Green Notebook from Hollywood

Given that we will soon be off on a triple-header in Europe, after Baku I went home for 36 hours, planning on a late arrival in Miami. It may not seem much, but any time at home at the moment is precious. This meant a very early start on Thursday, at the kind of hour when one wonders whether those on the roads have just got up, or are just going  home to bed. In fact, for the first 15 km of my trip through rural France I encountered no humans at all. At that time of night, the forest belongs to the animals and I found myself dodging stoats and weasels, rabbits, hares, rats and badgers. The wild boar and deer, the least sociable of my neighbours, were not to be found, but I laughed at the absurdity of my habitual use of indicators at junctions at such an hour, as the critters were too busy running way to care about them – and the only policemen about were of the sleeping variety, laid on the roads, making things go bump in the night in the villages en route.

When one walks in the woods where I live, ivy is the big thing but I’ve always found it rather odd that there are Hollywoods aplenty in this world, but rarely does one encounter an Ivywood.

These days, of course, the one thing one rarely finds in places called Hollywood is any holly because someone with a chainsaw has come along and massacred it all, to clear the land so more condominiums can be built.

Hollywood in Florida, where I arrived 18 hours after leaving home, probably never had any holly. At the start of the 1900s this was a wilderness of pine trees and swamps. The first farm was only established in 1910 on what was referred to as “tomato land”.  Ten years later a real estate developer from Indianapolis by the name of Joseph Young arrived and began buying land behind the Atlantic beaches. Hollywood in California was already famous by then and Young decided to cash in on its fame and so created “Hollywood by the Sea”.

Later he planned another venture to be called Hollywood-In-The-Hills, in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, but he dropped dead at 51 before that project began. Hollywood by the Sea, however, began to grow in the late 1940s when northern “snowbirds” began buying houses in Florida, so they could avoid the cold winters.

We were staying at the beach, which sounds impossibly glamorous, but the apartment we rented faced inland, so the most glamorous thing was the address: South Ocean Drive. I never saw any glittering ocean and bronzed bodies were notably absent in the parking lot. Such is the world of F1… 

We travel the world and rush to work early because there is nothing productive if one is in a traffic jam. We stay until the sun goes down and then repeat the process each day until it is time to go home again. On Monday, on the way to the airport, we drove south a way but barely saw a beach, as these are all hidden behind tower blocks that run along the waterfront, all the way to downtown Miami.

To be fair, the stay in Florida did involve crossing paths with a number of Hollywood stars, Tom Cruise and Vin Diesel being the most famous, although the paddock was awash with hundreds of people who are (apparently) famous for being famous. I cannot say that I recognised many of the influencers, rappers, reality TV types and weather girls who were having their 15 minutes of Warholian fame and I doubt that many will ever get on the radar in rural France. Vin Diesel must struggle because his name loses its charm in translation: wine and “gazole” being a decidedly odd – and rather poisonous – mixture.

The Paddock in Miami reminded me of a time, many years ago, when we used to go racing in Adelaide where there was a slightly wonderful event which involved the small group of international F1 media having a sit down dinner with the folk taking part in the celebrity race at each Australian Grand Prix. It was rather an awkward affair because there was always a moment when feathers were ruffled when one asked: “And what are you famous for?” because being a star in Wattle Flats or Broken Hill does not make you big on the global stage.

Still, people seem to like photos of celebrities and so when I spotted Tom cruising through the throng on the grid I whipped out my iPhone to ensure we had a pic for GP+. I’m not a very good photographer, but this one worked out well because not only was the said celebrity in focus, but by pure chance he was looking at me and it looked like he was saying hello and waving, which assuredly he was not.

Some F1 folk get excited about fist-bumping celebrities and getting selfies but that’s really not my thing. Occasionally I’ll ask Guenther for a selfie, just to wind him up. He spends half of his life grinning into cellphones in his vulpine way to keep gushing fans and VIPs happy. When I ask he usually responds with some of his celebrated South Tyrolean cursing.

The Hard Rock Stadium looked much the same as it had appeared 12 months ago, but everything else seemed very different with the Miami Dolphins obviously keen to get things right. There was a new track surface (and a law suit going on about the original) and a completely different use of the space to house F1.

