Judge says Ecclestone payments was a “bribe”

F1 Fanatic round-up

In the round-up: A High Court judge says Bernie Ecclestone’s disputed payment was a bribe.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Payments by F1′s Ecclestone were a bribe, judge rules (Daily Telegraph)

“Multi-million pound payments made by Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone relating to the sale of the sport in 2005 amount to a ‘bribe’ according to a High Court judge.”

HRT: Signing Alguersuari is unlikely (GP Update)

Luis Perez-Sala: “It would be a dream and the best Christmas present if we had him, but it is not really realistic because we already have a waiting list of other drivers.”

Why this F1 car will be at the Autosport Engineering show (Racecar Engineering)

“RA107-5 already had quite a history it was raced by Rubens Barrichello in the 12 last of the 17 races in the 2007 Formula 1 season, starting with the Canadian Grand Prix, and clocked up over 8000 racing kilometres. It was then used for winter testing. The chassis then went on loan to Super Aguri (and run as the Super Aguri SA08), before being returned to Honda. The car was then decommissioned and set up as a simulator by Brawn GP, who subsequently sold the car to one of its employees.”

Senna Movie – the awards, and the story, so far (Facebook)

“Senna has come a long way since its release – here is the story so far, including the major awards and nominations achieved by the movie and the team to date.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Hardly anyone was placated by the BBC’s explanation for their deal with Sky. Here’s CRM:

The annoying thing for me is that the BBC threw away two years of full coverage of all races to jump into this deal. If they had let their five year contract to show every race run to the end and then negotiated this I would have said fair enough.

The way they got out two years early to save money makes it unacceptable to me.
CRM

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Arun Srini and fastmovingthoughts!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Renault announced a contract extension for Vitaly Petrov on this day last year, confirming the Russian would remain with them for two seasons.

However he only completed one year of the deal before being replaced by Romain Grosjean.

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77 comments on Judge says Ecclestone payments was a “bribe”

  1. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 22nd December 2011, 0:10

    So wait… if Alguersuari would be a “dream” for HRT, then why would he not be on that list? Maybe because he’s not in a position to BUY the seat? Shocking.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 0:18

      I think a lot of people overstated the relationship between Cepsa and Alguersuari. They might both be Spanish and they might have both been involved in the same team, but I think that’s where the similarities ended. Cepsa is a wholly-owned subsidiary of IPIC – the International Petroleum Investment Company – a consortium based out of the United Arab Emirates. IPIC also owns Nova Chemicals and Falcon Private Bank, two companies that also sponsor Toro Rosso. IPIC are widely believed to be in the process of buying a stake (possibly a controlling one) in Toro Rosso, most likely to be purchased over the course of a year so as to preserve Toro Rosso’s position under the Concorde Agreement. If this is indeed the case, it means that Cepsa are tied to Toro Rosso, not Alguersuari – after all if IPIC are looking at buying out a team, why would they then go ahead and sponsor a driver in a second team?

      • DeadManWoking (@deadmanwoking) said on 22nd December 2011, 2:25

        The Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund IPIC already owns a major share in a Formula 1 team. They own 95% of AABAR which owns a 9% share of Daimler AG as well as a 40% share of Mercedes GP, much as the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat owns 50% of McLaren Automotive and 42% of the McLaren F1 team.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 3:04

          That doesn’t change anything. Three of Toro Rosso’s sponsors – Cepsa, Nova Chemicals and Falcon Private Bank – are owned by the same company. Therefore, Cepsa’s sponsorship of the team has more to do with the parent company’s involvement in the team rather than Jaime Alguersuari’s status as a Spanish driver.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2011, 7:38

      Thats how I read it as well @us_peter, a shame really!

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd December 2011, 8:02

      @US_Peter I don’t think many expected he would be dropped so I would argue that they just haven’t had the time to react accordingly.

