Entries in Austin (1)

Friday
Aug052011

Bernie Speaks

One person not on vacation is Bernie, he continues to speak out on topics and is obviously still hard at it making deals. That is what he loves to do, so I guess that is as good as a vacation.

Turkey are desperate to get themselves back on the calendar and their negotiating ploy is a bit unusual." The Sports Minister is "ready to do everything" to keep the race. Music to Bernie's ears I would think. The "everything" includes "publicity and promotional campaigns to raise attendance and earnings." Well there's a novel idea, pity they did not think of this for the last 6 or 7 years, they might not be in this position.

Bernie is back talking about next year's calendar and giving a hint that Turkey could get back on. He is suggesting that the calendar could grow, and says that the teams would accept it if one of the ones to be dropped were to be Monaco or another team favorite. Nice one. The last seven races next year take place on four continents over ten weeks, the worst back-to-back being Sao Paolo and Austin, no direct flights. All this to be nice to Bahrain he says, "They" didn't want it up front apparently. Now the article seems to suggest that "they" were the Bahraini Gov't, but they seem happy just to have the race back as long as it is not in summer. From my recollection it was the teams who did not want to risk another embarrassing fiasco at the start of the season if the situation in Bahrain was not settled, but obviously felt that a race at the end could quietly be dropped. Now the teams are complaining about the logistics of those last seven races. Can't have your cake and eat it too. 

There was an odd reference as a footnote to this story about Austin and the State of Texas approving the funds. The State funds can only be distributed a year in advance, so presumably within twelve months, not a calendar year. So that $25m is not available until November, and presumably someone has read the contract to find out when Bernie's fee has to be paid. The writer suggests that this will delay the construction of the circuit, but this is not construction money so I don't get that.

On a positive note Robert Kubica's thumb has regained full movement, very necessary to push all those buttons. In similar news the likelihood of seeing Barrichello in a Williams next year is diminishing fast. I think Rubens is very disenchanted with the way the team is run.

The Renault chassis involved in the fire in Hungary has been written off, and the explosion explained as the air bottle that drives the valves getting too hot. The fire was caused by a cracked exhaust as a result of a "slightly different engine mapping in qualifying." Now I thought engine mapping had to be the same for qualifying and the race since Valencia, so are they saying they changed the engine mapping for both qualifying and the race? Strange way of saying it. No one noticed the crack which then got worse in the race and finally caused the fire after raw fuel was being burnt in the exhaust while it sat at the pit stop. No word on the marshal though.

Stating the obvious the Virgin CEO said that the fans will decide the success of the Sky TV deal. "From the point of view of the commercial model there are potential mismatches between a broadcasting that maximises viewers and one that maximises revenue." And we all know which one is more important don't we? He goes on to say that 90% of his income comes from sponsors and partners, which could be hurt if the audience goes down, but we are only talking of Britain here, so why is this getting so much play from the teams? Is the British market so dominant to the sponsors? Hard to imagine.