Vettel’s excess of success a concern for Infiniti

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2013In the round-up: Red Bull sponsors Infiniti admit there is a downside to Sebastian Vettel’s sustained success.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Infiniti: Vettel’s dominance is bad news – for now (Autocar)

Infiniti executive vice president Andy Palmer “We are in F1 to gain awareness of our brand, and that?s all about getting eyeballs on screens. From that point of view you could say Sebastian has been too successful.”

CSST blames racing group for Grand Prix death (CTV News)

“[Marie-France] Vermette [of the workers’ health and safety group Commission de la Sante et de la Securite du Travail] noted that the event?s promoters say that the crew was rushing because fans had started to flood onto the track, and they didn?t want spectators to touch the car.”

Ecclestone laughs off claims of intimidation (The Telegraph)

“It emerged in court on Thursday that Gribkowksy, who has been jailed for eight and a half years in Germany for his role in one of the country’s largest corruption scandals, at one stage felt so threatened by Formula One’s chief executive that he went to the police to register his concerns.”

Eddie Jordan and Alain Prost paid ??10m each in key F1 deal, court told (The Guardian)

Ecclestone’s response to being asked whether he thought it was acceptable to pay a bribe to a public official: “I’ll have to think about that. I wish I’d thought about it before actually.”

‘Everybody wants to have security’ (ESPN)

Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s very rarely that someone – only Lewis [Hamilton] comes into my mind – comes into Formula One and is right away in a top team and in a competitive car. Most of the drivers have to earn their way through and really fight for a top drive and maybe it’s not the time yet but I think my performances show that I would be ready to deliver good things.”

Teams on the limit to get new cars ready (Autosport)

McLaren operations director Sam Michael: “Teams now have operational procedures to make sure they don’t make mistakes, and almost all of those will go in the bin [for 2014] and we will have to start again. That is why you will see variations next year.”

New FIA personality of the year and FIA moment of the year (FIA)

“In the FIA Moment of the Year category, followers of the FIA Facebook page will be able to vote on 12 videos selected by the FIA Jury, each featuring action from numerous FIA Championships over the past year.”

The real Vettel (MotorSport)

“I tried most sports when I was younger ?ǣ and hated sharing. I didn?t really enjoy football, for instance, partly because I wasn?t very good ?ǣ perhaps that?s why the others never gave me the ball. Mainly, though, I think I?m selfish, as you have to be in F1: I want to do things on my own terms.”

End of an era: signing off the final Mercedes-Benz V8 engine, FF73! (Mercedes via YouTube)

Guest Blog: How F1 has changed, by Ed Gorman (James Allen on F1)

Lewis [Hamilton] seems to have turned into the paddock?s answer to Zsa Zsa Gabor with his pet dog in tow and lots of other superstar nonsense but no sign of another title.”

250 Hard Drives Used To Make One Epic F1 Car (Legit Reviews)

“Rob Ryan carefully crafted this F1 car and at first glance it is hard to imagine that it came from hundreds of hard drives.”


Comment of the day

An observation on Bernie Ecclestone’s legal disputed from @Graham228221:

As a British tax payer, I?m increasingly annoyed that HM Revenue and Customs have not been taking up a case against Ecclestone and his Bambino Trust.

He has admitted now several times that he paid a huge bribe to this banker because he felt ??threatened? that his tax arrangements would be revealed and that he could be liable to pay out a huge amount in unpaid tax (I?ve seen ??2 billion being mentioned).

If this isn?t an admission of tax evasion I don?t know what is ?ǣ he owes the UK a huge amount of money, and our government has done nothing.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Soundscape!

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

On this day in F1

Honda ended their most successful stint in F1 as engine suppliers on this day in 1992 with another race victory. Gerhard Berger, driving his last race for McLaren, won the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide after team mate Ayrton Senna collided with Nigel Mansell.

That brought Honda’s ten-year involvement in F1 since 1983 to an end. They will return as McLaren’s engine suppliers in 2015.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

Advert | Go Ad-free


89 comments on Vettel’s excess of success a concern for Infiniti

  1. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 8th November 2013, 8:13

    I am wondering if Infiniti are starting to make a dash for the exit. The speak from Infiniti is almost ludicrous because I doubt anyone can remember who is the title sponsor of all the teams, yet I definitely remember Infiniti top of mind when I think RBR.
    If this is the murmurings of a man who can no longer justify his expense within F1, I wouldn’t be airing that conversation outside the 4 walls of the Infiniti boardroom.
    In 3 months, I’ll be interested to see if RBR will be announcing a new title sponsor.

    • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 8th November 2013, 15:32

      I’d expect Infiniti to stick with them as this is only their third year and first as title sponsor. Isn’t Vettel some sort of ambassador for them as well? They might get more screen time next season anyway, and perhaps more people tuning in when they see different people winning races.

  2. caci99 (@caci99) said on 8th November 2013, 8:43

    I recall Ron Dennis said the same thing during the dominance years of McLaren. One of their major sponsor called him and told him that they were not happy at all that the car was miles away from the rest with TV cameras switching on the McLaren cars only a couple of times during the race. It’s a curious and somehow sad state of affairs but that’s how it is.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th November 2013, 8:59

    That letter from Gribkowsky definitely sounds like extortion – he’s clearly asking Bernie to give him a reason to side with him instead of investigators.

    Of course, it could also he spun as asking for a bribe just as easily.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th November 2013, 9:01

    I have to say that I disagree with the Comment of the Day, both the comment itself and the parts of it that were not included here. @Graham228221 has assumed that Bernie is guilty before it has been proven in a court of law, and this assumption of guilt seems to be based on the way Bernie is an unpopular figure in Formula 1. “I don’t like the way he does business, so he must he guilty of something” is the kind of attitude we have come to expect from the Kremlin, not the Houses of Parliament.

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 8th November 2013, 9:15

      Well, you’re right in the fact that he has prejudged the outcome of the investigation, but I don’t think he’s making any large leaps to rach his conclusion. By Ecclestone’s own admission, he paid a huge amount of money to Gribkowsky because he threatened to expose Ecclestone’s serious tax evasion. If someone made a similar threat to me, I’d tell them to sling it, because I know I’ve not got anything to cover up. If you pay someone a large amount of money to keep quiet about something, you surely have some reason to want them to keep quiet about it, otherwise you’d keep your wallet in your pocket. And let’s not forget that Gribkowsky is currently in prison having been convicted specifically of receiving a bribe. So there has already been a legal conclusion made on the whole situation, it’s just a legal oddity that you can convict one person of receiving a bribe, but the same case doesn’t automatically convict the other party of paying that same bribe.

      I can’t see any situation where Ecclestone is guilty of absolutely no wrongdoing and is simply a victim. Either he paid the money because he’s a crook who wanted to give a bribe to allow a deal to go through which subsequently made him and his associates much richer than they already are, or he paid money to eep his tax dealings covered up, because he’s guilty of tax evasion of such a scale that a multi-million dollar bribe is a preferable alternative to having his tax evasion exposed.

      Either way the man’s a crook.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th November 2013, 9:59

        @mazdachris – Bernie controls a multi-million dollar business, and was in the process of brokering the single largest deal in the sport’s history. Even if his operations were squeaky clean, Gribkowsky’s threat was very real. Any tax audit of Bernie’s business would effectively force everything into limbo until the audit was completed (and given the nature of his model, it would be lengthy), threatening the deal.

    • graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 8th November 2013, 9:51

      I’m not assuming guilt, @prisoner-monkeys, I’m responding to quotes directly attributed to Bernie Ecclestone. I’m aware that international tax law means he could probably weasel his way out, but the fact remains that he has admitted making this huge payment because of the threat of his tax arrangements being made public.

      From a Nov 2011 article:

      He testified that Gribkowsky, stung by his refusal to invest in the German’s new property company or give him a powerful role in Formula One, threatened to go to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs and tell them that Ecclestone was more involved in the running of Bambino Holdings than he ought to have been.

      This, Ecclestone said, would certainly have caused HMRC to assess the relationship which would have meant years in court and a tax bill “probably in excess of £2 billion”.

      I am happy to say that Bernie Ecclestone has not been found guilty of any offence, yet. But I am very much angry that the clear evidence that wrongdoing has taken place is not being looked at by the UK government. And, equally, I am happy to reiterate that I feel someone facing several serious charges across multiple jurisdictions should have absolutely nothing to do with running a global, high profile sport.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th November 2013, 10:13

        I invite you to read the letter from Gribkowsky posted by the FormulaMoney Twitter account. It’s working is opaque – Gribkowsky is clearly asking for a payment, yet he never commits it in writing. It’s incriminating, but circumstantial on its own and could easily be spun as asking for a bribe or extorting a payment.

