Notebook from upstairs on an A380

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend was all about branding, with everyone getting excited (one way or the other) about the new F1 logo. When I first saw it I didn’t like it, but on the second day I changed my mind. The same thing happened with Chase Carey. I know this because he told me. He wasn’t sure and then he was. The thing that people miss when they say we should stay with the old Flying F logo is that it was not designed for the modern world. It was drawn up in 1994 – 23 years ago, at a time when we didn’t know what pixelate meant and we could not imagine the world we live in today. As I understand it, the primary reason for the change was that you cannot embroider the Flying F1, and it doesn’t work digitally, because all the speed lines get blurred. In addition, it doesn’t work in 3D, which in this day and age means that it is utterly useless. I think that when people see the different things that this logo can do, they will understand why there had to be a change. As I wrote somewhere in the last few days, back when the old logo was invented branding, for the folk of F1, was something you did to cows…

The Abu Dhabi weekend was all a bit of a rush, or so it felt, with a paddock filled with people and a fair amount of gossip. There was loads of talk about Sauber and Alfa Romeo and, as we have since learned, this is no more than a sponsorship deal, at least to begin with. The team will be called Alfa Romeo Sauber and will no doubt be painted up accordingly, but it will be about as Alfa Romeo-like as Gouda cheese. The engines will stay as Ferraris and there is no sign at all of a takeover the Swiss team, not that this makes much sense. Sauber has some good facilities but it is in Switzerland and so it is a much more complicated place to run an F1 team, and given the power of the Swiss Franc, much more expensive. So slapping some livery on the cars will not make them Alfa Romeos any more than slapping an Aston Martin sticker on a Red Bull will mean James Bond will start driving Red Bull F1 cars…

The one thing that it will do is to deliver Sauber’s support for any votes that Ferrari requires support for in the months ahead. It basically takes away the team’s political voice and so the ownership is pretty much irrelevant. We will have to see if they have managed to save Marcus Ericsson or whether Ferrari has got its way with its two junior drivers Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi, but my feeling is that Ferrari had the strong hand in the negotiations and the Swedish element of the team will have to take a hit. We will see. Having said that, as much as I think Marcus is a jolly fine fellow, I do not understand the logic of any team that supports a driver based on nationalistic urges. It has never made sense and remains a foolish thing to do. What every racing team needs is the fastest available driver, otherwise the team members get cynical very quickly and the motivation falls. It is a natural reaction. Why bother if the team owners are not looking for the best of everything? I get the whole deal from Alfa Romeo’s point of view. They have a bunch of good new road cars and wants a sexier image, to get rid of the old Italian rust bucket reputation and this is not a great price to pay to do that.

There was no sign of Sergio Marchionne in Abu Dhabi but Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer was very much in evidence and dropping plenty of hints about his firm’s future in F1. Of course, it is all dependent on engine rules and budget plans, but Aston wants to be there and they are working towards it, albeit gently. Palmer was keen to push out the message that Aston has set up a design group for an F1 engine under Luca Marmorini, who designed the original Ferrari V6 engines back in 2014. He is working with German Joerg Ross, who is the head of powertrain at Aston Martin Lagonda, having joined the firm from Maserati in August. Palmer says that there are plenty of options available at the moment and it depends on what the regulations are going to be as to what form of arrangement results. There has been talk of a consortium involving Red Bull Racing, McLaren, Aston Martin and Cosworth, but at the moment everything remains fluid. The first step will be to do single cylinder research with a consulting company such as Ilmor or the Austrian firm AVL, which has worked with Ferrari and others in the past to help solve the challenges that F1 presents to engine manufacturers. The theory is that each of the partners in the consortium would invest in the technology developed and would each get their own engines, allowing Red Bull to have Aston Martins, McLaren to have its own F1 V6 and Cosworth to have an engine that could be supplied to any team who wants it, much as the company used to do in F1 back in the days of the DFV.

