Mid-season intrigue revolves around Ferrari plans for drivers and F1 engine supply
Scuderia Ferrari
Honda, Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jul 2017   |  8:30 am GMT  |  235 comments

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne was at the Austrian GP on Sunday and in the wake of his visit, the extent to which Ferrari is at the centre of things with regards to future moves on engines and drivers, has become clearer.

Marchionne said that Fernando Alonso would not be returning to Maranello, but did give Kimi Raikkonen another hurry up, asking for more commitment from the Finn. He also said Raikkonen needed to “do a great job now if he is to protect the possibility of winning the championship.” He didn’t specify which, but the way he was again used on Sunday as a strategy spoiler against Mercedes to help Vettel indicates that Marchionne was thinking about the Drivers’ championship, rather than the Constructors’.

But on the rumour of an agreement with Max Verstappen from 2019 onwards, Marchionne was more enigmatic, saying only that “we have not signed anything.”

Sebastian Vettel got (another) dressing down from Marchionne after his behaviour in Baku, as he had after last year’s Mexican Grand Prix, but Marchionne said that the option to stay in 2018 lies with Vettel. The question is how many years that extension might be. This could well coincide with a move to install Verstappen, if Ferrari succeeds in prising him away from Red Bull.

What is clear is the increasing influence of Marchionne on F1 politics. He intervened in the post Baku events, has removed the head of Ferrari’s engine programme and continues to promote Mattia Binotto, the current technical director whom some Italian colleagues are now seeing as a future Ferrari team principal.

Marchionne is set to become an even bigger fixture in F1 in the coming years as he scales down his role with FIAT Chrysler Automobiles and resolves around his role at Ferrari. He motivated the moves that have put Ferrari technically on a level to lead the world championship and is steering them through the transition of ownership from CVC and Bernie Ecclestone to Liberty Media.

Alfa Romeo F1

He also has a dream to promote Alfa Romeo, an FCA brand, in F1 and there is talk in Gazzetta dello Sport today of the Haas engine in 2018 being branded Alfa Romeo. Haas is proud of its Ferrari connection and its technical collaboration but a thorough evaluation will tell them and Ferrari of the relative merits of rebranding the rear end of the car to Alfa. It seems an obvious opportunity.

What is more interesting in the Haas- Ferrari relationship is how they bring on Ferrari’s young drivers. With Sauber switching to Honda next year, Haas is the only place for Ferrari to bring youngsters through.

Leclerc, Giovinazzi

They made a mistake taking Esteban Gutierrez, when he was a Ferrari reserve driver. The other driver Jean Eric Vergne would have been much better but he didn’t have the backing. Now Ferrari has Antonio Giovinazzi who did a 50% good job in his two substitute Grands Prix with Sauber in Australia and China, but more excitingly they also have Charles Leclerc, who is dominating F2 (the former GP2) in his rookie season, reminding everyone of Lewis Hamilton in 2006.

He looks like one of the rare talents, clearly deserving of an F1 opportunity in 2018 and Haas is the most likely place, but they have Kevin Magnussen on a contract with another year in it and Romain Grosjean, who for all his complaints about brakes and balance is still capable of stunning results, such as his 6th place ahead of the Force Indias in Austria on Sunday.

A Magnussen-Leclerc line up would be interesting with Magnussen a good benchmark for Leclerc to measure against.

Haas is evaluating both; it ran Leclerc several times in Friday practice last season and is running Giovinazzi this weekend in Silverstone. As Force India found with its evaluations of Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon in 2015 and 2016 you can arrive at a strong picture of a driver from these tests and that’s how Ocon got his chance this year, which he is repaying in spades.

Ferrari, McLaren

McLaren approach Ferrari. Red Bull or Williams long term option for Honda?
Meanwhile Italian colleagues were briefed that McLaren had approached Ferrari about a supply of engines for next season, although their preferred option remains Mercedes. McLaren’s management and Honda both ruled out the idea of a temporary split while Honda sorts itself out with Sauber and then pressing on together again in 2019.

This divorce would leave Honda available for a Red Bull or a Williams to swoop in 2018 or 19 and establish Honda as a long term partner, something both teams desperately need. It is the main weakness in Red Bull’s F1 proposition and it keeps on coming up and costing them, as it has since 2014. There were hopes that Audi would be that partner, but the VW emissions scandal blew that up. Whether that is temporary or permanent, time will tell.

The VW Audi Group is constantly evaluating an F1 presence with one of its brands, especially if F1’s new owners succeed in their plans to increase the F1 audience and engage with younger fans.

