Thursday, October 27, 2011

Formula 1 is all about Money Honey!

F1 is all about Money, Honey!

Formula One is all about money. First and foremost, Formula one is a business and then it is motorsports. 

This principle has been proved time and again and the formula one teams make no effort to hide it.

Driver Contracts:
In the last few days, this adage has been proved once again by the HRT team. Narain Karthikeyan was the first driver to be signed by the HRT team and at that time Narain Karthikeyan was quoted as saying that his contract is for the entire season. However, just before Silverstone race, Narain Karthikeyan was dropped by HRT team and Daniel Ricciardo was brought in with sponsorship from Red Bull. At that time, it was known that Narain Karthikeyan will return to the HRT cockpit for the Indian Grand Prix.

Liuzzi had earlier mentioned that he has contract for the entire season so there was no question of Narain replacing him in the Indian Grand Prix. Daniel Ricciardo during his promotional demonstration for Red Bull in New Delhi had said that he expected to sit out for Narain as it is contractual and had said that he would take part in the first practice on Friday. However, HRT team has now issued a statement that it will be Liuzzi who will sit out in the Indian Grand Prix.

With so much of money riding in on Daniel Ricciardo - who is highly valued by the Red Bull team and is expected to replace one of their drivers from the Torro Rosso team – it is natural that Daniel Ricciardo gets to drive in Indian Grand Prix and Tonio Liuzzi is replaced by Narain. It is purely a case of money, and contracts are never a obstacle in Formula 1. In Cricket they say, Records are meant to be broken. Similarly, in Formula 1 they say, Contracts are meant to be broken.

Interestingly, Vintanio Liuzzi who was driving for Force India team in 2010 had a valid contract to drive in 2011. However, the Vijay Mallya led team decided to give chance to the Mercedes backed Paul DiResta and decided that it was lucrative to replace and compensate Vintanio Liuzzi.

Name change:
The formula one teams routinely try to interpret the clauses to get some extra amount of money. The formula one rules state that the Formula One teams can change their name subject to ratification by all the other teams. Though this clause was created to stop any team from infringing on the brand name of another, the teams routinely try to use this clause to stop other teams from changing their names. For example, even after BMW exited the sport, the Sauber team continued to use the BMW name else, they would have forfeited the prize money. Similarly, Renault exited the sport after the team was indicted of deliberately conspiring with its driver Nelso Piquet Jr. to crash in Singapore race. So though Genii capital became the majority shareholder, the team still bears the name Renault. Recently, the Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn also shared his view on this topic and said that a few teams want to derive benefit out of this issue.

Team orders aka Match Fixing:
Each team in formula one is allowed to have two drivers and team orders were banned. So technically one driver of a team cannot be asked to move aside to give way for his team mate. In the past, teams used to send coded messages to their driver to give room for their higher ranked fellow driver to pass. However, recently the team order controversy has been given a burial as FIA has legalized team orders saying that it is difficult to implement. So what amounts to match fixing in other sports, is a routine thing in formula 1. In the commercial world of Formula 1, money comes first and sport later. 

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