I have a note which says “Manufacturer Meeting”, which I have not seen reported elsewhere. This was to remind me to write about a meeting that took place on Saturday between the four engine manufacturers who want to stop Liberty from pushing through its engine plans and its financial limitations, by threatening to start their own series. This is utter tosh, of course, and those of us who have been around long enough know that it is not workable. The truth is that manufacturers know it as well and so the whole thing can only be an attempt to get some concessions, rather than having to accept all that Liberty wants. I snuck up to Toto Wolff on the grid and whispered: “It won’t work,” in his ear. He looked at me, smiled and said: “It will…” so I guess he knew what I was talking about… We then had a will-won’t discussion until it got silly and some TV crew arrived to ask him another banal question.

If the manufacturers do go completely bonkers and try to do their own thing, the FIA can always switch the World Championship to Formula 2 on the basis that there aren’t enough competitors (there is a precedent, of course) and then all the F2 teams would get a chance to build their own cars or do deals with the existing people at reasonable prices. Nothing is impossible and something needs to be done to break up the financial and political power of the manufacturers.

There are lots of notes about Formula 2 teams and one that suggests that the dominant Prema will not be having Ferrari money next year, but is shopping around looking for a new team to run the programme which would be for Antonio Fuoco and Louis Deletraz, the latter apprently being a pay-driver to make the programme less costly for the Italians.

There was some excitement in the paddock over the appearance of a bunch of egamers, who were disputing a virtual World Championship in F1. This perplexed some in the F1 community, while others see gaming as a great way to attract new fans to the sport. The major thing wrong with egames is that they require skill but only virtual courage. Whether this would translate into real racing cars remains to be seen, although Nissan tried it in sports cars with patchy success. There is an argument that in the future there could be licences granted by the FIA for virtual racing, as this would be a way to teach youngsters how to race without the costs of smashing up machinery. It is an interesting concept, but does it really translate to reality?

There was talk also of a female only championship. Women can race with men if they are good enough, so having a championship for those who are not good enough is a complete waste of time.

Spotted in the paddock in Abu Dhabi was Chadly Zouiten of the National Automobile Club de Tunisie, who is trying to revive an idea of an F1 race in his country. This is attractive to F1 as it would be a race in Africa, but Tunisia is still a country where there has been trouble. Thirty British tourists were killed in an attack on a hotel compound in Sousse in June 2015. The tourist arrivals from the UK have been neglible ever since and so the government is keen to revive the industry.

The weekend ended with branding as well. We crashed out GP+ (despite some odd firewalls that stopped us uploading) and were back in Dubai by about two in the morning. There was a quick half hour snooze before it was time to go to the airport. I got myself an upgrade, using my air miles, and having finished off the urgent work in the lounge, I staggered down the jet bridge, looking for the ladies with the red hats, the rather exotic white veils and the khaki pencil skirts, not to mention the matching red lipstick. Yes, it’s branding, but it is great branding. It’s old school, it’s glamourous, it has elegance and poise. And it feels like home. The Emirates girls are always friendly. It may be part of the job description but thank goodness it is. It is so much more agreeable than having to deal with grandmaternal hostesses who treat the public like cattle. It’s the little things that matter when you’ve done a million miles of flying with an airline.

It struck me, before I fell asleep, that Emirates has been a partner of F1 since the start of 2013 and it was said at the time that the deal was for five years. I guess that it is up for renewal now…

(And if they want to tap into someone who is genuinely enthusiastic about them and their involvement in F1, I am available for paid work…)

110 thoughts on “Notebook from upstairs on an A380

  1. when the manufacturers last threatened to break away everybody and his dog including the manufacturers front line fighter Ross Brawn know who backed up.

    1. The change in engine regulations will give Mercedes the perfect excuse to execute their ‘exit plan’. History tells us that they do not stick around very long as a constructor once the victories start to dry up.

  2. Great stuff as usual. Always interesting reading. I can understand your view of Marcus to some extent but is really Giovinazzi such a big deal?

    Have a nice off-season!

    1. I think Ericsson has had his chance to be fair. It would be good to see what Giovinazzi could do for a couple of seasons.

    2. Gio is quick, works hard and is good with the sponsors. He’s a nice boy too. He still has the backing of Ricardo Gelael too should there be a need to stump up some cash.

    1. LOL.. Sam Bird would be a woeful F1 driver. He doesn’t have the attitude to cut it. Always been and entitled so and so, believing that he should be in F1. He fits where he is right now, which is a middling FE driver and a sports car driver.