We are moving towards the early adoption of louder and simpler hybrid engines, possibly as soon as 2020, if Ross Brawn has his way. This would be a clever move as it would come a year before the manufacturer teams bilateral agreements end, so any threats to leave by Mercedes or Ferrari if they aren’t getting what they want from F1 financially would be tempered by the need to redo the engine a year before departure. There is no doubt that both giants are ready for a fight and there are various tactics going on behind the scenes where both are showing how strong are the levers they can pull in F1. As Wolff said in the FIA Sport Conference in Geneva last month, “I wouldn’t want to be in Chase’s (Carey, F1 CEO) shoes.”

The early move to the simplified engines will also help Honda a lot to reach competitiveness sooner. Their mistake was to empower inexperienced engineers too soon on this F1 project, underestimating the scale of the task and they have taken steps to remedy that. Sticking it out and winning is the best way for Honda to show what it is made of and both Liberty and the FIA are very keen to keep Honda in the F1 fold.

Honda F1

After Red Bull found itself struggling to find an engine in 2015, the FIA amended the engine regulations so now the manufacturers are obliged to supply teams, which is why Ferrari would perhaps supply McLaren if push came to shove. McLaren has a long history with Mercedes, albeit one with the ‘spy gate’ scandal of 2007 and subsequent $100m fine at the heart of it.

The boss of Mercedes F1 engines back then Ola Kallaenius, is now the heir apparent to the CEO Dieter Zetsche and is apparently minded to work with the executive committee at McLaren of the Bahrainis and Mansour Ojjeh, while Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda remain opposed to Mercedes supplying McLaren again.

What do you make of the goings on behind the scenes in F1? Leave your comments in the section below

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I am sick of Ferrari being paid cash 50 million maybe more just to show up Saber need help give them the money..
F1 bends over for these guys thank Bernie doing this for 40 +yrs should have one every championship ..


“..Protect the possibility of winning the championship..”
Wow, I didn’t think anyone could out-Ronspeak Ron. Take a bow Mr Marchionne.


With honda pulling out of supplying sauber and mclaren rumoured to be going the ferrari engine route next year could we see honda exiting f1. Leaving just 3 engines.😣


If losing with a Honda engine has been painful for McLaren, watching it win for Red Bull will be more so…
Can they really risk carrying the burden of development and kissing goodbye to the spoils of all the pain??


James, what an amazing reading this has been with lots of behind the scenes subjects, I didn’t want the article to end.

One question, what do you make of the latest Autobild rumor claiming that Honda has decided to step back from Sauber contract?

In social network some fans are commenting that if that were to be true it will mean Honda will pull out of F1. Such a thing would give more credibility to the news that McLaren had approached Ferrari about a supply of engines for next season (now that manufacturers are obliged by the FIA to supply teams)

My god, this year the silly season is reaching a new level.


Let’s hope Honda does not leave F1, certainly Liberty and FIA are working hard to make sure it doesn’t happen


Couple of pieces of news that may or may not be correct but seem to fit with what James has said.
-Apparently McLaren has submitted some form of request to Ferrari for engine supply. There were rumours that spoke of the PU being dressed as Alfa Romeo. In return, McLaren would provide political support to Ferrari in the negotiations with FOG over future concorde discussions to safeguard some level of Ferrari’s additional payments
Second a rumour is circulating, started by Auto Bild that Honda is about to pull out of the supply agreement with Sauber. If this is true much of JA’s comments above would seem to come into play.


I found this sentence rather interesting:
“McLaren’s management and Honda both ruled out the idea of a temporary split while Honda sorts itself out with Sauber and then pressing on together again in 2019.”

Now did Marchionne know something that wasn’t publicly known, as I have just read elsewhere that Honda may be pulling the plug on supplying Sauber with its engines in 2018?


I know this is a hobbyhorse I keep bringing up but there is a very simple solution to F1s ‘engine’ issues that could be implemented very quickly without making current implementations becomming instantly obsolete:
Scrap the engine formula entirely and have a fuel formula based on the current rules:
-100ish kg max fuel for each race
-Fuel formulation standardised for all teams
-How that fuel is used is entirely up to the ‘engine’ manufacturer

I’m not sure I’d like to work for Ferrari with SM in charge.


There is no great rush to get Max at ferrari as they have vettel. Probably keep Kimi as vettel likes the fact he rarely challenges his dominance.Thats again why no Max or Alonso.
Bottas is doing great.Dont know why the great sage EJ blathers about contracts as every month the fee goes up.He must be thinking of his Jordan skinflint days.
If alonso is to stay in F1 it may as well be Mclaren as they have the resources to develop if the engine is better next year.
Maybe that ex ferrari engine guy is going to Japan for his holidays.


