F1 and LG partnership

LG will become the official Consumer Electronics, Mobile Phone and Data Processor of Formula 1, beginning in January 2009. As the Official Data Processor of F1 LG will be identified and credited on the official live timing service at events and in the associated timing and data TV graphics. The company will also enjoy a comprehensive package of premium marketing rights worldwide in association with the F1 brand.

GrandPrix.com compares the global partnerships to raise revenue in F1 to similar partnerships by International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FIFA.

For the period 2005-2008 the Olympic partnership programme generated a total of $866m, which was around 34% of the IOC’s total revenue.

The FIFA budget for the period 2007-2010 is aiming for revenues of $3.2bn and according to the latest figures for 2007 the sale of marketing rights brought in $223m

The big difference between Formula One and the IOC and FIFA programmes is that the Olympics and the World Cup do not generate income to make the shareholders wealthier, but rather reinvest a major amount back into the sport.

The problem is easily solved but that would need the shareholders in the Formula One group to be willing to take lower financial returns and there is no sign of that happening as the major shareholder CVC Capital Partners seems to be interested in the sport only as a means of making money and has left the running of the business almost entirely in the hands of Bernie Ecclestone. The cost of an international driver scholarship scheme for promising youngsters or the funding of karting facilities in regions where none exist would not take a big chunk out of the profits and would help to solve some of the perceptions that exist.

2009 season – very early predictions

The 2009 Formula 1 season is expected to usher in a new era to the sport fans.  New technical rules and regulation with changing aerodynamics are the biggest changes in car design since the late 1990s.  The new KERS system, re-introduction of slick tyres will be other changes to the cars. The changes are aimed to provide more overtaking during races which many fans and critics were complaining for so many seasons.

britishgrandprix_silverstone_2005_grid

F1 is all about success cycles. The new changes are going to bring afore-said changes which will be drastic and it is very hard to predict clear winners. Much will also be dependent upon engines, the front where Ferrari and Mclaren are clearly ahead from rest of the grid.

Ferrari need to prove that they can withstand such changes having lost many personnel in recent years who build such an invincible era i.e Jean Todt, Ross Braun and Michael Schumacher. Stefano Domenicalli is very new to such an important role in motorsport and has made crucial mistakes. But F1

McLaren have proved they are able to adapt and innovate year after year.  Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh are the best people in the best jobs. McLaren look to have the components for another strong car next year.  The biggest question mark surrounding the McLaren is the testing.  There are different types of drivers, some racers, some great developers and some both.  Lewis Hamilton has already proven he is a great racer and great for the future of motorsport.

Renault have in Fernando Alonso one of those drivers that can develop a car. Renault will be a strong team for 2009 provided they can find some way to increase the power of their engine. Much will also be dependent on Nelson Piquet Jr. Now he will be in his second year with Renault and he should repay the faith Briatore has in him.

Toyota have improved in 2008 and same is expected next year.  Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli are sufficienty consistent but now they too have to up the plate if the huge investments of Toyota need to be re-payed.

Red Bull are expected to step up the plate next year.  With Adrian Newey and Geoff Willis Red Bull have a proven partnership as the best aerodynamics in the business. With recent buy-back of Toro Rosso much is expected of Red Bull to find a possible way to move to next gear. They have in Sebastian Vettel the brightest young driver and possibly future WDC.  Webber is full of experience to assist in development with Coulthard providing test driver. They are lagging behind in engine power with the Renault engines. But they have an option to shift to Ferrari engines as Force India have ended the engine deal with Ferrari.

With hugely disappointing 2008 Honda ended the car development quite early and focussed on 2009. So, this year we can see a Honda F1 car fighting higher in the field. But with both drivers yet to be confirmed for the next season the question is whether they get enough experience behind the steering wheels to challenge at the top consistently.

There is not a lot of news of how Williams are trying to cope up with tremendous failure of a season. I don’t see they enlightening the field much next year. But Frank Williams can give us a surprise which we would like to see!

With Toro Rosso searching for new drivers and Force India changing engine partners to Mclaren Mercedes they are also trying hard to run the fast pace set by teams.

Its pretty early but a highly interesting season lies ahead!!

Dietrich Mateschitz owns two F1 teams again – Red Bull and Toro Rosso!

Red Bull has bought back the 50 per cent stake in the Toro Rosso Formula One team owned by Gerhard Berger. Now Dietrich Mateschitz owns two F1 teams (how cool?)

gerhard_berger_dietrich_mateschitzDietrich Mateschitz:

“I am very grateful to Gerhard for his huge input. Together we turned Toro Rosso into a team that qualified on a regular basis in the top 10 and collected world championship points.”

Gerhard Berger:

“A 100% financing of a joint project by one partner can only make sense, to my mind, at an initial stage. This stage is over now. That’s why Red Bull will take over the shares again.”

What will Red Bull do with two F1 teams? One is that Gerhard Berger would alone not have been able to develop chassis for Toro Rosso that is required from 2010 season. Red Bull has the resources to do it. Grandprix.com reports that the company can afford to spend more than $1bn a year on its marketing programmes. Also, it is rumoured that Toro Rosso are looking for drivers that can bring huge amount of sponsors with them. This was confirmed in recent weeks by Sebastian Bourdais whose seat is on the line after a miserable debut season with Toro Rosso. This might leads to Bruno Senna or Takuma Sato for F1 seat in Toro Rosso. Buemi is tipped for the other driver seat of Toro Rosso. Sato though will not bring a lot of sponsors but will definitely drive Red Bull brand in Japan, the country where Red Bull is struggling to generate enough customer base.

