Alexander Rossi, Manor, Circuit of the Americas, 2015

US group eyes Manor but Ecclestone admits COTA race under threat

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: An American group could take over the Manor team but the US round of the championship at the Circuit of the Americas is in jeopardy.

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Dear TeamLH, just wanted to let you know why things have been quiet on social media the past few days. I’ve not been well with a fever but I also had a road accident in Monaco on Monday night. Whilst ultimately, it is nobody's business, there are people knowing my position that will try to take advantage of the situation and make a quick buck. NO problem. Nobody was hurt, which is the most important thing. But the car was obviously damaged and I made very light contact with a stationary vehicle. Talking with the team and my doctor, we decided together that it was best for me to rest at home and leave a day later. But i am feeling better and am currently boarding the plane to Brazil. However, I am informing you because I feel we all must take responsibility for our actions. Mistakes happen to us all but what's important is that we learn from them and grow. Can't wait for the weekend Brazil🙌🏾 Bless Lewis

A photo posted by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) on

Comment of the day

Felipe Massa, Williams, Circuit of the Americas, 2015
Pit stops have been a weakness for Williams
AldoH passes on some interesting information about Williams’ pit stop problems:

Probably most of you guys didn´t follow a long interview that Massa gave to a Brazilian blog this week, in which he provide interesting details of the problems at Williams with the pit stops.

At first, Massa was saying that it is not a problem due to human mistakes. When the reporters insisted, he told an interesting story. According to him, the team realized early in the season that they were facing a problem, clocking way more than 3.5 seconds for a wheel swap.

Then, one day the team went to do some filming for a sponsor in which they needed to push the car a few meters and stop to do a wheel swap, and they were clocking 2.1 or 2.3 seconds. The engineers quickly noticed this and decided to investigate the issue. After many weeks of analysis they reached the conclusion that there is a design flaw in the wheel nut. They discovered that the problem is not attaching the nut back to the car but removing it from the car, maybe because of bad design in the heat dissipation system.

Massa said that Williams took two simultaneous paths since then: a) the cars are running with a “bit less” pressure on the nuts, just enough to keep the cars safe (this, he said, improved the situation somehow, but without consistency), and b) started studies to redesign the whole piece, trying new alloys. He didn’t said it, but suggested that the process would also need to take into consideration the design used for the wheelgun.

As a side note, Massa said that when he made the decision to leave Ferrari he started conversations with two teams, Williams and Lotus, but decided for Williams because at the end of 2013 season “every engineer” was saying at the pitlane the Mercedes was several steps ahead with the new engine development.

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On this day in F1

Adelaide’s last round of the world championship was held on this day 20 years ago. Damon Hill won, a massive two laps clear of second-placed Olivier Panis following a string of retirements around the punishing street track.

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42 comments on “US group eyes Manor but Ecclestone admits COTA race under threat”

  1. Oh dear, winning by 2 laps, imagine what he could have done if his car had been as dominant as this years Mercedes. ref 1995 au gp.

    1. It always makes me giggle a bit when fans complain nowadays about drivers ‘dominating’ races when they win by 15-20 seconds given how back in the day races were regularly won just as easily (In terms of no close battling for the win) by more than that & how fans, media etc.. of the time used to applaud such wins as been fantastic drives.

      Its the same looking at other categories, Nascar for example. If a modern Nascar race is won by anything more than a few seconds its ‘boring’, Yet back in the 70s/80s it wasn’t uncommon for races to be won by a lap or more with no real fight for the win & fans of the time loved the races/racing just as much.

      Same story in Indycar, F1 & just about everything else.

      1. Yes, but back then there was always the unpredictability of reliability to keep watching. Yes the McLaren Honda was pretty bullet-proof but that was kind of a first at the time.

        1. True enough, But even looking at unreliability when we have a lot of mechanical DNF’s today (as we saw back in Melbourne) modern fans label it as a joke.