I don’t understand – if Honda are viable enough for Red Bull in the future, why would McLaren lose their works status and demote themselves to an engine customer?


Good stuff James, given the always top loaded nature of F1, the politics are just as interesting as the racing much of the time.


James could I ask two questions directly to you
1. Who do you think will be Ferrari’s two drivers for 2018?
2. Do you think that Charles Leclerc will be in Formula 1 for next season?


Very interesting and exciting article!
Hope it is the last season for Kimi and that he ends at his own request!
Ferrari would surely be able to recruit Bottas, if they offer better conditions than Mercedes!


But on the rumour of an agreement with Max Verstappen from 2019 onwards, Marchionne was more enigmatic, saying only that “we have not signed anything.”

Just like in football, that doesn’t mean anything.


James, any insight to offer on this:

[Marchionne] has removed the head of Ferrari’s engine programme


I don’t recall seeing much of an explanation in any of the news stories I read about it.



Moved onto road GT programme


Thanks for the responsiveness!

However one follow up: The headlines (and the quoted) suggest he was almost sacked (or demoted) at the behest of Marchionne. So I’m still confused by what led to the change, particularly as Ferrari has made gains with their engine.


The Red Bull inter-team machinations (and likely significant $$$ padding) has lead to repeat mechanical failures for The Max, as per previous comment predictions.
RB are going to get into a quandry, as The Max likely has a performance bail-out clause. Don’t think RB won’t try to remedy the situation, and/or use up all of the slack in The Max’s bail clauses, without breaching the deal, but they walk a thin line, and even one unplanned engine glitch will see The Max free to explore other options.
I’ve written before that Ferrari should go for Ocon, and I stand by that, but The Max becoming available will be too much temptation. When Marchionne says that they haven’t inked the deal, the only variable is whether they get The Max in 2019, or, if RB breach the performance bail clause, Ferrari have access to him for 2018, which they will take, and The Max will take, should it become available.
Either way, I can’t see Kimi back in 2018.
One could even imagine a Ocon/The Max Ferrari line up in 2019.
If McLaren were to leave Honda, at this junction, I predict the demise of McLaren in F1!
But I wouldn’t put it past the ‘genius’ Zak Brown; the worst thing to ever happen to McLaren!
RB, still whining, albeit more quietly, behind the scenes, not realizing that they are in the MMC (Mercedes Managed Championship), and Mercedes was always going to manage this hybrid formula with years of advantage just sitting in the bag.
But Renault will come good enogh to eclipse Ferrari by the summer break and take over aftrerwards as the closest thing to competition Merc will have.
It looks like the DR camp has actually won out over the The Max camp at RB, which bodes unwell for RB, as DR is a made man. I don;t care what other commenters will say, he is the most propped up driver, since Fernando Alonso; without some illegal advantage over all of the other teams, DR will NOT win a championship.
The Max, on the other hand, even though the swerving in the braking zone is unacceptable, is the real deal, and he SHALL win a championship, maybe in Red.
Look for Vettel to Merc; the only question is, who will his team mate be?
Could it be possible that they would trade in Lewis?!
It is almost inconceivable; but Merc want to demonstrate that it is THEIR CAR which is winning the championship, thus the manufactured Rosberg championship in 2016, and who knows, maybe Lewy insulted Tonto or did some other greivous breach of ettiquette, and has been cursed by the blockheads.
That would of course free him up to go to Red, where he will likely win his 4th and 5th WDC. Call it luck, intelligence, or canny intuition, but he has made good team moves, and if he could win at Ferrari, he could demonstrate that IT WAS THE DRIVER!
He’s got to be thinking about it, at least a little bit.

So, while there is loads of intrigue in the drivers market, I don’t think it now rests on a decision to retain Kimi; the whole sharp end of the drivers market is now in play and it won’t likely be settled until late in the season.

Maybe Kimi can drive at Renault and win another WDC?!


@ DeanCassady…you really do need to keep up with the current comments made by both Horner and Marko. According to them there are no ‘get out’ clauses in either driver’s contracts and that Verstappen is on hold until the ’20 season and Ricciardo comes on to the market in ’19. Until then, as it stands, they are both non starters in any other team.


I stopped taking you seriously when you said Max had a performance clause that he could use against Red Bull. That’s absurd. They gave him his entire path. Why would they ever install a performance clause for him to back out? Ridiculous.


Well said.


Cheesypoof. You have no idea what Max’s contract says.


