Haas to bid at Marussia auction

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Gene Haas will bid to buy items which have been put up for sale by the administrators of F1 team Marussia for his F1 tean, which is due to enter in 2016.


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

Gene Haas to bid for collapsed Marussia’s assets for his new F1 team (The Guardian)

“The American tycoon Gene Haas has revealed that he will be bidding for the assets of the collapsed Marussia Formula One team when they are put up for auction on Tuesday at its former factory in Banbury.”

Mercedes handed out communication ban (Autosport)

“Both were told that a repeat situation in the future would not be tolerated and could result in one of them losing their drive, ensured that things calmed down.”

Lewis Hamilton ‘I want seven more F1 years’ – Hamilton (BBC)

“I feel like I’ve got another seven years in F1. That’s the goal.”

Daniel Ricciardo: Formula One’s real star races into contention (The Independent)

“I can’t speak for Mark [Webber]. I don’t really know how much was maybe the media blowing it out of proportion, or how much was sometimes maybe his frustration. I don’t really know what the situation was. But I know that when I signed for Red Bull Racing, they told me that it would be equal treatment.”

How rich is Lewis Hamilton? (The Telegraph)

“Footballer Joey Barton argued that Hamilton did not deserve to win the award. He said that tax exiles should be exempt from winning any trophies that are ‘paid and voted for by the tax/licence payer’.”

Video – technical review: Mercedes F1 W05 (F1)

“Mercedes’ title-winning F1 W05 Hybrid might not have looked overly radical compared to certain rivals, but it was the most innovative car on the grid in 2014.”


Comment of the day

Have Ferrari reached the bottom of their dip – or do they have further to slide?

I think the trouble is that Ferrari don’t know how to efficiently develop a car. Their downturn has coincided with the introduction of testing restrictions. In their heyday Ferrari would have drivers blasting around Fiorrano pretty much every day of the week. They could produce 20 different wing designs then just pick the one that worked best. These days they can’t do that – the wing they design has to work straight away, and deliver the performance it should do based on CFD and wind-tunnel testing. At the moment, it doesn’t. And they simply have no idea why not.

The fact that they lobbied to have the engine rules skewed in their favour merely adds to the humiliation. They have the biggest political clout, the biggest budget, a sprawling factory with state of the art facilities, a massive guaranteed windfall from FOM every year no matter how pathetic the performance, and until recently the best driver on the grid.

Despite having all of these things in their favour, they’ve produced a poor engine and a dreadful car, have no idea how to fix it and are slipping down the rankings, not up. And there is absolutely no reason to believe that they have the first idea how to arrest the slide and begin to compete with the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull – tellingly two teams which have come recently to F1 in the ‘modern era’ who have the best handle on how to produce performance under the conditions as they stand today. Not as they stood fifteen years ago.

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On this day in F1

Five years ago today Felipe Massa tested a Ferrari in preparation for his return to racing following the serious injuries he suffered during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

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52 comments on “Haas to bid at Marussia auction”

  1. Well, Marussia would know a thing or two about Ferrari power units so makes sense for Haas. Sad to see that the team has come to this, though.

    1. I think Marussia from a technical stand point is a fantastic basis for Haas. Their 2014 car was solid and their 2015 design looks pretty slick. Chassis construction, wing construction, aero design, installation, wiring loom there’s lots to learn about F1 in their assets for sure.

      1. The 2015 would probably be the slowest ever marussia. The team was totally bankcrupt and the team simply did not have money to develop a good car. Some of the old marussia equipment could be a good investment but the car is not one of those. Why on earth would haas even want 2015 spec car?! Not only is the marussia uselessly slow and technically uncompetitive but it is also wrong year. Haas is coming 2016. Not 2015.

        Seriously, 2015 spec car and you make it sound like a good deal? This marussia total love thing is becoming more odd every day.

        1. @socksoli It’s a starting point to help a brand new team understand the formula, how the aerodynamics work, and possibly acquire assets that they can evolve and improve on. It’s much faster and more cost effective to develop a car than it is to build one from the ground up. It’s how most of the cars and teams work. Red Bull, BAR, Torro Rosso, and Mercedes scavenged the facilities and assets of their predecessors. It’s completely normal.

