Category Archives: F1 Team News

General News on F1 Teams

Sauber Plays the PR Game Badly

vandergarde3I like Sauber. I remember the days as far back as Jean Alesi, then names like Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and even Sebastian Vettel spent time with the team scrapping it out with the big boys and really making a show of it at times. The team history reads like a who’s who of F1 with a gaggle of recognizable names, sponsors and team partnerships including big boys like BMW, Mercedes, Petronas, Ford and others. It’s fun to cheer on a small, under-funded team. It’s the whole ‘David and Goliath‘ things – we all like to root for the underdog. Except when the underdog gets infected with the rabies.

In this case Sauber is suffering from the rabies of greed, ignorance and stupidity, and a public relations fail that they just keep making worse.

We all know the story. In brief, Sauber signed to many drivers, and all of them pay-to-playsauber1 drivers. They signed 4 drivers as a matter of fact for just two seats in F1 rides for 2015. In the end, Sauber was forced to choose 2 of those 4 for their drivers for 2015,and wouldn’t you know,m they chose the two that paid the most money to drive.

Up to this point, I have no fault against Sauber. When you are struggling financially, as all smaller teams are, you take money where you can get it, with the hopes that these young drivers with money would turn out to have half a much talent as they had cash. While this is a much debated and sometimes maligned practice, let’s face it – sometimes it pays off. While many pay drivers have gone on to have respectable careers, some drivers that got their start by paying to drive turned out to have fantastic careers: Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso just to name a few. I don;t even have such an issue with Sauber signing 4 drivers really. You sing what you think is a good deal, and a better one comes along. In life, this is a real bummer and you put a great deal of credence into integrity and ‘doing the right thing’. In business however, the weight of philosophical rights or wrongs is lighter, and so decisions are based more on value and less on morality. But, so sign 4 drivers, taking their money, and then not giving that money back after you no longer required their services is just worng. Not just morally, but legally. At least in the minds of both European and Australian Courts.

Here’s where the PR issues come to the front page.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Brazilian Grand Prix - Preparation Day - Sao Paulo, BrazilWe all got to see this playout at the track this past weekend at Albert Park. Some news of the Sauber/Giedo van der Garde lawsuit was in our faces each day, with updates coming almost hourly. Sauber was ordered that they must permit van der Garde to drive at the race. In the end, as this has been ground out in the media already, the courts ruled in favor of Giedo van der Garde on every account, and rather than force Sauber to allow him to drive, in a last minute agreement, van der Garde acquiesced on the plea to drive, and putting the fans and F1 in general in front of himself, came to a settlement allowing Sauber to race with other drivers. Good on van der Garde. Here’s what he had to say,

“To push on against this determination might have brought down the team, it would most certainly have wrecked the opening Grand Prix in Melbourne because the team´s cars would have been seized by the court, it may have ruined the careers of two young drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. Possibly the team´s directors would even be taken into custody.”

However, like the adage goes, ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. After all the dust settled in Australia, Giedo van der Garde released a statement on his Facebook page that explains his side of the story. In spite of his obvious passion in the statement, van der Garde was concise and polite.

To the utter surprise of virtually everyone that has any involvement with Formula 1 Racing, Sauber released a counter-statement. To read it boggles the mind. In part, Sauber says:

“We don’t know about Giedo’s intentions. He may try to present himself as a winner, while we had actually hoped to come to rest after our agreement. Giedo decided to take a different approach – the reasoning behind we cannot understand.”

You can’t understand?? He may try to present himself as a winner?? Are you serious? sauber3Sauber – take note: You wronged this man in every way. Every Court that adjudicated this case ruled in his favor. He IS in fact the winner, and you must pay (unspecified) funds to make reparations in this case. That, by definition of law, makes van der Garde the Winner, and Dauber the Loser. And releasing this sad statement, makes you an even BIGGER loser.

The fans responded quickly, and viciously. It did not take long for the feelings of the fans to be known:

“There is a tremendous lack of professionalism from Sauber in this post. They are trying to put the blame on Giedo.”