I’m not a 100% sure that you are NOT being sarcastic?!
Of course The Max got a performance clause, something like: if the machinery fails X number of times, I can get out of the contract, if I want to.
Why would ‘they’ ever install it; with ‘they’ being Red Bull?
Of course Red Bull would much rather NOT have such a clause in their contract with Max; but Max’s team (internal to Max; Red Bull is outside this circle) would have almost definitely insisted on such a more or less standard clause for openly sought after top-end drivers.
So, maybe you don’t know that?!
Your labelling of ‘ridiculous’ is in itself, unfortunately…


@ deancassady…Are you saying that Horner and Marko are lying and that Verstappen will be gone at the end of this season? When did you read the contracts or are you just making it all up?


I wonder if ferrari having been caught cheating with the oil burn have sacked their engine head to avoid any potential action from the FIA. Why else would you sack a guy who has produced one of the best engines on the grid.
Ferrari have been caught cheating end of.
I think a deal has been done so as not to throw the book at them. Spineless Jean todt should go. We need a fair boss of fia.


To s andretti
I did know the engine man has been moved to the road car Engine division. Now who is assuming 🙄😋


lols….Ferrari caught cheating and got away with it and rest of the F1 grid stayed quiet as they were fishing or playing ping pong ?


Marchionne has to be more involved in Ferrari maters bcs of the end of the Concorde Agreement in 2020.
Any hints of how the $100M Ferrari history bonus will translate into the new general F1 deal?
Will they get more shares than all others ?
McLaren and Williams have to urge to recover their competitive form, otherwise their current form will affect their past glory contributions, compared to the newcomers RedBull and Mercedes.


Ferrari – whatever happens they wont win the constructors this year unless they hit H2 out of the park, so the WDC is where it’s at. Vettel has stretched his legs over Kimi this year (albeit with usual Ferrari No. 1 – No. 2 driver status to be taken into account). Is this the year Kimi finally moves on for good? I think it will be. Who replaces him is anyone’s guess…

Am I the only one who was thoroughly underwhelmed by Giovinazzi? I found the coverage of him bewildering, he failed to outqualify Ericsson, had a nothing race and then binned it twice. I know he was new to the team etc but even making allowances for that it was a pretty poor showing.

I can see why Mercedes would be reluctant to supply McLaren with an engine after their lengthy but ultimately unfulfilling relationship. A McLaren using a Ferrari engine is surely one of the harbingers of the apocalypse…


I find it somewhat bemusing that without doubt the greatest influence on the direction of development of the whole motor industry, has been the VW Audi Diesel emission cheating scandal. The fallout from this has convinced several manufacturers to make brave statements about their future vehicle line-up being solely electric or at least very greenly hybrid! That it should be VW Audi considering an entry to F1, therefore is serendipitous as they are responsible for moving the industry toward the F1 spec from the other end.
One must ask though will they be allowed in? As the ten team limit is about to be extended if at least one other rumoured hopeful is admitted, will it stretch to 12 or will Sauber become Audi F1 racing?
We await a serious leap forward in battery technology to allow greater capacity and faster charging. This must go with domestic energy storage with this being topped up during the day with solar and used to re-charge the car at night otherwise both the grid and the power stations (which are 15-20 years out of date in the UK) will become seriously overloaded as the main transport energy source switches from hydrocarbon to electric.
The next generation of F1 engines needs to have the electrical limits raised considerably or dismissed altogether, though we then enter new dangers.
There are a lot electrical features that could be applied to the cars per Max’s cost capped regs version.


@Dick Ansell

You know what would be really horrifying? From 2020.. perhaps they will start using complete electric cars like Formula E, but they will also have a PETROL GENERATOR on the car that keeps running at the SAME RPM THROUGHOUT the lap, holding it at its Peak Torque and power level.

The Generator keeps charging the batteries that power the Electric motor as per need and power is also regenerated while braking.

If on certain circuits there is a POWER SURPLUS per lap, then the Petrol Generator stays shut for parts of the lap. On certain circuits, if there is power DEFICIT, then perhaps the Generator runs at higher rpm than its peak efficiency.

This will (obviously) prompt them to eventually REDESIGN the LAYOUT of the CIRCUIT to solve this glaring INEFFICIENCY.

This will also give a chance for Public Road designers to intern under Track designers and “Learn” 🙂

@Sebee.. i know you are crying right now imagining the Constant stable BUZZ of the Petrol Generator that keeps humming at the same RPM constantly. ^.^

Perhaps, they will switch to “DIESEL” since it has more torque at lower rpm and better suited for Generator operations. Lower Rpm means they can use the same engine throughout the year – thus reducing costs for smaller teams!! I am sure SAUBER is salivating right now.


They’d sooner come up with a battery replacement system. Car pits, they lift it, flick a switch to off, drop out the bottom, slide in freshly charged battery, flick switch on, go, go, go. 20-25 more laps!

Standardized battery shape and replaceable batteries is something that is not discussed as much as it should be for road cars.