  3. Speak for yourself Joe . I don’t care about logo that does fancy thing . In fact that make it all the more silly . I just want a logo that’s clear and easy to recognise the old logo was that.

  4. Cosworth DF what…E? (E for Energy) DFE goes against the original acronym concept (Double Four Valve), but then so did all the Cosworth motors after DFV.

    Perhaps DFH for Hybrid?

  5. The old logo didn’t work in 3D? Somebody neglected to tell Sky that, as they were flying in and out a 3D version of the thing for every ad-break last Sunday, complete with metallic glints off of the triangular speed lines.

    Ironically pixellation would probably have been more of a concern in 1994, but nowadays interlacing has almost vanished and we have decent anti-aliasing, HD and now UHD.

    I’m sorry Joe, I’m in no way meaning to have a go at you, and I know that I’m getting a bit “stuck record” on this issue, but — apart from the embroidery thing, which is probably entirely true — I just fear that you are being fed a big pile of bovine effluent on the TV technical stuff as an additional excuse. If they were really that concerned about pixellation etc., they would have got rid of the diagonal element of the logo, just as the BBC did in the 90s.

    Let’s face it, the main reason they wanted to change it was to get away from the Bernie era (and be able to embroider it onto T-shirts, etc). Which is fair enough, especially if they’d chosen a decent replacement, but all this TV stuff being trotted out as a justification… cuh.

    Regards from an ex-vision mixer designer. 🙂

    P. S. Thank you for the rest of the notebook and all your efforts over the year.

    1. If you had seen the animations then you might understand. Believe me, the old logo doesn’t work in 3D. If you don’t want to listen, fair enough.

      1. I saw some animations of the new logo on the podium on Sunday. They do work a bit better than the old logo, I’ll give you that. In fact 3D is probably where the new thing works best compared to the old one, so we agree on that much.

        However I feel it is extremely rich for you to accuse me of not listening, given my professional expertise regarding the technical crap they are selling you. Pot, kettle, etc.

        Sad though it is, having been an avid fan of you and your writing for over 20 years, I feel that after a difficult year following you it’s now time for me to bow out before I say something I might regret. I’ll probably end up less well-informed, but since I won’t be able to watch F1 after next year anyway, it matters little.

        I’ll see myself out. All the best.

      2. The new logo will look great when we watch the races with our personal 3d headsets. Until then, I say the new logo looks like the ESPN logo (Sean Bratches old employer), but who am I to argue with Wieden+Kennedy?

      3. Joe, thanks for the notebook and more this season and before. For whatever reason you always come off as curt in responses to any comments challenging your opinion. Being an expert in a given field shouldn’t mean that one can’t take constructive criticism or a different view point as an affront. All the best for the new season.

        1. I have explained it many times. If I get 200 comments a day and each takes two minutes to respond to, I need 400 minutes. That is six hours and 40 minutes. When am I supposed to earn money? Would you prefer nothing?

          1. I have no clue how you find the time in any case Joe, what with the blog and work that needs to pay, and family. A short piece on your average working day would be interesting and insightful for those who demand a response that plays more to their misplaced sensibilities!

          2. baashd’s point has been entirely missed here – brevity of response is fine. I tend to use ‘agree to disagree’ when time is money – demonstrates acceptance of another’s opinion but not agreement without appearing curt or defensive.

          3. You have committed the sin of giving something away for free, now the ungrateful think they can demand customer satisfaction. I’m stunned you bother to respond to some of the glaring trolls and delicate flowers who think they are owed something when they walk into someone’s home sit down, change the TV station and insist you listen to what they know to be “facts”.

      4. Joe, I’m afraid to say that the given reasons for changing the logo are unconvincing. I want to be convinced, but the talk about 3D and digitalisation doesn’t do it for me.
        I doubt Alfa Romeo will want to change their logo which is an age older than the old F1.

  6. The new logo is not square. I wonder if that may present problems in the new era of square-format apps and avatars.

  7. Might have missed it, but does the AF doel mean Sauber gets 2018 Ferrari engines? Think I’ve read about it after their split, before it began, with Honda. But is that confirmed?

  8. Your thoughts on the new logo echo mine. At first It was wtf? But now I like it quite a lot. I especially the abstract aspect of it.

