The 2008 Formula 1 season is just around a corner, the gap between now and Australian GP is already smaller than the summer break between Hungarian and European Grands Prix.
I have been posting screensavers from 2007 Formula 1 season during the winter break and I just realized that 3 of them still did not make it. So as a final farewel to the last season here are all of the 2007 Formula 1 screensavers, including the missing ones – Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Toyota.
Kimi Raikkonen 2007 Screensaver – 2007 Ferrari Screensaver – 2007 McLaren Screensaver – 2007 BMW Sauber F1 Screensaver – 2007 Renault F1 Screensaver – 2007 Williams F1 Screensaver – 2007 Red Bull F1 Screensaver – 2007 Toyota F1 Screensaver – 2007 Honda F1 Screensaver – 2007 Super Aguri Screensaver – 2007 Toro Rosso F1 Screensaver – 2007 Spyker F1 Screensaver
Bring on the 2008 F1 season !
Over the weekend I joined the conversation over at Sidepodast that evolved around the fact that Formula 1 own corporate hospitability and advertising business ended up $3 million in red. Here Pitpass confused me a bit, as they say that Silverstone made as much money as Formula 1, having made 1.3 million pounds, while in another article they report that F1 has lost that money. Anyway, let’s assume Bernie’s business lost $3 million. Even if it made the same money, it is pretty lousy result for mighty Bernie …
Here I with my permission quote my weekend self :
I am confident that with a bit of fresh thinking that 3 million loss can be eliminated a turned into profit easily. But some fresh thinking would have to replace the greed.
So here are few bits that come to my mind without need for too much thinking:
1) Milking more and more from the race organizers – the favourite hobby of Mr. Ecclestone, this comes before motoracing
2) Facilities, facilities, facilities – If Bernie was talking about facilities for spectators, I would not protest much. I would for example like TV screens that actually are OK to watch (unless you are right next to the screen there is no way to read the names or times, or the latest invention to squeeze 16:9 picture into 4:3 TV screen on the track – Sepang), or perhaps food that is OK to eat or beer that is OK to drink (Shanghai). But these things are rarely or never mentioned. Most of the talk is always about the Paddock facilities … The fate of the race should not hang in the balance just because Mr. Ecclestone does not have room cool enough for drink with Flavio Briatore …
3) Ticket prices – While I understand that organizing Formula 1 race costs money, charging close to $1000 per ticket is mad. Unfortunately organizers do not have that many other options to recover their payments to Mr. Ecclestone …
4) Formula 1 merchadise – If someone looks for a definition of “ridiculous” when it comes to prices, the best place to go to look for a benchmark is the official Formula 1 store on Formula 1 website.
And now few of those fresh thinking suggestions:
1) CVC should get rid of Bernie Ecclestone sooner rather than later. Despite popular belief Bernie does not own the Formula 1 circus. He did his bit, now it is time to go fishing. Ross Brawn may be willing to give some tips for good fishing spots.
2) While I understand that the exclusivity and glamour is part of the Formula 1 attraction, F1 will be nothing if the fans run away. The more fans, the more revenue sources. Now the revenue comes only from people willing and able to spend a lot. Those who are not willing or can’t afford to spend a lot, spend nothing, because there is nothing to spend ‘not a lot’ for. OK, keep the carbonfibre keychains and mousepads in your merchandise lines for those few who wish to have them. But have something ready also for those who wish or can spend only a dollar or two or five. It should not be that difficult …
3) We live in 21st century and whether F1 likes it or not, web rulez ! F1 however still did not get it and tries to rule the web. Please wake up, it will not work ! The main reason why there is so much ‘illegal’ F1 video footage on the web is … guess what … no legal video footage. Free race highlits released by Formula 1 would not kill Formula 1. It would make the fans happy. Broadcasts from testing, Friday and Saturday practice sessions over the web would make many fans happy even more. There would sure be quite a few willing to spend that reasonable ! buck for pay-per-view online access or for season long package. The next step - full race video downloads. Technically these could be available the day after the race. If some TV rights holders do show replays in a day or two after the race, then OK, wait till Wednesday before releasing the race for download. But do it !
4) TV coverage is … very basic. TV coverage is mostly on free to air channels (although not here where I watch …). Keep it that way and available for everybody. But create a premium option with features similar to handheld Kangaroo TV (available at some tracks). The footage is available, release it to viewers, let them choose what they want to see, let them follow the drivers they want to follow, let them get the race data they want and anytime they want. And let them go for their bathroom breaks when they feel they need them. Do not force us to go when TV decides to show us Renault drivers in roles of ING private banking advisors or McLaren drivers as fighter jet pilots.
And final note – Do not spit into fans’ faces by getting rid of tracks like Silverstone, Monza, Spa … Yes, we want Formula 1 to make it to the 21st century finally, but some things have to stay !
Make or break – is the nature of the trip to Japan Aguri Suzuki embarked on ? Perhaps not. According to the news reports Aguri Suzuki travelled to Japan to hold talks with Honda the future of his financially troubled team. The latest reports coming from Japan suggest some news on the short term future of Super Aguri may be out during this weekend.
There are 2 possible reasons for these talks:
a) Despite all the efforts from Aguri Suzuki there are no new backers, sponsors or investors in sight and therefore Honda may have to foot most of the Super Aguri bill. Suzuki needs to find out how much of financial support and for how long he may count on.
b) More likely scenario is that Suzuki has several bids for the team on the table but they are either not very acceptable to him (perhaps asking for more he is prepared to offer) or the conditions of the investors may not be acceptable to Honda (like the demand for race seat for Narain Karthikeyan from Spice Group).
