Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

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Episode 52 - He's young, he's talented, he's in the wrong team // Our traditional look at the Entry List for the coming F1 season

Published by Christine Blachford

With very little news to cover this week, Sidepodcast takes it's annual trip down the grid to predict the futures of the 2008 drivers.

Intro

I'm having the worst week of my whole entire life, no exaggeration or drama. Look forward to an optimistic show!

Good week / Bad week

Trulli's depression is actually a good week for Ferrari, whilst Jerez and Singapore are having troubles.

News and views

Super Aguri have delayed their launch, we discuss why and what effect this is having on the drivers. The "Racing Against Racism" campaign is gaining momentum, but do we sign up to it? And what exactly are we signing up to? Also, Ron Dennis is having some personal troubles and we justify why this is news.

Class of 2008

A rundown of the 2008 Entry List with driver statistics (Krypton Factor stylee) and a word or two on what we think.

On the phones

Just the one voicemail this week - part of his "on the phones" initiative. We talk about Nigel Stepney and his dignified silence - that's the silence where he keeps talking about what happened.

Housekeeping

I'm not email bankrupt just yet, so keep trying. We talk about some of the brilliant emails we got this week, and how they link to the Facebook group. Train rides, counting coins, Honda being half and half, and DarrenHeath.com. Join in the fun on the group, or email me at christine [@] sidepodcast.com.




  • Look on the bright side Christine. If last week was the worst week of your life all the others will be better.

    I think you are being a bit harsh on Williams. If they get the investment that has been discussed and that money goes straight into the team which with Frank and Patrick making that decision you have to expect will happen then Nico could be in exactly the right seat. Right now McLaren and Ferrari are ahead of the rest. Keke has publically said he doesn't want him to go to McLaren because he knows he isn't as good as Lewis. So if he is going to step into anything better than a Williams it has to be a Ferrari and I don't see that happening.

    If Williams end the season as third best team and he puts Nakajima in his place he will look like a hero. If he goes to McLaren/Ferrari and Hamilton or Raikkonen beat him then he is just another not quite good enough driver.

    Toyota are making a lot of noise about their sportscar plans. Given their abject failure in F1 and the near certainty that Williams will comprehensively blow them away this year you have to think that someone in the Toyota management will realise that the best thing they can do is pull the plug on Cologne and back Williams with money and resource. I mean what kind of factory team gets blown away by its customer?

    Should this happen Nico is in a very good position and much better than being number two at McLaren or Ferrari. Williams have had a rough time recently but they are on their way back and they will succeed.

  • Yeah, manic depression, I nearly quit my job today but after listening to this episode I decided to be wise and stay for a while...

    I could sell the FIA a good title for their next campaign, how about RACING AGAINST SEXISM (to be honest I think F1 could really benefit from Danica Patrick joining the series and doing another photo session on the beach, or Susie Stoddart driving a pink Red Bull car, it's just that no manufacturer will ever pay for that as they want experience and points) ot RACING AGAINST FOOD POISONING or RACING AGAINST EVERYTHING, I'd personally choose RACING AGAINST FERRARI or RACING AGAINST RIDICULOUS SUVs or RACING AGAINST CURRENT PETROL PRICES!!! Rock on baby!!!

    www.itv-f1.com/Fe…p&PO_ID=41789

  • I mean what kind of factory team gets blown away by its customer?

    super aguri did a pretty good job last year, and there was a time when renault's position was looking a bit shaky next to rbr. but you're right, toyota backing williams is the only sensible choice.

    they're doing amazingly in nascar after just one season, so why they couldn't manage the same in f1 beats me.

    RACING AGAINST SEXISM

    that's a fine idea. if the fia were being completely honest though, they've always been running a 'racing against racing' campaign, where their one and only goal has seemingly been to prevent any kind of entertainment or enjoyment whatsoever. mostly disguised under the catch-all moniker know as "safety".

  • Speaking of Super Aguri, can we start putting odds on who is going to buy them out?

    I imagine that it wouldn't be a manufacture, seeing that the only manufactures that are not in F1 are either losing money (Ford, GM,) busy with other motorsport interests (the VW group, Mitsubishi,) or not quite ready for F1 (Mazda, Hyundai.) Besides, whoever buys them out would probably have to sign an engine agreement with Honda in order for them to sell the team.

    So I get the feeling it is going to be another "MidlandF1" where it is some rich guy who always wanted to get into racing but doesn't have a clue on how to build a team or how much it is really going to cost them. This causes the first rich guy to get frustrated and sell it to the next rich guy, then he to the next rich guy and the next and the next.