  9. Upstairs on an A380… one can dream. Although downstairs is as good as you get cattle class and the Emirates CC are top notch.
    I’m still in two minds with the logo – I have a shirt I bought in Canada that has the old F1 logo in perfect detail, so this embrodiery lark is a bit of an excuse. I’ve overseen much more complex logos put onto all sorts of material without issue. We will see – and ouf course the current Sky F1 logo is now outdated having lasted just one season.
    Only thing I wish is that I can’t finish work tomorrow and be in London in time for your talk. Enjoy the off season.

  10. 3D makes up an incredibly minor component of content broadcasting. 3D is also a feature which most people don’t even bother to use on TVs that don’t have it. Most of the world’s most iconic and beloved logos were created prior to social media. You can always tweak a logo to work in different formats without throwing the design out wholesale. I’m open to design change. Problem is that the F1 logo is so generic as to be entirely unforgettable / indistinguishable. Would have been better if they had simply create a branding catalogue with a couple logo variants for different mediums.

    1. I know what you mean but in the end always think that endless discussion about corporate logos is a little like discussing how to arrange deckchairs on the Titanic. Not that I’m inferring anything by that comment of course – really!

  11. What strikes me about the Alfa Romeo/Sauber deal is what implications this does have politically.

    Whats happens if anything now comes to fruition from Saubers European Union complaint?

    I’d be interested to hear Saubers stance on what a new revenue distribution model should look like, given the party the stands to lose to most under any new arrangement is Ferrari.

      1. And what do you think their stance would be on revenue distribution now?

        Old school business simply doesn’t work in the new age. I can see the Sauber “brand” taking a hammering if they do start singing from the Ferrari hymn sheet to that extent.

        Whatever the deal however, I’m sure it would be less less than $90m a year.

        1. The Sauber “brand” taking a hammering? Because their pitiful performance in recent seasons isn’t enough?

          I’m as keen to support a plucky underdog as the next man, but Sauber’s brand is basically 26 years of losing rather badly.

          Do you really think anyone of note will care about “Sauber’s stance on a what a new revenue distribution model should look like”, given their position of abject weakness?

          1. That’s a bit harsh. Yes, they’ve struggled in the last few years but prior to that have put in a lot of very creditable performances, and not only during the BMW works era, to say nothing of the number of big names they’ve brought into the sport. Given how many other teams have come and gone, one might say just surviving for 26 years is a major achievement.

            The Alfa involvement may be nothing more than a badge at this stage, but if it prevents Longbow doing the same to Sauber as Genii did to the Enstone team, it can only be a good thing.

          2. Well yes, given their stance on the matter has historically been to the detriment of their new golden goose.

            You can’t discuss revenue distribution issues without mentioning Ferrari.

  12. I know what you mean about the “courage” aspect of Egames etc, coming from the same generation as yourself. However, I do think simulation will play a large part in the future identifying promising young drivers, especially considering the incredible cost of actually entering even a club single-seater series these days not to mention Go Karts.

    Psychologically, if the driver believes it’s real, it is real and he will react accordingly. The science is developing so fast that I don’t think it will be long before it will be a natural way of selecting talent. I may be wrong…

    Thanks for another year of unmissable blogging.

      1. Does it take real testicles to drive a real car around a real corner with a real half mile deep tarmac run-off area?

    1. I thought the aim was to develop a parallel virtual championship, not to train drivers. Though of course todays games are very accurate and are used to help new drivers learn new tracks, also a tad less expensive than team sims
      EGaming is now big and fills large venues. Liberty I undertood, wanted to get in on the EGaming world, since thier future target audience may well encompass the type of persons who attend the major E events.
      Liberty could sponsor/own an E championship (which they ought to trademark sharpish) This could even progress to teams fielding E teams in the E championship. However proffesional gaming is financially very much a hit and miss affair in its current iteration with most competitors living hand to mouth, while only the series winners make big money.

      We are about two years away from autonomous car racing if Guy Martin’s recent experience is anything to go by, the control algorithms and edge detection need to be made more sophisticated. Still the development of autonomous street vehicles may help that of the racing equivalent. But will it be allowed on track?
      I am more concerned that they will be on our roads, though I do here admit that back in the day at 5:30 southbound in solid traffic on the M42/A34 I often wished for the car to take me home while I slept.

