Auf wiedersehen to the German GP?

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Yesterday (Wednesday 24th), Red Bull’s owner, Dietrich Mateschitz announced that he and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had struck a deal to return Grand Prix racing to Austria for the first time since 2003.

On the face of it, this sounds great. An extra race in Europe at a time when the traditional heartland of the sport is being lost to exotic new locations around the world. My excitement didn’t last too long however. There are already 21 circuits with contracts in place for 2014, which is one too many before we start.

Looking at the potential races that could perhaps not go ahead next season, you first have to look at the new, untested venues that appear for the first time. Both the Sochi International Circuit, Russia and the Port Imperial Street Circuit, New Jersey, USA fall into this category. The New Jersey race was initially scheduled to debut in 2013 but the organizers had not complied with the terms and conditions of the contract forcing Bernie to annul it shortly after it was signed. New Jersey do have a new contract in place and now seem to be ready to host a race in 2014.

I have no doubt that the Russian circuit in Sochi will be ready on time, the circuit is being built in the middle of the Winter Olympic park that will host the games in the winter of 2014. Work has been going on at the Olympic park for quite some time and Sebastian Vettel was there recently and gave the progress the thumbs up.

Another possibility is that one of the current circuits that are struggling my leave the calendar. Both Korea and China have suggested that they would want to re-negotiate their current deals if they were to stay in F1. This in itself isn’t anything new but the comparative lack of local enthusiasm seems to compound the money issues.

All of the above do seem less likely with the Austrian race being given the provisional date of July 6th which is the start of the traditional European season that runs through to mid September. Looking at the European races we have for 2014 and the date that Austria have been given, I fear that Germany could well lose its race.

The two famous old circuits have been in recent years sharing the race. It has been no secret that both Hockenheim and the Nürburgring have both being struggling financially so a get out of jail free card my be just the ticket for them both.

    

Red Bull young driver programme

Sebastian VettelDoes it really work? Is it worth spending tens of millions of pounds every season on a bunch of drivers who will never drive for Red Bull?

In the eight years that Red Bull’s junior team has been in Formula 1, Toro Rosso has fielded six drivers from the young driver programme with only one graduating to the senior ranks, world champion, Sebastian Vettel. With Mark Webber heading to pastures new in 2014 with Porsche, the second Red Bull seat the Aussie is vacating is currently the hottest in F1.

Out of the current incumbents at Toro Rosso, it would seem that only Daniel Ricciardo has a realistic shot of graduation. His team-mate, Jean-Eric Vergne was overlooked for the recent young drivers test by Red Bull, all but ending any designs he had on the seat. Ricciado however, has stiff competition in the form of the 2007 world champion, Kimi Räikkönen. Both parties have made no secret of the ‘low level talks’ that have been held since Webber announced he is to leave at the British Grand Prix earlier this month.

If the Ice Man does get the nod over another junior driver, what does this say about the programme overall?

So far, the only driver to emerge from Toro Rosso is of course, triple world champion, Sebastian Vettel. That by anyone’s book is setting the bar very high, so high, that Red Bull backed drivers, Scott Speed, Sébastien Bourdais, Sébastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari have all fell by the wayside and out of F1 race drives altogether.

So should we call the young driver programme a failure if Ricciardo doesn’t get the drive? Or should we marvel at its ability to produce someone who could take all of Schumacher’s records over the next ten years?

After all, drivers like this don’t come along every day.

FOTA Fans Forum – Post Forum Tweet up

Hello all, it seems that the only thing my blog gets used for at the minute is to organise social events for my fellow motorsports fans. Guess what, this time is no different!

As most of you know the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) are once again giving us British fans the chance to pit our questions to the great and good of F1 on Wednesday, 26th June. The venue for this years forum is Tower Place, London, EC3R 5BU. Although I must confess to be disappointed that this years event isn’t being held at a F1 teams HQ with Williams and McLaren hosted the previous two.

It does however, present a great opportunity to gather a few of us together post forum and carry on the F1 talk over a beverage or two in our nations capital!

The pub of choice is The Dickens Inn, in St. Kathrine Dock, a stones throw from Tower Palace. As a Northerner, I left the the choice of meeting place to London dweller, Ultimate Frisbee player, beer drinker and all round F1 nut Andrew Dobb (go follow).

