Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

Williams wants Ferrari bonus payment reduced

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In the round-up: Claire Williams says Ferrari’s bonus payment from FOM should be reduced.

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  • 113 comments on “Williams wants Ferrari bonus payment reduced”

    1. Mercedes actual B-team takes a shot at Ferrari. Nice.

      1. Their not wrong but they should lose theirs as well. Loyalty bonus is easy 10 million for every continuous decade in the sport should be about right. Then it will read from largest down, Ferrari-McLaren-Williams-Sauber. Unless a team has a continuous 10 years they get nothing of the loyalty bonus. Merc do not qualify for it until 2020.

        1. On that calculation, Williams should get at least $20 m more than they currently do – they currently get $10 m, despite having held a continuous license since 1978 (having also never transferred ownership since that time) and Frank Williams having had some sort of F1 team since 1970.

          Ferrari would be on $60 m (1950)
          McLaren would get $50 m (having earned $10 m of that from the start of this year, as they started in F1 in 1966)
          Mercedes would get either $40 m (if using the “continuous team licence” method used for all other team-based financial calculations – their licence dates from 1970) or nothing (if using the “continuously not sold” method markp appears to intend for this system – which makes sense for a longevity award; Mercedes rejoined in 2010)
          Williams would get $30 m (1978)
          Renault would get either $30 m (licence dates from 1981) or nothing (bought in 2016)
          Toro Rosso would get either $30 m (licence dates from 1985) or $10 m (bought in 2006)
          Force India would get either $20 m (licence dates from 1991) or nothing (bought in 2008)
          Sauber would get either $20 m (licence dates from 1993) or nothing (bought in 2009)
          Red Bull would get $10 m
          Manor would get nothing
          Haas would get nothing

          1. There would need to be a little more thought about what constitutes the year a team started if it had changed hands and on the actual amount per decade. My thoughts are Merc do not start until 2010, Red Bull 2006, Renault start from 2016, if a team changes it’s name then it is reset. Sauber would be awkward as BMW bought them but they still remained Sauber BMW so I would give them the benefit of the doubt. This would be fair to teams like Williams whilst preventing teams like Renault getting loyalty bonuses when they are not loyal by running a full team for a few years then pulling out then re-joining, basically fair weather manufacturers. This may be a bit controversial and I am open to hearing peoples thoughts as it seems fair to me.

            1. I think it’s great idea and very fair. My opinion is the team can submit their name identity that qualify for the bonus. In that case Mercedes and FI got nothing, Renault nothing but might qualify sooner because Lotus-Renault is qualified and Sauber get 20M because BMW Sauber still has Sauber on it. The reasoning is a single word of name is the most identifiable to the fans and no team have the stable name in FIA official registry (eg there is no Ferrari, there is only Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, West McLaren Mercedes become Vodafone McLaren Mercedes). Obviously the licence need to be same too so Lotus who become Caterham and Lotus that become Renault is two different thing.

      2. knoxploration
        12th April 2016, 17:45

        Forget reduced, the payment should be scrapped altogether. It is unsporting to give one team more than its rivals simply for bothering to show up. And the claims that Ferrari *is* F1 are complete nonsense. I’m a Ferrari fan myself, but if they chose not to race, it wouldn’t be F1 that went down in my estimation. (Not that it really could go much further down, these days, but that’s another story.) If Ferrari decided to quit F1, it would be Ferrari that went down in my estimation.

        1. I agree. One could even argue that payments should be based entirely on the previous year’s performance. One amount for turning up to race, which is enough for a team at the bottom of the grid to survive on, and another amount for their place in the Constructors Championship.
          The only justification I can see for not paying a team when they change their name is because of ambiguity concerning who the payment should be made to. Is the new owner or the previous owner the one who should receive the payment? That said, there should be a way for the new and old owners to agree on how that payment should be handled, after all they are agreeing to exchange the ownership of a racing team for an amount of money, and they have to agree on how to handle debt, so agreeing on how to handle the F1 payout shouldn’t be that difficult.
          Ferrari got 52 million Euros ($59.2M US) in income from the sale of merchandise to the public in 2012, so presumably the amount they earnt last year was similar. While this is less than the $90M they receive for turning up, that is beside the point. We have teams that are struggling to compete in an environment where it is very costly to produce a competitive car, and the current F1 TV rights policy devalues advertising space on a car, meaning teams have to rely on the F1 payout more and more.
          As a thought, Fiat took control of 90% of Ferrari in 1988, so while there has been a team of that name since 1950, the ownership has changed, so maybe the team should be called “Fiat” and not “Ferrari”.
          http://www.reuters.com/article/ferrari-production-idUSL6N0DP36R20130508
          http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/08/business/company-news-fiat-raises-stake-in-ferrari-to-90.html

        2. Fair, same rules for everyone… Not like Ferrari needs that much money. They have an epic car company based on their F1 fame…. Talk about return on investment.

    2. Not in this round-up, this headline made my day:
      “Mick Schumacher takes early Italian Formula 4 Championship lead”

      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/123701

      1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        12th April 2016, 8:02

        Mine too, I’m rooting for Mick it would be amazing if his career ends up being as successful as Michaels

        1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
          12th April 2016, 13:11

          Thanks Keith, though I didn’t question the inclusion in yesterday’s wrap up- I was agreeing that it made my day to see the news on Mick :)

    3. is that so Claire… What did you major in to make you an F1 principal? That’s right, Political Science, and you’re the boss’s daughter. Oh, it all makes sense…. First Haas and the threat of customer cars and now this. By the time you are finished it will be Williams and a bunch of failed GP2 squads left in 2021 battling it out in the former F1 as we once knew it.

      1. Not sure what your point is there Fast. Claire Williams seems to be doing a respectable job of running that team. Ferrari receive a big percentage of the pot, a fact which could be perceived as unfair and so this is a valid argument. Williams is not the only one making it. Perhaps you could respond to the issue rather than the person?

