Rain plus Mexican GP “financially devastating” for COTA

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In the round-up: United States Grand Prix promoter Bobby Epstein says the combination of a rain-blighted race weekend and the competition for spectators from the Mexican Grand Prix will cost the Circuit of the Americas operators “millions”.


Viva mexico wey!

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Comment of the day

F1 last raced at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in 1992
F1 returns to a truly historic location this weekend:

Having to pinch myself to see that F1 is coming back to Mexico City. I never thought I’d get to see a race there.

It’s been Tilke’d yes, but it hasn’t sprung up from scrub land (like Istanbul, Yeongam, Shanghai, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, Austin), it’s on a historic and sacred site rich in F1 history that has seen the likes of Jim Clark, Ayrton Senna amongst many more of F1’s legends race there. And that’s something that Tilke can never design.

Welcome back Mexico City!
David Reid (@Unicron2002)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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54 comments on “Rain plus Mexican GP “financially devastating” for COTA”

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to a new Grand Prix (well, it’s new to me) more than I am this weekend. That Jon Noble tweet sealed it for me. I couldn’t be happier that F1 is back in Mexico. I really hope Perez has a good weekend to give the crowd something to really cheer about.

  2. The speeds are increased by the high altitude of Mexico City : at altitude the air is thinner and there is less resistance to the car.

    Is this good or bad for Red Bull (and other cars with good aero but not high on power)?

    1. @faulty There’s a high possibility that I’m wrong as I’m by no means an expert, but I’d expect that the difference in performance is proportional for all engines, that is to say, no difference. The Renault will be slightly faster and the Mercedes will be slightly more faster as it’s more powerful to begin with (if that makes sense).

      1. @faulty
        scarbs was saying teams will be running more wing coz of thinner air.
        I’d think since redbull chassis has more down-force they can afford to run lesser wing compared to others which will give them advantage on power tracks.

      2. The engines with a more efficient and powerful turbo will be more effective. Expect Honda to really struggle.

    2. I have been wondering if higher altitudes will affect Mercedes power units, just the same as high humidity has this year in Singapore and Malaysia. We’ll see if it is air pressure related after this weekend.

      1. High humidity means vaporisation/expansion of the moisture gives more power to the fuel/air explosion. High altitude means lower air density, but the turbo should compensate for that since the boost limit is absolute, not proportional to the ambient air pressure. More boost, combined with less air mass through the radiators will give problems with overheating so teams which struggled on hot tracks (Mercedes?) and teams with cooling issues (Honda?) may struggle at altitude.

        Lower air density also reduces drag and downforce. Depending on the aero design it can affect one more than the other. I have not been able to get any figures from aero teams on how individual cars will be helped/hindered, other than an opinion that it will hurt good aero more than poor aero.

        1. so if I take what you say as true, hello Ferrari this weekend!!! :-)

    3. If there’s less air resistance there should be less downforce over the car. That seems to be Red Bull’s big advantage so I think they could be struggling.

    4. @faulty 200m is virtually nothing and the revised version of the track is not particularly fast. I think above all it is Ferrari who should not suffer that much to Merc because of the layout’s lower fuel consumption and easier e-recovery.

      1. No one replied to my utter nonsense. @faulty I guess that’s how you stop receiving notifications on your inbox.. I just said the opposite to truth.

        1. I know how reality went 180° to your version. I wish you better luck in the predictions championship.

  3. It’s sad to find that the best new circuit that has just given us possibly the best race of the hybrid era is losing money. $24 million sounds like an awful lot of money for a new circuit to have to pay in hosting fees while the owners are trying to repay loans/investors for the construction costs.
    I appreciate that there is a lot of oil/gas money to be had from dictators & tyrants who want to use F1 as a marketting tool, but surely there’s got to be a way to reduce costs for certain other host nations. Even with the bad weather and reduced numbers, the American fans were out in force and were clearly very passionate, and COTA has become a race I look forward too.
    The scheduling with Mexico doesn’t help, but maybe if F1 had a different funding model the circuits could charge a bit less for tickets, which would make it more affordable for more fans.

