Formula 1 Insight

F1 and the British Bus Service

Sometimes I wonder whether F1 news is managed by the same people who run the British bus system - you go for days without a news item to get your teeth into and then three come along at once. Today has turned out to be a three-bus day, with all sorts of interesting and important developments scattered through the news sites.

Mark Webber
Mark Webber - "And I can chill a few lagers at the same time!"

The first, I think we can categorize as Rumors I Wish Were True: Eurosport reports that a new F1 team is about to be launched in America. If, as someone suggests in the Comments, this is just an early April Fool joke, it is cruel indeed - American F1 fans have been so badly treated in the last few years that they do not deserve such a heartless raising of hopes to be dashed tomorrow. Yet it is hard to see how this wonderful story could be true. With the economic climate so depressing and a team such as Honda apparently unable to find a buyer, what on earth would encourage anyone, even Peter Windsor, to choose this moment to enter the sport?

That is without considering the FIA system of inspecting applicants for entry at specified times. Granted that F1 is desperate for new teams on the grid but would they really be prepared to ignore their own rules so precipitously? Unhappily, I think we have to consign this one to the realms of fantasy.

Then we have the latest shots in the FIA/FOTA war, with both sides preparing the ground with proposals for the future of F1. The FIA are preparing a "white paper" (what's wrong with yellow or even pink?) outlining their intended implementation of measures to cut costs further in 2010 whilst preserving the technical innovation aspects of the sport. It remains to be seen exactly how they are going to do this, especially as they promise to introduce yet more standardization of components.

Meanwhile, the teams have been discussing their own suggestions for the way forward, these being rather more conservative than the FIA's and concentrating on slashing test and research costs rather than introducing more standard parts. The one radical item is that they might look at the results of the recent market research campaign to find out what the fans want to see. Good grief, is it really possible that we might be heard for a change?

Reading between the lines, it is pretty obvious that there is a struggle on the way. The FIA can think of nothing but standardization; the teams, especially the manufacturers, will do anything to avoid it. In the past, the FIA has been able to enforce unpopular measures but falling grid numbers and the lack of new entrants mean that the teams now have the upper hand. If they depart, the FIA will have no F1 to dictate to. It is going to be an interesting battle.

The third bus is the news that Mark Webber has turned to the dubious science of cryogenics to assist with a rapid recovery from his broken leg. For those who don't know, cryogenics concerns itself with the idea that we can freeze those with incurable diseases and hold them in a state of suspended animation until such time as a cure is developed. Apparently being subjected to the extremely low temperatures used in cryogenics helps the body in all sorts of unlikely ways and Mark swears that he feels all the better for it.

If nothing else, at least this shows that all the money spent on such phantom hopes as cryogenics might prove beneficial after all. Keep sending the millionaires off to the deep freeze if you will - we're happy if freezing the butt off a F1 driver keeps him in the game!


Tell me Clive, about the first situation: what's the true about the "American Formula One Team"? I heard news about that since July, with Ken Anderson behind this, and now, aparently, it's Anderson and Peter Windsor are the "ironheads" of this projecto, without any european base. Very odd, huh?

So, should we consider it real?

About the second news, a FIA/FOTA War, such as it happened in 1979/82, it can be harmful to the sport. In a extreme case, shoud we consider something similar to the CART/IRL split, in the 90's?

Abut the third news... I rather not to comment. For now!
Date Added: 04/02/2009

As regards the American F1 team, your guess is as good as mine, Speeder. It's the first I've heard of it and I find it very hard to believe. One of those "I'll believe it when I see it" things.

A split similar to CART/IRL is always the danger hanging over F1. In some ways, this actually helps to keep keep things together, since everyone involved has been able to draw the lessons of that disaster. But, if the FIA push too things too far, it could happen.
Date Added: 04/02/2009

Steven Roy
The USF1 team was discussed on sidepodcast earlier. Stuart Codling of F1 Racing was around at the time. He called Peter Windsor who told him "that sounds like the product of a slow news day". Now that is not a flat out denial but Stuart seemed to believe that is exactly what it was. So it looks like no USF1 team.

