Green Notebook from the Islander Bar and Grill

I bounce through Miami International Airport every now and then, and it always makes me smile when I see the airport code MIA. For me this acronym means Missing In Action. Quite often, one feels a little like that when one is jumping around between the time zones.

When I find myself in MIA with time to kill, I will walk through the terminal, which has crushed shells in the flooring (see below), presumably to make it more durable, as well as quite pretty to look at. When I get to Gate D4, I hide myself away in the Islander Bar and Grill. There’s nothing special about the place but for reasons that I cannot quite fathom it feels like a safe haven and one gets a hint of Caribbean life, with some dishes that originate from the islands. It used to serve conch and other such delicacies, but these days the menu is rather less Gulf Stream and a little more mainstream.

I had a few hours to kill in MIA on the return from Mexico City (it’s cheaper when you do not fly direct) and I was pondering the Mexico F1 weekend, as I munched my way through some Cuban spring rolls. It struck me that Islander can be viewed as “I slander” and that one of the themes of the Grand Prix had been defamation, largely in relation to social media and how toxic a world it can be. This came up in the post-race press conference.

 “I think it’s just the sport is more popular so there are more people watching, so more people are writing,” said Max Verstappen. “I think it’s just that. It’s not great that they are allowed to write these kinds of things so I hope we can come up with a kind of algorithm that stops people from being keyboard warriors. Because these kind of people… they will never come up to you and say these things in front of your face, because they’re sitting in front of their desk or whatever at home, being upset, being frustrated, and they can write whatever they like because the platform allows you to. That can be really damaging and hurtful to some people and it’s not how it should be. Social media is a very toxic place.”

Lewis Hamilton was also quite vocal on the subject.

“Social media is getting more and more toxic as the years go on and we should all come off it, ultimately,” he said. “Mental health is such a prominent thing right now. So many people are reading the comments, the stuff that people say, and it is hurtful. Fortunately I don’t read it, but the media platforms need to do more to protect people, particularly young kids and women. At the moment they are not doing that so I think this will just continue.”

And Sergio Perez agreed.

“They don’t understand that we are also human beings. And I think this has got to stop,” he said. “And, obviously, as a sport, we need to also be responsible of what we post, by ourselves. We all have a lot of followers so it’s very important that we try to get the sport in the right way because Formula 1, it’s a great sport and has great values, but has to do more in that regard.”

I could not agree more. One cannot post anything without someone taking offence, or gnashing their virtual teeth. The other day, I saw a tweet which suggested that researchers at Stanford University, a very fine institution, had come up with what they considered to be the image of God. It all sounded very unlikely and the image looked a lot like Fernando Alonso. In fact, it looked so like Fernando that I concluded that it was a fake story but, just to be sure, I did a little surfing on the web and discovered that the image had nothing to do with Stanford and was simply a 3D rendition of Alonso that one can buy on the web, if one feels the need to part with money to own a  non-fungible token.

I have always struggled with NFTs because while I understand that an image can be considered special and valuable, when you buy a virtual piece of art, you are getting absolutely nothing part from an image that anyone who knows how to use a screen shot can also have at home. If you buy a painting you are at least getting some canvas, wood and paint.

I guess it is just about belief, similar to thinking that a bit of paper is as valuable as a piece of gold.

Anyway, I tweeted that it was an NFT and not some religious experiment that looked like Alonso and my phrase: “It’s not God, it’s just Fernando” soon appeared on a virtual teeshirt because Fernando fans thought this was a good meme. Then, of course, I got some responses from religious types saying that there is only one God and that it is disrespectful to compare Him (why not Her?) with Alonso because the bible is filled with exhortations to avoid and/or destroy gods other than the one mentioned in the “Good Book”. Gods, in the wrong hands, are troublesome (I’d better © that one).

Anyway, Mexico City is all the fault of an Aztec deity with the easy-to-remember name of Huitzilopochtli, who said that the best place for the tribe to settle would be when they saw an eagle, perched on a prickly pear cactus – in a lake – and eating a snake.

Well, blow me down, this is exactly what some of the Aztecs saw in a swamp in the valley of Mexico. So they built a city called Tenochtitlan, created “floating gardens” on which to grow food and settled down to enjoy life, sacrificing people from time to time to stop the gods from making the ground shake, by ripping out the still-beating hearts of the victims. OK, they gave us popcorn and chewing gum as well, but the sacrificing stuff was not a very nice way of going about business.

Thanks to the hungry eagle, the settlement now known as Mexico City was founded (and the Mexican flag created), although in the modern world, the place is anything but perfect. It is in a flat valley at 7,000ft, surrounded by volcanos that rise as high as 16,000 feet. It is sheltered from winds but has no drainage so that when water descends from the mountains it has nowhere to go and causes floods. These conditions are not very helpful because a concept called temperature inversion means that air pollution is trapped and when the warm air near the ground does escape it creates violent thunder storms that cause more floods.