    It sad really because I feel the grid is already about 4-6 cars short already.

  • Speaking of Super Aguri, can we start putting odds on who is going to buy them out?

    my bet is they'll get kicked out before they get started.

    f1 won't go through another embarrassment like the walkinshaw / arrows saga (ironic given how the team started).

    at some point very soon, the boats need to be loaded, and some tough decisions need to be made. it's becoming a bit farcicle (is that a word?) and i can't see bernie putting up with another year of bad press for the season opener.

  • "my bet is they’ll get kicked out before they get started."

    Me,

    Those were some pretty ominous sounds coming from Aguri.

    Does it suit Honda to throw them a bone?

    brendan

  • Does it suit Honda to throw them a bone?

    well, they built team around taku, after his fans let their feelings be known.

    i've no idea how things have changed there in the past two years. i assumed that the arrival of nakajima as toyota protégé would've spurred honda to do more, in order to keep their guy in the limelight.

    i can only imagine the distraction caused by supporting SA, plus the grief they suffered falling behind last year means the concept doesn't seem so bright anymore.

    the impossible dream, you might say.

  • I think it doesn't make sense for Honda to continue Super Aguri, why split resources between two teams when you have problems winning with one?

    Seeing that Super Aguri is going under, how does this effect Prodrive, Minardi and others who want to get back in? Is the F1 market just too high for a low budget team? Or are they happy that another slot has potentially opened up?

  • why split resources between two teams when you have problems winning with one?

    in theory it could help with testing duties. pre-xmas, SA were running a number of young drivers for the parent team. maybe future rule changes will close that loophole?

    Or are they happy that another slot has potentially opened up?

    good question. dave richards is a smart guy, and if he says the business model only makes sense with customer cars, then i believe him.

    the fia claimed they had 'loads' of requests when they put the last grid slot up for tender. yet i've heard little from anyone since pro-drive bailed out.

    i guess it's just too damn expensive these days.

  • More crazy rumours on Super Aguri, fellas! As I was swallowing my morning coffee today and in fact this morning I happened to open Portuguese Autosport's web page, well, quoting Brazilian sources, namely a magazine named "Lance" (not Lance Armstrong but rather a Portuguese word meaning 'throwing' or 'danger' or 'attack'), they - Portuguese journalists - are now saying that Aguri will miss Australian GP and that's for sure. The guy who started all this is supposedly a Brazilian Super Aguri mechanic (he goes by the name of João Carvalho de Souza but was nicknamed 'Joe McGyver' for his diverse skills, wow, cool!) who was told to go to his native Brazil and have an extended holiday; he claims that 2008 car is 100% ready (probably it was ready a year ago when JB and Rubens were testing it for the first time) but all the operations were stopped and that people are basically kicking the air at the SA headquarters, lovely!

    Anyway, that's not all, the same website also claims that Super Aguri are currently... in negotiations with the new Algrave track that's being built because they want to have a testing facility based at the circuit, it doesn't get any better than that! Supposedly Mark Preston (technical guy from SA or director - not sure really) is in Portugal right now trying to close the deal, only they need to have another falicity there 'cos Bridgestone obviously must have tyres at their disposal; they'll be testing young guns like me for instance (only joking) because young inexperienced drivers are allowed to cover 3 000 kms without teams having to add that to 30 000 kms/300 sets of tyres/30 days annual test limit. I kinda like the second articel better, I could then have fun more regularly instead of travelling to Spain; by the way this new Monteblanco circuit near Seville will stage its first official F1 test this week with Toyota as the only team present, gotta check out the circuit's website for more, Seville's not to far from me either, so hopefully your humble servant will get more kicks un the future!!! Yeah!

    Please, Super Aguri! Don't you die on me, dammit!

  • Hmm, not really sure about Toyota testing at the Circuito de Monteblanco, it seems they are in Barcelona right now! Ha-ha! I think I mixed it all up! Anyway, there should be a test or two this year at this new track, I hope so.

  • Blimey! Is that a Super Aguri truck parked in Barcelona paddock or wot? I'll go mad this week!!! f1.gpupdate.net/e…91&catID=3419

  • mr. lion, you're some kind of legend. cheers for that info.

    if the team don't make the first race they're out of the championship. too expensive to ship all the bits to only two flyaways, for starters.

    the young drivers loophole is very interesting. i'd be surprised if the move to the algrave doesn't have more to do with sponsorship / ownership than testing though.

    do yell if you make it to seville, good sir. and i agree, this year won't be the same without them.

