Bernie Ecclestone, 2013

F1 board to discuss Ecclestone succession plan

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Formula One’s commercial heads are to discuss a report on the state of the sport under Bernie Ecclestone and his potential succession plan.

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Comment of the day

Sunday’s Australian V8 Supercar race was a good example of what can go wrong when the racing rules are made too complicated:

It was a fine example of gimmick rules going wrong.

A shortened race, rain etc… – 140-litre fuel drop, time certain. All to fit TV windows and to “spice things up”… sounds familiar.

V8 Supercars is second on my watch list after F1 and I watched it yesterday but have to say it was confusing as hell.
DB-C90 (@Dbradock)

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On this day in F1

On this day 30 years ago Frank Williams suffered the car accident which left him with paralysis. He was driving back from a test session at Paul Ricard when his car left the road.

69 comments on “F1 board to discuss Ecclestone succession plan”

  1. Right. Sauber has “remittance technical problems”. Like just before the Lotus/Quantum Motorsport deal imploded, and they were reduced to claiming that they had wired the funds and just needed to check with their bank to see what the hold up was…

    I guess the trick of signing four pay drivers for two cars only works once.

    Kaltenborn continues to drag the team’s good name down into the mud. And Peter Sauber, as the owner who has done nothing to rectify the situation, is tacitly complicit.

    1. It’s funny how bank transfers always work for people of modest means but always have problems when the very rich are sending you money, I never had a transfer I initiated fail to arrive within 24 hrs. yet when my employers sent me money it always took over a week due to unspecified bank errors.

      1. @hohum That is because most banks use a limit of what a normal bank employee can transfer. For example if a person was to transfer several millions he would first need to apply for that with his own bank. Then there is a special procedure to be followed where several people are involved to make sure the transfer happens correctly. There are banks who go as far as have an IT limit on transfers and this has to be opened once for this special transfer meaning it would simply not be possible to transfer an amount (e.g. higher than 100000) from your own online banking. Then the entire procedure has to be repeated at the receiving bank. You for example only receive your wage but your employer makes a transfer to all his employees at the same time resulting in a transfer of (depending on the company) several thousands of whatever currency. Then there is also the international delay and the delay between banks.

        1. Assuming HoHum gets paid 7 figures. ;D

          1. sadly not the case.

          2. Maybe a few hundred trillion zimbabwean dollars? @hohum

      2. The sponsors are presumably also very rich – hence why Sauber is due money from their sponsorship in the first place – so I’m guessing @HoHum‘s theory still holds. This makes me a bit worried about the sponsor (since the most likely reasons, other than the ones @xtwl gives, which I hope turn out to be the real reasons, are Sauber falling too low on the priority list and just plain running out of cashflow themselves), and a lot worried on the Sauber that’s depending on the sponsor. Most non-manufacturer teams would likely struggle to meet all of their expenses for the month if their main sponsors had similar wiring trouble (one reason teams try not to have their sponsor contracts all end simultaneously).

        Sauber, along with Force India, requested funding advancement at the end of last year. I don’t think there was an on-the-record answer as to whether it arrived, fitting in with the old-style “Bernie loans” from the pre-CVC days that only ever got formally acknowledged after being paid off (unless your team was in extremely deep trouble, such as Minardi in 2003).

        And yes, signing more drivers than seats was only ever going to work once, especially since a court has upheld Adrian Sutil’s right to pursue a refund of what his sponsors paid to Sauber for 2015…

        1. @alianora-la-canta I don’t think any of what I wrote above has to do with Saubers shortage on cash. It was just me sharing some info about banking large quantities.

          1. @xtwl, my comment was more about the rich than banks.

          2. @xtwl The reference to your comments was meant to mean “The most likely reasons for Sauber not getting the money from the sponsor, other than the reasons @xtwl mentions (and that I hope turn out to be the actual reasons), are…” In other words, I like your notion of what might have happened regarding the transfer (you might not have said there was rather more potential for the transfer to fail than for a regular-type transfer, but it can be inferred from the sheer number of steps involved) and prefer it to the other things I could think of at the time that might have caused the same effect.

            Sorry I wasn’t clear the first time, and I hope I am now making more sense.