“An expexted comment; take your responsibility, you did things the wrong way. His accusations are completely justified, he is a passionate driver and he thought he had a chance to race with you, since he had a contract. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Sauber, you can’t treat people like this.”

‘You took his money to keep the team alive,then ditched him for 2 drivers with more money,what did you expect?’

‘Your team stole his money (giedo’s, adrian’s, and simona’s) and then act like you did nothing wrong? Are you kidding me? You screwed over two drivers last year because YOUR management couldn’t find sponsorship money, but you blame it on the drivers when they come back asking for what is rightfully theirs? Unbelievable that your management is this delusional.’

And finally this:

“It’s what happens when you sign four drivers for two cars you greedy dicks!

Sauber – you have much to learn, and we are disappointed in you. We expected better.

Sources:

http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/12040/9764757/giedo-van-der-gardes-sauber-contract-ended-by-mutual-consent

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay_driver

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Bernie to Manor: Sorry, Pay Anyway!

manor2Sky Sorts among other sources is reporting that Bernie Ecclestone is demanding that Dauber pay their freight costs both to and from the Australian Grand Prix for failing to participate.

In a sports league reeling from out of control spending requirements to stay competitive, and losing teams to bankruptcy, Bernie refused to lend a helping hand to struggling Manor/Maurussia. In a gallant effort, supported in part by the cash donations of their own fan base, Manor showed up at the Australian GP, but falling short in readiness and cash-flow, were unable to participate in the week’s events. Rather than pay for the shipping costs as is customary for F1/FIA in order to put on their events that earn billions each year, F1 King Bernie Ecclestone has ruled that Manor will have to pay the expenses for their travel – both to and from Australia.

manor3This unsurprisingly unsportsmanlike move by Ecclestone will likely sideline Manor for the next two events.

F1 fans are not surprised, but deserve better from the sport’s leadership. With fans becoming disenchanted, viewership waning, and popularity suffering, this is not a good move for F1 to have made. Sadly, Bernie only sees dollar signs.

Sources:
http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/9763567/bernie-ecclestone-manor-must-pay-freight-costs-to-and-from-melbourne

http://www.foxsports.com/motor/story/f1-ecclestone-furious-as-manor-marussia-team-misses-australian-gp-031615

FOTA Re-Birth?

claire_williams1Formula 1’s Strategy Group can fill the void left by the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA), according to Williams’ deputy team principal Claire Williams.

FOTA, created in in 2008 with the goal of giving F1 teams a united voice when dealing with commercial rights holders and the FIA, was disbanded at the end of last month.

Its strength was significantly undermined in 2011 when Ferrari, Red Bull and Sauber decide to leave.

Williams suggested FOTA had not managed to adapt to F1’s new demands, and feels the Strategy Group will be a good replacement for the teams’ body.

“I think FOTA when it initially came out had a very different [mandate], it was initially established for particular reasons but F1 has changed, the landscape has changed in the sport,” Williams said.

“It is a shame and we always need a platform for teams to come together and discuss issues whatever they may be in order to find a common ground and solution.”

claire williams2
Claire Williams

“It being dissolved is a shame but it changed and teams came out of it, which is a shame, as you need in a sport all the teams talking together in one group. If you don’t have that, is the body still relevant?

“But we have the Strategy Group now, which is comprised of the five teams and the FIA and FOM, and it is doing a good job. It is very conscious in the work it is doing to try to improve the sport now but also to protect it in the future.”

The Strategy Group was created during the 2013 season and it’s made up of 18 representatives from the FIA and FOM, plus Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren and Lotus.

Sources:
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/113080

F1 Rules changes Include Double Points, and Spending Cap

formula_1_2013

By , F1 Correspondent

Formula One is to introduce a cost cap from 2015 and, perhaps more controversially, will offer double points in the final race of each season from 2014 in an effort to keep the championship alive until the end.

The two changes were among a whole raft announced by Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, on Monday night following a meeting in Paris of the sport’s new rule-making body the F1 Strategy Group and they were immediately approved by the Formula One Commission.

While the cost cap, the level of which has yet to be defined, is arguably the most significant change, it is the introduction of double points at the final race which attracted most attention on Monday night, with many fans dismissing the idea as a gimmick.