      The USA has for many years held an annual competiton for autonomous vehilces over mixed terrain, which I bevlieve is run by one of is many branches of the military. So the basic parameters have been known for what, 20 years?

    1. I see that Emirates are doing away with first class and filling the space with business class seats instead.

  13. I get the point of what they’re trying to achieve with the new logo, but it doesn’t work for me. I thought it looked a bit rubbish when it was spinning in 3D, as it’s too elongated and blocky. It looks more like “FI” than “F1”. It’s also quite plain… The design is OK but they could have done more with it. And they’ve written “Formula 1” underneath it in a font which looks like it is straight of the 70s, thus giving it a retro feel instead of a new or exciting one. The opposite of what they’re trying to achieve!

    I can only hope it will make more sense when seen with the new flashy graphics next year…

  14. Re the women-only championship idea… At the moment there are very few women who look genuinely capable of competing with men. So an initiative which encourages more to try, and provides opportunities which may not otherwise have been present, can only be a good thing. Plus it will encourage more women to become fans of the sport.

    I think it should be at a level where the champion can graduate to the new International F3 at least, but preferably F2.

    1. Whilst I can understand your logic, you fail to account for long term implications – preferably oriented towards parity, with practices that don’t discriminate.

      Once a gender-orientated competition is established at a lower level, it has ramifications for future iterations. Such is more likely to become devisive than inclusive, in short order – which surely defeats the whole purpose?

      1. I understand that completely. But the fact is there are few if any female drivers who are capable of being in F1. If nothing changes then it will always be so. A positive move can only be a good thing.

        A prospective series would need credibility and be designed as a means to an end. The aim should not be to find female racing drivers, it should be to find one or two who could genuinely compete in F1. They should use recognised cars from which meaningful data comparison is possible. How about the soon-to-be-obsolete current F3 cars? If, over a series with say 12 rounds on current F3 tracks, it could be proven that the champion driver has consistently set lap times which are as good as past F3 champions, they could earn themselves a competitive drive in International F3 or F2.

        A series such as this would provide encouragement and opportunity which, as things currently stand, appear to be very limited.

        1. Jeez, how to over complicate things. Women and girls compete in karting successfully, then some move up to cars, then things fizzle out. The reasons for this need to be understood and solved, and still compete with the guys in the same race not as a substandard class with women only. F1 is not populated by massive muscle men nowadays, it’s number taking up the sport at grass roots that needs to be addressed first. Maybe, just maybe there’s only a small percentage of females who are interested in the first place – I have no wish to be a nurse for example. It’s not as if they “can’t” it’s because the “don’t”.

          Regards eRacing. It’s fun, but it’s not comparable to actual racing. Try real racing if you make a comment like that. Try convincing your spinchter that you can take a fast corner flat out in real life……

          1. It’s not complicated, it’s very simple.

            Maybe the reason these potential careers fizzle out is that women find they are not taken seriously and lack opportunities?

            Maybe more would take it up at grass roots level if they had more encouragement, more opportunities and more role models?

            The number of women who are interested is undoubtedly smaller, but if the aim is to find one or two who could genuinely make it, so what?

            It would only take one woman to make it to F1 and succeed on merit for there to be a change in attitudes, and perhaps a few more would come through in the future. It’s got to be the right one though. Carmen Jorda does the cause no favours, but then again, could she have been much more successful if, before she got to GP3, she’d had better opportunities, been given more support and been taken more seriously?

            The only one who actually could have done it is Simona de Silvestro. It’s such a shame that she didn’t get a chance at Sauber.

  15. All this talk of logos – the new one is dreadful by the way, they should have put the halo in somewhere – but it seems the irony of unveiling the new logo after the most boring race of the season has been lost on most commentators. Talk about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic….

  16. Hey Joe? (There’s a song in there somewhere) thanks for the info, as always. I really wanted to make the ‘audience’ tomorrow, having enjoyed Singapore last year, but I’ve overbooked myself somehow. So, looking forward to next year? France is on my list, mainly as it will be the first at Paul Ricard since … (I rely on you for stats like that) also because I’m a fan of the country! I could suffer a multilingual Audience, I’m obviously assuming that since you reside there, you have a command of the language? Any plans in that direction?