And that’s without the earthquakes…

Despite these disadvantages, Mexico City has grown and grown. Today there are 22 million people living there (21.8 million of which are Checo Perez fans). Pollution used to be really horrible back in the 1980s but the Mexicans have done a decent clean-up job by building a very efficient mass transit system, although the traffic is still pretty awful. Mexico City is reckoned to be only the fifth most congested city in Latin America (avoid Bogota, Lima, Recive and Santiago) – but it is still a very congested place.

And yet visitors come to enjoy its cosmopolitan charms, its energy and its historical places. In the old days, everyone in F1 used to stay at the airport hotels because they were there to race and didn’t care about the fancy hotels downtown. Today they want to stay in the wildly-expensive places and so have to spend additional money on police escorts and waste time getting through the traffic in their cars. One of my favourite stories of the Grand Prix weekend was that Carlos Slim Domit, the billionaire petrol head, who has funded much of Mexican motorsport in the last 20 years, and is largely responsible for Sergio Perez surviving long enough in F1 to get a decent seat, decided that he didn’t want to sit in traffic and so took the metro to get to the circuit. Fortunately, this was so unexpected an act that nothing bad happened…

If you want to make friends in Mexico you don’t need to learn a lot of Spanish. If you can say “Checo” and give a thumbs-up, they will be happy and proud. However one gets the feeling that it isn’t just Perez. Mexicans love racing. The support for Perez is spectacular but  it is not quite the same as success-chasing supporters of Max Verstappen, who will fade one day if Max stops winning.

For Mexicans it seems that there is also plenty of national pride about the Grand Prix. It is a great event. It won the prize for being the best Grand Prix for five consecutive years between 2015 and 2019 (the award has not been made since), and the promoter has just signed a new three-year deal and the future looks rosy. The main focus these days is to build up the festival (ie money-making activities) around the event. Already it coincides with the colourful Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) and so visitors can combine the two, which will bring more revenue to the city and thus enable F1 to ask for more money. This is exactly what Liberty Media’s vision of F1 is – and it is working.

There is a developing problem, however, with the secondary market for tickets, which can get to daft prices because so many people want to come to the races. This presents a challenge for the organisers because if they sell cheap tickets these will end up nurturing touts. One can raise the prices to squeeze out the scalpers but if the demand is strong enough there will still be a margin for them.

The problem in Mexico City is that the Grand Prix cannot sell any more tickets and there is no space left for more grandstands. The logical thing to do in the circumstances is either to sit back and enjoy the situation, or to try and repeat the success elsewhere. With six races in the American time zones in 2023, there is probably still room for one more (which will mean one being lost in Europe) and although having two races in Mexico is not a realistic ambition, there is no reason why the promotions company cannot go elsewhere in the region and help out countries that do not know how to do it.

Anyway, the reason the new contract is short, is because there is an election in 2024 when the mayor of Mexico City Claudia Sheinbaum gets to the end of her term of office. It looks like she is going to stand for the presidency and so the Mexico City could get federal funding again and perhaps return to being the Mexican GP.

Perez is so popular in Mexico that his father Tono thinks it could win him votes in he presidential election and he says he standing for the role. This will not happen because he is in the same party – called MORENA – as Sheinbaum and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who are probably a little more attractive to voters than Perez’s dad, enthusiastic though he may be…

Mexico will at some point need to look for a new driver to support because Perez is coming up to 33 and while he is eight years younger than Fernando Alonso and could, in theory, go on forever in F1, there may come a point at which Red Bull will think that a youngster might do a better job. You can cheer until you are hoarse, but Sergio is nowhere close to Max’s pace. He’s solid, he’s older and (perhaps) wiser, but there may come a day…

Mexico does have Pato O’Ward, who is nine years younger than Perez and a very bouncy individual. He is under contract to McLaren in IndyCar until the end of 2025 and is the same age as Lando Norris, which is two years old than Oscar Piastri, while Alex Palou is two years older. So, McLaren has an option that could one day make Mexico happy. A successful driver can make the sport very popular in their own country. We have seen that in Spain (with Alonso) and in Germany (with Michael Schumacher), but it doesn’t always work because Sebastian Vettel never appealed to German fans in the way that Michael did. I have asked a lot of Germans about why this is the case and the answer seems to be a class thing. Michael was a working class hero, who rose to fame at a time when Germany needed figures to unite around. It all happened just after the reunification of East and West and, so they say, this is what made him such a huge phenomenon. That, and a lot of victories…

Today we have China’s Guanyu Zhou but the Chinese are not yet getting excited. Things are a little complicated because I sense a new kind of caution in F1 about China. The 2023 race is going to be called off because of the zero-COVID policy. The Chinese leadership cannot let F1 bust all the rules without it stirring up trouble and that is the last thing that they want. So the race will have to go and maybe in 2024 they will get round to easing the lockdowns and getting on with life.. At the same time I feel that the view of China is changing. It is no longer viewed the investment opportunity it once was and lots of Western companies are winding down their operations. China’s failure to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine has not gone down well in the West and President Xi’s combative attitude towards Taiwan is worrying. F1 cut all ties with Russia soon after the invasion of Ukraine – and would likely do the same if Taiwan was attacked.

