Bernie’s Billions and buying back Formula 1 for pennies on the dollar

Bernie’s Billions and buying back Formula 1 for pennies on the dollar

 It’s no secret that Bernie Ecclestone became rich as hell from Formula 1 and really, really cashed in when Liberty Media bought the parent company (Delta Topco) of Formula 1 in early 2017.  But what does an American company know about running the global phenomenon of Formula 1???  It’s not Nascar.  It’s not football (the American version), and it’s not baseball.  More specifically, it’s not the Atlanta Braves.

Between 1991 and 2005, the Atlanta Braves won 14 division titles, 5 National League Pennants, and 1 World Series Title.  While they were not the most successful team in baseball during that era, they were damn good.  And while they were no doubt successful, they were owned by either Turner or the post-merger combination of Turner and Time Warner, not Liberty Media.  Under Liberty’s watch, they’ve made the playoffs four times (IN TWELVE YEARS!!!)  Baseball is as American as apple pie, fireworks, country music, or freedom.  Considering they bought one of the most iconic American teams of the time and ran it like a business (a shitty business), what made them think they would be able to run Formula 1 and grow the audience??

Regardless of your thoughts on Bernie Ecclestone (if you want to learn more about him I highly recommend The Tom Bower book on him “No Angel, The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone”), it’s hard to argue that he didn’t take over the sport and make it what it is today.  Regardless of how he did it and how you feel about the politics of it all, it became what it is today (ish) through no small part of his leadership.  Bernie is a bully, he’s an animal, who many people are either afraid of or intimidated by.  Let’s not forget, he is a 5’-0” 88 year old man.  A 5’-0” 88 year old man who cut his teeth in the 1950s dealing used cars and used motorcycles.  Oh, and he’ll still kick the shit out of you!!! He is as shrewd as he is smart and you should never ever turn your back on him or screw him over.  He holds grudges and will screw you over so much harder than you tried to screw him.

At the end of the day, love him or hate him, he is one smart, resilient businessman and if Liberty Media is actually trying to reduce their risk to the sport of Formula 1, I can only hope that Bernie gets back in charge!

 

One final comment, if anyone from Liberty reads this, I want to invest!

Nando’s Luck

The 2019 Racing season officially started this past weekend with one of the most iconic motorsports event of the calendar; the Rolex Daytona 24hrs. Racing legend Fernando Alonso and Wayne Taylor Racing captured victory at the rain-soaked event.

With the help of Kamui’s night drive, Jordan Taylor’s brief battle after the red flag, and Fernando keeping it out of trouble at the end when Nasr went wide in turn 1 handed the number 10 Caddy the victory and a set of handsome Rolex watches.

This is the 2nd major endurance event win in row for Fernado following his Le Mans victory with Toyota last summer. But somehow both wins felt a little gifted. At Le Mans, there wasn’t really a threat from the field and it was their race to lose. At Daytona, it seemed towards the end that number 7 Penske was starting to pull away but a mistake handed the lead and eventual victory to the 10 car.

Endurance events in my opinion is 50% luck and 50% racing. For a man that has suffered so much bad luck in F1 over the year, is now the year that pay back happens? All the bad luck drained out or spent, could we see the 2 time F1 champ take home the W at the brickyard this year and get the triple crown. Maybe leaving F1 was the best thing that ever could have happen to Fernado.

Tell us what you think!!

WTF is ‘Return of the Torpedo’?

I love to think that all Formula 1 fans are as into it as we are at F1 and Coffee, but we are Americans and most Americans don’t even know wtf Formula 1 is..Sorry, I still love you America…

 

In 2016, after being hit in back to back races by the same driver, Sebastian Vettel was no doubt furious with this particular driver.  This driver was, in theory, driving his previous car…  If I wanted to, I could argue that this car had won four back to back to back to back World Championships, but that was with the V8, which Renault built quite well…sorry Renault, but your V6 needs assistance.  Now, the driver I am referring to is obviously none other than Daniil Kvyat.  Sebastian said that Kvyat came at him like a torpedo.  Keep in mind, this was the start of the season when Scuderia Ferrari had allegedly gotten their shit together (****spoiler alert**** they definitely had not).

