Notebook from a lounge in Dubai

IMG_0051On my flight back from Singapore, there was a six-hour stopover in Dubai. This is fine. The Emirates lounges in Dubai are exceptional, although they do not compare to the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul, which is amazing. The only problem in Istanbul is that you might end up with someone blowing the place up when you are sipping your Chardonnay…

The Singapore GP seemed to have a huge amount more security this year. This can be irritating, although one understands the reasons that it is a good idea. What is not a good idea is if there is bag search when you LEAVE the circuit – even if it is four in the morning.

In Singapore, of course, working at four o’clock in the morning is pretty normal. We finished GP+ magazine at about four on Monday morning. We were just about to pack our bags and head home (to the hotel) when there was a colossal tropical rain storm. We were ill-prepared to venture out and so spent the best part of an hour waiting for the rain to stop. While I was doing this, I watched out of the window and was surprised to see some of the F1 riggers who were so wet that they had given up trying to shelter. One was lying on the track, pretending to swim down the main straight. His crawl was quite good, but the butterfly was exceptional. The night before, at the same sort of time, I found myself arguing with a Singapore policeman about why he should want to search my bags as I was leaving the circuit and trying to go home. Did he think I was stealing? What was it he was trying to find in my bag? He had no answers and, like a policeman who has no answers, he simply kept repeating that it was for “security”. Outside, the F1 perimeter, in the real world, there seemed little need for security.

The F1 paddock during the weekend was a dangerous place because of the stampedes of TV crews from one place to another as they, um, chased Chase Carey about. F1’s new chairman, or Chevy Chase, as he is already nicknamed, was being squired around the paddock to meet all the big bananas of the F1 jungle, but clearly was not going to talk to the media. Still, if you don’t have anything much to say, there is some logic in not saying anything at all. There are only so many questions that one can ask and you know that, at this stage, the answers are going to be waffle because the buyers have not had the chance to work out the details of what they will be doing…

Instead of running around in pursuit of Mr Carey, I decided to give chase on the Internet and discover about the gentleman in question. To start with, his name is not Chase, but rather Charles. His father, also Charles, was the head of various associations representing food producers. I guess that would be described as a lobbyist today. Carey Jr was born in November 1953 and so will soon be 63. He studied mathematics and economics at Colgate University in upstate New York and then went on to get an MBA at Harvard Business School. Somewhere along the way, he had a car crash and suffered a nasty scar on his lip, which is why he started to sport the extravagant moustache which has become his signature. He then joined Columbia Pictures, which led to his career in the media world. He first joined Fox in 1988 but then departed the empire between 2003 and 2009 to work with John Malone, after the latter had acquired DirecTV from Murdoch. He then returned to the Murdoch fold as President of Twenty-First Century Fox, a job he held until 2015.

Liberty is clearly a clever company and this was proved in the days after the Formula One purchase. On the day of the transaction (September 7) the market
capitalization of Liberty Media was $1.817 billion. Nine days later that had shot up to $2.320 billion, which means that the business is now valued (theoretically) at $500 million more than it was 10 days ago. Given that Liberty spent $1 billion for the deal and the theoretical value of the company has increased by half of that, one can argue that the F1 purchase has actually only cost the company half of what was announced.

The best deal in F1 at the moment was highlighted by the Williams Grand Prix Holdings financial returns for the first six months of 2016. These look quite rosy with F1 producing a profit of $5.5 million, which the team explained was due to a “non-recurring sponsorship payment” which, so they say, is a $20 million deal made by the Stroll Family, in order to prepare Lance Stroll for F1 next year. He now has the points required for a super licence and his 18th birthday is coming up shortly. Between now and the end of the year he will do around 8,000 miles of testing at a string of circuits around the world, driving an unbranded 2014 Williams-Mercedes. The car, which is being set up for Stroll at each circuit by Gary Paffett, was spotted at the Hungaroring last week and this week will be in Austria. The schedule includes tracks all over the world and so one can speculate that he will be seen in action in Austin, Interlagos, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Malaysia and Suzuka.

With such a programme and the possibility of even more funding next year, if he races, one can imagine that Williams will name him as one of its drivers for next year, probably alongside Valtteri Bottas. While this sort of thing is not necessarily the best image for Williams, it does guarantee that the team will have money to get to through to the next financial discussions in F1 and is a better option that struggling for money with ace drivers but no budget for development.