But, worse than that, there is a wariness about China that the leadership has created. I am sure they don’t give a monkey’s about F1, but it could mean that F1 will moved its targets to places in Asia where it is easier to do business. Yes, China has 1.4 billion people, but India has about the same… Perhaps if the Indians can get rid of their red tape and F1 might look again. Perhaps not.

Next year, probably, we will have American Logan Sargeant trying to do the same thing with the USA. Colton Herta seems to have disappeared from the scene and I am told that he has just been signed to a vast new contract ($7 million) which is unheard of in Indycar. Perhaps if there is ever an Andretti F1 team Herta might make F1, but right now it is all rather doubtful.

F1 continues to build in the US and this week at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the leading automotive trade show, Williams F1 is going to be present. Next weekend there will be a launch party for the Grand Prix in Las Vegas.

Sargeant’s situation remains uncertain, which is a little ridiculous. The gap between the penultimate Formula 2 race meeting and the finale is a massive 10 weeks (from September 11 to November 20). This is one of number of flaws that Formula 2 suffers from: it is expensive and the cars are not always reliable and so the championship can be impacted by mechanical failures, which is not what you want when one is trying to develop the best drivers and technical issues distort the results. Secondly, the gap at the end of the year means that a number of current Formula 2 drivers need to wait until after the last race to see whether they qualify for an F1 super licence or not. They do not want to commit to returning to Formula 2 in 2023 because there is no real point in doing another season if one finishes well in the championship, but as they don’t know where they will finish, they cannot commit. Felipe Drugovich has already won the 2022 title, having collected 241 points thus far. This means he cannot be caught by the second-placed Theo Pourchaire, who has only 164 points. There is maximum score of 39 points for an F2 weekend, which means that Pourchaire is not safe in second place because Sargeant (135), Jack Doohan (126), Jehan Daruvala (126) and Enzo Fittipaldi (126) could all beat him. There are five other drivers who might be able to overtake Sargeant for third place, if they score maximum points and he fails to score: Liam Lawson (123), Frederik Vesti (117), Ayumu Iwasa (114), Juri Vips (110) and Dennis Hauger (98).

So there are 10 drivers who could finish third in the championship. Sargeant needs to be fifth to qualify for his licence and thus be able to take up the Williams F1 drive that is on offer to him.

The problem with this is that while the drivers wait to see what will happen, the 2023 drives are beginning to fill up with drivers who know what they need to do. The same mistake is being made again in next year’s calendar.

The paddock chatter in Mexico was largely about the cost cap, until the decisions were handed down, after which it ceased to be news and sank beneath silently the waves.

There was a bit of talk following the Audi announcement that it is jumping into bed with Sauber, a surprise to no-one. What is interesting about this is that the announcement said that Sauber will “undertake the planning and execution of all race operations during the 2026 Formula 1 season”. Cutting through the waffle, this means that Audi is hedging its bets, but you can understand why. If a manufacturer comes in with full branding there is a risk that if it all goes wrong, the company will look bad. Toyota is a good example of how not to do it. Mercedes dived in head-first in 2010 when it acquired Brawn GP but Brawn was the World Championship-winning team at the time, whereas Sauber is nowhere near achieving that.

Prior to that, back in the 1990s, Mercedes hid behind Sauber before becoming Sauber-Mercedes in 1994.

When Sauber was bought by BMW at the end of 2005 the team remained BMW Sauber, rather than being a straight BMW team, but if things had gone better it might have been transformed, but it seems that the sporting bosses had over-promised and the BMW board decided it was wasting its time and quit.

The other big question at the moment is what is going to happen with Audi’s sister brand Porsche, which was hoping to enter F1 in league with Red Bull.  In recent days there have been rumours that Porsche could buy into Williams. This is not serious. Williams’s owners have shown no intention, despite several approaches, to hand over control. Williams would like to have manufacturer support in 2026 – but Porsche does not have an engine and, so they say, does not currently have the capacity, the people nor the time to build an engine for 2026.

Hence the Red Bull deal…

Porsche does have some knowledge of F1 engines because back in 2017 the VW executive board commissioned  the firm to build a prototype F1 engine. This was going to be used from 2021 onwards but the impact of the VW diesel scandal shifted the group towards electric motorsport. The dynos that Porsche had planned to use were sold to Red Bull.

When Audi announced its F1 plans, its boss Markus Duesmann was asked if Audi and Porsche could collaborate, the obvious thing to do if one is being cost-efficient. But that would be far too easy for a complex company like Volkswagen. Audi does not want to work with Porsche. It is a flimsy argument to say that they cannot because integrating chassis and engine is impossible. If you look at the technical regulations about power unit mountings, these must consist of six studs connecting to the survival cell. The precise nature of the rules includes coordinates of where the studs must be placed, which means that different engines can be used with different chassis. This was created to make it possible to change engines without huge costs being involved and so integration is a lot easier than it might appear.