        Having established that Gribkowsky is clever enough to word the letter that way, answer me this: how do you know that Bernie was not quoting Gribkowsky when he made that comment about the tax bill? The article you linked to only says that Bernie said it – it didn’t give any context.

        And when you think about it, putting an exact figure on the threat of a tax audit makes that threat all the more real.

        So unless you can prove that Bernie was not quoting Gribkowsky when he said that, you have assumed guilt.

  5. Inifinty are mad because there are no cameras on their cars? If the things weren’t driving into oblivion, there would be a camera or two on their cars, and plus, why would the camera men waste their time filming someone that is a minute or so infront of the field. Also, they only supply a small amount of RBR’s finds, the rest comes from Reb Bull and the others, so they have nothing to complain about, and it isn’t like an F1 enthusiast is going to say to him/herself, oh, that is Infinity, I might buy one of those, just because their logo is on the BACK of Seb’s and Mark’s race suits. So Infinity have nothing to complain about

  6. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 8th November 2013, 9:05

    Totally agree with the COTD and I’m really scratching my head over that one. Ecclestone has said over and over again that he paid the bribe because he was being blackmailed with threats of exposing his tax dealings. If Ecclestone things that it’s worth paying millions to avoid people taking a look at his taxes, it rather suggests that his taxes deserve some serious scrutiny you’d have thought. maybe there’s some legal technicality which means he’s not able to be investigated for tax evasion while he’s the subject of a corruption case, but it seems pretty unlikely. If I were HMRC I’d be going through his details with a fine toothed comb at this point and building a case against him.

    This man is a crook who seems to think he should be above the law, and I really hope he ends up in prison where he belongs.

  7. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend) said on 8th November 2013, 9:06

    COTD is spot on. Why isnt anyone in government looking into the tax affairs of the Bambino trust is beyond explanation now.

  8. Everyone is going to hate me for this, but what did Bernie actually do, or is it an allogation?

  9. Jack (@jackisthestig) said on 8th November 2013, 11:08

    What ramifications would chasing Bernie for £2b have on the rest of the motorsport industry in the UK? The industry employs around 40k people and contributes around £5b to the UK economy annually. Any disruptions to those figures speculatively chasing a one-off £2b might well be counter productive in the long term.

  10. Jack (@jackisthestig) said on 8th November 2013, 11:56

    @kieferh4 In Janet and John language, it’s alleged that Bernie bribed Gribwots’isname, who worked for F1 Group’s owners Bayern LB, to under-sell F1 to his preferred buyers.

    Bernie’s explaination for the $44m payment is that he had snubbed Gribkowsky for a good job within F1 and in response the German threatened to expose the full extent of Ecclestone’s involvement in his family’s trust fund (called Bambino Holdings) to the UK tax man. Should that threat be seen through, the tax man may potentially chase Ecclestone for a rumoured £2b. He is worth around £2.6b.

  11. snowman.john (@snowman-john) said on 8th November 2013, 12:48

    they work blooming quick at Mercedes F1 Engines! :)

  12. @joepa hey, YOU are that Infiniti spokesperson, admit it!!! (At leat defending that position a gazillion times gives me that impression)

  13. Sauber (@mumito) said on 8th November 2013, 15:46

    RBR with Vettel and Newey will equaly win with a Mercedes Benz engine, a Ferrari Engine. And I guess they will do a decent job with a Cosworth. Infinity/Renault is the lesser reason why Vettel is so ahead.

  14. Kenny Ryekonen said on 8th November 2013, 23:48

    When Vettel shows his finger backwards, it’s not to say ‘yeah baby i’m number one…’, it’s to tell everyone Infiniti is spelled with ‘i’, not a ‘y’

  15. In the wake of Robinson’s death the CSST has ordered a ban on using forklifts, cranes and other hoists from transporting vehicles on the Gilles Villeneuve racetrack.
    When vehicles or any heavy load are moved they should be properly balanced by the hoist, and not rely on people to keep them in place.
    The agency also says all heavy machinery operators should be properly trained in their use, and that cranes should have a speed limit sign attached as a reminder.

    That is how you should react, not with complacency.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.