McLaren Brand Centre, Monza, 2019

McLaren supportive of Brawn’s plan to drop F1 motorhomes

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In the round-up: McLaren Group CEO Zak Brown backs Ross Brawn’s suggestion Formula 1 could stop allowing teams to bring vast motorhomes to every race.

What they say

[smr2020test]Brown pointed out teams already used temporary facilities instead of motorhomes at several F1 venues outside Europe:

The reality is, we work out of temporary facilities more often than not, and we adapt quite well: the Singapores, the Mexicos, the Abu Dhabis, the Bahrains all have very nice facilities. China, et cetera… So I think it’s something that we would probably be supportive of.

We want to understand what will be provided by the circuit because some of the circuits do a better job than others in what they provide us. We need to make sure we have enough space for our sponsor partners, for our engineers, for our team. And then I do think it is a differentiator of the racing team.

So I’d like us to have an ability that [when] moving into a temporary facility, that we have the ability to customise it enough so we can still differentiate the McLaren brand from other brands. But I think that can be done. So in general, we like the idea.

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Comment of the day

Ben doesn’t expect Stoffel Vandoorne will get the chance to replace Valtteri Bottas:

Compare him with Alonso and compare Bottas with Hamilton – and I don’t think Alonso was quite as the level Hamilton has been last year, too. Qualifying tells something. Bottas at least managed to beat Hamilton for a third of the season. Vandoorne never once out-qualified Alonso in his last season.

I see no evidence at all that Vandoorne is better than Bottas, but I don’t see any problem with him being a reserve driver. I think it is incredibly unlikely that he will be replacing Bottas, and I also think that it is most likely that Bottas will keep his seat for next season, and possibly longer.

Enough people seemed to get the idea that 2017 would be his last season, then the same for the next year, and in the middle of last season, people thought the same again. He has been given another year a coupe of times now and he got his best result last year. I don’t think the line-up will change for 2021 unless Bottas really disappoints (unlikely) or Russell turns out to be incredible, which is hard to show or prove in the Williams. I see no likely changes at this team for next year.
Ben Rowe (@Thegianthogweed)

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On this day in F1

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2005
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2005
  • On this day in 2005 Kimi Raikkonen crashed his McLaren MP4-20 during testing at the Circuit de Catalunya

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Keith Collantine
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  • 40 comments on “McLaren supportive of Brawn’s plan to drop F1 motorhomes”

    1. So, if a team like McLaren are OK with Brawn’s idea of doing away with motorhomes (once they are able to be assured of a certain minimum standard of facilities at venues, as pointed out), then I think other teams will also be receptive to falling in line, and I don’t think fans would also have a problem, seeing as they tend to be mostly used by corporate sponsors.

      I presume the motorhomes are classified as a marketing expense hence outside the remit of a budget cap, but I’m sure that even in that case, teams wouldn’t mind being able to trim their budgets by only having to transport decor, furniture, etc. and not entire structures to be built up.

      1. Mclaren are not forced to use their motorhome, they can drop it if they want to.
        I believe this is an unnecessary intrusion into other peoples business because it has nothing to do with competition.

        1. Mclaren are not forced to use their motorhome, they can drop it if they want to.

          Yeah, that’s a fair point. But, as you can see from Zak’s cautiously optimistic statement, it is an expense that he is willing to consider cutting down on (and as someone heavily invested in the marketing side of McLaren’s operations, he is best placed to judge the pros and cons of such a decision). So Liberty’s request on this matter might just be the nudge that some teams need to pare their expenses back.

          because it has nothing to do with competition

          Liberty’s involvement in the sport goes beyond just levelling the playing field. One of their stated goals is to improve the eco-friendliness of the overall sport (bit ironic I know, but let’s just take it at the stated value for the purposes of this discussion), which is why motorhomes have come on their radar as an option to consider. Also, we don’t know what specific terms exist between teams and FOM with regards to motorhomes, and what level of control FOM can exert over teams putting up motorhomes.

