Ferrari 1-2-3?

30th of December – Back in November 2007 I published a story in the Brazilian version of this blog about efforts being made to find ways to put a 3rd Ferrari for Fernando Alonso on the F1 grid. If you can read Portuguese, HERE it is. My little piece about the 3rd Ferrari was published in MOTORSPORT Aktuell, too. And my findings were duly rubbished by some. Since then Banco Santander have signed a sponsorhip deal with Ferrari and there’s talks of Vodafone doing the same for 2010. Why do you think? We lost Superaguri and Honda’s withdrawal nearly reduced the grid size for 2009 to 18 cars. Renault will quit at the end of 2009, if the team’s not sold before that – not an easy thing to do inmidst of a fierce global financial crisis. As FOM guarantees a minimum of 20 cars on the grid to their contractual partners, Bernie Ecclesteone is said to be pushing top teams to field a 3rd car. And Ferrari seem to be taking up this option for Alonso. Not an easy thing to do, even if only planning the pitlane allocation…


30/12/1963, HRH Prince Chula Chakrabongse dies.

The son of Prince Chakrabongse Bhuvanath of Bisnulok and his Russian wife, Ekatrina Desnitskaya, Prince Chula Chakrabongse, ran a racing team called White Mouse Racing for himself and his cousin Prince Bira in England, where he had spent his youth. Chula wrote several books, among them a biography entitled Dick Seaman – A Racing Champion. He died of cancer aged 55.

Born: 28th of March 1908 in Bangkok, then Siam;
Died: 30th of December 1963 in Tredethy, Cornwall.


Guy Edwards 30/12/1942, Guy Richard Goronwy Edwards is born in Macclesfield, UK.

Guy Edwards used to be perhaps the best funded driver in the 70s as he had an enormous talent to raise sponsorship. That ability helped him to 17 Grands Prix starts as of 1974 and from 1978 to 1980 to a quite successful Aurora F1 Championship campaign in the UK, scoring several wins. Along with Arturo Merzario, Brett Lunger and Harald Ertl, he was one of the four drivers who saved Niki Lauda from his burning car during the 1976 German Grand Prix.


Rudi Fischer 30/12/1976, Rudolf Fischer dies.

Born in Germany but a Swiss citizen, Fischer was a known quantity among collectors for his quality restaurations. After some success in hill climbs and selected road races he bought a Ferrari V12 for the 1951 season and scored acouple of podium finishes in non-championship races. For 1952 he upgraded to the latest T500 Ferraris, promptly finishing 2nd in the Swiss GP and 3rd in the German GP. Despite those successes and a couple of victories in non-championship races, Rudi left the international racing scene to concentrate on his business and would only appear occasionally at one or the other hill-climbing event.

Born: 19th of April 1912 in Stuttgart, Germany;
Died: 30th of December 1976 in Locarno, Switzerland, aged 64.


Tony George, 2007 30/12/1959<, Anton Hulman George is born in Indianapolis, USA.

A former Indy Lights racer, Tony George is the grandson of Tony Hulman, who purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after the end of World War II, and inherited the position as president and CEO of the IMS Corporation after the death of Joe Cloutier in 1989. Bringing NASCAR to the Brickyard, with the Indy 400, as well as creating a road course for Formula 1, staging the US-GP from 2000 to 2007, and attracting the US-MotoGP to Indianapolis, Tony proved to be a competent mover and shaker.

But he is also seen as a rather controversial figure for being responsible for the CART/IRL split that has damage open wheel racing infinitely in the US. In 2005, George stepped down from operations of the IRL to start his own team, Vision Racing, with his wife Laura George. The team was formed from the remnants of Kelley Racing, which disbanded after the 2004 season, allowing George’s stepson Ed Carpenter seat time in the series.


François Hesnault 30/12/1956, François Hesnault is born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

Wealthy French racing driver who drove in 21 Grand Prix for Ligier and Brabham. He quit after a huge testing accident at Paul Ricard.


Mike Spence, 1968 30/12/1936, Michael Henderson Spence is born in Croydon, UK.

Mike Spence participated in 36 grands prix. He was killed in practice for the 1968 Indianapolis 500 when he crashed his Lotus 56 turbine car and was struck on the head by the right front wheel.

Born: 30th of December 1936 in Croydon, UK.
Died: 7th of May 1968 at Indianapolis, USA, aged 31.


11 thoughts on “Tuesday,

  1. “(…) Renault will quit at the end of 2009 (…)”

    Mário, is that an “inside information”? I have read nothing about it (although I’m a complete idiot when it comes to get the second meaning of the words!).

  2. Probably everyone was too busy copying the Carlos Slim/Honda story from each other…

    You know me, this blog hasn’t got its name by accident 😉

    As the ING deal runs out at the end of 2009 and they aren’t making any more money through the saturated GP engine supply, the F1 team’s finances won’t look too good next year. And it’s not a coincidence that Briatore has announced to retire at the end of 2009…

  3. Vodafone back to Ferrari?

    And well I don’t think Renault will quit.
    If they were going to do that, they would have done it at the end of 2006 with double-both titles in it’s bag.

    To find a title sponsor for 2010, with a driver like Alonso, and the team will be winning races next year, it won’t be a hard task.

