F1 pay packets and others
Are Formula 1 drivers overpaid? NO!, says Felipe
Massa, who earns an annual salary believed to be in the region of
around $8 million, while his Scuderia Ferrari team mate Kimi
Raikkonen reputedly earns at least three times that sum (and
patently is not three times better).
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali recently floated the idea of
teams reducing driver earnings in a bid to cut expenditure in F1
which has been acutely affected by the global economic downturn, and
had already lost Honda at the end of 2008.
When asked directly if he were in favor of a pay cut, Massa replied,
“I’m not inclined to it,” at a press conference in his native
Brazil. “In a competitive sport like this, the driver plays a
fundamental part, and the cost of the drivers are small compared to
the total budget of the teams. The more people work to reduce costs,
the better it is going to be for everybody.”
Mind you, I don’t know of anyone who would really agree to a pay
cut, though sometimes it has to be done. Take the ridiculous salary
of the chief executive officer of GM in America who has overseen the
greatest cumulative losses in the history of the company, and up
till 2008 was being given multimillion dollar bonuses.
On top of a base salary of $2.2 million, he was eligible for up to
$3.5 million in incentive payments and a grant of 165,563 shares of
GM stock if he meets the internal targets. He will also receive
500,000 stock options that will vest over three years and 75,000
restricted stock options that will vest in three to five years.
In real terms, as the company’s annual proxy statement notes,
Wagoner’s salary comprises only 17 percent of his total
compensation. The remaining 83 percent of his $10.1 million annual
pay package comes in the form of stock awards, option awards,
pension sweeteners, and $769,566 in “other” compensation (life
insurance, financial planning, personal travel on the corporate jet,
bodyguards, and dividends on restricted stock). I have personally
never been a unionist, but you can sympathize with the shop floor
workers who are being retrenched, while the ‘captain of the ship’
gets such astronomical rewards and is still in command on the
So perhaps poor Felipe’s meager $8 million pittance as a driver, is
about right? Sorry, Felipe, you too are grossly overpaid, as are
many other so-called sportsmen. Let’s look at David Beckham who
reportedly earned $22 million before he went to the US, making him
the highest-earning footballer in the world. On top of his $5
million salary from Spanish team Real Madrid, he also raked in $17
million in advertising and sponsorship deals. And that’s for kicking
a ball into a net! Another ball-kicker is Wayne Rooney of some team
in England, who has received an annual salary plus bonus of $7.1
million and then endorsements of another $13.3 million. You can add
to this list of overpaids, such people as tennis ace Roger Federer
who makes $25-35 million for hitting a ball over a net and
screamstress Madonna who got $50 million for wearing fish nets. No,
folks, none of them are worth it.
If the world’s financial mess brings some of these high flyers down
to earth, it will be a step in the right direction. (Now I must go
and ask the publisher for a pay cut!)
Last week I asked what did you know about windscreens? Which car came out with
the first curved windscreen without a central divider? The clue was: think
American and think in trouble. The correct answer was the Imperial model
Chrysler Airflow of 1934.
So to this week. Take a look at the photo, which came from the London
Illustrated News of 1953. A Daimler Conquest which was advertised as having
performance for the “fast driver”, being able to do 0-60 mph in the blistering
time of 20.4 seconds (probably timed using a calendar I would suggest), and a
top speed of “over 80”. The advert suggested that this was the car to provide “a
combination of pace, performance and pedigree.” After that long-winded
introduction to the quiz question this week - why was it called the “Conquest”,
and be warned, the purchase price was five shillings and ten pence over 1,511
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
The 2009 F1 schedule and some rule changes
Seventeen races on the calendar for 2009, with no races scheduled for
North America. Spa is still on the calendar, thank goodness, one of the few
driver’s circuits left on the program. Bring sleeping bags to watch Shanghai,
Monaco, Hungary, Valencia and Singapore.
Along with changes to bodywork, vehicle weight and tyre size, Kinetic Energy
Recovery Systems (KERS) are allowed. Regenerative brake devices designed to
recover some of the kinetic energy that is normally dissipated as heat during
braking. The recovered energy could be stored electrically, in a battery or
supercapacitor, or mechanically, in a flywheel, for use as a source of
additional accelerative power at the driver’s discretion. All mechanics must use
rubber glove due to KERS adoption.
Slick tyres will be back again provided by Bridgestone.