        1. I think Ferrari deserve more money, not less. Plus, the FIA should not receive their percentage. That’s a conflict. The FIA money should form a new column of revenue for the non-historic teams to share. The Haas model is the saviour of F1. Even Williams began a long time ago under a similar arrangement. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

          1. Erm … Hi Bernie!

          2. ColdFly F1 (@)
            12th April 2016, 9:33

            Not so fast Fast!
            What percentage does FIA receive? AFAIK they don’t receive a percentage. FIA (Mosley) licensed the rights to BE for 100years and gets a ‘meagre’ $10m/year in return.
            Further the FIA is paid by teams/drivers an entry/license fee.

            And yes there was a deal that FIA gets 1% (option) of F1 at the IPO; but that IPO never happened.

            1. @coldfly 100 years? Now I get it. Bernie is waiting until his contract expires to arrange a new deal. It looks to me he will achieve the “oldest human”. record. Bernie doesn’t breathe oxygen, just his own greed.

            2. FIA gets a 1% equity payment, off the top, around 120M. Check the figures before you speak out.

            3. ColdFly F1 (@)
              13th April 2016, 0:10

              You replied too fast Fast.
              I mentioned the 1%. But it’s an option (as part of cancelled IPO).

              And even then it will be worth merely $15m/year.

          3. Wow……

            1. …”But while that flotation did not take place, the 1% equity shareholding did go ahead as the FIA purchased the stake for a reported $400,000. This 1% of F1 adds an estimated $120 million per annum to the governing body’s coffers.” from https://willthef1journo.wordpress.com/

            2. ColdFly F1 (@)
              13th April 2016, 8:10

              I’m glad you found the data and did not make it up ;-)
              But rather than saying I should check the figures before I speak, you should have done that.

              FOM’s profit is roughly $1.5 billion per year. Thus a 1% equity stake is $15M (divide total by 100).

              The $120M is 1% percent of the total value (source), which is a ‘one-off’ value and not a ‘per annum’.

              lesson of the day: Caution advised when getting your info from a blog!

          4. Hold on there Fast. Williams did not start in F1 under a “similar arrangement” at all. Their first year as Williams Grand Prix Engineering (1977) they purchased a March chassis with zero support from March and they became a constructor of their own chassis in 1978. In no way whatsoever is the current Haas set up similar. Haas has not only the customer Ferrari engine and gearbox but rear suspension too. Access to Ferrari’s wind tunnel and data sets them completely apart from being an independent entity as required under the Constructors rules. It is also quite likely (judging by the bodywork) that Ferrari design features strongly in the chassis and aero. The Haas team, as welcome as it is to F1, has driven a coach & horses through the definition of “constructor” and I think people are right to worry where this principle might lead if other teams follow this lead. I would think that if Haas continues to show well this season, you might well see more objections from the established teams.. The idea of “customer teams” has been debated regularly by the constructors and unanimously rejected. Haas is two turns of a screw short of being exactly that.

            1. Well how they started was even more advantageous than Haas, as a customer team!! You are correct it is not very similar at all. Makes the racer’s daughters comments even further below the belt and aiming for innocent bystanders.

            2. @ColdFly – Yes, as I said 1% equity payment, off the top, around 120M. Plus, the FIA should not receive their percentage. That’s a conflict. The FIA money should form a new column of revenue for the non-historic teams to share.

              The blog journo said per annum, etc. … Thanks for the maths lesson yet rather than saying I should check the figures before I speak, you should have done that as well. I’m glad you found the data and did not make it up, either ;-)

              Lesson of the day: Caution advised when getting your info from a blog!

      2. Well, customer cars ARE a problem for F1.

        If Force India can move up the grid by buying stuff from Ferrari, why not do it?
        Then that forces other teams to do the same. If you didn’t, you’d get left behind.
        Ferrari would do it because then everyone relies on Ferrari and that’s politically useful for them.

        So then, you end up with a championship of Ferrari V Merc + 7 B teams. Where no one apart from the top cars is building their own stuff for the most part.
        That’s not F1 at all.

        So I strongly agree that customer cars represent a threat and not an opportunity to F1.

        1. We don’t have customer cars though.

          But I do agree with you that Williams and Force India should be forced to build their own power units.

          Customer power units are ruining F1.

          1. There have always been customer power units, Brabham winning with an off the shelf Repco engine to the Ford engined cars like Lotus, Tyrell, Matra, Williams and McLaren. Williams and Benneton competeing and winning from each other in the 80s with customer Renaults, and then Red Bull dominating with a customer Renault while the factory team struggled and finally died. Brawn winning with customer Mercedes engines fitted on a chassis designed for a Honda. Cosworth having a long running history supplying customer engines to teams that can’t afford a Ferrari, with varying success. Engines have always been the bit that most teams buy. How is it suddenly ruining F1 when it’s ALWAYS been there?

            1. How is it suddenly that buying Ferrari power units and suspension is ruining F1 (HAAS)

              How is buying suspension and power train a customer car?

              I don’t disagree with you but anyone calling HAAS a customer car has no clue what they are talking about.

              If HAAS is a customer by anyone’s definition then so is Williams because they buy merc equipment AND Williams is a customer supplier for supplying other teams with transmission and suspension.

              HAAS took advantage of a now closed loop hole but calling them a customer is factually incorrect and simply repeating Williams PR line.

              PS – I do think it would be quiet a show if everyone had to build everyting including thier own power units. Call me a purist but it would true F1.

            2. Jimmy Price, Haas himself has said that his original plan was to have a full customer car from Ferrari. Although that was not permitted, he has said that he considers the team to be halfway between a customer and a manufacturer team and he has been pushing right up to the limits for what can be bought from another team in terms of components – Haas is even buying components such as shock absorbers, which are supplied by external parties, through Ferrari instead of by himself. It might not be a full customer car, but he has stated that he wants to go in that direction and is moving as close to that position as he possibly can.

