If I was Bernie – 3 car teams in #f1 – my thoughts

I’ve been considering over the last couple of days quite what the options for F1 are around filling the grid and as well as putting my own thoughts down I’ve asked a few people to give their views too (coming up over the next week or so).

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It is fair to say the FIA seem to be powerless and lacking influence under Todt to the point we only ever really hear from Charlie nowadays. I can’t imagine Max would fever have been so invisible at a key time.

It strikes me that F1 could react in 3 different ways to the loss of Marussia and Caterham – although I personally hope both might find a way to continue against the odds.

3 car teams

This seems like the preferred option for Bernie and would result in Ferrari and Redbull running three cars.

I’m strongly against this idea, unless cars were banned from constructor points and drivers had to be juniors.

What sort of credibility would F1 have if you had 3 Redbulls on the podium dream on Christian) and one didn’t score points.

Another ill conceived idea in my view, purely designed to stop the triggering of the penalty clauses in commercial deals.

Allowing Customer chassis run by independant teams

If a new team were allowed (effectively how Ligier in the 90s and Toro Rosso more recently have done to some extent) to run an at least 1 year old chassis from a larger team, plus the option to tweak aero etc, that might allow a lower base spend to become sustainable.

But why they when Dave Richards pitched the idea was that not allowed?

Better revenue share/aiding smaller teams

Take a sport like the NFL and look at how the revenue from commercial deals is shared.

The great majority of revenue is shared equally, and the draft system allows flexibility are refreshing of the chance to succeed.

Is that completely impossible to achieve in F1?

This sport is currently a loaded deck – the larger teams have an advantage that is inbuilt in their financing. Why shouldn’t F1 have a base payment that is equal (say 40m) then have the majority of the rest shared based upon success.

Redbull and Ferrari seriously expect the sport to fund most of their spend then complain at the first instance of anyone doing a better job. Redbull have spent some 800 million in recent times on F1 – staggering….

Where is the capping of engine costs for customer teams. The technology is great, but an extra option from a Cosworth or similar (someone who can actually develop to a reasonable budget) would greatly ease the funding squeeze.

How many times in the NFL or Basketball to you see previously I fancied teams have a spell of success.

That brings more supporter engagement and reinvigorates their support.

Coming up over the next few days will be some additional comment from a wide range of fans, those in the sport etc to see what they’d like to see.

That is why the blog is called If I was Bernie after all..

What do you think out there?

Is F1 losing the plot – Marussia and Caterham

I seem to be relatively alone in thinking F1 is in the process of losing the plot. You might pick up that from the blog name I chose I think we are steadily creeping away from the sport that inspired me as a youngster.

There are two views of the current state of F1s smaller teams. Those that think the Marussia’s and Caterham’s of this world did not deserve to continue to be in F1 as they weren’t good enough, and those (like myself) who grew up watching a succession of great drivers and technical staff emerging from the smaller teams – and recognising the value they bring to F1.

If the figures in Joe Sawards recent blog post (and he’s generally switched on) are to be relied upon, F1 has an annual income in the region of $1.8 Billion per annum. Clearly a healthy slice of that is hived off by the commercial rights holder (which is a phrase used in F1 in such a mythical way that you’d compare it to “he who must not be named” in the Harry Potter series), but a great deal goes to the teams.

So how can a series with such a huge income stream fail to provide a reasonable base income from the revenue?

Only the top 10 constructors get paid, and the current proposition for Sponsors in F1 would seem to be limited. If you wish to find proof of the problem here, then go an look at a picture of a midfield F1 car in the 90s – where have all of those sponsors gone? Many of those have remainder in sports advertising spend, only in different sports.

With the incredibly sad demise of Marussia (and no doubt suppliers will be heavily affected), and it looking like barring a significant change of fortunes the demise of Caterham, F1 seems to be unable to see past the end of its nose.

We have all heard the rumours of financial strife at Lotus, Sauber and others but the big teams seem like they do not care.

If we get three car teams that will be one of the first nails in the coffin. If that is the sport the fans want then that’s the sport we will get I guess – but I will miss the days a team like Minardi others could exist in F1 without having to have a billionaire owner.

What will happen to the increased chance a smaller team bringing through capable drivers or technical staff – it will be massively reduced. Ah well…….

2014 F1 Predictions – Mikey Harvey

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Well I have well and truly broken the Nico clean sweep on the WDC prediction with my ridiculous bias towards Jenson Button.

I feel there is long tech race to go, and McLaren have a solid car to develop unlike the nightmare ride on the Front suspension last year.

Next up on the 2014 predictions is Mikey Harvey, top twitterite and former editor of Top Gear and Autocar mags. Currently also contributes to Telegraph Luxury.

Mikeys profile on Twitter states he is a Maturing Neophile, which having checked with the relevant authorities is not a reportable offence 😉

We all talk about the great additional layer the DMs bring into the Twitter tool, and Mikey sent me the best message I have ever received on Twitter.

It was basically an “oh yes, did I mention that…..” which is generally followed by a comment of no real interest. Only what followed was epic – and I don’t use that word lightly!

I would never tell the story, but I still chuckle about it more than a month later.

Anyway, onto Mikeys predictions

Drivers Champ – Nico Rosberg
Constructors – Mercedes
Surprise – Sergio Perez
Dissapoint – Daniel Ricciardo

Interestingly despite pretty much everyone acknowledging Lewis as a fast driver, Nico Rosberg really has impressed a lot of people over the last couple of years.