We were all lost for the first day, wandering around the labyrinth below the stadium’s 65,000 seats. This includes entire road networks with thousands of nooks and crannies, which made it quite difficult to find F1 people if they had secreted themselves away from the main paddock area, which was on the playing field. The Dolphins had sold some of the seats up above so that fans could gaze down on F1’s inner sanctum and scream whenever they saw someone famous.

The only thing was that the playing field was made not from old-fashioned grass but rather from synthetic green fibres. So if you have ever wondered why some NFL players seem to have weird hairstyles it is probably because of the friction that means everyone was wandering around charged with static electricity and there were sparks flying if one shook hands or touched the metallic fences around the hospitality units. It also meant that the F1 swipe gates were misbehaving quite a lot…

There were billionaires aplenty wandering about wondering if they should try to buy a racing team and others who wore daft clothing because they wanted to be on TV. It was the promised land for this nation of happy, chatty people with good teeth.

The talk was of F1’s growth and opportunities, and also about whether or not F1 should add more teams. On paper it is crazy to even consider not accepting a bid involving General Motors. It is exactly what Liberty Media should want and it would no doubt lead to American drivers as well. Andretti is a solid racing brand. So why the reticence? The only thing that seems to explain it is that while Cadillac and Andretti are obviously good for F1 in the long term, the primary concern in the short term is to get a new Concorde Agreement across the line. Adding new teams is not going help that dynamic. Liberty is keen to see a deal done swiftly and smoothly, so as not to spook investors. Each negotiation is disruptive because all parties traditionally want more from the deal and so adding new teams would probably make it less easy.

The danger in this is that keeping out General Motors would lead to all manner of implications (not just in terms of bad publicity but also because of legal matters that could result). Thus, the best that everyone can hope for is a strong package from Andretti and GM (including an engine of its own) as quickly as possible. If that is in place, then there is not really a problem apart from the other teams complaining – although they can probably be bought off with the promise of a smaller slice of a bigger pie, rather than a bigger slice of a smaller pie. Having a bigger American presence can only help the sport grow, but having more teams will lower the value of each individual “franchise”. For me, this is the issue and it makes no sense to keep Andretti out – if the bid is solid enough. I get the impression that Andretti understands that it must be a perfect bid and will make sure it is…

In the meantime, F1 continues to add more cash with every quarter, the Q1 figures for 2023 having added $21 million compared to last year, which is six percent up.

One thing that is growing faster than revenues at the moment is the value of the teams. There is very little equity available because everyone is holding on to what they have. Those who have sold of late are going to rue those decisions. Sauber, for example, probably sold to Audi too early, even if the owner will keep 25 percent after letting go of control.

For now, the focus is on Alpine. The announcement of a partnership deal between Alpine and AutoNation in Miami was not quite as rumours had suggested. That was a clever partnership to market Alpine road cars in the US market, but it is now clear that there is a parallel deal to sell at last 25 percent of the team to an investor. That deal is still in the works and no-one is saying who is involved. Renault boss Luca de Meo and Alpine boss Laurent Rossi were both in Florida at the weekend and confirmed the stories, but were not willing to reveal the name of the possible buyer until the deal is finalised. De Meo did say that the interested party was a US sports and media investment group, but there are dozens of them around.

From what I hear the deal will value Alpine at around $850 million which is good news for everyone. It pushes up the value of all the teams, it gives Alpine some more money to invest and improve the performance and it gives Renault some more asset value to load into the numbers. The problem for the team is that it has not been performing at a level that the bosses want and Rossi made it clear that he wants results or heads will roll. But heads may not roll just yet because Rossi has basically said “fix it!” and so those in charge have some time to sort it out. There are already rumours about potential replacements, but Alpine has a particular problem as a couple of the best candidates were dropped from the team and are unlikely to be called back. This means that the pool of candidates is pretty small. The name that I have heard whispered is Eric Boullier, who ran Enstone with some success some years ago before the team went downhill because the then owners could not find money and Eric went to McLaren, where he was caught in the crossfire of various warring groups.

