Bernie on free spending F1, KERS and third cars

Bernie has spoken again

Bernie has spoken again

We haven’t heard too much from Mr. Ecclestone since his FOTA and FIA shelved his medals idea. But he is back. Last week he told us what teams he would not want loose, later last week he confirmed he advanced payment of £14.5 million to Williams to help to balance their books. Now he came with an alternative to cost cuts –  letting the manufacturers spend whatever they want. At a price of course, long term commitment to F1 that could prevent the 2008 Honda scenario:

“I always said we should give all those fancy engineers gold-plated consoles and send them off somewhere to play. That’s all they do anyway and it would be far cheaper. We could get the real job done. If the manufacturers are prepared to make a long-term commitment, say seven to 10 years, we should let them spend what they want to spend, providing they supply engines and gearboxes at an affordable price. Whether they will commit to that I don’t know. Getting them to agree on anything has always been the problem. But if they did it would prevent the kind of thing we have seen with Honda because we could sue the arse off them if they left. They wouldn’t like that.”

I see the logic behind this idea but I am not sure if at this time spending sky high amounts is what the manufacturers are after (although I am sure the engineers would not mind) …

But while suggesting an option for manufacturers to spend freely he does not seem be to be convinced that spending the big bucks on KERS development was such a good idea:

I have always been against KERS. Whatever they use in F1 they won’t use in a road car, but if that is to be the idea then why not develop it in touring cars. It costs a lot of money when we are trying to save it.

Has he ever mentioned this to Max Mosley ?

He also made 2 statements on the 2009 grid following the departure of Honda. To Daily Telegraph he said:

“We are not pessimistic in the slightest. Nine teams won’t make any difference. It is about drivers, not teams. Young [Sebastien] Vettel is fantastic. I think he is super talented and ballsy. It would be interesting if we could see him in the same car as Lewis Hamilton. Just as it would have been to see Senna and Schumacher in the same car.”

Then to DPA he clarified how the 9 teams grid might work:

“If the manufacturers supply engines to other people, they can run three cars themselves. It is better to have 20 cars on the grid, whether they are in the hands of manufacturers or in private hands, that doesn’t make any difference.”

I am wondering what would happen to the drivers’ market if all of a sudden an extra Formula One race drive with Ferrari and McLaren became available for 2009 …

Photo: Renault/LAT

13 Comments Post a Comment
  1. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    Not sure if Grandpa Bernie is correct, but seems he is sure of what he says.

    I’m not against the idea of investing in a new technology as KERS, it was a handicap for 2009′s season, but nothing obligated. It’s true that nowadays it’s not the most acceptable to go further in the investment for this device, but mainly they’re half designed or already almost completed, so it would be a further waste of money not using KERS in which teams invested so many millions, so using part of the team’s budget to complete its production is reasonable. And better than just having spent that money in vain.

    About giving a free budged possibilities, which would make the manufacturers stronger against the private teams. However, the compromise to be racing a decade is not enough… If some team hold going on further spending in times of low incomes, it will fall in bankruptcy, and however, then they can’t stand on that premise which makes them stand committed. If there is nothing with what to pay the fuel for example, it doesn’t matter if the car is already 3 years old and completely obsolete. Or what’s the matter that manufacturers do this commitment if this does no favor to possibilities to enter to the F1 with new teams?
    I don’t know if I just do not understand what he means, but I think he’s again not right…. Well, in his point of view, FOM’s benefits (and Bernie’s pockets) have a guarantee with that agreement.

    Kotenoks last blog post..F1Wolf left a comment for azril deadman

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      the teams may go bankrupt but I think Bernie’s idea is for the manufacturers to commit, not the F1 teams. so if the team leaves F1 during the commitment period he could sue the arse of them.

      but as you say, how would having free spending high budget teams help the independents ? yes, they would be able to buy cheap engines, but would they ever be able to compete ?