The rule will apply to both drivers’ and constructors’ championships, meaning the winner of the final race next year in Abu Dhabi – which is already a controversial choice of venue for the final race of the season – will earn 50 points, with 36 for second place and so on through the top 10.

Had the system been in place in recent years, Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 drivers’ title would have gone to Felipe Massa while Fernando Alonso would have won the 2012 drivers’ title from Sebastian Vettel.

Source: http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/12040/9065961/formula-one-points-changes-agreed-for-2014-season

Mario Andretti Says Raikkonen Hired to Challenge Alonso

kimi1

By Fraser Masefield
According to former world champion Mario Andretti, Ferrari signed Kimi Raikkonen because they became frustrated with the attitude of Fernando Alonso.

Alonso endured a tough season with Ferrari and went as far as criticising his own team after the Hungarian Grand Prix, leading president Luca di Montezemolo to publically scold the two-time world champion.

“In my opinion, Alonso became frustrated this season, and what he said offended Ferrari, Otherwise they never would have hired someone who could challenge him and even beat him,” Andretti told Spanish sports newspaper Marca via gptoday.com.

You have to know how to behave. He always had a proper behaviour, but that 1 per cent… we saw what was Montezemolo’s reaction. It will be interesting to see what happens next because Kimi is not arriving to help; he is going to try to win. It will be a great battle that will be fun to watch.

Famous F1 Replacement Drivers

kimi-replacement

Nov 10, 2013, 2:15 PM EST Courtesy NBC Sports

Following Kimi Raikkonen’s decision to undergo back surgery and subsequently miss the final two rounds of the 2013 Formula One season, a somewhat unexpected race has been sparked to claim the vacant seat at Lotus. The team’s reserve driver, Davide Valsecchi, is widely expected to deputize for the Finn and make his Formula One debut. Although it may be an unconventional way of getting into the sport, many other legends of the sport have come in through the same route – accidental, but incredibly impressive – as well as acting as a replacement in the twilight of their careers.

Mario Andretti – Italy 1982

MarioAndrettiMonza1982Andretti’s role as a stand-in is slightly different, as it came at the end of his career. Having won the drivers’ championship in 1978, he  failed to successfully defend his title and entered the 1982 season without a drive. Andretti took part in one race for Williams as a replacement for Carlos Reutemann, but following a career-ending accident for Didier Pironi, He enjoyed one final hurrah with Ferrari. On debut for the Italian team, Andretti scored pole position before going on to finish in third place at Monza in an emotional result for the Italian-American. However, he could not repeat this feat in the season finale at Caesar’s Palace thanks to a suspension failure. Nevertheless, it was a fitting end to an illustrious F1 career.

Michael Schumacher – Belgium 1991

shumacher1991

Statistically, Michael Schumacher is the greatest driver in the history of Formula One. However, his debut came under rather strange circumstances. The German driver was drafted in by enigmatic team owner Eddie Jordan after full-time driver Betrand Gachot was jailed for two months. At the tender age of twenty-two, Schumacher immediately impressed to qualify seventh ahead of teammate Andrea de Cesaris. Despite retiring on the first lap of the race due to a clutch problem, Schumacher had done enough to secure himself a drive with Benetton for the rest of the season, with whom he would go on to win his first two championships in 1994 and 1995.

Sebastian Vettel – USA 2007

vettel-2007-Sauber

In the final United States Grand Prix at The Brickyard back in 2007, a young German driver by the name of Sebastian Vettel made his debut. BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica had a huge crash at the Canadian Grand Prix that he was lucky to escape from, but under advice from his doctor, the Pole opted not to race at Indianapolis. Therefore, the team drafted in Vettel – just six days shy of his twentieth birthday – and he immediately proved his credentials as a star for the future. After qualifying in seventh place, Vettel went on to finish the race in eighth just behind future teammate Mark Webber. Four races later, Vettel was given a full-time drive with Toro Rosso after Scott Speed‘s exit; six years later, he’s a four time world champion.