There are whispers too that McLaren might have some more reshuffles soon if things do not improve, as the shareholders are not happy with the way things are going. Rumours are rumours, so we will have to wait to see what actually happens…

Another whisper that is growing stronger is that somehow Aston Martin is going to do a deal with Honda for engines in 2026. This is a strange idea but one that makes sense for both parties. Honda cannot find another suitable partner in F1 and Aston Martin cannot afford to build its own engines, as the team/car company is costing enough already… Aston Martin needs to stop being a customer if it is going to be truly successful in the future. How can it work? Who knows? Honda created the mess it finds itself because of a change of management some years back. That management has since been booted out, but the decisions made cannot all be fixed. If you smash an expensive vase, you can only hope to cobble together the bits.

It is hard to imagine that we would see a car called an Aston Martin Honda, as the brand images are not at all aligned. Honda could acquire the whole thing at some point (as Lawrence Stroll will probably want to sell once his son’s racing career is over) but Honda is not going to want to do business with Fernando Alonso. However by 2026 Alonso will be 44 and Lance Stroll will have had nine seasons of F1 and if he has not won anything by then, father and son will probably need to reassess their dreams and ambitions, as all of this activity is affecting the bank balance. If they sell it all, they will probably make more money than they have spent – and that will mean that on paper it is a success rather than a failure. On paper. The other option is for Aston Martin to simply pay Honda to badge its power units, in much the same way as TAG did with Porsche back in the 1980s. Everyone will know it is a Honda engine even if it says Aston Martin on the cam covers and Honda will be able to train its engineers at someone else’s expense…

The other gossip at the moment relates to races and the 2024 calendar. The latest word is that the Japanese Grand Prix will move to April and be twinned with China, following the Australian GP in mid-March. There are still discussions going on about where the season will start, but it will be in the Middle East. The complexity is caused by the timing of Ramadan, the Muslim month of reflection into which F1 cars do not really fit.

The South African Grand Prix is being discussed again following a new project that involves a US investment firm called Group 777. This seems to be willing to fund an event at Kyalami. Obviously the South Africans want to grasp the opportunity if only to stop another African country getting it, as we are unlikely to see two African races on the calendar. But this would need support from the government (not necessarily financial) and that may not be easy. The country has other priorities which make state aid for an F1 race problematic as was seen recently when the country’s tourism authority tried to sponsor the British Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur – with a three-year $52.4 million sleeve deal – which had to be ended because of heavy criticism. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is a racing fan, and a great believer that F1 could help his country but he is a busy man having to deal with problems with electricity, water, roads, sewerage, education and health, not to mention rampant unemployment and crime. And he is also having to deal with opposition within his own party. Oh, and there is an election in 2024 as well… A Grand Prix does make a lot of sense for South Africa as the tourism industry needs to be rebuilt – it is operating at about 30 percent of what it was before COVID – but Ramaphosa will need to be a world-class juggler if he is going to keep all of these balls in the air. The plans in Rwanda, such as they are, are not very advanced, but in that case, the government is willing to fund the idea.

Government contracts are what Liberty Media wants more than anything and countries that cannot or will not stump up the cash are unlikely to win a place on the calendar, unless Liberty decides to promote a race themselves and chooses the venue that it thinks will work. They want to see if that idea works in Las Vegas before committing to new projects. I did hear that Audi has been looking at how a German GP might be revived in the future, with the name Peter Bayer having been mentioned as working on the project, prior to being named CEO of Scuderia AlphaTauri. Bayer may be gone, but the project is probably still there somewhere…

F1 has been having some troubles in Korea as the authorities in Seoul were not convinced by the idea of shutting down the centre of the city for a car race. I am sure it could work in one of the riverside parks, but I am told that the current idea is to try something in the country’s second city of Busan. It is not the marshes of Mokpo, but it is not the ideal solution…

However, there is better news coming out of Spain where talk of a race in Madrid in 2027 is gathering steam. The word is that there is a great project to create a semi-permanent circuit as part of the development of new exhibition halls at the Institución Ferial de Madrid (IFEMA) facility, adjacent to the city’s Barajas Airport. This is where the F1 travelling exhibition recently opened, and is run by the city and the Madrid region. The current facilities have been a huge success and so IFEMA is expanding on to new land and into new market sectors, including sports and live concerts in addition to its trade shows, exhibitions and conventions.

