Some F1 teams are “in big financial trouble”

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: New McLaren boss Zak Brown says some F1 teams still have serious financial problems.

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2017 will be better…

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Comment of the day

Have you changed your allegiances in surprising ways over the years?

Years ago, as a Schumacher fan, I’d never have thought I’d say this, but I’ll be cheering on Alonso this year, hoping he can mix it up towards or at the front. He is currently the best with considerable talent covering many disciplines F1 requires.

Also will be hoping Verstappen goes very well, he is the brightest star we have for the future, unless Vandoorne comes in strong and usurps max as the best for the future.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Alvink and Bryce Metzger!

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On this day in F1

Big change at Williams five years ago today as long-time designer Patrick Head stepped down.

December on F1 Fanatic

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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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67 comments on “Some F1 teams are “in big financial trouble””

  1. ColdFly F1 (@)
    31st December 2016, 0:09

    I would hope that all PU deliver absolute parity to their customers.
    The rule book tries to deliver that, availability of fuel/lubricants and the use of special settings make me doubt that has been delivered.

    1. The rules states hardware parity including oil and fuel, but the rules does not mention/talk about “SETTINGS” SOFTWARE.
      “red bullies promised engine parity” and Toro Rosso looking for an engine sticker, so now it has been confirmed that the grand rebranding was nothing more than a sticker on the valve cover.
      after the red bullies dragged Renault through the mud and after they licked up all they done, three people who runs and owns their F1 websites/blogs, came out assuring their followers that the red bullies will be using a Renault engine block with a Mario Illien designed and developed cylinder heads, fuel injection system and ERS, which were being developed so and so levels underground at building 9. that was the type of information they were feeding their followers.

    2. How can an power unit manufacturer expect to provide parity with teams like Mercedes and Ferrari unless they are using very similar design techniques? The Renault power units have what appear to be design flaws that would have produced less power than their leading two competitors, so it appears by Horner’s comment that the Renault power units of 2017 will be similar to the 2016 Mercedes power unit.

      1. Is Horner not referring to engine parity with the works Renault team not Merc, Ferrari and Honda?

      2. As far as I know, Horner is talking about parity with the factory Renault team @drycrust, and that’s something they can obviously guarantee them,in principle.

        @coldfly does have a point that if Red Bull uses a different fuel/lubricants supplier that makes it hard again though.

        At least Mercedes cars currently all use Petronas, and all Ferrari teams Shell, as far as I know,and in 2016 it looked like all Mercedes customers had access to the same revision, settings as the factory team. Still, integration into the chassis and cooling also makes a difference, which is easier to get just right for the factory team.

        1. @bosyber Isn’t Williams using Petrobras fluids?

          1. @x303 As far as I know Williams too are running on Petronas. Petrobras do sponsor Williams since 2014, and did originally intend to actually fuel them from 2015, but they found they couldn’t put in the resources to give the team competitive fuel given the large improvements made by Petronas (and Shell).

          2. @bosyber Thank you for the clarification, cheers!

        2. the key to the whole subject of power unit parity is the software supplied with the power unit, try find out what Ron Dennis declared as to the chances of a customer team winning the championship.

        3. My thanks for correcting me.

  2. WeatherManNX01
    31st December 2016, 0:12

    WHAT!?!?!? Mid-level and backmarker teams are in financial trouble in a system that is heavily weighted toward the the big players?

    You don’t say.

    1. Ouch. COTD. Or rather COT(insert since whenever the Concorde agreement was implemented).

      1. @sravan-pe The current concorde agreement runs from 2013 and expires in 2020 (that’s the mobile version link because I’m on my phone).

    2. Exactly my thoughts… Hopefully Liberty will help out the smaller teams more than Bernie does.

    3. If ever there was a case for a shiny brand-new F1 owner ( especially with a fine title like
      ‘Liberty’ ! ) to take the current grossly unfairly distributed F1 financial spoils by the scruff
      of the neck and simply re-assign every cent, every dollar fairly and squarely to every
      participating team, that time is right now.

      No bonus payments to any team whether it has a red prancing horse for a motif or green
      prancing dormouse for a badge. When the first starting grid lines up in March every teams
      cars should have identical cash from F1 ( what they can earn elsewhere from sponsorship
      is entirely up to them ! ) and no team ( be they ever so mighty ) should be allowed any
      secret deals with the owners.

