Korean GP organisers concerned over losses

F1 Fanatic round-up

In the round-up: The cost of running the Korean Grand Prix leads the organisers to request a new deal.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

F1 Korea organisers eager to reduce deficit (Korea Times)

“The revenue from ticket sales increased by about 7 billion won from last year, but it is a long way short of making up the estimated 70 billion won (??3.89m) loss this year following Sunday?s race.”

Korea seeks to renegotiate GP deal (Autosport)

“We are trying hard, but we need the co-operation of Mr. Bernie Ecclestone. We certainly want to continue with this event because it is a big event, even though we have losses.”

Heikki Kovalainen on Twitter

Still more papers to be signed for the Indian Grand Prix, it’s a joke the whole process, don’t understand why it’s so difficult.

An important week for FOTA (Ferrari)

Stefano Domenicali: “The impetus that came under Montezemolo?s presidency has been carried forward with diligence and dedication by Martin Whitmarsh, who is doing a great job. Clearly, at this stage however, we need to understand how to move forward without leading to suspicions and polemics, elements that are always present in such a competitive environment as Formula 1.”

Dan Wheldon’s death puts cockpits back on the agenda in F1 (The Guardian)

“Adding a cockpit will be highly unpopular with fans, with the open-wheel, open-cockpit format seen as part of the brand of Formula One and a further level of separation from the drivers likely to be equally decried. While, in the cockpit, issues such as visibility, evacuation and even claustrophobia, are thought to be of concern to the men behind the wheel.”

India F1: a chance on the big stage (FT, registration required)

“The new F1 track is a relative success so far ?ǣ it is both ‘under budget’ and ‘on time’, two phrases that are rarely used when it comes to government-run construction projects ?ǣ partly due to the fact that it is a completely private project.”

Maurice Hamilton via Twitter

“With Martin Donnelly, Korea flight back today. Said spooky being able to freeze-frame his shunt scene for first time on on-board Senna movie.”

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Comment of the day

Read what Alan and Viktor Andersson had to say about going to Sunday’s Korean Grand Prix:

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Daykind!

On this day in F1

And happy birthday to Heikki Kovalainen who is 30 today!

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85 comments on Korean GP organisers concerned over losses

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 0:12

    For all the dark predictions that Ferrari would block Group Lotus name change in an attempt to stick it to Dany Bahar, they’re surprisingly cool about it. They just want a system in place to prevent teams from regularly changing their names, no doubt inspired by the Jordan-Midland-Spyker-Force India segues a few years ago. And I agree with them – Formula 1 needs guidelines for this. Otherwise, we get to the utterly ridiculous scenario where teams are forced to run under names that are not representative of them just to preserve their place under the Concorde Agreement. Sauber was forced to race as BMW Sauber in 2010, even though BMW had withdrawn. And the Lotus Renault GP cars are known as Renaults, even though Renault have been out for two years. It’s stupid; what if Renault had withdrawn before the Singapore episode, but the team had continued under their name in the interests of the Concorde Agreement? Renault the manufacturer would have been absolutely humiliated by it, even though they had nothing to do with it.

    Ferrari’s caution probably stems from the way two teams (Renault and Team Fernandes) have made ther intentions to change their names public, and if popular rumour is to be believed, then another three (Force India, Toro Rosso and Hispania) want to do it. Formula 1 needs a system in place to preserve the commercial integrity of the grid, but which does not force teams to run under someone else’s name.

    • graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 19th October 2011, 5:57

      Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with teams wanting to change their names. Teams change hands all the time but they’re not like football teams that are tied to a particular place, so why does F1 give them so many hoops to jump through just to change their names?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 7:12

        Because they don’t want people coming along, buying a team on the cheap, then selling it off once the end-of-year FOM rights payout is paid, and making a profit on it.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th October 2011, 9:02

        @graham228221 currently there are no rules what to do about things like there being a team known as Team Lotus and another then coming with a sponsor Lotus to give teir team the name Lotus Renault GP (there is no real limit or guideline to it, just the FIA either going with it or not).
        And the rules in place make teams run stick with names they had in the past, like Renault and BMW did (and Jordan/Midland before).

