Bernie Ecclestone, 2013

Ecclestone threatens to charge Manor for not racing

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Bernie Ecclestone, 2013In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone insists Manor did not intend to participate in the Australian Grand Prix, despite the FIA ruling otherwise, and says they must pay as a result.


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Manor to pay for failure, says Ecclestone (Reuters)

"They had no intention (of racing). We’ll have to see now. And they will have to pay their way to get there and get out of there."

Bernie Ecclestone backs Red Bull’s call to rein in Mercedes’s F1 dominance (The Guardian)

"There is a rule that I think (the former president) Max (Mosley) put in when he was there that in the event... that a particular team or engine supplier did something magic – which Mercedes have done – the FIA can level up things."

Ecclestone Says Female Drivers Are 'Inevitable' In F1 (Forbes)

"It is inevitable that there will be another female driver. Though the women will never get a fair crack because they will be taken for other reasons.."

STR top candidate for Renault buyout (Autosport)

"Renault has visited a number of teams, including Sauber and Force India, while it is also understood to have had discussions with Lotus as it continues to evaluate whether being just an engine supplier for two teams - Red Bull and Toro Rosso - delivers maximum benefit for the brand."

'Ferrari should look to Merc' (Sky)

"Our goal, we were looking forward to Williams, to Red Bull, at the beginning. Now, we need to start to be a bit more convinced about ourselves and to reduce the gap with the Mercedes guys."

F1 must ignore moaning Red Bull (The Telegraph)

"It seems absurd to rubbish the entire sport, changing the rules mid-season, off the back of one race."


Comment of the day

An excellent addition to stats and facts from Yeang:

Raikkonen and Button have now raced against both Jos and Max Verstappen, with Alonso likely to join them in this group when he returns to the cockpit.

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On this day in F1

From 2010, all bar two of the then-living world champions assembled for a photograph to mark the start of the 2010 season and the 60th anniversary of the world championship beginning:

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  • 166 comments on “Ecclestone threatens to charge Manor for not racing”

    1. I didn’t think I could ddislike Bernie any more.

      1. you gotta give it to him: he’s trying really hard to be even more hated. But anyway, how old is he? i guess the mother nature gonna take him sooner rather than later (just hope the F1 still stands when that time comes)

        1. Impossible to say when will be his time, he has already signed a contract with Grim Reaper specifically stating that Thanatos will not take him until 2020, as Martin Brundle suggests. Also the teams all have co-signed with Death (Grim Reaper) & the devil (Bernie).

        2. Some say, he has been reincarnating since the time of the dinosaurs :) who would know?

      2. I’d consider relaxing the rules for everybody, but freezing Mercedes engine is not right. Let us believe their scope to extract even more performance is smaller so why freeze them?

        1. Just look how many tokens Renault/ RedBull left on the table to improve their engine. They underestimated the introduction, started only in September with the updates needed and took their time, wanting/ having to develop during the season. Now had they used all tokens and still not catches up, maybe. Then again, Ferrari showed how you catch up on PU development and still see potential to get closer using tokens left over.

          1. And now, like a bad marriage, the comms are breaking down. Divorce is in the air, or some serious overhauls.

        2. Engine homologation needs to go away, and since it can’t make sense without homologation, so too does the requirement that teams be limited to a certain number of powertrains per year. And in-season testing should be returned, with teams optionally allowed to work on engine testing after the completion of each race weekend.

          That, applied to every team (including Mercedes) would return fairness to the sport. Right now, it is physically impossible for any other engine manufacturer to catch up to Merc because they can’t properly test new engine developments, and they can’t put those developments in a car without it counting as a new engine towards their allotment. Their only choices are to make at most three modest updates during the season (and get little benefit), or to make significant (but basically untested) updates and then risk having to lose one of their engine allotment to a design that proved to have significant issues *because the only real testing is happening during the race*.

          WIthout homologation and powertrain life-cycle controls, every team including Merc could fairly develop its engines, and there would be no unsporting nature even if Merc continued to dominate.

          The only alternative to this (and it’s a bad one) is to cap power at a certain level (as was done when homologation was first introduced) and return these engines to at least near-parity with each other. That, to me, always made a mockery of pretending to be a non-spec part, though. I’d sooner see the cars supplied with a spec engine than a return to this. But they need to be allowed to test and develop the engines, if we don’t have parity.

          1. WIthout homologation and powertrain life-cycle controls, every team including Merc could fairly develop its engines, and there would be no unsporting nature even if Merc continued to dominate.

            And it would be even more costly for both the engine suppliers and teams, something the in season testing bans, homologation and engine count cap are there to help control.

            Personally, I would say there is nothing wrong with the homologation concept. We already have it for the chassis. What I think is needed is more off season testing scope.

            What we do NOT need are knee jerk reactions to put an end to Merc’s advantage. The other teams will catch up, it will just take time. They already have more scope for development than was ever intended with the ability to use their tokens throughout the year. The other teams need to stop whinging and focus on doing their jobs.

      3. You can see how he’s become so wealthy. The man (used in the loosest sense of the term) would fight a 3 year old to get the tuppence he’s owed.

        While people will give many reasons on what’s making F1 less appealing (the tires! the engines! the noise! DRS! the noise! the engines!), for me the first thing to fix is the disappearing grid.

        Allow it to be cost-effective to gain new entrants and you’ll spice up racing. The more racers on track, the less controllable the variables (crashing, strategy, mobile chicanes, overtaking, more Jules’es in Monacos, etc), and so the better the racing. It will matter far less that Mercedes is out in front scampering away when there’s mayhem behind.

        To have a small grid, especially today when the cars are (Melbourne-aside) quite reliable, invites dreary racing. But no! Let’s collect the 5p owed us by Manor. And let those chaps we pay $70m just to show up whine publicly about leaving.

      4. Penalise Mercedes for doing so well, and penalise Manor for trying their hardest on a minuscule budget. Idiotic thinking from Bernie. Manor need encouragement and money. F1 desperately needs more 3 or 4 more teams on the grid. Make it cheaper, make it accessible, distribute prize money more fairly.

        Bernie is stuck in the past, and the sooner he leaves F1, it will be all the better for the sport.

        1. repeat slowly after me: “revenue sharing of TV money.” All teams get an equal slice with a small bonus for the WCC winner – only way out of this unholy mess.

      5. Again at the risk of defending the crackpot has been, Bernie DID NOT say he was going to charge Manor. He merely stated the fact that they would have to pay pointless transportation costs to and from Oz! All teams bear the same costs. It is not a penalty levied by Bernie on random teams that displease him!

        I must admit to being quite fed up with the amount of sensationalist BS that is circulating everywhere at the moment!!!

        1. This is not true. Teams that have classified in the top ten for at least 3 years in a row earn the right to get transport cost paid from FOM

          1. …and Manor haven’t classified in the top ten for three years in a row, ergo they foot the bill themselves.

            1. It’s two years i believe.

    2. Goodness me, I wonder if Ecclestone thinks he’s dying and has ambitions to finish of F1 before he goes. Really good idea to fine the financially struggling team thats in that state due to your own licencing policy, that’ll drive up brand value a treat.

      1. You forgot to mention his initiative to help poor Red Bull. It makes sense, isn’t it!?

      2. And now he’s lost the German GP too. Brilliant job. Could F1 be in any better hands?

    3. So wait, does Manor still qualify for their 50 million? I would have thought this whole piece meal effort to get back on the grid was in pursuit of that 50 mil, if they cant get it now, whats Mr Sainsbury’s up to?

      Love the articles about women in F1. Thank god they’ve replaced Jennifer Becks with Carmen Jorda.

      1. Considering Carmen Jorda’s performance in previous series she has raced in can you prove that Jennifer Becks isn’t a better driver? LOL

        1. How many under 23 drivers not in F1 are better than Jorda? I can name at least a dozen…

      2. It’s not just pursuit to get that 50 million but to protect their f1 entry which is also worth lots of money in itself.

        Also with the 107% rule being so easy marussia will present a safety risk if they are allowed on the track. The difference between q1 based and q3 based 107% time was 2.4 seconds!!! 1:32.369 vs 1:34.787. That’s not 107% rule. That 109.8%. What a complete joke that is.

        1. You do know that this 107% thing isn’t based on logic, safety concerns, nor based on anything close to sound analyses, right @socksolid? Otherwise the concern should be practice sessions where we see huge differences between car speeds on track at the same time (running qualy laps vs. Race sim or even constant speed aero runs).
          Instead its the result of just another knee jerk “reaction” to a popular line of comment, just like there have been many others in F1.
          The FIA introduced having to do crashtests before testing, That was about safety.

          1. The 107% rule is stop any team turning up that isn’t up to the speed of F1 and getting TV time. Personally, I think its reintroduction was one of the better things Todt did.