              As an aside, if you want teams in F1 to produce everything in house, Haas would be a disappointment for you – Haas has explicitly stated that his team model relies on the team doing the minimum amount of necessary in house manufacturing work to create the car, and ideally he would want to outsource all manufacturing work outside of the team if possible.

              Equally, how far do you want to take it in terms of producing components in house? None of the teams have the capability to produce everything in house and I don’t think that any team has ever produced a car where every single component was manufactured in house.

          2. We basically do already have customer cars to be fair…. F1 is decided by what engine you have and most teams buy them from other teams.

        2. Haas is not a customer car. They are within the regulations as a constructor. Why Force India, Sauber, and the failed teams didn’t do that, I can only presume as EGO… In addition to the allowed parts list, the rear-diffuser should be an FIA part that all the teams use and build their cars around. It would be designed to aid overtaking. But back to what is and isn’t F1, teams using a certain chassis and an another engine is totally F1. March, BRM, Brabham, Matra, Cooper, Maserati and more were all purveyors of a similar model. More people know what a Matra or a Brabham is rather than a Sauber, Force India or lets face it, also, a Williams for that matter. It is only a very recently that teams have become vertically integrated and in the long-run it has proven a fiscally unrealistic model for F1 and needs to be re-addressed further.

          1. Haas are doing to the garagisti what they did to manufacturer team in the 60’s, they are the new garagisti and if others don’t like it tough, it’s Ferrari’s revenge on them 50 years later.

        3. Some teams regard the trend in regulations as allowing customer cars through the back door, as the trend has been to increase the number of outsourceable parts.

          Also, one reason other teams don’t outsource the whole design is because it’s expensive (even compared to outsourcing much of the production, as Force India does). Haas, from what I can tell, needs more money than half the grid has to be able to afford its current arrangement (remember the non-manufacturer/McLaren teams are generally running with $110 m or less). What it’s saved itself is the need to tool up the factory to the same extent at the same time; in other words, it’s increased its operating costs to reduce its start-up costs. Since established teams are not start-ups, they don’t get the benefit Haas does from running lots of customer-design components.

          In the midfield, the biggest benefits are from good strategy and strong development of aero, neither of which one can be helped by going with a customer car – good strategy doesn’t really cost money (else Force India would never have punched above its weight) and customer teams don’t get the best aero development chances. At the back it’s even more stark – what benefits them the most is having money in the bank to ensure consistent cashflow. Going the more expensive path (assuming the team is not a start-up) is not the way to do this.

          If it had been cheaper for Manor to buy a design from Ferrari than build their own design for the components that needed to change for 2015, they’d have been required to use that to get the CVA arrangement they eventually used. It wasn’t, so they weren’t. So unlike the past, customer cars aren’t even a cost-cutting measure for an established team.

          Also, a lot of series exist “to produce good racing”. Is there really any non-marketing point to a team running around with a customer car in F1, rather than spending much, much less in, say, Renault 3.5? (Even if teams were forced to give away the chassis, the engines alone are more than twice the price of a full Renault 3.5 budget).

          1. It’s not cheaper per se but it is a cheaper way to gain a higher performance level. I fail to see the issue, the engine is a customer engine like most have and they have to design all the aero performance parts themselves the only thing they are given over the others in this arrangement is nuts and bolts that do not add performance, these parts are cheaper with Haas method so they then have more to spend on their own aero parts. A greater percentage of their budget is available to spend on their performance.

            n

      3. christopheraser
        12th April 2016, 7:00

        I’m sure that her aim is not to ruin Formula One. Williams are one of the few teams that have very little going on except the fact they are a Formula One racing team. They should be getting as much money as they commercial rights holder can afford to give them and I think that should be said of all the teams, but especially those teams that a purely Formula One teams and not out there representing an Energy drink company, a clothing line company or a car manufacturer (Ferrari and Mclaren excluded here of course). History has shown us that those teams will come and go on the whims of people who potentially have no interest in the sport we love or are beholden to boards and share holders that only care about their dividend.

        Teams like Williams, Mclaren, Sauber, Force India need to cherished as they are the lifeblood of Formula One. Taking their organisations into perilous financial positions just to keep on racing at times. I don’t see why anyone of these teams shouldn’t be getting an equivalent cut of the money as Ferrari are. Ferrari might be what most people associate with Formula One, but they are nothing if they don’t have anybody to race.

        1. Well said. These teams aren’t just unappreciated by the governing body. They are also getting spit in the face time and time again. Its amazing how the FIA can bring up ideas such as reverse grids etc. to shake up the “boring” racing, yet the most fundamental things such as payout can be so blatantly unfair. they seem to insist this is the way its supposed to be. Once the Eu finally drops that ban hammer on alcohol advertising on racing cars, it can only get worse for my favorite team’s like Williams.

        2. Williams are one of the few teams that have very little going on except the fact they are a Formula One racing team.

          Wait, did you miss the bit where Williams manufacture the transmission for other F1 teams alongside providing the batteries to all the Formula E teams (and are soon going to be running the new Jag FE team)?

          1. christopheraser
            13th April 2016, 1:02

            Wait did you miss the bit where I said very little, not nothing? Oh no you didn’t you have quoted it directly and chosen to disregard it completely so you could use your keyboard on the internet again. You pedant.

        3. Not sure what her aim is either. Now, she is all for Haas and what they did, while Pat Symonds isn’t. I suppose he’ll support the Ferrari payment being higher, while she opposes it then.

    4. Bit of a strange interview with JS there, or rather his views are a bit, ehm, resticted. As far as drivers and everything, he shows he knows his stuff, but the part about finding it hard to follow the race on TV? And what about the HAas thing, does he really think that buying Ferrari stuff is cheaper to do than building it yourself?

      1. When Stefan was racing in F1, it was cheaper to buy in most things rather than produce it yourself. Stefan raced at the tail end of the time when it was possible to do this (at least for part of the car). Times have changed since then, with much higher prices needed for constructors to profit sufficiently from customer teams.