The arrival of Liberty Media seems to have spurred a number of people to look at team ownership, as the new F1 commercial rights owners (until 2110) are expected to change the structure of their company with the possibility of franchise arrangements, share ownership for teams and a fairer share of the revenues. The signs are that Liberty will adopt a much more collaborative style to drive the sport forward commercially, rather than using the confrontational approach that we have been used to with Bernie Ecclestone.

It is clear that the management style of Carey and Ecclestone is rather different and it remains to be seen whether it is utterly incompatible. If it is, and the transaction is completed, which is likely, then it is hard to see why Ecclestone will stay on. The key point in all of this is that what is effectively a reverse takeover of Liberty Media by the Formla One group will require transparency of the kind that F1 has not seen before. With such things, it is hard to see the Strategy Group surviving, and it is hard to imagine that Ferrari and others will get their historic payments. They may get more money, in terms of shares in the business, but one cannot imagine anti-competitive funding and rule-making as being things that the US regulators will accept. Liberty has a great opportunity to create a new structure, employ new ideas and generate new revenue streams and so new leadership will inevitably follow. Chase and Ecclestone are guaranteed to stay in their roles for 30 months after the deal completes, which means around three years from now. But one can imagine Ecclestone walking away if he is not happy (it’s not like he needs the cash), but he will miss the deal-making… Chase may see this as his final job before retirement and thus the identity of his successor may be more important for F1. There have been lots of names bandied about, including Martin Whitmarsh and Stefano Domenicali (the latter who just happened to be in Singapore on Sunday) but it is not clear whether Liberty will want old hands, or whether they will look outside the F1 bubble for the future. Much will depend, I suspect, on who impresses Chase Carey in the months ahead and which names are whispered into his ear by people he grows to trust. The biggest problem he faces will probably be figuring out who he can trust…

There are lots of other things going on in terms of the driver market and changes in the F1 calendar, but there is no space in this story to go into detail. Suffice to say, one needs to be aware that there is some opposition in Singapore to the renewal of the F1 contract there (which expires next year) despite the fact that F1 loves the city and the local government loves the race. Carey will need to do some number-crunching with the mandarins of Marina Bay to find the right solution…

Watch this space.

114 thoughts on “Notebook from a lounge in Dubai

  1. Franchise arrangements can be good but there is also a bad side too. If someone has three cars on the grid and starts have financial difficulties, you’re back to the problem of grid numbers.

    Will Mercedes, Ferrari, and Honda see their influence in the sport be diminished a bit under the new ownership or will it grow in they decide to buy in?

  2. Another way to look at the value, is to say that ‘the market’ corrected the price of stock for the purchase. The market feels, the one billion is only worth half of it. 🙂

    Thanks for another notebook, I always look forward to these.

    1. Seems like a rare example of a rational market in these unicorn swarming days.

      I expect the wait is on something concrete from Liberty, before pricing any further.

      I hear what the Braves fan was saying elsewhere. Ted was a passionate manager. Malone thinks far more pragmatically. Pity. F1 needs both in spades. Call Me Ted, Turner’s self penned memoir made me pretty nostalgic when I picked it up again last winter. Excellent read the way self congratulatory bumph goes.

      Ted was banned by the ruling body from managing the Braves. They do have strict professional rules and ban managers from ownership. That may seem trite. But my point is that American seriousness about their sports is what I want to see imported. Lots of nonsense of recent years would have seen teams thrown out or close to. I’d rather have that as rules than a commercial inevitability.

    2. No that does not make sense. The company bought F1 for 1 billion of their own means. The market then upvalued them for half a billion which means the market really thinks the deal was worth 1.5 billion and Liberty gained half a billion in value by doing it.

  3. Nice read. Wonder what was with the giant lizard running on the track and the safety marshall being nearly run over!
    The democracy-loving Chase Carey and dictatorship-fan BCE make for strange bedfellows. Would be interesting to see how long their working relationship lasts.
    How would Ferrari react to their historic bonus payments being toned down or stopped altogether?
    Joe, any news about Perez? Most reports are claiming that he has already signed for Force India for 2017 but he stated that his future would become clear by the next race.

  4. Is that Mr Briatore still around? He seems like a trust-worthy chap full of good ideas.

    Interesting times, I wonder what level of young/not-so-young fan engagement will actually occur. Will fantasy-F1 games get shut down for copyright violations or will the new dawn embrace open-source productivity (e.g. Encarta vs Wikipedia). I wonder how many current F1 marketing people know what Valve’s Steam is about (0) and how many of the new lot do.