        Therefore it would make worlds of sense to define what is allowed and what is out of bounds so everyone is comfortable with it and not buying favours from the other competitors/FIA/FOM to make a change.

        • graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 19th October 2011, 10:29

          @BasCB Don’t all the teams and Bernie currently have to approve it before a team name can be changed at short notice? I honestly don’t see what the problem is in just allowing teams to call themselves whatever they want, it’s their property and money being invested.

          I agree clarification is always good, but they should be giving teams more freedom to call themselves what they like not less.

          And the Lotus/Lotus farce is a total oddity, I really doubt that this is ever going to happen again as it makes no business sense for anyone!

          @Prisoner Monkeys

          Yeah, but this happens anyway so what’s the problem is giving more freedom on naming rights? If you think a venture capitalist is going to be put off because they can’t have their name in the title of a project you’re very wrong (ever heard of Genii Capital before this season?)

          Surely it would be better to avoid the bizarre situations of having teams stuck with names to which they have little or no relation, just because a source of funding fell through at the 11th hour (“BMW Sauber Ferrari” for example).

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th October 2011, 10:38

            Yes, they need all the teams to approve, but only if changing a chassis name. That means that HRT has a say about Lotus and Renault changing their car name. Is that the best system?

            Not to mention, that it does not count for the team name as such, in theory you could name it just about everything, as long as you convince the FIA its fine.
            Want to name a team MacLarren, or Pherrari? It might pass, there’s no rules guiding it.

            We had cars with tobacco sponsors in their name, manufacturers who were out already and conflicting names in the recent past. That shows there is a need for some clear guidelines.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th October 2011, 10:44

            @graham228221 (sry, forgot to include in the first part) … not to mention the fact that currently making a name change means somehow getting a favour from all other teams. A grey area of never knowing what teams have done and agreed on, not to block such a name change. That is not good at all.

          • graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 19th October 2011, 10:59

            @BasCB that’s what I’m getting at (or trying to!) – there shouldn’t be a need to get all the teams and Bernie and the FIA and everyone else just to approve something like a name change (maybe this might be appropriate after the season has started perhaps).

            Could I call my F1 team MacLarren? No, as I’m certain that it would be trademarked and that would definitely be the case with Ferrari. There’s enough legislation out there without the FIA even being involved in something like this.

            The Lotus/Lotus case is odd, because there are effectively two entities legally entitled to the name. But this would be rare, and I doubt a company involved in the tiny field of F1 would want to imitate another because there’s no business case. Could the pushchair manufacturer Maclaren buy out another team and rename it – well, yes and they’d legally be rightly entitled to do so if they so wish, but how likely is that :P

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th October 2011, 11:20

            if you put it like that @graham228221 I find my opinion is not that far away from yours indeed.

            A short guideline for defining how a team can be named (no swearwords, nothing including trademarks registered to anyone else or being in danger of infringing on such rights, no names that might cause confusion with other existing or old teams, nothing political or discriminating, …) added to the FIA reglements might help get clarity up front though and prevent any possible case having to be decided in court.

            In the case of the Lotus name, Personally I think the sponsor name Lotus should not have been allowed in when there was already an existing team having Lotus in their team (and indeed chassis) name.
            But the FIA backed ouf from deciding (understandingly given the complicated issues behind this case) and let it go to court, making us face a situation of having to teams appear to be “Lotus”.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 12:16

            Personally I think the sponsor name Lotus should not have been allowed in when there was already an existing team having Lotus in their team (and indeed chassis) name.

            If a company wants to sponsor a team, the FIA has no right to prevent them from doing so.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th October 2011, 12:26

            As you nicely highlighted, @prisoner-monkeys, my opinion is that way. Not much the FIA can do about that, is there?

            And you do know that is factually untrue, that the FIA has no right to prevent someone from sponsoring F1, don’t you?

            There’s a lot of regulations preventing tobacco companies from doing so, to name an example. And the FIA would possibly prevent clear cases of being in conflicting with laws, as noted in the post I reacted to.