          2. The logic of the 107% rule is pretty clear. If you can’t even get within 107% rule then you have no reason to be in F1. Too slow probably means you as a team lack the funding, proper organization, technical abilities or whatever else. And without a doubt if the speed differences are getting out of hand (we are already talking about allowing cars to race which are effectively 10% off the pace. On a 1min 40s lap time this means 10s per lap and over 56 laps this means 560 seconds – in other words being lapped 5 times!).

            Practise sessions are not problematic because people who are going around slower are paying attention and are told by their team to move out of the way. In the races it is different thing. Remember webber hitting kovalainen couple of years back just because kovalainen’s car was so slow that his lack of speed came as a surprise to webber?

            And what “popular line of comment”? I have no idea what you are talking about…

          3. The “107% rule” is there (IMHO) so that qualifying is actually qualifying.

            When it was dropped, qualifying became “decide what order you end up on the grid”. You did not have to “qualify” for the race, just participate in the session. Theoretically, you could complete a lap in twice the time of the front runner and still be assigned a place on the grid.

            There must be some level set to show that you are at an adequate level to compete in the grand prix. 107% is quite arbitrary, and the stewards still have flexibility to take into account testing times where a team suffers a major set back preventing them from setting the time. It is not just a knee jerk, it is how it should be: in qualifying you must qualify to be able to take part in the race.

      3. The reason for the article is probably that BE wants to warn them about this. When the FIA rules they have participated, its ok for them. And they can miss up to 3 races without losing their rights and not much BE can do about it

    4. I just hope F1 falls apart completely sooner rather than later. At least something will happen then.

      1. This, is exactly what I’ve been hoping for too. Sauber, Lotus, Force India all drops out, F1 collapses, free the way for someone else to start a new championship from scratch. As difficult as that may be, it still seems more feasible than fixing everything that’s rotten with F1. The fact that people can’t watch for free, the venue hosting fees- What am I doing, I don’t need to list the problems, you all know them.

    5. I just want to add one more last thing to this all RedBull stuff… well 4 last things:

      1. Tell me how could Ferrari develop so much during the winter?! You can clearly see that this car is like black and white if you compare it with the tractor of last year! So work harder and you can also get better.
      2. Like someone already said, Horner should learn 1 or 2 things with Arrivabene. “This year, with me, I don’t want to hear about engine’s fault or chassis’s fault or drivers or anything! We win together and we lose together!” And Ron Dennis is also gaining some of my respect. In the other hand, Horner is losing all of it.
      3.You can see when the difference between a “race team” and a “marketing team”! The first wants to battle all the time even when they are last, because they want to show everyone that they have the passion and capacity to become better and beat the best team out there now. The last just want to be in the sport and are only happy when they are winning and making money. So yeah, I can’t agree in nothing with RedBull because they don’t represent the true spirit of this sport. And if Bernie, THE OLD, decides to backup RedBull on this equalization madness, F1 loses even more of what it really means.
      4. THIS!

      Now, let’s back to racing, please!

      1. Ups, some minor errors there! But I had too much words to get out. Sorry!

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          17th March 2015, 4:42

          +4 – thanks @key75

          my pick:

          Horner should learn 1 or 2 things with Arrivabene. “This year, with me, I don’t want to hear about engine’s fault or chassis’s fault or drivers or anything! We win together and we lose together!” And Ron Dennis is also gaining some of my respect. In the other hand, Horner is losing all of it


          1. Are you people serious? You actually put Ferrari as an example when Horner behavior is nothing more than straight out of the Ferrari handbook?
            Ferrari wrote the book on idle threats and asking for rules to be changed in their favor and in behaving like it’s entitle to winning.
            How many times have Ferrari threaten to get out of the sport if they didn’t get what they want? Just last year Ferrari was whining along with Red Bull on changing the rules and Luca was asking for meetings with Bernie and Todt to change the sport and talking about grand mother racing and “taxi drivers” and left Bahrain with an egg in face after a great race when he was pushing the argument of boring racing because Merc won the first races easily.
            And what is so great about what Arrivabene said? His engine is a Ferrari. They are making their own engine so he can’t go blaming any engine partner obviously because his engine partner is himself. Together with who? Their own selves?
            Besides Ferrari are massively improved and look to be progressing. If they were even worse or the same as last year he would be moaning about rule changes too because that is what Ferrari does(and now Red Bull).

            Now Dennis you are right. Mclaren never used such tactics and despite Honda putting them in the back of the grid right now he said nothing bad about them.

            1. @solo – How come you keep responding to month-old discussions, never current ones? That’s what I keep seeing on the latest activity section of the site. I’m curious.

      2. @key75 What is the true spirit of the sport? and in your opinion who represent it?

        And maybe is time for RB and TR to leave. Let´s see who will come next…

        1. @celeste In my opinion, the big old teams, Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, etc. Certainly not those teams that are always saying stuff like “Well if you don’t change this, I’m leaving”. Mercedes have it done too, but RebBull is just in another level. I liked them sometimes, in the old days but now… Like somebody already said RebBull leaving isn’t a big loss for F1 and now I think it’s even better if they leave.
          This sport was never about equality for everybody (we have a lot of motorsports like that) but about the battle to be the best of the best in motor racing. And when some team is dominant, the other teams what to achieve the second best thing: push harder and beat what people think is the best, achieving the “impossible”. But this is my opinion and I know there are a lot of people, who won’t agree with me.

          1. @key75 You have a short memory. Ferrari are notorious for repeatedly threatening to pull out of F1 in order to have things changed in their favour. And in many cases they got their own way. When the teams got their act together fe few years ago and formed FOTA, then issued a threat to quit collectively if thye didn’t get a better share of the TV money, everyone applauded them.

            As I see it, if Red Bull decide to pull out of F1, it would be a perfectly logical reaction to the current situation. As I’ve said elsewhere, the rules make it almost impossible for Renault to address the power defecit on their power unit. If those rules are to remain in place until 2020, it’s likely to be another five years before Red Bull would be able to access a power unit capable of powering them to victory.

            I’m certainly not in favour of artificially levelling the playing field – F1 should always be about technical excellence and the winner should always be the one who has done the best job. What I would like to see is changes to this tokens system which currently prevents Renault from being able to develop their power unit enough to actually catch up with Mercedes. I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable in that.

            1. @mazdachris

              As I’ve said elsewhere, the rules make it almost impossible for Renault to address the power defecit on their power unit

              Whilst I agree about the rules making it difficult, it would nonetheless help if Renault actually spent some of the tokens available to them. It was reported over the weekend that they had spent fewest of the 3 manufacturers! Not so surprising then that they ‘improved’ the least.

            2. @asanator I think that’s a perfectly logical approach. Renault have the most catching up to do, so they need to ensure that when they spend their development tokens, they are delivering the maximum possible value. If you used all your tokens at the start of the season then those upgrades have been in development for around 12 months. Spend them towards the end of the season and they’ll have had 18 months or more. The longer you spend on your developments, generally speaking, the more performance they’re going to add. So it’s likely that they are sacrificing some performance from the start of the year in order to make sure they get the best possible performance gains later on. This is especially important when you consider that each year allows for incremental upgrades, so the more performance they can add this year, the more performance they’ll be able to add next year, and so on.

              Of course, you can’t get away from the fact that most of these tokens are going to be spent just trying to catch up with the original Mercedes spec. With Mercedes free to use all of their tokens effectively extending their lead, there seems to be almost no possibility for Renault to catch up with Mercedes while these rules are in place.

            3. @mazdachris I agree that it is potentially the most sensible approach in Renault’s position. However it is then a bit contrary for Redbull to start harping on about equalization (and threatening to leave) when Renault haven’t yet taken the opportunity to improve/maximise their engine performance. Aside from which, the driveability issues that Redbull are having are more likely to be software rather than hardware related.

              Renault have allegedly gone down the Mercedes layout route (unlike Ferrari) of splitting the Turbo and Compressor so it is almost inevitable that they will have teething troubles with it and the software to drive it all. It all seems a bit too early to start throwing toys out of prams ;)

            4. @asanator I guess what we don’t know is what is happening behind the scenes. You can’t help but get the impression that the relationship between Renault and Red Bull has broken down, and it may well be that Renault aren’t able to make the progress that Red Bull needs/expects. Obviously we can only speculate as to what kind of upgrades Renault has in the pipeline and what sort of performance increases they’re projecting. For now it seems that Red Bull and Toro Rosso are stuck with Renault, and reading between the lines it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that Red Bull have decided that Renault are unable to close up the gap for whatever reason. Again, in this case it’s totally understandable that Red Bull would try and do what they can politically to address that situation if they are fundamentally unable to address it technically (either because of the restrictions in the rules or because Renault simply aren’t up to the job). What I would personally try to avoid is dismissing Red Bull’s position as mere sour grapery, and to ignore the truth that lies behind what they’re saying; that the rules are bad for F1 and seem to lock in the performance advantage of Mercedes as long as they remain in place. Not by design of course; I’m sure it is an unintended consequence of what seemed like a fairly rational approach. I think the rules were crafted with good intentions, and it’s likely that the FIA simply underestimated the scale of the challenge they were setting for the engine suppliers, and expected that the three (now four) suppliers would all be able to produce reliable engines which, when married to a decent chassis, could be competitive. Clearly things haven’t worked out that way, and I think now it’s time for everyone to have a sensible discussion about how to actually fix that issue. The main problem – the governance structure of F1 means that in order for changes to be made in the short term, Mercedes themselves would need to agree to it. How likely do you think it is that mercedes would allow for a rule change which harms the advantage they’ve got?

