F1 Fanatic Round-up
In the round-up: German bank BayernLB, which demanded $400 million [£238.4m] from Bernie Ecclestone after claiming he undervalued their stake in F1, has rejected his $33.5m [£19.9m] settlement offer.
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“State-backed BayernLB claims Ecclestone collected unjustified commissions and undervalued its stake in the motor racing business when private equity fund CVC became Formula One’s largest shareholder eight years ago.”
“As ever, there’s 101 different influences on teams and driver preferences and the same with the drivers as well. So in terms of the line-up for next year we typically leave that until December time and see where we get to and focus entirely on trying to keep our place in the championship for the rest of this season.”
Thoughts on the rumours in Italy which suggest Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo could step back from his role relating to the F1 team to head up the alliance between Italian airline Alitalia and Etihad of Abu Dhabi (which in June he spoke of having a “big passion” for), handing over his current duties to Fiat chairman John Elkann.
“Montezemolo hates losing. But despite his grousing, Ferrari’s not quitting grand prix racing. Thanks to a long-standing sweetheart deal, Ferrari is handed 2.5 percent of the F1 prize pool – reportedly $17.5 million last year – before any other team gets paid a dime.”
“Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of Daimler who run the Mercedes team, called on Ecclestone to share his power. ‘In which company must the boss do everything?’ Zetsche asked in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung last month, calling for instance for a professional to be in charge of social media marketing. Zetsche added that ‘we need changes and developments in this respect, regardless of the leadership.’”
Comment of the day
Is F1 starting to become too expensive even for some of its most dedicated fans?
I’ve been following F1 for years but there’s no way I’m going to pay hundreds of pounds for general admission tickets to a GP so I can spend the weekend sitting on a bit of grass, fighting for a limited view of the track, queueing for ages for the toilet, being charged stupid amounts of money for food and drink and that’s before we get to the issue of access to teams/drivers.
Every year I check out the Silverstone website for the ‘early bird’ offers and every year I come to the same conclusion – why spend hundreds of pounds for me and the wife to go watch F1 for a few hours over three days when for the same money we can spend two weeks on the Isle of Man enjoying the TT.
TV audiences can be explained in a similar way, I cancelled my Sky Sports subscription a few weeks ago, not because I’m unhappy with the sport or the coverage Sky provide, I’m simply unwilling to pay almost £30 a month [actually closer to £50] to watch F1 so now I, like millions of other people, have decided to stream it for free.
I love F1 but I’m not willing to be ripped off by a sport that has completely lost touch with the fans and operates a business model that only benefits Bernie, CVC, and a couple of the big teams while screwing over most of the other teams, circuits and the fans.
The latest Caption Competition winner will be chosen for tomorrow’s round-up so you have another 24 hours to submit your funniest suggestion here:
From the forum
Happy birthday to Wes!
On this day in F1
Benetton found themselves embroiled in another controversial episode during the 1994 season on this day 20 years ago, when the FIA held them responsible for the fuel rig fire which engulfed Jos Verstappen’s Benetton during the German Grand Prix.
The sport’s governing body claimed the fire had been started because fuel was spilt from the nozzle due to Benetton removing a filter from the refuelling system without permission.
Image © Jamey Price/James Moy Photography