Since Duesmann made these remarks a couple of months ago, much has changed: the Red Bull-Porsche deal has fallen apart, but Porsche boss Oliver Blume has taken over as the boss of VW Group, while still retaining his role at Porsche. This means that Blume is Duesmann’s superior. Well, that’s the theory. Logically, if he went to the VW board and suggested that Porsche and Audi share the same technology, it would be entirely logical for that to happen. You can argue that this is not the way that Porsche does business, but then badging a Red Bull engine was not at all a Porsche kind of strategy.

Needs must.

The simple (but difficult) solution is for Porsche to be given whatever Audi has. One can stick a different badge on the cam covers and who will know the difference? Obviously Porsche would then need to invest in people and machinery so as to develop along its own path, but this might be a good starting point.

However, when it comes to VW politics, nothing is ever simple…

Money is not the issue.

Money is an issue in some parts of F1, notably the cryptocurrency firms, following on from the catastrophic loss of investor confidence in the sector last summer. Bitcoin has tumbled from $60,000 to $20,000, while Ferrari sponsor Velas has seen its market cap tumble from $1.2 billion  in January to just under $100 million. F1 sponsor Crypto.com has also been suffering and has recently laid off around 30 percent of its staff and has cancelled a big sponsorship deal with UEFA.

Conversely, the more traditional money transfer businesses such as Haas’s new sponsor Moneygram or the likes of PayPal and Western Union are booming, along with a string of newer money transfer firms.

F1 is famous for looking at problems and finding solutions, so perhaps we will see some new names popping up soon.

The other day Alejandro Soberon, the race promoter in Mexico, came up with a brilliant concept about F1 and the environment. F1 is busy trying to convince everyone that it can reach zero emissions by 2030. This is a good idea, but it is pretty meaningless if one does not count the emissions created by F1’s spectators. One can try to get people to use mass transportation systems (as Carlos Slim did in Mexico) or one can try to convince them to switch to emission-free cars. But, if one thinks about the problem, one can already argue that Formula 1 is carbon neutral. How? Well, Soberon argued, if one only counts the people attending events, you are missing a trick. F1 is responsible for them, sure. But F1 is also responsible for keeping people at home to watch races, rather than going out on Sundays to have drive in the country, picnics, shopping trips and so on. So one needs only to find a way to measure how many people stay at home because of F1 and work out the environmental damage avoided and one can quickly see that the number of spectators will quickly be outnumbered by the number of TV viewers.

Staying home is something that more and more media F1 media are now doing, which means that most of the coverage comes from people who use what is spoon-fed to them, or copy what those who still travel are producing, although obviously they do not pay for it. This means that the travellers foot the bills but publications won’t pay what they used to. Anyone who travels the world at the moment knows that the costs are now horrendous. Flights are double what they used to be, hotels (particularly at F1 races) are off the clock. Hire car prices are bonkers. This is the cost of F1’s success, the result of the pandemic and businesses trying to make back what they lost.

This can get you down sometimes. I see all the followers on my social media feeds and I ponder the fact that if all them were to purchase a subscription to the JSBM newsletter (http://flatoutpublishing.com/jsbm/) just once, not only would they get a unique news every week for a year – much more than appears in the Green Notebook – but I would then never have to worry about F1 costs again.

Ah, in a perfect world, where social media was a positive thing…

77 thoughts on “Green Notebook from the Islander Bar and Grill

  1. Trivia: New Mexico is older than Mexico. New Mexico was named by the Spanish after the Valley of Mexico long before the country of Mexico existed.

    1. A few years ago I saw a chap sporting a T-shirt with the slogan:

      “New Mexico: it’s not new and it’s not Mexico”

      in New Mexico, obv. At the time I thought he was just being [“insert description of choice here” – Ed.] but now…

  2. Great read Joe

    Don’t you think the México GP organizers should start to look at making track changes. The event and the atmosphere is great but the final product (the actual race) it’s always dull.

    Plus there is no grandstand in Wich you can see what and F1 car is actually capable of. Only slow corners and straights.

    I been there 3 times and I think the huge interest can wear out if nothing is done

    1. G’day Jose,
      The same could be said of Canada but It’s the best GP “EVENT” for tourists to attend and the locals seem to agree. I haven’t been to Mexico but I get the feeling it’s similar in feel and excitement around the city and track.
      cheers, build.

      1. Been to both. Canada, is a great value and it still has the classic feel of GP racing has it once was and ought to be.

  3. Hi Joe, as always a great post and read with great anticipation. What did you make of the boycott by Red Bull of SKY UK and proposed comments by Ted Kravitz? Thanks.

    1. I don’t think it is ever wise to boycott the press. One does not need to be helpful, but saying you won’t say anything simple makes you the target. Sky isn’t going to fire Ted because one team is annoyed with him, are they? Perhaps if everyone said the same, it might work, but this simply means that Red Bull looks a little petulant. I’m not sure who had the idea, but it’s not smart communication.

      1. I thought it a spectacularly Ill judged boycott. Also, will the toys come out of the pram at anything else they don’t agree with, and will Sky now have to march to RB’s drum to avoid upsetting them? Hopefully F1 management have had a word about the greater good for the sport, and consider putting it in team obligations.