So if you are up for a bit of a social and a lot of F1 chat (even if you’re not attending the forum) please post a comment below so I can gauge how many people are interested.

The forum finishes at 7pm so we would look to get over to the Dickens Inn by 7.15pm

I’m looking forward to seeing new and old faces alike, see you all on Wednesday!

My new (tounge in cheek) role with AMG Mercedes F1

Today I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been appointed as the Director of future Director appointments at AMG Mercedes F1 Team. This follows weeks of intense negotiations between myself and the teams Director of human resources before I signed this morning with Non Executive Director of AMG Mercedes F1 Team Niki Lauda.

I’m sure you are all wondering where my role fits into the management structure here at Brackley. It’s very simple, let me explain.

As Director of future Director appointments, I’m directly answerable to the Director of human resources… unless I’m directed to search for a Director of higher ranking than him. In that case I report straight to the team principle, Ross Brawn. That was until this afternoon When I received an email from the new Director of new Directors who informed me of the arrival of Toto Wolff from Williams who directed the Director of new directors to direct me to report to him on any matters higher than the Director of human resources.

My first direct assignment from Executive Director, Toto Wolff is to try to lure McLarens Technical Director, Paddy Lowe to Brackley. Since we already have several differing Technical Director employed at AMG Mercedes, we want to make him Executive Technical Director of Technical Directors.

Technically, we can’t employ a direct approach in trying to lure Technical Director, Lowe to Brackley as he is under contract. However, we have to be direct in our restructuring of the team and stopping at nothing to get the right Directors, directing the staff in the right direction.

#mgpdonny 2013 Update

It’s been a couple of weeks since I first posted my plans for #mgpdonny 2012 and the uptake so far has been amazing! As way of an early Christmas treat, it’s time to fill you in with some of the finer details about the day.

Pit Lane Garages – It’s time to start to tell you about some of the exciting things ne have happening in the pit lane that is new for #mgpdonny 2013. Firstly, I pleased and proud to announce that Mission Motorsport will be displaying some of their machineary for your to get up close with. Mission Motorsport  is the forces motorsports charity with the aim to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of those affected by military operations by providing opportunities through Motorsport. Not only will MM be bringing some cars, members of the team will be coming along to talk about what the charity has done for them.

Mission Motorsports will have charity buckets around the pits plus a selection of items for you to purchase to help the charity.

Joining MM, is Enigma Motorsport. Enigma currently compete in Formula Ford and F3 Cup championships in the UK. Team bosses, Linton Stutley and Tom Farquhar will be on hand to answer any questions my well-informed readership have to offer. Enigma Motorsport enjoyed their best season to date in 2012 with the team posting the impressive record of having at least one driver on the podium at every race meeting!

Don’t forget that Enigma’s Formula Ford driver, George Blundell along with Dan Parker will be guiding us all around the track walk at the end of the day!

In my original post, I said that the very talented artist, Ian Cook (@PopBangColour) was going to be displaying some of his art work in the garages. Well…. that’s not exactly true! Yes Pop Bang Colour is going to be there and yes, he will have some of his prints for you to look at (and buy). In addition to that, Ian will be running a Pop Bang Colour workshop in his temporary studio in the pits where you can (for a small fee) learn to paint with remote control cars PBC style!

Pretty good eh? Well it gets better, you get all this and admission to the Grand Prix collection (with souvenir programme) for just £8

Click here to register now

 

#mgpdonny 2013

It’s that time of year again! The F1 season is over, and what a season it was, arguably the best of all time.MGPdonny_redonwhite

With winter testing still seeming a million miles away, #mgpdonny is back to give all you motorsports fans a chance to meet and enjoy an action packed motorsports themed day.

Click here to book

Last year, I basically threw open an invitation to join me at Donington and see some great cars. The day soon snowballed into quite an event with quizzes, competitions and the opportunity to walk the famous old track! 40 hardened fellow petrol heads joined me for what was a great day out.

Spurred on by this, I’m happy to announce details of my 2013 even to be held on Sunday January 27th.