        2. My guess is that it would be a combination of more complicated procedures for multiple million transactions as @xtwl mentions and the downturn in the Brazillian economy meaning a drop in exchange rates making the promised/contractully agreed amounts (in Swiss Franks, Euros or USD) more expensive for Brazillian sponsors.

    2. I understood from Swiss press that it was the remittance from the sponsor to Sauber rather than paying staff. @flatdarkmars, @hohum.

      But that is even more worrying.
      This means that they are so low on cash that they cannot even cover 1 month’s salary bill. Thus they have already maxed out the delaying of payments to suppliers, which means it is really critical.
      And ask Lotus/Renault what happens next when a sponsor starts delaying their payments (nobody believes that a major sponsor does not know how to remit funds).
      And if I’m not mistaken Bernie had advanced some funds at the end of last year (have to look it up) which only makes it worse.
      All in all this small remittance problem seems to be a whole lot bigger and potentially dooming for Sauber.

      1. our old friend maldanado could bring some pennies with him if they let him crash a few cars for them

    3. I think Monisha is and was trying to save Sauber, but she crossed the line with her methods.

      This story Does smell fishy and I wouldn’t be surprised if come Melbourne we end up with another driver in the car.

      When do you quit? Hard one.

  2. If I ran F1, I would keep the 1.6L hybrid formula, but allow 4, 5, 6 or 8 cylinder and 3-rotor engines to be used. Wider tyres and aero regs that keep downforce down. I would also have a few more races- the Argentine GP, a second race in the USA on a Roval, a race in Finland, and a race in New Zealand. I would also want an Isle of Man TT-like race (but with all the safety standards included) on closed-off public roads where drivers would do 7 laps of a 27-mile circuit in New Zealand, and the drivers would start individually at timed intervals, and whoever completes race distance the fastest wins. That’s how rallies are run; so it makes sense. Crazy, yes- but F1 (and motor racing generally, for that matter) is supposed to be a slightly crazy sport. And those are just a few things I would change…

    1. Buenos Aires and Indianapolis would be great tracks for F1 to return to under the right circumstances!

      PS. Sounds like you want a Nurburgring Nordschleife time trial type event ;).

    2. hey you would suck the life out of team staff with more than 21 races!!!

      1. I would get rid of Bahrain, China, and Malaysia (the latter is too close to Singapore), alternate Azerbaijan with the Russian GP at the Moscow Raceway, bring back South Africa and alternate the French and Austrian GP’s; and the Hungarian and Turkish GP’s. F1 has to have at least 1 race on every inhabited continent. I would also heavily modify the Abu Dhabi autodrome to make its average 35 mph (60 km/h)+ faster or just move F1 to the Dubai Autodrome, heavily revise the layout of that circuit (to make it even faster) and call it the Emirates Grand Prix.

        1. And also- I would move the Canadian Grand Prix to 2 weeks after the Italian GP and the Singapore GP back to March.

    3. If they maintain the fuel flow limit and max usage (and actually generalizes it to only measure the energy content), I see no reason why they can’t just liberalize the engine rule completely. Build whatever you want as long as it fits the basic car dimensions and minimum weight limit (and pass safety checks).

      1. @hircus, If they did that someone might discover a way to build a really powerful engine and then all the others would have to re-design theirs and that would, oh, never mind.

    4. or drag up the regs from 1999/2000 and have some good fun

    5. Oh, and a few obvious ones- ban DRS, mandatory tire stops, free tire choice; release classic F1 races on DVD/Blu-ray.

    6. Lol, totaly against rally style f1. But if it happend id watch in a heartbeat.

      1. The Isle of Man TT used to be a GP motorcycle event until 1976- so there is no reason why it shouldn’t work.

  3. Call me a cynic, but the succession plan may well involve leaving Bernie in place until he’s physically unable to do the job. He’s old school political control.

    Having said that, most people would welcome a new school approach that takes in to account modern trends and mindsets. Things like loosening the licencing on FOM content so people can actually become fanatical about the sport again. There are some great possibilities around modern media that is counter intuitive to Bernies control obsessed business mentality.