            5. @mazdachris – Again, I agree entirely, the only solution that I can see is to scrap homologation for a few years and cap the cost of engine supply to the teams. That way the engine manufacturers can spend what they want to improve their engines and the costs remain stable for the teams.

          2. Ferrari says ““Well if you don’t change this, I’m leaving” more than anyone. You should have left it with Mclaren and Williams because mentioning Ferrari makes you seem like you don’t what you are talking about.

        2. And don’t get me wrong! I also think that we need to change some rules.. But not the ones that make the best team in doing it job to win!

          1. @key75 Tell that to Newey! :)

            1. Are you talking about the change of rules during Red Bull domination?! I think a lot of people have already said it and I don’t want to be repetitive, but be the best in legal terms is the only way acceptable for me. And it wasn’t only Newey, other good people in aero also suffer with that.

      3. +1 mate.

        “Red Bull is a drinks company” Lewis Hamilton.

      4. Tell me how could Ferrari develop so much during the winter?!

        It seems last year Ferrari decide to use small turbos even knowing they were sacrificing some performance but gaining in aero. (RBR style). I don’t really know how many tokens have they used to change turbos but it seems to me that gains in mechanical performance has not been quite difficult to obtain.

      5. +1. Well put.

      6. This “Red Bull are not a racing team” and “Red Bull are just a fizzy drink company” thing needs to stop. Has anyone taken a look at the people behind Red Bull recently?

        Let’s start with Horner. Former F3000 driver and started his own F3000 team, which he took to championship victory – as team principal, not driver – in 5 years. I think it’s a safe guess to say that he would have eventually started his own F1 team if Red Bull hadn’t hired him first. And if by some miracle Red Bull does leave in the next few years, I’d expect Horner to stay as team principal, maybe even by trying a Brawn and buying part of the team himself. The man is a racer to the core, as much as any ‘old school’ F1 personnality you can think of. He just happens to be relatively new on the scene, so he’s always dismissed as ‘not a True F1 Person’.

        Next comes Helmut Marko. Former F1 and endurance driver, as well as a Le Mans winner. He also has a long standing habit for the grandiose when talking to the press. Guess from whom most of the threats of Red Bull leaving are coming?

        Even Newey is an amateur racer.

        Then, of course, it leaves the big boss Dietrich Mateschitz. While he’s never been a racer or competitor himself, his interest – and by extension Red Bull involvement – in motorsport has only gone up over the years. I’d only start to worry about Red Bull leaving when he starts to talk about it.

        1. Thanks for that. They are just trying to change the rules in their favor with the “we’re leaving the sport” threat.

      7. RBR: “If we can’t win all the time we’ll quit” – how childish!

        1. That’s my paraphrasing and not an actual quote, of course! ;)

    6. There’s a lot of moaning from Red Bull about Renault engines, but Toro Rosso actually ran quite good, and quite close to Red Bull, which suggests that it’s Red Bull itself that has some issues. Maybe they do have an issue with integration of the power unit, but it still doesn’t mean that power unit is that bad when Toro Rosso managed top 10 quali spot and would have been in points in the race on merit too.

      1. Is it a case of amnesia or just trepidation that some1 is probably gonna win a 3rd championship that is responsible for this hysteria, especially on the part of certain fans?

        Mercedes returned in 2010 to formula one as a full fledged team and that year, they finished 4th in the constructors’. Next yr, same.In 2012, they got beaten by Lotus, Mclaren, Ferrari & Redbull, finishing in the midfield position of 5th.
        With their signing of Hamilton, they were bumped up, under prevailing rules, to 2nd in 2013.

        It is worthy of note that all through their years in the doldrums, they kept their heads down, working under Brawn’s leadership towards a target of being at the top of their game someday. They were not politically loud as others and did not even campaign as loud for a change of the rules but when they were required to accede to new engine regulations, they duly went ahead with fellow teams.

        Ferrari dominated the sport for years, Redbull for 4 straight years, but Mercedes’ 1 year is so hard to swallow that people are litterally bitter and full of bile. I wonder why.

        Mercedes is a behemoth of a company that have done well for themselves without f1.
        This bitterness from people, arising from the company doing a good job is as much detrimental to their image as when they do not perform well in the sport. Formula one is looking more and more like a toxic, from team and fans, place to do business.

        Therefore, the company could as well decide to make sure they win all races this year, collect their prize money and just like Redbull are threatening, sell off their f1 assets and say ‘Ciao, see ya!’ to every one.

        Quitting is not a prerogative of losers.Even winners do so, sometimes at the top of their game.
        Nonthing stops Mercedes from quitting this toxic environment, this year, no matter how long they might have pledged to stay in the sport.

        1. @tata and their aero is overlooked. They’ve been strong in that area for quite some time. Schumi scored a pole in Monanco and Nico wona race in 2012, in 2013 their car was very fast over one lap (3 wins) but was not good with tyres. Mercedes is better in both ends – chassis and PU.

          Both Renault and Red Bull must up their game, just like Ferrari did.

          1. Indeed, they have to.

            When Horner says Redbull were required to change certain things during their years of domination, he fails to mention that in most cases they were found to have bent the rules. But in the case of Mercedes, nothing of that sort has been discovered. Rather what we are witnessing is automotive engineering at its best – a symbiotic marriage between frame, body and engine.

            When Horner calls for “equalisation”, I honestly wonder to whose level. Definitely not to Ferrari’s level because they have developed their engine and chasis, over the winter, and have thus overtaken Redbull. So, is the equalisation going to be to Redbull’s level, which as some1 already mentioned will result to teams like Williams, Force India and possibly Lotus who are currently benefitting from Mercedes’s engine being severly handicapped and may fall back to the rear of the field and into financial oblivion?

            And that leads to the million dollar question- with the kind of symbiosis the mercedes car has, where would you start limiting their advantage?

            The irony and folly in Horner and Redbull’s stance is that, as I have mentioned, should Mercedes decide to abandon this charade the sport is fast becoming, led by primadonnas, and walk away with their heads held high and dignity intact knowing that none of their opponents could compete, would the Renault engine suddenly become more powerful?

            Would Mercedes leaving today result in a faster Redbull?

        2. So Hamilton’s fault then? *sigh*

      2. Toro Rosso actually ran quite good, and quite close to Red Bull, which suggests that it’s Red Bull itself that has some issues.

        Er, didn’t one of TR’s car’s have an engine failure in the first race. So blame Redbull, not Renault?

      3. I have thought about something that could help maybe, it would consist in a sistem of tokens similar to the points but in reverse. You have the driver’s championship for the driver prestige, the constructors championship that decides who did the best job and who wins more money and you could have maybe a tokens championship that would say who has more progress allowed.
        And you would say it can’t work because you only have 4 engines manufacturers and supporting different teams, so being Mercedes the one with most, they would keep the advantage if you add the points of all their teams. Well they could find a equation to equalize the fact that Mercedes help 3 teams and Renault just 2 and see if it works. There’s a lot they can do to keep the fairness in the sport and try to help the teams having difficulties (in doing their jobs better).

    7. Though the women will never get a fair crack because they will be taken for other reasons..

      That’s a funny way of saying ‘there’s institutional sexism in my sport’.

      1. I actually read that as saying that women drivers will be in F1, but not because they are as fast as the guys. Therefore they will be there for “other reasons”. If you read the article Bernie says what he thinks these reasons are. I think he is just being candid.

        F1 is performance based, it has no gender divisions for participation as in other sports. And, without being sexist, males are quite naturally faster and stronger, which is just natural physiology. So no “insitutional sexism”. After all, F1 has female team principles. Look at Clare Williams, doing a great job!

        1. Can there be a woman who is as quick as the guys? Certainly, but the sample size is just too small. So, is it a bit of a chicken and egg situation? One of the well used caveats is that you need women in F1 to encourage a new generation of girls getting into racing. But would a young girl who aspires to get into racing want to use a woman F1 driver who is rubbish as a role model? Probably not.

          As previously mentioned, racing is about performance, there is no reason why a woman cant perform on the same level as man. If women can become fighter pilots, there is no reason why they cant drive an F1 car at the highest level…but the issue will always be that there arent enough girls who want to be race car drivers…and you cant force girls to change, because that will be pointless.

