Posted on May 3, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 281

I did an interview with Max Mosley for the Financial Times on Friday in London, all about the budget cap introduced to F1 for next year, the first part of which was posted yesterday. We covered a lot of topics, but I couldn’t help asking him about Ron Dennis’ departure from McLaren. He made an interesting comment about how the McLaren situation had played into his hands this week, “I don’t hate Ron Dennis, “ he said. “But he was always very obstructive. And he would have been difficult in this situation (budget caps), whereas Martin Whitmarsh may not agree More…

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Posted on May 2, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 281

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…

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Posted on May 1, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 281

Today is the 15 anniversary of the death of Ayrton Senna. The day before we lost Roland Ratzenberger. Thankfully these were the last fatalities in the sport. I was at Imola that weekend. I had been working hard on research interviews for the autobiography of Nigel Mansell I was ghostwriting at the time. I’ll never forget the chill that weekend, it seemed that the weekend was cursed, with Rubens Barrichello being hospitalised by a huge shunt on Friday, then Ratzenberger on Saturday and Senna on Sunday. Also there was a big shunt at the start and a wheel went into More…

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Posted on May 1, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 281

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
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 281

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…

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Posted on April 30, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 281

The introduction of the £40 million budget cap poses serious problems for half of the F1 teams and the idea of a two-tier system is an issue for everyone. The reaction I have had today from ringing around the teams is that the independents welcome the move to a budget cap and are pretty happy with the level. They acknowledge that the engines being left out of it for 2010 provides an element of the ‘glide path’ that was being discussed in recent weeks, as does the exclusion of driver salaries and marketing costs. With those added on, for a More…

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Posted on April 30, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 281

The details of the Budget cap have been released by the FIA. It will start next season. The level has been set at £40 million with no ‘glide path’ from a higher figure to a lower one. It will present teams with an obligation to lay off a significant number of people quickly, which in itself is an expensive exercise. The FIA has maintained the idea of a two tier championship, with teams able to spend more if they wish to, but the cost controlled teams enjoying greater technical freedom. This will greatly annoy Ferrari and BMW. The FIA statement More…

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Posted on April 30, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 281

Good week for: Kimi Raikkonen – the 2007 champion has bought a £20 million dream home on the outskirts of Zurich, where he can shut the door behind him and not give another thought to slow Ferraris, KERS or the media. Ice cream anyone? Honda – Despite seeing the car it paid for winning three out of four races, the company says that ditching the F1 programme will help it stay profitable in 2009. KERS – After lots of wobbles as teams lost confidence in KERS in China, in Bahrain it was proven to be a ‘must have’ for any More…

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Posted on April 30, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 281

Yesterday’s news from the FIA world council was the appetiser, but today comes the main dish, the real story; the announcement of the full budget cap plan, which is set to redraw the business model of Formula 1. It will be the first time in the sport’s history that the amount a team can spend is controlled. You could argue that this should have happened years ago, before the manufacturers drove the costs through the roof. The teams have already been informed of the details but are not willing to comment ahead of the official announcement. My understanding is that More…

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Posted on April 29, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 281

Today’s verdict by the World Motor Sport Council to issue a three race ban for McLaren, but to suspend it for 12 months has received a fairly balanced reaction. Given the original incident, where Trulli was allowed to pass Hamilton behind the safety car in Melbourne, what happened in the stewards’ room there and in Kuala Lumpur and what has transpired since with McLaren going out of its way to demonstrate that it has accepted mistakes were made and changed the governance of the team, this is a well balanced and light judgement. To go further would have been excessive. More…

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