      So come on Liberty… us just how honest and fair you intend to be. We’re waiting…..

    4. It isn’t just the need for a more equal distribution of the TV rights payout money, but also a more equal distribution of TV air time as well. Every team should go into a race knowing they have a guaranteed amount of airtime during a race because airtime can be turned into revenue via corporate sponsorship, but when one watches a race it seems that some teams get so little coverage it seems like they aren’t there. About the only time they get a mention is when they are holding up a front running car by not obeying the Blue Flags. The lack of guaranteed airtime would only encourage the slower teams to want their drivers to be slow obeying this rule so at least they get some air time.

  3. Oh..Oh….

    Lewis gonna get some folks all worked up again!

    1. Yeah @stubbornswiss, why can’t he be humble like that nice Daniel Ricciardo? ;)

      1. @lockup …….. or maybe like the even ‘nicer’ Nico Rosberg.

        Can you imagine how much fun F1 would be if all the drivers were as boring as ROS?


      2. @lockup, doesn’t Ricciardo have his own private jet as well? I have a recollection of Ricciardo posting a video from onboard a private jet with Button and Massa cracking a few jokes in the background (though it is possible that it was a private charter airline).

    2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      31st December 2016, 1:56

      His plane is the exact shade of red that TRIGGERS me.

      1. @tophercheese21 Maybe you need to change your name to Ragin’ Bull…….. lol!

        Happy New Year!

      2. Assume Hamilton has full pilot’s licence to fly that pretty little toy
        he’s just bought with last weeks loose change………………?

    3. Who doesn’t have a private jet throne? It’s (almost) 2017 people!

    4. How’s he going to get down? I presume his team left him up there for a while.

    5. Ironic that directly underneath a tweet about driver salaries there is a picture of Hamilton sitting on top of a private jet…

    6. Serious question (not designed to wind people up!):
      Now that Nico is gone, will Lewis get his original engineers back in 2017?
      (Ie: the ones he had in 2014 and 2015 before the infamous Mercedes engineer swap round of 2016)

      1. @eurobrun I haven’t seen anything going into that direction. So I think Hamilton won’t have the same crew he enjoyed in 2014-15 next year.

        1. I don’t expect that Lewis can force them to return to the Drama! side of the garage.

      2. @eurobrun Mercedes have not yet confirmed their driver choice for 2017, much less signed up Bottas as that driver, but already Toto Wolff is having to defend issues/allegations of ‘conflicts of interest’.

        Given what we saw in 2016, plus all the allegations and ‘conspiracy theories’, nothing will surprise me in 2017.

        1. Lauda was very clear in that: Toto resigned the management of Bottas already

          1. @seth-space So given his history of managing him in the past, it is your opinion that resigning that position now totally erases all conflicts of interest, or appearnces of conflicts of interest?

            Any which way you cut it, it is a slippery slope.

  4. @lockup …….. or maybe like the even ‘nicer’ Nico Rosberg.

    Can you imagine how much fun F1 would be if all the drivers were as boring as ROS?


    1. That would mean HAM will be on the place 21 next year ;)
      There still is a change he will win the title next year now ROS is gone.

  5. If I had such a nice plane, I would sit inside.
    Happy New Year to all F1 Fanatics!

    1. My thoughts exactly.

      Maybe in the summer months, but December? Leather chair and booze, please.

    2. Lewis is training to be part of the Breitling Wingwalkers next year:

    3. You all know that’s an old picture right? He has been posting pictures he has taken throughout the year.

  6. In other news today Rolls Royce announced that their new engine supplier Proton has guaranteed absolute parity with the engines they use in their own cars. So, no problem.

  7. COTD… almost identical to the way I’ve changed my view of Alonso.

    Go back to the mid-2000s, I was a Raikkonen fan and couldn’t stand Alonso. I didn’t think he was that good… rational me still thinks Raikkonen was better at the time… and my dislike continued as I started to support Hamilton in 2007.

    But over the years he’s gone from being a good driver who irritated me a fair bit to being a genuine all-time great who I’ve slowly found myself not minding, then liking… and now I sit here fuming because I’m being robbed of the chance to see him where he belongs (at the front). Back in 2005-2009, I’d have found it hilarious.