    Also, it would be useful for F1 to re-assert itself as top dog in motor racing, this could be quite simple. One F1 car (say a Red Bull), one tunnel or custom-built track and a world record for driving upside down – presumably the story of an F1 car having more than its own weight in downforce is true. The kids would love it.

    Back to reality, I feel obliged to say that the Singapore GP+ was one of the best yet – great info and some serious LOL moments, with Max’s lizard a highlight.

    1. David Tremayne’s piece in “Parting Shot” of Grand Prix Plus could just be the best piece of ironic journalism ever about our sport.

      It sums up the race fixing, serial self publicist perfectly and is worth the yearly subscription all on its own.

    2. I like to believe tha Briatore would have been culled by application of some common sense rule before he had the chance to mess with drivers and races. That’s the too cozy setup most American sporting bodies dislike. Lots of characters who I’ve had to resort to disliking in the past I believe would not have passed merely sensible rule exclusions.

  5. The only person that comes to mind as a more permanent successor to Bernie is Ross Brawn. Whether he would want to is another matter… everyone else in the paddock is either too soft or too stupid IMO.

      1. Media expertise is just what the doctor ordered. Hopefully these folks modernise and exploit media streams to connect this sport to the world the way modern information is being consumed, more & more online even via modern 4K flatscreen t.v’s with smart hubs. That in itself should help broaden the fanbase.

        Some of that good ol’ yankee (business) know how is in order. As long as we’re spared the boogity. boogity, boogity. The Americans may actually understand the concept of improving the product to provide the consumer with better VALUE (not glamorous, I know) – be it by improved delivery and consumption pricing options rather than the outdated arrogance of charging alot to create an aura of exclusivity with the odd celebrity hanging around to get face time.

        The existing promoters need to be allowed to make money, where was the incentive to attempt to do business with Ecclestone ransoming races at ridiculous fees to the highest bidder in undeveloped markets? Modern day Bernienomics only work with weak, desperate venues. Considering demographics Western governments are going to have their hands full with a little thing called healthcare , with F1 race subsidies running a very close P2 (not)

        Question Joe, will Bernie be able to continue providing rock bottom prices for trackside advertising and the hospiality business, is that stuff separate from the F1 promotional sale? Hopefully so! The new guys might get greedy.

        1. The big question is how do you get from the current to the future.
          Lots of people (tv co’s etc) have long term deals which changes could breach. A way will have to be found to do this.
          The current system brings in lots and lots of cash, both for FOM and the teams. A new system may well bring ing lots more cash to split up, BUT it may take time to build up. A way will have to be found to bridge any cash gap as most of the teams don’t have much in hand to tide them over a few lean years.

  6. So, Merc, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren are officially confirmed, Williams and Force India almost but not officially, Toro Rosso something of a toss up for the seat next to Sainz between Gasly and Kvyat but no other contenders, leaving Haas, Renault, Manor and the seat at Sauber next to Ericsson (due to stay because of his ties with the new owners of the team). Could there be room for Kvyat at one of those teams if – as expected – TR go with Gasly? You would expect Grosjean to stay at Haas and maybe Magnussen at Renault after his performance in Singapore, Ocon and Wehrlein should be on an upward trajectory, either with Manor or other teams (Ocon – Renault, Wehrlein – Force India, maybe?). Would Ferrari leverage its pull with Sauber to get one of their young drivers (like Leclerc) a seat there?

    As for historic payments: I suppose the “transparent” way of doing that would be to offer the teams a share in the Formula One business, although it might be difficult to match the current pay-outs (100 million per year for X years to Ferrari, for instance). In any case, it looks as though the much needed transparency will finally come for F1. Bernie wil have a hard time adjusting, I fear.

    Of course, a collaborative style would also mean that the teams take on some responsibility for the running of F1, which could turn out… interesting. It seems to work in other sports, so it should be possible for F1 as well, but it would require a measure of maturity that not all the teams may be accustomed to *cough* Red Bull *cough*. Fortunately one would not imagine Chase Carey and Liberty falling for the charms of Flavio Briatore (speaking of maturity) so his influence should be well and truly over (if it wasn’t already).

  7. I love F1 and have for more years than i care to remember. However, my days of watching, reading or even wondering about the sport are over. Dull as ditchwater as a spectacle and having had innovation excised, not even interesting from that point of view. What a shame and a waste of a sport.