      2. I thought he made some great points on pretty much everything. As to being hard to follow on TV, I take his point in that once you have so many variables as to tires and the states they’re in, it’s harder to make out if you are seeing an apples-to-apples battle between two drivers, or just one driver passing a disadvantaged driver.

        As to the Haas deal…this supports something Horner was saying a few years ago when suggestions of 3 car teams were mildly be mentioned to make up the grid. He said rather than that, and especially to help the problem of small teams struggling so hard to survive under the current format of F1, the top teams should be able to sell chassis/engines to the smaller teams so they don’t have to do everything from scratch. To me it is a no-brainer that it is a way way cheaper way to go for the smaller teams when you add in all the work and effort it takes to start from scratch and then try to eek it out in this global economy long enough on your own to actually get to the point of competing reasonably well. Odds are these days they go broke and leave well before that happens, and how does that help anyone?

        Rather for the good of the sport let small teams who so choose, buy existing proven chassis/engines…they don’t have to be the latest greatest that the works teams have, but would immediately leapfrog the smaller teams up from the doldrums to at least close up the field and make for a bigger and overall more competitive grid. Let’s not assume the top teams would want so much money and profit from this that smaller teams would be just as well off all on their own. I think there is something to this that shouldn’t be dismissed so readily.

    5. ColdFly F1 (@)
      12th April 2016, 6:09

      Claire Williams is right, and it does not even mean that Ferrari should get less.
      If FOM were to distribute 90% of the profit in a similar way to the English Premier League distribution key then everybody would be better off (even Ferrari). Small teams will see their FOM income double to some $90-110m and Ferrari gets double that.
      FOM will have a net profit of $200m, which they can increase easily if they start focussing on growing the sport rather than growing the short term cash.

      1. It’s not the amount but the amount they are short of Ferrari that counts for them. If small teams get more but the top team get even more small team are stupid and will spend what they have not got to keep up and go to the wall. They get say 30 million now and spend 60, give them 100 million they will spend 150 million, they are small teams not just on the track but off it as well, their financial management must be appalling.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          12th April 2016, 10:38

          That’s exactly what I suggested, MarkP – check the original link for details.

          1. I didn’t click the link and was musing out loud my own thoughts, we agree.

      2. @coldfly Something to consider about that is that FOM do a lot more than the owners of the premiere league in terms of required expenditure.
        FOM pay to rent the circuits, They pay for all the insurance fee’s that allow a race to take place, They pay team’s transportation cost’s & pay to rent the planes etc… to transport teams & equipment to the races & of course they produce the TV broadcast’s so have to spend on all TV equipment as well as the timing equipment & everything associated with it including maintenance & upgrade cost’s.

        I agree that the distribution model is wrong but FOM is more than just CVC/Bernie (Who are all everyone ever focuses on sadly), There are sub-divisions within FOM that could actually do with higher budgets rather than less & changing things in a way that gives them less isn’t going to benefit F1.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          12th April 2016, 13:36

          Correct @gt-racer.
          But FOM deducts all those costs before they split the profit between teams & shareholders.
          The 37% FOM keeps is pure profit, ‘cash in the bank’!

          PS – FOM’s model is even better. They paid themselves a dividend and borrowed the money, and undoubtedly deduct the interest from the profit. Thus in the end the teams ‘pay’ for the interest on the CVC dividends.
          Explain that to Sauber personnel who got their Feb/March wage late.

        2. Huh? They don’t pay to rent the curcuits. They did a long time ago, but now the curcuits pay to hold the race and all they get out of it are ticket sales.

    6. My preferred quali format’s are either;

      a) A RACE. Start in reverse WDC order. 22 cars, 22 laps, open pit-lane, rolling start, where you finish = where you start the GP. No real tyre rules, no real fuel rules.

      b) A FASTEST LAP SESSION. Reminiscient of the old 4 sets of tyres for quali only, 12 laps, 1hr. That format didn’t quite work because the track was usually pretty empty for the first 15-30mins. So I’d make it a 40mins session, and if need be, to ensure we don’t just have a load of cars going out at the end, say a “hot-lap must be started every 10mins, and each car must do 4 qualifying runs.” Words to that effect.

      Supplemented with “race tyre start” rules, relative to where you’ve qualified, as this system means you’ll be lining up the grid fastest to slowest, and the powers that be want mixed up racing. Starting the top 5 on their quali tyres for example would achieve that, as they’d be back in the pack (after pitting) after a couple of handful’s of laps.

      1. @thef1engineer I’m not clear on your B option, especially the “race tyre start” rule. If the top X driver need to start on quali tires and they have 4 set to use on quali for 4 hot lap then it means they started on 3 lap old tire (in-hot-out), which is same as now? In that case the tires age won’t matter much as we saw for couple of years already, so your scenario of they pitting early and get back in the pack won’t actually happen.

        Also the funny thing is for people who expect starting on used tires (i.e qualy tires) is good because the drivers forced to pit early, that scenario is actually really depend on rubbish tires that degrade fast and have steep cliff (so you can’t defend position on the track thus forcing pitting early or have greater loss) which is exactly the kind of tires that Pirelli supplied and ridiculed for! (and it still failed to fulfill that scenario too!)

        1. The “qualifying-only” tyres would be 4 sets of the ultra-softs, so we have proper qualifying tyres again :D.

          You’re correct. A very similar rule exists now, but it does allow a bit of lee-way. This way doesn’t, and is a much clearer, “you must start on this soft compound, relative to where you qualified.”

          As you progress further down the grid, more compounds would become available to you, therefore widening your strategy options. The top 5 would start on the U/S’s for example, the next 5 S/S’s, the next 6 a choice of S/S’s or softs and the last 6 free choice.