        I personally think that Max is getting a little big headed on the media side recently, Netflix, Sky, etc. Hope he grows out of it because he’s generally straightforward, honest, and considered with the press. The F1 champion should be promoting the positive side of the sport.

        1. I think with Netflix he had a point. They did seam to have a story they wanted to tell and were happy to distort the material they had gathered to achieve their aim. There is always some degree of distortion in editing but I think he rightly believed they were going to far.

      2. While I totally agree that a “boycott” was the silly way to approach this, I fully understand the issue(s) that RBR and Max have had with Sky this season. I have been an F1TV user since its beginning (cut the cord in 2013) and have very much enjoyed having the ability to choose Sky audio coverage over the F1TV audio, so I may listen to Martin Brundle and his fill-ins as excellent “color commentators.” I have never been a fan of David Croft’s screaming, but that is just because my ears don’t like the sound. I assume he is a fine man and I know he does understand F1, however, in my opinion, he HAS been very slanted and unprofessional this season, as has Ted Kravitz. On many occasions, both have had digs at FIA, RBR and Max. And while I get they are entitled to their opinions and are fully allowed to believe Max is an undeserving 2021 WDC, their opinions will not change the fact that he is, in fact, the 2021 WDC. My disappointment in their coverage this year is in that they continue to bring this up with small digs slipped in.

        I know, I suppose I am expecting too much of them to remove their opinions and perceived bias and just comment on the racing but that is what I want. There are journalistic outlets I won’t give the time of day to because they are not reporting the facts but their opinions. I suppose Ted and David are not journalists, but it is how I view them, as they should present the excitement of the racing without need for personal opinion.

        So, my useless, long-winded comment ends with, I understand RBR and Max’s beef. I made my personal decision three races ago to switch my audio to the F1TV crew of Ben Edwards, Jolyon Palmer, Will Buxton, Sam Collins, et. al. as I find them far less biased.

        Joe, thanks for everything you provide us, not least of which the ability to post our ramblings even if they are nonsensical to what I just driveled.

        1. WJ, interesting thoughts. I choose the “international” feed on F1TV mainly because I deeply enjoy Martin Brundle’s commentary. Such a class act. But, my wife and I have noticed a British/Mercedes bias too. They also bring up Abu Dhabi 2021 like they have PTSD from that race. “We don’t want another Abu Dhabi.” I thought Abu Dhabi 2021 was the most exciting sporting event I have seen in recent memory and I appreciate Michael Massi’s creativity in providing a solution that allowed the championship to be decided under the green flag. Not sure they share the same opinion. I tend to notice opinions coming from Ted Kravitz most of all and it is very off-putting.

          I remember, I think it was at the end of the 2020 season, when Mazepin had been announced as a Haas driver and the video of him exhibiting questionable behavior surfaced. Kravitz (and Crofty) absolutely unloaded on Mazepin during the race broadcast. I’m sure they were trying to plant a flag on behalf of F1 against such behavior, which I understand. But I felt like the comments crossed professional boundaries into personal slander. Interestingly, I never heard another opinion about that incident from either. Wonder if someone asked them to dial it back.

          1. G’day 1982,
            We have to take into account it’s British coverage so it’s blatant British bias has to be accepted. There’s always the ‘mute’ button which I often use at the start and when Croft is in a ‘screaming’ mood. There’s nothing wrong with national pride, I applaud that (think of Murray). It’s the underhanded, snide attitude I object to. And, inferring something is fact when it’s opinion.

            I did occasionally watch Kravitz show but mainly to laugh at his bias. I haven’t bothered this year.

            I’d like to see Brundle, Ant and the kid with the heavy accent doing the commentary … sane, informed commentary. Sometimes They do that in Free Practice and it’s damned good.

            Joe and David should do a post race show :-). It could be sponsored the the Kiwi Marlborough wine region (insert huge smile).
            cheers,

            1. Now there’s a thought, build. They could do it from a delightful private circuit that’s already in (or pretty close to) the Marlborough wine region at David Dicker’s Rodin Cars place. David might even be persuaded to co-host. Chuckles from kiwiland.

          2. You appreciate Masi’s “creativity” of changing the rules as he’s seen fit for that situation? You appreciate the “creativity” of making up rules for just 2 drivers? Have you thought about 2021 Abu Dhabi without Max and Lewis in the context? Think about Carlos Sainz. Do you think Masi gave a damn about Carlos? He restarted that race just for Max and Lewis. I was under the impression that rules are made for everyone and if I’m right, Masi’s decission did not give Carlos an equal chance. Carlos did not deserve a chance at winning that race? Why were there cars between Carlos and Max?
            1982Called, you mentioned bias (Sky Sports’s bias towards Mercedes) in your comment but then you shown bias towards Max/RBR by appreciating rule breaking and human error (as per the FIA investigation) on Masi’s part. He’s been fired from the job because he made a mistake. But to say you appreciated that gives no credibility to whatever you have to say.

