Toyota, Shanghai International Circuit, World Endurance Championship, 2017

Alonso linked to Toyota WEC test

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso is tipped to be closing on a test for Porsche’s LMP1 team amid speculation he could race at next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

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Good news for George Russell is bad news for another F1 driver, says Chris:

Final nail in the coffin for Wehrlein then. He is now old news, Ocon is thriving in Force India and the next generation is now being prepared for F1.

I expect to see Russell race in Formula One in 2019 if his 2018 campaign is as strong as his 2017 season was.
Christopher (@Chrischrill)

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Keith Collantine
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  • 57 comments on “Alonso linked to Toyota WEC test”

    1. It’s a shame the triple crown isn’t an official award. If they ever want to do something special, the FIA and IndyCar could jointly make it an award.

      1. So money grabbing can spoil the honour.

        I get the feeling that the inevitable might be happening. When I finally lose Massa, Button is coming back. You had good careers, far better than expected, give someone else a chance.

      2. There is also the thought that the unspoken and unofficial is even more of an achievement by the very nature of its elusiveness.

        1. Exactly – like the mile high club ;)

      3. @strontium, for a start, there is still some debate as to what the “Triple Crown” even is – Graham Hill gave his own definition, which was winning the F1 WDC rather than winning the Monaco GP (because, in his day, winning the Indy 500 was about as profitable as winning the F1 WDC), and some individuals use that definition instead.

        Furthermore, there are other series which have their own separate “Triple Crown” within their discipline – sportscar racing uses that same term as an unofficial title for those who’ve won the three most prestigious sportscar races (the 24 Hour races of Daytona and Le Mans, along with the Sebring 12 Hours).

        Meanwhile, IndyCAR already has an official “Triple Crown” prize for winning the Indy 500, Pocono 500 and Fontana 500 races – so there might be a problem in trying to create a formal “Triple Crown” when IndyCAR already have their own formal prize system for their own “Triple Crown”.

        1. Is there even a stipukation that to be considered a “tripple crown” winner, he would have to win le mans outright? Gor example, would a class win in LMP2 or gte pro count?


          1. It’s usually implied that it would be the overall race win at Le Mans, rather than just winning within your class: however, since it is not something that has had a fixed definition, it’s not clear if a class victory would be taken into account.

            @skydiverian, fair point, it should have been “had” rather than “has” (though I believe that the tradition of a “Triple Crown” in IndyCAR originally started in the 1970’s).

          2. Mario Andretti has won the Indy 500, a F1 Drivers Championship, a Le Mans 1st in class, and a Daytona 500 for good measure.

            Close, but not the Triple Crown.

            While I’m at it:

            AJ Foyt has the Indy 500 win, a Le Mans win, and a Daytona 500 victory.

            A F1-less Triple Crown.

        2. …except Fontana dropped off the calendar after the 2015 race. The Indycar triple crown was awarded to the winner of all 500 mile oval races – tricky to award it with only 2 on the calendar.

          You could be pedantic and say the huge gaps in it being ran (Pocono wasn’t on the schedule for around 25 years, leaving only 1 or 2 500 mile races on the calendar for years) and Ontario being the original leg in CA, the Indycar version is a bit meaningless (yes, Fontana is only 2 miles down the road from the site of the former Ontario raceway but the point stands) .

    2. Nice one, now if we could just see Lewis run NASCAR at Watkins Glen.

    3. I’m pretty torn on the cost cap because while in principle it seems like a good idea to get budget’s under control/control cost’s & create a more level playing field I not only don’t see it as totally enforceable but I’m also not sure how I feel about any attempt to level the playing field or equalize performance because that just isn’t what F1 has ever really been & I’m not sure it’s what it should be.

      It’s effectively holding the top teams back rather than elevating the smaller teams closer to the level of those towards the front & to me in some ways that’s just as bad as things like success ballast & other similar gimmicks.

