News and views on motorsports

Thursday, July 21, 2005

News Roundup

Following Red Bull's announcement that they had signed the new Concorde agreement, Christian Horner was moved to say a few words regarding its decisions. Just when will people in high places start to tell the truth for once? A good editorial on the matter appears here on PlanetF1. Glad to see other people reaching the same conclusions I did in my last post.

Just speculating here. 2008 sees a new set of rules alongside the new Concorde agreement. Significantly, teams are allowed to purchase chassis in addition to engines. I would speculate that the alliance between Ferrari and Red Bull will eventually lead Red Bull to purchase a complete car from them come 2008. Thats not exactly a bad thing to do. A complete car combined with the existing resources at RBR may produce a situation not unlike sports cars, where it is possible for a crack team of privateers to beat the works cars. If of course, Ferrari allow RBR to have the latest evolutions of their cars.

If you read the PlanetF1 editorial, it suggests that Ferrari's finances, or lack of it, is responsible in part for its poor form this year. Quite apart from the tyre issue, the company's parent FIAT are losing money by the barrel loads and it cannot sustain the current level of spending on its favourite pet. Ferrari must be thanking their lucky stars that someone is stupid enough to bend over now that Sauber has moved on to a bigger and brighter future with BMW.

Enter Red Bull. Very profitable by all accounts and ever in need for more marketing exposure on a global scale. For a start they're buying engines from Ferrari but come 2007 or 2008, who's to say that they couldn't or indeed wouldn't extend and pool their resources further to produce complete racing cars. After all a Red Bull run Ferrari is still a Ferrari and Ferrari itself would still benefit if they won.

Could Jordan, soon to be Midland Grand Prix be having the same idea? Hot on the heels of Red Bull's announcement comes the news that Jordan have also signed up for the new Concorde. Their decision seems inexplicable. However, I think Alex Shnaider's relationship with Bernie is strong and I'm sure he must have bought into Bernie's arguments that staying with him gives Midland long term security as an independent team. I'm sure Alex has nightmares about the big manufacturers eating him and spitting him out should he go with them. And who knows, maybe Jordan could buy cars from Ferrari as well.

So, thats one more team who's going the Bernie way. And those Jordan, like Red Bull, are basically agreeing that Ferrari should get the privileged position it feels it deserves. That to me is simply bullshit. Perhaps someday far, far into the future, the truth will be revealed as to why these guys signed up for something that immediately gives their rival a headstart over everyone else. For now, there's this comment on thats quite interesting.

I shouldn't think anyone else is interested in the Concorde agreement in its current form. There have been suggestions that perhaps a championship backed by a new agreement and one which includes Bernie in it, could be formed to take Formula 1 into the future. After all, Bernie has got those annoying banks to deal with. A new entity would get rid of them.

On to other matters now. I don't know whether this story is a joke or not but there are suggestions that Williams Grand Prix Engineering is up for sale. The buyer is reportedly a Korean consortium that includes Hyundai and Samsung. Koreans owning that quintessential British team? That somehow sounds sacrilegious to me. I know you lot are getting old but Frank, Patrick, please say it isn't so. But interestingly enough, heading the consortium is ex-BAR boss David Richards.

I'm speculating again here but though BMW offers Williams engines for next year, essentially the team has lost its "works" status. BMW itself have wasted no time in getting straight to work with their recently acquired Sauber team. Frank and Patrick are now busy looking at alternative engine supplies for next year. Cosworth being on pole position for the job. However, Cosworth is not manufacturer backed having been dumped by those disgusting Ford bean counters. So perhaps someone like Hyundai jumping in may just give Cosworth the backing it needs. Much like how Mercedes give Ilmor the backing it requires and how Ford did the same once with Cosworth.

Moving along, Michelin have announced that they are "completely open to allowing for a more balanced split of teams among tyre manufacturers, starting as early as the 2006 season." As you know, Michelin are supplying the majority of teams with tyres at the moment. An short analysis of the situation appears on Pitpass here. The question is, if Michelin is calling for Bridgestone to supply more teams, then who are Michelin going to drop? I think we can count on Red Bull to be taking up Bridgestone tyres. That just leaves with one more team for them to drop.

One thing's for sure, both Michelin and Bridgestone will be fighting tooth and nail to remain in Formula 1 despite the calls for control tyres. I think this is simply a ploy for Michelin to remain in the sport. After Indianapolis, one could say that Bridgestone is looking extremely good to be the sole tyre supplier in Formula 1. Michelin's argument is that a tyre competition is beneficial not only to the sport but to the motoring industry as a whole. Hence, having two manufacturers supplying teams equally would go a long way towards that aim.

Finally in a scene reminiscent of a bygone era, Professor Prost has beaten Il Leone, Nigel Mansell, in a charity "race of legends" at Norisring in Germany. Other competitors in the race included Jody Scheckter, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mick Doohan and Johnny Cecotto (now there's a name I haven't hear in ages). The drivers raced in DTM cars. Prost apprently enjoyed it a lot and has given thought to racing in the DTM. Now that would be something having two former world champions, including Mika Hakkinen, in the series.

Meanwhile Nigel Mansell has criticized the current Formula 1 rules. In particular the silly one tyre per race rule has come under fire from the 1992 world champion. I must say, I didn't quite like Mansell's drama queen shenanigans when he was racing but on this matter, I hear you Nige. Though its quite unlikely that Max would.

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