            There is no “right” to be allowed to sponsor an F1 team, and the FIA does have the onus on it to either allow a team entry or ask them to change it.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 12:35

            There’s a lot of regulations preventing tobacco companies from doing so, to name an example.

            You are correct – but these are laws put in place by a government.

            the FIA does have the onus on it to either allow a team entry or ask them to change it.

            But the actual sponsor is not a part of the entry.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th October 2011, 14:35

            You are correct – but these are laws put in place by a government.

            So? As governing body the FIA has to go by current law.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 19th October 2011, 13:49

      @Prisoner-Monkeys It is a bit of a difficult situation, given how we had manufacturers falling like flies at the end of 2009. Formula 1 does need to respect the wills of the manufacturers but like you say, integrity is key.

      Personally, I think they should be able to change them once a season. That way you would avoid the hypothetical situation with Renault in 2008.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 13:57

        If nothing about the team but their ultimate ownership changes, then I see no reason why the team name should remain the same. If Renault is still based in Enstone, still employs the same people in technical and managerial positions, and still operates in the same way as it does now, but is ultimately owned by Dany Bahar rather than Renault, why should they be denied a name change? Why should they lose the rights to the FOM payouts? All that has changed is the actual ownership. They’re exactly the same team from one year to the next, so I find it a little difficult to understand why name changes get blocked simply because the owner is new.

        • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 19th October 2011, 20:31

          @Prisoner-Monkeys I guess there only possible justification is for the sake of continuity, at least for a couple of seasons. Perhaps they fear people will turn off from the sport if they can’t relate from one year to the next. I find that a bit crazy myself, but then again i’m a big fan.

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 19th October 2011, 15:14

      I don’t want Formula 1 to be a rich mans playground where investors can stick their noses in and out as and when they feel like it. I want everyone running the teams to be in it for the long run, at least a few years to become established and such commitment I’m sure would deliver better results witht his kind of prevention in place. It messes the people who work for the teams around, messes the fans around, and in the case of BMW with Williams/Sauber, for example, really screws over teams with heritage, an identity

  2. Cacarella (@cacarella) said on 19th October 2011, 0:13

    2 questions for everyone…

    1. If the Korean GP gets dropped next year will that be a record for how quickly a circuit calls it quits?

    2. Can someone please translate Maurice Hamilton’s twiiter message for me? I’ve repeated it over in my head but something isn’t clicking for me at the moment.

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 19th October 2011, 0:18

      Martin Donnelly thought it was freaky being able to watch back and freeze frame his big F1 shunt as shown in the senna movie.

      Maurice Hamilton has also recently been on a plane, comming back from Korea.

      Lol, twitter eh? Nothing like proper grammar and labouring the point.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 19th October 2011, 6:41

      @Cacarella

      2. Can someone please translate Maurice Hamilton’s twiiter message for me? I’ve repeated it over in my head but something isn’t clicking for me at the moment.

      hehehe, that is exactly what I thought. Sadly it still doesn’t make sense … he is trying to sound cool with words?,.. who knows. People that tweet blabber regularly are clearly seeking some kind of attention… or must be extremely bored, which in his case I find hard to believe ..

  3. Scribe (@scribe) said on 19th October 2011, 0:16

    Thought I’d post this here as well as the forum in response to the guardian article on cockpits seems generally relevant. This is a video of an FIA test on both windsheilds and fighterjet cockpits, testing the effect of massive impacts.

    http://vimeo.com/26098946

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 0:25

      I think cockpits are a bad idea. Sure, they protect drivers against debris; they would have gone a long way in the Felipe Massa and Henry Surtees accidents. But at the same time, using a windshield means it will take safety crews longer to get to a driver while doing very little to protect them. An enclosed cockpit would have done nothing to save Dan Wheldon, and in the overwhelming majority of accidents where enclosed cockpits might protect a driver, whatever advantage they offer is offset by by the added delay in removing them to gain access to the driver themselves. It’s just a knee-jerk reaction to an almost non-existant problem, a problem which has better solutions to it if people stopped for a moment and realised “hang on, if we’re going to do this, then we have to do this right”.