          1. Put simply, Simona de Silvestro = Paul di Resta. Susie Wolff = Max Chilton. How many million reasons do we need… @jaymenon10

            But yes, Beitske Visser is possibly the next female – her testing times in FR3.5 this winter have been quite competitive :)

            1. Wasn’t Beitske Visser dropped from the Red Bull young driver programme because of her poor performances?

            2. @paeschli So was Brendon Hartley, who is currently a works Porsche driver in the LMP1 category. Visser seems to be a very sensitive driver with regards to her surroundings, her second season in Formula ADAC was terrible, but her first saw her winning a race with a back injury after a night in the hospital. Her team dropped from winning the team championship in 2012 to 4th in 2013 as well and frankly, her move to FR3.5 was too soon. Hopefully she’ll have a better season, but I do think she’s at least at a level higher than Ericsson or Chilton.

        2. Men might be faster outside of a car, but apart from fitness (which is at a level that is obtainable for women) there are no real advantages to that in F1. Even if women get into F1 for their sponsorship or marketability, it’s easier to become inspired by something than nothing. The likes of Riccardo Rosset or Pedro Diniz have not stopped Felipe Nasr from becoming a driver.

      2. Someone should inform Bernie that many talented drivers don’t get a fair crack at F1 because pay to race drivers are “taken for other reasons”….namely financial ones. So these days not getting a fair crack isn’t limited to gender, it’s also limited by the size of the checkbook of your backers.

    8. RedBull exiting Formula 1 wouldn’t be much of a loss.
      Torro Rosso exiting Formula 1 would be devastating.

      Torro Rosso is valuable as the mythical Ferrari team. They are the last team remaining on the grid that actively graduates drivers to Formula 1 on pure merit. Formula 1 NEEDS that team.

      1. @prof-kirk – True about STR graduating drivers, but if RBR isn’t there, where will the graduated drivers go?

        1. @prof-kirk @bullmello No RBR, no graduating drivers. That said, Audi buying Red Bull and Renault buying Toro Rosso wouldn’t be that bad – the grid would then be:

          Force India (.. is it Telmex yet??)

          Can we tempt BMW back to Sauber? ;) 5.5 manufacturers, 5.5 race teams, that doesn’t sound too bad to me!

          1. Get BMW and Opel in as well and we may as well call it DTM ;)

          2. There’s a real opportunity here… “Bugatti F1”.

          3. In that scenario i guess that Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams, McLaren and Sauber will retain current drivers.
            As for the remaining F1 Team, here is my prediction for 2016 F1 Drivers:
            HAAS – Ferrari: Gutierrez, Alex Rossi
            FORCE INDIA-Mercedes: Peres, Wehrlein
            Cepsa LOTUS-Mercedes: Maldonado, Sainz
            Infiniti – RENAULT: Grosjean, Verstappen
            MANOR-Honda: Will Stevens, Magnussem
            VW – Audi: Hulkenberg, Ricciardo

            This is only my oppinion but it may be the beginning of 2016 f1 Drivers Silly Season

    9. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      17th March 2015, 1:30

      Can we start announcing we are quitting the sport every few weeks?

    10. Thing is, Mercedes already had a huge advantage last year, and they were the ones that used the largest number of tokens, which implies that Mercedes is the supplier that developed their engines the most during the winter..
      On other hand, Renault was far behind last year and use the smallest amount of tokens, so it’s kinda natural that the gap is even larger right now. Red Bull needs to shut up and Renault has to speed up development and make good use of their remaining tokens

      1. Comment of the year. Well said.

    11. If there is going to be a rule change, it shouldn’t be to limit Mercedes- if there is going to be a rules changes, it should be, if anything, to help the other teams catch up faster to Mercedes.

      1. How do you limit Mercedes, without kneecapping Force India, Lotus and Williams?

    12. Hey Bernie where was the call to reign in redbull in 2011?

      1. Would banned double diffuser, banned blown diffuser, modified wing flex tests count? Seems that all were aimed at shrinking the gap that Red Bull had at the time.

        1. No they were all aimed at closing loopholes in the regulations. Such things were never intended to be legitimate.

    13. I’d rather that Christian and Marko left, and the team stayed in F1. Red Bull has shown in the past that they can develop a car throughout the season; why start exit rumors after only the first race?

    14. So Bernie’s logic is “you don’t have hardly any money so you have to pay for not having money”? Perfect sense.

      1. That’s capitalism.

        1. It’s broken.

        2. *crony capitalism

    15. Glad you included that Telegraph article. My favourite quote about Merc, which I was going to share:
      “They don’t appear to be exploiting any grey areas and their car is simply much better than anyone else’s in every department.”
      Red Bull often sought to find a way around the regulations with their car, which is why those regulations were so often clarified to reign them in. The Merc boys just seem to be good at everything without any talk of questionable developments that I’ve heard up to now.

    16. If the powers that be did decide to rein in the Mercedes PU and allow Renault to catch wouldn’t that put three teams at risk of falling back in the standings, Williams, Force India and Lotus.

      1. @w-k – Excellent point. As usual, Bernie opens his mouth without properly thinking things through and stuff falls out. Attempted performance regulation/manipulation would be horrible for the sport.

      2. @w-k : If Lotus and Williams can change from Renault to Merc, I think they can go back to Renault again if they start developing engines. That is why it is said customer teams.

        1. Funny thing is, all the attention on the Merc PU is disguising the fact that their aero is likely the best on the grid also.

          1. To me, it’s hardly fair comparing what Horner is asking for now to the rule changes in 2009-2013 – many of those changes were to address loopholes (removing double diffusers) that cut across the objective of the OWG and to force compliance with the non-flexible bodywork rules (wing flexi-tests), ie, and existing regulation which teams (and Red Bull in particular) were getting round. The ban on exhaust blowing might be fair comment but clearly Renault and Red Bull had stolen a march on everyone which couldn’t easily be clawed back – the success of the EBD was as much to do with the ‘under-the-skin’ tech in engine mapping and the engine/exhaust system than external aero (which could be copied much more easily), as is the case with these engines. Silverstone 2011 showed what a disaster a mid-season rule change could be, which at the time I thought was pretty unfair on Red Bull.

            It’s also noteworthy that in at least two instances Red Bull were found to have broken the existing rules (Monaco 2012, Abu Dhabi 2014) yet were only penalised once for doing so. No-one is saying Mercedes have broken the rules here so why should they be effectively penalised for doing a good job within the confines of the regulations? As for the gap between Mercedes and everyone else, yes it is apparently much bigger than the advantage Red Bull ever had but, in 2011 and the latter half of 2013, regardless of size of the gap there always appeared to me to be a sense of inevitability to each race. Having said that, while I was rooting McLaren, I always admired the Red Bull, the car and how they executed each race with few, if any, operational errors.

            I hope Malaysia demonstrates that Mercedes’ advantage is not just about the engine. If they are as strong in the high speed corners as Toto Wolff is suggesting then that strength will owe as much to the chassis/aero as anything else. Are there any restrictions on aero development this year? No, so everyone else (and in particular Ferrari and Red Bull) has an opportunity to catch up, just like in 2010-2013. Only this time they also have engine tokens to use. Ferrari have made strides, so tough luck if Renault have blown it again (pun intended). Then there’s the subject of tyre life – Mercedes had to learn hard lessons in 2012 and 2013 to get where they are now so, again, why should they suffer as a result? I find it ironic that Mercedes are no longer among the quickest in the speed traps yet clearly fastest overall, in the same manner as the Red Bulls were in 2010-2013. Surely Mercedes’ advantage is a result of the best engine, in the best chassis, with the best tyre life and with two of the best drivers. If it’s just the engine giving the advantage, how then are you going to equalise Mercedes’ performance without impeding Williams, Lotus and Force India?

            So, when I look at all that, I find it hard not to view Red Bull’s comments as those of sore losers given they have the opportunity to compete but, unlike Ferrari and Mercedes, haven’t taken it with both hands.

            1. Isn’t the speed trap numbers a bit of a red herring, because one doesn’t know the exact speed out of the preceding corner or the place each car reaches its top speed.

              I could be, and probably is, that Mercedes are fastest out of the corner and run at their top speed much longer than the other teams, some who might only do the last 10 meters at top speed just where the speed trap is.

            2. @w-k it is indeed, Mercedes, in the knowledge that it already has an engine/power advantage, could just wind on more downforce which would reduce it’s speed trap times to the chasing pack and make it faster in the corners, giving the illusion (As described above) that it has a superior areo/chassis combination.

        2. But if by that time the PU’s are equal then it will not matter to the smaller teams, because unless something strange happens, RBR will beat them on aerodynamics.

          The problem RBR has it thinks it can permanently be one of the top teams without being an engine/PU manufacturer. Even McLaren have struggled when they have not been the principle team with their supplier.

          The other point to consider is that if Red Bull do pull out of F1, and they are not sold on, where does that leave Renault? IT will be Mercedes and Ferrari with 4 teams each and Honda supplying McLaren.

    17. Bernie Ecclestone, kicking the little guy when he’s down since 1930.

    18. Interesting that STR is possibly the most likely team being considered by Renault for a buyout. Wonder what the mothership thinks about that?

      Sell STR to Renault and RBR bails out of F1? Or, RBR stays and finds a new engine supplier?