      To me it highlights the biggest problem F1 has had for years now, There always looking at the quick fix that hides the underlying problems rather than looking at actually fixing those problems. DRS doesn’t solve the racing problem, It just hides it & a cost cap won’t fix the disparity in prize fund distribution (And difficulties teams have finding sponsors that would help with budgets) it will just mask it.

      Instead of a cost cap figure out a fairer way of handing out prize money & Look at the reasons why teams struggle to find sponsors & see if things can be done to help make that process easier.

      The only thing I think a cost cap guarantee’s is controversy.

      1. @stefmeister – Totally agree. With a cost cap the focus shifts to money, cheating, accounting, enforcement and penalties instead of racing.

        1. Agree that a cost cap will be difficult and expensive (!) to monitor.

          A better split of the prize money & making standardised pieces available is a better way forward.
          I would standardise items which fans and car industry do not care about and which have a minor impact on performance.

      2. I totally agree.
        On the matter of sponsorship, if Liberty Media put F1 races on Free to Air TV and video of full races on Youtube, then that would encourage corporates to sponsor cars. Yes, it also will reduce income from TV rights, hence the pool of money available to be handed out to teams, but it maybe that could be used as a pretext to alter the TV rights payout to something more equitable.

      3. @stefmeister +1. This should be the COTD in the next round-up.

      4. I don’t disagree with what is being said here, but I think, as difficult as it is to implement, capping costs needs to be part of the regimen toward a healthier F1, and Liberty has indeed talked about fairer money distribution too. As much money as there is in F1, there isn’t enough to elevate the smaller teams up to the 400 mill+ per year level. And the prize money isn’t a bottomless pit, so giving some teams more means giving some teams less, which is also doing what a cost cap does, as in, holding some teams back.

        I think Liberty’s plan is indeed a long-term one as they have said. I think F1 needs a considered, and non-knee jerk approach that tackles all aspects of the entity, which is what they have started to do, in this their first season.

        It is a difficult balance to find, and I’m just glad that they appear to be looking for it. They don’t want to stifle the teams to where it’s a spec series, they know the racing needs to be closer, the smaller teams need help, the bigger teams will fight to retain their advantages, sponsorship is an issue, and thankfully Brawn doesn’t like DRS.

        I say let’s give them the time they deserve to improve everything. If we don’t want knee jerk reactions, then the other side of the coin is we need to exercise patience and give them their chance to shape F1. They’re going to need the cooperation of the teams too, and quit threats already, are an indication of the tough task Liberty has.

    4. Hey Keith, that prankster Mark got hold of your keyboard again. Sub heading at the top of page states:
      “In the round-up: Fernando Alonso is tipped to be closing on a test for Porsche’s LMP1 team amid speculation he could race at next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.”

      Altho…if I’d spent 3 seasons with reliability woes, I’d sign with two teams, just in case. ;-)

    5. So Dane Margaret Hodge went after Hamilton about his tax affairs and as such should not receive a knighthood. Well talk about hypocrisy, seems like she forgot about this little gem …

      1. But again you’re missing the point. The point is, and I’m not accusing LH of anything for how would I know, but the allegation is that he has hidden something by using three shell companies that ultimately result in him leasing his own plane to himself, thus saving some tax money. The articles you cite even explain that Margaret Hodge has not been found to have done anything that wasn’t on the up and up. She may sound hypocritical, because ‘she does it too’ but in fact, like the Queen, she hasn’t been found to be using smoke and mirrors shell games to hide things.

        1. Margaret Hodge doesn’t earn her living in 20 different countries every year (and nor does the Queen, however many she might visit).

          It is quite understandable that Hamilton should hand off his financial affairs to a load of lawyers and/or accountants… I think the linked article has it about right – “…Hamilton may not have shown best judgement but he did not create this abuse. So let’s blame those who did. The accountants and lawyers are responsible. And it is time they were called out for that…”

          1. Hamilton “works” and or performs services for Mercedes AMG Petronas across the globe, but his paycheck comes from one place I am sure. It is like saying an airline pilot “works” in many different countries. It’s technically true, but he isn’t earning pay from each destination. I highly doubt Hamilton earns much if any prize money from individual races.