Michael Schumacher (almost) – Europe 2009

Eighteen years after standing in to make his debut, the then-retired Schumacher was on the verge of a shock comeback with Ferrari. Felipe Massa had suffered a severe head injury at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix and was unable to take part in the rest of the season. Therefore, Ferrari had to find a replacement, and who better than the most successful driver in the history of the team? Schumacher, who had last raced in 2006, was all set to step in. However, a neck injury that he had suffered on a motorbike flared up and meant that he could not represent the Italian team. Luca Badoer was eventually promoted from his test driver role, but he lasted two races before being replaced by Giancarlo Fisichella.

Massa to Join Storied Williams Team

Pastor Maldonado in his Williams
Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Sir Frank Williams and his F1 Team have announced their lineup for 2014. Those drivers will include  Valtteri Bottas as was already known or understood, but with today’s announcement came a small surprise. The Willimams #1 driver for 2014 will be Filepe Massa. 

Massa has had a great career and helped Ferrari win constructors titles in 2007-2008. He has frequently challenged for the Drover’s Title as well, narrowly missing this achievement in 2008, falling 1 point short to Lewis Hamilton. But even with these accolades, Massa has a reputation (among fans at least) to be an underachiever,  and for lack of handling skills having crashed his Ferrari multiple times in the 2013 campaign, including twice during the weekend at Monaco in two almost identical shunts.

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal commented, “It is very exciting for us to be able to… Continue reading Massa to Join Storied Williams Team

The Race is Still on in F1

GP-India
New York Times:
Story by BRAD SPURGEON
Published: October 31, 2013

When Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team took their fourth consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles at the Indian Grand Prix at New Delhi on Sunday, it ended the suspense for Formula One fans and drivers about the ultimate prizes this season.

But aside from all the title fanfare, in the last three laps of that race there was a ferocious battle among Sergio Pérez, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, which was ostensibly for fifth place in the race, but was really a battle among those drivers’ teams — McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus — in the race for second place in the championship.

For the 10 teams that trail Red Bull, such tense battles, pressure and suspense will a peak in a three-race showdown, starting with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday and ending with the Brazilian Grand Prix on Nov. 24, by way of the U.S. Grand Prix a week before that. At stake is $350 million or more in prize money, split between the teams — based on the 2011 figure, the latest that is available — from the series’ commercial rights holder, Formula One Management.

Teams are awarded prize money according to their finishing position in the championship, the largest amount going to the winner and the cut decreasing down the line. Continue reading The Race is Still on in F1

Are F1 Teams Promoting Rookies Too Quickly for the Money??

daniil1As always, there is much to be said when a single-seat driver from any series is promoted to Formula One racing. Being the pinnacle for any motor racing driver, F1 seats, even with tier 2 and three teams are coveted, and not easily earned.

Daniil2
Does this guy look ready for F1?

The recent promotion of Russian driver Daniil Kvyat by Scuderia Toro Roso has brought these question to the minds of F1 fans around the world. This is to be expected. When a famous ‘up-and-comer’ is promoted from the minor leagues to the major leagues in any sport, the fans begin to talk and all sorts of conspiracy theories and rumors fill conversations at work and sports bars. It is no different in F1. The fans love their sport and they love to talk about it. But this promotion, along with others still pending, along with experienced names being over-looked in favor of more rookies, now even the F1 Teams themselves are asking – ‘is this too much too soon? 
Continue reading Are F1 Teams Promoting Rookies Too Quickly for the Money??

James Hunt F1 McLaren Up For Auction

hunt-vintage Want to own a piece of F1 and movie history ? Here’s your chance.

The LA Times reports that one of the cars used in the move Rush, formerly driven by James Hunt will be going up for auction. James Hunt’s 1977 McLaren M26 is still in working order. It has been raced in recent vintage events, and even more recently seen in the Ron Howard drama RUSH.

RK Motors Collector Car Auctions will be selling the M26 that Hunt drove the season after winning his only world championship title in 1976. It was that season that Hunt’s rivalry with Austrian racer Niki Lauda came to a head, the events of which were chronicled in the recent film.

The auction service has not released the name of the current owner, but did say the estimated value of the racer that Hunt drove has a pre-sale estimate of $1.2 million to $1.8 million.