    1. leaving Bernie in place until he’s physically unable to do the job.

      You might be right, @hare. They passed the stage where he was mentally unable to do the job years ago!

      1. rockriverarms
        8th March 2016, 7:59

        They gravely warn of falling viewing figures yet they aggressively file copyright infringement removal requests daily from youtube, completely failing to reaslise that it’s free publicity. It’s hard to find video content of any sort through easy to access, legal methods.

        If little johnny could watch last years races, some highlights of this years, taster contents and all of the other periphery media to hype up a current season then perhaps he might pay to watch the live races one day not too mention the advertising revenue gained from the aforementioned viewing.

        They have to get a grip and realise that that linear TV is dying, in fact it is almost dead already. For the loive of god put F1 on netflix, amazon, youtube etc… I might pay $5 to watch a live race online but i’m certainly not going to sign up to a 12 month contract with sky and have equipment installed just to watch f1.

        By failing, utterly, to comprehend that the way people use media has changed, they are simply loosing money.

        1. This is COTD for me. Spot on, such short sightedness by F1.

        2. Linear TV is very much alive… …but depends on making the races “appointment TV”. Something which has something more substantial to risk spoiling than an isolated result. Not that this should be any obstacle to posting F1 online, through appropriate media – highlights on YouTube/Dailymotion, full race replays on Netflix/Amazon.

          Bernie’s old dream of pay-per-view is beginning to look feasible, though not in its originally envisaged form; it works best as a form of “archive access” rather than to block off part/all of the current storyline and thus disrupt the sporting narrative. It would be less bad if F1 and those in it were better at social outreach – I see some teams in particular are happy to be inclusive of their followers, but I feel more needs to become possible. There was a social hub called Clubforce a few years back – I can’t help but consider the potential that would have to a team now if something like that was integrated with the social media tools people use today.

          (For myself, I’d still be a “freebie-only” follower; a few years ago, putting me in my current situation would likely have resulted in me spending money to see races online, but nowadays I have other ways of spending the money. It is now possible that I may get to see 3 international-level races this year, but they’ll all be sportscar or touring races).

        3. Cotd vote.

    2. @hare, It’s getting harder all the time because the short term policy of bleeding the teams dry has gone on longer than expected due to the GFC, damaging the exit price and making it highly unlikely that the teams will accept a new contract on the same terms again

  4. Bernie: go home. You and your partners are killing Formula 1. You act like a ganster (or you ARE a ganster?)

  5. Heath Carruthers
    8th March 2016, 4:42

    You want the best option for f1? I would drop the race count down to 17 or 18. Also allow 2 tyre manufacturers with the choice of 3 compounds over the weekend.
    Remove wings from the cars.

  6. F1’s biggest problem might not be of a technical or sporting nature, and I think it’s not necessarily the distribution of funds within the sport.

    What’s worring for me is the distribution of money OUTSIDE the sport. If that money stayed inside the sport and was distributed amongst teams, I think we wouldn’t have situations like we have at Sauber now.

    Also that way the FIA (yeah, the FIA should be in charge, not the teams and neither a greedy old man) could better pursue whats best for the sport, and not whats best for the shareholders.

    Maybe that way we could go back to having a real sport for the aports sake instead of a “show” to make maximum profit.

  7. A board planning the successor to the smartest man in F1. Sounds like that will work.

    Bernie has his successor hand picked – most likely for a while now and more of his political movements will be in sync with this replacements co-plans.

    Chess, not checkers.

    1. What will we see first: the hand-picked successor (Spice Spouse?) or RBR announcing their 2017 engine supplier (Lambo according to you)?

      1. To be fair I’ve said Honda is also a possibility as even James Allen mentioned this.

        It’s coming out the VW were much closer to committing than anyone expected and they used diesel gate as an excuse to back out. Pretty much exactly the public story I’ve suggested they would say as they kept secretly working – waiting for a better time to announce – while red bull funds development.

        You seem to think they’ll stick with Renault next year, why is that? Source?

        1. they used diesel gate as an excuse to back out

          Volkswagen Group said the reason they aren’t entering F1 is because FOM can’t go five minutes without needlessly changing the rules.