    And the same thing happened to me with Schumacher. Disliked him a lot, then over time, without realising it, found myself hoping he did well.

    I think in both cases it was mostly the fact that I reached a point where, past feelings aside, I couldn’t help but respect greatness.

    1. I never liked Alonso either, but, has proven himself to be a good, strong and clean driver. I think having had a couple strong team mates in the form of Kimi Raikkonnen and Jenson Button have also toned his attitude of being the dominant and team influencing driver and moved him to becoming a more focussed and balanced person.

      1. the skwirrell
        1st January 2017, 9:18

        Re Maddme’s comment “I never liked Alonso either, but, has proven himself to be a good, strong and clean driver.”

        Sorry, don’t agree with the “clean”; somehow Manuel’s “I know nothing, Mr Faulty. Nothing!” had more integrity about it. Ah, Singapore when was done …

    2. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      31st December 2016, 9:36

      I thought the same about kimi especially in 2003 & 2005 relative to Alonso.

      I was a huge schumi fan (still am) but I’ve mellowed and aged over the years and totally relate to your last paragraph. To be honest though, there is one exception to this… Lewis Hamilton – for as much as i was a massive supporter of his in 2007, my respect for his attitude has reduced significantly since. Still respect his driving talent though.

    3. I think in both cases it was mostly the fact that I reached a point where, past feelings aside, I couldn’t help but respect greatness.

      Wise words to close off 2016, @neilosjames. I would add Hamilton to that list (still in doubt if Vettel will make it)

      Happy New Year. I’m off to my party now.

      1. I respect Hamilton, but I’m extremely tired of his “woe is me” antics.

  8. All good F1 drivers believe, given the same equipment, that they’re the best.

    You HAVE to have massive self-confidence to be successful in F1.

    1. @grat Totally agree with you. What else is he expected to say? “Ehmm….. I really don’t think I’m good enough to win”.

      Think how fast he’d be out of a seat.

  9. In response to the comment of the day I used to be a huge Ferrari fan. My wall is still emblazoned with paintings but ever since Seb Vettel joined (who I detested before) I haven’t supported them since. Shame really.

    1. Good. Good. Let the hate flow through you.

  10. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    31st December 2016, 9:00

    Thanks for COTD @keithcollantine I feel honoured to have been chosen.

  11. I think Lewis, Ricciardo, Vettel and Alonso could all beat each other on their days. If you’d put those four in the same car I have no doubt each race would be a total surprise as to who won it. In the waiting chambers we have Verstappen, Vandoorne, Ocon and Wehrlein will be the next big four of the coming years. Men like Hülkenberg, Grosjean and Perez who deserve to be in F1 have missed their window of opportunity to be a part of a top team I feel, that is unless there is a sudden exodus of the world champions on the grid.

    Bottas seems to be closer than ever to the Mercedes seat and that is a shame as he’ll be the second Finn in a too good of a car for his current performance.

    1. @xtwl I take your point but drivers are coloured by their car as we all know, all of them needing pretty much the WCC car to win races and a WDC, and even when a car is good it sometime suits one driver over another slightly, or perhaps in the case of SV vs MW even more than just slightly. I look forward to seeing Bottas (presumably) rise to being in the best car he will have ever had, this coming season. But in terms of that rivalry at a bare minimum LH starts off on the front foot (talent and ability aside) as being engrained there and them having tons of data on him and nothing on VB. Just saying let’s somewhat disregard VB’s ‘current performance’ and see what he can do in the capable equipment far and away better than he has ever experienced. I’m sure he’s psychologically stoked to the hilt, and can’t wait to drive it. So here’s his chance to show us.

      1. @robbie, well, with regards to the car, the bulk of all seasons have seen the WDC come from the same team that produced the WCC winning car – we talk about a driver “out driving” their car, but in reality most of the great champions of the sport were masters of picking the most successful teams of their era.