              1. Amen, build. Here in the states, the Houston Astros just won the World Series baseball championship of 2022 to much wailing and moaning because they “cheated” to do so in 2017. People are upset with them in 2022 for what they did 5 years earlier, calling ’17 fraudulent, etcetera. While they have their opinions, the fact remains Houston will, FOREVER, be the 2017 champions.

                I understand people are disappointed and angry about 2021 WDC results. It does not and will not change the fact that Max Verstappen will, FOREVER, be the 2021 world drivers champion. At what point does your anger cease?

                As to those who say they are done with F! because of it, I ask then why are you here (or any site) bellyaching in the comments? If you are “done with F1” then leave those of us who enjoy it, even with all its flaws to enjoy Joe is contented peace.

                And cue the venom in 3….2…

                1. WJ, as a Houston, native I especially liked your comments. After Joe’s reply about dealing with this sufficiently a year ago, I decided to go waaaaayyyyy back into the blog and read the notebook entry and comments after THE race that shall not be named. All I can say is wow. Lots of emotions. I also went to the website of Joe’s “day job” and read a little about him and, after reading his background and F1 pedigree, I’m surprised he takes time to deal with us ya-hoos. But glad he does.

            1. You are correct. I absolutely have zero credibility. I’m just fan watching from afar. Like you. But it’s fun to hear other’s opinions and chat a bit.

              Bogdan, as we say in Texas, “I don’t have a dog in the fight”. I am not an especially big fan of Max, but I was rooting for him as the underdog. I agree, Masi did seem to restart the race just for Lewis and Max. But who else mattered? We all wanted to see Lewis and Max fight it out on track. And it was brilliant!

              I am the furthest thing from an F1 insider, but the release of Masi sure seemed like it was part of an agreement to pacify Mercedes/Lewis and move on more than due to his “error”. Masi was the sacrificial lamb. Probably not a bad deal to strike for all parties. I have certainly begun to develop a deeper appreciation for Masi as I grow in understanding of the difficulty in that role. He was in an impossible position in Abu Dhabi and made the best decision he could at the time.

              1. The problem with Masi was that his relationship with the Then Secretary General Sport had become impossible. Both are now gone

  4. Another fantastic ,behind the scenes, report that we can only get from Joe Saward.One comment re vehicles and emissions,there is no such thing as a zero emissions car,truck etc,they all use energy which is produced,in some way from some type of resource, and it is that resource that is responsible for emissions,some are just cleaner than others,you and I know that but some others may not have that grasp of the subject.Having said that todays F1 cars are remarkable examples of highly developed,energy efficient hybrids something F1 should really promote more often.Looking forward to your next adventure,race report and Green Notebook. Thanks,

  5. Someone needs to open Elon Musk’s eyes to the possibilities of European luxury marques and their F1 racing teams. He is a man of substance after all, unlike Richard Branson who spent a year in the paddock and never once dipped his hand into his pocket.

    1. If you hear how amazed the Moneygram folk were with the impact of F1, they would all be in F1 tomorrow. But it is a learning process… there really is no promotion as effective as F1, week in, week out, all over the world. When folks realise it, they don’t always tell!!!

    2. Tesla are 100% electric. Doesn’t make sense to enter F1 when they’ll promote biofuels and hybrids over the coming years.

      Think he’s also skint after buying Twitter, and only a fool would put money into FE (skittery rental kart racing that shows none of the electric car benefits).

    3. He’s a man of a lot less substance after paying way over the odds for Twitter. And spaffing money on ANY kind of sports sponsorship would not be a good look in the light of today’s announcement that about half Twitter’s workforce is getting a P45.

      1. Because no company involved in F1 has ever made redundancies, and launching a new advertising and PR campaign would be such a bad and controversial business decision for a company undergoing a change in direction with plans to expand and develop its services to a much wider base.

        Digressing, the furious energy with which people around the world have met a few hundred lay-offs (with very generous severance packages) in a badly-run and loss-making San Franscisco tech company is utterly hysterical. The BBC and New York Times, amongst others, actually live-streamed it for a day. How many batted an eyelid when 10,000+ blue-collar workers and unskilled labourers on Keystone XL, for example, lost their jobs at very short notice entirely for reasons of political expediency in Washington DC? “Learn to code”, right? “Start your own company”, right? And, if you’ll forgive the use of an apophasis, that’s without discussing how many and how often car companies have cut or offshored thousands of jobs while going racing every weekend.
        Also, Musk isn’t “skint” or of much less “substance” than he was before. His stock in Tesla Inc alone was worth USD 115.4 billion at Friday’s close. SpaceX is private and probably also worth tens if not hundred of billions. Sure, he overpaid for Twitter. It is worth less today than it was a month ago, but that is unlikely to remain the case. The widely-shared belief this week that he is struggling is extremely wishful thinking from people (mostly on social media, many with blue ticks…) who insist that the man who created or helped create and grow entities such as X.com (watch that space closely again in the context of his recent acquisition) and PayPal, SpaceX, Solar City, Neuralink, Starlink, and Tesla doesn’t know what he’s doing in business and commerce (lol, as the kidz say) yet in reality would gladly have every one of his “problems” for themselves.