 

Now, fast forward to the British Grand Prix the following year.  During the pre-race press conference, a question was asked about being invited to Seb’s 30th birthday party.  Now if memory serves me right (not part of video link below), Toto was invited and Lewis was asked if it bothered or concerned him that his boss was hanging out with his theoretical biggest rival.  I don’t think it will be any surprise when Seb signs with Mercedes at some point.  Seb idolizes Michael and will follow in his footsteps (hopefully with three more WDCs – yes I am a Seb fan, at least most days).  The other drivers in the press conference were then asked if they went.  Danny Ricciardo does not turn down free alcohol, so if you want to hang out with him, invite him to your keg party (but don’t charge him!).  Pascal Wehrlein is fond of Seb but doesn’t think Seb is fond of him and wasn’t invited.  Then Kvyat is questioned…   Apparently, there was an invite for the ‘The Torpedo’ as Danny Ric says Vettel referred to Kvyat as.

 

For the 2019 season, Daniil Kvyat is back, and it’s going to be fantastic.

Exceedingly unExceptional Coverage by espn

About a month or so ago, I recorded ESPN The Magazine’s Most Dominate Athletes in 2018.  The only reason I recorded it was I happened to catch a shot of Lewis randomly one day.  Even though I had waited about a month to watch it, I was legitimately excited to hear what they had to say.  Lewis was ranked 12th out of 20.  There were quite a few athletes I didn’t know as I don’t watch every sport so not sure I can argue the ranking.  However, the entire piece on Lewis was maybe 45 seconds, which is bullshit, but it is ESPN and based in America.  Maybe Sky Sports would have had a better focus on the five time champ.  Beyond this, there was one comment made about him that stuck out to me.  They said he was completely dominating and was the only one doing it, that no one in NASCAR (yes) was dominating the way he was.  Come on ESPN!  You’re better than that.  Besides the fact that there are cars, drivers, and teams (and Gene Haas!), that’s about where the similarities end.  Again, come the f*ck on ESPN.  All that money and you can’t hire better analysts???  Probably could, but only if Disney had better luck during the Sky bidding war fiasco.

The Marlboro Man Moves on

Another lost championship, another new team principal at Ferrari.  Some things never change. After being so close to a WDC (and arguably a WCC) in 2012 followed by a dismal 2013, Stefano Domenicali had to step down in 2014 shortly after the season began. The man who replaced him (Mattiacci) lasted a whopping seven months before another change was deemed necessary. In comes the Marlboro man (Arrivabene) who really has no technical experience in Formula 1 or any form of racing.

So the question really is, does Ferrari need a team principal with an engineering background and understands Formula 1 as a sport rather than a business in order for the Prancing Horse to return to greatness?

Let’s break down the last 3 team principals:

Domenicali had numerous years (since 91) with the Scuderia in some sort of racing capacity. His 6 seasons as the Scuderia team boss yielded 1 WCC and 20 wins.

Mattiacci came from a pure business background as the Ferrari CEO of Asia and North America. His seven months yield a big goose egg.

Arrivabene was essentially the advertising VP for Philip Morris. His qualifications for running a team on this level were suspect at best.  His 5 seasons with the Red team yielded 14 wins and 0 championships, plus a winless 2016 season.

Just looking at the numbers tells you businessmen running the team at the Scuderia will not yield championships and that you are better off with a racer at heart at the helm. But numbers don’t tell the entire story either. After 2008, all the championship teams were able to exploit loop holes in the rules and ENGINEERED a quicker car. (Brawn in 09 with the double diffuser, RB with the blown diffuser, Merc with the untouchable PU).

To have a successful Formula 1 team one must have a great leader, but that leader must come from a racing background to achieve greatness. Mattia Binotto is a mechanical engineer by trade and has worked his way up the engineering ladder at Ferrari for 14 years.  With the rules changing for 2021, Ferrari could be in good position with a new team principal in 2019.

Also, pretty ironic that Arrivabene’s heart ached when he decided to let Kimi go, but in the end, the Prancing horse also had a dagger ready for Arrivabene himself.

-Somky

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