Ross Brawn, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017

2018 triple-header a one-off “emergency measure” – Brawn

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Ross Brawn says the three consecutive race weekends on the 2018 F1 calendar are not intended to be repeated.

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Steven has watched a lot of F1 races in person but wasn’t impressed with the last one:

I wish I’d watched it on the telly instead of spending about £1300 flying out there.
Steven Smith (@Ragwort)

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  • 41 comments on “2018 triple-header a one-off “emergency measure” – Brawn”

    1. Never understand it when the legal troubles of a certain Indian man end up higher in the round-up than interviews with (ex) drivers about the sport we are all fanatic about.

      1. I think its because as an owner holding a ~40% stake in the team, the future of the team is in a way closely linked to Mallya’s fortunes.

        And this is a plucky & hotshot team, often placing their cars as the best of the rest. 2018 also is going to be promising – what with a brewing on-track battle between Renault and Force India. Anything that threatens the team is pretty noteworthy.

        1. Expecting to read tomorrow about the 100% owner strpping a model X, followed by the hit and run of a 50% owner’s heir.

      2. Mallya owes a debt, he needs to pay it back, but he ran away. His peer, shubroto roy is in jail and paying back his debt to public.

        I don’t understand, if mallya can run a F1 team in such a tight budget, why did he overspent on his airlines. Maybe its a lesson for him. He chewed more than he could swallow.

      3. I wish he’d just hire Bernie’s lawyer and hand over a middling amount of cash. Then the whole thing can be over and we can move on.

        Sorry if I misunderstand the nature of court cases and trials, but I’m only familiar with the Bernie Ecclestone precedence.

        1. @eurobrun Vijay Mallya has defaulted on loans amounting to $1.4bn. Thats a huge sum borrowed from our public sector, tax payer-backed banks. Moreover the loan money which was meant for the now-defunct Kingfisher airlines was laundered to offshore tax havens, was never used for the airline.
          I belong to the same place as Mallya and he was a well respected man before he committed the fraud. Such a shame!
          He owes his airline’s staff salaries of a year and hasnt paid em their retirement savings!

          1. defaulted on loans amounting to $1.4bn. Thats a huge sum borrowed from our public sector, tax payer-backed banks. Moreover the loan money which was meant for the now-defunct Kingfisher airlines was laundered to offshore tax havens, was never used for the airline.

            In the US you become president with such a resume :p

            1. Well, Mallya was a member of parlament for a while too.

            2. Without going too heavily into the politics, even if everyone in India thought that Vijay was right (something I am reliably informed is far from the case!), I’m not convinced that they would vote for someone who would only be able to get to the swearing-in ceremony if the UK Home Office permitted it…

        2. @eurobrun – unfortunately, India doesn’t have an official/legal form of paying a fine to avoid court (the way Bernie did in Germany).

          As @malleshmagdum has pointed out, the issue with Mallya is complex – he’s defaulted on loans, used funds from one corporation/legal entity in another one, etc. There is also the question of lack of due diligence on the part of the banks that sanctioned the loans, and whether they were illegally incentivized to release those loans. While not diminishing the magnitude of what he’s been accused of, there is also an element of witch-hunting going on, with people baying for his blood. This is partly brought on by him (his insouciance and apparent arrogance) and partly by the fact that the issue has been politicized.

          It is interesting that the two major backers of Force India – both the Sahara group, as well as Vijay Mallya who jointly own 85% of the team – have been embroiled in their respective financial scandals.

          1. unfortunately, India doesn’t have an official/legal form of paying a fine to avoid court

            They have plenty of unofficial, illegal forms, though. It was one of our most successful exports to India, the corruption.

        3. Bernie was being tried for a single criminal charge involving bribing a public official. That there were only three other parties in the situation – the official he may or may not have bribed, the person he worked with to set up the alleged bribe and the German government. Of these, only the latter was considered a “victim”, because the bribed individual’s actions were handled separately.

          There was also a certain will to not make things more complex than necessary (which is a good thing, and part of the reason why the majority of cases in some jurisdictions are settled before court), so the German governments were happy to accept an offer they thought sufficiently good.

          This made a deal much easier than would be the case for Mallya, who is believed to owe at least 100 different entities money (assuming I’m allowed to count “all of Kingfisher’s former employees” as 1), including somewhere in the region of 6 separate regional governments (who under Indian law are considered separate and distinct victims).

          Making a satisfactory deal with 100+ claimant representatives, some of whom are experiencing severe consequences from delays in repayment (up to and including dying prematurely) in a nation that doesn’t have a socially-respected alternative to bankruptcy (unlike the UK), for a man who is self-aware, proud, and keen to project a specific image of himself*, would be… …difficult.