It is my theory that the Apple car will have a replaceable battery. I think the battery will be split 50/50. Half fixed, half replaceable where you can pull up to a battery depot and swap out the replacable half for 150 miles of range in 2 minutes.



Oh, i found out what made the Rimac Electric car burst into flames! apparently, the extreme heat produced by the electricals is OIL cooled.


I read on the interweb that Richard Hammond crashed a Rimac Concept Car that is fully electric and the car turned into a fireball as soon as he jumped out of it !!

I can understand batteries can start sparks but what exactly fuelled the electric “sparks”? The Carbon Fibre Body?

Earlier we had metal body cars using Carbon based Fuels.

Now we have Carbon based bodies (Rimac is Carbon FIbre) and Metal based batteries (Rimac has a Lithium Iron battery as per wiki).

The net result is still the same it seems, the cars still are flammable if you crash em.


Very interesting.
I have repeatedly expounded upon a steadily declining fuel consumption limited F1, understandably converging with Formula E down the road.
And why not glass racetracks, solar capture as off set to F1 hydrocarbon emissions.
It’s not so unbelievable, as can be seen in the articles:

For all of the massive $$$ spent in F1, they could really lead the way of automotive technology by creating solar panel race tracks and combine it with a steadily decreasing fuel limit, on a stable trajectory, with open PU configuration to foster innovation.


It must be my type of brain, but the first thought on reading the Smithsonian mag article was “if they put the Solar film on top of a piezo film they could utilise the weight of the vehicles as they passed along the road” (Until maglev happens that is, thanks Professor Eric Lathwaite (One of my heroes))


Dick, all the pieces are clearly visible already to what you note.

Tesla is pushing for storage and is demonstrating the effectiveness of their storage systems for grid use, just google it.
There are other solutions to storage, like combining hydroelectric with solar. During the day when there is power, it is used to pump water from a lower lake to a higher one, and at night the water it let flow pushing hydroelectric generators.
Of course Molten Salt Reactors are a real thing, will come online in a few years and features and highlights of the technology read like a dream list. Compact, potentially portable in 20 or 40 foot containers, using current nuclear waste for fuel and not able to have a meltdown – it’s straight out of sci-fi.
Add to this the battery tech that’s moving forward fast with the lithium batteries with new electrolyte now offering safety and double the capacity of lithium-ion, and other inventions that have pushed battery recharge cycles to half a million cycles, and you can see beyond doubt that future is electric.

And here is a little sobering thought – China is at the forefront of all of it. Reusable generation. Molten Salt Reactors. Electric Cars. All of it. In a short few years – perhaps a decade. China could become fully energy independent, and the western world will be paying China to take the nuclear waste from our old outdated reactors that they will then use for their modern Molten Salt Reactors. Imagine – they will be potentially paid, and paid well, to get the fuel for their reactors to satisfy their energy needs. The rest of the world will look foolish!

And then, they could become the centre for all the production of these technologies. If Apple makes a car, where do you think it will be made? You think it will be 100% electric? You can bet it will be. And it will be made in China. China could soon be making the world’s batteries. The world’s electric cars. The world’s power generators. Imagine that.

Finally, Audi/VW. What to say? First, they are dead to me. What they did, the disregard to the general population around the world with their product is unforgivable. I certainly don’t forgive them. I will never own any of their products, because to be seduced into their product is to give them a pass on what they did – and that’s too much to allow. What would they learn? That consumers forgive after 2 years? Nope. Not sufficient enough a punishment. EPAs and courts may have punished them, but car consumers should as well. I understand why they would want to suck up and be in F1 to market their wares, but the history of VW going back is filled with bad choices, and this whole diesel thing – well, it’s too big to ignore and allow F1 to make better. There is science that these emissions that VW was contributing to take on average 4 years out of peoples lives. Part of me wanted VW to fail for doing what they did with this diesel stunt. I certainly wouldn’t want to see them in F1, but we know F1 won’t turn them away if they decide to enter. Money talks.


A small crumb of comfort regarding China: all industrial revolutions come to an end sometime……


I think I may have had a comment error here and this reply didn’t go here. I was just pointing out that electrification of the world will stretch China’s industrial revolution by a bunch of decades as they provide cars, batteries and Molten Salt reactors to the world.


You saw those Nova documentaries didn’t you? (One on battery tech, and the other on nuclear tech?) Brilliant innovation. What’s interesting is that the vast majority of that innovation is still happening in the US, but because China has a, er, less complicated regulatory system, the start-ups will often test-bed the technology in China. Unwittingly, this would allow China to keep up to speed with many of these developments.