          If you look at the problems Marussia, Caterham, and HRT all had trying to build cars new, it’s pretty obvious why Haas is avoiding it. Use someone else’s experience to do the initial R&D work for you. Smart move if you ask me.

          1. Looks like Haas will just be the replacement for Marussia, sadly.

          2. Where do you get the idea that haas is avoiding to build new car? That’s totally baseless argument imo.

          3. @socksolid @bforth That’s what Brawn did with Honda and see what happened to them in 2009 (keeping the Honda plans before bailing out).

          4. @BJ
            That’s nothing at all what happened with honda and brawn. There is not one single similarity between haas possibly buying marussia car and what happened with honda and brawn. Not one single tiny similarity at all.

        2. Just look at how far off the pace the first 2 cars for each of the new teams were and where Marussia was mid last year @socksolid, add on that the countless issues with wiring and cooling these teams had at the start and you have a very good idea what it means to go from a car developed with 5 years experience.

          That it is not top notch is not an issue, Haas never expected to be even close to the pack either. But it does help get some things sorted up ahead. And the only difference expected between a 2015 and a 2016 car will be the amount of development done on it under the current rules, which Haas will be able to do just as much as Marussia would have.

          1. Agree — a wise move, despite the grousing by some. Yes, it’s not as nice as having a pack-leading car to reverse engineer, but at least it’s a base to start from. Marussia were also outperforming Sauber and occasionally Lotus in some races so had made a big step. Steady progress from their 100% CFD “no wind tunnel” days. Haas would also be well served to pull form the talent pool Marussia has on offer (Lowdon & the folks that got them their progress.)
            “Marussia love” merely shows an insight as to how hard it is to start from scratch and a recognition of how hard they worked and how far they came.

          2. I’m sorry but nothing you say makes sense. It is not a good idea got haas to play tons of money for 2015 spec car that is known to be slow. Some of the equipment of the team may be usable like wheelguns, some tools, pitwall equipment, trucks, containers etc etc because using those can save some time instead of having to start from scratch.

            But buying a slow car just for the purpose of reverse-engineering (even if you can get the plans and all other data) is a money pit. If it was a redbull, mclaren or ferrari getting the car would make sense but marussia? Haas could just as well buy a minardi from the 90s and it would be just as useful for learning about f1 cars. Haas already has a race team. He is not some rich playboy like the last 2 new team owners. He already had staff that understand racecars. He doesn’t need a slow f1 car to get started.

            And haas couldn’t even run the car if they wanted! It is in the rules you need to make your own car.Marussia going bankcrupt does not make their cars eligible for others to enter.

        3. @socksolid It’s an auction. Marussia’s racing assets contain intellectual property and could have some value, however minor, to possibly every team on the grid. It’s not a question of whether the assets are of value to Haas, because they are, and they are worth more to him than to the established teams because his team has had less time and resources to develop that intellectual property for themselves. The question is how much it’s worth paying for them. He’s only a fool if he hasn’t done his sums about what the assets are realistically worth and pays too much for them.

          1. Back in the day when usf1 went under I think it was brawn who bought some of the equipment. So of course for another team there are some things that of value. But the slow crappy marussia car of 2014 or even the slower and completely underdeveloped 2015 “update” are not one of those. Not unless haas wants to do worse than marussia.

  2. The Telegraph article is typical right wing propoganda, the Barclays brothers who own the paper are also residents of Monaco and as they make several times more money than Lewis they are evading several times more tax than Lewis (if you consider living in Monaco tax evoidance).
    For Joey Barton, a man of such class and refinement he once put out a cigar in someone’s face and was also jailed for viciously attacking two young men, to claim Lewis is a bad role model is as insulting as it is ironic. I may prefere drivers to be rockstars like Hunt & Kimi but I can’t fault the efforts, determination and discipline Lewis has shown during his career and while I sometimes find him a bit annoying it’s hard to think of many sportsmen who are better role models than him.

    1. Right wing propoganda from the Torygraph !? Surely not.
      And I think it’s Sark not Monaco that shelters the Barclays income from Tax.