            1. @ibrahim Wouldn’t the world be nice if it were that simple. Hamilton races in a whole host of countries and will have a whole host of countries coming after him for as much tax as they can get.

              For example Usain Bolt famously didn’t like to compete in the UK because the amount of tax he would have to pay to HMRC would be more than 100% of the earnings he would generate from competing at an event.

            2. THe difference is howerver @jerseyf1, that in Bolt’s case he gets (or used to get by now) quite substantial “starting fees” to even come and visit from the organisers of events for example in Diamond league etc. which indeed some states then claim has to be taxed locally as you state.

              However, Hamilton does NOT get any such starting fees. He is employed (or more likely his “company” is hired by Mercedes, just as we saw in Rosberg’s case where a shell company was used to make sure he can tax the income in Monaco and not in Germany) by the MErcedes team. Either from the UK, where they have their racing team headquarters, or from Germany – HQ of the MErcedes company – exactly as @ibrahim mentions.

              Now, I think what Mrs. Hodge brings up in parliament is quite on point. Oh, and really she doesn’t blame Hamilton as such – she requests the SYSTEM to be changed, because it IS the UK government that enables these UK territories to offer being used for such schemes.

              In Hamilton’s case, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that maybe up to 60-75% of VAT is substracted in accordance with how it should be, since Lewis evidently uses “his” plane to secure “his” income by flying to races, to PR events, sponsor actions etc. The rest should not be substracted, just as a small business owner cannot substract all VAT for the car she uses both for business and for private use. This is somethign EVERY tax authority is very clear on with every time they invesitgate tax accounts.

              And more and more the tax authorities are looking into constructions that try to avoid VAT by such constructions. I had to lay open the complete chain of supply, including invoices, transport documents and details about goods & services traded this year to claim back VAT my company paid in an other EU country to deliver to our regular customers in just such an investigation (for the 0215 tax year) earlier this year.

              If they do this for a mere 3k EUR, surely they should look into the amounts mentioned into the Paradise papers.

            3. @bascb That’s the point, in terms of income it isn’t always just starting fees which count, some countries (not all though) will tax a portion of all global earnings (sponsorship, image rights etc etc) as soon as you step into the country to compete as a professional athlete.

              My point was about earnings as in the “airline pilot” issue raised and to clarify that it isn’t as simple as that.

              The VAT issue is another matter, the irony being that presumably the country which has missed out on the VAT in this case would be Monaco (or possibly IoM if that is the registered holding place of the plane) as he would only need to pay UK VAT if that’s where he brought the plane presumably. In a similar way Planes, presumably, have different rules than importing everyday goods as it may not always be clear where they are being imported to, but in this case I assume it wouldn’t be the UK anyway so there is no apparent loss to HMRC.

    6. Strange how people react to tax avoidance – it’s what everybody does or tries when they file their taxes.

      It just grows with your income – my bookkeeper cost have tripled over the years for example but it’s worth it.

      So it should have zero impact on Lewis getting knighthood.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        8th November 2017, 7:41

        To be fair I don’t think Lewis would want a knighthood, it wouldn’t exactly suit his image and style. It’s all a bit outdated and old fashioned.

        1. @rdotquestionmark i’m pretty sure he’s talked about it before, so i imagine he’s unlikely to turn it down, if it were offered. i find that margaret hodge quote hilarious – the queen was doing just as much tax avoidance as anyone! maybe she should be stripped of her titles.

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            8th November 2017, 12:05


      2. @verstappen

        Living in a tax haven is one thing. But hiding a personal asset behind a phony shell corporation to avoid tax you should rightly be liable for is dodgy.

        1. Like a lot of people who work as contractors, he has limited companies that take the earnings and every effort from then on is minimising how much is paid out again. It’s fairly common – running vehicles, buildings, clothing, all sorts. Playing by the rules isn’t wrong.

          1. It’s not even limited to those people, anyone who uses an ISA or contributes to their pension is avoiding tax – pretty much everyone in the UK since pension auto-enrollment – and its perfectly legal, just like what Lewis is doing.