  • Is that a Super Aguri truck parked in Barcelona paddock or wot?

    hmmm, in that case the descision to pull out must've come very late in the day. how odd.

    i wonder if they've already been bought out or something? maybe they need a urgent change of livery.

  • It's all right - I was just ranting as usual. Now this article here is even more curious: www.formula1.com/…/2008/2/7372.html Is that a double launch for Force India??? How mad is that, I bet Eddie Jordan is glad the team no longer carries his name, otherwise people who just got into F1 would ask themselves one question - who the heck is this nutter?

    I love the following sentence though: "The new car’s gold, white and tungsten livery was unveiled at a spectacular ceremony in Mumbai, India, earlier this month." Is Bernard doing a subtle bit of PR for his mate? Grandprix.com also called the ceremony in Mumbai "spectacular", judging by the photos it was quite normal, resembling an Indian movie maybe, I'm glad the drivers didn't do any abnormal dancing or crazy singing, a normal launch in Silverstone would be much better in my humble opinion; I didn't like how the hostess at the driver presentation ceremony for Force India kept ranting about the global role of the new team and how global the whole thing is, bla-bla-bla global boosting economy, the fastest growing economy, too global maybe? This Force India thing looks like a bigger farce than Midland, and those posh ceremonies remind me of John Galliano shows, a bit surreal!

    http://www.johngalliano.com/

    p.s. tungsten (noun) - dense metallic element with a very high melting point. (Swedish, = heavy stone). Led Zeppelin F1!!!

  • Tungsten is the metal they use to make the elements in light bulbs. Maybe Force India is going to be a bright new force in F1, throwing light on the way forward.

    Or maybe not.

  • By the way, the link to the original article in Portuguese (in case we have people here who can speak this language): autosport.clix.pt…=as.stories/43458 and autosport.clix.pt…=as.stories/43461 Cheers

  • Is that a double launch for Force India???

    is there anything left to say? maybe they changed their mind about the gold.

    Grandprix.com also called the ceremony in Mumbai “spectacular”, judging by the photos it was quite normal

    i thought that odd too. have to see how much time they devote to the team in the future.

    Maybe Force India is going to be a bright new force in F1, throwing light on the way forward.

    i like that. seeing as gascoyne's in attendance do you think anyone will have the nerve to question him about lunch with stepney?

  • It seemed odd to me at the time that Honda was prepared to get involved in a second team like Red Bull. If you are failing miserably with all your resources focussed on one team it is not going to get better if you split the resources. I would guess Ross Brawn will be pushing as hard as he can to get Honda out of Super Aguri. He will be happy to sell them engines but nothing more.

    When I first saw pictures of the Force India livery I thought it would look bad on TV. Remember how quickly Jordan switched Benson & Hedges from gold to yellow. F1 Fanatic has some testing videos and the car looks hideous. Much worse than it does in the still photos. If they are planning another lauch I assume it is to announce they are switching back to the universally popular testing livery.

  • I think Gascoyne will be asked if Force India can beat Honda works team in the early races of 2008, that seems highly likely to me. I'll bet on that, let's say both Fisi and Sutil will finish ahead of JB and Barrichello in Melbourne, unless they all (FI & Honda) retire with some kind of technical trouble or as a result of an early crash on the first lap, still Force India cars will last longer than Hondas!

    This so called 2008 car or the VJM01 (the guy already baptized poor Spyker 2007 B-spec chassis after himself!) is likely to be an aero update on the current car, at least that's what I've been reading today on the Internet.

    I'm curious to see how long will VJ Mallya (how about DJ Mallya for a change?) last, all these rich older guys who had dreams about fast buzzing cars in their golden childhood are normally quite naive when it comes to surviving in 'the piranha club' (let alone enjoying some kind of modest success). Well, if they can last as long as Jordan or Sauber did - that will already be a pretty good achievement, no wins obviously, maybe a lucky podium finish, I bet Fisi will be hoping for the repeat of 2003 Brazilian GP!

    The luckiest man who ever owned an F1 team certainly was Jackie Stewart: one lucky win, one lucky pole position and a few well-deserved podium finishes and luckily for him Ford bought out Stewart Grand Prix, damn, I envy the man big time!

  • I don't think luck had a lot to do with Jackie Stewart making a success out of an F1 team. Michael Schumacher had just won the championship with a Ford engine and Ford were not happy that they were getting no publicity. Jackie and Paul Stewart were on a Ford corporate jet with some Ford main board members who asked Jackie what they should do about F1. He told them they should either commit to doing it seriously or get out. They asked him what he meant by commit and he presented a proposal a few weeks later.