        1. G’day James,
          I’m curious, apart from Paypal has Elon ever had any income stream that *did not* rely on gov’t subsidies ???
          cheers, build

    4. That is simply untrue, the grinning jumper dipped his hand into his pocket and clutched the bottom and then simply refused to take it out. Formula 1 separates the wheat from the chaff, and you certainly couldn’t make Weissbier with Branson

  6. How come Aston have signed Vandoorne and Drugovich? Seems a bit overkill on the reserve driver front. Which one will get picked if they are needed?

    1. Depends how much if any race weekend sim work they want their reserve drivers to do together with what if any racing the drivers hope to do. I can easily see the need for two drivers unless it’s going to be a full time job for one.

  7. Hi Joe,
    Random idea but it might work.
    How about setting up a Cash App or PayPal where by us fans can send some token of appreciation be it £5 or €5 as a thanks for this free Green Book you send us all for free.
    Again just an idea and one which might just work 🙂
    Derek

    1. …or look into Substack here in the States for publishing a for-pay newsletter like the Green Notebook…
      I pay US$50/year for the weekly words of a journalist in whom I place great trust. Would pay similar for Joe’s notebook.

  8. Hi Joe, sorry to raise the cost cap issue but am I right in understanding the Red Bull fine ISN’T paid from the next year’s budget?

    Why exclude it? Surely that should be part of the penalty?

  9. And, just like that, I went and bought a month of JSBM. I’ve been reading the blog for years, and on the fence about the morality of reading the blog for free and not subscribing to GP+ for a little bit less than that. I figured that Joe is a writer, and that being a writer you’d have to break his golfball typewriter to stop him tapping out his bi-weekly travelog. So I read that for free and was happy to be the readership that a writer wants, but was still uncomfortable about the free ride. If JSBM doesn’t work out – because they can’t all be as good as the teaser front page about Las Vegas on the website, surely? – then I’ll be back for a year of GP+ and the archive. It’ll pay for half a tank of fuel for the road trips to the European races.

    But those last words in this week’s blog were spot on. Post Netflix, there seem to be more and more keyboard jockeys and angry lads literally posting it in from their sofas. And while I can’t seem to get away from SwearyBoyF1 pleading with me to ‘like and subscribe’ to his furious video redigestion of what I can get from Sky and Ted, I’m putting my cash with the people that think about the sport like I do. I’m pretty sure that from my annual perch in the Paddock Club at Monza this year, I spotted a familiar baseball cap and shirtsleeves on the grid as the mechanics went out onto the track to greet the cars as they formed up. Heading first towards the back of the grid, before the cars arrived, to chat with officials and lean against one of the course cars. I’ve been sniffing F1 petrol fumes since the Agip logo was on the sides of the cars, and even then the sport wasn’t just cars and my heroes, it was about politics and sponsors and gossip. And for that there is no substitute for being there. So, somewhat belatedly, Joe – thank you. As the kids say, ‘subscribed’.

    JSBM won’t give me the answers to the F1 questions that have vexed me the longest, however. I never picked up the identity of Bernie’s pet journalist from the clues, and now I’ll never know. And – years ago – tell me truly, Joe, it was you who was The Mole, right?

      1. Herr Cortez, I applaud your comments. I subscribed to JBSM earlier this year, after 20 odd years of free-loading the blog and GP+, for the same purpose, and met Joe and DT in the Paddock at Austin last month. Our “selfie” is now a treasured F1 memento alongside other bits and bobs. I look forward to 20 more years of same, best to all, Bill

  10. Not sure where your ‘quote’ about Audi comes from, but it isn’t the official one. This states:

    “While the power unit will be created at Audi’s Motorsport Competence Center in Neuburg an der Donau, Sauber will develop and manufacture the race car at its site in Hinwil (Switzerland). Sauber will also be responsible for planning and executing the race operations.”

    This arrangement is permanent, not just for 2026 – from which you draw the wrong conclusion.

        1. Thanks for the platitudes about journalism. And exactly how would you know what is accurate and what is not accurate? Please explain.

              1. Interesting that the press release is hard to work out exactly what the long term plan is, But if I was to put a Pound (or Euro) on who is right in this spat it would be the wordsmith who resides in France who has seen it all before with the same team. Let’s be honest the only two things that are permanent are taxes and death, so I don’t think Audi’s plans today will be how they operating in 2027 let’s say. I must be honest, Brands Hatch Boy, I think it is a bit of a liberty to accuse Joe of inaccurate reporting just because you have read something an interpreted it differently. How do we not know he did not get specific background that also is not in the Press Release?

  11. Hi Jo

    If I recall correctly you were/are a big advocate of the cost cap and pointed out to the naysayers that it can be policed as so it has proved. Yet you seem completely disinterested in the outcome of the first years implementation of the cap, and the subsequent breaches. I would be quite interested to know your views.