      1. @bullmello
        As I said yesterday, I don’t understand why doesn’t Renault just buy Red Bull. Much better facilities, manpower and location. Red Bull will cost more, of course, but if they want to be competitive, they’ll have to invest a lot in Toro Rosso facilities, and I don’t see why they should acquire any team if they are not going to put 100% in it.
        So they’ll have to spend either way. Better buy a team in England than in Italy.

    19. Red Bull’s newest energy drink flavour:


        (Seems my link didn’t work in my original post)

        1. Ha! I’ll print that out on a huge piece of paper and take it to Monza with me.

          1. I would be honoured!

      2. lol that’s great !

    20. Regarding the new Indy Car aero kits, the front end table-wings just seem out of place. I really like the idea of allowing the new aero kit testing. Some of innovations look promising. But those little table wings, looks like they’re ready to roll up to a Starbuck’s and have a coffee.

      1. Not to worry – they’ll all be gone after T1 at St. Pete…

    21. @keithcollentine
      Are you writing the Race Radio conversations articles like last year for this year too or is that gone down due to new pay wall of FOM?

    22. Any idea why Williams is reluctant to put Susie Wolf in the car for the Malaysian GP. Its better than not having a car on the grid.

      1. Perhaps they do not want her to get embarrassed. Williams claim that she is a capable test driver, fair enough, but this does not mean a good racing driver. Her past record certainly does not indicate ability in this department. If Bottas is not ready, the best option for Williams is to get a driver who has a chance of ending up in points.

        1. It’s true. I hope they go with van de Garde!

      2. I believe Alex Lynn is their official contracted reserve driver, so if anyone other than Bottas is in the car for Malaysia, that’s who I’d expect to see.

        1. I’m really looking forward to that.

        2. I think Alex Lynn is their Development Driver and Susie Woolf is their Test Driver. I don’t think they have a reserve driver as such.

    23. Add the two Lotus cars, a second Williams and a second Ferrari and Nasr was ninth. Another freak of Albert Park. Although, behind those cars and more experienced drivers ninth would’ve still been great considering the situation, and no doubt he was the better of Ericsson all weekend.

      On Manor, the best way to keep a team is make them pay while in financial trouble. That’ll teach them! Geesh, Bernie….

      1. Senna in the third McLaren would have beaten the lot of them.

      2. @xtwl Well said. I consider Albert Park to be an outlier. Just look at KMag & JButt from last year.

    24. I wonder why Ecclestone and Horner do not work as screenwriters in Hollywood, they could always make sure that the plot never gets boring. Punishing someone for being too good has nothing to do with sport.

      I think we all can think of other sports where one team or one athlete has dominated for years. For instance, German female lugers have basically won everything in their sport since 1998 but I have not heard of intentions to artificially slow them down just to make the whole thing more exciting. We should also not forget the history of F1 where dull races and lapping the second placed driver was no rarity.

      For sure, it is possible to encourage healthy competition but that should be done using other means, such as making the sport more affordable, which would bring more cars to the grid and ensure that there are more top teams. There is no reason to be angry at Mercedes for being dominant, at Sauber for hiring three pay drivers and at Manor for not being able to drive. The reason for these unwanted phenomena is ultimately the same in all cases – distorted financial model.

      1. Right on point.

        Making the sport finanacially viable, promoting the sport using all available media including allowing kids to post and share their favourite f1 clips on the internet and not sucking up to some teams to the detriment of others by management will lead to new entrants.

        More German manufacturer teams will perhaps give Mercedes a run for their money but it’s been said that a certain manufacturer have said they are not venturing into F1 unless a certain man relinquishes his stranglehold on and is completely gone from the sport.

        Maybe, Redbull politicking with that man is actually harming their cause as it relates to having an alternative engine supplier.

      2. Agree 100%.

      3. @girts – Not to mention Bernie aiming to punish another team struggling to survive a severe lack of time and money by threatening them with financial charges that will make their precarious predicament even more untenable.

        No need to make this stuff up, Bernie does it for you.

    25. So the message here is that the teams need to be quite good at making the car better but not so good that Red Bull spit their dummy and Bernie comes to their rescue.

      Don’t give any help to Manor though.

    26. I agree with Bernie on Manor. I was saying as much when they were lobbying for the 2014 car to be entered that it was a hollow gesture to qualify for prize money. They’re angling to have the highest return on investment.

      If that money was going to stay in the team and be put towards continuing fighting to race if say sure they deserve it even if they aren’t fit to drive now.

      But if it’s as it appears someone just satisfying the bare minimum requirements for a pay day, the money would be better used distributed to the other struggling teams who are there to race.

      1. @philipgb It’s entirely artificial that Bernie won’t pay last year’s prize money LAST YEAR.

        If he had Manor would still have a factory and a proper 2015 car.

        1. @lockup

          Possibly. Or more likely their Russian backer would still have pulled out and taken the winnings with him rather than just writing the loss off.

          And that’s why Bernie draws up the arrangements the way he does. The financial distribution isn’t fair, but the staggered system is logical to encourage teams to remain in the sport and not cutting and running.

          1. That theory would be fine @philipgb except that Bernie doesn’t want teams to stay in the sport, he likes churn. Drama, speculation, column inches, stuff like that. What he’s getting with Manor and Hass and the other minnows.

            Also there’s no reason to think the Russian would have bothered with a few mil and left them with no factory.

    27. “It is inevitable that there will be another female driver. Though the women will never get a fair crack because they will be taken for other reasons..”

      Ecclestone should put together one – “The Ecclestone Family F1 Team.” He has the money, his 2 younger daughters are a perfect fit, talking about his quote about “the female” drivers.
      The team itself could “pull a Marussia” – “We cannot take part in of the racing because we have not find the right software, yet.” (Absolutely no disrespect towards Manor/Marussia, I hope they will find a fix soon. Using this only for my rant.)
      Get that Kardashian-lady for the position of the Test and Development Driver. And her husband as the Team Principal.
      “Yeah, you know, it`s not all about racing, you know. It`s about art and expression. Um, look at these fine curves on that baby…and the curves on that car aren`t bad either [rapper laugh].” (Again, no disrespect toward any rappers out there, just using “this” for my rant.)

      Meanwhile Bernie E. is sitting in his office and after finding out that Kardashians have their own TV show he is telling his aide,
      “Print these video-things out, I want to find out, maybe there is some money in this thing.”
      “Print them out, Sir?”
      “Yeah-yeah, I am old school, I like paper with pictures on them.”
      “I have had enough of this, Sir. I`ll quit.”
      “Haha, You`ll quit? Well what are you going to do, Christian? Go back to Red Bull and fight for the glory?”

      (End rant.)

    28. ….[Females] will be taken for other reasons.

      That’s going to cause a controversy, and when that happens God knows what masterstroke Bernie is plnning to make.

    29. I don’t really understand the hostility towards RBR to be honest. Plenty of other teams have said that they might have to reassess their participation, for lots of different reasons. When it was FOTA putting on a united front and threatening to start a breakaway series, everyone applauded them for it. When RBR threaten to quit, all of a sudden they’re whinging?

      But why on earth would they not whinge about the current situation. This is a company who has invested billions in F1, not just to compete but to also set up two distinct teams, one of which brings through talent which might otherwise never have had a chance in the sport. The success they’ve had is hard-won – they’ve invested hugely, put in place all of the elements you need to be successful and given their team a huge budget with one objective – go out and win.

      Last year Renault dropped the ball and designed a very poor power unit. It lacks power, it’s unreliable, and it suffers from very poor driveability. None of these things are the fault of RBR. Yet last year, they sucked it up, as most teams do when thye have a bad year. But the problem for them is this – they are now locked into an engine formula which effectively means they must continue to use that substandard power unit until 2020. Renault are not given any opportunity to catch up with their rivals, so they will always be at a disadvantage. Why should RBR accept having to suffer being stuck with this dreadful power unit for six years, during which time all the billions thye would have to invest to keep their two teams going would be effectively wasted.

      Surely what you want, what anyone ever wants, is fairness. Sure, if someone does a bad job, then they should suffer the poor performance that is the inevitable consequence. This is a fundamental part of racing. But if the rules make it almost impossible for them to address those problems, by restricting the amount of development and testing they’re able to do, then I don’t think the rules are achieving fairness.

      And what I want to know, from those who are criticising RBR, is how you feel about the idea that the Mercedes team may be able to dominate every single season from now until 2020, thanks to how the rules are structured? Other than Mercedes, who benefits from that scenario? As fans, we certainly don’t. We want to see tough racing, close competition, and exciting championships. Not season after season of one team dominating because the rest of the teams are not given any opportunity to develop and catch up.

      Put yourself in Dietrich’s shoes. Would you continue to spend billions to participate in a sport where you are artificially prevented from being able to win? I certainly wouldn’t. And if two more teams disappear off the grid, then again we all suffer.

      1. @mazdachris At last a sensible comment. I think Redbull would welcome more engine suppliers and a relaxation on engine development.