    1. @beneboy Which in turn would open up the US market for F1, which in turn would lead to greater exposure for Formula One, and hence Bernie and the teams would make more money through advertisements and stuff, hence they’d need to charge less for the races anyway. But no…

    2. You would think that if Bernie wanted to build a better market in the US for F1 he would at least do what he can to protect the lone race. Our Canadian GP wouldn’t “steal” as many fans as from the Mexican GP as the Mexican GP “steals” from the US GP. Why not run Mexico back to back with Canada and run Austin with Brazil (if they had to be back to back. Canada as a standalone fly away race has always been somewhat confusing.

      This way all the races in The Americas are given as equal chances to succeed as possible.

      1. It’s a nice sentiment, but Mexico in June or July? Really? Please think about this for a second and consider the reasons why they wouldn’t schedule it then.

        1. Rain?… And still… it rains the whole year.

          Temperatures are Ok, Mexico City has almost the same temperatures year-round.. so that shouldn’t be a problem.

      2. @beneboy, @johnnyrye, Yea, yea, yea, but I Bernie have a contract, why should I care if you are bad business people.

        And @strontium, If CVC do manage to offload their interest in F1 for GBP 8 billion, then they will have made a return of 12bil. in less than 12 years on an investment of 1bil. that equates to a +100% per annum return, on a purely profit driven point of view they know exactly what they are doing.

    3. I’m a bit surprised that COTA are blaming the weather for the lack of fans turning up. Does it mean that tickets were not pre-sold and that the track was dependent on people turning up on the day and paying for their tickets there and then? Seems a bit odd – and old-fashioned.

      1. IIRC, they honoured Saturday tickets for Sunday, and lost money on concessions. The track doesn’t get to keep money from VIP suites or advertising boards either.

    4. I appreciate that there is a lot of oil/gas money to be had from dictators & tyrants

      Lol, after reading this first line I thought you were talking about the USA….

  4. I wouldn’t trust Red Bull to sit out for a year or two. They would need to shut everything down (all of their operations, contracts, etc.), let of their staff go and recruit them all again (or pay them all for going home and doing nothing), then have to set everything back up again, have a new car designed with limited parts tested from the previous year, get two / four drivers (no doubt their current ones will move on unless they are payed not to race), and for what? They won’t have a decent engine, I doubt a new supplier would come in now (no incentives, as everyone has seen what has happened to Renault and Honda, and how Red Bull have treated Renault), and if there were a new supplier I doubt they’d be any good for a long time having missed out on the first 3/4 years of competition and development. And in two years time Mateschitz may well decide he doesn’t even feel like returning and bin the entire project anyway.

    We’ve seen what has happened to the Indian Grand Prix which was having one of Bernie’s years off, most drivers who have taken a year out never returned, and there is absolutely no reason to believe it wouldn’t be the same story for this Formula One team. And it’s even worse as all this is doubled by having two teams.

    Sorry Bernie, but this is worse than your usual standard of rubbish.

    1. RB could trick Ecclestone that they are sitting out for a year or two, then wait until the end of their contract and then pull out completely.

      1. Bernie would be wise to that. He’d ‘suspend’ their current contract rather than letting it run out. So that at the end of their ‘year or two out’ RBR would still have the balance of their contract to run.

  5. I’ve always wanted South Africa to return too, it’s a really good location for a race, with a large (and currently somewhat unused) audience potential, and it’s already got a really nice circuit which isn’t too far off F1 standards.

    1. I wouldn’t call the current Kyalami a nice track, Certainly when F1 was last there in 92/93 most of the drivers didn’t like it & I don’t believe i’ve ever seen the current track put on a decent race with any category i’ve seen race there because like barcelona & magny-cours its a aero reliant track where following another car closely is impossible & there are no good overtaking opportunities.

  6. Adam Cooper’s article is really excellent. Red Bull has jumped out of a plane with no parachute – hoping to find one on the way down.

    1. Agree entirely that it was a great article. It’s nice to actually see some facts rather than the usual anti RBR belligerence.

