Posted on May 24, 2009
Monaco race day diary | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

It’s race day in Monaco. The weather has been fantastic all weekend and it’s perfect again for the Grand Prix.

The crowds coming in today on the train were much greater than yesterday. Tens of thousands pouring into the Principality. There are still plenty of grandstand seats left, though at Tabac, St Devote, Swimming Pool, Chicane. Not surprising really as they are between €400 and €450 each!
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The most affordable place to watch from is the Rocks area looking down on the Nogues corner which leads onto the pit straight. It’s €70 to sit up there, but you are sitting on rocks. There is normally a scouser with a megaphone up there who shouts out messages to the drivers and other well known faces. I wonder where he’s been told he’s not welcome any more, or perhaps he’s been credit crunched.
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The F1 team owners are having a meeting in the Renault motor home. They have papered over the windows, so photographers cannot see in. Max Mosley is not in the meeting, but is making himself available to the media, keeping the story moving forward. There is a story going round that Williams are planning to make an entry in the next couple of days. I’ll check that out, it may be just a rehash of something they said a week or two back, rather than something that’s come out since Friday.

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The teams want to find a solution as much as everyone else, but they are frustrated that the discussion isn’t about how they turn F1 from a £2 billion a year turnover industry into a £5 billion industry. Instead all the energy is being focussed on short term thinking and reducing the business.

There are some interesting visitors today. Google’s founder Larry Page is coming as a guest of Vodafone. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are expected on the boat next door to the one Jake Humphrey is hosting the BBC show on.

What is amazing about Monaco is always the celebs who come here without VIP passes and just hang out. Actors, musicians, sportsmen. Is saw rugby’s Jonathan Davies trying to blag his way into a Red Bull party here last year!

Race wise, the feeling is that this is Button’s to lose. Raikkonen will have to get him off the start line to have any chance. Vettel is not in great shape with only 11 or 12 laps of fuel in the car and no clear track to drive on, down in 4th place.

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Monaco race day diary
9 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Richard
        Date: May 24th, 2009 @ 9:40 am 

    Where would you say is the best place to watch from for a race fan, disregarding the cost? For example, I feel Stowe or Woodcote are best for a combination of action and atmosphere at Silverstone – what’s the equivalent at Monaco? I thought I saw a grandstand backing on to the pit lane in yesterday’s coverage.

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  2.   2. Posted By: jw1980
        Date: May 24th, 2009 @ 11:00 am 

    James, sometime next week could you list the current teams in F1 and assess their likelihood of competing in F1 next year and also which of the potential new teams may enter. As I have said in many posts what value are Toyota and BMW giving to F1 this year that could not be replicated by new teams?

    In addition could Renault and BMW remain but as different teams? Toyota are surely too big for anyone to be interested in taking it on. It has to be accepted that many team’s purpose in F1 is to make up the numbers whilst the top two or three teams race it out at the front. This is the same in most forms of motorsport. Look how dominant Barwa Addax are in GP2 at present in what’s supposed to be a single make formula.

    I agree with what everyone else has said we cannot afford to go down the same road as US single seater racing which split and has never recovered, not even the Indy 500 although I look forward to watching it today.

    Another interesting reference point is the BTCC in the early 1990s. It was supported by many manufacturers, had great racing and crowds that many premiership football clubs would be proud of. However, the concern was that one by one the manufacturers would pullout as they did not want to be in the category just to make up the numbers. Sure enough this happened and the BTCC has never been the same since. New teams in F1 are required to avoid this situation. By the way some of the manufacturers who pulled out of the BTCC were Toyota and Renault and possbily BMW but cannot remember.

    Is the current wrangling a smokescreen for the manufacturers to pullout? Ferrari ultimately have a different agenda to the other manufacturers.

    Finally, if the manufacturers pulled out and take their engine supplies with them can Cosworth supply a significant number of entrants?

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  3.   3. Posted By: MartinWR
        Date: May 24th, 2009 @ 11:00 am 

    Toyota, Renault, and perhaps BMW seem likely to blame Max’s budget cap for their imminent withdrawal from F1, due in reality to the need to trim their expenditure in a recession. But the paradox is that if the cap had been in place years ago, they wouldn’t have wasted a fraction of the amount they have on Formula One (for little in the way of results in recent years). So not only does the cap make lot of sense, the problem is actually that it’s been far too late coming.