    • Chris v S (@iamthef1andonly) said on 22nd December 2011, 14:07

      Absolutely – waiting list??? It’s not like F1 seats are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis! Take a number and someone will be with you shortly…

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 0:12

    Hardly anyone was placated by the BBC’s explanation for their deal with Sky

    Hardly anyone was going to be. There was nothing that the BBC could have said that would have calmed tempers, much less persuaded people that it was the best arrangement for the future of the sport – even if they had said it when the deal was announced back at the Hungarian Grand Prix. They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t because the fans have already judged them to be guilty.

    • timi (@timi) said on 22nd December 2011, 0:30

      They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t because the fans have already judged them to be guilty.

      Quite Right.

      What amuses me is the high and mighty F1 fans who are crying over the fact the BBC has relinquished half of the races to Sky.

      TV License cost this past year was ÂŁ145.50. The BBC is mainly funded from the TV Licensing money (as well as some grants from the government).
      Now, I don’t know about other UK F1 fans but I know over 365 days a year I’m getting way more from BBC programs than what I’m paying for.. with or without F1 coverage.

      People seem to think the BBC owe it to us to show F1? I don’t know about you but I would rather they cut half their F1 broadcasts, than have to cut jobs. Sometimes there are more important things than saturday and sunday morning entertainment.

      Oh, and as for the people in other countries who are used to receiving the free BBC coverage, you can’t really complain since you’ve been watching coverage that we UK residents actually pay for. It’s like giving a tramp a sandwich every week for a year, then saying you can’t give it to him next year and he throws a fit.

      Rant over.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 0:41

        Exactly, we pay the licence fee. So what, we paid for the BBC to take on F1 and then offload it to free-to-air TV? If this had happened when the contract was over and up for negotiation between all parties, then it would be sad but fair. It didn’t though, it happened on the BBC’s watch, and they couldn’t face a competitor taking their viewing figures. If my licence fee funds the BBC I don’t want them to use it to sell off the sport while keeping as much of a monopoly on it for terrestrial TV as they can.

        So you’re right, they don’t owe it to us to show us F1. They just owe it to us to not play underhand games with the coverage.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:00

          If my licence fee funds the BBC I don’t want them to use it to sell off the sport while keeping as much of a monopoly on it for terrestrial TV as they can.

          I could see your point … if Formula 1 fans were the only ones who had to pay the licence fee.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:04

            I don’t see how that makes any difference to my main point at all. I don’t think the BBC should use the licence fee to buy up broadcasting rights to anything if they then intend to ship it off to pay TV.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:16

            I don’t think the BBC should use the licence fee to buy up broadcasting rights to anything if they then intend to ship it off to pay TV.

            But they didn’t intend to when they first acquired the rights to Formula 1. They didn’t sign that contract in the first place, knowing full well that the sport would go to Sky two years later. They signed the contract, but then the station decided that they needed to start cutting costs. Formula 1 was deemed too expensive to maintain, and so they worked out an alternative deal to save money.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:23

            Good point, I didn’t word word that very well.

            But the BBC owed it to the viewer to try and reach a more preferable settlement, one where the viewer wasn’t compromised.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:28

            But the BBC owed it to the viewer to try and reach a more preferable settlement, one where the viewer wasn’t compromised.

            What makes you think they didn’t?

          • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd December 2011, 2:55

            What makes you think they didn’t?

            That’s easy.

            The BBC held all the cards. We already knew that Sky wanted F1. I think it would have been quite easy for the BBC to say, these are the terms. Take them or we go to someone else.

            The deal the BBC brokered, was quite frankly, pathetic. It gave all the winning cards to Sky without fighting for anything, other than A) Getting out of the costs associated with F1 and B) Still satisfying their contract with Bernie. Which was the bare minimum. They could have very easily achieved this by going to another free to air channel.

            Whoever sold out to Sky so cheaply was either incompetent or paid. And knowing Murdoch, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t payed.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2011, 7:50

        @timi, I object against this most fervently:

        Oh, and as for the people in other countries who are used to receiving the free BBC coverage, you can’t really complain since you’ve been watching coverage that we UK residents actually pay for

        Do you think these other countries broadcasters/cable operators/… get the footage from the BBC for free? And these people do not pay for it?

