This morning there has been a flurry of news, which really makes very little sense given that a lot of the journalists are in the middle of their 24 hour hike out to Australia and so will be inflight and not able to react to the press statements. PR moves in mysterious ways sometimes…
There have been two announcements of note with Canada’s Nicholas Latifi joining Renault Sport F1 as a Test Driver. The 20-year-old from Toronto will be helped by the team to work towards getting his superlicence and will take part in at least one FP1 session this year. One presume that he will also use the simulator a lot. He joins Esteban Ocon in the line-up, while the team still seems to have links with Carmen Jorda. We do not expect to see her in a car. Williams has confirmed rumours that Mercedes-supported Paul di Resta will be its official Reserve Driver in 2016. he’s a good choice. He has raced in a serious number of Grands Prix between 2011 and 2013.
Over in Mexico the Minister of Tourism Enrique de la Madrid has announced that the 2015 Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix generated an economic impact of $753.3 million. I know, have a sit down, you’ll feel better in a minute. This seems to be rather a dramatic number. My first reaction was to look to see if the report has been listed for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction as it takes a wild imagination to come up with such numbers.
Why do I feel the need at this moment to whistle: “I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band, and seen a needle wink its eye, but I’ll think I’ve seen about everything, when I see an elephant fly…”?
The logical thing to do was to look up the name of the research organisation involved but there were no big brand names on this recyclable paper. Just Formula Money, which has worked with the race promoter’s parent company to come up with this sizeable figure. It will be very frustrating for the Forbes F1 reporter not to be able to write this up miraculous story, but if he does there might be accusations that he has a clash of interest, as he is Formula Money. Still, Mr Ecclestone will probably be pleased.
Why would anyone believe this stuff? And what possible credibility can be gained from producing it? The only individuals who are going to believe these numbers are numbskulls, sheep (which have very small brains) and, perhaps, the odd politician who stands to gain something from believing in something they don’t really believe in. Anyway, for the record, the economic impact of the Mexican Grand Prix is supposed to include $232.8 million in direct revenues (don’t forget the 0.8) and a further $277.8 million in global exposure (don’t forget the 0.8). I am not really fascinated by the methodology of this study beyond the fact that it is about three times the normal numbers in pretty much all respects. Oh, I forget the missing $242.7 million (don’t forget the 0.7) which came from the rebuilding work that was done at the circuit.
When I see an elephant fly…
A much more serious piece of news was the announcement from Porsche that the technical director of its LMP1 programme Alex Hitzinger is departing the company, after five years. The team has won the World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours and it seems that the idea of repeating the success is not that appealing to Hitzinger, who is supposed to be leaving motorsport. Hmmm… So this guy has all the secrets of F1-style hybrid technology and has spent the last 20 years in motorsport and he’s just going to stop and leave the business. I think not. Hitzinger is a man who would be on the shopping list of anyone considering building an F1 engine, or trying to make a poor one work better. Among his jobs in the past have been head of Cosworth’s WRC development, head of Cosworth’s F1 activities, head of advanced technologies at Red Bull Technology, and technical director of Scuderia Toro Rosso.
In the meantime, Porsche has just announced some impressive financial results for 2015, its fifth consecutive record financial year, with an increase of revenue and profit of 25 percent. The company reported sales of $23.8 billion, with an operating profit of $3.77 billion. Shame they don’t want to spend some of that in Formula 1… I wonder why.
The return on the investment would be at least $10 billion if you ask the right research company to help you out with some numbers that only sheep would believe.