        Looking through the seasons, out of the 58 seasons where the WCC has been awarded, only in the following seasons did a driver who didn’t drive the WCC winning car win the WDC:
        1958 (although, under the modern system where all results count, Ferrari and Vanwall would have been tied on points);
        1973 (although that was in part because Tyrrell didn’t contest the final race of the season – they’d been neck and neck with Lotus until then);
        1976 (arguably, without his crash at the Nurburgring, Lauda probably would have won the WDC that season);
        1981 (where Williams tore themselves apart and were deeply hostile to Reutemann, to the point where they said it was preferable that Piquet won rather than Reutemann. Brabham also chose a weak second driver – Hector Rebaque – who wouldn’t compete against Piquet, sacrificing the WCC for the WDC);
        1982 (arguably only because Pironi was injured);
        1983 (because Brabham deliberately sacrificed the WCC to placate Piquet by placing a weaker driver alongside him – it could also be argued that Brabham and Piquet should have been disqualified from that season on technical grounds, but that is another discussion);
        1986 (where Williams arguably lost out due to feuding between their drivers);
        1994 (a year which many still argue about for the events that went on that season);
        1999 (where Ferrari just edged out McLaren);
        2008 (where McLaren did seem to pour more resources into the WDC battle instead of the WCC).

        Whilst it has happened that a driver in a car that didn’t win the WCC did win the WDC, in two cases (Lauda and Pironi) they arguably only lost because they were seriously injured during that season (both had been leading the WDC at the time of their accidents), whilst in three other cases the teams involved intentionally chose to sacrifice the WCC in order to secure the WDC.

        In the majority of those situations, if the driver didn’t come from the WCC winning team, they usually came from the 2nd placed team (1982 and 1983 are the only exceptions) and usually the results were fairly closely matched in the WCC. In reality, you either need the WCC winning car or a 2nd placed car that is extremely close and a team that is prioritising your personal ambitions over that of the team to have a chance.

        Whilst it is up for debate, a few studies have noted that driver ability is generally a fairly small part of the equation when it comes to winning the WDC – one study posited that historical data indicated that it was balanced about 85% to the car and about 15% to driver ability, chiming with Frank Williams’s oft repeated quip about drivers being so easily interchangeable and still getting the same results (i.e. that the driver was not a particularly significant part of the operation).

        1. Anon, 1958 reminded me of the “discard worst results” formula. I wonder if LH would have been happier this year had we still been under that formula

          @keithcollantine, something for the stats folk to work out.

        2. @anon Well summed up as usual. Thanks.

        3. While I basically agree with your main conclusion, i.e., that there is more disparity among the machines (and the teams, let’s not forget; e.g. a better strategy can make up for a worse car up to some point) than among the drivers (and therefore over 80% of the WDC merit is the team’s, not the driver’s), the reasoning does not hold up well.

          Of course the points for the WCC and the WDC are not awarded independently, in fact they are the same points. In a 2-driver team, necessarily most of the WCC points come from the WDC driver. So you cannot treat them as independent. They are heavily related, and of course most of the times the WDC is going to be in the WCC team. You cannot read from this that the best driver is in the best car. Maybe, or maybe not.

          In the not very usual case that the WDC is not in the WCC team it doesn’t necessarily mean that the driver outdrove the car or anything like that, because the getting the WCC doesn’t mean that you are the best team, it means that your drivers got the most total WDC points. So, in a fairly typical case, the best team gets unlucky, (say a driver gets injured at midseason or whatever) they lose a lot of points and they don’t make the WCC, while still the uninjured driver gets the WDC easily, having the best car. This is about the opposite scenario as the one we were thinking about (a superb driver outdriving the car and getting the WDC in a somewhat inferior car) and I’d say it has happened more often. The point is that you can’t assume that getting the WCC means your car is the best. More often than not, of course, but not every time. if there is a large disparity between the driver’s results in the team with the best car (due to having a very unlucky or just plainly a very bad driver) they can easily be beaten to the WCC by the second-best car team if their results are more consistent, while still getting the WDC with their best (or luckier) driver, even if (s)he is about average and not outdriving anything.

          1. hyoko, with regards to your comment that “You cannot read from this that the best driver is in the best car.” – what I said is that most drivers which have historically been classified as great drivers were generally the most adept at picking the team that is most likely to give them the WDC, which generally tends to be the team with the best car.