        You can be certain, that all these people watching the BBC “for free” pay their own licence fees / cable/satelite/… connection fees, and those cover whatever is paid to the BBC for the footage (except for people watching through illegal streams, off course).

        • They could have very easily achieved this by going to another free to air channel.

          going to another fta broadcaster would almost certainly have seen a big drop in quality of the broadcast & likely ad-breaks & i would rather what we have than that.

          i want better broadcast’s with more info avaliable (bbc is already good enough with onboard+driver tracker) & itv, channel 4 & channel 5 could not have provided these (no interactive video services on any of them). sky will provide these so i for one am thrilled with the deal.

        • sebsronnie (@sebsronnie) said on 22nd December 2011, 17:04

          @BasCB – in Uganda, we receive the BBC broadcast via a satellite broadcaster (just the live practice, qualifying and race – none of the nice additional bits like MB’s grid walk) and for this, we have to pay US $ 78 per month. Not sure which people @timi is talking about that get the BBC feed for free.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 0:35

      If they had actually approached other free-to-air channels and then told us that, it would have been better. No, nobody was going to be calmed by the announcement, but they might have been at least reassured that the BBC did everything they could to keep F1 on free-to-air. Instead, they couldn’t bare to sell to a direct competitor, and so never approached one. That is why nobody was placated.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 0:59

        they couldn’t bare to sell to a direct competitor, and so never approached one.

        You’re only assuming that they did not consider going to another commercial station because they ended up doing a deal with a Pay-per-view network.

        As has been said in the past – by the BBC, no less – relinquishing the rights to another broadcaster would have resulted in the BBC being hit by a massive penalty for the breach of contract. It likely would have been cheaper to see the contract out than to break it, and there are probably clauses built into the contract to prevent a broadcaster from acquiring the rights to Formula 1 and then selling those rights to another broadcaster to make a profit. But because the BBC had decided that seeing the contract out was too expensive, giving up the rights or selling them to someone else would have been even moreso, and so it was not an option.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:08

          So selling half the races and extending the deal wasn’t different to the original contract? If that was okayed by FOM (or whoever it is) I doubt they would have had any contention allowing another broadcaster to take over fully.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:14

            So selling half the races and extending the deal wasn’t different to the original contract?

            Neither the Concorde Agreement nor the contract between the BBC and FOM prevented it. It was considered legal under the terms of those arrangements, so the BBC could do it without penalty.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:20

            We’ve argued this point before, and I genuinely cannot believe that one of the factors in the contract didn’t prevent them to extend the deal at a whim and be the sole distributor. And if they really were allowed to sub-let F1, why not to Channel 4, but still to Sky?

          • timi (@timi) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:26

            matt90 I would argue with your points, but since all of them are baseless assumptions by you, I will just leave it be.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:27

            if they really were allowed to sub-let F1, why not to Channel 4, but still to Sky?

            Because the contract and the Concorde Agreement prevented it from happening! Why don’t you understand this? You obviously feel that the Sky-BBC arrangement is a bad deal, and you’re entitled to feel this – but you’re twisting everything to make the BBC out to be the Big Bad Wolf. If sharing with someone like Channel 4 was an option, and if sharing with them was the best option, don’t you think the BBC would have taken it?

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:34

            Okay, so why does the contract actually prevent sharing between terrestrial channels but not a terrestrial and pay channel?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:46

            To prevent one broadcaster from buying the rights to Formula 1 and then make a profit by selling those rights to another broadcaster. And also because free-to-air and pay-per-view broadcasters are defined differently in the Concorde Agreement, and so there are different rules that are applied (because if FOM just copy-pasted the same rules from one to the other, there would likely be all manner of loopholes that broadcasters could worm their way through).