      My take was a bit different – RBR “had” to make the commercial move (notifying Renault) before they could actually begin “real” negotiations with Mercedes.

      However, that being said, they should have foreseen that there was huge potential for the deal to fall through. I’m assuming they did and that their request to Renault was worded in such a way that they can continue but the damage done I suspect will still be huge.

      1. I can’t for the life of me understand why they didn’t just put up with an underdeveloped engine for 2016 and put something in place behind the scenes for the regulation changes in 2017. It’s as if they want to leave, but want someone else to blame. I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe that they were uncomfortable with Renault becoming a works team – if that actually happens.

        I know being uncompetitive hurts them. But, given their chassis skills, they have a real chance of turning the order on its head in 2017. It’d be shame to lose them.

        1. Just imagine a five way battle between Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Renault in 2015. It would be unheard of!

        2. the 2017 regulation changes will not change the running order, the engines will still be based on the current rubbish, with again very little development allowed next year and the year after, and the year after that…. Redbull knows they have a great car, so they want a good engine to match, I think that is perfectly understandable.

  7. I too would love to have a GP in South Africa. Too bad the country is struggling financially and Bernie is not into discount fees and couldn’t care less about the amount of petrolheads a hosting nation has.

  8. Unless Renault gave us the go ahead we couldn’t move. It would be in breach of contract, and there is a much bigger picture involving Renault and Mercedes than Formula 1…

    Again, we have the curious goings on at Red Bull. That article on the Autosport website is a very good and succinct explanation of the Mercedes perspective.
    Since the pre-season testing is scheduled to start in March then one could argue there isn’t any urgency for a decision regarding who will supply engines to Red Bull, although the delay may result in compromises being made that affect the performance of next year’s car.

    If they wanted to stay out – for one year, two years, three years – we’d be happy to have them back.

    The rate of development in F1 is so fast that if Red Bull were absent for 1 year then they would be 2 years behind everyone else; and a 2 year absence would mean they were 5 years behind. If Red Bull decide to not race in 2016 then they will not return.

  9. Yeah, still curious to see what engines Red Bull (and STR) will be using next year. The rest is just negotiating over the media (sitting a year out, bringing Honda into the mix etc). The proposal for alternative engines plays part too, although its also targetted at forcing the manufacturers to agree on a engine cost cap.

    Its sad how COTA is on the edge, it could well be the last race there, which would be a huge shame. One does have to wonder whether they couldn’t have found a better solution than running Austing and Mexico back to back and whether that would have helped.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      29th October 2015, 8:42

      My guess for a possible STR & RBR strategy.

      Next year use Ferrari engines; Italian team with Italian engines.
      From 2017 start the process of selling the team based on solid performance and a relatively low cost base.
      Initial RB sponsoring can be used as a sweetener to a prospective buyer.

      Stay with Renault (no alternative).
      Stick out the contract with FOM until 2020, but reduce investments considerably (probably from 2019).
      Make a lot of noise what’s wrong with F1.
      Reinvest in setting up your own RBR GP series. Use engineering talent to design a single spec racing series with the most daring, fastest racing cars in a loose, fun, marketing driven atmosphere.
      Keep/Get the best drivers.
      Go to the iconic racetracks, which are left behind by Bernie.
      Give F1 a run for its money from 2021.

      1. I like your ideas for RBR. But knowing how restrictive and vicious Bernie can be, I expect he would get the FIA to rule that any driver participating in the RBR series would have their FIA licence cancelled.

      2. @coldfly I think RedBull is pulling out or selling part of the RBR team but I think they should keep STR fielding possibly all 4 drivers. The RB team will focus on the 2017 car and in signing a deal with their motogp partner, Honda.

  10. So from Autosport and Motorsport I can make some conclusion:

    1. Toto Wolff doing the best for his responsibility (Mercedes F1 team). Red Bull beating them in track is not good for him.
    2. Niki Lauda is doing the best for his responsibility (Mercedes board). There’s a marketing potential, especially to the teenagers for Mercedes brand. Even though the F1 team loses.
    3. Helmut Marko is doing the best for his responsibility (Red Bull motorsport) by facilitating official talk between Lauda and Mateshictz.
    4. Dieter Mateschitz doing the best for his responsibility (the one with money and owner) by starting the talk with Lauda.

