Valtteri Bottas, Shanghai, Williams, 2013

Bottas to start Williams’ season at Jerez

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Williams confirm Valtteri Bottas will be the first driver to test for them at Jerez next week.


Translation: “Charles Pic will not be at Caterham this season. Replaced by Kamui Kobayashi.”


Valtteri Bottas, Shanghai, Williams, 2013Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

1998 Ferrari F300 driven by Michael Schumacher sold at Barrett-Jackson auction (Rushlane)

“The F1 car was sold for a price of $1,870,000 (??1.14m) inclusive of buyers commission.”

One week to go (Toro Rosso)

“STR9 has successfully passed all the necessary FIA crash tests.”

Lotus says finances sorted for 2014 (Autosport)

Eric Boullier: “We have an operational guaranteed budget this year, which is a big difference.”

First look at the 2014 Caterham… (Caterham via Facebook)

Close-ups of various, mostly indistinguishable bits.

Lotus F1 Team brokers Saxo Bank deal (Lotus)

Saxo is a Danish investment bank which was founded in 1992. It also sponsors cycling’s Team Tinkoff-Saxo.

“Grand Prix racing cannot survive without throwing out Ecclestone?s tired business model and starting fresh.”

Ten of the most unusual F1 car launches (F1)

Including Arrows rolling out their controversial maiden F1 car (which rival Shadow claimed was their design) at a snowbound Silverstone.

F1’s Bernie Ecclestone forced to make ’emergency stop’ after being shunted from behind by massive dog (The Mirror)

“The enormous Newfoundland nearly toppled the 5ft 3in F1 boss on a street in Gstaad, Switzerland.”

Comment of the day

As Bernie Ecclestone faces the greatest challenge to his control of Formula One so far, opinions diverge on how good a job he’s done of running the sport lately. @MazdaChris is at one end of the spectrum when it comes to assessing what Ecclestone has turned F1 into:

An overcomplicated gimmicky mess, run 50% in front of empty grandstands in countries who want to use F1 for political purposes, entered by teams who even at the front are barely financially solvent and need to be propped up by drivers paying for their seat, while a group of elite billionaires cream massive amount of money out of the sport never to be reinvested, while the opinions of fans are disregarded amid a toxic political situation which has had manufacturers deserting the sport in their droves in favour of sports car racing.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Oukilf1 and Bruno!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

1994 F1 seasonFortune dealt JJ Lehto a cruel blow 20 years ago today. Just one week after getting the big break of his career by landing a race seat at Benetton, he suffered a 225kph (140mph) crash during testing at Silverstone.

He was knocked out by the impact and was taken to hospital where he spent five hours on an operating table having his fifth vertebra strengthening by having part of his hip bone grafted to it. Unable to recover in time for the start of the season, test driver Jos Verstappen took his place for the first two races of the year.

It was the first of several serious accidents during the season and although he did return to action during the year it proved the beginning of the end for his grand prix career.

Image ?? Williams/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 56 comments on “Bottas to start Williams’ season at Jerez”

    1. Maybe McLaren should add “failed my crash test” to that list

      1. @mcmercslr That would be funnier if it were yesterday, but you’re wrong today.

      2. You just said something ten times funnier than their entire list. @mcmercslr

    2. Looks like Lotus have lost yet more staff, this time their twitter team have gone to mclaren..

      1. @vonhoff brilliant comment :-)

      2. “Guarantee” and Lotus just dont go together.

      3. but, at McLaren, each joke is personally approved by Ron Dennis.

        1. @bullfrog is that why they’re so awful?

    3. I’ve nothing against Charles Pic, he did a decent if unspectacular job last season. Having said that I’d trade having him on the grid over Kobayashi any day. I know some think Kamui to be over-rated, but I think while he’ll never be a world champ, he’s a feisty, competent racer that’s not afraid to try some daring overtakes and can bring some more excitement to the grid which is never a bad thing.

      1. How much overtaking will the Caterham chassis allow him to pull off, though? That’s the big question. Then again, Caterham has never hired a driver like him.

        1. Ha, sadly a good point. Well at the very least it’ll be breathtaking seeing Kobayashi unlap himself before the safety car comes in…

          1. IMO Kamui Kobayashi > Sergio Perez.
            Perez = Button – in 1 season they banged wheels on a number of occasions, Button came out on top points wise due to experience and possibly because he is slightly better than Checo (under current F1 circumstances)

            Button beat HAM In 2011, and HAM is currently, definitely in the top 5 drovers in F1 therefore Kamui deserves another chance, he shouldn’t be trying to beat a lowly Caterham driver, he needs to beat Rosberg, Grosjean, Massa or Hulkenberg to establish himself as a potential future title contender, if he does beat any of the perceived best drivers whilst driving lesser machinery than he’ll earn kudos to be considered a top driver.