      1. It depends on whether you are talking about their business or their personal funds, since I think they channel their corporation’s funds through Sark but their personal funds through Monaco (which is their official residency, I believe).

        1. They live in Sark (actually Brecqhuo which is a small islet just off Sark) although I believe they also spend time in Monaco. I don’t think they have any corporate business going through Sark other than the local businesses they own in Sark itself.

          1. I think that you’re right in fact – it looks like Press Holdings, which they use to control The Telegraph, operates out of Jersey rather than Sark.

    2. I’m shocked at the attacks on Hamilton’s victory. Over the years there have been many worse winners and many more deserving non-winners and even non-nominees (this year’s “injustice” is not even on the same scale as 2011 when triathlete Chrissie Wellington didn’t even make the all-male top ten and what she had achieved makes McIlroy’s career achievements look pathetic).

      The issue of tax and residence is a complete red herring from those who envy Hamilton’s success. To suggest that the only way of reducing your tax bill is to live abroad is ludicrous. The tax avoidance carried out by football clubs and footballers is on a much bigger scale – if they could move residence of course they would but because they have to train and play with their domestic club they don’t have the choice.

      Finally, the BBC isn’t only funded by the UK taxpayer – around a quarter of its revenue comes from the international business and even the ‘domestic’ part includes licence revenue from other (low tax!) jurisdictions including Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man etc.

      1. I’m not at all shocked by the attacks on Hamilton, the British press is still largely owned & produced by racist right wing scum bags and golf and football still have a long way to go before they can claim to have rid themselves of the curse of racism.
        As a successful, clean cut, hard working mixed race man Lewis is exactly the sort of guy those hate filled bigots love to hate. His tax status is just an excuse, McIlroy is also a tax exile as he moved to America to be closer to the PGA circuit so he avoids paying full uk tax too.

        1. Non sense, people have opinions and because they don’t align with yours it doesn’t mean they are bigots. I would not consider Lewis that ‘clean cut’ as he would make you think he is. It has more to do with keeping a clean image required by F1 and Mercedes team standards. The guy is talented and has skills, props to him and I can see that. Others can see it too, but he is somewhat of an hypocrite using a country’s resources to make it to fame and not put back into the system. And Mcllroy did not move to solely and purposefully avoid taxes, it has a benefit on the sport/job he is doing. Lewis moved solely for that reason..

          1. I didn’t say everyone who disagrees with me is a bigot, I just pointed out that there are many bigots involved with the right wing press, football and golf.

            Lewis’s parents paid plenty of tax while Lewis was a child, this is how all of us contribute to the costs of education, healthcare and infrastructure for our children.

            His parents and sponsors funded his career, not the government or the UK taxpayers. His parents even paid the cost of homeschooling him at various times so he actually cost the State far less than other children. His dad also worked several jobs to fund his career.

            Lewis doesn’t live or work in the UK (except for one GP and some other work with the team for which he is taxed by the UK government) as such he is not required to pay all UK taxes. If you don’t like that then criticise the government that wrote and maintain the tax laws that allow that.

            Lewis does pay some tax in the UK, probably more than you or I will in our entire lives, his success also generates millions of pounds of trade for our country and helps promote our country around the world.

            Regardless of why Rory moved to the US the fact remains he is just as much of a tax dodger as Lewis so to criticise one and not the other is nothing more than hypocrisy.

      2. The BBC is not funded by the taxpayer at all. The license fee is not a tax – you don’t *have* to own a TV. You can even watch British TV without a license, so long as you don’t watch live TV.

        1. @beneboy
          I don’t want to get to technical here but almost any sponsor or company that offers sponsorship deals ends up taxing the taxpayer. Follow the link between tax cuts or other priviliges companies receive from govt which are not coming free, someone pays for it. So you can see why some govt faces might think he owes something. I for one don’t think it’s wrong for him to live anywhere he pleases. But what I find interesting is that he wants to have the best of both worlds while not having much of a vested interest in any of them.
          And it sure matters why Mcllroy moved to US, he has a vested interest of living there besides just saving tax money. Hamilton moved solely for that reason and in the process called his so much beloved country “boring”. It is as if he can’t decide what he wants to be, he wants to be an Englishman, or a Brit, or a resident somewhere else or none of that but still loved by British people and receive all the benefits and protection that come with UK citizenship. The tax issue is a sensitive matter and irks many people. It might be used as propaganda by some on the right but the issue is that the left just wants to raise taxes to no end while not paying a dime.

