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The week in motor sport (16/05/2011)

Rob Widdows and I sit down again to discuss the latest news from the world of motor sport. CVC may be selling the rights to Formula 1, Rupert Murdoch and others may be buying them, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is threatening to form a breakaway series again and the Formula 1 teams want a larger slice of the action. What, if anything, is going on?

f1  The week in motor sport (16/05/2011)

The week in motor sport

As well as putting Rob on the spot about the current political situation in F1, we chat about the forthcoming Spanish Grand Prix and the MotoGP race in France.

We hope you enjoy it. As always, let us know your thoughts.

Next week we will be taking ‘the question of the week’ on the show so anything you want to ask Rob (within reason) please post below…

f1  The week in motor sport (16/05/2011)

Or, if you’d like to download it…

f1  The week in motor sport (16/05/2011)f1  The week in motor sport (16/05/2011)

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24 comments on The week in motor sport (16/05/2011)

  1. Ray T, 16 May 2011 15:48

    Ferrari leaving F1 would be the best thing to happen to the sport since booting out Flavio Briatore. If Montezemolo thinks anyone wants to watch his Fiats parade around for 2 hours, he’s mistaken.
    Enzo threatened this for decades, and after he left sports car racing, it did _just fine_ without Ferrari.
    Montezemolo just wants to be Bernie -two sides of the same coin, remember, this is the man who insisted on the secret technical veto.

    Simoncelli is quick, but unstable at the front. He’s lucky he didn’t take himself out along with Pedrosa -great move? oh dear. He deserved that penalty because he benefited from taking out Pedrosa. If Rossi had survived his mistake on Stoner at Jerez, he would have deserved a penalty as well.

  2. Michael Spitale, 16 May 2011 16:00

    Rob is great on these…

  3. ImmoralHazard, 16 May 2011 18:08

    Here is a link to a great article in this week’s economist dissecting the health of F1.

    Interesting to note that viewership in Germany and Spain tapered off after Schumacher and Alonso were no longer winning championships.

    Also, how much longer can Ecclestone and CVC extract higher fees from the track owners. Can’t they come up with a volume-driven business model?

    There is already an outcry in Texas, that the state is cutting teachers’ staffing levels while funding the GP in Austin.

    If you ask me, Texas needs teachers more than it needs a GP, which will last a few years before they realize they can’t pay Ecclestone’s ever-increasing fees, and the circus moves on.

  4. john read, 16 May 2011 23:03

    If Ferrari leave F1 then the breakaway is ON and whether one likes it or not Ferrari have the marketing power to be part of the ‘premier’ series.

    My view is that Jean Todt is effectively forcing the breakaway by pushing for the 1.6 litre turbo engine which Ferrari won’t cop.

    They have the power and if forced they will use it. I do not like it but am a realist.

  5. Tony Geran, 17 May 2011 00:43

    Ray T: Rossi did survive his mistake with Stoner thanks to the Spanish marshalls and he raced to 5th if memory serves, while the innocent party (Stoner) DNF’d as they couldn’t restart his bike with just one marshall pushing.

    F1 without Ferrari. I was at Austria in 1976 when Ferrari did not show after Lauda’s accident at the ‘Ring. It was like the Beatles without Ringo, or “Two and a half men” without Charlie Sheen, just not the same thing I’m afraid.

    Personally, I think this is all posturing over the engine changes rather than a genuine attempt to split the series.

  6. Andy Reeves, 17 May 2011 13:12

    I have just finished reading the BE biography No Angel.
    The amazing part about these latest shannanigans is the direct comparison to previous isolate bribe ferrari browbeat the few other teams that can be.And, having divided the teams,then do a deal with Ferrari and all the others follow along eventually.
    Why not just ignore the politics accept that BE has got it stitched up and enjoy the spectacle !.
    Ferrari will not leave you can put your mother in laws house on it !.

  7. Ray T, 17 May 2011 15:35

    Tony, in the late 60s when Ferrari lost to Ford at Lemans, they made threats about leaving to try and change the rules on the big Ford engines. When they finally left, people lamented the end of sports cars, then Porsche came along.
    Enzo was a master of the veiled threat, to the point in 1986 he made an entire CART car , the 637, just to threaten the FIA.
    Ferrari needs F1 to justify its overpriced, pointless automobiles and merchandizing revenues. Montezemolo should be careful about crying wolf.

    I forgot about Rossi’s finish -he should have been penalized, but it does question MotoGP officials and the penalty system when a similar action is handled two different ways between Stoner and Simoncelli, as per Widdows’ discussion.

    In this era of austerity measures across the globe, one cannot justify taxpayer dollars being transferred to BE, as much as all the bank sponsorship from institutions that took billions in taxpayer bailouts.

    Turkey may be the tip of the iceberg for Bernie. If all the tracks just refused his graft, he will have no choice, and no GP season.

  8. rob widdows, 17 May 2011 16:52

    Thank you everybody for watching and for your largely positive feedback. We like opinion, especially from you. Real fans are opinionated.
    TRuth is, BE is enormously clever and quick on his feet. While he is there, he will get his way. When he goes, well, that is an entirely new chapter which will, I’m sure, feature Ferrari.
    Next week we plan to take a question from a viewer so that we can better involve you, the people who supportour magazine.
    Bit like F1 involving the fans – now there’s an idea. Less fencing, more access, wild ideas like that. One day maybe.