            The reason why the Sky-BBC deal was able to go ahead was because the Concorde Agreement prevented exclusive rights from going to a pay-per-view network – but it didn’t prevent the sharing of rights.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 2:13

            Okay, so if the Concorde Agreement and/or contract explicitly states that sharing of any rights are prohibited between terrestrial channels and the BBC really needed to offload the costs (debatable, but if they really couldn’t cut anything else), it may be justifiable. But is there no way FOM and the signatories of the Concorde Agreement could have made a concession that allowed a breach of that term, recognising it would not be for profit? Also, the BBC didn’t have to extend the contract. If they were solely saving money wouldn’t it make most sense to do a shorter deal with sky and then let it go completely, rather than create an extended deal against the public interest? At the very least it would have been the decent thing to do, in my opinion.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 2:40

            But is there no way FOM and the signatories of the Concorde Agreement could have made a concession that allowed a breach of that term, recognising it would not be for profit?

            They certainly could have – but the Concorde was set out years ago, and would be very difficult to change.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 2:48

            And that is definitely explicitly stated in the agreement? You actually know that it sharing between terrestrial channels is prevented?

            And who else signs it other than the teams? Because if only the teams and (essentially) Bernie had to agree to a change of terms to exempt the BBC, I can’t imagine them being against it because of their UK sponsors wanting the best coverage.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 3:03

            I can’t imagine them being against it because of their UK sponsors wanting the best coverage.

            Right, because UK sponsors are the only ones that matter …

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 3:11

            I really meant sponsors with interests in the UK, but probably yes, those from the UK would be more concerned. And yes, UK, because this concerns the coverage in the UK. That isn’t my point though anyway. I don’t really see why you picked up on that minor semantics error and didn’t address the rest of it. I didn’t realise anyone actually knew the exact contents of the agreement and was also wondering if you knew who else signs it.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 3:21

            I really meant sponsors with interests in the UK, but probably yes, those from the UK would be more concerned

            Yes, they would be – but it is conceivable that a joint-broardcast arrangement between two commecial stations in the UK could adversely affect sponsors outside the UK. In which case, a deal between those stations could be anti-competitive.

            It’s not a problem between the Sky and the BBC, though, because sponsors know what they’re getting into with pay-per-view. They don’t when another network picks it up.

            But all of this is moot. I can see that you’re trying to create a case whereby the BBC had a better option than a deal with Sky, and that they chose not to take it. The problem is that you’re assuming that that option was automatically better because it was not with a pay-per-view station – but you can’t prove that the BBC had any other options at hand, you can’t prove that they were necessarily better than the Sky deal, and you can’t prove that the BBC chose to take it because they wanted to keep Formula 1 out of the hands of a rival channel.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 3:35

            I can see that you’re trying to create a case whereby the BBC had a better option than a deal with Sky, and that they chose not to take it.

            If they really were limited by Concorde (as it is, without any concessions) to sky, I was more trying to find out if they could have tried to find a deal whereby the BBC had a better option. I was genuinely wondering if it was possible for them to look into alternate deals, hence my questions to you about whether what you said about Concorde you knew for fact and if you knew who esls signed it.

            And my point on sponsors was mainly from the assumption that with half the races no longer live there will be less people watching than previously, and that sponsors would be keen to correct that.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 3:38

            I was genuinely wondering if it was possible for them to look into alternate deals

            No doubt they would have.

            But you have to remember that they had to made the best deal for the BBC, largely because of the money involved – which isn’t automatically going to be the best deal for the fans.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 3:46

            Okay, so you’ve persuaded me that I’ve probably been overly harsh on the BBC. Sky might have been the only way out for them (although whether F1 was ever the right thing to cut, I neither know nor can be bothered to get into). If it wasn’t the only option, and they didn’t approach rival broadcasters had they found a way they could have, then I would revert to my initial state of anger. But, just because I’m curious, what you said about the Concorde Agreement refusing sale or sharing of rights between terrestrial broadcasters, do you know that for fact or is it an assumption that that restriction would be there?

          • DeadManWoking (@deadmanwoking) said on 22nd December 2011, 3:51

            While it was possible for them to look into alternate deals, the BBC chose not to. From the Transcript (it’s right at the bottom of this very long document):

            Q125 Chair: I am not saying it is unknown, or that you should not have talked to Sky, but even if it was a 10-second conversation, you might have picked up a phone to Channel 4 and said, “Are you interested? Could you possibly pay the kind of money that we are looking for?” They would have said no, but you did not even do that.