I have high hopes that technology will ultimately help us decrease fossil fuel use and thus help with pollution and climate change. But what it means for F1? Ultimately, I think F1 and FE will merge into a new F1 that has no ICE in its PU at all! Peeeeee-youuuuuu! Lol!


It was impressive, that episode of NOVA. Sure, tech is being developed here by smart dudes. But where will it be made? Exactly.


Sure, but they could be making electric stuff for the world for decades to come.


I have to come back on some points, not to disagree but to amplify:
The molten salt reactor is probably the safest type of reactor there is but can we get them built in the UK? No there is not sufficient scope for repeatedly doubling the cost as with the ludicrous EDF project currently under way. The Thorium salt reactor is far too cheap and safe to justify the enormous profits to be made from water cooled pressurised reactors. Like the everlasting light bulb and the water-gas powered car, the thorium rector has been buried to preserve profit.
Lithium supply is limited and concentrated in few parts of the world, including China of course so we must find another better way, I have hopes of Graphite being used as a basis as an electrode and as a conductor.
Yes the use of catalysts to change gas to electricity directly is now being used by major US corporations, the CHE Combined Heat&Electricity fuel cell is another coming tech also being delayed by the large electricity suppliers, i had shares in Ceramic Fuel Cells 5 or 6 years ago while UK tests were being carried out. A unit the size of a fridge which provided your heat and electricity fed on mains gas.

Back to emissions, what is not really appreciated by the general population is that even when all forms of emission control are working properly to spec and to Euro 5 regs; it is only working when the engine the filters, the cats etc are all up to specified working temperature. This means that a lot of local shopping, or school runs never reach operating temperature thus never come anywhere near meeting the emission regs or the publicity figures. In fact when cold they can be ten to twenty times the permitted level. This was demonstrated on a Renault van by a BBC Horizon program in the only test station they could get to co-operate, in “mid europe” (others all refused). (the prog was a year or two before the scandal)
In F1 terms though we should remember that Audi won Le Mans and the WEC with a diesel car. But could they buy Sauber or Force India?


Yeah, that Nuclear project in UK is funny. By the time that thing is built, Molten Salt will be here, and then what? What a waste that thing will be, making fuel for Molten Salt reactors at a huge price basically. EOL before it’s even online.

You point to an interesting point. Nuclear lobby is so strong in the western world. With power plant shelf life ending but licenses extended beyond what was considered safe in the past. Politicians protect their region’s economics to build or gain advantage for their plants. It is one of the reasons why Molten Salt never took off in the past. Bill Gates apparently wanted the US to do it, but when he saw the political opposition and lobby fight it to protect current plants, he went to China, who welcomed him with open arms immediatly. How funny is that?

Intersting point on the emissions. This, the temperature issues, idling, and the rest of it is exactly why the inefficiencies are huge and the system is prime for disruption and automation.

You know what’s funny? Companies knew Apple was coming with a smart phone and their answers to it were lame. They know now that Apple is coming with a car, and auto industry is not doing what it needs to do to transform. When that Apple car comes, they will feel it and hard.

I will repeat a staggering data point to you Dick. In North America, the entire passenger fleet utilization is…are you sitting down? 4%. Four frikken percent. The other 96% of the time the cars are sending parked. If you run the data based on car seat occupancy, it is actually 1%. Isn’t that crazy? The second most expensive thing people buy, unused 96% of the time.

Now think about this – Apple manages to get utilization rate to 8%, and HALF the cars can be removed from the road. That’s still 92% unused fleet. Get it up to 16% and 3/4 of cars can be removed off the road. Still 84% unused. It’s mind boggling how much efficiency is in this system. If automated, think of all the parking space that’s freed up for other use. Sports, courts, homes, parks, etc. The car takes so much space, and it is used only 4% of the time. It’s NUTS!

Someone will disrupt the hell out of this industry, because it is prime for disruption. And would car industry disrupt selling us things we don’t use 96% of the time? Nope. It’s going to have to be a tech company. And as numbers above tell you, they won’t need to replace all the cars on the road. In fact, they will be just fine if they shoot to replace 10 cars with 1 Apple Car. It will more than do the trick.

Can you imagine the world with 10% of the cars? The efficiency? The emissions eliminated? The noise. The wasted time. The stress. The time saved. Traffic all but gone. This is all within reach if cars go autonomous and electric and if the automobile finally lives up to given name.

All of this, all of what is surely about to happen is why those discussions that automation and electrification is the biggest threat to F1. dean above argues about putting F1 on a track toward FE, but FE is already there, why would it want F1? Something basically doesn’t survive here, and I bet it’s not FE.