Meanwhile I’m off back to the wild wood…

75 thoughts on “Green Notebook from Hollywood

  1. Good update as usual Mr. Saward. Thanks. I enjoyed the race but I also enjoyed Martin Brundle’s grid walk especially his encounter with Jackie Stewart and Roger Federer. Man does Martin ever owe Jackie a return favour! The whole affair made me chuckle.

    Dan From Canada

  2. Merci come toujours, Joe.
    Tom Cruise is A – Okay in my book, it’d be great to see him in Brad Pitt’s F1 film.


  3. I don’t know if this made it to the other side of The Pond but Liberty’s stated aim is to have F1 teams worth at least a billion each. Given the values of North American sports franchises this doesn’t seem out of line. An NFL team is worth at least $5 billion so Liberty’s goal isn’t so far fetched.

    1. Are the F1 teams actually franchises? Appears they are, in effect, licensees. Joe, do you expect the next Concorde to be for a longer term

      1. Zero impact on their value perhaps – but the impact on their revenue (in their eyes anyway)?

  4. May i add one thing: Liberty’s frame of reference is the NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL where multi billion values are a given.

  5. The Miami GP was dead boring and the Track Lacks any character. Not at all as charismatic as Watkins Glen and Long Besch used to be. Three races in a one-Week after the other scheme only Shows how big money governs the sport. And all the people in this Circus are more than ever living in their own cosmos, separated from the real world. Nice that YOU still notice whats going on in French forests in early morning. F1 should return to something like 17 races per year, too many now,

    1. It could be worse, my son is 15 and is a 3 or 4 year convert to Formula 1. I have tried to get him into Motorsport but he likes George Russell, Gunter and thankfully Kimi and Fernando. That’s it. He is in the ABH camp as he sees Hamilton as a self publicist driver, not a driver. Sadly I tend to agree. If Hamilton was a racing driver instead of a band wagon chaser who races Formula 1 he would receive universal respect for his talent. But he is partisan is his condemnation of issues that have no impact on his earning potential.

      When a new fan says Liberty is destroying the dignity of the drivers as the top of their sports talent you need to take note. You cannot imagine Virat Kohli, Siya Kolisi, Owen Farrell, or going back a bit Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Ayrton Senna being treated like they contestants in Bone Idol or USA lacks talent like the driver introduction at Miami. These guys are not Britney Spears, but are treated like they are. It’s all part of celebrity culture, but not all progress is positive.

      Sad really as motor sport is entertainment where the participants are at the top of their game, not celebrities.

      We were listening to BBC Sounds recently and it was 1960’s music, before I was even born. But I deduced that as a body of music the 1960’s produced wide ranging music that will never be replicated. Each decade less and less is great. Formula 1 is the same, the racing was amazing and unpredictabl in the days of Fangio, Moss, Clark,, Hill, Sir John Surtees, Emo and JYs. e. You did not watch thinking maybe there it will be a procession. It may have been up front, but there was racing down the field that was exciting and unpredictable. Now formula 1 on the track is like Noah’s Ark largely on track and off track is like a High Dependency Hospital Ward, clinical, bland and unexciting

      1. You don’t think that perhaps as you get older, and further away from the era that was “your” era, the time when you first fell in love with F1, when it was new, noisy and exciting, that your memories become embedded in that era? I feel like that about music, that it was so much better in the 70’s and 80’s, but then I realise that that was my time when I was discovering new bands and artists, and it was all new to me. I’m sure my kids feel the same about today’s music because it is their era, their music.
        F1 is the same. I have great memories of the 70’s and 80’s, but dear god, there were some dull races and the TV coverage was awful! Yes, there is lots of Instagram friendly stuff going on these days, but there are still exciting races and interesting battles going on all the time (nearly).
        If showbiz and Drive To Survive are what it takes to keep F1 going, that’s all good with me.