        1. They have more opportunities to develop their engine over the next year than any other manufacturer. They just haven’t used them all yet.

          1. The homologation rules mean that the development tokens (of which each engine manufacturer gets an equal amount) can only be applied to the original homologated power unit. That means that certain issues with that power unit are effectively locked in, or may cost the lion’s share of the development tokens to address. Meanwhile the manufacturer which didn’t have that problem in the first place is free to use its development tokens to add further performance to their power unit. It’s hard to see how the manufacturer starting with a defecit is ever going to be able to catch up with their rivals, since they are given no chance to add more developments to their power unit.

            To me the solution seems to be that manufacturers should be allowed to either develop the homologated power unit in a free and unrestricted fashion, or they should be allowed to homologate a completely new power unit design.

            The main argument against this seems to be one of cost, and it’s a valid argument. But the cost the power units is prescribed large by the unnecessarily restrictive rules. The rules mean that effectively there is one ‘perfect’ engine solution for the formula, and the most successful manufacturer is the one who gets closest to that ideal spec. All development paths lead to this same solution. Rather than allowing innovation and free evelopment, as with the aero rules, they’re forved to spend increasingly huge amounts on chasing the same setup as their rivals.

            Much as it pains me to suggest it, I do think that at the moment the best thing for F1 would be to move to a much simpler power unit formula, perhaps with a view to changing it again in ten years or so, but with the requirements clearly designed several years in advance, to give manufacturers time to find a good solution. If, from 2017, they were able to switch to 3.0l twin turbo V6 engines, with a similar fuel restriction as they have currently (though necessarily adjusted upwards) these should be cheap to develop and cheap to run, and they should all be of roughly similar performance. It would be to pretty much everyone’s benefit.

      2. Dietrich isn’t being artificially prevented from winning. His team haven’t done a good enough job, and while Renault haven’t either, Red Bull have a history of blaming suppliers for things which are the fault of their own design decisions (badly packaged overheating KERS for example).

        As to bring prevented from having a Mercedes engine, would he have allowed someone else demand that they be allowed to use Adrian Newey’s aero department because they were at a disadvantage in 2011?

        Of course not.

        1. The question of one team ‘allowing’ something or otherwise, should frankly never come up. F1 teams are fundamentally and necessarily selfish. They represent only their own interests, and will do whatever they can to maximise any performance advantage they can find, whether it be fair or otherwise. This is a basic truism about F1 teams. Every single one of them.

          This system of governance which is in place at the moment, whereby a select number of competitors are required to agree with one another in order to make any rule changes, is frankly ludicrous. Basically, the rules are unfair and not fit for purpose, but in order to change them, they would need the agreement of Mercedes, who of course will never relinquish their advantageous position.

          The technical and sporting rules should be defined by the FIA only. Not the teams, and not the commercial rights holder. They could have technical input, absolutely, but it should be in an advisory capacity. No single team should ever be able to influence the rules in their own favour.

          As for RBR not doing a good enough job, well I think that’s very hard to quantify. But what you can see is that their power unit is very obviously down on power compared to their rivals, and with the ‘development token’ system of upgrades, they are resticted in terms of what changes can actually be made to their power unit.

          The technical requirements of this engine formula seem to have scuppered three of the four manufacturers who have so far had a go at it. These are engine manufacturers with decades of experience, the very best facilities in the world. If they’re struggling to build decent power units, then what that really tells you is that the technical rules are too prescriptive. And whne you’re talking about what is now a car formula which is effectively dominated by the nature of the power unit, it puts the lieks of RBR into a position where no matter how good their chassis, they won’t be able to overcome the handicap of the power unit.

          RBR are one of the best, most successful teams in the history of F1. They have facilities which are totally state of the art, they have some of the best designers in the world, and they have top class drivers. I don’t think it’s at all fair to suggest that they’re simply doing a dreadful job and then trying to manipulate the rules in their favour rather than get their heads down and work it all out. I’m utterly certain that everyone at milton keynes is working completely flat out, as hard as anyone. Yet all that hard work will come to nothing if the rules are artificially preventing from doing the things that they and Renault would need to do in order to address the performance defecit.

      3. There’s a lot of things you said that I don’t agree. But it would take a lot of time to explain… So answering your question:

        I never said here or anywhere else that I’m against a rule changing. I think it’s something needed but not a rule that stop Mercedes wins because they clearly are the best right now and deserve it. And giving more tokens to others without Mercedes included is also not fair.
        So they could let the teams develop all they want in the engine’s department, but to be fair to all like you say, Mercedes should also be allowed (keeping them on the front for some years maybe). But that’s the thing if everyone deserves more opportunity how can you don’t give the same opportunity to Mercedes and call it fair?! They did nothing wrong (until now at least) and should not be penalized for it. So give everything that you want to other teams, I think it’s great!!!! But give it to EVERYBODY, even the best ones.

        1. I totally agree with you. It would be to the detriment of the sport if Renault and Ferrari were able to artificially catch up with mercedes. What I would like to see is the restrictions which prevent them from being able to catch up removed. There are more issues that would need to be thought about, like keeping costs from spiralling out of control. But fundamentally I think ther other teams should be allowed to catch up on merit, rather than being locked into a defecit for six years.

          1. @mazdachris I do get your argument but I can’t entirely agree with everything you have said. Firstly, I think the ‘hostility’ toward RBR is understandable given that they do come across as having sour grapes syndrome. As others have pointed out, they’ve just come off a 4 year run themselves, they were known to bend the rules as it is, and they also moaned when ebd was being reduced and thus their advantage being reduced. It didn’t stop them in their tracks though…they still won. So after seeing the first race of this season and everyone seeing the actual evidence that Merc may dominate for a second season, the calls are in by the likes of BE for them to be curbed (or frozen) while everyone else is allowed to do as they please to catch up, well before a similar 4 year run to RBR’s occurs. Let’s say that happened and next year RBR won the Championships. Would that be honourable on RBR’s part to have won only because the better team was artificially frozen? That’s really how RBR would hold their heads high and say aren’t we good?

            I have a problem with you saying it’s not RBR’s fault that Renault dropped the ball and now they have to suffer for it. This is a new era where, I believe, we can no longer think of a PU maker and a chassis maker as separate…putting someone’s good PU in someone’s good chassis doesn’t guarantee anything. It’s about the marriage between the two and so it was as much up to RBR to work with Renault and visa versa to do what Merc has done as ever before. And THEY collectively didn’t.

            Last point…I simply do not believe that this is all locked in until 2020. Even without there already being talk of changes being needed, F1 has generally always tried to curb teams from too long a stretch of domination anyway, and it already seems Merc won’t be allowed even the same 4 years RBR just enjoyed, let alone the 6 you are suggesting. The regs will get changed.

            Not saying I agree entirely with how F1 has done things leading up to and including this new chapter, but it is also hard for me to forget that RBR/Renault sacrificed development on last year’s effort (and thus this year’s) in order to ensure their Championships in 2013…hard for me to shed a tear for them.

            1. @robbie I’m not asking anyone to shed a tear for them at all. I think inprinciple you’re agreeing with me – the rules need to be changed and soon, because as things stand they prevent Renault from being able to make the developments necessary to put them on level terms with Mercedes. And of course, if you do a poor job in developing your car or your PU, then you absolutely deserve your time in the doldrums as an inevitable consequence, and you shouldn’t expect things to be changed so that you can win races despite having done a poor job. But there’s a difference I think between unfairly giving poor performing teams a boost, and ensuring that the rules are fair and allow everyone an equal opportunity to develop a decent car (chassis + PU package, as you rightly point out). At the moment that doesn’t seem to be the case, because as things stand the rules mandate that each year the teams can only use a modified version of the PU which was initially homologated in 2014 (2015 in Honda’s case) with a fixed number of development point allocated towards it. It means (and I know I’ve already said this several times) that as the rules stand, there’s almost no possibility, no matter how hard they work, for Renault to bring their PU up to the standards of Mercedes.

              None of that changes the fact that the RB11 seems to lack not only power but also cornering performance compared to its rivals, so their problems are more significant than just the power unit. What I’m not saying is that I believe that the FIA should do something to make the RB11 as fast as the Mercedes. All I’m saying is that the rules need to be changed so that, if Red Bull (or Ferrari, or any other team on the grid) puts in the effort, then they should be able to get back on terms with Mercedes. While the rules prevent that, and in their current guise prevent it until 2020, it would be frankly ridiculous to expect Red Bull to continue their participation. Certainly it’s absolutely understandable that they would argue in favour of rules changes which might address this issue.