1 Australian GP Melbourne 29 March
2 Malaysian GP Sepang 5 April
3 Chinese GP Shanghai 19 April
4 Bahrain GP Sakhir 26 April
5 Spanish GP Barcelona 10 May
6 Monaco GP Monte Carlo 24 May
7 Turkish GP Istanbul 7 June
8 British GP Silverstone 21 June
9 German GP Nürburgring 12 July
10 Hungarian GP Hungaroring 26 July
11 European GP Valencia 23 August
12 Belgian GP Spa-Francorchamps 30 August
13 Italian GP Monza 13 September
14 Singapore GP Marina Bay Street Circuit 27 September
15 Japanese GP Suzuka 4 October
16 Brazilian GP Autódromo José Carlos Pace 18 October
17 Abu Dhabi GP Yas Marina Circuit 1 November
And a free silk shirt and tie with
every driving suit
The tailoring wars are on, with India’s first F1 driver Narain
Karthikeyan calling names at Vijay Mallya, the owner of Team Vindaloo (AKA
Force India), describing the team as “another pedestrian team that’s low on
performance and loud on talk.”
This was in return for Mallya saying that Karthikeyan - who became the first
Indian to drive in Formula One when he turned out for Jordan in 2005 - and
rising star Karun Chandhok, were not good enough to drive for Force India,
something Karthikeyan claims he wouldn’t even want to do. “I never even
approached Mallya. The vibes from the camp have been extremely negative and
I want to make it clear that I am not interested in driving for Force
India,” he added, just in case Vijay did decide to throw him a bone.
Currently, Karthikeyan is driving in the A1GP series for Team India.
That’s a lot of curry being thrown about, but I doubt if Mr. Mallya is
losing much sleep over Karthikeyan’s posturing.
Driving the i-MiEV
Mitsubishi are getting very close to releasing their small
electric cars having made 100 prototypes, and will supply two test cars to
NZ authorities to evaluate this year (2009). The global roll-out should be
The i-MiEV uses a single-phase overnight charging device, a simple winding
charger that plugs into a 15 amp wall socket. Home sockets are 10 amp with an
earth pin the same size as the other two. On a 15 amp plug the earth is longer;
most switches aren’t rated to handle 15 amps, but their wiring is 20 amp, so the
only changes i-MiEV owners must make is to their socket. A full charge overnight
will take the car 160 km, while a quick-charge system produces 80 percent charge
in just 30 minutes.
Those buying an i-MiEV will effectively get a standard i-car (unfortunately not
available in Thailand yet), with the same specification - including
air-conditioning and airbags - as the petrol version.
The differences are hidden. The high-density lithium-ion batteries - with 22
modules of four cells each - fit beneath the floor along with the motor
inverter, the charger and control unit. They replace the fuel tank with the
electric motor displacing the rear-mounted petrol engine.
Thus there are no modifications to the bodyshell at all and no changes to
passenger or luggage space, though the suspension is certainly different, to
cope with the additional 180kg of weight.
Those who have driven one of these prototypes say there is incredible low-down
punch from even this modest 47 kW electric motor, which like all the electric
vehicles pulls at its best from rest. So where the standard 48 kW/95 Nm car
feels relatively relaxed, the electric version throws 180 Nm at the road, that
torque only dropping to equal the petrol’s at higher revs.
Claimed zero to 80 km/h acceleration is 1.5 seconds faster for the electric
i-car, and it’s positively perky at round town speeds, particularly during
pulling from junction manoeuvres.
Cruising the straights, the i-MiEV initially feels just like an i-car on speed.
There’s a lot of extra weight beneath the feet, keeping the center of gravity
low. Just like the standard i-car, this is a city-slicker - not an open-road
warrior. All that extra weight clearly makes itself felt, though the effect is
predictable and gradual - front-to-rear weight balance isn’t available, but the
extra heft appears to be evenly spread, the batteries stretching as far forward
as beneath the driver seat.
In common with most reports on evaluating electric vehicles, one factor that
could be problematic is the car’s silence, for unlike a hybrid there is never a
petrol engine at work, so there is nothing to warn pedestrians that the electric
vehicle is approaching.
Mitsubishi claims that ‘well to wheel’, electric vehicles are five percent more
efficient than petrol hybrids and 15 percent more efficient than diesel; and
boast a quarter the CO2 emissions of a petrol engine.
Mitsubishi is just one of the manufacturers on the way to saving the planet. Let
us hope that just because the pimps at the pumps (the oil cartel) have let the
price of crude come down again that the push towards EVs is not slowed any
further. I will be happy to pay more for my electricity account and pay nothing
to Big Oil.