          Just because a tyre degrades fast doesn’t make it rubbish. A really soft, short-life tyre is perfectly legitimate. Time attack cars are a good example of this. I’ve seen some so soft you can practically put your finger right through!

          What Pirelli are ridiculed for is the METHOD they used to inject that rapid degradation into the tyre, thermal. They really should just use good old plain and simple wear. Drivers can then drive as hard or as soft on the compound as they like, and extend or shorten the stint accordingly.

          I don’t necessarily blame them for going thermal. They wanted proper testing programmes to achieve degradation by the more conventional method, this was repeatedly rebuffed by the teams, and the FIA/FOM weren’t particularly forthcoming in addressing the matter, so they didn’t really have much choice. But that’s a little off topic.

          I know people find tyres boring, to most they are just black things on the corner of the car, BUT, they are one of the most complicated and they ARE the most important aspect of the car. F1 really should do more to help Pirelli construct proper racing performance tyres. Thankfully, it seems like they’ve finally got that message.

    7. Be careful Claire, in Bernie’s old ear, that can be translated to “Williams want reduced bonus payment and give it to Ferrari”

      1. Haha yes indeed

    8. “Drivers have always had chance to voice opinion – FIA”
      One thing that bothers me & Charlie Whiting said it before too, drivers are always invited to “….every technical and every sporting meeting”.

      I don’t think we can doubt someone like Whiting. So why didn’t driver used those chance to express their opinion? Why’d they have to write a letter like that(which got leaked)? And the main question, weren’t the drivers listened to so they had to write that letter?

      1. because while they say “the drivers can come in and talk whenever they want” they never were invited to discuss things like the 2017 changes, or the qualifying format changes or the radio limitations etc and really have their say.

        The drivers don’t want to bang Todt’s doors to go and air their opinions, they are vying for a more sturctured approach to rule making were various interested parties can give their ideas, opinions of new rules so that those rules that will be voted on would actually make sense and improve F1 instead of the mess we have currently.

        And as for giving them a seat at the F1 commission, that is a body that only rubberstamps whatever crazyness the “Strategic” group votes through @praxis.

        1. @bascb,
          Yeah, so sadly this all comes back to the commission & all the inadequacies of it’s decision making process.

          So what I’m realizing now, that it’s not about drivers speaking out in any sort of manner, or having their input in the decision making process or them having actual access as Whiting or Todt claims. It’s all about reacting to the continuous incompetence & short-sightedness from the rule-makers.

          That’s quite depressing.

      2. I am quite surprised how fast people forget. Drivers were indeed invited to a meeting first with Pirelli in Milan before the start of the season. To my knowledge, Seb and a few other guys expressed their opinions regarding the kind of tyres they would prefer racing with and how such might influence the racing experience for everyone.
        Then before the first cars went to the track to try the now botched qualifying revision, drivers were invited to a meeting, I guess in Australia, where they categorically told the authorities of the sport not to go ahead with the new qualifying procedure because none of them were in support of it. And they gave other reasons why the new Q format will be detrimental for the sport.
        In both of these meetings, as we have realised, they were not listened to.
        So yes, they might invite drivers to say their mind but it is in all essense only for window dressing and photo op. They don’t take driver’s opinions serious. So that letter they wrote was a spill over of frustration coming from a group of young men with indepth racing experience who have been toyed with for many years by the powers that be in the sport they love.

      3. Because the drivers had been using them, for several years, and things had only gotten worse. It had reached the point where they either changed tactics, or accepted that F1 was going to be lost whatever they did and find a series that wants to continue to exist. They were asking the FIA and FOM to do their jobs correctly. Bernie effectively proved their point by his response – if the FOM and FIA were doing their jobs properly, they’d be coming up with ideas to fix the mess that were better, rather than worse, than the problems they were trying to fix.

        If the paddock powers are truly as ignorant of this as Stefan suggests, then F1 is in danger of finding itself with very few drivers – and the remaining ones will likely be using F1 as a springboard to some series with a long-term future.

        1. Also, Bernie’s response that drivers should “go away and think about it” misses the fact that the drivers had done so, decided the fans should be allowed to figure it out, arranged for a survey to be done to learn the necessary information and let themselves be guided by the results (unlike the FIA, who only seemed to use their surveys as window dressing). They’d thought about it quite intensely and been ignored.

      4. @praxis – He’s right. The fans also have always had the chance to express their opinions. They get listened to about as much as the drivers!

        1. @petebaldwin,
          Over the years I’ve picked Whiting as someone who’s words were believable & without any hidden agendas. Now that’s gone too.

      5. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        12th April 2016, 13:27

        According to Lauda, the poorly received Quali format of the first two races was actually Whiting- which seems at odds with his position in the sport especially given how poor a suggestion it turned out to be.

    9. Personally, I hope Mercedes doesn’t renew Rosberg’s contract. Although he’s gotten off to a flying start this year, it’s just a matter of time before Hamilton is dialled in and then Rosberg is helpless against his pace and racecraft.

      Mercedes would want to sign him, as he’s a really strong option for making sure they secure the WCC, and at the same time, he’s just not good enough to beat Hamilton. So in their books, he’s a disguised #2 driver who constantly puts in strong results. This probably works perfectly for Mercedes despite the occasional tension in the garage.

      From a sport’s “show” point of view, I think most of us would like to see Hamilton go up against another talent. I think Ricciardo, Verstappen and Grosjean would be great options for that #2 seat at Mercedes. If Mclaren cannot put Vandoorne in a Mclaren next year, I think Mercedes should look at poaching him as well.

      1. I’d say the best thing Mercedes can do right now, is not solve that contract and just wait to see how Rosberg holds up this year @todfod.