  3. The MB W05 video perfectly illustrates why small budget teams like Sauber and FI can’t keep up even when they have the best engine, if we have to have development restricted to reduce the cost of F1 then surely there should be freeze on new aero parts. I favour homologation after the 1st 3 races, rather than before the 1st. race, as the limited pre-season testing is no substitute for real racing. Hopefully with development of all aspects of the car limited to an annual revision costs will be reduced but F1 will continue to be an innovative development series.

    1. The thing with the budget is, if you have it, you will spend it. No matter what they restrict, teams will take all the money they have and look where else they can spend it to gain something. What this means is, what Force India said a few years back – the tenth of a second is more expensive than ever. This in turn means that any avenues for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking are being closed, which means that all the teams will have to take even more similar route to get that extra tenth. And when some teams simply have more money than others, they will be able to afford more tenths. A small team can’t find some good idea and gain something with it, because these days everything is so restrained, that you only have to compete in the areas which are known to everyone. And there, as I said before, it only matters who can throw more money at it.

      1. Understood, but surely 1 aero setup per year will be cheaper than 1 aero setup per race.

        1. The problem with an aero freeze from so early in the year is that you effectively kill the season of any team who made an error on the aero side.
          If you take Mclaren in 2009 as an example, There aero balance was nowhere early in the year & it wasn’t until well into the 2nd half of the year that they got it all figured out.
          Some may say tough, But is a big team with a crap car struggling at the back with no opportunity to improve there car until the next season really what people would want? I don’t believe it is, It certainly wouldn’t be good for the show.

          Its also doubtful it would really save anything as the teams would just throw that money onto another area to develop & just spend more developing the car for the next season.

          The only way to properly get spending under control is to introduce a budget cap, Yet even that is a flawed idea given how it would be practically impossible to properly police given how some teams run there operations & have ties to sister companies & operations who in some cases all run out of the same building.

          Given that I feel the best thing to do is to distribute the prize money so that even the smallest teams are getting enough back to continue operating.
          Also get rid of this absurd notion that certain teams should get $100m just for showing up at a race. Its even more ridiculous when you consider that that $100m is more than the team who finishes 5th in the constructors tables gets for a season’s effort.

          1. @gt-racer Exactly, like franchises…. and the top teams will still have more to spend from more income e.g. merchandising, or support from manufacturers/big companies anyway.

          2. Great post. I totally agree. As a Ferrari fan, them getting a fat cut from FOM while smaller teams flounder is absurd. There’s enough money to go around which, distributed more equally amongst all participating teams, would be enough to keep the small teams running. Despite what the completely-off-his-nut Bernie says, the smaller teams are vital to F1.

          3. @gt-racer, I wish we could go back to the glory days of unlimited developement but thanks to Benedict Ecclestones betrayal of F1 and the revenue stripping that sees Delta Topco getting more of the revenue than the combined amount distributed to all but the 3-4 “special” teams then something has to be done to keep F1 alive. My suggestion of homologating the aero package after race 3 could well have a detrimental effect on a team for a whole year if they get it wrong, but that is no different than a team that has no money to update throughout the year, nor is it any different to the problem a team that choses the wrong engine supplier currently has. Conversely a small team that gets it right will have a chance to profit from its cleverness and attract sponsorship rather than be overtaken by the big teams copying and refining their clever bits mid-season .

        2. @hohum Now you’re just moving one step closer to a spec series.

          You could do a token thing or allow updates once every few races, or like the engines allow five aero kits per season.

          1. @beejis60, but not as close as we were with the “equalised ” V8s.

  4. That guy went all ways to claim Lewis didn’t deserve it. Why? who votes? the fans or the journalists and specialists?

    The fans vote. IF they decide Hamilton was the best, so what?

    That guy claims that F1 is boring, and Hamilton lives elsewhere. Well, tell me how golf is entertaining… for me, it’s the most boring thing in life. And Rory McIlroy lives in Florida.