            Mark Thompson: It seems to me that it was not required of us, and given that, in a sense, what we were trying to achieve on behalf of the licence fee payer was a significant saving, actually keeping the confidentiality of the process until it was clear whether the thing was viable and whether all parties to it-including, of course, the rights-holder-were happy, militated in terms of doing it the way we did it.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd December 2011, 4:14

            He certainly seemed to be trying to skirt the issue, and he wasn’t citing the Concorde Agreement as the preventer from talking to Channel 4 as well as sky.

            I found this interesting.

            Talking about changing the arrangements in the existing contract and the extension of that contract, all I would say-and I have of course heard the arguments that perhaps this could have been picked up by another free-to-air broadcaster-is that what we have done has guaranteed that a very large amount of Formula 1 will still to be free-to-air to the British public for many years to come. Had we simply stopped the contract and decided to walk away from Formula 1 after that, there was a real danger that all of Formula 1 would have gone behind a paywall.

            So by extending the deal they are the heroes in keeping some F1 on terrestrial TV? Interesting, seems they just assumed that after the original contract expired, that Channel 4, 5 or ITV would have no interest. And yet they didn’t approach any of those channels to assess their interest in F1 either for 2012, or the future in general.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2011, 7:57

          @prisoner-monkeys, when you write

          You’re only assuming that they did not consider going to another commercial station because they ended up doing a deal with a Pay-per-view network.

          it looks as if you did not read the comprehensive interview with the BBC’s Thompson yesterday.
          In that article he clearly states, that the BBC did not look at that option, as quoted and referred to above by @deadmanwoking and @matt90

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 8:10

            it looks as if you did not read the comprehensive interview with the BBC’s Thompson yesterday.

            I’m not talking about the article. I’m talking about everything that has been said since the arrangement was annouced in Hungary. Within ten minutes of the deal being announced, people assumed that the BBC deliberately did the wrong thing – simply because it was their belief that it was the wrong thing. Not one person actually considered things objectively. Being demonstrated as being write six months later has nothing to do with it, because by then nothing that the BBC said or did could have convinced people that they made the right choice.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2011, 7:44

      You can turn it as you like PM, but for me one of the most fitting comments to the article was the one highlighting how the 150 million saved was squandered on a single rugby event that lasts for a couple of days by the same BBC.

      That puts their need to save in a perspective that looks far more as the BBC bosses getting away from motorsports to show different sports than it does show any real need to save.

      In principle that does not have to be bad (it undoubtedly is for fans of motorsport), but thats a desicion that should be taken outright for good grounds and not hidden under the monicker of saving money.
      The other thing is, that the BBC as a government owned institute, in acting the way they did, were effectively distorting free competition, and even lied about it when they tried to uphold the story, that they were forced to do co.

      Sounds very dodgy to me.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 8:02

        one of the most fitting comments to the article was the one highlighting how the 150 million saved was squandered on a single rugby event that lasts for a couple of days by the same BBC

        The problem with your assessment is that you assume the BBC considered Formula 1 to be their highest priority. So I could maybe understand why you would be upset if the BBC saved 150 million pounds on their highest-rating sport and then went and spent the same amount on a smaller sport. But if the BBC felt that the rugby was more important than Formula 1, it’s easy to understand why they felt spending more on it was justified.

        The other thing is, that the BBC as a government owned institute, in acting the way they did, were effectively distorting free competition, and even lied about it when they tried to uphold the story, that they were forced to do co.

        Again, you’re assuming that the BBC have done wrong because you do not like what they did. You don’t know the terms of the other deals that were offered at the time, so how can you say the BBC made a bad decision by joining with Sky?

        This is a faulty assumption that a lot of fans have displayed: they assume that because they feel the arrangement is bad for them, the BBC passed on a better deal. But they have no proof of it.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2011, 9:02

        The problem with your assessment is that you assume the BBC considered Formula 1 to be their highest priority.