              What I propose above is that if the rules are to be changed, maybe it would be in the interests of everyone participating if the power unit formula were simplified, or even opened up. I can’t escape the fact that three out of four engine manufacturers have struggled to meet the requirements of this engine formula – to me it suggests that the task set by the FIA is unrealistic. Certainly the enormous costs of developing a PU to the standard of the Mercedes would seem difficult to justify, especially when the calamatous start made by Honda would seem like a strong warning to other manufacturers not to even bother trying to join F1. Ultimately the engine formula was designed to make the sport more attractive, and it’s hard to say how they are realistically achieving that objective. It’s not going to attract new manufacturers, especially after the difficult start Honda have endured (not helped of course by the utterly farcical ban on car testing!), and it looks like it’s currently driving Renault and RBR out of F1, while killing off a number of smaller teams thanks to the crippling engine costs.

              Maybe I’m wrong – maybe RBR leaving F1 would be a great thing for the sport. Maybe Renault would buy out STR and turn them into a works team. Maybe Audi can buy RBR and develop their own PU and make me eat humble pie by proving that it’s entirely possible to build something just as good as the Merc. But taking things as they stand on face value, you’re staring down the prospect of 20% of the cars on the grid disappearing thanks to the engine formula. To try and make out like that’s an acceptable loss, simply because you think it’s sour grapes, or because you didn’t enjoy seeing RBR win four championships, seems like a pretty short sighted position.

              (typed this all quickly, apologies for inevitable typos)

            2. @mazdachris Perhaps you are right and the whole thing needs an overhaul. I think what I am stuck on is the concept that the teams signed up for this. They knew what was coming and under what regs. It goes without saying that if RBR was winning or at least competing we wouldn’t hear a peep. Last year they won 3 races and now after one race they look like they have gone backwards but it is only one race. Surely the tokens they have been able to use and will use cannot hurt them. Surely their usual hard work will only improve things, just as surely as the homologation is only on a small percentage of the engine itself (not the pu) and the problem. It cannot all come down to that for them or any team. So definitely, so quickly. So much so that you are convinced of a 20% attrition rate by your calculation, and asking me (or maybe it’s a general ‘you’ to everybody) to justify that as an acceptable loss, when I don’t have any ‘loss’ on my radar at all. That’s hypothetical math on your part. I personally was fine with RBR’s 4 Championships.

              I think what seems short-sighted is RBR already seeming to want to throw their toys out of the pram when they do yet have opportunities for development. I know…you say they have good reason, and it’s certainly hard to argue against fairer and closer competition as being good for everyone involved within and without F1, and RBR can hide behind that. That should be the ultimate goal. I just think it is a bit of fear mongering on your part and on RBR’s and I don’t believe the situation will get that dire. Ferrari, Williams, Lotus, Sauber, and STR probably aren’t displeased with how their weekend went, all the while of course wishing they were closer to Merc. But I’ll have to see your 20% to believe it, and see RBR break their contracts too, but I highly doubt it will come to that.

              Anyway, all that said, if it is as dire a situation as you portray, and RBR is truly that justified with their complaints and not just sour grapey, then I think change will indeed come. They will collectively agree (or they will instigate the Max Mosely concept of curbing found ‘magic’) the rules were never realistic from the getgo. Whatever that change, it will penalize Mercedes for doing a better job because without their success no rule changes would be being discussed and possibly implemented. After the fact. After the rules had been set and equally abided by by everyone from the getgo. Only to find one team found some magic. Magic which could have precedent setting rules put against it such that one could ask why a team would any longer strive to be the best if that’s only going to be frozen, within a year of finding said magic, not 4 like RBR, or more for MS/Ferrari, until everyone else catches up. Not sure why a new team would want to enter a series that makes rules for all but one team just because they did well. For the show? To guarantee something different that what some are fine with…seeing a team nail it and have the class to ensure racing between the teammates so nobody is robbed of racing in the pinnacle of racing? I hope F1 at least has the class to see this season through based on the same regs everyone has had access to, and not make more mid-season make it up as you go along changes by the race to artificially curb Merc by helping only the rest. Let’s DRS Merc with rule changes for all but them…ya that sounds like fairer competition all right. I believe Merc is just as homologated as everyone else. They simply locked in a better effort by the deadline. Nothing is really locked right now. They have tokens, and there is no reason the other makers should need X+hundreds of millions to do what Merc did with X.

            3. @robbie

              Yes the ‘you’ was a sort of generic you, not specifically you.

              I can’t agree that because everyone signed up (presumably you mean signed up to compete in F1?) that they should just have to suck it up and accept the way that things are. Life just doesn’t work like that, and no company will willingly plough hundreds of millions into continuing to participate in a sport where they are being artificially prevented from getting onto a level footing with those at the front. That’s why I believe their threat is absolutely serious – if it becomes clear that it’s going to be impossible for them to compete effectively for the next five years, they will with draw from the sport. The 20% I mention is simply referring to RBR and Toro Rosso, because surely if RBR leave then TR will go with them. And not only that, but it’d effectively kill off Renault as an engine supplier too.

              I won’t really respond to your last paragraph as such, because I don’t disagree with you. Far too often the FIA have hammered down any team which rises above the others, and I think that it’s frankly outrageous, especially when changes have been made mid-season.

              I look at it simply like this. The PU which Renault homologated last year was vastly inferior to the Mercedes PU. This year, Mercedes and Renault are allowed to make the same number of changes to their PU specification. In order for Renault to ever be able to catch up with mercedes, they need to do one of two things – either make more changes to their PU spec than Mercedes, or design a wholly new PU which gets rid of all the weknesses of the original. The rules prevent Renault from doing either of these things.

              It’s like if you and I were going to have a cycling race. We might find that you can cycle 20% faster than me. So clearly what I would need to do is go back and train twice as hard, so I can catch you up. What we have is a rule which would say that you and I are only allowed to train for, say, four hours a week. How on earth am I ever going to improve enough to catch you? Why would I even bother having that race? That’s the problem RBR has. They are prevented by the rules from working with Renault to make the major changes to the PU spec which would allow them to catch up with Mercedes. But of course there’s a flipside to that. If we were both allowed to train as hard as we wanted, it’s quite likely you’d still train just as hard as me, and you’d still beat me. But at least it would then be a fair race – I would have all the opportunities I needed to train as hard as I physically could, and if I can’t catch you then it’s simply because you are a fundamentally better cyclist than me. In the same way, if you allowed free and unrestricted development of the power units, with as many upgrades as teams wanted to bring, it’s totally possible that not only would RBR never catch Mercedes, Mercedes might actually extend their lead even further. Because let’s face it, the skills they used to build the best design in the first place are probably still just as applicable now. But again, at least this would be fair.

              Do I believe there should be an equalisation formula? No, absolutely not. There doesn’t need to be one – they all build cars and power units to effectively the same design. You only need an equalisation formula in series’ where different manufacturers are making things to different specs. Like the RWD vs FWD in touring cars, or petrol vs diesel in sportscars. You definitely shouldn’t be prohibiting the team that did the best job from continuing to do so. For far too long, F1 has been an environment where innovation is slapped down and punished. People on here, making out like teams are cheats for developing things like blown diffusers and FRICS, when they should be applauding the innovation. And the FIA slaps it down every time. It’s no wonder Adrian Newey has decided he’d rather go and design boats, when his innovations are immediately prohibited, and he’s treated like a cheat by people calling themselves fans.

              I say, bring on the free and unrestricted development, and when someone does a brilliant job, let’s actually celebrate it. But this current engine formula stinks and is severely hurting the sport. It needs to be changed, because if it’s not, we might see both the red bull teams disappear, and the crippling costs of the engine may also see more teams bite the dust.

            4. @mazdachris Fair enough. I generally don’t disagree with you, but I think if we differ at all it is that I envision that Renault could ‘spend’ some tokens and solve a big issue that gives them some ‘magic’ and it could equally be possible that Merc are near maxing out their engine. And I do say engine not PU since it is only, I believe, less than 10% of the components of the engine itself, not ERS and KERS units, that are homologated. Ie. it is what they do with their ‘4 hours each of training’, and those needn’t be looked at as identical ‘opportunities’. Couldn’t Renault potentially make a big leap forward with even one token? Are we sure Renault needs to make more changes, or a whole redesign, or do they just have to make one or two key changes that only use up a few tokens. Perhaps I’m missing something with how these tokens work, which is very possible.

              Otherwise of course another point against your suggestion, which is not a wrong one, that teams be able to develope their PU’s at will, is that it then becomes a money race, just as the curbing of aero bits, wind tunnel time, testing, numbers of PU’s and trannies, are meant to keep costs down too. You are pointing out the problem of the high costs of these PUs and I’m not clear on how unrestricted development would save anybody money.

              As to signing up, I meant to the new PUs, the new chapter in F1. I see that as indeed accepting that’s the way it will be, going back to their agreeance to this new formula and it’s regs including homologation. I’m assuming the big teams all had to be on board. Didn’t they know they stood the risk of having their engine homologated at a level a notch below a competitors? Would RBR be complaining if it turned out that Renault was the one who nailed their unit and were dominant? Wouldn’t they be saying then…hey the rules are the rules and it sucks to be you?

              These are just some of the questions I have. But my bottom line is that things will change well before 5 years time. There’s already just too much outcry at Merc’s domination of one season and the appearance that it will be for a second season too.

