Daily Archives: April 12, 2010

Possibility of rain for Chinese GP?

You’re not getting bored of rainy F1 races yet are you? Early predictions are suggesting a possibility of rain for the Chinese Grand Prix next weekend.

While Friday and Saturday should remain dry, there is a chance of light rain on Sunday, which would mean a second rain-affected Chinese Grand Prix in a row. Temperatures will be below 20 degrees all weekend, reaching as low as 12 degrees on Friday.

The best sattelite at the moment to track the weather at the moment is the Japanese Meteorological Agency’s satellite, which you can follow here.

Now let me stress that rain is a possibility, not a certainty. After all my shoutings about rain in Malaysia, it’s better to predict conservatively this time.

Briatore and Symonds accept 3-year ban in Crashgate settlement with FIA

Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore

Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore

Both Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have agreed not to pursue further charges, after a settlement with the FIA that resulted in both effectively receiving a 3-year ban from Formula 1.

In exchange for the FIA dropping charges against the two, they have agreed not to take any “operational role” in Formula 1 until the end of 2012, or any FIA competition until the end of 2011. However, it still seems that no charges are to be brought against Nelson Piquet Jr, the driver who conspired with Briatore and Symonds to cause a deliberate crash, and give Fernando Alonso a huge advantage in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

The full FIA statement reads as follows:

The decision handed down by the Tribunal de Grande Instance of 
Paris on 5 January 2010 at the request of Mr Flavio Briatore 
and Mr Pat Symonds, which the FIA has appealed, revealed a poor 
understanding of how the disciplinary procedure before the 
World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) works. In accordance with the 
undertakings made by the FIA President during his campaign, it 
will be proposed at the next General Assembly, at the end of 
2010, that a structural reform, on which the FIA Statutes Review 
Commission is currently working, be adopted to prevent other 
misunderstandings.

In the meantime, at its meeting in Bahrain on 11 March 2010, the 
WMSC decided on the one hand to adopt a Code of Practice to 
clarify the working of its disciplinary procedure, and on the 
other hand to give the FIA President full authority to seek a 
definitive outcome, whether judicial or extrajudicial, to the 
disputes with Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds, best 
preserving the interests of the FIA.

After discussions between their lawyers and those of the FIA, 
Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds have each made a settlement 
offer to the FIA President with a view to putting an immediate 
end to the legal proceedings.

Each of them recognising his share of responsibility for the 
deliberate crash involving the driver Nelson Piquet Junior at 
the 2008 Grand Prix of Singapore, as "Team Principal" of Renault 
F1 where Mr Flavio Briatore is concerned, they have expressed 
their regrets and presented their apologies to the FIA.

They have undertaken to abstain from having any operational role 
in Formula One until 31 December 2012, as well as in all the other 
competitions registered on the FIA calendars until the end of 
the 2011 sporting season.

They have also abandoned all publicity and financial measures 
resulting from the judgment of 5 January 2010, as well as any 
further action against the FIA on the subject of this affair.

In return, they have asked the FIA to abandon the ongoing appeal
procedure, but without the FIA recognising the validity of the 
criticisms levelled against the WMSC’s decision of 21 September 
2009, as well as to waive the right to bring any new proceedings 
against them on the subject of this affair.

Considering that the judgment of 5 January 2010 concerned only the 
form and not the substance of the WMSC’s decision of 21 September 
2009, and that the undertakings and renunciation of all claims 
expressed by Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds are in line 
with what the WMSC is seeking, the FIA President has considered 
that it is in the best interests of the FIA not to allow the 
perpetuation of these legal disputes, which have received a great 
deal of media coverage and which, regardless of the outcome, are 
very prejudicial to the image of the FIA and of motor sport, and 
thus to accept this settlement solution, thereby putting an end 
to this affair.

If you actually read all that (bit heavy-worded wasn’t it?), you would also know that Briatore and Symonds have both rejected the £18,000 and £4,000 compensation packages that the FIA were forced to give to them in January, after a court ruled that their previous life bans were illegal.

Now though, they must bide their time, as they have to wait until the 2013 season until they can apply to get back into Formula 1. The question is, will anyone take them? Symonds might get in with a team, since he’s a nice guy, and certainly didn’t play as big a part as Briatore, though he still deserved the ban. Briatore might go back to driver managment, but it is unclear if any driver would want to work woth him after all of this.

However, the FIA have the option to turn nasty. A few months ago, the idea of driver managment liscences was suggested, to stop Flavio Briatore from getting back into Formula 1. If they were to bring it in, they could stop Briatore, without the threat of court action, since they are in the legal right this time.

Alternatively, we could just hope that the 2012 doomsday predictions are right, and they will never get into F1 again.