          There might be something contractual, in which case FOM can build a consensus and work towards amending those clauses in the direction they want. Alternatively, there may be nothing contractual at all, whereupon all FOM can do is request teams not to bring motorhomes.

        2. Did you miss the point of the whole story?

        3. It is one more sign of the increasingly totalitarian nature of F1 management.

      2. For independent teams anything is an expense, for sponsor teams not quite the same

      3. The simple truth is that is soon as this would be agreed to, Liberty would find a way to charge the teams for the new accommodations, and at least as much as a new motorhome every decade, probably more.

        Only that no one will have the option to keep their old equipment like Sauber or Renault did, they won’t have a choice but pay Liberty for the space they clearly require.

        1. Oh this is interesting. I assume you have some proof to back up this “truth” for us?

        2. You’re assuming LM will build facilities at the track, which they won’t. I expect these facilities, either temporary or permanent will be an added problem for the circuit owners. If a circuit, say Silverstone, has to erect temporary motorhomes for 10 teams, that’ll take them a month – no doubt taking up valuable paddock space either side of the GP.

          I wonder if the European circuits might get together to buy the motorhomes off the teams and move them around to save on the cost…

          1. I would agree that it sounds more likely that the sport will be putting pressure on the circuits to pick up the cost of providing additional facilities, rather than Liberty Media itself providing motorhomes themselves for a fee.

            That would potentially be another factor that could tie into Liberty’s desire for more races, which would involve condensing the race weekend. By lumping the costs and complexities of providing those facilities onto the circuits, it cuts the time that the teams need to spend mobilising and demobilising equipment at the circuit – which would help Liberty in justifying a compressed race weekend and more frequent races.

    2. compact format: FP1/2 Sat, Qual/Race Sun, no FP3. Dry run for future formats.

      While I appreciate Liberty’s attempt to try and hold a Chinese GP, I am less than enthused at their attempting a backdoor entry for the truncated format. And I say that because I’m happy with the current format of a race weekend, and don’t wish to see it change.

      So, Liberty might start with the truncated format for this one-off race stating it is an exceptional circumstance, but then I fear that they might next use it as a means to accommodate triple-headers in a future season, and eventually jam-pack a calendar with even more races.

      1. I am less than enthused at their attempting a backdoor entry for the truncated format.

        Exactly my thoughts. They’re disguising it as a noble attempt to salvage the Chinese GP but I’m sure they have it on their minds to try and demonstrate that it is a plausible solution going forward.

        1. @toiago, especially given that Liberty Media was already talking about the idea of shortening the race weekend last year, with Steiner indicating that option was being considered by Liberty Media as a way of allowing the sport to expand to 25 or 26 races per season.

      2. @phylyp I’d add that as we have seen in the past, Just because a format seems to work OK under specific unusual circumstances doesn’t mean it’s something that will work just as well full time.

        I think back to the 2004 Japanese Gp when they ended up having to hold qualifying on Sunday morning due to the risk of a typhoon on the Saturday. That was deemed to have worked well enough so they decided to have a qualifying session on Sunday morning full time in 2005 & it ended up proving unpopular enough that the Sunday session was dropped after a handful of races.
        Yes part of the issues was the silly aggregate lap-time system they were trying but having a qualifying session on Sunday morning was something that was in general unpopular which is why they dropped the Sunday session entirely rather than simply getting rid of the aggregate system.

        And I think an issue we would have now which was perhaps not as big an issue then is the lack of spare cars. How does it benefit anybody if a driver has an issue during a Sunday morning qualifying session which the team are unable to fix in time for the start the race?

        I also still question how a 2 day weekend & less track action would be considered good value for fans attending the circuits. If your spending a fortune to get to a race, Especially if your traveling abroad I can’t see you been happy to get less action over less days, I certainly wouldn’t be to the point where i would see the point in going at all.

        1. @roger-ayles – Those are some very nice points.