    Also, he claims that F1 is all about the equipment. Heck, Djokovic uses only a racquet and after he switched to Wilson, he couldn’t find his groove, Wilson even designed a racquet that was basically a copy of the Head he was using and still struggled. He then resigned with Head and look, he’s Number 1 now.

    Everything is about the equipment and preparation. Hamilton does his fair share to improve the car, afterall he’s the one driving and the one that has to be comfortable.

    Not saying he deserves it or doesn’t deserve it, but THOSE arguments really don’t go anywhere. You can use them everywhere.

    1. That’s the thing I was talking about yesterday. As soon as you start thinking more about it, you’ll either have to make peace with the fact that it’s just a cheap popularity contest, or you’ll be thinking how all these people are mere entertainers, and in most cases, not much of a role models, compared to scientists, artists (talking about serious artists, not manufactured pop-starts, but real musicians, composers, writers, poets), philosophers, engineers, doctors etc. When it says “personality” of the year, even if it states that it is about sports personality, not all personalities, it’s again, at least for me, a bit of a stretch. If you are looking for a personality, it’s hardly that it will always coincide with the champion in the discipline, and yet, it’s almost always they just choose some champions from various sports, and let the public vote for one in a popularity contest.

      Personality of the year might have gone to a guy who landed the probe on a comet, but then again, if it’s about personality, I don’t really know much about a guy, except that his cause is definitely more worthy than Hamilton’s.

      1. I agree… it’s so broad too, from the voters to the people being voted. It’s impossible to make a fair judgement of the achievements.

        Also people will be voting different things. From “who performed better” to “who was a fair player” to “who I like more”.

        More popular sports will always raise above the others…

      2. Actually an early producer admitted on the red button pre-show that they only used the word ‘personality’ to avoid being challenged as sexist for calling it ‘sportsman of the year’. Of course ‘sports person’ would have been at least as good, but why use two sylables when you can use five?

        I am not sure whether it is an American thing (c.f. car->automobile) or a TV thing (commenter->commentator) but the BBC has a fad for long words.

  5. I’m not a fan of Lewis’ – though I can certainly respect his achievements and frankly he also seems like a decent guy. Sure you could argue about the tax thing and a few other things, but it’s a personality award in sports and he actually made F1 more interesting with his personality and character traits – to argue that he didn’t deserve it is petty and just reveals how small some of these critics are.

  6. Barton’s other comments obviously make his opinion look like a bad joke. That said, whether or not tax avoidance should be condemned is a valid discussion point.

    I have always believed that you cannot really blame Hamilton or any other F1 driver for being a tax exile because if so many of them (Hamilton, Rosberg, Button, Vettel, Raikkonen etc.) are residents of other countries, then there is something wrong with the system that allows them to do it. Maybe the drivers should indeed represent the countries that they pay tax to.

    1. That would be funny. Having the Monaco national anthem blaring out race after race!

      1. @TimothyKatz I like the sound of Hymne Monégasque so I would not mind :) And do not forget the Swiss anthem, too!

        I actually do not think it is ever going to happen but perhaps it would be fair. Anyway, I do not care which countries my favourite drivers belong to. To quote Leonard Cohen, “You looked so good I didn’t care what side you’re fighting for”.

        1. ‘ everybody knows the fight is fixed. The poor stage poor and the rich stay rich. That’s how it goes.. ‘

          1. *stay poor geez sorry mr. cohen!

          2. That’s also one of my favourite quotes :)

      2. Which national anthem is played is based on the driving licence you hold, not your nationality or residence.

        The team anthem is based on corporate tax residence, e.g. Red Bull in Austria.

    2. @girts
      If people are unhappy with the way others avoid tax their argument should be with the government that writes the law, not the individual. The government could introduce laws requiring all citizens to pay tax on their earnings regardless of where they’re earned, apparently the USA has a system like this, and then sportsmen, musicians etc could make the choice to remain a citizen and pay their fair share of tax or give up their citizenship in order to enjoy the benefits that come with living somewhere else.

    3. Hm, yes, you are right. Its a valid theme for discussion @girts.

      That said, I have had a bit of thought and discussion about it after Czech president Zeman critisized Tennis player Petra Kvitova recently. And have come to the conclusion that where one pays taxes doesn’t have anything to do with what nationaliy you have/represent in sports.