      2. @todfod You underestimated Rosberg massively. He showed he is as dominant as Hamilton on winning races that Hamilton don’t. In case Hamilton somehow miss F1 in 2017 and Mercedes still competitive, Rosberg is much more dependable to win the WDC than Ricciardo, Verstappen, or Grosjean for them. Especially Verstappen who is overrated highly, he has shown last year and this year that while he’s good at overtaking on the track, his overall speed is not outstanding (from qualifying), his emotion still uncontrolled (Monaco last year and Aussie this year), and very big question mark if he cope the pressure of being in WDC hunt on team that sweep the competition 3 years in a row. I don’t doubt Verstappen can (and probably will) win WDC in the future but not in near enough future.

        1. You underestimated Rosberg massively. He showed he is as dominant as Hamilton on winning races that Hamilton don’t.

          First of all, the Mercedes is so dominant that if Hamilton doesn’t win the race, then Rosberg would be massively underperforming if he didn’t take the win. If you look back at the stats from 2013, it’s obvious that Hamilton still has a decent advantage in quali pace, race pace, race craft and handles the pressure much better than Rosberg. I’m not saying Rosberg is a slouch, but Hamilton has an easy grip on beating him.

          Mercedes won’t be the dominant force they are now, forever. In 2017, there is a very good chance that Ferrari might build a car as competitive, if not more than the Mercedes challenger. At that time they will want to have a driver who can battle for wins and the championship despite not having the massive machinery advantage they have now. We know Lewis can do it, but can Rosberg do it? I highly doubt that

          1. @todfod – Doesn’t matter what car Ferrari build – it won’t have a Mercedes PU in it so it won’t compete for the top spot.

            For the time being, Mercedes have it easy and the Hamilton/Rosberg combo seems to work fine – there’s no point in changing that until anyone else can compete with them.

          2. @todfod The problem is Hamilton is on another tier of drivers that can make any good driver as teammate looks like a bad driver. He even made Alonso like your average driver on his rookie season. Of the non World Champions on the grid right now, Rosberg is easily the best of them, and he already showed how he fare under WDC pressure (not perfect, but still good)

            At that time they will want to have a driver who can battle for wins and the championship despite not having the massive machinery advantage they have now. We know Lewis can do it, but can Rosberg do it?
            Yet all your drivers suggestion is more unproven than Rosberg? None of them (Ricciardo, Verstappen, Grosjean, and Vandoorne – you actually suggesting a rookie for WDC hunt!) ever being in the pressure of having a chance at winning WDC before. And you expect them to just doing much better job to protect Mercedes title against proven drivers like Vettel/Raikkonen or Alonso/Button (I can hope!)

            1. I did say it was from the “show” perspective. Not saying Verstappen or Vandoorne would do a better job, but it would be interesting to see either of them pair up with Lewis at Mercedes.

              Ricciardo and Grosjean, I honestly believe, would do a better job than Rosberg. But that’s just my opinion, and I’m sure a lot would disagree

      3. Not going to happen of course, but we could dream of Alonso going to Mercedes in 2017 just for a moment couldn’t we? Thing is, they will resign Rosberg anyway. He’s just too good to put it bluntly and gets on so well with the team he helped to build.

        1. Alonso is too old for a car like merc. Maybe an S class.

      4. I hope they resign Rosberg and eventually Hamilton especially with the 2017 rules about to be introduced. You need two steady, capable and proven hands in such a situation at least in the first year of a rules upheaval.
        Concerning your Nico Rosberg capabilities, I think you are far from the truth. If your reason to ask Mercedes to sign someone new is only to have Hamilton beaten, then I doubt Mercedes will do that as their goal couldn’t be further from yours. I guess I am right to say that they do not want to beat Hamilton but to beat other drivers and teams they are competing with.
        Nico in my opinion is as capable as Lewis Hamilton with Hamilton having only a slight edge. As we have seen, Nico is in good form at the moment with Hamilton scrambling to find a way to beat him.
        No team ever signs someone with the intention of starting an intra team battle just so their own driver is beaten by their own driver.
        Both drivers are so strong that racing together they assure Mercedes, at least in my opinion, the Constructors’ trophy in years to come.
        Such a formula should not be toyed with on a whimsical excuse as to find someone who can ‘take it to Hamilton’.

        1. As mentioned in my 1st post. I think Mercedes will sign Rosberg exactly because he makes a solid #2 driver. That’s what I expect them to do.

          I was just giving a flip situation where they could need a better driver if they are the 2nd best team all of a sudden. Then they should look at filling the seat with the best 2 available drivers, and that might not necessarily be Nico Rosberg

          1. 5 races in a row, what a number 2 driver.

            1. Let’s see who leads the championship 10 races in to the season. Heck, let’s see if the championship even goes down to the last 3 races of the season.

      5. I have underestimated Ricciardo before and I am probably doing that again but I honestly do not think that he can beat Hamilton as long as the latter is at top of his form. The same goes for Grosjean. Verstappen seems to be the next F1 legend but will he be ready to fight for the championship as soon as next year? I am not sure.

        While it is easy to disregard Rosberg’s achievements, he has actually done a lot of things that only a few would have expected before 2014 even though he had beaten Schumacher for three years in a row and had a very strong 2013 season as well. He:

        * beat Hamilton to pole position trophy in 2014
        * kept the 2014 title fight alive until the final race
        * has now won three Monaco Grands Prix in a row
        * has now won five consecutive races

        Long story short, I believe that Hamilton and Rosberg already are the exciting Mercedes line-up that we long to see. If Hamilton’s head is too busy with some other stuff, then anything could happen this year. If not, then Rosberg will indeed be helpless against his team mate, just like almost every other current F1 driver would be.

        1. I don’t know about Mercedes having the most competitive line-up.

          Honestly, in 2013 Lewis was significantly better than Nico.
          He was better in 2014 as well, and it was a lot of mechanical gremlins and the double points in Abu Dhabi, that took Rosberg’s title chase down to the last race. I agree that in 2014, it was very evenly matched in quali between Nico and Lewis, but if you ask me, that’s the best Nico could do.
          In 2015, again it was a dominating display by Lewis up until he sealed the championship. Then he began to slack
          In 2016, Lewis has 2 poles in a row, and botched 2 starts. It’s still to early to tell. I think by Barcelona. Hamilton would have found his footing again. From then onwards it’s Lewis all the way to his 4th title.