      3. What’s even more strange is the extent to which this blog is milking the subject. A whole article devoted to this nonsense and now 4 more links in the roundup.

      4. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

        Also, if tax avoidance disqualifies you from receiving a knighthood, Jackie Stewart should give his back.

        1. I agree that it would be awkward if a possible Knighthood would be denied to Lewis because of this. He would rather fit in with the whole of UK nobility by using these tax avoidance (and in some cases evading/dodging), including apparently the Queen and Crown Prince’s estates! @geemac @verstappen, @philipgb.

          With regards to Hamilton and the VAT for his JET, the principle that he can substract the VAT provided it is used for gaining his (or his companies) income is nothing extraordinary. It is exaclty the same for any entrepreneur, small business or corporation when they invest in a vehicle.
          The only question that IS generally of interest, is whether the vehicle / car / jet / ship / yacht etc. is also used for private purposes. In which case tax authorities tend to insist on letting the business substract only a portion of the VAT in accordance with the % of private vs. business use. There might be an issue with that (I am pretty sure Hamilton does not use his jet only for business trips) tough.

          I do think that the serious lack of transparancy should be a huge worry for states and for the whole business sector involved because it DOES get used for dodging tax, money laundering (see the article on Mallya, for example) and hiding ill gained money from corruption and illegal trading.

    7. “It must be completely obvious to us all that anybody who is found to have used artificial financial structures offshore simply to hide their wealth and to avoid tax should not be awarded with the ability to honour others. The Queen should not be dishing out knighthoods.”

      Fixed that for you. What is it with everyone? Omg smart people do everything in their power to keep hold of money they earnt, shock! Blame the law makers not the people. Meanwhile plenty of people continue to actually break the law working for cash in hand etc.

      1. It’s an older article, but Margeret Hodge should remember that saying about people in glass houses throwing stones.

        Besides, she singles out Hamilton, yet people have regularly been given honours and knighthoods whilst avoiding tax. But then, they are all big business and have funded the big parties.. I think what she meant was.

        ‘….people who don’t donate large sums of money to a political party shoudl not recieve honours from the Queen”

        1. I’m still amazed she has a job on the committee – she regularly complains about others tax arrangements, yet her own are so questionable that her statements should really be declared invalid.

      2. Again, tax avoidance is perfectly legal. Evasion is criminal, and HM The Queen only “knights” people by proxy in a Constitutionsl Monarchy. Politicians decide who gets the honours and they are elected: by the People.

        Right! Time to move on…

      3. Needs to be said that the Queen is exempt form tax duties by law, but decided to pay them anyway.
        Makes it very unlikely she knew about the evasive construction used to lower it…

        1. But it’s not about normal legal sheltering of funds in offshore accounts like even the Queen does. It appears like LH’s people may have allegedly taken it too far by using shell companies that only exist on paper and don’t actually perform the function that has been claimed in the tax returns.

          The allegation is that LH has been leasing his plane to himself through the shell companies. Whereas, the idea is supposed to be that you claim some use of the plane for business and some for pleasure, and you claim that you lease the plane out to other parties as well, like a business would. If there is no evidence that any other leases have occurred, nor has even an effort been made to lease the plane to anyone else but LH, that can change the percentage of personal vs business use that has been claimed for tax purposes, and it starts to look like the behaviour was intentional all along. Hence alleged tax evasion.

          I’m not accusing LH of anything as how would I know from here, and an investigation I assume may ensue, but I certainly doubt that the Queen is using shell companies this way to try to lease things to herself.

          And if this is simply bad advice that LH’s people have given him, and he merely has to pay a few more million in tax based on what should have been paid to begin with (unless there’s a big fine for this behaviour too) then he has every opportunity to state that he is disappointed with his money peoples’ behaviour and has hired someone else to do things properly.

    8. Oh yeah! Alonzo to Toyota… If they finish they win… Easy pickings.

      Pretty much ensures I will watch 24h next year potentially entire thing. Like indy.. M m m.