  8. If, indeed, Stroll’s daddy is ponying up $20 million, I’d say the drive is already his.
    Can William’s now say “No, sorry, he’ll have to wait. We have decided to go with someone else with more talent or experience?…”

  9. (it’s not like he needs the cash)

    Joe, that’s not necessarily true, I can tell you from my experience(s) when you use Trusts as a way tax efficiency, they eventually become monsters, if you say borrow money from the Trust then there is tax to pay and yes you eventually have to pay it back, or if your dead your dependants.
    So Mr E will still need money to feed the Monster?

    1. Maybe the rumoured 20 mil a year for 3 yrs or a likely golden handshake will help keep him in cornflakes. Perhaps he’ll get a Gold Rolex…….to go with his Hublot.

  10. So Liberty will be involved in any negotiations with Singapore? That could be an interesting one to watch to see what, if anything, changes. I was looking for a list of when FOM contracts with circuits, broadcasters etc was due to expire as that would seem to be one limiting factor on the pace of change that we can expect. Any good sources for that info?

  11. Joe, not sure if you care for him or read his stuff, but Martin Brundle did an interesting interview with Mr. E, which can be read on his employer’s site. I found it interesting as Mr. E almost intimates that he may just decide to walk away. I know he is soooooooo honest and forthright, but there seems implications of his displeasure with the purchase.

    Then again I know the man not at all of course.

    1. Martin is a good guy. Mr E is in an uncomfortable position but we don’t know how it will pan out. He owns very few shares now and cannot push the teams around as once he could. Retirement might seem his best option but BE loves to do deals, and needs something to motivate him. I don’t see him being happy pruning rose bushes.

      1. Setting up a rival series to spite his old employers would keep him very motivated and busy. Red Bull GP1 World Series. V8 Powered cars on classic tracks world wide. His best mate Flavio could run it and then he’d never need to be in an F1 paddock ever again.

  12. Whatever happened to the Heineken F1 deal? My understanding is that it was about social media — Heineken and F1 would get a load of fans to post photos and video (?) on Twitter and YouTube. It would be mutual exploitation of fan contributions.

    Fans using coverage from FOM to make YouTube videos? OK the Heineken deal was signed with FOM in June, so we’d expect to see the results about now?

    1. All rights are owned by FOM you cannot post either pics or video without a license. Many try but find they are taken down very quickly. No doubt Liberty will change that and actually use it in promotion, better still, do as you suggested and let fans do the work for them.
      With Bernie doing promotion it is almost like Fight Club!

  13. I cannot believe anyone is seriously contemplating that retired F1 bosses take over from Bernie. Can you imagine Whitmarsh or Domenicali working out the import duty with Indian government officials, dealing with Putin and re-negotiating television contracts? What a joke. If Bernie needs replacing (God forbid), it should be with a team world class business managers, not some greasemonkey.

  14. I remain somewhat skeptical of the wisdom of F1 teams owning stock in the operating organization. The CART teams effectively owned their series for a while, and that did not end well. Large egos and money…what could possibly go wrong? Although, to be fair, the owners in the NFL have done a mostly excellent job of growing that business. However, they have enforced equality rules that would certainly annoy the hell out of many F1 team owners, most notably cost caps.

  15. I guess Bernie got wind of the GP+ guys secret plans to steal car parts to build their own cars from them and start their own team. , hence all the bag searching on the way out.

    1. I think they were looking for alcohol, although why they think there might be alcohol in the media centre is beyond me.

  16. Here’s an easy prediction: Bernie will not be around too much longer. He’s been the big enchilada for too long to be second banana, or co-banana. ; -) Huge egos being what they are, these situations never work. And, a cynic might say that they are never intended to work, i.e., they simply serve as an accepted ruse to get the former owner out of the way.

  17. I’d bet Ecclestone will feel the white heat of ( relatively) straight talk and
    dealing and decides he wants out. Tomorrow or the day after would not
    be quick enough for some of us. Welcome Liberty….bring plenty of mops
    brooms, buckets, powerful detergents and cobweb brushes with you….. !

  18. So Bernie’s desperate assertions in Germany, that Bambino has nothing to do with him and he has no influence over what they do, are suddenly null and void as almost every report on the F1 rights lease purchase, has the two holdings lumped together in all monetary analyses and not a word from Bernie in objection.

    It was a good race but like unlike most was limited by brakes for several teams instead of tyres. One wonders what the future holds with Lewis driving so conservatively because of brakes and then to preserve the engine.

    Next year the extra engine grid penalty rule is likely to be changed to affect future race grid positions if all cannot be accommodated in the current or next race, the remainder carried forward. Thus engine preservation will become a higher status issue leading to more conservative driving.