    1. Like all regulations it needs to be “lived in” and modified to smooth the edges. This is what is happening. The rest is just hot air from teams and media. The trouble is that the FIA is not very good at forming opinions… others are much better at it.

    2. G’day Ben,
      Joe was actually initially a skeptic of the cap however when he’d looked at all angles he finally started supporting it. I recall because I was a skeptic too and possibly would still be if it wasn’t for Joe’s analysis of the regulations and enforcement.
      cheers,

  12. My brother is planning to go to the Lost Wages Grand Prix and apparently they trying some sort of “Uber model” with ticket sales being driven by demand, with from the snip he sent me, standing only starts at $500. As Vegas is a city worth visiting (once), I ticked that off 10 years ago, so will enjoy it in the hospitality centre that is my living room.

    How these ticket sales work and the geographical region they were bought in will give a good indication of the ability to have more races stateside.

  13. “The support for Perez is spectacular but it is not quite the same as success-chasing supporters of Max Verstappen, who will fade one day if Max stops winning.”

    And therein lies the problem. Glory hunting “fans” who have no interest in F1 as a sport. Their behaviour (especially to any real fan who does not share their viewpoint – note Austrian GP grandstands as an example) is abhorent.

  14. Joe, as a former subscriber to your magazine, issued after every GP, I’ve looked into JSBM. In all honesty, it’s too much content with 48 issues, which makes it expensive at 199 GBP. Of course you need to value your work but I simply don’t have the time to consume all this content. If you had a “light” version with 12 issues at 39.99 GBP, for example, I’d certainly consider. Just with the highlights. I understand that a subscriber would be on top of everything with 48 issues but that would be your “Pro” version, for people who live and breathe (and even work on) motorsport.

    1. This is 15 minutes reading on a Monday morning, designed for people to know exactly what is happening in the world of motorsport at the start of each week. It is read by a lot of people in the motorsport industry worldwide, including all the obvious big players. I’ve never heard anyone complain that’s it’s too much information. But then if you haven’t tried it… what can I say?

  15. As a Los Angeles resident, I was excited about the Las Vegas F1 race…until I saw the prices. $500 at the cheapest(general admission I suppose), $2500 grandstand seats. It does include food, but that is high. I recently spent $1600 on a French GP grandstand seat, but that was based on an unusual last-minute opportunity to stay at a friend’s house. I had hoped Las Vegas could turn into an every-year event—just drive over for the weekend. I’m sure Liberty has done extensive research to support this pricing model and I don’t fit it. May still do it, but this pricing is surprising. Has there been any talk along these lines?

    1. Jon, I echo your concern about the pricing. My wife and I are attending the Miami GP again and our turn 17 grandstands seats for 2023 are $1900ea. Even though we live in Austin, we would rather travel to Miami than attend the race here (the COTA experience is such a mess). To show the recent increases in pricing, our COTA turn 13 hospitality tickets in 2019 were $1600 (semi-private box with food and liquor included). Now they are about $4000. But, here is the problem. According to my ticket advisor, Austin was the fastest sellout in history. Like 15min. Demand is greater than ever even as prices are soaring. Even if Liberty were to keep prices low, resellers would snatch up the tickets and make a mint. It seems, that as long as the demand is present, tickets prices don’t have a reason to go down.

      1. Yes, those prices are for 3 day passes. The bulk of the cost is for the Sunday ticket. If I person wanted to attend the race “on the cheap,” a person can find Friday tickets for much less. On the secondary market, COTA turn 1 Friday tickets were selling for $80-140. And much less traffic.

  16. Joe, RBR feigning outrage over comments made by Sky is a way to get publicity, period. They don’t care how they get mentioned, only that they get mentioned. Rule number one in the RB marketing manual. If Horner and Verstappen were truly that thin-skinned they would be a gelatinous mess on the floor. If it was a principled stand they would abstain from Sky for a year. But then who would mention RBR in Brazil? So the principles they pretend to have are tossed to the floor in a stampede for anything that gets that ridiculous drinks name mentioned a few more times in the press. I refuse to utter the words RB! So should everyone else! Then Horner et al might just act a little more professionally to market that product. Until then they will use moral outrage and sore loser status to market a drink.

    1. Adam, I will wholeheartedly join your boycott of Red Bull Racing and all Red Bull drinks. As soon as I finish my 12oz Sugar-Free Red Bull I’m with you, brother!

  17. Hi Joe – another both entertaining and informative piece as usual.
    I have to ask – was a Porsche-Red Bull deal ever really on the cards?
    Wouldn’t there have been an issue with the PU being created using Honda IP? I can’t imagine that money (F1’s usual modus operandi for solving ‘problems’) alone would have been enough to circumvent the problem.

      1. You didn’t read their Press Release dated 8th Nov then?
        I’d post the link here but you don’t allow links.

        1. A part of it is for sale but not control. This is old news and basically irrelevant. They will still control it.

  18. Maybe Andretti can have another pop? And use a Ferrari engine from 2026 when Sauber switch to Audi. As I don’t see Renault investing in a 2026 engine, frankly.

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