          1. @Keith – Yes, that reason as well.

            That’s the most politically charged reason I’ve heard in a long time. To me it sounds like they are ready to go as soon as some rules get brought in that swing favor their way.

            More so, you know how F1 works. People deny something right up until the day the opposite is true.

          2. @keithcollantine, and yet curiously VW don’t seem to object to the fact that the ACO also changes the regulations for the WEC on an annual basis – then again, VW quite literally has the ACO in its pockets these days when the ACO sold the commercial advertising rights to the Circuit de la Sarthe to Audi.

        2. You seem to think they’ll stick with Renault next year, why is that? Source?

          What makes it ‘seem’ that way? The colour of my eyes?

          1. Is Honda really a possibility? Couldn’t see on his site where Allen says this but I was only looking for current commentary. Where is it ‘coming out’ that VW were closer to committing than people thought? Sounds like VW is ready to go pending ‘some rules getting brought in’? Source?

          2. @robbie, some ‘commenters’ are notoriously weak on source mentioning but rather claim ‘inside knowledge’ and share trust-me-I’m-a-doctor statements.
            I’d rather see somebody’s opinion (even if I disagree) that such hollow phrases!

          3. Agreed.

    2. The board’s replacing Ross Brawn?!?

      Oh– sorry, when you said “the smartest man in F1”, I got confused. ;)

  8. “…will address the sport’s stalling profitability, worrying lack of sponsorship revenue as well as key personnel …”
    F1 has wanted to be watched around the world by a small and exclusive audience for a long time, so F1 sold the TV broadcasting rights to companies that fitted that profile. The most obvious traits of achieving that goal are lack of interest, lack of income, and people generally not interested in F1.
    One solution is to tell the broadcasting right holders in each country that F1 is to be on Free to Air TV. Sure, that isn’t a perfect solution, but it will help with the lack of interest, and when F1 becomes popular that will attract the interest of corporations, who will then become interested in advertising on the cars, which would help with the finances.

    1. The requirement to have all races on free-to-air channels is already in the rule book but when the evil dwarf started selling off exclusive deals to the likes of Murdock nobody objected.

      1. It doesn’t say “live and in full free to air” in the rules. Hence the situation.

  9. Succession Plan?! Why? – Surely he has another good 30-40 years left in him? ;)

    1. To be seen to do something, surely at least some of CVCs stake-holders will have gotten uneasy after hearing Bernie talk down the sport once again @ginja42.

      But I am pretty sure that the plan will not be much more than having a solution in place on paper in case BE drops out, not actively replacing him any time soon (they would have done that with the German case, if they wanted/dared/had a good idea how)

      1. I was only messing @bascb – although Bernie probably will live to become the worlds oldest man and still be controlling F1 in his 120’s!!

        Of course they need a plan, I just hope that whoever takes over (whenever that is) understands what it is that makes/made F1 great and delivers that!

  10. Anybody else would PAY to have a million views on YouTube.

    There again, suppose they replace Bernie with somebody uninteresting?

  11. Where does this ‘simpler F1’ keep coming from? Last week it was Alonso, now Coulthard and before them many others. It is the top of motorsport so some complexity is not that bad. It’s not like we’re all 5 year olds that don’t understand a thing. There are viewers who watch for the racing and some others go as far as having four screens on at the same time including live timing.

    The governing body does all the talking for the fans and then we have drivers saying what the fans want but in the end nobody asks the fans. I’m not saying that would be a good idea as there are a whole lot of different kind of fans, yes there are people who see DRS as a good thing. Though I do think not one fan cares for this magical 3-4 second gain if it is not going to result in better racing…

    1. @xtwl Agree it’s slightly bizarre the notion that F1 must be simple to understand. Much can be said for motorsport fans in general, but I dare say it’s F1’s complexity that’s part of the appeal.

      Asking fans is a dangerous thing, but the pundits always comparing to ‘their’ era seem no better. As you say, a quicker lapping car probably means nothing to the viewer who likely just wants an exciting, close and unpredictable race, yet no one seem to address that issue.

    2. @xtwl – Wasn’t there a recent survey that asked the fans what they wanted? There’s no need to read it if you haven’t seen it; simply consider the new proposed changes for 2017 and then think of the complete opposite of that. This is what F1 fans wanted.

