Posted on May 2, 2009


Yesterday I met with Max Mosley for a long interview which is in today’s Financial Times. He was in London briefly following this week’s world motor sport council meeting where the £40 million budget cap was voted through. I posted yesterday on the letters exchanged between him and Luca Di Montezemolo Ferrari president. Ferrari are very angry about the budget cap plans and the ‘two tier’ system which might see two classes of car racing in F1 next year. Montezemolo’s letter hints at a possible legal challenge to the plans. I asked Mosley whether F1 could survive without Ferrari. “It More…

Posted on May 1, 2009


In response to the letter Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo wrote on April 28th to the FIA president expressing concern about having two classes of F1 car and about a possible legal challenge to the budget cap, Max Mosley wrote back the following day. He quotes FIAT boss Sergio Marchionne, with whom Montezemolo works closely and his belief that in an economic crisis such as we are in at the moment, only an extreme response will do, “We are just going to slam the brakes on, cut everything back to essentials. It may be painful, it may be ugly. But More…

Posted on May 1, 2009


Although Ferrari is refusing to comment on yesterday’s budget cap announcement, some letters between its president Luca di Montezemolo and FIA president Max Mosley have come to light. These show Ferrari’s concerns and hint at arrangements between Ferrari and the governing body, which Ferrari feel have not been honoured. On April 28th Montezemolo wrote to Mosley and other world council members, unhappy that budget caps had been put on the agenda of a meeting which was called to hear the McLaren case. He wrote, ” I have always been concerned about its introduction (cost cap) mainly because I consider that More…

Posted on April 17, 2009


A furious Flavio Briatore continues to rage about the unfairness of Formula 1. After some savage comments in Melbourne about the integrity of Ross Brawn, his former technical director, the Renault boss has now laid into the FIA and the drivers currently at the front of the field. He claims that a pecking order of Brawn, WIlliams and Toyota shows that F1 has lost all its credibility, “The drivers in our teams are all world champions and instead there’s a driver who’s a semi-pensioner and another, a decent bloke, but he’s a kerbstone, fighting for the world championship. (A reference More…

Posted on April 16, 2009


Mike Gascoyne is back in an F1 paddock for the first time since he was dropped by Force India at the end of last season. Gascoyne is working for the BBC this weekend in place of his former boss Eddie Jordan. Gascoyne has had a stop start career in recent years, sitting out after being dropped by Toyota at the start of 2006 until being picked up by Spyker in 2007 shortly before it was sold to Vijay Mallya and became Force India. He bought a large yacht in 2006 and did some fairly ambitious single-handed sailing voyages, but you More…

Posted on March 28, 2009


F1′s commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone isn’t here in Australia, he’s back in London doing deals. One which broke cover this weekend was a deal he’s been working on for ages with Universal Music group, the biggest recorded music outfit in the world. They own dozens of the labels you grew up with like Polydor, Decca and A&M. According to a joint statement the concept is called “F1 Rocks” and it is a series of multi-artist live music events from the Grands Prix. That part isn’t new, after all the Who are playing here tomorrow night and good old Status More…

Posted on March 27, 2009


An exhilarating hour spent in the pit lane during the first practice session. Strangely unfamiliar for me as it’s three years since I was last down there, having had to yield my pit lane pass to Steve Rider back in 2006. I used to live in the pits, back in the day, knew every nook and cranny, had eyes in the back of my head for cars coming in, going out, mechanics rushing. It takes me 20 minutes to get used to the rush and the energy. I quickly get used to it again. The energy is always astonishing. You More…

Posted on March 7, 2009


Here we go again. Another round of ‘what ifs’, this time based on the proposal put forward by FOTA for revising the points system this season. They suggest that the winner should be receive greater reward (12 points) and that the podium finishers should gain more relative to the rest. So the mathematicians have been working out what different championship outcomes we might havd had in the past if this system had been in place. The biggest difference is that Eddie Irvine would have won the title in 1999 and Damon Hill would be a double champion, with victory in More…

Posted on February 4, 2009


Today I went along to a lunch thrown by Max Mosley for a small group of journalists at the Poissonerie de l’Avenue, in South Kensington, London. The talk was, predictably, about the need for urgent cost cuts, the medals system, prospects for the season ahead, the future of the British Grand Prix, evidence of who set him up in last year’s sex scandal and his own future. On this last point I got the clear impression that he intends to stay on for another term. He has to make his decision by June and as he explained, they have a More…

Posted on February 3, 2009


No sooner did I mention in a post earlier today that Nigel Stepney, former chief mechanic at Ferrari and the man behind the McLaren/Ferrari spy scandal of 2007, was working for an engineering firm in Essex, but a picture of him pops up in a media mail out by Superleague Formula, the racing series based on football teams. As you can see, Nigel (on right) is working for Gigawave, who supply on board cameras to the series. The Superleague media people are having a bit of a laugh here because the photo above is prominent in their mail out, but More…