    The future of F1 governance is unlikely to be settled until Bernie leaves, which may be quite soon, as he said to Marting Brundle in answer to MB’s question about him and Chase having to work together, that all he “had” to do, was “To die and pay taxes” though he seems to have avoided both so far.

  19. May I ask a question: What did Liberty Media acquire — the commercial rights to the sport, or the sport itself? If they don’t own the sport, how can they offer franchises?

      1. Joe, I wonder if you’re the first journalist on earth to refer to something real in the next century, without it being a typo.. ‘..commercial rights until 2110’ 🙂

  20. Hi Joe,

    I would assume that even though the choice for Lance may be tipped in his favor due to his funding his past results are warranting the drive on merit as well? I believe that the FIA point system where a driver needs some decent results in Junior classes would prevent talent-less pay drivers to appear on the paddock.

    In your opinion who would have been a better fit to Williams based on talent?

      1. Too long. The last time we had any chance at all of getting anywhere near most of the aces and nearly aces on a grid together was in the ’89-94 period (IMO) when there was nearly 20 teams and plenty of drives available.

  21. Stefano Domenicali must be enjoying Ferrari’s “success” at the moment. I shudder to think what the “racing” will be like next year given the increased aero and tyre grip. Overtaking will be impossible. More reason to watch Moto GP where there have been eight different winners over the past eight races. When was the last time F1 had that? Maybe 1983?

    1. 7 from 7 in 2010 or was it ’12?
      That was great!!!

      Both those seasons were very good as were 2003, ’07 and ’08.

      Plenty of racing and action.

      1. and had one winner for the last nine in 2013? Problem with getting older you forget some of the more recent years when it was basically a Red Bull run

  22. That’s what I call a great photo opportunity Joe 📷
    An F1 Rigger doing comedy swimming in a tropical rain storm 😊
    Definitely a Kodak moment 😄

    1. I believe the “swimming down the pit lane” thing was previously done by a mechanic during the 1965 Sebring 12 Hour sports car race, when the Chaparral of Jim Hall and Hap Sharp had such a huge lead it could park up until things dried out a bit and the Shelby American mechanics had to punch holes in the floor of the Daytona Coupes to stop them from turning into bathtubs.

  23. What happens to Christian “Lapdog” Sylt if Bernie goes?

    He might finally realize lycra cycling tops and blazers don’t go together.

  24. How does a new owner insure long term stability from participating teams? Establishing franchises. Which will lead to B teams and a split championship.

    With only five key franchises (10 cars) where is the stability? B teams from all franchisees, racing in a sub-class, similar to sports car racing. Then the Saubers, Manors, and Haas teams can compete as B teams to a franchise holder or as independent B team mfg. At seasons end you have a B team champion which will keep interest going throughout the season.

  25. I saw Steffano on the the TV. Is he still at VW? Anything likely to go on there? Talk of shares, no more CVC, greater transparency, greater social media coverage, all things a company looking to rebrand itself after some bad PR should really look at. Shares would tick the ROI box for the board – along with many other advantages (new technology!!!)

  26. I couldn’t help but notice that a certain lapdog belonging to Mr. Ecclestone has been hammering out a never-ending stream of articles this week. Do you think he is trying to keep himself relevant so that Chase will continue feeding him in the years to come?

  27. Thanks for GP+ Joe; I enjoyed the look back to Singapore 2008. However, I would still like to understand Alonso’s involvement better. The implications are that he knew what was going on, but he evaded any sort of penalty or censure, presumably because he talked to the FIA about it without coercion.
    Would be good to hear your thoughts.

  28. Liberty may or may not be the owners soon, and they maybe exciting in new tech etc etc, or not….maybe they will just be a big business that strips the cash as with CVC.
    The bit that i’m more interested in is when will fans get a better F1? I’ve seen some views from Martin Brundle in the media recently, where he complains over many aspects of F1, strangely they are all ones that I find irritating and that motorsport lovers that I know always complain about.
    Also, I see there are comments attributed to Alonso this week, where he has been quoted as saying that if 2017 isn’t an awful lot better in terms of the cars,and the racing, then he will retire, or find some other area of the sport to compete in.

  29. Just seen from an article quoting the FT that the Apple/F1 rumours have taken a new form in a McLaren Technology tie up that may or may not involve McLaren being bought by Apple. Could be another sweeping change to affect F1.

