1. It will take at least 12-18mos for official action to produce a result (especially as no formal complaint yet filed) but the EU will – ironically enough – be the saviour of the fans and the minnow F1 teams!

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