      • Scribe (@scribe) said on 19th October 2011, 0:35

        I think your wrong, but the discussion is in the forum. Also when you say non-existant you mean a death and a life changing injury in the last two years. The probability of debris hitting drivers helments is medium-low but trivialising the risk isn’t clever, a body of evidence is building and test such as the one above along with discussion with all those involved doesn’t point to a knee jerk reaction. Also, how do you know a strengthen canopy such as the one above might not have gone someway to reducing the impact on Wheldon’s head and frame?

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 19th October 2011, 0:50

          On Twitter last night, @ed24f1 suggested an alternative to dangerous catch fencing, which as we saw, just acts as an IndyCar grater in these situations.

          http://twitter.com/#!/ed24f1/status/126263348177272832

          http://twitter.com/#!/ed24f1/status/126299647705743360

          I think it’s a great idea, and if they could find something durable and thick enough, it would act as a much better way of keeping the cars and debris within the race track without causing such horrific damage. The only problem I can think of so far is that it would be an enormous task to clean it after every race.

          • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 19th October 2011, 13:24

            I can’t take credit for that idea, I was actually reading Paul Tracy suggest it in an article on Autosport.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 3:49

          @Scribe – if canopies are the right solution for Formula 1 in particular and open-wheel racing in general, then by all means, introduce them. But they shouldn’t be introduced until such time as we know that they will actually address the problem. A lot of Wheldon’s accident was down to the way thirty-four racing cars were travelling at extreme speed inches apart on a circuit with no run-off. And a lot of that will be addressed by the ICONIC chassis, because the car will have bodywork encasing the rear wheels that is specifically designed to stop cars from launching off one another in the event of contact. So, Indycar have introduced safety measures specifically designed to stop accidents like Wheldon’s from happening in the future; the real tragedy is that Las Vegas was the last race before the introduction of a car that would have the potential to save Wheldon’s life, a car that he himself helped develop. In fact, adding a canopy to the ICONIC chassis would actually delay its introduction because parts of the car would need to be designed around it. Dallara would never release it with a canopy simply bolted on.

          And now, consider this – all of this is for Indycar, which bears very little resemblance to Formula 1. They’re both open-wheel racing categories, but that’s where the similarities end. Indycar has a spec chassis, runs on ovals, and circuits do not require and FIA Grade-1 licences in order to host events. Formula 1 does not have a spec chassis, does not run on ovals, has lower speeds and has circutis that are held to a higher standard than Indycar.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 19th October 2011, 16:39

            I was thinking the same- the main cause of the accident was the car being launched into the crash fence. It was the last race where such an accident should happen, or at least happen so severely, due to the introduction of the new car.

          • TED BELL said on 19th October 2011, 16:44

            Canopies on F1 cars ?? I rather like the idea. Could make the cars look really cool but more importantly give the kind of protection that is needed for that unusual unforseen event.

            Here in America we have Hydroplane racing and all of the teams have been using Canopies for years and it elimonated all driver fatalities in a sport that once offered cruel results. Those canopies not only saved drivers but also saved the sport at a time when media and fans had been calling for the sport to go away. Once too dangerous now has bred a new generation of fans and the sport is staring to appear overseas. Point is that making the decision to protect the drivers has now rekindled the passion for the sport.

            I think an f1 car would look absoluetly spanking with a proper shaped covering over the car. Those who say “can’t see the drivers anymore” are just old school. The reality of it is that all we do see is helmets and forearms anyway. It wouldn’t be like a welders helmet with a small slot to see through…

            Weight wouldn’t be an issue as everybody would use the same canopy making it fair for everyone. Might even make the cars faster where possible by improving the drag coeffiecient.

            I see nothing but positives with the concept and like Hydroplane racing it is a proven and valued component. Think of the world press if Formula One made the decision to race with canopies….It would filter down to lower levels of racing and save lives.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 19th October 2011, 17:19

            It would filter down to lower levels of racing and save lives

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_racing_drivers_who_died_in_racing_crashes#Open_wheel_types

            I know this list misses some of the lowest categories, but the number of deaths is actually incredibly low in open wheel racing in general. And if F1 can implement a canopy that is protective and still quick release with risk of entrapment, lower formulae being able to do the same for a low enough cost could be difficult.