  2. TimmieNo Gravatar says:

    Giving the manufacturing teams free reign on spending would be a major step backwards. It would again destoy the opportunities of smaller privateer teams who, with the new regulations, might just get a chance at some stronger points finishes and some podiums along the way….
    KERS has probably been the biggest thumb in the 2009 regulation plans especially when they wanted to focus on cost-cutting, but once they started the ball rolling (remembering this was before the dramatic global crash) they couldn’t well be asked to then pull the plug on everything they had already spent. Again it should also be pointed out that for 2009 it wasn’t compulsory anyway and indeed still isn’t and is entirely up to the team if they want to use it, or even develop it.
    Bernie, has some bright ideas, but lately he has been talking a lot of garbage really. His ideas for the medals system is a joke, as much as i am for the biggest winner taking the glory, you do need to reward consistency as well. This could be easily done with a championship points table that more resembles the MotoGP system. Though i do believe something like that would only work best if we had a full grid of 24 cars. (Hopefully in the next five years we see this!!)
    Best move he has made is by delivering Williams with the money for whatever it is, up front to keep them on the grid. If Williams were to dissapear from the grid it would be a disaster for F1 and anybody who is interested in buying Honda should be thinking of investing with Williams instead! Real racing history, better team and much more reliable on being committed than anybody from Honda.
    I agree that the racing should be anout drivers more than teams, but in the current format of F1, teams are what matter most. If the team doesn’t supply even the best driver on the grid with a good car, it doesn’t matter how fast they are or how well they drive, it won’t equal a championship

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      “Giving the manufacturing teams free reign on spending would be a major step backwards. It would again destoy the opportunities of smaller privateer teams who, with the new regulations, might just get a chance at some stronger points finishes and some podiums along the way….”

      have to agree with this

  3. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    My opinion is that F1 needs to settle down and stop making drastic changes each year. I do believe that the significant changes to the aero packages, including limiting the rear wing will drastically improve passing and create more competitive racing. Same with the change to slicks.

    I don’t understand the need to add KERS in the same year. Why not let the teams focus on the significant changes to aerodynamics? I also do not understand how making the engine last for three races saves money. It has to take more engineering cost to improve the reliability of an engine that to keep the rule in place in 2008.

    And why must they change the points scoring or qualifying every year? What is it this year, no refueling??? To me it signals that Bernie and the boys realize the ship is sinking and they are desperate to create excitement by shaking the tree every year. Well, its getting tiring. Just let them race and let things settle for a few years. The aero package and tire change was enough.

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      I wonder who else, besides Mosley, genuinely believes that KERS was a good idea. I think that even those teams (BMW) who are against delaying the implementation are only saying because they already spent the money and so they find it better for KERS to be used than wasted

  4. [...] And Bernie Ecclestone had something say. [...]

  5. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    KERS is a pretty cool concept for everyday use, but for racing it doesn’t make sense. Especially if you are trying to reduce costs.

    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      The turbo went in past days to the garbage, what does us not say that KERS also??? But send it to the garbage before it’s use… It’s already a big waste, give’em a chance, maybe it does make a change, even if we don’t trust much on it. I already have those thoughts that it’s almost useless, a kind of technology which is not refined even and will provoke many problems to those which try it, but if this devil KERS turn into something revolutionary… BINGO!! But, then who will shut up a cocky Max Mosley???

  6. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of figuring out a way to use the energy lost in braking. I have heard estimates that a recovery system used on passenger vehicles could add over 1 mpg to all cars, which is quite a significant improvement.

    One day, perhaps it belongs in racing. But I do not like it this year for several reasons. 1 – there are already too many significant changes for team to engineer to (less aero, slicks, less engines). 2 – it will add cost to the sport when we are on the verge of loosing half the teams due to costs and loosing sponsorhip in this horrible economy 3 – I worry that it posses a serious safety concern (we have already had crew members shocked, how are safety officials going to be protected and what about the driver after the car comes apart in a crash).

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      I am sure the KERS would not be such an issue at this moment if not for all the cost savings that are taking place due to current business climate. We would be probably talking more about wo got it right who got it wrong – meaning teams. Now the debate is more about whether Mosley got it right or wrong with the whole KERS idea :-)

    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      Concerned about officials was nice :)

      I’m thinking that it’s not it’s time for being developed, more trickey is that the whole KERS thing has been planned in a good and healthy economy climate, but designed and produced in the bad and dark days of economical crisis. So there’s not much sense on investing for the KERS, completly agree to this :) But however, if if this is not a refined device, it will have lots of problems in the addaptation to hi-performance racing. But I still thing, if it works… BINGO!! However, I do not trust in it :-P

      Kotenoks last blog post..F1Wolf left a comment for azril deadman

  7. [...] Bernie Ecclestone suggested few days ago that should there be only 9 teams ready to race in 2009, some manufacturers could end up running three cars. I am not sure if such a scenario would be possible for 2009 season in case the team formerly knowns as Honda does not make it. But let’s say that Bernie asks Ferrari and McLaren to race three cars and these two top teams from 2008 season agree. Whom would they race ? Would this get the drivers market moving again ? [...]

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