      2. @peterg, And as well we were appreciative of the technology, being developed by the teams, that gave them the jump on their opponents. It wasn’t just all about upside-down aeroplane stuff.
        @gitanes, were it not a Williams?

        1. @hohum, are you saying that the 1980’s wasn’t an era of heavy investment in aerodynamics then?

          1. Since the comparison is being made to this year’s Mercedes vs. 20 years ago, and the suggestion fans now react less tolerably to domination, I think the glaring difference is that nowadays one doesn’t have as much sense that the drivers are nearly as taxed physically and mentally.

            Cars in many series were relative brutes that allowed a driver to break something or be passed with a missed shift, tracks were more punishing, and the races were a sprint, not a race-long exercise in conservation. So if a driver dominated, that was a more true feat, more tolerated and less looked upon as a cakewalk, with fans knowing driving these beasts in general was no cakewalk. Much more of the racing was in the drivers’ hands (few if any bells and whistles on the steering wheel) vs. the engineers via computer models and radio comm.

            But that said, I also think fans (particularly non-MS/Ferrari fans) became quite intolerant of the relative cakewalks MS enjoyed due to rules that F1 and Ferrari helped form so that he rarely had to physically pass a car other than through the team’s pit strategies. Once F1 had their way and saw the chapter they created with MS through, they changed the rules as fans grew weary of the same old same old. That era really highlighted and have kept alive to this day, the concepts of team orders (or abuse thereof), and processions (blamed in a tire ‘war’ but much more to do with aero addiction). There is less tolerance for a dominating win when we know a driver is a designated number one without needing a worry in the world about a teammate in the same dominating car being allowed to compete, as sometimes the only other one in an able car on the grid, such can domination be.

            Thank goodness these days Mercedes has at least let LH and NR race, taking the sometimes tough high road for the sake of the fans amd sportsmanship vs. the easy route of designating a number one which would make this current era a true borefest far moreso than for anyone who thinks thusly as it is.

  2. I love Formula 1, but Texas tax payers footing a $25 million bill each year for ten years will not last, especially if our country’s most popular sport, football (american style), costs less than half as much to host a championship game. I am not a fan of tax dollars going towards hosting sporting events and or stadium improvements, etc. It rubs me the wrong way when billionaires ask tax payers for millions to fund their teams, event, and stadium improvements in the name of economic growth when, in my opinion, there are much better uses for that money.

    1. @f1_wi, agreed, although there is some sense in the discount of local taxes paid by visitors attending events, ultimately these “sports” are highly profitable businesses and deserve no public subsidy, particularly F1 where vast amounts of revenue are siphoned off into the pockets of so-called investors who played no part in establishing F1 or any part in its promotion or activity.

      1. It’s not uncommon that a country’s tax payers are billed for the local F1 race. I live in Belgium and I know that the region Wallonia (3.5 million inhabitants) pays for the 22.5 million to hold the Spa Grand Prix every year. That includes Bernie’s cut but also the promotion (which still is very weak in my opinion because in Flanders (the north of the country) we hardly see any billboards…

      2. Ok fair enough, but, a few things…billionaires can ask for tax dollars, but it is up to your democratically elected officials to say yes or no and provide reasons why either way. If you don’t like this type of activity don’t re-elect them…elect those who don’t give billionaires tax dollars.

        That said, are you sure there are better uses of tax dollars? I say that knowing that of course there are a million uses for tax dollars, but I know one of the best uses of tax dollars is in helping ensure jobs. People with jobs aren’t generally committing crimes, aren’t leaning on government handouts, and are contributing to the tax base and the overall economy of an area and of the county.

        Yeah we know CVC takes a chunk out of F1, but this is about the local economy around COTA and the bottom line for them, and I don’t have the sense that if BE/F1 still had those CVC dollars they would be any more forgiving toward Texas.

