Bernie threatens to quit Monza in 2017
Bernie Ecclestone does it again - threatening to omit Monza, one of the iconic
F1 circuits, from the 2017 calendar.
Of course, Bernie, the patron saint of money movers, may just be doing this to
put the squeeze on the Monza people to extract more from them in annual fees,
than he currently is getting. Devious? Not our Bernie, surely? The mere fact
that he did this to Silverstone, doesn’t mean that’s his modus operandi. Or is
The Monza track north of Milan has been host to the Italian Grand Prix since
1922 and it has held every race since 1950 with the exception of 1980 when it
was staged at Imola.
Ecclestone and Monza promoters signed a new contract back in 2010 that will run
until the end of 2016, but it looks like the circuit will get the chop after
“I don’t think we’ll do another contract, the old one was a disaster for us from
a commercial point of view. After 2016, bye bye...”
Bernie has no soul.
World record auction price
Expensive Ferrari 375 Plus.
The sale of the Ferrari 375-Plus at the Goodwood Festival of
Speed was a world auction record for a Ferrari sports racing car. It went for
18.3 million USD.
The brutally-fast 375-Plus was Ferrari’s ultimate weapon to win the 1954 Sports
Car Championship, with just five made.
Fitted with a 4.9 liter V12 engine developing 330 BHP, the car was entrusted by
the Scuderia Ferrari works racing team to only the most skilled racing drivers.
These included Argentinean Jose Froilan Gonzalez - AKA the Pampas Bull - and the
renowned Italian road racer Umberto Maglioli.
This car was the 1954 works entry driven by Maglioli in the Mille Miglia, then
piloted to victory by Gonzalez at Silverstone.
In later years, long-running title disputes broke out over the car between two
families, which Bonhams helped to resolve.
It was sold with a spare period works block engine and its original body panels,
still bearing traces of the 1957 Cuban Grand Prix race colors.
Peter Kantor, Bonhams’ head of motor cars for mainland Europe, said it was rare
for a Ferrari team works car with continuous history and undisputed identity to
come up for public auction.
Last year a world record price for any car sold at public auction was set at
Goodwood when Bonhams sold the former Juan Manuel Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196 for
STG 20 million.
What did we learn from the British GP?
Well, we learned that Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) was lucky and
benefited from the bad luck experienced by his team mate Nico Rosberg. Rosberg
had pole after qualifying and was able to keep Hamilton around four seconds
behind him during the race - until Lady Luck deserted him and his gearbox gave
him a fist-full of neutrals, gifting the win to Hamilton.
However, the star of the race was Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso (6th) in his
battle with Red Bull’s German driver, formerly known as The Finger. Their battle
was intense and had everyone on their toes, with the fight showing that Alonso
has huge cojones and The Finger is now also the Whinger, moaning over the radio
that Alonso was using too much track, and saying at one stage, “I almost crashed
into him”. However, it took many laps before Alonso had to concede the position,
his car being 10 kph slower on the straight than the Red Bull, letting Vettel
through into 5th.
Alonso’s team mate Raikkonen stepped out of an enormous crash (47 G force) on
the first lap caused by a foolhardy return to the track after an excursion
through the boonies, resulting in a red flag. The impact with the Armco fencing
was such that repairs had to be done before the race could get underway again.
It would not surprise me if we do not see Raikkonen again this year - he has
already been operated for back problems and this accident would be enough to
exacerbate the condition. It has also been obvious that Raikkonen has no fire in
the belly any more and would retire at the end of the year, so why not now?
Valtteri Bottas (Williams) has shown that he has a great talent and he deserved
his second place, after starting way down the back after a right proper stuff-up
by the team during Qualifying. His team mate, Felipe Massa did not have a good
weekend, and getting involved in Raikkonen’s antics denied him a re-start.
Once again, Ricciardo finished in front of his team mate at Red Bull, with a
well driven third place. Even Christian Horner’s Red Bull team has admitted that
they didn’t think the young Aussie would be as good as he is. And he is good!