          Heck, this is just my opinion. Let’s see how it pans out

      6. I don’t know why they are waiting to renew Rosberg’s contract. He is good in setup work as we know since the Schumacher years and will usually deliver without too much mistakes.

        He has been warned he might be let go if his rivalry with Hamilton spills over to the garage, but I believe there would be drama with anyone should there be a close fight for the championship. Maybe a fresh faced driver like Wehrlein would not be able to mount such a threat and thus keep the peace, and as he is virtually guaranteed a seat at some point according to various statements by Wolf would be a likely replacement. Just don’t know how it would fit Mercedes/Daimlers marketing to have 2 colored drivers at the same time though.

        If Rosberg contract is extended, something tells me Lauda will not help him with that like he did with Hamiton, do you? ;)

    10. For sure, drivers just need to go to Jean and Charlie and tell them that elimination qualifying (or whatever Bernie has come up with) is nonsense and humiliates F1. Then Jean and Charlie will make sure that it is immediately scrapped and Bernie will also think twice before suggesting something similar again. Because that is how F1 works, right?

      As Dolores Umbridge said, “I’m sure we’re all going to be very good friends.”

      1. The problem with the idea is that the drivers tried to do this before sending the letter and it didn’t work. Dolores was smart enough to use the insincere gesture of friendliness before showing her bad side, something the FIA and FOM failed to do…

    11. So now that quali has been sorted (temporarily), can we actually crack on and get some 2017 regs sorted please?
      It feels like F1 is resting on its laurels like all is now good again. One swallow does not make a summer.

      1. Also re: COTD.
        At work we had a saying.
        The good thing is we get there in the end.
        The bad thing is we get there, but only in the end.

      2. We may have to get Sauber saved first :(

    12. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      12th April 2016, 8:59

      No, Claire, you have clearly learnt nothing from what should have been a bruising experience. In case you were wondering, the lesson is the qualifying is/was fine: stop bandaging the open, festering wound at F1’s core and directly confront the aerodynamic miasma currently gripping our sport.

      1. Exactly. That is the problem I have with statements she/the wider Williams team has made regarding the whole Q affair.
        From the beginning, they have been in support of the nonesense fans had to endure in the name of race qualification. Before the races began, she had no qualms about the new Q despite fans and drivers ‘ strong dislike of it.
        Now if you read her statement in the article, you will realise that to her or Williams in general- since she is their principal, changing F1s tries, tested and working Q to the charade we experienced is not the problem but the problem is the way the issue was handled ie publicly. She preffers such done internally. Away from fans and afterwards introduce it to fans. So it seems no regrets.
        And it seems we haven’t heard the last of Q changes. Apparently, something new is coming in 2017 whether it is even necessary or we like it or not. As reported before the new season began, she wanted the ‘negativity’ from fans to be ignored, saying the new Q should be given a chance, but the question was and still is; should it have been introduced at all?
        As I have said, I used to view Williams with a lot of respect until 2016.

    13. If Ferrari take over Sauber or Toro Rosso, and call it Alfa Romeo, do they get another shady heritage payment for that?

      1. Doubt it and how can a heritage payment be shady when they have been in every season of F1? If Merc or RedBull get such a payment that is dodgy. Over 60 years commitment to F1 should be rewarded in some way, it’s not phone contracts where new customers get the best deals.

    14. Actually the secret to muddling up the grid is pretty simple.

      If the money was distributed more evenly, them more teams would have enough to develop which means a greater chance of them being competitive.

      That is turn means that there will be a greater mix of front runners in qualifying and the race.

      No gimmics required – just divide the money more equitably.

      1. Small teams are as they are also because not only do they not have as good staff but they do not have as good management. If they spend more than they have now they will do the same with even more money. Ferrari were once small as were McLaren and they became the 2 most successful teams in F1. F1 cannot be dragged down to the lowest common denominator which are teams like Manor. They should be happy being in F1 and not spend beyond their means.

        1. F1 shouldn’t be dragged to the lowest common denominator but it should also look to minimise the gap between the bottom and the top. By paying those at the top lots more money than those at the bottom (regardless of finishing position), they are doing the exact opposite.

          1. This is so hard to implement as say from 2017 no bonus payments only based on results. Merc and Ferrari will be 1 and 2 so get the most as they do now, they have more to spend the following year increasing their chances of getting 1 and 2 and the gap just keeps growing again between the top and the bottom. The best way to close the field up is to keep the rules stable for a period of time and teams get closer as no matter the money you have you are restrained by what is possible within the confines of those rules. Stable rules will mean top teams hit the ceiling 1st then the others will catch. Give little teams more money and they will miss manage it as they do now but to a larger scale.

        2. I don’t think so @markp. These days small teams are small because they’re independent and need sponsorship which pay-TV has sabotaged.

          It’s a change to the whole model of F1, which is now Bernie’s biased handouts rather than success bringing sponsorship – as we saw with Lotus who gained nothing from Kimi’s remarkable successes.

          1. No doubt the tv situation makes it harder to get exposure and therefore sponsors. That is not going to change and neither is distribution of fund to small teams F1 is not a communist structure, basically it is tough luck on small teams and we may well have more teams like Haas entering who are just a platform for their other businesses as a means of advertising, after their performances thus far they would also be better placed to be competitive than the little teams. Little teams will soon be gone, Sauber will become Alfa Romeo, Red Bull is an advertisement for drinks as is Torro Rosso. Teams that do not exist as an advertising tool like Williams, Manor, Force India may well be gone, maybe Ron Dennis saw this coming and so has started to build a very decent roadcar division. F1 is now not for small teams looking for sponsors it is for manufacturer teams and companies that use to sponsor having their own teams based on the Haas model.