        2. Both of you make good points.

      3. Surely shoe-horning a changed format race as the penultimate race is a bad idea as it potentially could have a big impact if the championship (one can only hope) is set to go down to the wire.
        I can only presume that the powers that be are not confident Hamilton won’t have checked out by Mexico again, so need something to keep the interest at the end of the season?

        I just hope that there is a logical cut off point for Liberty / F1 determining a full cancellation, otherwise in the daftest scenario, we risk seeing someone crowned champion off track by virtue of there suddenly being 26 less points available.

        1. @eurobrun – very good point, I think that ought to be concern #1, over and above the other hypotheticals we’ve been tossing around.

      4. Qual/race on a single day is a bad idea that will hurt their viewership. Instead of 2 hours, now you gotta take almost double that out of your day to follow everything. It’s easier for a viewer to do that over 2 days.

    3. Oh come on CoTD, the only reason for Vandoorne was beaten by Alonso so comprehensively was because McLaren favoured the latter and asked the former to slow down to let his team mate.

      If the internet has thought us one thing, is that Alonso can’t beat his teammates without intervention of his team.

      1. @jaymenon10 exactly. Fellow flat-earther.
        Now seriously, mclaren parked vandoornes car halfway into the 2nd season, cruel but mclaren did arrive much stronger to the next season.

        1. Jaymenon watching a different series?

          1. I was hoping the sarcasm was obvious

            1. It was a little too well done, I too missed it. :)

            2. Missed what ..?? :)

    4. Of course Australia can’t host a second GP we don’t have a proper race track.

      1. My instinct reaction is “wait a minute, Bathurst is one hell of a ‘proper race track’, but I guess by ‘proper’ you mean either a permanent circuit,
        or one that has a grade 1 licence that could host F1, so fair point.

        To be honest, I don’t see any logic in a 2nd race at one venue in the same season ever (unless different layouts like BTCC Brands Hatch / Silverstone this year). Its a bad idea even without actually thinking it through!

        The Bend looks a pretty good track. Its currently only grade 2, but no reason that couldn’t be upped if they ever had F1 ambitions, but I guess unlikely that they do.

      2. Sepang is close enough!

    5. Also in the round up, Rich Energy (along with William Storey and his beard) are back with another “multi million pound” sponsorship, this time on bikes…

      1. And they say a long term commitment lol

        1. So… more than 6 months then

    6. No, Mr Penske, it’s not “The Racing Capital of The World”
      You run a few local races to a few local fans, most of who don’t even bother to show up for the IndyGP in the preceding month before the only event in the calendar that has any interest internationally. And by interest I mean three lines in the sports section.
      Nobody outside the US cares about the tintops.
      Your chosen strategy regarding international expansion for the foreseeable future reflects that you know this already.

      1. @uneedafinn2win “Racing Capital of The World” has been a marketing slogan of IMS for a few decades now so not something Roger Penske has just come up with.

        Bear in mind that at the time the phrase was coined both IMS & the 500 were significantly more prestigious than they are perhaps viewed today. Before the CART/IRL split the Indy 500 was a massive deal around the world & often the only Indycar race that got any coverage & the Indy Motor Speedway was a circuit that people viewed as one of those special places which even those that didn’t follow Indycar had heard about.

        The split really hurt the place & the direction the series has gone post-merger hasn’t helped bring it back to where it was because many of the elements that went towards making the Indy 500 feel as special/exciting/thrilling as it once did aren’t there anymore in a tightly controlled spec series.

        1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
          15th February 2020, 15:34

          Also, the loss of Tony Hulman in 1977 meant significant changes at Indianapolis.

          I don’t know exactly when the “Racing Capital of the World” was used for the first time, but in my copy of Floyd Clymer’s Indianapolis Race History 1909-1946 (published in 1946), I found the slogan:
          “Indianapolis Motor Speedway – The Greatest Race Course In The World”
          This was used at the end of a short presentation text which appears to have been published in the year 1910, i.e. one year before the first official Indianapolis 500 race.