            Those who say “can’t see the drivers anymore” are just old school.

            I don’t think it’s old school to enjoy an element of F1 that has been fundamental to it and to open-wheeled racing in general throughout its history right up until present. The driver being exposed helps with the car set around them makes the sport more attractive to me.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 19th October 2011, 18:38

            Last line should read:
            The driver being exposed with the car set about them helps makes the sport more attractive to me.

      • Ady (@ady) said on 19th October 2011, 9:51

        Why not install ejector seats and parachutes for good measure?

        • graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 19th October 2011, 10:35

          @Ady no, wait… I’ve seen the future of safety in F1 already.

          But seriously, I think it’s a fine line on risk/reward when it comes to canopies. I’m not convinced.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th October 2011, 10:46

          So the drivers are launched into the catch fence or down on the track? Or just fall from a greater hight.

          I can’t see how that will be a major improvement @ady, keep it a bit serious if you will.

          • Sergio Perez (@sergio-perez) said on 19th October 2011, 11:51

            I think the cockpit makes sense. With that probably Senna wouldn’t have died, and Massa wouldn’t have had his near death experience. The only problem is as a spectator show. For those watching it live, it will most certainly take away from the “contact” between audience and the stars of the show, which are not the cars, but the drivers. They are the emotional part of the whole show. However, for TV audiences, it might provide a chance for some spectacular POV on board cameras. Red Bull would have a major advantage here, since they already developed a closed cockpit F1 for the Gran Turismo game… (half joking, here.)

        • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 19th October 2011, 20:15

          @Ady,
          In affect, that is exactly what the Canopy/survial cell does in a Hydroplane boat. Indeed, in an extreme crash, the cockpit is designed to break away from the vessel, and float. Much better than having a driver(sailor?) upside down and unconceous. Hydroplane courses are not like tracks, the corner marshals and safety crews are not on the other side of the wall, and the course is muuuuch bigger.

          As for closed canopy in F1. I think the entrapment problem is huge. Sure, these work well for Lemans and other series, but these cars have muuuuch higher volume (the space inside) They have space to put a door on each side, offering more than one exit. This is impossible in F1 without major changes to the basic layout of the car.

          Your child will be more safe if you surround him with guard dogs… or will he?

  4. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 19th October 2011, 0:35

    No wonder… the Korean GP didn’t have a great kick off last year, with all the troubles finishing the track in time, plus the rain made it worse and the whole organization process was very poor.

    It’s difficult to build from that in a country very far from having a proper motorsport fanbase. It’s going to be another Turkish GP that one…

    • Calum (@calum) said on 19th October 2011, 1:15

      Such a shame because it’s actually a good race track (like Turkey was) but the fans don’t turn up and it probably will end up coming of the calender within a decade (like Turkey did).

      Why couldn’t Korea, Malaysia or Turkey’s race tracks have been built in Abu Dhabi where the money is and they could have been guarenteed to stay on the calender for years to come… :(

      • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 19th October 2011, 1:45

        Because the Abu Dhabi marina is flat.

        Tilke is stuck in a tight spot really. Either he builds street circuits in the middle of cities (which are often flat) or he builds circuits in the sloping terrain of the mountains (which are in the middle of nowhere). There’s no way he wins.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 3:32

          The trick is to get people who are genuinely passionate about the sport to be the promoters, rather than faceless bureaucrats who don’t understand much about Formula 1 other than the benefits it can bring to their nation’s international profile. Look at Tavo Hellmund – he’s a racer at heart, and his briefing to Tilke was “build a circuit in the style of old-school venues”. The Circuit of the Americas is shaping up to be just that. Compare Hellmund to the organisers of the Chinese or Abu Dhabi Grands Prix; can you name the people who were behind the idea in the first place? No, you can’t. And look what we got – mostly-flat circuits on reclaimed land.

          If Tilke is worked into the design process sooner – actually consulting (if not selecting) the land to be set aside for the circuit – then I thik we’ll see what he is really capable of: more circuits like Istanbul and Sepang, and less like Valencia and Bahrain.