      If you split the fan’s views into pros and cons:

      PROS: Qualifying is good
      CONS: DRS, Bernie, Pay TV, Rubbish tracks, Confusing rules, Quiet engines and so on…

      F1’s solution? Change qualifying and moan that people don’t want to pay hundreds to watch drivers protect their tyres and press their overtake button whenever they get near another car.

      1. @petebaldwin Is that what fans really want? Or is that the small percentage of hardcore fans that want to take their time filling in a survey on a site that dare I say 70% of all F1 fans have never heard off? We on F1Fanatic are everything but the average fan. Sure, some things match but I keep repeating that if you were able to ask every single F1 fan whether he would want DRS to go or stay you’d be disappointed by the result.

  12. Channel Four has announced a 12-strong line-up of presenters, commentators and pundits for its coverage including a slew of ex-F1 talent and Eddie Jordan:

    1. So Jordan is doing Top Gear and stays on covering F1. I guess there line-up is so large because half of them have responsibilities on half the race weekends.

    2. No more Suzi Perry!

      Shame they couldn’t poach Gary Anderson back from Sky though.

  13. Rules too complicated in V8 supercars? You have to be joking right?

    Confusing does not equal complicated… None of that stuff was to “spice things up.”

    Over-reaction to a rain affected race.

    Just going to quote from the very article ran on this site in case someone reads just this round-up and thinks V8’s aren’t worth watching which as an entirely unfair analysis of the weekend.

    “The two shorter races were held on Saturday in dry conditions. Jamie Whincup won the first following a Safety Car interruption when Tim Slade went down the turn nine escape road and couldn’t find reverse gear. Pole sitter Scott Pye fell down to 12th after hitting trouble in the pitlane.

    James Courtney won a thrilling second race from fourth on the grid. Having moved up to second at the start Courtney took the lead on lap 21 of 39, and resisted fierce pressure from Whincup to win. Chaz Mostert made a triumphant return to form in his first weekend since his Bathurst 1000 qualifying crash, finishing third, while Chris Pither crashed heavily on lap two bringing out the safety car.

    Ahead of race three the weather took a turn for the worse, and bright warm sunshine was replaced with torrential rain. Following a race of strategy, incident, overtaking and frantic reading of the rulebook regarding refuelling, Nick Percat emerged as the shock winner ahead of Michael Caruso in the Nissan.”

    More exciting than all but 1 F1 weekend last year, and just the first of the season. It’s definitively crazy for a fan of a sport with fuel flow limiters, DRS, MGU-K/H and ERS-K/H to be calling V8 Supercars complicated.

  14. If I ran F1:

    It would collapse within a week.

    1. @royal-spark, at least you are honest about the situation (I cannot help but feel that a lot of those who profess to have a perfect formula for the series would in reality only make things even worse).

  15. If I ran F1

    Keep qualifying as it is
    Ban DRS
    Ban mandatory pit stops
    Ban mandatory tire choices
    Ban active telemetry information for the drivers in quali and races
    Simplify front wings to reduce aerodynamic grip
    Bring more challenging , varied circuits (respecting safety standards but without changing the circuits layout)
    Embrace social media and distribution of f1 related historical archives
    These are doable in my opinion.

    1. Pretty good.. I would add control front wing, designed for following another car.

  16. Clouthard: “‘I would like to able to, in one paragraph, explain to people what the essence of Formula One is in a way that nobody has repeat questions. ”

    For example:

    Casual fan: “What is F1 about?”
    FIA: “It’s about efficiency and sustainabilty!”
    Fan: “Whut? How about racing?”
    FIA: “Yes, it’s about engineering for efficiency using hybrid power units!”
    Fan: “Does the racing and competition matter, like in the old days?”
    FIA: “Oh sure, that. Of course. But we ensure that F1 does its racing thing sustainably, efficiently, and safely and with road relevance to the manufacturers firmly at the helm.”
    Fan: “Oh. OK. Thanks. Do you have the BTCC schedule handy by any chance?”

  17. Everyone loves a scape goat.

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