          I also note that the writers of the time frequently used the term “race course”.
          On page 28 in the same publication, there is an article from the First Automobile Journal, New York, first published in 1912, under the section heading “The Horseless Age”.

          The article itself is 10 pages long, extremely detailed, and it describes the 1912 Indianapolis 500:
          “Dawson in a National wins Thrilling 500-mile Indianapolis Race”

    7. @keithcollantine, whatever happened to @scarbstech, has he stopped writing full columns? He’s active on Twitter, all over the newly released cars but any longer pieces coming ?
      Or is he like us, aware that this year is a mild evolution of existing concepts and not really worth two thousand words.

    8. How would that be practically achievable, though? The distance between Sao Paulo and Shanghai is 18,569.95 km by air, which is far greater than the Melbourne-Bahrain, Baku-Montreal, and Sao Paulo-Abu Dhabi (double-header in 2010) distances. It’s a lot greater than any of the gaps between distant double-header venues before. Furthermore, west-to-east travelling is less comfortable jet lag-wise than east-to-west travelling (which would happen with Shanghai and Abu Dhabi, though). However, the 2010 Brazil-Abu Dhabi double-header created that as did the Russia-Japan one in 2018, and Montreal-Baku in 2016, but still. Just let it go already. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if there’s no Chinese GP for this one season, and it’d only be for this single season anyway, as was with Bahrain in the early-2010s, and it survived it’s year-off, therefore, China would as well.

    9. The thing with the Motorhomes is that teams have already spent a fortune on them, They already have them so aren’t really going to save that much by banning them.

      Additionally not every venue has good enough facilities to replace them. Most of the newer flyaway venues that were built specifically around hosting F1 do, But most of the others (Especially the older/classic venues) don’t & a lot of those venues won’t have the budgets (Or in some cases the space) to be able to build any.

      And as Zak said in the last sentence teams use these things as marketing tools in part to attract sponsors & a part of that is having a brand identity. If everyone is in the same square box with nothing but a banner above the door it makes it harder to attract sponsors who may be looking at something to help there brand stand out.

    10. I guess flight time is the least of their problems. It’s only 24 hours average going through Frankfurt, South Africa or Dubai. Boxes would arrive Wednesday.

      Crew would have to flight straight after as well, dealing with a perfect 12h time change (ouch!).

      Even if the championship is decided by the time, the midfield will probably still fighting for that extra point, what means they couldn’t do it for the sake of show only.

      Interestingly, none mentioned the possibility of cutting a week off the summer break.

    11. Motorhomes …. what is R Brawn on about.?
      Are these the accommodation motor-homes for the drivers staff and management or is he referring to the Hospitality Suits used to entertain sponsors and hangers-on.? Complete with media centers, refreshment dispensing, food prep etc.
      Never been to a race in the modern era, but the pictures of the temporary structures are nothing short of spectacular.
      Not sure but suspicion is that FOM doesn’t have much control over what the teams bring to a race, where they park it or who gets paid for the space it takes up. I would expect that this is between the teams and the circuit owners.
      Hopefully someone in the know can fill us in. DR, over to you.

    12. this all smells really bad, like communism. The government of F1 wants to set prices, tell people what they can and cant buy and how much they can pay for it.

      They want more and more use of what they call “standard parts” which are essentially parts with a fixed value decided upon by the governing body.

      This form of economics is call communism, it has failed each and every time it had ever been tried and has always resulted in disaster.

      At least if confined to motorsport, nobody should die because of it but this form of marxist economics is forever associated with the deaths of 10’s of Millions, thought to be around 200 Million in the 20th century alone. It is thoroughly discredited but continues to rear it’s ugly head, driven by those whom have not read history and those who ignore history. I bet Brawn is a labour voter.

      There are other solutions to the excesses of capitalism, what we are seeing in F1 now is what happened in football 20 years ago. People with a huge amount of wealth bought into the business and began a budget war to win. Communism is not the answer.

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