Monthly Archives: November 2012

Turkish GP returns to calendar for 2013?

Some surprising news comes from Turkey which shows a big possibility of Turkish GP return into F1 calendar by 2013.

On mid-October, the tender for Istanbulpark rent was won by İstanbul MC Racing for 5 M $ per year till 2023. However, the company did not bring the necessary tender guarantee and the tender went to second best Intercity Auto Rental company which is the biggest car rental company with over 30.000 car fillet. Now, Intercity boss Vural Ak gives their first and biggest news, return of Istanbulpark into F1 calendar.

Ak says, “I personally know Bernie Ecclestone for many years. We presented our projects for Istanbulpark to him and he was impressed. He promised to decrease his 26 M $ demand, Turkish state will pay 13.5 M $ and I will pay 5 M $ from my personal budget, so we will finish deal nearly 20 M $ per year. Bernie’s biggest problem was lack of audience, we guaranteed 50.000 spectators. We want to make a 7-years-deal for Turkish GP”

As I understood, circuit owner tries to take potential French GP’s slot June, 22-23 or on summer holiday either right after Hungarian GP August 3-4 or right before Belgium GP August 17-18. But all three dates are hard practically. June, 22-23 is after Canadian GP and Britain GP is scheduled 1 week after potential Turkish GP. It is hard in terms of logistics. The remaining two dates are logistically easier but they harm summer break. For me, the week before Spanish GP (May 3-4) is better for Turkish GP, in other words putting Turkey as European season opener. It is two weeks after Bahrain GP which is the closest Asian circuit to Europe.

It seems the owners plan to make money by having a name sponsor for Turkish GP, some circuit activities, concerts, test drives and so on.

Circuit owners aim to announce final Turkish GP decision and date during FIA 2012 General Annual Assembly (will be held in Istanbul) and FIA prize giving gala.


Oh no! Pay drivers…

On these days most of the seats for the 2013 season have been declared and we sadly see that finding a seat in Formula 1 is totally focused on the financial state of the team.

I see three groups among teams:

1. The ones that are well-financed and choose their drivers for their talents and sporting achievement.

2. The ones that financially their state is on the middle and choose their drivers first to survive and then for their talent.

3. The ones that have critical financial situation and choose their drivers to survive.

The first group consists of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus and Red Bull’s satellite team Toro Rosso. Thanks to not having financial problems, they choose drivers who can develop the car, can show all the potential of the car even if it is a bad car, have a future and can attract sponsors. The weakest member of this group is Lotus, but they too can pay for their both drivers’ salaries and can even be patient against Grosjean.

The second group consists of Sauber, Williams and Force India. Despite not being so brilliant financially, these teams can be thrown upon their own resources on developing the car, have a development budget (although it is much less than 1st group teams), have a wind-tunnel.  They have a strong basis, while choosing the driver who can bring sponsors, they have the luxury to ask for talent too. These teams are points scoring teams and they need to be sensitive about collecting maximum points to make next year’s fund more. They need drivers who can make it to podium when any chance arises, or at least some first 5 finishes. The situation can be understood clearer when we remember the Williams’ race win and Sauber’s having 4 podiums this season. At this group, Maldonado helped Williams too much with multi-millions that he brought with himself, and Perez helped Sauber too much with Telmex.  They both delighted their teams too with their sporting achievements.

The third group not surprisingly consists of Caterham, Marussia and HRT. These teams only can manage survival thanks to salaries and sponsors that drivers pay and bring. While HRT is in the most critical situation and totally dependant on the sponsors,  Marussia and Caterham were in the race of development at least with an experienced driver till this year. While closing the experience gap; Caterham with Kovalainen, Marussia with Glock; they were trying to gain some economical power with their other drivers Petrov and Pic. Marussia will be able to continue next year in the same way because for the first time since the foundation of the team they managed to get the 10th place and received a fund of at least 13 million $ and relieved for Glock’s payment.  But, Caterham looks like will split the ways with Kovalainen after problem of losing the 10th place that they had received for the last two years.

Finding sponsors to make a driver race is not a new issue in Formula 1, maybe exists since the first days of the sport. We learn this from the memories of the great drivers. For example, statistically the most successful name of the sport, Michael Schumacher, joined this sport paying and thanks to his driver substitution’s not being able to race and he made the most of his only chance and linked successfully the sport. But, today’s tough economical conditions caused the teams to focus more to the profit of sponsors than talent and experience and this is a negative situation for the future of the sport. It looks like the relatively experienced drivers like Kovalainen, Kobayashi, Bruno Senna and Petrov will leave their seats next year respectively to Van der Garde, Gutierrez, Bottas and Pic.