My 2014 predictions #f1

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I got so carried away with the great contributors I’ve managed to persuade to take part, I omitted to mention my predictions for the 2014 season.

World drivers champion – Jenson Button

Before I get accused of favouritism towards Jenson (not for the first time), I think the ’29 is a very solid baseline.

This season is going to have a huge learning curve in terms of thinking your way through a race, and Jenson has consistently proved strong in that area. I also think e performs better when a really quick drive is pushing him (like Lewis etc). Wag he lacks in one lap pace he makes up in racecraft and guile.

I also think that with McLaren will out develop Mercedes through the season on the aero side.

As a reserve choice, I’d go for Nico R.

Constructors – Mercedes

Only by virtue of the fact I’d imagine Kevin Magnussen will need a bit of time to settle in and Nico and Lewis should stay relatively consistently in the points.

Surprise – Marussia & Williams

I think Marussia and Williams will outperform everyone’s expectations of them.

For me that will start with points and a win respectively.

I would say Nico Hulkenberg to shine, but would that be a surprise? Is he still to tall or some other (totally non sponsorship related reason) not to be in a top drive?!

Dissapointment – Ferrari & Redbull

I just get the feeling that this will be another year when the red peril promises much and does not deliver. Despite having an under performing team (budget versus achievement wise), I’m sure Luca DM will have a raft of suitable rants ready for the Horsewhisperer. 😉

Which will play right into McLaren and Hondas hands when trying to dislodge that man Alonso.

I also think for the record that Lewis will be beaten by Nico Rosberg over the season.

On Redbull, the challenges around the Renault unit, the packaging issues and some senior exits lead me to feel this is going to be a bit of an underwhelming year. Until Dietrich lobbies Bernie. Ahem.

That’s it from me. Lights the blue touch paper and stands back.

2014 Predictions – Geoff Collins

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Pic credit: LAT/Marussia

Next up in the predictions hotseat is none other than Geoff Collins (@geoffcollinsF1)

Many of you will know of Geoff because of his involvement with Marussia (and it’s previous incarnation Virgin), handling their social media during their early days in F1.

He’s currently also working on some really interesting stuff, including researching F1s lost tracks (you can follow that on Badger GP) and producing a movie – http://www.murkwoodfilm.com/index.en.php

I had the pleasure of meeting Geoff at Jerez and I know that he’s a great advocate of fan interaction in the sport – something many F1 teams fail to capitalise upon (unless you join the membership scheme guvnor).

We took a trip down to the end of the Pitlane exit where I nearly got my haircut by Kevin Magnussen in the MP4-29 before wandering through the paddock. There was an added element of fun to that trip which I won’t share here but all good fun. Very checkpoint Charlie….

Anyway, onto Geoffs predictions !!!

Drivers champion – Nico Rosberg
Constructors champion – Mercedes Surprise (rather unsurprisingly 🙂 – Marussia to get points before caterham.
Dissapointment – Maldonado or Sutil

Three sets of predictions in and it’s a clean sweep so far for Nico Rosberg and Mercedes.

2014 Predictions – Alexander Sims

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In the second blog entry we’ve called upon Alexander Sims, resident racing driver on the If I Was Bernie team.

Those of you that follow F1 will doubtless of seen Simsy in GP3 last year subbing for Status GP driver Adderley Fong and doing brilliantly well before driving for Carlin as well.

Alex has been pursuing a career in GTs and for 2014 has signed for BMW. You’ll be able to read more about that during the season on the blog.

We look forward to watching his progress with a great deal of anticipation. And the imminent arrival of our BMW staff car (I think that’s what he said)….

Onto Sims predictions then…..

World Drivers Champion – Nico Rosberg
Constructors champion – Mercedes
Surprise – Dany Kvyat
Dissapointment – Sergio Perez

Alex is expecting a Mercedes led charge and interestingly has picked Nico Rosberg over his much hyped teammate on the basis of him possibly being less aggressive with the car and not far away in terms of ultimate pace.

So far, two predictions down and both going for a Nico and Mercedes double.

Add your own predictions and I’ll keep a track of then for later in the season.

John Button – a great Motorsport dad

It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of John Button.

A very popular man across the paddock, he’s been a steadying and continuing influence over Jensons’ career

It’s a great credit to John that people right across the paddock have stated his great ability to know when to stay in the background.

If I had a pound for every time I had heard from a Motorsport buddy about the negative influence many a young drivers parents can have on their sons career I’d be fairly well off to day the least.

From the overpowering influence of those trying to live their dreams through their offspring, to the chap that thinks he can engineer his son or daughters car better than the highly qualified teams around them, Motorsport has seen them all.

The great thing for any parent is to see their child achieve a target or a lifetimes ambition,. If we can be thankful for anything, it’s that John got the time to enjoy Jensons world champion year.

Not only that, but seeing his young JB pull off some of the great wins of the modern era.

I witnessed first hand in Barcelona just how many people in the paddock had time for John, watching him take about 15 mins to get from one end to the other. Stopping to talk to people who he’s come to know over the years.

He was perhaps a lesson to all of us that are lucky enough to be parents. Sometimes your greatest gift is knowing when to push and intervene but equally, when it’s time to sit back and let them get on with it.

It’s a lesson that many Motorsport parents could take heed from.

So we will see many glasses of red will doubtlessly be raised to John later in the month when F1 gets back down to business at Jerez.

Rest in peace John, you will be sadly missed.

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