            I don’t see that happening in a Caterham but stranger things have happened…

            1. Although Kamui would have to destroy Button IMO to be considered a challenger for VET, ALO, RAI, HUL or HAM.

              Perez just about equaled BUT in a new strange team, I think Kamui would’ve done better, but anyone that would be considered a top driver would have been able to beat Jenson. Sure BUT is a WDC, but I don’t think anyone can consider him as a top 3 driver since he ‘s been in the sport

            2. Yes, Kamui is at least just as good as Checo. IMHO Button is better than both, slightly, but better.

              Let’s see how Kevin Magnussen will fare vs Jenson, but by the compliments I suspect the kid his the potential to bother Jenson….

            3. @DD42 And KOB equaled PER in 2012. What’s your point?

      2. I hope teh car is good. Happy for Kamui!

      3. Caterham nr:2 anyone?
        My hopes are on Marcus Ericsson

    4. That photo of Bernie’s personal space being violated by a giant dog could make for an interesting caption competition. Probably a nightmare for the moderators though.

      1. btw, beautiful dog!

      2. “I’d like to introduce my successor!”

      3. “Assassination attempted on Bernie Ecclestone.”

      4. Would have been better if the dog was a chihuahua instead…

    5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      21st January 2014, 0:30

      So Kobayashi is back in F1!
      Faith in humanity has been restored a little. *Sigh of content*

      1. Great news I know. I thought once the campaign he launched after his 2012 season bombed out I thought he’d never return and obscurity would get the better of him in other classes. Can’t wait to see what he can do in that Caterham

        I can feel 2014 being a golden year. well as long as the ‘super-mega-bonus-points-bonanza-finale’ is scrapped and spat on

        1. I wonder, is the fish going green or what?

      2. He wasn’t quite confirmed by the team yet though @tophercheese21!

        That said, VdGarde is supposed to have a press conference at 10 am – I expect him to inform the world that sadly he won’t be driving either (with Caterham leaving their drivers the time to annouce that themselves). Lets see who replaces him and fields the bills to go racing this year.

        1. Dutch newspaper de Telegraaf reports Frijns as having secured the 3rd driver role at Caterham this year, while its not completely clear what they will do with VdGarde, although they state that its most likely that Kobayashi and Marcus Ericcson will be announced as drivers by Caterham today.

    6. @mazdachris You have absolutely nailed that one.

    7. A funny tweet by McLaren? Well, Hell (Michigan) did freeze over two weeks ago!

    8. Very pleased with the somewhat-confirmation of Kamui at Caterham. Really think he deserved another year in F1, a talented driver never afraid to capitalise on a contested piece of track. He was one of the most exciting drivers to watch, personally

      Another exciting prospect is Honda’s entry in 2015 and possible advancement or new sponsorship deals for Kamui providing he performs well

      1. He was one of the most exciting drivers to watch, personally

        He may or may not be a great driver… But he sure was entertaining to watch!
        He’s good enough to be in the sport, let’s hope Caterham are good enough that we can see Kamui scrapping with some Torro Rossos and Saubers!

    9. So the “heritage blue” livery Williams will use is the equivalent to the Mclaren orange? Let’s see how long they take to sort out their new sponsors.

      BTW is a real shame big launch events are a thing of the past, I know schedules are tight but years ago even the small teams made an effort.

      1. I would love to see the cars for the first time at Melbourne FP1. Now that would be exiting, sadly not going to happen in this day and age :)

    10. I love it how the timing of F1 Fanatic Round-Up. Thank you.

      ps. By timing I mean when it appears on the page :)

      1. Broken thinking > broken english.

    11. Might be slightly awkward if the McLaren launch was called off due to lack of staff…

    12. Incredible comment of the day! @MazdaChris

      1. But a good one !

    13. Great to see Kamui at Caterham and Sergio at Force India. I think this is a more accurate representation of the former Sauber teammates than what we saw in 2013 – Sergio at Mclaren and Kamui without a drive.

    14. Pooch bags double points as Bernie pits in despair.

    15. COTD: while I wholeheartedly agree with point made. I disagree that Bernie done all that. I find the current state is actually due to loss of power by Bernie to the teams and partners, who are there to promote them self. Teams, sponsors and partners should be a sole players who don’t have any voting power but agree to the play by whatever rules imposed.

      Now we have all kind of stuff happening due various people promoting their interest and hold everyone hostage on sensible matters unless their interest are dealt with.

      Sponsors should be interested in entering the beneficial environment, not creating it on the expense of everyone else, as Red Bull and other influential teams are doing, they practically purchased the right to manipulate the rule book and scene to their liking. Which we know is AMAZING for competitive spirit, not.