        I think your assumption on my assessment bares as little weight and substance as those articles about Petrov or Sutil joining Ferrari there @prisoner-monkeys, yet you try to present this as fact.

        I have no doubt there are quite a lot of priorities for the BBC that rank higher than sport as such, and other sports that rank higher for them. I do not mind that, as I am in no position to judge what the BBC should or should not show.

        What I do mind, is that the BBC is doing something quite different from what they present they are doing. And to me this feels like not only cheating the UK viewers but also a government agency mis-using their monopoly position to distort competition for free to air TV.

        I have been reluctant to react to earlier instances where you intentionally misread others and use fake arguments yourself in this comment-tree, but now I will do so.
        You write

        You don’t know the terms of the other deals that were offered at the time, so how can you say the BBC made a bad decision by joining with Sky?

        and your earlier lines of the same intent towards @matt90

        Yes, they would be – but it is conceivable that a joint-broardcast arrangement between two commecial stations in the UK could adversely affect sponsors outside the UK. In which case, a deal between those stations could be anti-competitive.

        In all these case you make a basic logical error. You yourself ponder something as a conceivable theory based on very little, then go on to accept it as fact, while at the same time accusing others of not being able to present evidence for their views and arguments.

        From the evidence we do have (press statements, the interviews provided by both Bernie and the BBC, previous articles covering the concorde agreement and general contract law) it is possible to build up a realistic view:
        1. the BBC did not pursue any other kind of deals apart from the Sky.
        2. Bernie/FOM consent was needed, as the contractual partner to the BBC. The deal means a significant change in the way viewers are provided coverage and it is inconcievable that Bernie would not have a right to block this under the contract
        3. The BBC stated the reason for cutting back on F1 was to meet cost cutting measures put on them by the goverment.
        4. At the same time, the BBC not only spends a lot of money on buying the rights to an american amusement show, but also puts in 160 Million GBP (more than what they save with this deal) for a yearly Rugby event. This shows it is not as much about saving, as it is about a choice of what to show.
        5. From the start of the whole saga, the BBC stated that they had no other choice than to sign this deal, with the alternative having been to lose the coverage. Facts show this is bending the truth quite far.
        6. The deal puts all UK fans up with either paying several hundred GBP a year to view the whole season life, or get to see only half the races live and an edit of the rest of the races. That means a significant worsening of access to the sport in the UK.
        7. fact is, only very few people know what exactly is in the Concorde Agreement. That includes you.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 0:20

    Renault announced a contract extension for Vitaly Petrov on this day last year, confirming the Russian would remain with them for two seasons.

    However he only completed one year of the deal before being replaced by Romain Grosjean.

    In Soviet Russia, Grosjean replaces you!

    I’m sorry. It had to be done. I’ll let myself out.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:19

      *crickets*

      No mention of the Senna-to-Williams reports in the roundup, BTW. I wonder if those are true.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:23

        I doubt it. The Brazilians were claiming that Bruno Senna had a drive for 2011 about this time last year, too. So either they were incredibly clairvoyant, or they were just jumping the gun. I think they tend to believe everything they’re told.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2011, 7:58

        I guess the fact @keithcollantine chose not to include those means there is too little to back up their theories as halfway realistic.

        • spmab said on 22nd December 2011, 8:01

          Rumours are in Brazil that the official announcement will be done tomorrow. Bruno has a lot of sponsors and I would not doubt Williams sold the second seat also.

          Game over for Rubens though…

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 8:08

            Rumours in Brazil are not to be trusted.

          • Tiago Carvalho (@tiagocomodoro) said on 22nd December 2011, 8:18

            Guys, I’m brazilian. Dont believe it.
            Senna is really trying with Williams, and was at Grove this week, but nothing more than that.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 8:24

            The problem with Senna (and, for that matter, Sutil) at Williams is that it just isn’t a very exciting signing. For the past few years, they’ve signed a string of drivers who were either solid and dependable (like Wurz and Barrichello), who were underwhelming (like Nakajima and Maldonado), or who just didn’t make an impression (like Hulkenberg; all anyone can remember of him was his pole in Brazil). You have to look all the way back to 2004 to find someone – Juan Pablo Montoya – who put the fire back into the team. Senna and Sutil don’t have that. Sutil would probably fall in with Wurz and Barrichello, while Senna would be in link with the Nakajimas and Maldonados. Williams need an exciting driver in the team, and I think the best choice would be Kamui Kobayashi (assuming the talk of Ferrari buying him out of his contract is true). Or, failing that, Jaime Alguersuari (less exciting that Kobayashi, but more than Sutil/Senna).