            5. @robbie You should take a look at the regs (I’m not sure whether it’s technical or sporting from memory) where you’ll find a full breakdown of the areas they’re allowed to make changes to, and the number of development tokens which each change will cost. It makes it pretty clear that if you’re having to make a major design change (for instance, changing from a conventional to a split turbo setup) it’ll cost a large number of tokens. Whereas obviously a team which has started out with that solution from the outset is free to develop other areas. Obviously all things are not equal, and you can’t say that, for instance, each token will bring a fixed 1% of performance, or reliability, or whatever, to the power unit. Yes it’s possible that Renault may find some kind of ‘magic bullet’ style upgrade that won’t cost many tokens and will bring large amounts of performance. But that certainly isn’t very likely. And of course as I say above, you can’t get away from the fact that Mercedes started with an advantage because clearly they’re more able to develop better power units under this engine formula, so it’s unlikely that even with free and open development, they would ever be overhauled.

              You’re right that unrestricted development to the current technical specifications would mean enormous, stratospheric costs. Which is why I think we’d be better off if the formula were relaxed. The power units used in LMP1 are more advanced, more powerful, use better energy recovery, are more reliable, and more efficient than the power units in F1. And they’re also cheaper. The reason they’re cheaper is that the manufacturers are free to come up with their own solutions, rather than forced down one set design path. If you think about each design in terms of its ‘maturity’ – i.e. how far down the development path a particular solution has been taken. You can get to a fairly reasonable standard of maturity in your design without enormous development costs. If all the power units in LMP1 are (picking a figure) 60% mature, then you have a great deal of competition and everyone is happy. Everyone has their own solution, they can show off their tech, and they don’t have to spend huge sums to get there. But in F1 there is only one solution, and so the only differentiating factor is this level of design maturity – how close each manufacturer has got to the ultimate, perfect solution (if such a thing exists). Once you go past a certain level of design maturity, you get into the territory of diminishing returns. You may spend 50m to get to 60% maturity, but it might cost you double that to get to 70%, and then double again to get to 75%. But if everyone has to go down the same development path then everyone has to spend as much as possible chasing these increasingly meagre returns. It’s the same story with aero development in F1 as well. The more severely restricted teams are, forcing them all down the same development route, the more it costs for each team to find the extra few percent that’ll give them the edge. This is what drives up costs. That and repeatedly changing the rules of course.

              But generally speaking I would mandate a simpler engine formula, with more freedom for designers to come up with their own solutions. Maybe an energy formula – keep the current 100kg/h fuel flow restriction and make each team start the race with a certain maximum amount of fuel in the tank. Give them a set amount of energy they can use, say 4MJ. But then within those restrictions, they can do virtually whatever they want. Straight 4, V10, boxer engine, rotary even. Whatever they feel is the best solution for themelves, and then they can show off their own tech and allow the cars themselves to be technologically distinct from one another, while also ensuring that the limits to the technology are ones of creativity rather than financial ones. Maybe I’m wrong and this wonderful utopia would fail spectacularly. Maybe even with that brief, there’d be one clear technical solution that everyone would chase, or maybe there’d be one team that’d get a jump and suddenly dominate. Although we already have that don’t we.

              I totally agree that if the roles were reversed, it would be RBR telling Mercedes they need to just stop whining, get their heads down and get on with it. Just because teams themselves are selfish, and only work in their own interests, doesn’t mean that the situation is right and fair.

            6. @mazdachris Fair points again. I’ll leave my side of this great conversation at that for now. Will be interesting to see where it goes.

      4. This is a company who has invested billions in F1

        They aren’t the only one, look at Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and even Williams. They invested a lot in F1 and most of these teams have a Young Drivers Program which brings young guns into the sport.

        Red Bull don’t have a god given right to win. They dropped the ball on aero performance this year (come on, they are on par with Toro Rosso), so maybe they should sort that out first before asking for a rule change and threatening to quit the sport.

        Why freak out after only one year of dominance? Maybe we should change the rules for 2017, but putting up knee-jerk changes for next season isn’t gonna result in something good.

        Last point: if they aren’t happy with the Renault engine, why don’t ask Mercedes if they can use their engine instead? After all, Lotus switched from Renault to Mercedes this year.

        1. Each engine supplier is only allowed to supply four teams as things stand. The rules were designed to prevent one manufacturer from supplying all teams and forcing others out of the sport.

          Of course RBR don’t have any god given right to success. What they should have a right to, is the ability to develop so that they can compete with everyone else on a level playing field. As things stand, unless they are able to swap engine manufacturers, that won’t happen until 2020. If they are artificially prevented from being able to compete until 2020 they’ll leave the sport. of course they will. What kind of a company would continue ploughing billions into competing in a sport which they aren’t allowed to win?

          1. But they can swap engine suppliers @mazdachris. Just not to Merc or Ferrari. Ferrari have shown its not the tokens that are holding Renault back, anyway.

            I wouldn’t miss Horner or the drinks company personally. Let them sell out to Renault and Audi.

        2. @paeschli

          They dropped the ball on aero performance this year (come on, they are on par with Toro Rosso)

          There is absolutely no way of knowing this with the current engine disparity, that is one BIG assumption.

      5. I think that one way the FIA could level the playing field in an engine formula might be to control the token spend themselves, it should not be an equal token system, and maybe handed out like constructors points are, but in reverse order. Tokens could be handed out based on your finishing position in the constructor’s championship from the previous year but in Engine Manufacturer order. For example: If Mercedes engines come 1st in 2014 they should get the least amount of tokens available for engine development in 2015, the 2nd Engine Manufacturer should get a few more tokens, the 3rd Manufacturer a few more, and so on. The Engine Manufacturer that comes last in the standings should get the maximum allowable tokens. This will allow the engine manufacturers lagging behind to catch up closer to the front runners without really handicapping the top engine manufacturers, as their engines should be closer to that design ceiling anyway, and they can use their fewer tokens more wisely, as the gains when you are sitting on the top step of the podium in a frozen engine formula will eventually diminish. Just a thought maybe!!!

    30. This is another example of why the sport is fundamentally broken. The FIA are supposed to be in charge of running things, the commercial rights holder is simply supposed to deal with the money.

      The FIA have ruled that Manor did nothing wrong, that’s where it should end. However Bernie has decided otherwise and is going to force them out by issuing a fine for something the FIA says they didn’t do.

      Who makes the rules here? The money men. I hope the Le Mans guys checked the tiny print in their contact for the WEC very, very carefully so that the FIA can’t get near it.

      1. @hairs FIA’s problem was whether Manor complied with the regulations.

        Bernie’s is whether they comply with their contract. Norhing to do with the rules, except as written with the contract. If Bernie wins, it will still mean Manor have failed to breach the regulations.

        As far as I know nothing to do with

        Who makes the rules here? The money men.

        And I’m pretty sure the “Commercial rights holder” deals with more than money. There’s the Concorde Agreement(s), among others.

        1. But that’s the point. There shouldn’t be a set of financial rules which the teams have to juggle in addition to the sporting rules. The FIA should set the criteria, and the the commercial rights holder should stick to TV contracts.

          But that’s not the way it is.

      2. NO HE’S NOT!!!!

        I admit to disliking Bernie more and more with every new crackpot comment but all he said was that Manor would have to pay to get to Oz and pay to get back! In other words they wasted money travelling!!

        1. And he knows that doing so will prevent them travelling. So he’s using his leverage to overrule the FIA .

    31. ColdFly F1 (@)
      17th March 2015, 11:10

      based on the main article – I could not hate Bernie more at the moment.

    32. Ecclestone comes across like a playground bully. Having pushed Manor to the ground, he’s now sitting on their chest, pushing their fist into their face and yelling “stop hitting yourself! stop hitting yourself!” and laughing.

      1. @mazdachris – And meanwhile it was a miracle Manor were even able to show up at all, pass crash tests, etc.

        Looks like Bernie is trying his best to find a way to avoid paying Manor their prize money. Even at the greater expense of the sport itself.

    33. If I said Bernie was actually a twitter parody account, who you be able to disprove me?

      Because I’m having trouble working out if we are all continually having the urine extracted.

    34. On a sidenote: Georg Seiler, chairman of Hockenheim, has just announced the negotiations have failed and thus there won´t be a race there this season. As the Nürburgring was highly unlikely already, it´s nearly certain there is no german GP this year.

    35. re COTD has this ever happened before? A driver competing against two generations?

      1. Riccardo Patrese raced agianst both Mario and Michael Andretti.

        I think what makes this intersting is that F1 careers are so much shorter and the ability to get a drive is so much harder. Go over to NASCAR and there are plenty of examples where father and son competed against each other. The 1988 Daytona 500 saw Bobbyy (father) and Davey (son) finish 1-2. even the Indy 500 have seen examples of fathers and sons both being in the same race.

    36. could anybody fire Ecclestone? Please.

    37. Thanks for the B Day Wishes @KeithCollantine

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