    He suggested that he would start a team which Ford would support and set out a number of performance targets including achieving a win by year 5. It was always certain that Ford would buy the team which they paid him to start. People think Bernie is an operator but JYS has made £80 million with almost no financial risk. The only reason the team did not go on to become an established success is because Ford took over too early. Had they let him run it for another two years it would have been a team that was winning races every year but Ford pushed to buy at the same time Paul was diagnosed with cancer so Jackie sold it.

    He would have made a lot more money if he had hung on for a couple more years but when you look at what he made for 3 or 4 years effort it is incredible.

  • I really fear the future for some of the smaller independents and company "B-teams" on the grid; especially the likes of Torro Rosso, Force India, Super Aguri, and anyone else that enters the sport.

    Lets face it, the current financial situation is structured to make only the top seven to eight teams financially viable. One of two things need to happen to make these teams on the bottom more fiscally viable: restructure the way constructor winnings are spread (fat chance, but possible if the FIA wants to stand up against Ferrari, McLaren and company) or somehow lower the cost of the sport (if the world economy continues this way, perhaps.)

  • Well, since today is officially my verbal diarrhoea Tuesday I insist Stewart was lucky. www.itv-f1.com/Ne….aspx?PO_ID=41795

  • hey, according to that site, the article was written on:

    Monday, 01, January, 0001, 00:00

    who knew ITV supported f1 all the way back then?

  • restructure the way constructor winnings are spread

    last week bernie was quoted as saying he could "fix" uk football, by picking the top 4 teams and paying them a fistful of dollars to play outside of england.

    quite how that helps the game, or the smaller (and thus poorer) teams is anyone's guess?

    one things for certain, that man's not going to help aguri.

  • Although I know Bernie is all about the money, I always assumed he had a bit of sense for the sport in his head.

    I'm starting to doubt it though.

  • Hmm, maybe ITV own a time machine???

    Anyway, I'd like to see more small private teams otherwise F1 becomes more PR than proper racing series. Some things like DTM or WTCC or WRC or World Series by Renault are good for actually selling cars but F1 - it's about something slightly more sublime, being on a whole different level, a bit like lifestyle maybe, poetry in motion? I think Joe Saward likes to write on that a lot... This man here http://www.f1-photo.com/ managed to capture it on film.

  • BTW: I think you’ve already heard the news… IRL and Champ have officially merged. Way to blow it in America Bernie. (http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/news/story?seriesId=1&id=3253353)

  • Way to blow it in America Bernie.

    yup. now that tony george is in a much stronger position, i guess there's even less incentive to bend over to suit bernie's demands.

    can we assume the US GP is officially dead now?

  • I think it is safe to say the race won't be held at Indy on Bernie's terms again. If I was in Tony George's shoes I would totally ignore Bernie and wind up the F1 manufacturers and sponsors about them missing out on the largest market in the world. It would be interesting to see how Bernie responded to concerted pressure from the people who actually invest in F1. It is a long time since the FISA/FOCA war. It is time for another F1 power struggle. The problem is of course the manufacturers had the ideal opportunity and blew it. So the sponsors would have to lead as no-one will take the manufacturers seriously again.

    Maybe not all the manufacturers are keen on F1 going back to the States though. Toyota have become the biggest car company in the world and are doing well in NASCAR. It may not be in there interest to be seen to be utterly incompetent in F1.

    One thing is for sure. Regardless what kind of power struggle happens they won't come up with another T shirt slogan like FISA + FOCA = FIASCO. That was class.

  • Regardless what kind of power struggle happens they won’t come up with another T shirt slogan like FISA + FOCA = FIASCO

    brilliant. hadn't heard of that before, but now i want one.

  • i love this quote from trulli today:

    ...it seems to me the Ferrari is really quick, some have said the championship is already over.

    yes jarno, you did, remember:

    The championship already looks over to me before it has started

    i think he's losing his mind.

  • Actually, where I see the struggle coming is right after Bernie leaves between CVC and the stockholders of the Formula One Group versus the teams. Bernie has put the sport in a real dangerous situation where the stockholders of the Formula One Group who sell the content of F1 are going to be in direct conflict with the teams that product that content.

    The biggest mistake Bernie and F1 ever... ever... ever did was to float F1 as a "public" company in 1996.It's been nothing but a mess since.

  • Presumably Trulli was told off by the bosses. They don't mind that he now appears bipolar, but god forbid he say anything negative about the team.

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