GEPA-0807074434A

Some mention that Red Bull after being outperformed by Toro Rosso in 2008 are looking towards benefits from Toro Rosso’s team of developers. A deal with Ferrari for engines can also be on the cards!!

But only time will tell what is in store for Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing after this development.

Sebastian Buemi set for Toro Rosso?

The Sebastians’ drive Toro Rosso. After Sebastian Vettel and Sebastian Bourdais in 2008 it seems like another Sebastian will drive Toro Rosso in 2009.buemi1

Mateschitz, who co-owns Toro Rosso with former F1 driver Gerhard Berger, told autosport.com: “One will very likely be Buemi. The line-up will be confirmed before the last test in December.”

The last test of 2008 takes place at Jerez in Spain between December 9-11.

Buemi, who also raced GP2 last season, would be Switzerland’s first Formula One driver since Jean-Denis Delatraz in 1995. Positive energy is oozing from this young driver –

“I am young and I learn quickly. I think that all teams now try to have an experienced driver and a young driver, as you see for example, at Renault,” Buemi told the official Formula One website after the Barcelona test. “The immediate past has shown that the young guys don’t need too long to deliver results…Young drivers have shown that they can deliver almost straight away.”

Other contenders for his seat are Bourdais, Sato, Honda veteran Rubens Barrichello and GP2 frontrunner Bruno Senna have also been mentioned in connection with the Toro Rosso seats.

Performance in GP2 of Sebastian Buemi last year can be seen here

Will he be a good F1 driver?

Champions of WRC and MotoGP test F1 cars

5 times winner of WRC, Sebastian Loeb and 6 times winner of MotoGP, Valentino Rossi last week tested Red Bull and Ferrari respectively.

Loeb’s test was a present from Red Bull to celebrate his fifth rally title. He was eighth quickest of 17 runners.  He has been hailed fast enough for Formula One by the Red Bull Racing team. Team guesses that he is running somewhere in the midfield, which is mighty impressive. But will Loeb ever drive in F1? No says Loeb.

“Maybe I am too old,” he told Autosport. “If I was going to do that, it’s something that I should have thought about doing a few years ago. This only came about because it was an opportunity offered to me by Red Bull.

Redbull

Meanwhile, Valentino clocked 1min 22.5 sec in Mugello circuit. Ferrari’s current race drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen have posted laps in the 1min 21s with a similar configuration to the F2008 machine. Rossi says he can be a good F1 driver.

“With a lot of work I could have become a good F1 driver. It is hard to say if I would have become a winner or not, but the potential was there,” he told reporters, in the company of Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.

Pictures of Rossi

Rossi

Medals, rather than points, is the way ahead?

In 2003, the FIA updated the previous version to a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1. This point system with all its virtues and flaws is a constant point of debate. Even Bernie seems not to be very assured about this point system. He wants to get rid of the system and wants to introduce medals in the format of Olympics i.e. gold, silver and bronze for top 3 drivers in a race. For WDC he wants the driver with most gold medals as the winner.

Bright side

Many argue that teams change their strategy for last races of the season to gain maximum advantage of this point system and not competing for podiums (which is not wrong in my definition?). They continue that this makes F1 less exciting at times. They would be delighted with such a move from F1A

Bernie says

“The FIA and all the teams are behind it and it will be done,” Ecclestone told The Times newspaper. “The whole point will be, when they get to Melbourne for the first race, the guys will want to leave there with a gold medal”

So, it seems that the current idea of Bernie can be implemented asap i.e. from 2009 season. This could be one of the points of discussion in upcoming FIA meeting in December. Fingers crossed for its approval!

2008 season with this medal system

If there were a medal system in 2008 the last race would have been a different kind of cracker. Both Massa and Hamilton would have 5 golds before entering this round of racing and they knew a win for both with seal WDC for them. Then we could have witnessed wheel-to-wheel racing between two drivers contending for WDC. How rare this is now with current point system!!

If with 2008 results were run through this medal system Massa would have won WDC due to his 6 golds.

WDC winner 2008 with medal system!!!

WDC winner 2008 with medal system!!!

1) Felipe Massa

2) Lewis Hamilton

3) Kimi Raikkonen

4) Fernando Alonso

5) Robert Kubica

The constructors championship would still continue under current point system.

I would like such an initiative in F1and believe that watching race will be more fun.

F2008K with fewer wings

Luca Badoer is testing Ferrari winter test car named F2008K at Fiorano circuit, the K standing for KERS.

It has been inserted into a duct in the lowest part of the F2008 bodywork, in a central position. Not only does this give the car a low centre of gravity, but it also maintains the same torque rigidity present in the F2008. The weight of the equipment in operation, both when acquiring and releasing energy, initially around 7-8kg, will drop to below 5kg by the start of the season. The batteries are behind the seat. This position however has the disadvantage of requiring a sophisticated cooling system, as the operating temperatures must remain as low as possible. But there will no doubt be many changes between now and start of the season.

Source: Gazetta dello sport

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