I expect some solution that will keep Super Aguri on the grid this year to come out of these talks. What kind of solution it will be likely depends on how much can Honda compromise and how they see the long term future of Super Aguri. If Honda’s plans with Aguri do not extend beyond 2008, they may simply pay the bills this year and give Suzuki free hand in making any deals with any investors, buyers or sponsors from 2009 onwards. If their plans are long term but do not include paying all the bills, they may have to compromise right now. This would mean accepting some of the conditions the prospective backers may have even if Honda is not too comfortable with them.
I however already feel sorry for Super Aguri in 2008. No matter what will come out of the talks it looks like they will end up stuck with Honda RA107 car …
UPDATE – No deal has been concluded yet in Japan and Super Aguri will miss the final round of tests in Japan. The talks between Aguri Suzuki, Honda and apparently also some potential investors still continue. Despite missing the final test the team seems to continue the preparations for the Australian GP.
Welcome to the penultimate edition of the 2008 Formula 1 season countdown. Yes, there is only one more to go, and no, I will not start counting down day by day after we hit the 10 days mark .
For the past month I have been running a poll here. You voted for the 2008 F1 Driver Champ. It looks like Kimi Raikkonen is the overwhelming favourite, at least among the F1Wolf readers. (click on the thumbnail to see the votes). There is a new poll running now, I expect the results to be closer .
We are only 20 days from the start of the season and there are still 2 unconfirmed seats – although both Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson testes when the team last time made it to the test track, none of them has been officially confirmed yet. The team itself is in troubles. They cancelled their plans to test in Barcelona last week and Aguri Suzuki is in Japan as we speak talking his team’s future with the Honda brass. A year ago this time the only empty seat was in Toro Rosso, where the team waited till the last moment to confirm Scott Speed, only to let him go few months later. By the way, when talking about a year ago this time – check my 2007 Formula 1 predictions and please do not laugh too much .
In Singapore the tickets for the first F1 night race went up for sale with a bang… perhaps with a crash is more accurate. At about the same time the Singaporean public got the first taste of an F1 car on the streets. Red Bull car show was a part of the annual Chingay parade. It was driven by Robert Wickens, a young driver racing A1 this weekend in Durban.
The winter testing season is coming to a close. Since the last summary the teams tested in Jerez, in Barcelona and in Valencia. Valencia was pretty much a private test for BMW Sauber. We were all hoping to see where Ferrari and McLaren stand, unfortunately the Barcelona test was affected by wet weather and it is rather difficult to make anything from the times. Still, the general view of the situation is Ferrari on top of the game right now, with McLaren behind them. After that it is anybody’s guess. Some see Renault much stronger than they are willing to show (Gene). Fernando Alonso has totally different opinion and sees BMW Sauber in very strong position. Jarno Trulli is quite upbeat about the Toyota car. And surprisingly even boys, despite the poor winter performances, seem to be feeling quite good about their package… It looks like the only guarantee we have for this year is 11th for Super Aguri, that is if they make it to Melbourne.
Unfortunately the racism issues are not going away. Last 10 days the talk was about reactions of Bernie Ecclestone and Fernando Alonso. I am quite willing to believe that Bernie meant what he is said to have said. But as far as Fernando Alonso goes, I would like to see the full interview or speach where his remarks were taken from before making any opninion on that. All I had chance to read were excerpts only.
Outside of F1 there were some interesting developments too. Ralf Schumacher found his ride in DTM with Mercedes. He also admitted that he made up his earlier claims about being sure to remain in Formula 1 after leaving Toyota. Jacques Villeneuve lost his drive in NASCAR after his crash at qualifying race for Daytona 500.
And finally the over a decade long rift in North America is over. Champ Car and IRL series are merging:
“Indy Racing League founder and CEO Tony George and owners of the Champ Car World Series have completed an agreement in principle that will unify the sport for 2008. Gerald Forsythe, co-owner of Champ Car, signed an agreement in principle Feb. 22 in Chicago, joining his partner, Kevin Kalkhoven. George signed the agreement Feb. 21. Details of a news conference about the agreement will be forthcoming.”
The 2008 Formula 1 Season Countdown will be back for one more time in 10 days.
Another week has passed, it is time again to look at what was it like on the F1 blogs and webs.
Michael Schumacher will test again for Ferrari next week, this time alongside Kimi Raikkonen. You will definitelly look at this differently after reading this article that brings some light on all the behind scenes moves that lead to Schumacher’s retirement, Alonso’s signing for McLaren and Raikkonen’s for Ferrari. This article seems to be quite old, but for some reason it appeared few days ago among the “latest features” on F1i dot com. Very interesting (and long) reading – Michael Schumacher – The strange story of his retirement.
NASCAR made it to F1Wolf thanks to Jacques Villeneuve. And thanks to comment from regular reader and commentator “zblkhwk” we have some more insight to what actually happened there. Check the comments below the Tale Of Two Formula 1 Drop Outs post.
Singapore continues its preparations for the F1 race and sends a group of people to Adelaide to get some experience. Let’s hope the ticketing fiasco will remain the only serious glitch …
Organizers in Valencia released more information on their track and grandstands – check and see where would you like to watch the European GP from.
We are supposed to be aware of the brands that flash in front of our eyes during the Formula 1 coverage. Are we watching the F1 the way we should be ?
And to stay with the brands – check out how some of the car manufacturers’ logo evolved including some those involved in Formula 1.
See you again a in week with Spotted by Wolf.