          * – Think “India’s answer to Flavio Briatore, minus the serial girlfriends”. Then check Flavio’s record with regard to tax authorities…

          It is further complicated by the admission from the Crown Prosecution Service that some of the loans may have been issued improperly, without Vijay being aware that they were improper (the UK has a broader requirement for each side to reveal information potentially damaging their own cases than India, from what I understand, and the extradition hearing is under UK law). This means that Vijay has incentive to simply sit in the UK, run his teams and never pay anyone a penny unless a UK court orders it – or India makes appropriate arrangements for the Indian trial to be held with Vijay contributing via video link from the UK (this is an option under UK law, but the case for doing so has to be proven by India, if I recall correctly. No idea what India would make of such a tactic).

          Note that Bernie and the HMRC are currently having trouble resolving a years-old legal conflict, even though Bernie thought (or appeared to think) that there had been a settlement of it back in 2010. This goes to show how difficult even a single-issue case can be to settle if that issue is sufficiently intricate. For all that Vijay’s charges are related to financial improprietary, there are definitely multiple issues involed, as @malleshmagdum says.

          Of course, Vijay would never be able to return to India, but that might not be considered the big loss it would have been a decade ago. If leaving the UK (without being able to visit India) is that much of a big deal, he’s still wealthy enough to get the necessary visas to eventually get British citizenship, and then a passport, that way.

          And when @phylyp says the situation has been politicised… …let’s say nobody took to the streets and rioted when Bernie agreed his settlement deal. There has been at least one riot sparked by Vijay’s debts.

          1. @alianora-la-canta – nicely written. Not many in India themselves can articulate the issue as well as you’ve done (I couldn’t), and by your username I’m assuming you’re not an Indian/in India :-)

            in a nation that doesn’t have a socially-respected alternative to bankruptcy

            While not taking away from Mallya’s misdeeds, this is also an excellent point. Starting a business in India is a stressful, and having one fail is far worse.

            1. I support Force India* – does that count? ;)

              More seriously, I’m British, and I found my username in an American children’s fantasy book (called Dealing with Dragons in the USA and Dragonsbane in the UK). Said username has previously been mistaken for Spanish, Italian and (for some reason) Indian in the past.

            2. @phylyp your username too doesnt sound indian :p

      4. I am unsure the articles are listed in order of “importance”

    2. I wish I’d watched it on the telly instead of spending about £1300 flying out there.

      Most races you’ll visit will be dull as you will always be seated next to Murphy and all overtaking tends to take place on the other side of the track.
      Screens will be your biggest friend unless you’re seated higher where you can see a bigger section of the track like in Brazil or Catalunya.

    3. Ross and I have quite different interpretations of the word “emergency”.

      1. I don’t get how he can guarantee this won’t happen again. The football world cup happens every four years, and it’s not just football, F1 has often scheduled races to avoid clashing with other major events. If they want 25 races on the calendar then it seems inevitable that it will happen a more in the future, unless they accept major clashes will occur

        1. All this is true, but “emergency” isn’t really the word for it. An event that happens every four years, with reactions involving unusual schedule compression being just as routine, is not an “emergency”, more like a “business variation”.

    4. What I liked Prost to say is: “Vandoorne started at McLaren with reliability problems and never the same equipment as Alonso. Next year we’ll see if Renault is reliable and provide the same equipment to their customer teams.”

    5. Regarding the Fox Sports Asia-article: They could/should’ve chosen a better combination for this ‘one-off’ triple-header logistics-wise, though. For example, France-Austria-Hungary and then Britain and Germany on subsequent weekends as travelling from Hockenheim straight to Silverstone in a span of few days is less demanding logistics-wise than travelling from Spielberg (or Paul Ricard, or Hungaroring for that matter) to Silverstone. When will they realize that? They should pay more attention to the scheduling of the European races as the travelling from one venue to another is performed via ground, not by air, but oh well, at least this triple-header experiment will only be a one-off anyway.

      1. No venue would accept back to back races with their neighbors especially when its reachable via ground travel between them.
        It will hurt their income.

        1. @ruliemaulana ”It will hurt their income.” – No, it wouldn’t, stop spreading that BS already. The distance between Hockenheim and Hungaroring, for example, isn’t that much more than the distance between Red Bull Ring and Hungaroring or the Red Bull Ring-Hockenheim distance, and yet no one complains about the scheduling of the German and the Hungarian GPs on subsequent weekends. Furthermore, the Austrian and the Hungarian GPs have taken place on subsequent weekends a few times in the past and the same with the Austrian and the German GPs, so on that basis they’d work today as well as back then. Also even with the current scheduling of them not taking place subsequently most people still only attend one, so pairing them would make zero difference to that. Like I stated the people responsible for making the race calendar should favor logistics in the scheduling of the European races because the teams are performing the travelling via ground rather than air.