    So far everything is normal. What I don’t get is what Horner part in all of this. He have talks with Bernie and Wolff. I;m sure after DM meets Lauda, he see that he already started the discussion and left the rest to Horner. Mercedes want 2 things: no problem with Renault (bad for their outside F1 partnership) and commercial agreement details (see point 2 above). According to the articles, RBR (Horner?) cut the ties with Renault that fast to satisfying point 1 but never contact them again to discuss the commercial side. If that the case then it’s hard to blame Mercedes here, because the only reason they want Red Bull is for the commercial. And common logic dictates (even without hindsight) Red Bull should’ve discuss commercial agreement first because its easier to do and when that’s done then they can cut ties with Renault, not the other way around.

    1. Yeah @sonicslv I think you have it right. Mateschitz needed to follow up with a marketing dialogue and when he didn’t Mercedes took it as him wanting a one-sided deal. I get the impression Horner didn’t have much of a role, apart from helping to alienate Renault.

  11. LOL I said it right away. Wolff tricked Red Bull in cancelling their Renault contract with his “conditions”. Although I assume he just wanted to put that up as a condition that could not be fulfilled. Still I assume they had quite a laugh after it came out. Bit of schadenfreude for all the crap Red Bull gave them.

    1. Tricked? A deal like this will always have conditions, and Red Bull didn’t respond to them.

    2. What trick? If you have a brand, any partnership has to strengthen and promote that brand. So if Mercedes provided Red Bull with engines, if RB won a race it needed to be shouted loud and clear that a Mercedes engine won the race. And if RB won the constructors championship it needed to be made very clear that the Mercedes engine won the championship. There is nothing tricky about Mercedes insisting that be the case.
      RB not getting back to Mercedes and then claiming they are afraid of the competition shows what kind of partner they would be.

    3. Wolff tricked Red Bull

      By setting up a technical partnership between the two manufacturers long before he was even employed by Mercedes?

    4. “Tricked”

      Ah, I see, so Mateschitz is just a rube from the sticks who fell prey to the superior business acumen of his German cousins? I think not. This variety of spin isn’t actually doing Red Bull any favours.

    5. @patrickl Yup you’ve got it all figured out. Ok now recess is over, better get back to class.

    6. To all the RedBuill fans above that are outraged …

      I feel for you guys. Really I do, but perhaps you should read the 2 articles that Keith posted. Perhaps then you will understand.

  12. …but it hasn’t sprung up from scrub land (like Istanbul…

    If Istanbul Park were any indication of how a ‘sprung up from scrub land’ track would like like, F1 would have a significantly happier fanbase. :)

    1. Definitely agreed :D

    2. @bs So you say. I don’t like the layout and the track that sprung from a country that’s on a 100 year old genocide track.

  13. ColdFly F1 (@)
    29th October 2015, 9:55

    If I had a coupe of spare billions would I invest in a business where:
    – the CEO has a 1/6 chance to die this year, with no succession plans except for some references to Hitler or Putin
    – the previous owner has paid itself extraordinary dividends and burdened the business with huge loans
    – have key suppliers without power next year, and then suggesting them to ‘sit it out’
    – allow a supplier to veto how to run the business
    – asking loyal customers to pay more every year but only find the product in expensive exclusive outlets
    – annually move the business around to chase government subsidies, forgetting how to get products to customers.

  14. Now that the Threat from VM/Audi is gone why not get together for the Mercedes Red Bull Deal if the Top bosess are still interested. I don’t think it is too late. Brawn GP got the Mercedes engine in as late as Jan and went on to win the WDC & WCC !!!!

    1. The current engines are a tad more complicated than the old V8.

  15. Who else can Ecclestone blame if the current iteration of the U.S. GP falls off?

    1. He’d likely just say the circuit owners didn’t manage things properly.

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