When the F1 Strategy Group (a laughable name for a group that seems to have no actual strategy for the sport) brought up the idea of the front-running teams supplying customer cars to the smaller outfits, it was met with derision from many fans, as well as the likes of Sauber, Force India and Lotus.
Crazy Uncle Bernie got in on the act at the Monaco GP by offering to broker the deals between The Big Four (Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull) and the struggling teams. There have long been technology deals between teams (Red Bull and Toro Rosso; Honda and Super Aguri; McLaren and Force India; Ferrari and Haas F1) but the chassis itself is manufactured by the team – that is why there is the CONSTRUCTORS championship.
What Ecclestone didn’t mention was that under the present Concorde Agreement the placing in the Constructors Championship determines prize money, not the Drivers Championship. So if a team used a customer car they would no longer be a constructor – and therefore would they not qualify for prize money?
Do your think the likes of Frank and Claire Williams, whose team is fast enough to be successful but not included in the Big Four, likes the idea of teams behind them suddenly running a pair of Mercedes or Ferrari cars that are beating them now?
The issue doesn’t lie in the smaller teams ability to build a good chassis, it lies in the unfair distribution of money within the sport. The side deals negotiated by Ecclestone with the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull mean the smaller teams are simply outspent during the course of the season and can never develop their great ideas (Exhibit A: Sauber in Australia vs. everywhere since).
What’s laughable is that Toro Rosso seem to have designed a better performing chassis this year than parent Red Bull, who have been pissing and moaning about Renault all year and threatening to quit the sport entirely. Call that stability? Maybe Red Bull just want to use an STR11 in 2016…
It’s time for the FIA to take the decision making away from the teams, abolish the “Strategy Group” and even out the financial playing field. It’s time for Jean Todt to stop arsing around with the United Nations and to grow a pair.
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As the holidays approach we begin to think about getting together and travelling to see family over the Christmas break. Fun times on the whole, except if you get stuck sitting with that one crazy relative.
We all have one – be it an aunt or uncle, cousin or sibling. In some unfortunate situations he is also very rich and the most of the family have to put up with him because of it.
Formula One has such a relative now, too.
Crazy Uncle Bernie.
You know how it goes…
Lives in the past: “Everything was better in The Good Old Days.”
Makes sexist comments about somebody’s girlfriend: “You see the gazongas on that one?”
Makes racist comments about somebody’s boyfriend: “Do they have shoes where you come from?”
Refuses to embrace change: “Nobody understands this technology crap.”
Constantly reminisces: “They don’t make stuff like they used to.”
He’s grumpy and no-one wants to piss him off during Christmas dinner, or they’ll get a stream of unsolicited “advice”.
Today, Crazy Uncle Bernie told his pet F1 journalist that he intends to propose to the F1 Strategy Group that they revert back to normally aspirated V10 engines for 2016. He even made a not so veiled threat that he had bought the right to do so from the FIA (who’s current plans are making the Maginot Line look like brilliant strategy).
2014 was dominated by Mercedes but also offered some of the most exciting races in years and it was the culmination of a huge investment by the German marque to prepare the new power units. Honda is ramping up for a similar level of investment as it returns to the sport with McLaren and now the technology finally starts to be attractive to companies like Audi.
Why? Because it has real world, mass production applications. Hybrids are no longer for hippies – they go fast!
Does Crazy Uncle Bernie really think they are going to toss away years of development and millions of dollars just to make the engines louder? Maybe Crazy Uncle Bernie just needs to turn up his hearing aid…
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Last June I wrote a post regarding the reinstatement of the Bahrain GP to the F1 calendar. It ended with the line, “Shame on you, Bernie. Shame on you.” and that sentiment still holds true.
As the event approaches the controversy has grown expotentially with those who have been against it from the start (such as the great F1 journalist, Joe Saward) being joined by British MP’s and those that were initially in favor of the event going on, like Damon Hill.
Bernie Ecclestone has kept to his “everything is going to be fine” mantra while protests and violence continue. The latest to weigh in is Jackie Stewart, whos statement that “other sporting events take place in countries where there is more unrest and torture”, I find a mind-boggling line of logic. He comes off as the old man at the London club reminiscing to his lunchmates about “the old days in The Raj” and complaining about tthe working class’s lack of a “stiff upper lip”. Incredible.
The teams state that they are contracted to appear if the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) says to go, so the matter sits at the feet of the one person no one has heard from, FIA President, Jean Todt – a man not normally known for keeping his mouth closed.
It’s time to step up and grow a pair, Jean. Show everyone you aren’t scared of Uncle Bernie and do the right thing – and do it now. Like it or not, the Grand Prix is being used by the Bahraini government as a political tool (marketing it with the slogan “unif1y” is not exactly subtle) and with Bahraini activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja possibly dying as a result of his hunger strike during the run-up to the event, the chances of something tragic happening grow daily.
I sincerely hope it doesn’t have the opportunity to happen.