Reasons to be Cheerful – 2015

So i’ve been off the blog through the long hard winter months – sorry about that but after a slightly strange but compelling 2014 season the calendar has flipped and 2015 is here. The Motorsport year starts in full swing next week so here we have some reasons to be cheerful part 2015:

  1. ITS NOT LONG AWAY! – Force India and Williams have already shown their new looks off (albiet on a render and a old car) but its hard to believe that testing starts next week. Last winter felt like it lasted for ages after Sebastian Vettels slow waltz to the title in 2013 but with the 2014 F1 title going down to the wire and a short winter we are almost ready to be burning rubber again. But still – its not until March!!
  2. NEW LOOKS – While Williams haven’t changed much for 2015 apart from some under arm de-ponger on the sidepods (and no bad things considering that the Martini livery is one of if not the best look on the grid)  2015 should see a number of new paint jobs and removal of Ann Summers approved appendeges. Force India have made a lot of improvments to their incresingly messy livery with a much smarter look. McLaren’s web presence has seen a removal of all things silver and a lot of white, red and black so expect to see a completly new look over at Woking with the arrival of Honda. But still – the Ferrari will be red – phew!
  3. ENGINES – F1 gets its first new engine supplier in over a decade with the return of Honda and the other manufactuers will have been able to update 50% of their engine. Now Mercedes are likely to have also moved on a step and start as favourites in the power plant category but everyone else knows what they did and also can introduce their upgrades at any point during the season. Furthermore there are conflicting reports about Honda and their power plant and wether it will produce the goods or not. But vareity is the spice of life! But still – Mercedes will be out in front
  4. MERCEDES – F1 was served up a treat in 2014 by Mercedes after years of domination by the Vettle/Red Bull combo. They may of been streets ahead but like days of Senna/Prost they just let their drivers go at it and scored a huge P.R. victory alongside their technical one. Red Bull have lost their cool edgy-ness in F1 after tumultuous years with Webber & Vettel alongside plenty of politicing. Mercedes have won many a fan with their dominating campaign in 2014 and lets hope its something looked long and hard at by the pay masters in Milton Keynes. But still – we’d like to see many teams in the mix
  5. DANIEL RICCIARDO – will be lead driver for Red Bull next season with hopefully a more competitive Renault engine inside the last (possibly ever) Adrian Newey F1 car! He has all the makings of a world champ and seems to be able to draga car by the scruff of the neck around a track to places it shouldn’t really be. He showed it at Toro Rosso on some Saturdays during his formative seasons but exploded last year overtaking everywhere and taking the only non-mercedes wins of the year! But still – there is that Russian rocket in the other car
  6. TALENT AT THE TOP – F1 is set for another steller year in terms of driver talent with Ferrari and McLaren fielding two world champions each and Mercedes line-up remaining unchanged. Red Bull go into the season looking the lightest on paper with Daniel Ricciardo’s 3 wins the only top step action amongst their drivers but no-one doubts his pedigree. Williams remain unchanged with the vetran multiple race winner (and near 2008 World Champion) Felipe Massa going up against Bottas for a second year after a string of rostrum finishes. But still – Saubers looking rather pay drivery and Pastor Maldonado is still on the grid
  7. THERE MIGHT BE MORE THAN 9 TEAMS – Things are apprently looking up for Marussia and asset sales have been halted but we should know by the first test what the prognosis will be. If they do survive it will be a race to put a team together and build the 2015 car while they make do with the 2014 challenger. Caterham remain doubtful due to the mess of inter-linked companies that make the sale of the team so difficult. But still – there are no buyers and Haas F1 now owns the Marussia factory!

Well thats all for now, its almost time for some racing!

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Forza Jules: 4 Wheels follows 2 with Depleted Grid

First of all apologies for a lack of posting, and secondly we’d like to wish Jules Bianchi all the best with his recovery after his horrific accident at Suzuka a few weeks ago. Anyone who’s seen the accident knows it was incredibly serious and it may be some time before we know the full extent of his injuries and what sort of recovery we can expect.

On to the current race weekend at Austin that will see only 18 cars take to the grid as Caterham and Marussia have both gone into administration, furthermore Force India narrowly avoided defaulting on their Mercedes engine payments that would of also left them sidelined.

Despite Bernie’s insistence that he doesn’t really care for the smaller teams and wishes to run 3 car teams this reduced grid could of hardly come at a worse race for the sport after the 2005 debacle at Indianapolis that saw only 3 teams run and effectively sank F1 in the states for many years. With the payments due very soon for next years entry recovery deals must be done quickly and both teams are in a race against time to shore up a recovery deal. In this post we take a look at the teams that are currently struggling and what chance they have of fielding a challenger in 2015.

Caterham0 Points
Caterham were sold some months back to a group of mysterious investors from the Middle East and Europe. At first the deal seemed to be solid as Tony Fernandes had finally run out of patience for his F1 outfit that had failed to drag itself off the bottom of the F1 table into a meaningful outfit. However after laying off staff and saying the team was far too big and installing new people at the top the team has folded.

The main problem appears to be an issue of who owns what, there is one company that owns the F1 entry but a myriad of other companies that own the premises and the cars and the manufacturing equipment. Why this is the case no one really knows and it has come back to bite them. Even the administrators who shut the doors to the factory to try and untangle the mess had no idea what belonged to whom.

Unfortunately I can’t see this being resolved in time for next year, never mind making the last race. This web of companies needs to be consolidated but that can’t be done overnight and without the whole race team and the entry any sale is essentially useless.

Marussia2 Points
Marussia have had some year of ups and downs, a lean mean F1 outfit managed to make a decent (by their standards) F1 car that’s outpaced Caterham most of the year and a clever drive by Jules Bianchi saw him collect the first points in Monaco for any of the teams from the class of 2010. This sets them up to collect a large windfall in terms of prize money.

However Jules is currently in hospital and the team is in administration and like Caterham it hasn’t made the plane to Austin and Brazil. However unlike their main rivals they have a pretty plain setup and the administrator has kept the factory open and there are a few serious offer on the table for someone to buy the team from the current Russian owner.

The main issue is valuation, Andrei Tsheglakov wasnts around $10 million more than most people think the team is worth. However the team is still open and its just going to be a case of who blinks first, if Sauber also nick a point or two at the next few races expect the price to drop further as the prize money will be gone. But they will be rescued in time and Id expect them to be racing in Abu Dhabi.