Posted on January 17, 2009


Luca di Montezemolo turned up in Madonna di Campiglio yesterday for the end of the Ferrari shindig and had a good long session with Bernie Ecclestone, whom he embraced warmly. The pair have known each other since the 1970s and they will lock antlers many times in the next year or two as Montezemolo seeks to lead the FOTA teams to the promised land of more control and more money. Afterwards he sat down with the Italian media and I’m grateful to them for details of what he said. The thing which caught my eye was his reminder that the More…

Posted on January 16, 2009


Today’s McLaren launch was a quietly confident affair. The team looked composed and calm ahead of what is likely to be a hard fought and chaotic season, with complex new rules and an intense development programme away from the circuit. And then just as the thing was winding to a close, Ron Dennis, the sport’s most successful entrant, goes and lets slip that he’s standing down as team principal at the end of February. It’s no great surprise in one sense; he is 61 years old and has been discussing stepping down for some time. He was under pressure from More…

Posted on January 11, 2009


It’s been an interesting week for news, with the Buemi announcement, Donington getting its planning permission, FOTA making further cost savings and more on the Honda buyout. Here is my take on the week’s news digest. Donington was granted planning permission to gear up for hosting the Grand Prix is 2010. This was the stage at which the Brands Hatch bid failed a few years back, so Simon Gillett and his team have done well to overcome that hurdle but many are still sceptical about the viability of this project. Ron Dennis voiced his concerns this week saying that the More…

Posted on December 12, 2008


Today could turn out to be a day, which will stand out in the history books of Formula 1. At the FIA World Council meeting in Monaco some huge decisions will be taken, which reflect a sea change in attitude within the F1 teams compared to recent years and which will herald the start of a move towards a totally new F1 concept, certainly as far as engines are concerned. Following the surprise withdrawal of Honda a week ago, a fresh mood of realism has finally crept in and the remaining nine teams met with FIA president Max Mosley on More…

Posted on December 10, 2008


Just arrived in a rainy and chilly Monaco for what will be a momentous couple of days for the sport. It’s weirdly appropriate that this humbling of F1, the death knell of the era of decadence and excess, should happen in Monaco, which has long symbolised the wealth and glamour, with which F1 is synonymous. This will be a strange journey for all of us, coming to terms with the new ‘austerity F1′, but here are a few notes at this early stage.

Posted on December 8, 2008


At the Autosport Awards last night, otherwise known as the Oscars of motorsport, Martin Brundle and I were presented with an award for our commentary on the final laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix, the “Moment of the year”. It was a great honour, made all the more special because they chose Murray to present it to us. They played the video of the final few corners on the big screen and my heart was thumping in my chest all over again – it really was the most extraordinary moment of sport. I’m absolutely delighted with this gong as it More…

Posted on November 27, 2008


The discussion about the medals system potentially coming into F1 has set fans buzzing again, since Bernie Ecclestone stated, “It will happen, ” on Wednesday. We’ve had lots of intelligent and insightful feedback on this and I have to say that the antis outweigh the pros so far. I also noted Eddie Jordan’s comments, where he laid into the plan and virtually accused Bernie of being out of touch. This is clearly a foretaste of the kind of comment we can expect from dear old Eddie when he is unleashed as a pundit on BBC next year…what would he have More…

Posted on November 26, 2008


Just back from a press conference at the Landmark Hotel, London, where Bernie Ecclestone said more about the proposed “medals” scheme in F1 and announced that LG the consumer electronics group, will sponsor F1 next year. You as viewers will be very aware of this deal as you watch, because the timing graphics, which appear on screen every 20 seconds of so will be LG branded. I think they will also sponsor the rev counter graphic you see on screen. They will develop F1 branded telies and other products off the back of the deal. The deal was put together More…

Posted on November 20, 2008


There has been a lot of chat this week about Bernie Ecclestone’s idea of handing out gold medals to race winners and awarding the world championship to the man with the most at season’s end. This is one of a number of ideas which will be discussed at the FIA World Council meeting on December 12th. The Formula One Teams Association has been working hard on dreaming up ideas for improving the show as well and Flavio Briatore has a plan for knockout qualifying, which seems to be gathering some momentum. The idea is simple, instead of dividing qualifying up More…

Posted on October 14, 2008


You’ve probably never heard of him, but Will Stevens is the next Lewis Hamilton. At least that is the way his backers see it and they are supporting their decision with heavy investment. The 17 year old from Essex has a contract in his pocket with Honda, which lays out in intricate detail his path from karts to Formula 1. It has been put together for him by his management team of ex F1 drivers Mark Blundell and Martin Brundle, who took him on when he was just 14 years old. It’s only been done once before, but with spectacular More…

Posted on October 14, 2008


Interview with BMW Sauber boss Dr Mario Theissen,  The character of the Formula 1 boss is changing. The old guard were the products of the 1970s; grafters, boys-done-good, men who were passionate about racing, who pulled strokes and called in favours to keep their cars in the race. They pulled themselves up by their bootstraps from humble beginnings and then in the 1990s found themselves owning private jets once Bernie Ecclestone’s TV deals started to bring in serious money. This type of team owner, personified by McLaren’s Ron Dennis, the mechanic made good and Sir Frank Williams, the used car More…



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