          • Calum (@calum) said on 19th October 2011, 4:01

            CotA, Istanbul Park, Sepang, Yeongam, India all look good tracks on paper, and all of them are fun on the video games excluding CotA which I am yet to sample.

            The only thing I don’t like about CotA is the Hockenhein section, it’s going to be quite a brake-gas-brake-gas section which might ruin the whole flow of the lap – it would have been nice to have a fast left hander which bypassed this, but apart from that, it should be good!

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 4:09

            Ruining the flow of the lap is the intention, @Calum – Tilke’s latest geneation of circuits have been designed to test all aspects of a car. Take Korea as an example: the first sector is designed to test acceleration, top speed and braking. The second sector is aerodynamic grip and a driver’s commitment. And the final sector is for technical setup work. The idea is that drivers will play to their cars strengths, emphasising the two sectors they strongest in and using that strength to overcome the deficit in the third sector. We saw it in qualifying; drivers were setting similar lap times, but getting their actual speed in very different ways.

            In Austin, the intention appears to be baiting the drivers into compromising their entire setup for two corners that will be critical to the entire lap – either they can be very fast for 90% of the lap, but leave themselves vulnerable in the final sector, or they can be quick through the final sector, but a little slower than they would normally be for the rest of the lap.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 19th October 2011, 9:19

            Tilke’s latest geneation of circuits have been designed to test all aspects of a car.

            Which has been the downfall of his reputation. 1, 2, 3, sure, but all of them?

            Keith hit the nail on the head with his article The track they should build in Austin. We have enough of them already. Even the first sector is far too long, corner, after corner, after…zzz. The track is just another selection of Tilke’s Bag of Tricks, cobbles together to imitate superior circuits he had nothing to do with. Says it all really.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 9:26

            Except the corners are modelled on Silverstone’s Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel sequence. All of them. The whole section frmo the exit of the first corner to the far end of the circuit is designed to be taken at or near full-throttle.

        • Calum (@calum) said on 19th October 2011, 4:08

          I understand the geography (topography?) stops them putting much gradient change in Abu Dhabi’s track but it’s still a dull layout even if there was some camber and inclines/declines around the marina.

          The corners are mainly 90 degrees in the latter part of the lap, so similar – at least the latter part of Korea, India and all of Turkey and Sepang seem more flowing and natural rather than formed with strict geometry. They are good laps regardess of topography – although the variation in gradient helps in making them exciting.

          My original point about building an Istanbul Park track or a Korea at Yas Marina was more about Abu Dhabi having the money to keep the GP – so it would have been better to build Istanbul Park or Sepang or Korea circuit in Abu Dhabi because they could have kept one of the best Tilke track on the calender for many years to come and not have any money worries!!

        • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 19th October 2011, 20:25

          As far as elevation change issue….
          Allow me to introduce an invention; Its not that new, and you probably already have one. Its called a SHOVEL. You can use a shovel to move dirt around, and pile it up into mounds. They even make big ones strapped to tractors so you can move huge loads of dirt at one time.

          This is how it is being done in Austin and on every heavy highway that has ever been built.

      • You want Abu Dhabi !! Even a racer such as Alonso couldn’t overtake there zzzzzzzz

        • Calum (@calum) said on 19th October 2011, 7:07

          No, I realise Abu Dhabi will be on the calender for years because they are never going to be short of the money to pay for a race – so I suggested it would have been better to have one of the good Tilke layouts in Abu Dhabi rather than the dull one they built there instead! :P

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 7:15

            But Tilke was given a design briefing by the owners of the circuit – he had to run it around a man-made marina and under the hotel, and there had to be plenty of slow corners for the spectators to see the cars at.

            Fortunately, the organisers have said that after two dull races, they have plans for a redevelopment that they will introduce if the 2011 race is flat. They were originally going to introduce those changes for the 2011 race, but decided against it because they felt the Pirelli tyres, DRS and KERS would address a lot of the criticism levelled at the circuit. If they don’t, the changes will be introduced for 2012.