  9. ImmoralHazard, 17 May 2011 16:55

    Ecclestone operates on many fronts. On the one hand he has to negotiate with the teams, and on the other hand he has to negotiate with the track owners.

    I am more concerned about his tactics vis a vis the trackowners for two reasons mainly.

    First, it seems more and more that in order to stage a GP, the local government has to raid the public coffers on behalf of Ecclestone.

    Second, the GP is the one chance in the year for many fans to attend a race in person. If I can afford it, I will gladly plump the money for it, otherwise I will forego it. I guess I am not the kind of fan, Ecclestone has in mind. Then again, there is Moto GP and LeMans (and its offshoots) as substitutes.

    Last December I did run into a guy, who was getting work done on his car at the same body shop where I was, and he could not contain his glee that Ecclestone had just gotten mugged in London.

  10. Jack Torrance, 17 May 2011 17:48

    On the latest twist in F1…. maybe the FIA better ban Newey.

  11. ImmoralHazard, 17 May 2011 18:18

    JT – There’s no reason why that kind of genius and innovation should be tolerated.

  12. Michael Spitale, 17 May 2011 22:58

    Is there a better day in motor racing then Memorial day Sunday(in the States)

    Monaco in the morning
    Indy in the afternoon
    NASCAR 600 at night

  13. rob widdows, 18 May 2011 09:13

    There are very few, if any, better days for a motor racing fan.But you do need to stay awake for a long, long time…………….depending on where you live!
    We at Motor Sport do not find any glee in anyone being ‘mugged’. Nothing is achieved or solved in this manner.
    Let’s all enjoy some good racing in Barcelona. Thanks to the new rules the race should be markedly more absorbing than it has been in recent years.

  14. Ed Foster, 18 May 2011 10:42

    Thanks for all the feedback everyone… I don’t usually agree with Mr Widdows (only joking Rob…), but he’s right – great to have so many people who are clearly fans of the sport.

    Keep the opinions coming and give me a good/tricky question to ask Rob next week…


  15. Ray T, 18 May 2011 14:42

    Michael, eat a heavy breakfast, because you’ll be sleeping all afternoon.

  16. dave cubbedge, 18 May 2011 15:59

    In addition to those three premier events, for those of us lucky enough to go to the Indy 500 this year there are two outstanding races in the Indianapolis area – Friday night is the Hoosier Hundred for the USAC Silver Crown cars (the big sprinters) on the mile dirt at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, then on Saturday we have our choice between the Little 500 at Anderson or the Night Before the 500 Midget races at Lucas Raceway Park. And Ray, I won’t be sleeping Sunday at the 500 – television does not do it justice – it is one of the most exciting races held, even in these ‘spec racer’ times for Indycars.

    And don’t forget Kimi’s Nascar debut Friday night at Charlotte!

    Michael, you going there this year?

  17. dave cubbedge, 18 May 2011 16:01

    oops, need a proofreader, Michael by ‘there’ I mean Indy?

  18. rob widdows, 18 May 2011 16:17

    YES! Midget racing! Just a fantastic spectacle, especially at night. Wish we had something like it in the UK – but we don’t – and the atmosphere at those American raceways is simply electrifying.
    Spot on, Dave.
    And KImi at Charlotte! Good for him for giving it a try, and talk about diving in at the deep end! Even he may be touch ruffled by this experience……….

  19. Ray T, 18 May 2011 18:02

    I’ve been to Indy 4 times in the past, and enjoyed it thoroughly (more than a F1 race), but TV cannot be blamed for what happened to Indy after 1996. There are a few outstanding drivers and teams in a field of incredible mediocrity.

    If it weren’t for Tony George’s epic failure back then, CART/IRL would likely be as big, or bigger than F1 today, Penske bigger than Ferrari, etc.

    I’ve actually re-thought the Delta car concept, it could have restored Indy back to a real spectacle, instead of another spec Dallara series.

  20. Ray T, 18 May 2011 18:06

    I’m taking my 4 -year old son to his first local dirt track speedway sprint car race this weekend. He doesn’t like racing at all on TV.

  21. Michael Spitale, 18 May 2011 19:06

    I can’t wait to see how Kimi reacts when he is packed amongst 7 cars bumper to bumper… I think if Kimi takes his time and committs to this he can be at the sharp end of the sport in a couple of years. However, he cannot do it like he does Rally, only doing so many races and not committing. In NASCAR 31 is young!

    Dave, I am going to El Dora for the late model race with all the NASCAR boys and some Indy drivers as well are there… Not sure I will make Indy this year. That Sunday is the best day of auto racing all year… Monaco, Indy, Coke 600 all in 1 day… Amazing…

  22. dave cubbedge, 18 May 2011 20:29

    we went to Eldora for the rained-out Saturday Outlaws race a couple weeks ago…..oh well, at least we got our supply of Cheddarwurst 2 for 1!

  23. Ray T, 19 May 2011 18:47

    31 in NASCAR is embryonic. Kimi can also bulk up on all the ice cream he wants.

  24. Jack Torrance, 22 May 2011 05:45

    That comment made me smile Ray :)

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