        1. Excellent piece in the FT recently on Mr. Palmer. No doubt, he is the real deal, and much respected in the industry, and trusted by the shareholders.

          1. wait till he produces a formula one engine, he already have two engine men from FERRARI and just broke even after donkey years in the red.

        2. He is a less experienced Marchionne but a more successful version of Dany Bahar.

          He is without doubt letting his CEO whimsy get the better of himself. Just as when he was at Infiniti. It’s all a bloody good jolly for him. Which I suppose is fine if there is some business merit behind it all. I don’t feel there is though.

    1. Andy Palmer’s rush of blood to his head plus some ticklish from the spiceman is endangering all those within a one km radius around him as his head might explode without notice. Aston Martin doesn’t even make its own road car engines, and is barely profitable, and yet Andy Palmer wants to make his own F1 engine.

  17. Will the new F1 logo mean that pit babes and others will now be embroidering their significant others’ driver suits, like in the old days?
    Will make for great photography.

  18. Joe

    Interesting comment re: eracers. I think the relevance is less about courage – the youth have no fear anyway, especially if they have been driving quickly for their whole lives – but more about viceral thrill. I can’t go “watch” an erace in person and experience the noise. And in the same way that watching a live race is more exciting than a delay or recording, knowing it is happening in the physical world just seems more exciting.

  19. Hey Joe! Thanks for an excellent blog, as usual. Regarding the consortium involving Red Bull Racing, McLaren, Aston Martin and Cosworth, am I understanding it correctly that all four chip in for development and essentially, in the crude sense, all have the same engines, with different badges? So, in other words, The engine in the McLaren, labeled a McLaren, is essentially the same engine in the Red Bull, labeled an Aston Martin, which is the same engine as the Cosworth, in say a Williams? Okay, so maybe the computer management systems could be different? Or, perhaps the injection, turbos or hybrid systems are different? Does the basic engine remain the same, in this scenario? If so, it reminds me of way back with the Nicholson Cosworth DFVs, where John Nicholson developed Cosworth DFVs for McLaren. In that case, however, the engines never lost their Cosworth identity. It was clear that they were Cosworths developed by John Nicholson. As far as Alfa Romeo goes, from my view, it’s a band-aid fix. Sergio Marchionne has stated he wants Alfa in the mix but calling ace’s, aces, the best Alfa can hope for is being a mid-field runner. While that works for Sauber, a manufacturer such as Alfa Romeo has a reputation to uphold and having cars that finish 6th – 15th, tarnishes the mark’s reputation. Alfa Romeo needs to be finishing on the podium and also winning races. In the long run, Alfa needs to be manufactured in Italy and likewise, not relying on Ferrari’s customer engines. It will take some time… Rome wasn’t built in a day…. however Alfa Romeo needs to be competitive with their own design and manufacturer. Slapping their name on someone else’s car isn’t going to cut it. As well as Haas has done, is what Alfa should expect. However, if Alfa does become a winner down the road, Mr. Marchionne could find himself in a bit of a pickle as the C.E.O. of both Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, two companies no longer connected through Fiat.

    1. Marchionne won’t be CEO of FCA by the time that happens – if ever. As to the consortium, it means they take IP and do their own thing with it. Happens all the time in the car industry.

        1. Joe is right. It’s been going on for, what, 25 years? Way back when there was a car called a Delorean they used a Renault V6. However, the same V6 was also a Volvo and I think a Lancia. As I suggested, they may use their own electronics, turbos, and what not.

          1. It was the Peugeot Renault Volvo V6, and it was a dog. Read one of the many DeLorean autobiographies and there’s an amusing tale about them within

            1. > it was a dog

              Was it? In what way?

              I always thought it was a perfectly OK (but slightly average) big lazy saloon car engine that was hopelessly (but totally foreseeably) underspecified for the DeLorean. And that it was chosen for cost and packaging reasons not performance. But I’m curious to hear different.