Brawn GP trailers up for sale on eBay

Jenson Button's Brawn GP trailer, up for sale on eBay

Jenson Button's Brawn GP trailer, up for sale on eBay

Fancy a massive piece of Formula 1 for your own?  Then check this out: two Brawn GP trailers have been put up for sale on eBay.

Now, they weren’t Brawn’s to sell. They actually belonged to USF1, but as they collapsed, their assets were seized by the High Court (owned!). They were taken after a UK creditor, who cannot be identified for obvious reasons, wanted compensation for USF1 failing to pay their bills. David Carter, director of the Sheriffs Office, said:

"As a keen motorsport fan, it is certainly one of the more 
interesting seizures we've made. The trailers were recently 
bought from Brawn GP by the judgment debtor and really are 
something special. We've already has a lot of interest and 
are now selling them via eBay.

It would certainly be an interesting piece to a Formula 1 collection. But be prepared to fork out quite a lot of money: with 3 days and 17 hours left, the price is already £16,970! If you fancy following the auction anyways, then check it out here. There’s two more pictures here:

No idea what this is, but it comes with the trailer!

No idea what this is, but it comes with the trailer!

Could do with better styling, but it's part of Formula 1 history now!

Could do with better styling, but it's part of Formula 1 history now!

Michelin refuses to be sole supplier of tyres in F1

Michelin F1 tyres

Michelin F1 tyres

The French tyre manufacturer Michelin has reitered its stance on a possible return to supplying tyres to Formula 1 teams next year, saying that it will not enter if it is the sole supplier.

At the moment, the FIA are on the lookout for a new tyre supplier, as Bridgestone will be pulling out at the end of the year. Having been a supplier of tyres from 2001 to 2006, Michelin were initially touted as a possible replacement. However, they have stressed that they will not return as a sole supplier, says a Michelin spokesman:

"We are interested in but it must be done in the right way, so 
who knows what will happens.

Certain things have to be done. We must have competition - we do 
not want to be the only supplier. Also, we need to be able to use
the opportunity of having competition to improve our tyre 
technology; for example, our new Pilot 3 road tyres have technology 
developed for Le Mans in them. We need something like this from 
Formula 1 too.

Finally, it must have the possibility to improve the greenness; 
perhaps we would like something like the Green X Challenge in F1 
something to help ecology."

First of all, let’s ask, why would Michelin want competition? This is mainly because their new objectives are to promote environmentally friendly tyres. By gaining access back into F1, Michelin would obviously want to promote tyre technology, which they would then put on their road-going tyres, like they did with the Pilot 3 tyres that they mentioned.

So they want to save the planet? Simple solution: reduce the amount of tyres that are used. Again, doing this is simple:  just bring back the old “one set of tyres per race” rule from 2005. Sure, there were problems, mainly Kimi Raikkonen’s problems, but sufficient technology should sort that out. Again, innovations in tyre technology can be put onto the road in this case. If you can develop a tyre that can provide sufficient grid for an entire F1 race, then this could be used to promote their road-going division.

The probable reason why Michelin want a second supplier is that they can beat them with better technology. If a company like Avon or Goodyear come into F1, then get slaughtered by Michelin, it would do wonders for Michelin’s reputation. Of course, the French company would still have a lot to do, after what happened in Indianapolis 2005. We won’t forget that in a hurry.

Korean GP in doubt as project reportedly not on time

There are reports that construction may not be finished in time for the Korean Grand Prix

There are reports that construction may not be finished in time for the Korean Grand Prix

Reports are coming through that the Korean Grand Prix, scheduled for the first time later this year, may be in doubt, as the project has fallen behind schedule.

This new race is planned to be the 17th of the 19 races this year, so as to give the organisers more time to finish off the circuit, like the China circuit in 2005 and Abu Dhabi last year. However, construction at the Jeonman circuit has fallen behind schedule, leading to reports that the race may be cancelled.

Bernie Ecclestone travelled to Korea right after the Malaysian Grand Prix  to inspect the circuit. It is expected that he will decide in the next few days whether the race will go ahead this year or not. In an interview with German magazine Focus Magazin, Herman Tilke, mass murderer of promising circuits, said:

"For the first time, I'm afraid that a project is not finished
on time".

The circuit organisers say differently, claiming that plans are ahead of schedule, and the track will be completed on time, according to Chung-Yung-Cho:

"The construction progress is well ahead of its schedule and 
we have absolutely no issues with completion."

Eh, sure. Remember last year, when the USF1 team was founded, and a certain duo wouldn’t shut up about being ready on time? Now we face the same situation this year, with people who will continue to pretend everything is fine, right up to (and beyond) the point where everything collapses.

Interestingly enough, many top sites have taken Chung-Yung-Cho’s quote and used it in a “everything is fine” story. Here’s my counter-argument: No site who ran that story can produce photos of the work being on time. I don’t have any photos at the moment either, but if I get them, I’ll put them up here straight away.

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