      1. I don’t think it is coincidence that the complaints about the management of the sport coincided with the arrival of Gerhard Gribkowsky on the scene. Reading the timeline Keith posted yesterday, there was a definite change around that time, and I suspect some of the decisions Ecclestone made were less about serving the interests of the sport, and more about maintaining control over it. Looking at some of the things Gribkowsky did, I’d go so far as to say that any decision taken to limit his influence *was* in the interests of the sport.

      2. Formula 1 needs to respect its fans and understand the value of having moral boudaries.

      3. I agree that Ecclestone should not bear the sole burden of responsibility. The teams have been only too eager to dance to his tune for the pursuit of personal gain. As you say, the sport has a governance and commercial model which is needlessly complex and unfair to all parties. It would make a lot more sense for the FIA to have the sole controlling stake when it comes to the technical and sporting regs, and it should be up to them to appoint technical and sporting working groups to support that. No single team should have more commercial or political clout than the others since it creates an unfair sporting arena; something which will have potential applicants running for the hills and creates an impenetrable political situation which is poisonous to potential sponsors and investors.

        The point though is that the person at the heart of this has been Ecclestone. I don’t disagree that F1 has had a spending problem since the nineties, and yet that was true of ALL motorsports in the nineties, and it is only F1 which has utterly failed to address the problem. If you look at Touring Cars, the transition from the Super Touring class which was almost unlimited and had manufacturers spending tens of millions, to the current NGTC spec which can be run for a season on a budget of just a couple of hundred thousand, that technological glidepath has been logical and fair to all involved, and individuals who wanted to protect their ability to spend their way to success have been prevented from doing so. They’ve addressed the issue from the bottom up – looking at the technological requirements of the sport and changing them so it becomes impossible (or at least completely without benefit) to spend the kind of money manufacturers were spending. Rather than simply telling manufacturers to stop spending as much.

        Ultimate F1 is a sport filled with very selfish people, none of which have any interest in making the sport genuinely better, but instead focus solely on making themselves and their commercial backers as rich as possible. There is still, in my opinion, a beating heart of motorsports enthusiasm which you can see in a few of the teams, but I think that ember is going to need some serious rekindling if they are to reignite the passion most fans used to feel for F1 but now feel is a thing of the past.

        And the sad thing is that there really is no need for it to be like this. Ecclestone is a man of almost unlimited resource, with a Machiavellian ability which, if turned towards the betterment of the sport rather than the insatiable acquisition of wealth, F1 could be so much better than it is now with access to the sport like we have never experienced. Imagine an F1 which celebrates its existence and promotes itself, allowing fans to interract with the teams and their sponsors, with videos on social media accessible to anyone who wants to watch them. Rather than this misguided and alienating exclusivity by which the sport if jealously guarded by the commercial rights holders, lest anyone might accidentally take some enjoyment from the sport without paying for it. It’s depressing to see F1 turned into such a cash cow.

    16. I bet Coulthard was thrilled with that 1997 McLaren launch :)

    17. “Grand Prix racing cannot survive without throwing out Ecclestone’s tired business model and starting fresh.”

      This is written beneath the Lotus Saxo announcement link. Where is this quote from and who said it? It’s not from the article

    18. “Grand Prix racing cannot survive without throwing out Ecclestone’s tired business model and starting fresh.”

      I cannot find this sentence in the aforementioned Saxo Bank article; removed? :)

      1. It appeared yesterday under Jeff Pappone’s by-line in Canada’s Globe and Mail. See (I hope the link appears in this post.)

        1. Try again for the link:

    19. This is the final sign we’re close to the start of the season! I always get a little distracted from F1 during the off-season, but when it’s the week of the launches the tension builds up, and the time I see the first car is a shock! The other cars are more easily accepted, and the first day of testing is a great feeling even if I’m at school, working, and only get to see the pictures afterwards!

    20. Kobayashi Fever is very contagious this time of year.

    21. I think it’s wrong to blame Bernie for escalating costs. After all, he has no direct control over how much money the teams spend, and even if all of the revenue from the sport was given to the teams, it would only escalate the problem.

      The teams know that if they spend more money on development, then they can perform better. Hence, we have a situation where teams will think nothing of spending $250 million a year. Giving them more money is not going to fix this problem, because all it will take is one team spending that $250 million plus whatever additional revenue they get on development, and all of the teams will do it.

      Likewise, I do not think you can blame FOM for poor race attendances. The blame for that lies squarely with governments who do not understand what Formula 1 is, but rather see it as a tool to boost their international profile. Take, for instance, the Chinese Grand Prix. It was inevitable that Formula 1 would go to China sooner or later, but the government did their cause no favours when they decided that the best place for the race was on a few acres of reclaimed swampland in a polluted industrial district on the outskirts of Shanghai.

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