I’m afraid, your opinion is just one voice, nothing more. The dieselgate punishment has been dished out, you have to move one. I don’t know whether they paid you to write against VW group but your assertion that they are dead is absolutely wrong. The group has many marques under it, some of them at the forefront of electric-powered vehicles. Diesel cars won’t go away quickly too, don’t be carried away. I was in India & china, and almost 60% of cars I saw there were diesel.
Summary: Don’t buy anything VW. VW is not made for everyone


That diesel gate punishment that has been dished out was not dished out by me. I pay the price by breathing their crap. My kids pay the price. You pay the price. Whatever punishment they got wasn’t mine. So whenever I can I tell friend and family NOT to buy a VW product – that is my punishment – to NOT give them any revenue. To NOT support their recovery from their abuses. I know they are not the only offenders on this, but they sure as heck are the biggest. I don’t care about their other marques, where they get in the board room and decide which components they will share between brands, slap some different sheet metal, a different logo on it and it’s 20, 30, 40 grand more, but with same crappy diesel engine. No way. Like I said, VW is dead to me, so is Audi, Porsche, Lambo, Bugatti, Skoda – whatever they make, my punishment to them is to not support a company who has gamed their customers like this. I mean think about what they did – basically totally disregarded their customers, lied to them, took their money and make them pollute our breathing air with product that didn’t meet clearly stated regulations. That’s forgivable? No way!

I don’t cheer for failure, but if the come into F1 you can be sure that I will do so. And if the start winning, I won’t watch F1. That’s how strongly I feel about what this company did. No amount of PR is going to smooth it over. I even want their electric cars to fail, and as you know I’m a fan of electric cars for public transportation.

Honestly, I hope other people feel this way about them and boycott the brand for the rest of their lives. Sadly, I’m likely a tiny minority on this point. But one can hope.


Most times I read posts by Seebee and I can see a little bit of sense in some of it, but this one is totally devoid of anything remotely approaching logic.
Let’s start with electric cars and some real world facts. A few weeks ago I did a back to back track test at a local circuit with a Tesla S (current spec) and our race team R8LMS. The Tesla lasted 6 laps (about 50k’s) until it went into low battery mode and needed to be recharged. The Tesla has about 550 kgs of battery and in the same number of laps the R8 used about 14 kgs of petrol. Right there is the first problem, 550 kgs gets you around the same distance as 14 kgs of petrol. The refuelling (recharging) of the Tesla took around an hour using a 450 volt 3 phase outlet, that’s for another 6 laps. We refuelled the R8 in 23 seconds and it would do around 60 laps before it needed refuelling.
Simple maths, for 40 times as much weight the electric car travelled 1/10th as much distance and took 160 times longer to refuel. There’s a long, long way to go before electricity has remotely close to the calorific value over weight of petrol. My great grandchildren will have great grand children.

Next VW, I’ve actually bought more VW’s since they proved how smart they were compared to the California EPA, the self proclaimed world leaders in environmental protection. To top it off, a couple of university students then showed just how stupid the CEPA really is. The fact, missed by many, is that VW actually passed the CEPA test. It was the CEPA testing process that was deficient, VW simply followed that process.
In regards to pollution and so called harmful effects, what we are talking about is NOX, an invisible odourless gas. Not some black sooty stuff spewing out of the tailpipes of trucks and busses and the smoke stacks of ships. The test VW “passed” was for NOX emissions exceeding a small %, all the other pollutant tests were just fine. Trucks, busses and ships (and older cars) exceed that small % by many many times. So if one was really concerned about pollution one should be many times more concerned about busses, trucks and ships.
Some more maths, one cruise ship spews out more NOX in a trans Atlantic crossing than all the VW’s that “passed” the test. Which BTW is out of date now due to urethra (Adblue) being used, which is far more effective than the simpleton CEPA standards.

The only PR involved here is the California EPA trying desperately to justify their existence and covering up for the failures. Don’t fall for the spin Seebee, looks at the facts.


Great post Gary. Thanks for that. Very interesting data. Kinda puts some reality into the debate.


How is that interesting?

He’s totally mixing track and road.

Tesla is not a track car. It is an exceptional road car, and it absolutely is a benchmark on the road for various reasons. It has Ze Germans trembling as they scramble to electrify. To qualify a Tesla is inferior by laps it can do on track is misguided. Especially when 0.00001% of all cars ever see the track.

I replied to him in detail but perhaps it didn’t make mod.



Very interesting

Tornillo Amarillo

Marchionne is set to become an even bigger fixture in F1 in the coming years as he scales down his role with FIAT Chrysler Automobiles and resolves around his role at Ferrari.