Sentimental favorite Jenson Button tried for a podium but had to settle for
fourth. The none too subtle bollocking by Ron Dennis seems to have worked!
Button’s rookie team mate Magnussen was also in the top 10 and just over 10
seconds behind, with another excellent drive.
Hulkenberg (Force India) again drove with one stop only, nursing his tyres to
the finish, in another heroic drive. Hulkenberg should have been snapped up by
Ferrari at the end of last year. They will have a second chance when Raikkonen
fails to front up for work on Monday.
Russian rookie Kvyat in the points again (9th), and is another stand-out new
driver with a good future in front of him.
It was an exciting Grand Prix, however, once again we have ridiculous penalties
being handed out by the stewards. Alonso was half way out of his grid box at the
original start and receives a five second stop and go penalty. But that was for
the first start which was then red-flagged, meaning Alonso got no advantage at
all for the second start. So why an additional penalty?
The next GP is the German at Hockenheim next week. Let’s hope we have another
For once, I agree with Bernie
Bernie has come out and said it would be better if
cash-strapped outfits quit F1 and are replaced by third cars from the bigger
The future of the struggling Caterham team has made headlines in recent weeks
with its sale, but Ecclestone admitted that he would be “happy” if they had
The F1 commercial rights holder has now gone a step further by saying he would
prefer it if the back-markers disappear from the grid and are replaced by third
cars from some of the sport’s bigger teams.
“They should stop,” he told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport. “If they do not have
the money, they should close. I am ready for a Formula One with eight teams and
three cars each. Is it better to see a third Ferrari or a Caterham? Ferrari
might find new sponsors in America and an American driver. Great. The same for
This is a sensible suggestion, as Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull (already
fielding four cars in actuality) could easily field three cars each.
Salute to the Rolls-Royce Merlin Engines
From a Rolls-Royce Handlye Special to a Spitfire and a
high-tech speedboat, Salute to Style gathers the many applications of the
original Merlin engine, a piece of British history and engineering excellence.
The trio of displays, Salute to Style, was at the Hurlingham Club, presented
machines that shared the same historic powerplant to propel them on air, road
A hand-built Handlye Special Rolls-Royce, sporting the 27 liter Merlin engine
originally fitted to a Hawker Hurricane during WWII joins a hand-built unique
Spitfire aircraft, created using original parts from other Spitfire planes and
based on copies of the original Spitfire drawings from the archives of the RAF
Both car and aircraft were displayed alongside an original Merlin engine and a
newly-produced model of the Aeroboat super-yacht created by powerboat design
studio Claydon Reeves, which is to be powered by the famous Rolls-Royce V12
The Rolls-Royce is a Phantom II whose chassis carries the Merlin engine, and it
is usually heard before it is seen in its natural habitat, whether at
Brooklands, Dunsfold or on a driving holiday to France. It is the product of
over 25 years of painstaking hand-building by its owner, Robin Beech, at his
Handlye Farm workshop - hence the name. Two engines were purchased in 1985, a
Merlin 3 and a Meteor Mk1: it took Robin Beech two years to create one
functioning engine out of the two, for “fast road competition” purposes. The
next 23 years were spent building the car.
In its current configuration, the Rolls-Royce produces about 900 bhp with 1550
lb ft torque and has a fuel consumption of three miles per gallon. “However,
when we are careful, we can stretch to four,” laughs Robin Beech.
The immortal lines of the famous Spitfire fighter was built from original parts
over twenty years, the static display belongs to Terry Arlow of ‘Simply
Spitfire’, and is inspired by the original MK805 produced by Vickers Armstrong
Those same lines are echoed in the stern and tail of the Aeroboat model which is
also displayed at Salute to Style, though the futuristic speedboat’s main
materials are carbon-fiber and Kevlar instead of aluminium.
The Merlin engine stands as an engineering monument, kept alive by enthusiasts
such as Handlye and Arlow.