          1. @jerejj The argument that most people can only go to one out of a paired set of races undermines your overall argument, as does the false claim that pairing close races doesn’t hurt income. Malaysia already lost a Grand Prix partially on the basis that having a date too close to Singapore’s hurt its income – and at one point last year Singapore was considering leaving for the same reason. Nurburgring complained about being too closely scheduled with Austria, and the gap was over a month and it contributed to the organiser bankruptcy that caused Nurburgring to leave the calendar. (Hockenheim has a lower cost base, hence it can get away with greater proximity to other races than Nurburgring did). When races are too close to each other, the ones who are “on the bubble” between one and two races end up only being able to go to one, which means neither race makes enough money to stay on the calendar.

            Hungary and Belgium are the exceptions to the rule, for opposite reasons – Hungary is unusually cheap and Spa unusually expensive, thus tending to attract a different audience to the other races. Monaco will probably prove a third exception in the otherwise-problematic proximity to the French Grand Prix less than 100 miles and two months away. Still, the general tendancy is for paired races to hurt each other’s income and attendances – that’s not just a hypothesis, but an effect seen several times already.

            1. @alianora-la-canta Not you too. Malaysia didn’t lose its race because of that. If that really were the case, then they wouldn’t have asked for the date change from the early-season flyaway phase to the late-season one in the first place (The Malaysian GP promoter had stated at the time that he doesn’t think that scheduling his race close to the Singapore GP would be a problem). There were different reasons behind the decision to stop hosting an F1 race in the country. Now, I’m going to prove my point on why the theory that pairing close races would hurt income is BS another way by giving a perfectly valid example here: I’d be much more likely to attend any given two geographically nearby races in the same season if they took place on subsequent weekends rather than many months apart from each other like in the Bahrain-Abu Dhabi case, or a few weeks apart from each other like in the Austria-Hungary case because if they were held on back-to-back weekends (especially the Middle Eastern ones), then I could do both within the same trip without having to perform unnecessary back-and-forth travelling to the same part of the world twice in a year separatively, so on that basis if anything pairing those races would actually increase the probability of the same people attending both rather than just one, so, therefore, both would profit more than with the current scheduling.

            2. @jerejj Malaysia was offered a very large discount to take that date – something he very rarely offers – because Bernie also knew that races too close to each other in both space and calendar date cost each other money. For that matter, Malaysia only went for it in a last-ditch attempt to save the race.

        2. @ruliemaulana And travelling via ground is more difficult logistics-wise than travelling via air.

    6. Could they have avoided a triple header by starting the season at the first week of march, they used to do it years ago the last being 2005, by doing that they could aldi fit in another race or two and avoid a clash with the Indy 500

      1. Especially given there are two pre-season tests now, instead of three

      2. Not given how late Halo’s specifications were given to the teams (they were 2 months late, which delays when the first test can happen). Probably someone would complain anyway if the tests were moved forward, because teams are good at “pointless” complaints that are really there because they think they’ll benefit from the extra two weeks…

    7. interesting that hamilton attended the BRDC awards. i think he is more of an ambassador for the sport than many people give him credit for. i was very surprised to learn that he never won the young driver award – he had some notable wins in the junior formulae but it seems he was never even a nominee.

      1. he never won the young driver award – he had some notable wins in the junior formulae but it seems he was never even a nominee

        Seriously? Any idea why that was, @frood19 ?

        I thought he was always a rising star in McLaren’s ranks which is why he got his F1 race seat that early as well. And that he’d have amassed his fair share of trophies along the way.

        1. @phylyp the only reason i can think of is that he was already firmly embedded in the mclaren setup from a very young age so maybe they didn’t think he needed any further assistance – which in hindsight was true!

          1. The 2003 winner of the award went to Alex Lloyd, who was runner up to Hamilton winning formula Renault Uk that year. Hamilton seems to have been exempt from the catagory since being made a special ‘rising star’ member of the BRDC in the year 2000.

          2. Possibly because in those days the prize was a McLaren F1 test. Not much of a prize if you are already in line for a McLaren F1 test the moment your boss thinks you are ready for it.

    8. defaulted on loans amounting to $1.4bn. Thats a huge sum borrowed from our public sector, tax payer-backed banks. Moreover the loan money which was meant for the now-defunct Kingfisher airlines was laundered to offshore tax havens, was never used for the airline.

      In the US you become president with such a resume :p

      1. Only the BEST default.

    9. Could they have avoided a triple header by starting the season at the first week of march, they used to do it years ago the last being 2005, by doing that they could also fit in another race or two and avoid a clash with the Indy 500

    10. Can’t agree with Prost on this one – far too soon to make comparisons.
      VAN had a couple of good races, was steady all season long and deserves kudos but he didn’t out drive Alonso.
      Next year will be more telling.

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