Posts Tagged ‘bernie’

Bernie explains the cost cap

May 6th, 2009 No comments

Bernie EcclestoneLast week, the FIA announced plans to introduce a budget cap of £40m in 2010.

The teams are split as to whether this is good idea or not and whether it could result in a two-tier Championship.

Smaller teams like Brawn GP are likely to benefit from such an arrangement but Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo wasn’t pleased and wrote a stern letter to FIA president Max Mosely outlining his concerns.

This prompted a reply from Mosely suggesting that Formula One could do just fine without Ferrari and if they don’t like the rules then they don’t have to play.

In the middle of these rising tensions Bernie Ecclestone provided some elucidation in the Times saying of Mosley:

The trouble with Max is he’s not capable, like in the past, of wrapping things up nicely with a pink ribbon and things. He wants to put it in an old cardboard box and tie it with string.

and of di Montezemolo:

The trouble with Luca is that you shouldn’t let Max ever be in a position where he can start a debate or an argument. He’s reasonably clever and you won’t win. Even if you do win, it’s like you being in the audience and me being there with the microphone. You say something smart and I don’t give you the microphone — it’s as easy as that.

finally wrapping things up with:

It would appear that everyone is in favour of the cap, including Ferrari, if we can get them to agree, which we can.

Right.  So no problems there, then!

Bernie: F1 needs women drivers

May 3rd, 2009 No comments

Bernie EcclestoneFormula One has a two week break between the Bahrain Grand Prix at the end of April and the Spanish Grand Prix to be held in Barcelona next Sunday.

This has allowed plenty of time for Bernie Ecclestone to be let loose on the press and produce a couple of choice quotes.

According to the Guardian, at a dinner for local Spanish motor sport journalists, Bernie said that he would like Formula One to be “surrounded by controversy all the time.”

Obviously disappointed the whole McLaren controversy was dealt with so quickly, he decided it was time to give his enlightened views about the future of the sport:

Personally I don’t really mind who comes in, but if I had a choice I think that formula one needs a black, Jewish woman who, if possible, wins some races too.

This comes after he compared the signing of a new Concorde agreement to the Arab/Israeli conflict:

It’s like Israel and the Palestinians — always about to reach an agreement but never quite signing it.

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McLaren and Renault threatened boycott

March 24th, 2009 No comments

Bernie EcclestoneThe Times is reporting that in a meeting between Renault team principal Flavio Briatore, McLaren chairman and CEO Ron Dennis, Toyota team principal and FOTA vice-president John Howett and Bernie Ecclestone, Dennis and Briatore threatened to boycott the Australian Grand Prix.

They allegedly told Ecclestone that unless he wrote them a check they wouldn’t put their cars on the specially chartered flights to Australia last Sunday and neither would the rest of FOTA.  The money in question is in payment for signing a new Concorde Agreement, something the teams are yet to do.

According to Ecclestone:

Flavio said, ‘we’re not going to put our cars on the plane, we’re not going to Melbourne.’  He – Flavio – started it, aided and abetted by Ron Dennis.

Unfazed, Bernie decided to called their bluff:

I picked up the phone to our people that handle all the freight to ask them to cancel the aeroplanes.  They were saying, ‘all the Fota-schmota are not going – nobody’s going to go.’ So I said what I’d better do is cancel the aircraft obviously. It costs a fortune to charter those things and almost as much to cancel them.

All the cars are now in Melbourne so the threat obviously wasn’t carried out.  The first race hasn’t even been run but we may already have the Bernie quote of the season:

If they come in here with a gun and hold it to my head, they had better be sure they can fucking pull the trigger.  And they should make sure it’s got bullets in it because, if they miss, they better look out.

The tensions between FOTA and the FIA/Ecclestone has undertones of the FISA-FOCA war of the 80’s.  Back then, Bernie Ecclestone as Brabham team owner and Max Mosley as his legal advisor were on the other side of the conflict that culiminated in a boycott of the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix.  Among the complaints of the FOCA teams were FISA’s handling of regulations and financial compensation.

Sounds familiar…

Bernie backs Button

March 18th, 2009 No comments

Bernie EcclestoneBernie Ecclestone thinks the new scoring system announced by the FIA on Tuesday could give Jenson Button a crack at the Championship in 2009.

Official Aussie bookmaker, currently has Jenson Button priced as favourite to win in Melbourne ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello and Lewis Hamilton.

When Bernie was asked by Autosport about his predictions for the championship at an Australian Grand Prix press conference he said:

I suppose an awful lot will depend on these regulations, but if Brawn has got it right, then there is a chance that for the first three races we could maybe see Jenson winning.

Now that it is not points that decides the championship, if he has three races in his pocket then it is not bad – although I suppose in the end you have to look at the old timers like Alonso, Kimi, Felipe and Mr Hamilton.

I think he’s right and I’d love to see Jenson challenging for the Championship this year.  God knows he’s been waiting a long time for a car that could give him a serious chance at it.  But my favorite Bernie comment from the press conference was this, when asked about the legality of the Williams, Toyota and Brawn diffusers:

I guarantee whoever wins the races in Melbourne will be told they are cheating, and it doesn’t matter who it is.

Unfortunately, I think he’s right there, too.

USF1 is now USGPE

March 5th, 2009 No comments

Bernie EcclestoneAfter the rumour, hype and, finally, launch of new American Formula One team, USF1, Bernie Ecclestone has suddenly remembered that he thinks he owns the trademark on ‘F1’ and has forced the team to change their name.  USF1 will now be known as US Grand Prix Engineering or USGPE.

This is despite the fact that in 2007 the UK Trademark Registry refused to grant Formula One Licensing exclusive use of the term ‘F1’ as it considered it a generic term.  In fact the only official trademark they own is  ‘FIA Formula One World Championship’.

This is crazy.  Aparently the fact that Bernie owned the trademark to ‘F1’ must have slipped his mind while he was helping the team get off the ground.  He also doesn’t seem to mind other teams using ‘F1’ in their names; Williams Grand Prix Engineering goes under the trading name of WilliamsF1.

But Bernie didn’t stop there.  Not content with going after teams that use ‘F1’ he also wants to own anything that might look like ‘F1’.  It seems if you squint really hard the Force India ‘FI’ logo sort of looks a bit like ‘F1’.  And of course Bernie owns that so it has to change.

Neither of these teams could afford any kind of legal challenge so they have little choice but to cave in to Ecclestone’s demands but this kind of thing does more harm to the F1 brand than good.

I’m not sure which is worse, Brawn Racing or USGPE…

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