      1. There will be at least one other team entering LMP1.

        1. Manor, who are not exactly Toyota… But with Fernando luck, Toyota might retire…

    9. What a shame that Alonso didn’t move to Red Bull for 2009 even though it was a nice story of the underdog winning the championship. Pretty sure he would have taken that title in that Red Bull and he would rightly have had a much higher tally of WDC’s befitting his skills.

    10. McLaren have been a joke ever since Dennis left , actually pretty much during the whole of Whitmarsh’s tenure. Letting Alonso dictate as to what races he wants to do is farcical.
      Alonso ,Boullier and Zak Brown are bleeding McLaren dry . Trying to revive Mclarens Indy glories , dabbling in Lemans all for the glory of one driver who has shown scant regard for loyalty when he doesn’t get preferential treatment .
      Alonso should have been shown the door after 2 years of moral destroying comments about Honda .

    11. Funny that Horner has only given Ricciardo till the beginning of 2018 to decide. How could Ricciardo Make any type of educated judgment on the progress of Red Bull until at least halfway through the season. No stuff Horner and Marco, Ricciardo should wait and see. He is a very talented driver and his next decision will be career changing.

      1. That’s not what Horner said, @johnrkh.
        Actually Horner is giving Ricciardo time, rather than rushing him. Horner is quotes as:
        “The next move that he makes at 28 years of age is a very important one for him, so I am sure he is going to take the time to make sure that the decision is right for him,”
        “We want him in the team, and if that takes another six months then so be it.”

        Not sure which attractive other doors are really open for Ricciardo.
        I’ve got a feeling that Vettel is less than eager to see Ricciardo in the other car.
        I personally rate Ricciardo higher than Bottas this season. Not sure if Mercedes agrees and if they are willing to take the risk.
        And we’re all (at least I am) hoping for McLaren to revive one day; but even 12 months will not be enough to assess their mid term potential.

        1. Yes I made this suggestion on here a couple of weeks ago. If McLaren look much more competitive next season I think there is a possibility that Ricciardo could end up at McLaren along side Alonso in 2019. McLaren don’t seem to mind having two really competitive drivers which they have done several times in the past. Also Alonso and Ricciardo are known to get along.

          I accept it’s a long shot and it would be tough on Vandoorne. It might be Ricciardo’s best option though, other than Red Bull, when it comes to the crunch.

        2. IMO, if Mercedes chose to replace Bottas for 2019, it will be with Ocon.

        3. Here’s the quote published 31st October, six months brings it to the end of March or the start of the F! season.

          “But he knows the intent very clearly, and I’ve discussed it with him, is that we want him in the team. If that takes another six months, then so be it.”

          Here’s the link
          I read the entire article.

          Ricciardo would be best to leave RB as there intend seems to be to make him subservient to Verstappen.

    12. Whenever these tax avoidance stories come up & you have everyone piling onto the company/s or individual/s at the center of it the thing that always comes to my mind is that rather than going on about how awful & immoral the avoidance may be, It’s all perfectly legal & if you want to criticize anyone it should be the governments who over the years have put the various loopholes in places & who don’t seem to have much desire to close them.

      If a loophole exist’s people will find a way to use it & maximize gain from it, If the people in power don’t like that then close the loophole & I think that all those that get mad about somebody using the loophole should instead focus there annoyance at those making the rules rather than those ‘legally’ using them.

      1. What you are missing is that the loopholes are only ok when white people use them, or a person of colour white people like because he donates some of the money he/she saved avoiding taxes to their organization or political party, when you’re a person of colour that plays by your own rules then it’s a problem and a conversation needs to be had and articles need to be written and talk of closing loopholes becomes relevant.

      2. @stefmeister Plus, we are fans of F1; a sport in which finding and exploiting “loopholes” is not only expected but IMHO encouraged.

    13. Can someone explain to me why Toyota is still going to Le Mans? There is no one to beat. This is how they want they first win? Did I miss something? Is Porsche staying? sorry for the many questions :D

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