    2. It rubs me the wrong way when billionaires ask tax payers for millions to fund their teams, event, and stadium improvements in the name of economic growth when, in my opinion, there are much better uses for that money.

      I’m with you on that. The fee for the races are absolutely insane. Formula1 needs to find a different and successful model in order to keep the sport afloat in markets they ought to keep (aka United States, Europe, etc). This is the pinnacle of motorsport, but it shouldn’t be for only the super-rich who can fly to Abu Dhabi on a whim.

      1. BE thinks it is exactly for the super-rich. He’s not that interested in holding a market’s hand while it figures out how to make money off him while he makes money off them…he’ll just go to a different market that WILL guarantee him his millions.

  3. Cmon Bernie, give the promoters some slack, let’s not be playing musical circuits.

    Eventually the only people who will be able to field a F1 event will be oil states and militarised dictatorships, and I bet he’d love it.

    If Texas, in America! Can’t find the money that Bernie demands there is something wrong. Pay for the calender for the year out of your own pocket you sad old man.

  4. If the F1 race at COTA dies in my mind it will be divine justice for Bernie’s remarks about how he couldn’t get excited about the COTA race.
    It’s as if he thinks he and his circus are as popular as the pope. Mention Formula One to most Americans and they think you are referring to a cleaning liquid.
    Stay over there Bernie – we don’t want or need you.

  5. I miss the Adelaide GP. I was only 9 years old in ’95, but I still remember standing at the fence along the back straight trying to take photos of the cars as they zoomed past during practice. I probably still have those photos lying around somewhere; they were just a track with a coloured smear across them haha

    That said, as a resident of South Australia, I’m glad we’re not forking out for Bernie. Absolutely ludicrous what he demands.

  6. Continuing with what COTD says, could it be a residual issue from the problems faced at the end of 2013 with the wheels getting loose, and Williams taking a lot more time during each pit stop to be fully sure the wheels stayed on?

    Maybe a design problem from that era is keeping them behind. Weird, but very nice piece of insight! Funny how sometimes it’s pure luck how certain issues are spotted.

  7. if bernie wanted Amercia back so much why is he already trying to kill it? those fees are ridiculus. we swedes want f1 to return to sweden but we all know that aint going to happend. its to damn expensive and Ronnie,s Death is still a factor why motorsports aint so big in sweden as in finland etc

    1. He is trying to move Austin out of the way for New Jersey or Qatar, or bring back India

  8. It was so predictable that the current marussia investors were never planning to stay long at the team.

    1. I had that feeling too, just didn’t feel like a solid investment from someone who actually wanted to go racing.

    2. Regardless of whether it is true or not (or whether it was predictable), there is still the positive outcome that the team was at least temporarily saved, giving it the opportunity to one day find a longer term sustainable owner. I can’t see that the alternative, of the team being lost to F1, was any better an outcome.

      1. a possible buyout….this may shed some light why 2 of the top personnel are standing down at the end of the season…..couldn’t see graham wanting a move that way……

  9. Ok, Lewis has a fever, but he still needs to use some commas :)

    1. Maybe he could take a break and let the reserve driver do this race.

    2. I find it annoying that he has to make every single post sound like a life lesson. I mean, he got a fever and now he’s better, that’s it…

      1. Yes, and even apologizing of being quite on the social media – you’re a racing driver Lewis, not some instagram starlet.

      2. @xtwl Yeah we know you are easily annoyed by whatever Hamilton does. Quite annoying that you need to say this every time he says something really …

        1. @patrickl Hardly, but I understand you don’t like me. Just ignore me then, then I don’t have to bother with your pointless comments either.

          1. It’s not that I don’t like you, but your utter lack of insight in F1 baffles me often. Agreed that it’s pointless to respond with any insight since you wouldn’t get it anyway. Still, some dumb mistakes really need to be corrected.

            You didn’t even get the irony of being called out on doing exactly what the person you really seem to dislike so much hardly does.