    Could be Telefonica, ABN Amro Bank, well, there are lots of spanish companies.. right?

    Happy new year, Mario!! hehe
    And to all fellows of GP Insider!

  4. Well my friend, I talked to ING’s global director of sponsorship at the Business Forum in Monaco. And it’s not a lot they are spending on F1.

    Indeed Renault, as it turns out speaking to one GP2 team owner at the same event, needed the GP2 engine deal and thereafter GP Asia to finance the F1 team. Otherwise Ghosn would have shut it down in 2006. So, if you will, Renault’s F1 team has been financed by the GP2 teams…

    But now the bubble is about to burst, I hear Mecachrome is in trouble because they can’t live from reconditioning GP 2 engines. And there’s no new engine project on the horizon. Tough times.

  5. These news are quite a big surprise to me. As you can understand, I am in no way whatsoever an “insider”, therefore my information relies solely on reading a lot of blogs, news reels and F1 sites. Of course, many of it are full of rubish but, when combining all the crap together, we might get something right or, at least, get the “big picture”

    Taking this into consideration, the “outsider” (way, way outside!) idea I had was that when Carlos Ghosn left from Nissan CEO to number 1 at Renault, one of the first studies he asked his financial department was the economical viability of the, supposedly, big spending F1 team. It must have been a pleasant surprise to confirm that Renault F1 was generating profits AND, at the same time, helping promoting the brand in a worldwide fashion. As such, Renault still kept within F1, would remain there and still win races.

    Again I emphasise that this is an outside view, in no account supported by any inside information, so my thoughts are a very, very big “if”, or a “might have been” scenario. Hence my big surprise!

  6. Well, I was also surprised. Because that’s the scenario Ghosn himself drew. But, as it turns out, those who checked the figures only saw the numbers. Little did they know that there isn’t a yearly GP2 engine deal, for example.

    Also did they have no idea that the monies coming in vastly depend on the result in the Constructors Championship. So when they checked, Renault had good money coming in. That went sour in 2007 and 2008 was only a tiny little bit better.

    So Flav was clever enough to make a prognosis based on those numbers. But it didn’t pan out. And he’s the first to know that this is going to end. So he says “good bye” BEFORE the bad news pile up…

  7. First of all, Happy New Year and hopefully racing will emerge stronger mentally, financially and grid-wise from this world economic mess!
    I hope you’re wrong about these 3 car teams.
    I’ve had this feeling about all the Renault championships for a long time. It’s not just GP2, you’ve got a lot of stuff under the Renault Sport banner and the costs in all of them escalated the last years. Now GP2 and WSbR are planning on slashing the budgets, the others will have less competitors, but at the end of the day it’s just temporary 😉 I’ve no idea how much profit they are turning up, but when you look at a WSbR event, they are getting it all back just by exposure!

  8. Do you think ING won’t continue to sponsor Renault?
    I remember at the time, Briatore said the ING deal wasn’t as good as the Mild Seven sponsorship.

    I know, you’re the insider, I’m the outsider.
    But why has Alonso signed a 2-year deal?
    Why has he denied going to Ferrari in 2009, to occupy a 3rd car and stay with a team that is going to withdraw?
    Why would Renault give up when they are still winning races?
    Mecachrome has bankrupted. How is Renault going to do with their engines from now on?

    It’s hard to believe!

    But if it’s true, Ghosn is a douche.

  9. Lucas, I think you got something wrong here. Renault is going to respect the contracts with ING and Alonso in 2009 – and vice versa. We are talking from 2010 on.

    Then Alonso will be free, F1 is likely to be in deeper trouble with smaller teams struggling to find sponsorship – and one more dropping out – so the top teams gotta hop in. Part of the trouble is that there still seems no unanimity as to the points system etc. But – that’s what I hear – Ferrari, McLaren and a 3rd team would have to field a 3rd car.

    ING is committed to F1, it works for them. But their budget is actually not at the height of title sponsorship. So I’m pretty sure they’ll stay on, but I don’t see them spending 60 million per year. And that’s not enough to keep Renault going.

    If the comercial department finds a title sponsor willing to spend 200 million a year, Ghosn would certainly reconsider. But unde current global financial climate… I don’t think so.

  10. Now I reviewed the first information (in Portuguese), and I laugh a lot with my prediction: Alonso in Red Bull, LOL!! Well, it was speculated at that time at least, and I’m just a “outsider”, very very outsider, LOL…

    In that time, that speculation was to me hard to believe. The teams waste a lot of money with tests, but it will be restricted – if the teams will obey is other question – and a independent team like Red Bull can support two teams. Honda did the same in a recent past. So why Ferrari and McLaren can’t support a third car?

    In F1, it’s prohibited cars with different colors or sponsorship. A figurative example was the “half-BAR”, in 1998. Now, in a difficult scenario, it can’t be changed? Well, it’s better than Bernie’s medals… :p Is it so impossible?

    But I don’t like the idea of only two pointing. Third car “café com leite”? (Sorry, in the moment I can’t translate it to English…) 😀

    Mario, Nick Fry said: Honda had 12 “finalists” to assume F1’s team. David Richards is out, in accordance with his last declaration. Slim and Honda denied interest – a bluff, I think. Question: 12 finalists, in a aggrement for 5 years isn’t for anyone, so in your opinion, who make part of the list?

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