          • Tiago Carvalho (@tiagocomodoro) said on 22nd December 2011, 8:47

            I totally agree, if Sutil or Senna signs with williams, they will finally say to the world: “we are a small team”
            But if this is the only thing that the team can get at this point, is better to do it than withdrawal from F1, they need money, Maldonado, Sutil and Senna have it.
            About Rubens as a brazilian I supported him from 93 to 2002~2003 when I finally understand that he would never be a champion, so I lost my hopes. I prefer to see him out of F1 and give space to the youngers.

  4. DVC (@dvc) said on 22nd December 2011, 1:53

    Oh, and as for the people in other countries who are used to receiving the free BBC coverage, you can’t really complain since you’ve been watching coverage that we UK residents actually pay for. It’s like giving a tramp a sandwich every week for a year, then saying you can’t give it to him next year and he throws a fit.

    We don’t watch if for free. The commercial networks pay for the BBC coverage and commentary. They then have to recoup the costs of that payment. Eventually we pay through our purchases of the products we are enticed to buy by the mountain of advertisements we watch *during* the race.

    I’ll tell you what though. People in other countries have far worse TV deals than the UK does. Australia has decent coverage now, but for a long time we had really substandard coverage delivered by 9. Keith is forever telling us that there is no British bias on this site. Well, how about some coverage of the TV deals in other countries? Every third update has something on the BBC deal, and we’ve got editorials on the topic too, but barely a mention of what goes on elsewhere.

    Apart from what happens in Aus and in the UK, the only thing I could even tell you about F1 coverage is that Speed has it in the USA, and they have their own commentators. If there were regular articles about F1 TV in other countries I dare say I’d know more than that.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd December 2011, 12:51

      @dvc On the contrary, I wrote this just four days ago:

      But it wasn’t just British fans who had cause to complain about the standard of F1 broadcasting [...]

      See: What did F1 fans like least about 2011? DRS

      Far more than just the British readership of the website will be watching content produced by BBC or Sky next year due to the way the English-language broadcasting of F1 is handled. That alone more than justifies the level of coverage given to the story on F1 Fanatic.

      Then there is the simple fact that, not being in every country at once, I’m not necessarily in a position to learn of developments in F1 coverage abroad. When people have taken the time to inform me (e.g. above) I have shared that information.

      I have also been working on an ‘overview’-type piece on the cost of watching F1 in different countries, which several readers have been helping out with. However this is proving quite a complex project and at the moment I can’t say for sure when it’s going to be ready for publication.

      • DVC (@dvc) said on 23rd December 2011, 5:19

        Ok, Keith. I guess I’m just a little touchy, given how little coverage the extremely poor service Channel 9 was giving to F1 fans for over a decade used to get in the international media.

        There was even a fan website ‘F1 fans Vs Channel 9′, set-up to try and make up for the lack of coverage.

        Nine used to do things like play the race on delay, cut out the sections where the British broadcaster took ads, and then insert extra long ad breaks in those gaps, and then add their own extra ad breaks as well. The race ended up taking 20 minutes longer than the actual race time, and we still missed bits of it! This is for a race nominally to be shown at 11.30 pm, on a 2 hour delay, that ends up starting at 12.05 am Monday morning! And the Australian commentators would sometimes talk over the British commentators at the segway to the ad breaks, so we’d miss the end of an anecdote. Then they’d cut out the champaign ceremony, and cut short the driver interviews if they bothered showing them at all, just so they could go to informercials on time at 3 am. We put up with this for over 10 years, and none of the media ever seemed to champion our cause.