            1. Car racing has always needed sponsor money. Sponsors in return want to see a marketing return for their dollars spent. This has been going on forever and is entirely what racing and most sports hinges on.

              I think that what has happened in the past decade is that the market crashed and still hasn’t recovered. BE’s poor money distribution would remain less of an issue if smaller teams were still able to garner enough outside money to survive. But in the global economy we have been in for longer than most people predicted, small teams, and even bigger ones, have a harder time finding outside money which has put the talk toward the poor money distribution now, that in the past was hard to take but not insurmountable by the smaller teams.

              I think that F1 seriously needs to make a more enthralling product on the track and not miss their opportunity with the changes being considered for next year and beyond. Start it with that since that can be quite quickly affected moreso than money distribution that I’m assuming is locked in right now. As remains the poor global economy. A better product on the track and that should at least make for something attractive to sponsors going forward. Some rules stability, some simplification, some getting back to it’s roots as much as possible.

              I like Sam Walton’s (Walmart) quote…paraphrasing…The customer is our boss…they can fire us in an instant simply by not buying our product.

            2. @markp Just wanted to add I don’t think any team exists without being an advertising tool as you put it. Williams for example has been a vehicle for sponsors just as much as Red Bull only at a smaller level financially. Haas wouldn’t be doing this if he didn’t, and hasn’t always, loved racing. And it is no crime to try to make money.

            3. That may be the case @markp but that’s a different thing to management competence. If a team doesn’t get enough money from Bernie there’s not much they can do these days. Not that managements can’t be better or worse as you say but it’s not the whole story.

              Which is fine for Bernie because one of the dramas he likes to have around the circus is one or more teams on the point of going bust. He’d hate to have a stable bunch of the same boring old teams, year after year!

            4. @lockup I agree this is not the whole story and I am being very sweeping and generic with my statements this is a very complex issue as many are in F1 and there is no single answer due to a number of nuances. I do not think what is happening to small teams is right and I can’t really offer the theory of a solution I am commenting on how I see the current situation unfolding. That said if small teams are in financial problems I find it hard how to understand they only have say 50 million a year for the team and end up spending more. I think to give small teams more money from the pot they should have a full investigation of how they are financially managed otherwise it’s like giving the teenage driver the keys to a supercar, the crash will be bigger.

            5. Yeah it’s hard to judge @markp. When we see the video of Merc’s or Haas’ operations it’s incredible what an organisation they need. For me the organic way is that if a team can’t get sponsorship they go bust so a new team can come in, but that only works if sponsorship follows success.

              Right now the budget they need to be effective is bigger than the value of the promotion they can offer. €10m is a lot of car space but it doesn’t pay for enough. So teams can go bust because they’re on the wrong end of Bernie’s totem pole and for no other reason. Though I do agree sometimes, like Caterham, they just don’t spend the money wisely and ought to make way.

          2. Yeah Haas has come in with money, experience in racing, and a big marketing plan. They’ve taken the customer car allowances to the legal limit and so far have already had a bit of impact. Only time will tell if their presence as an entity in F1 has the desired marketing effect and increases global contracts for his CNC machinery.

            I agree with the concept that teams entering F1 need to have shown why they belong in a sustainable way and when in trouble it may just be good money after bad to give them more distribution money than was already agreed. But things can change in the economy or what have you and make it more of a moving target than it already is, so sometimes it wasn’t bad management but just unforeseen circumstances.

            I say start with what can be quite quickly addressed which is a better product on the track to generate excitement for potential sponsors, including some rules stability and some simplification.

            Perhaps at the same time they need a few more Haas type teams who can deal with the current global climate and are willing to put up with F1’s problems that they no doubt hope improve. They obviously see value in the concept and entity of F1 in spite of it’s issues.

      2. @dbradock Too bad you not working for Toyota F1 or BAR-Honda. Oh wait…

        1. Nope…….. Got nothing…..

    15. I love the way Bernie dealt with it. Essentially he agreed with them but corrected their spelling and grammar, which only underlines the respect and reaction it got from the people it was meant to be addressed to.

      Had to smile that Stefan Johansson didn’t get that Bernie was being sarcastic and having a little joke, not actually correcting any grammar. I thought he was generally a bit clueless, really. Another ex-driver with a shedload of opinions. Though he is 100% right about the coverage not keeping up with the complexities of the sport.

      1. Oh I thought JS did get it which is why he said he loved the way BE responded.

        1. Oops meant SJ of course.

        2. At no level did BE agree with them @robbie. He said “it’s easy so come back on this”, and “I’ve been doing it for 50 years.” Lol. Then he suggests their obsequious “sure everyone acts with the best intentions” was a typo for “everyone acts with THEIR best intentions.” Hahaha.

          Strangely Fox was among those who got it, tho with Adam Cooper: http://www.foxsports.com/motor/story/f1-bernie-ecclestone-snarky-open-letter-gpda-sebastian-vettel-jenson-button-alex-wurz-032416

          SJ didn’t get it though, while trying to be a bit superior.

          1. Sorry @lockup it must be me. I re-read SJ’s interview and I still glean from it that he agrees with BE’s snarky response, and thinks the driver shouldn’t have bothered with the letter. So I’m not sure where SJ doesn’t get it and is trying to be a bit superior.

            1. Well SJ says BE essentially agreed with the drivers @robbie, which was not the case at all it was just Bernie being snarky, and he says BE corrected their spelling and grammar, which he didn’t.

    16. I think Mercedes will keep Rosberg now. If he’s WDC they definitely will. If he’s runner-up they may keep him anyway because he does not get on too badly with Lewis and he’s German. Of course he may want to leave if it becomes clear he is not going to win the Championship. If Rosberg does go I think he might go back to Williams.

      Raikkonen will definitely be going and I think his replacement is between Grosjean and Ricciardo. Verstappen will in all likelihood be chauffeuring a Red Bull next year in my opinion.

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