    2. There’s another small factor that maybe Marchionne is playing with, nationally: his relationship with the old-style trade unions and the weight they have added to the Italian car industry. He had a very public confrontation with them when he reorganised the structure of the FCA plants, and used this kind of diversion tactics, I believe successfully (with the sad Lancia sacrifice). I think he wants to add pressure on his Italian staff to use the racing reputation of the Alfa Romeo Brand as a goal / benchmark to improve their poor reputation in reliability and after-sales service. The cars that Alfa produces on the Giorgio platform are good, but they suffer from the abysmal reputation that the FIAT assembly and service structure has caused. He basically says “OK, if you’re so good as you say you are, live up to your racing reputation and become a premium brand more than just in prices”. Heknows which buttons to push. The comments on the Italian fora all start with two things : 1) Great! Alfa is back! 2) why the Swiss and not Toro Rosso? This is an itch to them. The flag matters to them more than the rationality of the business decision. Marchionne knows this. It’s not about racing. But if the racing does well, then we’re all happy. This decision is a win only solution (yes, the two partners start from the bottom, I know…..).

    3. The suggestion that Alfa Romeo are entering F1 without an ambitious and fully costed plan to deliver results over the next decade makes no sense.

      That isn’t how businesses operate.

        1. Will you attend the launch tomorrow, Joe?

          “Marchionne, who is also chairman of Ferrari, and Picci will present the new team at Alfa’s museum in Arese, near Milan, on Saturday.” REUTERS

      1. I think you’re confusing how businesses operate with the impression businesses like to give of how they operate.

  20. I thought we might miss the final notebook now that F1 facts have started, but no, the last one of 2017 is just as interesting as the first.

    My thoughts on the logo is that this time next year, no one will ever think about it, perhaps that is what makes them work, they reinforce values rather than change them.

    You almost touch on a subject that I am keen to understand, i.e. the transition from the current Concorde agreement to the future where Ferrari no longer have a veto, nor the lion’s share of the prize money.

    Perhaps during the festive season you could gaze into your crystal ball, or squeeze the golden ones of someone in the know. Presumably the strategy group will just become a talking shop, so Ferrari buying extra votes from Sauber cannot really apply.

    But then it was interesting to hear Force India apparently toeing the Mercedes line, yet, like Sauber, they have never had a vote.

  21. Yeah, because no automobile manufacturer has ever pulled out of Formula One, so it makes perfect sense to build a business model around their participation. And it is a particularly good strategy considering the auto OEMs are now focused on full electrification, autonomous driving and transportation miles as a service, all of which cause the interests of F1 and the OEMs to diverge.

  22. If you use your favourite search engine to search for “F1 hat” you’ll find that there are baseball caps with the venerable logo sewn onto and they don’t look too bad at all. I’m sure they’re not official merchandise though, because the cost is actually reasonable.

  23. I can’t help feeling the new ‘logo’ was designed by three people –
    One provided the ‘F1’ logo graphic itself,
    another the ‘Formula 1’ font/explanatory label beneath it –
    and the final contributor arranged the two components.
    All without consulting each other.
    Hopefully, graphic and text won’t be deployed in close proximity in normal use.

    Regarding F1’s eSports Gamers division
    At least it should put real testicles and vaginas on an equal footing.

  24. I remember at the 2012 Olympics there were also lots of negative comments about the logo for the games. I spoke to someone at the time who knew about the design spec and he said the complaints about the logo were mainly coming from people who were 40+ when the logo was designed for a much younger demographic. Are Liberty following the same process? They certainly need a younger audience to follow F1

  25. I’ve said before and elsewhere that I prefer the logo that was used from 1993 until the end of this season. Partially, that is because I am older and tend to be a bit stuck in my ways. But it’s also genuinely the way I feel about it. To me the old logo looks better than the new. Graphics isn’t my business so I cannot defend or criticize either the new or the old from a technical standpoint. However, I believe that the new logo is the best of the three options that I saw presented. I also recognize that organizations feel the need to freshen up the brand from time to time. American Airlines, United Airlines, Hertz, and Avis, for example, have all done it to varying degrees over the years. Liberty wants to mold the brand to its vision for Formula One. Fair enough. Let’s see how it works out.

    Thanks for the notebook Joe. Looking forward to more F1 Fascinating Facts over the off season.


  26. [OT] Joe, any idea where the decision that Budkowski should (‘voluntarily’?) defer his arrival at Renault came from? I’m guessing that it was a response to some kind of threat, or some kind of promise?

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