  30. Any info on Apple buying Mclaren , tech press are saying they have been in talks for 6 months but not interested in F1 ?

  31. I felt very let down when Daniel Ricciardo was unable to catch Rosberg. I was desperate to see how Niki was going to force Danny off the track, because he was unlikely to be able to keep him behind for any length of time.

  32. Joe, Chase appears to have received full respect and credit so far for his sports media expertise inside the Piranha Club. When will this honeymoon end?

    Back in the 90s, he was regarded as an astute deal maker for content and distribution with Murdock and Fox. Chase thrived during that network era.

    Recent history is more mixed, ex: Fox Sports 1 (FS1) channel launch & development in USA.

    I understand everyone is fed up with CVC, but global media today for Millennials is very different (even for Chase).

    PS: Will Mackenzie continue to haunt the paddock or was Singapore his F1 swan song?

    Thank you

  33. Joe – do you have any thoughts or insight with regard to these rumours of Apple sniffing around McLaren? The FT among others are reporting on this development.

  34. Have you heard anything about Paddy Lowe to Marine Lloyd?

    Read it on one of your favourite other sites but seriously doubt it!

    1. I had a chat with Paddy the other day in Singapore and he seems very happy where he is. Perhaps others should talk to the people involved.

  35. I have a lot of mixed feelings about all of this. I want to trust Carey but his background worries me (down to his lobbyist father), although I did enjoy hearing from him on SkySports — got a Ted Turner vibe. Regardless, I do not believe the new owners could possibly do worse than what Ecclestone/CVC have done (which has been quite a pathetic effort on their part given the resources available). I do not like the idea of teams owning a chunk of F1, unless EVERY team owns the same amount (which won’t happen). Otherwise, F1 will likely be a race between 2-3 teams forever… However, I believe the future of F1 looks a lot brighter than it has in a very long time. Now please Mr. Carey, give us WEC-style online coverage!

  36. I’m in the minority I know but I’m sticking up for Bernie. He has built up F1 over the last 40 years or so from very little to a worldwide sport. Yes it’s not perfect but what is? I can see him walking away as there is nothing worse than a new person on the scene saying we are doing xyz without knowing the full details – which may well happen. I for one would miss Bernie – would you Joe?

    1. Agree with your assessment of Bernie. His problem is he’s run his business model to its maximum potential, with diminishing returns in the future.

      Hopefully new ownership can increase revenues, decrease ticket prices, make race fees more affordable to promoters, and revive sagging fan interest back to its prior peak.

      And no, I don’t believe in St Nick or the tooth fairey! 🙂

  37. I await with interest news of a new “home” for Liberty F1, other than Princess Gate. I guess it depends on who owns that premises.
    The transfer of documentation from Princess Gate to any new premises might take some time for Liberty F1 to get its head around
    Do you think that people such as Pasquale will stay/be kept around? Better not answer that!
    Lots of unanswered questions still to play out.

  38. Frankly, I haven’t seen anything printed yet, that makes me feel that Liberty will do anything to bring F1 back to motorsport fans. More races and gambling introduced along with permanent pay tv, isn’t going to keep me even turning on occasionally. Pay tv will turn me off, so my only contact with F1 will be with GP+ & Motorsport every month……however the WRC is gaining Toyota again next year, so my motorsport will veer further from circuits, apart from MotoGP which at least provides circuit thrills at the moment. It is a big disappointment as I had wondered if it was possible for F1 to mean something to long established fans again, but it seems that Money is determined to place it in cyberland where frankly, it will struggle to hold the affections of anyone there.

  39. If there is anything to the Apple/McLaren rumors, it may be that Apple will seek advice/collaboration of some sort from/with McLaren Technology Group as Apple try to develop their car/iDrive project.

  40. Istanbul crack feels a little bit cheap, nasty things also happen in other places such as Paris and Brussels. I admit I am biased as I travel through and around Istanbul regularly and find it one of the safest and more comfortable large cities for travelers.

    This is a very minor comment about your excellent blog, no offence is intended and I apologise if I have stepped over the line.

  41. Oh dear…

    “…’Faceless’ Liberty Global has ‘sucked the very soul’ out of Virgin Media..”

    “…Virgin Media staff have voiced widespread discontent over its gobble by Liberty Global, with one describing their new corporate daddy as “faceless change drivers with no concern for the Virgin values,” according to a Q&A with senior management this week seen by The Register…”

    Those of us who’ve had firsthand experience of Virgin Media will be shocked to hear they ever had ‘values’.

    Full story on The Register (

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