The FIA/FOTA thing will continue for some time yet. So long as the teams want one thing and the FIA want another that is inveitable.

Cryogenics may not be the most reliable science but one thing is certain. Exposure to cold will cause the blood to be drawn to the skin and in doing so will pull blood past any damaged areas.

Quite how good it is for the rest of the body to go through thermal cycles with a range of 150 Celsius I don't know but I can't imagine it is good for the cardio-vascular system.
Date Added: 04/02/2009

I missed the Sidepodcast discussion - sounds interesting. My impression of Peter Windsor is that he's not the kind of guy to get involved in setting up a new F1 team - he's done his time in the sport and appears quite content to stand and comment from the sidelines now.

I would agree that cryogenics doesn't sound as though it would have long term benefits for the body. Perhaps a reminder that some athletes will take all sorts of weird substances if they might offer a short term advantage...
Date Added: 04/02/2009

hmmm. from the woman's view i'm sort of interested in the cellulite angle of cryogenics. this could catch on.
Date Added: 04/02/2009

I guess one could try it by sitting in the freezer for a while, Vera. ;)
Date Added: 04/02/2009

Alianora La Canta
The FIA are preparing a "white paper" (what's wrong with yellow or even pink?) {Clive - original post}

Because white is the traditional colour for political laws that haven't been through British Parliament but are intended to do so. This is as distinct from green papers, which are discussion documents. The reason why the FIA document called a "white paper" is because of borrowed tradition, nothing else.
Date Added: 05/02/2009

Alianora La Canta
Also, Peter Windsor did try to set up a F1 team once before. I don't know when it was, but he did mention in an interview in F1 Racing in November 2005 that Max Mosley had helped dissuade him from the idea.
Date Added: 05/02/2009

Pink Peril
I am no doctor by any means, but I always though heat was the thing for accelerating healing. Otherwise, why do so many athletes sit around under heatlamps trying to get bones knit together quicker?

But can someone tell Webber to keep quiet about the whole cryogenics thing, else Bernie & Max will hear of it and then we'll never be rid of those two !

Date Added: 05/02/2009

When NASCAR is not certain they will be able to fill the field for races beyond Daytona due to lack of sponsorship and NHRA is saying it probably won't have 16 cars in Top Fuel on a regular basis, why would any American company fund an F1 team? There are a number of turnkey operations in series Americans are really interested in for much less money, unless Bill Gates has developed a sudden interest in F1.
Date Added: 05/02/2009

Alianora La Canta
Pink Peril, maybe now is the time for Max and Bernie to hear about cryogenics. After all, making cryogenics into a financially and psuedopolitically satisfying industry is going to take all the brainpower they have and possibly more. Let's face it, there are not many people who have both the money and the need to use it to heal broken limbs right now, so there'd have to be a lot of cost-cutting and expansion of uses to make the science viable in the way Max and Bernie would want. And that's assuming they're not daft enough to make themselves test subjects for long-term cryogenisis (which could be somewhat... ...fraught). It would certainly get the pair out of F1's hair...

Lonny, you have a good point. At the moment, American companies would get more PR from an American series, at least in the eyes of American customers. With foreign currency worth less than it was, I suspect that the local market will be pursued with more vigour (if with fewer dollars, which you correctly identify as another reason to doubt USF1) than those abroad.
Date Added: 05/02/2009

I agree that an American F1 team seems a bit far fetched. It really doesn't make much sense...either from a marketing or financial standpoint. And Peter Windsor as an owner? Please!

Date Added: 05/02/2009

Alianora: Actually, I did know about government white papers and so on - I just couldn't resist a little mockery of the FIA's attempt to make itself so official. ;)

I was not aware of Windsor's previous desire to get into F1 as a team owner but it gives me pause to think that it was Mosley who dissuaded him. How good a manager would he be is he takes note of what Max has to say?
Date Added: 05/02/2009

Alianora La Canta
I suppose if a team boss listened to Max with a view to becoming boss at Ferrari, it might work. Otherwise, the boss in question would simply become vulnerable to psuedopolitical scheming.
Date Added: 08/02/2009

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