The Collection

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The day will once again start with the Grand Prix collection. The Donington Grand Prix Collection is, quite simply, the largest showcase of Grand Prix racing cars in the world.grand_prix_collection_hall

Four halls, with over 130 exhibits, illustrate the history of motorsport from the turn of the 20th Century, where visitors can get close to the cars driven by such famous names as Nuvolari, Mansell, Prost, Moss, Fangio and Stewart.

The Donington Grand Prix Collection houses the largest collection of McLaren and Williams racing cars in the world (outside of their respective factories), and the only complete collection of Vanwalls.

There will be a quiz on the collection to test the old grey matter while you take in the collection.

Click here to book

Lunch

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Exactly as it says on the tin with the addition of prize giving for the quiz and caption competitions

Pits and Track

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LW1D0698In an exciting addition to last year, 2013 will see several teams displaying their current array of race cars in their natural environment. Team members will be on hand to answer any question you have and let you get up close and personal with their cars.

A full list of teams will be posted closer to the event.

Click here to book

Also in the garages will be the ultra talented Ian Cook aka PopBangColour. Ian will be displaying some of his works of art that he produces using only radio control cars and tyres.

LW1D0746Also during the afternoon we will once again be taking to the track (on foot). Joining us on our flying lap of the famous old circuit will be drivers George Blundell and Dan Parker. George (Formula Ford) and Dan (Pickup trucks) will be on hand to give their expert knowledge on braking points, apex’s and putting it all together for that fast lap to give you a great insight to the Donington Grand Prix circuit.

Saturday Social

Sat 26th from 8pm

For those who want to make it more of a weekend affair. I, along with a few others will be stopping in Castle Donington the night before to meet up and enjoy a beer or three to talk about all things motorsport. Below is a selection of B&Bs in Castle Donington.

Morten Guest House Church View Hotel Donington Cottage

This all sounds great right? What’s this all going to cost I hear you shout. Donington have once again given me discount for the day Their normal price is now £10 but they will do it for us on the day for £8 each *Includes a free souvenir guide.

To book your place, all you need to do is register for your pass by following this link: http://mgpdonny.eventbrite.co.uk  and print off you #mgpdonny pass which you’ll hand in on the day to receive your discount.

Thank you to Sam Jessup for designing to the logo for this years event. Sam has also put the design on to a t-shirt. If you like the design and would like to purchase one, please comment in the box below. If enought people show an interest, we will get some made.

 

mgpdonny_logo_shirt

 

How stupid do you think I am?

For the past few weeks, I have been doing some research on used cars as I’m looking to change in the new year. Tonight, I found a 1.6 Mini Cooper d at the amazing price of £2,750. This was from a ‘trade seller’ on Autotrader.

I sent an email to the provided address that read:

Hi,   I saw your add for the Mini on Autotrader, the price says £2,750. I see all your cars are around the same, very cheap price. Can you confirm that this is the price and could you also give me more info on the condition of the car.   Regards

I speculated on twitter about this ad and several others that I saw from the same garage, as every ad had a different email address.

 

This is the reply that has just come through:

Hello,
I still got the 2009 09 MINI COOPER DIESEL   for sale at the price of £2750. The car is in excellent condition, garage kept and accident free. The mileage is real and I never had any problems with the engine. The car looks and works just perfect. I bought it from UK and it is still registered here. We live in the Northern part of United Kingdom, in a beautiful sea-side city called Thurso. We are a nice couple of pensioners (I have 64 and my beloved wife is 63 years old) and don’t use the car so often. We love to spend our time on the road but now we use to travel by plane, so a car is no more useful for us. Also we sold our house  and bought a big farm here in Thurso. If you are really interested we are ready to make a trip to England and meet you personally. You can take the car for a test-drive and any kind of inspection. Please tell us where do you live? I am sure that we will find a nice city in England to arrange a meeting, a region acceptable for us and for you in the same time. We have the faith that this can be a good deal!
P.S. I appreciate if we can continue our conversation by e-mail. The mobile signal is poor here, we have to walk over 2 miles for a good phone call.
Thank you and let me know,

Mark

In the words of Kimi and Seb (and a little extra fro myself) fucking bullshit!