        2. So this poster’s comments annoy you, but you read them anyway?

          1. Is that a serious question? I’m reading the replies here and I see his constant oneliners complaining about everything Hamilton says yes. How else would I know? Geez.

            BTW Why not post that question to the guy who is complaining about everything Hamilton says?

          2. Ian Laidler (@)
            12th November 2015, 13:07

            Patrickl, there are one or two numb nuts on here, I love reading posts and some of the replies and it amazes me the number of people who slag off the drivers and not just Lewis.

            Lewis posts on the social media because he tries to be closer to the fans than a lot of other drivers, one of the things that makes him what he is. If people don’t like what he has to say then they should not read it it and then leave dumb comments that show an obvious and very strong dislike for the 3 times WDC.

            Come on guys, get over it and get a life.

  10. Interesting insights from Massa indeed. @fer-no65

    I struggle to understand his choice for Williams though, based on the insight that Merc would have the strongest engine. Did he know back then that Lotus could return to Renault power in 2016?

    1. wrong post – sorry

    2. I think you forgot that when Massa did join Williams, it was when Lotus still had the Renault engines. They changed over only AFTER 2014, didn’t they @coldfly

      1. Indeed I did initially @bascb. Checked it, found it, and wanted to delete it. But pushed the wrong button instead ;)

        It feels like making ‘very light contact with a stationary vehicle’; luckily ‘nobody was hurt’ by my mistake. But maybe after ‘talking with the team and my doctor’ they’ll recommend ‘that it’s best for me to rest at home and leave commenting for a day’.
        However, I am informing you because I feel we all must take responsibility for our actions. Mistakes happen to us all but what’s important is that we learn from them and grow.
        Bless @Coldfly (sic)

        1. Its so annoying that you always have to … Oh, sorry inappropriate rant! :-)

  11. Good news in the Albert Fabrega tweet “La situación se desbloquea en Lotus. Luz verde para volver al trabajo,” but not very clear if you have no Spanish! He’s saying that the situation has been resolved and the Lotus team has been given the green light to get back to work. Yay!

  12. Regarding COTA under threat…let’s remember it’s BE saying this, so there is a motive there that may not mean next year there will be no race at COTA.

    This is about an internal issue within the state of Texas and them needing to sort the numbers to figure out if they are actually gleaning economic benefit, after costs, of staging an F1 race. I’m not sure how many other events they hold at this track annually, but I must say I am very surprised that they even built the track without having a pretty good idea of the economic returns. Perhaps all that is happening is governmental incompetence in figuring out the figures of which the promoters are already aware. Surely no one entity can be all that far off any other entities’ estimations such that we’re only talking about a small numbers of millions of difference at best (or worse depending on the viewpoint).

    To me $25 mill is a deal. A number of years ago BE demanded a guarantee from all 3 levels of government surrounding Montreal (municipal, provincial, and federal) of $50 mill to which the answer back to BE was NO. Such was the outcry by the teams that they MUST race in North America such is the importance of that market, that BE cut his demand to Canada in half, and the race was on. Surely COTA is just as important a market for the teams involved in F1, that common sense will prevail, and the races will go on at this brand new F1 purpose built track, in spite of BE’s usual threats.

    Interestingly, BE’s threats could be taken as a shot across the bow of any other potential venues in the US, while at the same time the suggestion has been made that in order for F1 to grab a bigger foothold in the US they need more races so that all of them gather more interest and therefore revenues.

  13. How many times have we heard Bernie talking about the importance of racing in America? Didn’t he want four races there at some point? Then, as soon as we finally get a race at a circuit that is enjoyed by both new fans and old, he threatens to take it off the calendar.

    Since Bernie’s recent praise for Blatter and Putin convinced me to stop watching the sport, my frustration with him has turned into hilarity. Everything he does is a joke.

  14. About Lewis hitting a stationary car in Monaco.
    First of all i apologize to all Lewis fans but did the car he hit have a big number “3” on it?

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