Marchionne I think has an awful style in his declarations about drivers, you can read a lot literally and between lines. He treats disrespectfully Champions like Vettel, Alonso and Kimi, like they are only “kids”, like you have to talk less and focus more, you are a laggard, I’m not interested in your services, and the likes.
There is a judgement without appeal, he reserves for himself the last word and once it is said to the journalists the damage is irreparable and undone.
That certainly hurt fans’ feelings, you don’t want to have your idol mistreated.
So negativity is also an anticlimax here and maybe we can expect to have more of that since Marchionne is more implicated in Ferrari.
It remembers me Ron Dennis, they are the bosses, but the work environment they have created is hard to swallow.
I was a big supporter of Hamilton leaving McLaren when during negotiations Dennis spoke to the press like a heartless boss belittling Lewis, you cannot accept that EVER… and Lewis didn’t, and only for that I was so happy, because he was already a world champion and one of the fastest man in motorsport. Then he built to be triple champion, so the calculated risk is always worthy.
In this conditions, I don’t think Ferrari is a good place to dream for a free soul. Maybe they should hire only in that extraordinary Finn blood, like Kimi, maybe Nico Rosberg, maybe Bottas in the future, they really know what they are doing and they know with who they are dealing.

ps: failures in expectation in McLaren with Perez, Magnussen, Vandoorne could be related to this environment problem, I’m always concern about this. I guess. Lucky enough, and despite Boullier unfortunately criticism about Vandoorne, Ron is out and Stoffel got a huge support from Zak Brown being confirmed for 2018 and praised as a future champion. Stoffel is already doing better.



I just checked the Sergio M clip on youtube where he calls Kimi a “laggard” Surprising it doesn’t seem to be really that negative like how I felt reading about it.


Tornillo Amarillo

Some journalism exacerbate the concepts like “ROSBERG LOST THE TROPHY” but you read it and they add “…and found it 5 days latter” or something like that, but if the persons mention a word like “laggard” is a different story I guess, the concept was mention on purpose.


Marchionne has boosted Fiat’s value by 8 times over 13 years

While Fiat and its spinoffs have surged in “VALUE” after a series of “DEALS” Marchionne did.



PS: Chrysler was just a few places away from the Lowest brand that was FIAT.


I wish he spotted “LAGGARDS” closer to self before spotting others 😉

The abarth models seem very tempting and yet I am unable to convince myself to go place an order for one this year – Fear of thier Reliability and unpredictable Customer Service!

I would blindly buy a Honda any day. Oh the irony! 😀


Ah yes Sergio M maybe doing wonders for Brand Ferrari they think, which is why they installed him, but he is terrible for Brand Formula 1 when he iNSULTS the very IDOLS that keep BRAND FORMULA 1 – RELEVANT in the world.

The last time I checked, FANS CARE much MORE about the WDC than the WCC.

I can see why in the real world the Fiat brand is known to sell good cars, yet people are scared of their after Sales Service. In some regions, they keep firing the After Sales Service Partners and its months before something remotely close to proper “Authorised Service Centers” pop up as a replacement – thus marring the ownership experience.

This brand really needs a LOT of Soul searching as to how it manages its Operations based on FEAR PSYCHOSIS threatening their employees and does not even spare its Super Star Drivers who are idolized by the world.

I guess it’s no surprise that when you buy a FIAT.. the Same energy of FEAR transfers unto the ownership experience. Will the Service Center still be there the next time I go? Will the same Managers and Mechanics be there? What if the Service Center vanishes again and parts are not available immediately?

Yep, FEAR is not healthy 🙂


Grosjean to Ferrari until 2020 with Leclerc replacing him. Makes a lot of sense. You wonder what Red Bull are going to do with Gasly, though. A second year in Super Formula isn’t going to do him any good, but Red Bull don’t have the same clout to place drivers that engine manufacturers do. Maybe they could oust Wehrlein at Sauber if they wrote a big enough cheque?


Marchionne seems to have a Napoleon complex. I expect him to ride a black stallion at Monza with a cheese board on his head.
Max will be at Ferrari in 2019.
So will a certain British driver.
Vettel will go to Mercedes before it changes it’s name to China F1 or Toto Racing pairing with Ocon.


Palmer to Ferrari? I doubt that


Where are the men in white coats?


There seem to be a lot of cooks stirring the pot, but Jean Todt and the FIA control everything. They really should make their plans more transparent. Bring the simpler engines ASAP.


I would not rule out Kmag going to Ferrari as opposed to Grosjean. I can see Grosjean staying in place and one of the junior drivers joining him. From Ferrari’s perspective, they would see Kmag as a good fit personality wise and his being a good team player. He’s another one of those guys like Bottas who seem to not be that dynamic until you hand them something to work with.

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