    • CarolinaBlue704 (@carolinablue704) said on 19th October 2011, 2:03

      They drew 160,000 fans over the weekend. Not too bad for a country with no motorsport history. I’m guessing that’s far more than what Turkey drew the last few years. And according to the article they didn’t give away any free tickets like they did last year.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th October 2011, 12:13

        But can we really trust these figueres published @carolinablue704?
        Tracks often count by adding people having a 3 day ticket to each day, regardless of their actual attention at the day to make it sound better. That would make for about 50.000-60.000 tickets sold, which already sounds closer to reality.

        On friday there certainly were not more than a few thousend of fans on track, Saturday was a bit better, but I would be supprised if it was more than 15-20.000 there. For race day it was slightly better, but I am not at all convinced it got over the 50.000 mark in reality.

        • CarolinaBlue704 (@carolinablue704) said on 20th October 2011, 6:54

          @bascb Korean International Circuit has a seating capacity of 120,000. So it probably looked emptier than what it really was. The Korean Grand Prix Organizing Committee reported over 80,000 in attendance on race day, 65,000 for qualifying, and 11,000 for practice. From what I could see on television these numbers seem believable given the circuit’s large seating capacity.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th October 2011, 8:28

            @carolinablue704 I get your point with the relatively big grandstands looking more empty. Indeed compared to places like Bahrain or AbuDhabi (with 45000 and 40.000 capacity, If I remember correctly) that will be the case.

            But the numbers still do not add up, do they? Just look at your first post,

            They drew 160,000 fans over the weekend.

            and compare that with the second post

            reported over 80,000 in attendance on race day, 65,000 for qualifying, and 11,000 for practice

            – lets add up 82.500+65.000+11.000 = 158.500 and it still means counting people 2 or 3 times, even if we can believe that 82000+ race day figure.

        • CarolinaBlue704 (@carolinablue704) said on 20th October 2011, 22:29

          @bascb I guess I should have been more clear. The Korean Grand Prix Committee stated that there was 85,000 in attendance on race day. Here’s a quote from an article I read.

          “According to the F1 Korean Grand Prix Organizing Committee, 85,000 out of 120,000 seats were filled. The 1-7 parking lot was almost full, and shuttle buses operated without break to carry hordes of visitors from the circuit to bus stops including Mountain Daebul, Namak City, and the North Port.”

    • Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 19th October 2011, 13:50

      I just can’t see Korea lasting at all. It’s wreaks of a race that might last 5-6 years and then be bumped off the calendar due to falling attendances and rising prices.

      In my opinion it’s Turkey part 2 basically; which was similar in that it was a great track, but that wasn’t enough to make it a essential race.

  5. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 19th October 2011, 0:51

    Happy birthday Daykind! I hope you have a fantastic day and I’m sure Alonso will win in India for you… maybe. :P

  6. Anti-RBR (@matt2208) said on 19th October 2011, 1:09

    F1 Doesn’t Need Closed Cockpits. The Sport Is Becoming More Of A Joke Day By Day.

  7. manatcna (@manatcna) said on 19th October 2011, 1:51

    You mean like F1 didn’t need / want the HANS device?

  8. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 19th October 2011, 2:16

    Happy Birthday Daniel.

  9. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 19th October 2011, 3:35

    We are trying hard, but we need the co-operation of Mr. Bernie Ecclestone.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n5E7feJHw0

  10. Oliver said on 19th October 2011, 5:16

    Bernie’s escalator is an endless mine shaft for most race tracks. It is almost unsustainable.
    For sure, Bernie will take the money, help you hang yourself and walk away to the next new victim.
    The end result, millions of dollars spent on building a facility that is abandoned. The license fees are a major fraction of the cost of the facility itself.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 5:30

      The escalator is there for a reason – it represents a commitment. If it wasn’t there, venues might decide that spending however much money they’re charged over two years is worth the international exposure, and then buy their way out of the contract once the job is done. This would lead to an unstable calendar, with new events coming and going all the time. The escalator is basically a way of saying “if you want to hold a race, you’d better be damn sure you can sustain it”. The events know what they’re getting into because the escalator is a part of the initial contract they sign. It’s not like Bernie comes back to them a year later and surprises them with it.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th October 2011, 9:11

        Now that @prisoner-monkeys is a ******** argument. The escalator does not have anything to do with keeping up commitment from venues, to motivate them.