      First of all, as @beneboy mentions there are already quite clear laws about who pays taxes where and for what. In most of these (including most EU nations and the US as the treaties are similar between many countries) you pay based on residency, with a caveat that if you are abroad a lot of the time, you have something called a world income, where it aggregates and you pay taxes based on residency, minus what you paid in other countries already. And as we saw in India, part of the income earned in a specific country (i.e. there were a GP is) can already be taxed in that country, meaning that the drivers likely pay some taxes in many countries with races already.
      Off course some countries have special regimes for high earning residents that make them pay less taxes. But then again, look at Schumi, for example. He has earned a lot of money. But how much of it is now going into paying for his care? There is no pension fund or disability fund for them, they have to save up for it themselves.

      Also, taxes are not the priviledge of a country to “get”, they are a way to make all of us pay for services the state provides. Therefore its natural to pay it there were we live. Regardless of what nation we “play” for.

      A last point. Lets consider what lengths some countries go through to get sporting stars to gain their nationality (many african and football players have become Europeans that way, or look at the sheer amount of Russian born sporters representing a wide variation of different nations during these last winter games in Sochi.), and even pay THEM to do so, just like sponsors and teams pay sporters to represent them. The UK gets that goodwill more or less for free, I think that is a very good bargain for the country.

      1. @BasCB Thank you a lot for the long post, some very good points.

        I agree that a successful sportsman is also a good ambassador for his country so the UK still needs Hamilton even if he pays tax elsewhere.

        You are also right by saying that taxes serve as price for services that the state provides. At the same time, taxation also serves many other purposes, such as income redistribution. The rich taxpayers will almost never get back from the state as much as they give to it. So it is also a matter of paying your “fair share” to help your country get better.

        You could also question how much one has in common with his motherland if he travels around the world for the most part of the year and spends his holidays at home in another country.

        To sum up, I think that Hamilton still loves his home country and that the UK needs him as well but I can see why some have a different opinion.

  7. Re:COTD @mazdachris I agree mostly, but let’s wait and see till 2015 before we say: They don’t know how to fix this. They have some extremely clever people there. Maybe the 2014 car was a blind alley that was impossible to get out of. 2015 will be proof as it’s the first car fully supervised by Allison. Who, by the way, has a good experience in situations such as these. 2011 Renault was a blind alley, then look how the 2012 car turned up

  8. I don’t see why such a big deal is always made over Hamilton living in Monaco. The top rate of income tax rate here in the UK in 45% at the moment (plus national insurance), while Monaco charges no income tax. Hamilton earns around £20 million a year, so do you really expect him to essentially throw away £9 million a year living in UK, where he has to wear sunglasses and a hoodie everywhere to avoid being photographed and shouted at? Especially as he loves living in sunny Monaco – he and & Nico always dreamed of owning boats in Monaco when they were younger (plus its track was greatly associated with his idol Senna).

    We can criticise all we want, but I bet 90% of people would move to somewhere with a lower tax rate if they were earning £20+ million a year. It’s literally part of economic theory that having too high of a top income tax rate can decrease revenue because you will drive away the highest earners. Many rich British sportsmen and celebrities do it, and pretty much all F1 drivers do it. Heck, Jenson Button lives in Monaco, but while the newspapers seem to be perfectly fine with one British F1 driver living in a tax haven, Lewis is seen to be betraying the nation because he lives there.
    I’ve never assumed that people judge Lewis differently because of his skin colour, but I honestly can’t think of another reason why newspapers criticise him so heavily over his “tax dodger” status when they seem to ignore most British sportsmen doing the same thing. I would rather not be so cynical though – maybe he just receives the most abuse because he is the highest earning British sportsman at the moment. Although it must be said that he was receiving this much abuse long before that was the case. I imagine that even if he did move back to the UK, newspapers would look for another way to criticise him – probably by accusing him of not being British because he has an American girlfriend and likes visiting LA, or some similar rubbish.

  9. See in the financial report on Marrussia that McLaren were owed £7 Million….what exactly did they supply then???

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