    Stratospheric spending was a bubble that had to burst eventually. It’s a situation that never should have been allowed to get out of hand, as it has. It resulted from the invasion of F1 by teams who are there above all to market family cars. For them, titles and race wins are a means to an end, rather than an end in themselves, as they should be.

    Tobacco advertising, come back please! Not really, of course.

    Max’s wrong-headed and costly introduction of KERS into F1, a misguided political sop to the green slime, has made the situation worse, and will continue to make the cars unnecessarily expensive without improving the racing in any way for the spectators. Hardly surprising that F1 is the ultimate political sport, but a great pity nevertheless.

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  4.   4. Posted By: Howard Hughes
        Date: May 24th, 2009 @ 11:24 am 

    “The teams want to find a solution as much as everyone else, but they are frustrated that the discussion isn’t about how they turn F1 from a £2 billion a year turnover industry into a £5 billion industry.”

    That’s a fantasic summation of the true challenge facing F1 – and it’s a concise overview I’ve not read anywhere else. It should be the mission statement emblazoned on every F1 protagonists’ forehead, as it would, if achieved, insulate the sport against any future recessionary shocks.

    I’m just watching BBC1 now – is it just me or was that black & white pastiche the most amateurish piece of sub-laptop post production rubbish I’ve seen in eons? And somewhat disrespectful also to whoever the original interviewer was, inserting the gravitas-less Humphrey’s head instead…

    Tawdry really.

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  5.   5. Posted By: RB
        Date: May 24th, 2009 @ 11:40 am 

    Hard to answer. I’ve sat at Z1, P, N, O, the old W1, Casino and Mirabeau Hotel poolside. The problem is you only see a sliver of the track at most locations. The Piscine chicanes at P, N, and O are incredible views of an F1 car at full tilt, about 10 times the effect you get from TV. I’ve been told that the cheapest seats, Le Roche, give the most view of the track, given a pair of good binoculars. BTW, Z1 unreserved seats were 30FF in 1981 and you had to have at least two stop watches to have some idea of what was happening.

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  6.   6. Posted By: iceman
        Date: May 24th, 2009 @ 7:02 pm 

    The comparison with BTCC in the 90s is an interesting one. The manufacturers at that time were asking for costs to be cut, so the rule-makers “dumbed down” the technical regulations to do so, ditching the successful super-touring format (they’ve seen the error of their ways now :) ). Then most of the manufacturers thanked them by quitting anyway. That left just one manufacturer with a full factory effort; privateer teams that had previously been competitive simply couldn’t match their funding to develop cars for the new rules. Unsurprisingly the fans deserted what effectively became a one-make Vauxhall Astra series.

    For me there were two lessons from all of this. First, don’t try to appease car manufacturers. Most of them will always be fairweather friends no matter what you do. Governing bodies should be asking the private teams what they want, then if the manufacturers want to come to the party that’s their choice.
    Second is the obvious one that changing the rules costs everyone a lot of money. I wish someone would point that out to Max.

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  7.   7. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: May 24th, 2009 @ 10:37 pm 

    Would be hard to do that with the ‘new teams’ but of the current ones I think all except maybe Toyota. I suspect BMW will stay in.

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  8.   8. Posted By: Jorge
        Date: May 25th, 2009 @ 11:24 am 

    In http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/biomedical_industry_advisory_group_part6_2070kb.pdf you can find a paper referring to a study published in 2001 which states that the development of a new therapeutic drug (you know, that pill or shot that can make your life – and of dozens of millions of others – better for decades) can be placed, in mean terms, around USD$ 880 million (ranging from 200m to 1.2b).

    The full cost of operating the F1 circus under the current system, for a full year, has been placed at USD$ 2.9 billion by F1Racing in 2006.

    Need a drawing?

    Take the £40m/USD$ 60m = USD$ 800m/year + driver salaries etc. and make wonders with it. You are supposed to be the best of the best aren’t you? This is the opportunity to prove it.

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  9.   9. Posted By: nicci
        Date: May 27th, 2009 @ 10:28 am 

    James, the guy with the megaphone was there all weekend – albeit slightly quieter than he was last year. He spent sunday trying to get those of us in the T grandstands to do a mexican wave.

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