        Its sole purpose is to make sure the fees go up as venues start to pull in bigger crowds (wishfull thinking for some), write off their investments and to cover inflation.

        An up front payment might be considered as motivation to make it through the whole contract (or just plain robbery, dependant on who you ask :-D ), this is not.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 9:28

          The escalator does not have anything to do with keeping up commitment from venues, to motivate them.

          And yet, it does exactly that, @BasCB – how many budding nations have approached Bernie and said “We’d like to have a race for a year or two”?

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th October 2011, 10:19

            @prisoner-monkeys Fact is there are no people coming in with the intention to do it for only a year or two and another fact is the escalator exist.

            However you have brought no argument to show that the second fact is the reason for the first fact.

            I offer another explanation. People investing in a new track (200m and more) do this because they want a return on their investment, which can only be achieved over a longer period of time.

            Indeed, one can more safely argue the contrary or your claim. If not for the escalator, operators would be more motivated to do so as it makes the race more profitable with time instead of making it less profitable. Therefore the escalator rather makes this a short time take what you can get and go on for the sport than helping promotors commit long term.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th October 2011, 10:58

            Fact is there are no people coming in with the intention to do it for only a year or two

            Exactly – because the contract they sign deters them from it.

      • mrargh said on 19th October 2011, 9:31

        Problem is, the escalator is what’s pushing attending F1 out of the reach of many. The prices, even for general admission, are getting eye wateringly high (and have been for several years). Trying to say it’s a commitment to keep hosting the race is ridiculous. If that’s what Bernie needs then make the escalator RPI and add a large financial penalty if you want out of the contract early – same outcome.

  11. Girts (@girts) said on 19th October 2011, 7:14

    Happy birthday Heikki! I’m sure your biggest success in F1 is yet to come. We’re gonna win!

    Happy birthday Daniel! I hope you have a great day and, as a neutral observer (yet), I wish you at least one more Alonso victory this year and the 3rd DWC title in 2012 :)

  12. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 19th October 2011, 7:21

    Happy Birthday Daykind!

    Young Daniel Daykin,
    A pint-sized Tifosi.
    He likes his cars red,
    And his bed to be cosy.

    He hails from Bradford,
    A place close to Leeds.
    He prefers the train,
    For his travel needs.

    I met this lad once,
    In the flat TomKat stays.
    We ate Katy’s cookies,
    And drank Lucozade.

    An Alonsomniac,
    He loves to cheer Fred.
    I’m not quite sure why,
    Must’ve damaged his head.

    An emotional lad,
    He reacts rather bitterly.
    If ever you mention,
    Alonso and Vitaly.

    Aspiring journo,
    He runs his own blog.
    His writing impresses,
    One day it, he’ll flog.

    So enjoy your birthday,
    You plucky young man.
    I hate writing poems,
    For Ferrari fans!

  13. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 19th October 2011, 9:29

    i can’t seem to edit my profile
    hunting and clicking for a while
    born on the 21st
    surely i can’t be the worst
    since when do poems make me smile?

  14. goofy (@goofy) said on 19th October 2011, 16:35

    Good news everyone :D
    Looks like Nico Rosberg has contract for 2012 at MGP: In an Interview with german online magazine “spox.com”
    Nico answered a question with “we’ll try to be faster in 2012″ and the next question “Your contract is running out after 2012 season, will you extend your contract?”
    Nico: “I actually can’t say anything about the process, but we already talked about, that will stay longer than 2012″

    (I hope you’ll understand my translation ;) )

  15. Chris Yu Rhee (@chris-yu-rhee) said on 20th October 2011, 0:56

    Not surprised that Korea wants to renegotiate the deal. Actually quite expected.

    Hopefully Uncle Bernie will listen or they’ll probably throw in the towel.

    What do they say the three most important things are in business?

    Location, location, and location…

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