            With regards to your comment that “Of course the points for the WCC and the WDC are not awarded independently, in fact they are the same points.” – the two points systems are intertwined, but technically are separate as, in the WDC, the driver collects points for the positions he finishes irrespective of the team for which he has competed. In the WCC, the team collects points for each car which they have entered in a race which are eligible for points, which is technically separate from the driver entry into the WDC.

            Using 2016 as our most recent example, when Red Bull’s points score of 468 in 2016 was calculated, Kvyat’s 21 points from the first four races was added onto Verstappen’s 193 points from the remaining races – Kvyat and Verstappen switched teams, but their original points finishes remained with their teams in the WCC.

            I think that you have therefore slightly misunderstood how the scoring systems work when you say “So, in a fairly typical case, the best team gets unlucky, (say a driver gets injured at midseason or whatever) they lose a lot of points and they don’t make the WCC, while still the uninjured driver gets the WDC easily, having the best car.”.

            Normally, the following scenario is what will happen, as in 1982 with Pironi and Ferrari – the points scored by Tambay and Andretti, when added to the points that Pironi and Villeneuve had already scored, helped them win the WCC, but none of their drivers were individually able to score enough points to win the WDC.

          2. Well of course a team may change the driver lineup during the season. It is exceptional nowadays, at least in the top teams. The Kvyat – Verstappen switch earlier this season was shocking. It doesn’t change things that much. Yes, a top team might win the WCC by collecting points from different drivers sequentially, who have then much less of a chance to win the WDC.

            But still the points are the same. A driver wins the race, 25 points go to his personal WDC tally and the same 25 points go to the teams WCC tally. So both tallies are strongly related, and most of the time will concur, and we won’t be able to make deductions from their concurrence, except that they are dependent ab initio.

            It would be totally different if at the end of the race the stewards met to decide, and they said e.g. “Ok, the car best performing today was Ricciardo’s, so let’s give RBR the 25 WDC points. On the other hand the best driver today was Sainz; of course he didn’t win, driving a Toro Rosso and all that, but let’s give the guy the 25 WDC points. By the way, the race was won by Kimi for Ferrari, but it was just blind luck, let’s give Kimi 8 WDC points and Ferrari 4 WCC points, that’s all they deserve” (can you imagine the pandemonium?). Preposterous, but this would be a way to award the WCC and WDC points independently. Assuming that it was done fairly and objectively (huge assumption) then we could derive all sort of conclusions about the cars and the drivers. Which now we can’t.

  12. I have found that my opinion of a few drivers did or has changed over time. In particular the German ones it seems. I never liked Schumacher when he first emerged particularly with some of his antics in driving other drivers off the road! Over time though I began to respect him. Similarly with Vettel whom I have also grown to appreciate over the years. I’ve always had tremendous respect for Alonso and Button has been my personal favourite. Lewis is a strange one. I have huge respect for him as a driver. He is definitely one of the F1 greats. I have never really warmed to him though for some reason even though he’s British. I’m kind of indifferent.

  13. Well it’s been proven this year that the better driver doesn’t always beat his teammate over the course of the season.

    Ricciardo is great no doubt but I still think Hamilton is the more talented driver and would outperform Ricciardo. He’s the one teammate who I would fear most for Hamilton because of his personality and how it would pull the team towards him. Out and out driving I would fear no driver if I was Lewis.

    1. In 2017 I predict Ric to be the man to challenge Lewis. I think Verstappen still loses to many points with 20 year old mistakes and Bottas will be Bottas but in a better car. Your right IMO though that Lewis doesn’t fear anyone. “It’s the worst thing being my teammate “.

      1. I think Verstappen still loses to many points with 20 year old mistakes

        That’s quite a achievement being 19 year old. ;)
        You probably mean he needs to grow more.. but there were only a few mistakes this year. Monaco comes to mind and the foolish Austin action. But that’s about it..

      2. I predict Max will beat Daniel this year fair and square.

  14. I mean, if Jenson can beat him and Nico can snatch a world title away from him, I think Daniel can beat him too, and Max can, and Seb can, and Fernando can etc.

    1. ……….. and you probably can too, mark jackson.

      Happy New Year – and watch that egg nog!

    2. Well Jenson beat Alonso and Rosberg destroyed Schumacher so they are all no good then….

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