Don’t think that I feel sad for all of them, I’m only sad for Kovalainen. I think that after the start up careers in Renault and McLaren he learned much from tough years of Caterham and this process developed his drive and he deserves better places. I’m not sorry for Kobayashi because I think he didn’t even use the 50 % of the Sauber C31’s potential of this season. I find Petrov not bad in speed but he is inconsistent, Bruno Senna-my followers know that well- I don’t find him successful at all. My followers also know that I don’t call Bruno Senna only as Senna; I don’t think he deserves to be called only with that surname at the moment. In future? We cant know. On the other hand, I look forward to Valtteri Bottas and Gutierrez and I trust both of them, I think both of them will be in the title battle within maximum 4-5 years.

In brief, it is sad to see Formula 1, the talent sport,  become materialized with economical worries , I hope either the teams get richer or the teams in this situation leaves their place to the richer ones. Otherwise, while there are 6 champions now on the grid, in the future will be 1-2 champions and the sport will continue to live with mediocre talented drivers. Who else do we have in our hands but Vettel and Hamilton when Alonso, Button and Kimi retire?

Is Vettel only lucky? And Alonso’s championship chances…

Is Sebastian Vettel a balloon?

Sebastian Vettel, after dropping back to the end of the grid because of the big problem he had on Saturday, was either going to prove wrong the ones who criticized him for being a sponger and so lucky or was going to justify them by not being able to make the expected climb on Sunday. He managed to rise up to 11th at the first stint of the race thanks to some overtaking maneuvers and some accidents and then after the contact with Bruno Senna and with the good timing of the Safety Car he made his pit stop and dropped back to the last place again.

Afterwards, with consistent laps and a bit with the help of the second period of the Safety Car he improved. In the meantime, he made some risky overtakes too. Starting from the 24. place, having two pit stops and finishing 3rd isn’t something that a sponger can do. If the same performance had come from Alonso or Lewis Hamilton, today all the web sites, Twitter, the forums would have praised them exceedingly and yes they already would have deserved this too. In short what I want to say is that Vettel is a bit prejudiced. Even after the success of yesterday, it is ridiculous not to put him within the exceptional drivers. Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s…

I need to add one point. Of course, Vettel made the performance of yesterday with his 4 consecutive race winner perfect car with new gearbox and gear ratios. There were two Safety Car periods that helped him. What he achieved is simply not making mistakes and sometimes taking risks. I mean, actually he didn’t do a Kimi Raikkonen/Suzuka 2005, that’s true, but not making mistakes while climbing from down to top is a success too. To understand, having a look at his team mate is enough…

Vettel deserves a big praise with the attack he made on Button. Button said after the race that he hasn’t expected Vettel to make this attack. So, even the huge experienced Button didn’t believe that Vettel was going to take that risk hence they turned the curve with a wheel-to-wheel battle.

Alonso’s championship chance…

There are only two races left in the title battle and Alonso’s hope for the championship began to decrease gradually. Yes, he decreased the gap from 13 to 10 after yesterday’s result, he still says that he is going to fight but when we come to the real world we see that it isn’t that easy. Alonso must take a win for the championship, in this article I am going to explain why it is necessary with the mathematical calculation.

At the moment, there is a 10 points’ gap between Vettel and Alonso. Alonso must take a win and at the the following race either he must take the win again or if he can’t, then he must put at least 2 places difference between him and Vettel. So, if he finishes 2nd then Vettel must be 4th. Otherwise, Vettel will be the champion by having had more wins.

If he can’t win any of the races left, then Vettel must not win the races and Alonso must put in total 5 places gap to Vettel, and one of these must be at least 4th place. For example, in both races even if Vettel finishes 8th and Alonso 5th Vettel still will be the champion.
As seen, what Alonso must do is obviously very difficult with mathematical calculations. Ferrari have two chances, they are; a) Vettel’s DNF with a mechanical failure or accident or b) with a mistake finishing out of the points. It seems RB8, which has a tremendous speed to have a podium even starting last, will face no problems except DNF…

It is not logical that Ferrari will gain 0.6-0.7 secs in 15 days. Therefore, Alonso doesn’t have anything to do but wait and push hard.
Of course I need to add this, If Ferrari can manage to carry the championship competition to Brazil with a 5-8 points gap, I believe that Alonso’s chances will double. Why?

1. Brazil has always been a circuit to have rain surprise in pocket. As we all know, Ferrari’s exceptionally fast in rain. Rain also opens new pages in terms of different strategies. Within a minute, all of Vettel’s advantage may fly away.
2. In Brazil Ferrari and Massa will be extra-motivated, if Alonso can have a fast car, it isn’t a far possibility that Massa will have 2nd place and make the help of the year to his team mate.
3. In Brazil Fernando Alonso is very very fast. Except 2009 (he had DNF) and 2001 while he was racing with Minardi, Alonso had 6 podiums out of the 9 races and he was 4th in remaining three races.

To summarize, to be able to continue the claim on title for Ferrari and Alonso, Alonso either must win in Austin or must finish two places higher than Vettel. Otherwise, Brasil may become a touristic trip with an unrealistic goal even if mathematically the chance goes on.