    • paolo (@paolo) said on 22nd December 2011, 12:52

      Yeah, I pay the BBC licence fee so by this logic can I watch all of the Premier League games live please rather than watching match of teh day. Hold on…that sounds stupid doesn’t it…

      • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 23rd December 2011, 16:37

        The viewers in other countries have presumably paid for whatever channel does show the F1, so it’s a commercial arrangement (albeit one that works a little differently from either the complex licence fee or straightforward channel purchase deal).

  5. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd December 2011, 2:12

    According to this report (in Italian), Luca di Montezemolo will stand in the 2013 Italian general elections.

  6. SouthPawRacer (@southpawracer) said on 22nd December 2011, 2:52

    That Racecar Engineering article, as well as the BOSS GP series, proves that there is life after F1, even for cars!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2011, 7:59

      I loved seeing some discussions on F1 tech sites about reconstruction of that car. Lovely job they did to get it running again.

    • There always has been life after F1 for cars – from the Tasman series in the 1960s to BOSS GP and the historic F1 series.

      A couple of years ago I took my father in law to the HSCC Superprix at Brands Hatch, which included a historic (1970-1985 GP cars, all in original liveries) F1 race. He assumed it was going to be a parade, not a race – then four cars took one another off on lap 1…one of which was a Bernie-owned Brabham from the early 80s.

      See old F1 machinery is always great, but seeing it being raced and raced hard is fantastic.

    • themagicofspeed (@) said on 23rd December 2011, 22:20

      I’m going to Autosport show, if i see it i will get some pictures. Looks pretty good, pity the origonal engine is gone though. Anybody know if Ferrari exhibit any cars or is it below them to give something back to the fans?

  7. dennis (@dennis) said on 22nd December 2011, 11:19

    F1 car with a Viper engine? Crikey!! So much torque!

  8. Todfod (@todfod) said on 22nd December 2011, 11:32

    Why isnt anyone talking about Bernie being guilty for taking bribes?

    Everyone is still just complaining and cribbing about this BBC and SKY deal.

    • amt2nd (@amt2nd) said on 22nd December 2011, 12:54

      Quite agree! What a well deserved Christmas present for the evil dwarf.

    • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 23rd December 2011, 16:43

      Because at the moment it’s just a judge’s remarks (except in Grobowsky’s case, where he appears to be guilty by default, albeit the case in Germany may give him good grounds for appeal if favourable to him). I’ll get excited when Bernie’s verdict (innocent or guilty) is passed down.

    • themagicofspeed (@) said on 23rd December 2011, 22:24

      Probably cause nobody’s surprised, it’s normal behaviour from that bent old crook. He’s more corrupt, dishonest, malicious, deceitful, sly….i could go on.

      It doesnt surprise me he’s been taking bribes, he just cant resist pinching a few quid regardless of morality. When he dies, F1 will flourish.

  9. HRT: Signing Alguersuari is unlikely

    Go Liuzzi!
    But if they want him I see no reason for him not to be on the list. Just because he was only recently left without a contract doesn’t mean anything, as HRT have loads of time to decide their second driver, and they said it’s not urgent. If, as @US_peter says above, he has no money, then it’s yet another bad move from HRT, as he clearly has talent. I don’t think de la Rosa has a particularly high amount of money, and if they signed him because he’s Spainsh they may as well do so with Jaime who has a more promising future ahead.

  10. sato113 (@sato113) said on 22nd December 2011, 13:35

    OFFICIAL- HRT have confirmed that I, sato113, will be driving for them next year as their second race driver. After much discussion It was agreed that I fit the bill- no experience whatsoever of F1, or other motorsport, not very good at all at racing, poor, unfriendly, doesn’t know a thing about car development. I can’t wait for Adelaide! no, sydney! uh…

  11. Johann Buys said on 22nd December 2011, 13:58

    Why is no-one talking about Bernie? Because he did what we expected him to do, something underhanded. Its like going to a brothel and finding Max there. Huge surprise- not!

    Quite a few television station outside the UK bought and paid for F1 coverage. I still wonder how much in revenue they lost there.

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