        1. Yes, there is an element of that, particularly the noise. But I watch footage from before I was born and it’s amazing. The race Sir John Surtees won at Monza in the Honda (1967 I think) or the 1971 slipstream classic. I also think that the fact thes races were so away added to the mystic. I remember in 1984 listening to the radio at 8pm to get the result and cheer that Niki Lauda was champion. Then we would see the highlights on the following Thursday.

          We cannot complain that a real genius like Adrian Newey just refines his concept to the point they dominant, but it does not make for exciting racing. More than a thing it’s the celebrity part I just don’t enjoy. There is great footage of 1980 in Brazil (I think) of Joan Villeneuve and Pam Scheckter in the back of a Fiat (like a Panda nowadays) and Gilles driving with Jody next to him to the circuit. Now the drivers go in such fancy cars, but they still do the same thing.

          Interesting because sport like cricket which I enjoy I think we going through a golden age and I don’t hark back to when I first fell in love with it.

              1. He was far too much of a gentleman. I we t to the A1 race at Zandvoort in 2007 (I think), Adrian Zaugg won the first heat. On the plane back my brother and I were speculating about something in the race. Suddenly John Surtees stood up, he was in the seat in front of us and told us at length about what had taken place. I also saw him and his son, Henry at Silverstone (same year I think) and he was trudging around without any airs and graces. He struck me as a wondery man and shows how illogical the honours system is when a man who never went into tax exile (as far as I know) and achieved a feat that will never be replicated was ignored when you look at some of the dress honoured because they hung around in the right circles. Maybe that’s why he was never given the title, he was too normal. To me he will always be Sir John Surtees. I’m sure I read your partner started a campaign to have him knighted, but then some rule stopped it as it’s time based.

      2. I think you have rose-coloured glasses syndrome – there have always been boring races. It was only in the late 70s that we got significant TV highlights. Reading about the drivers and races may have given the impression of much closer racing and daring passes. Building a team was affordable and there were significant numbers of Gentlemen drivers.

        Perhaps the real problem is the sheer abundance of races these days. When there were only 16, or 17, races each year, each event seemed more precious. Making time for weekly events is becoming harder., especially when the race the week before was somewhat tedious. These days, it is the skills of the drivers and the ingenuity of their teams that has to be admired. Actual results are simply the numbers that make-up the championship.

      3. Think you might be getting old before your time Andrew…

        If the world didn’t change with time we wouldn’t have Shakira, and that would be a bad thing.

        1. Only as far as Formula 1 is concerned. Indycar has come back with a vengeance, like it was when Mansell was there before the split. IMSA is fantastic too. WEC is ok, and improving . Formula 1 is just bland. It’s not being old before you time, but just a recognition that not everything gets better as we progress. We are 4 rounds in and we know who the drivers and constructors champions are for the season, mu h like we did from 2014 onwards, except 2016 and 2021. . The only questions now are can Fernando get third place and will Tin Can win each race. Also there is so much attention for our eye balls in the sport arena. Too much can devalue the product. The other night there were three marathons that could be watched. We get everyone Premier League football game live, that’s over 300 games a season.

      4. The way that you complain about Hamilton’s “condemnation of issues that have no impact on his earning potential” comes across as reflecting rather more poorly on yourself, as it seems to suggest that it’s only worth complaining about something in order to make money out of it.

        1. That is totally illogical. He was front and centre getting the Black Lives Matter message out and we now see the benefits were not as they should be with the revelations about where the money has gone, he has said nothing. When the crypto sponsor that he benefited from went bust in a Ponzi scheme and many lost a great deal. Not a word. He is prepared to condemn the American system and how it takes human rights, yet races in countries that have far worse human rights violations than those he claims to hold dear. He is just like Thick, from the celebrity couple Thick and Thin, his morals and integrity are left at the door, to safeguard earning the greenback the puff pieces Thick did for the Quatar world cup were nothing short of embarrassing. If you believe in universal human rights, there are no exceptions.

          1. Never read so much tosh. You don’t like him, but he does speak about being uncomfortable about racing is the Middle East (one of the few drivers who does speak up along with Seb), and puts a shed load of money into his own charity to help understand and work on diversity. He’s also donated a lot of money to charity without fanfare.

            I suspect you don’t like him for other reasons, and it’s barely hidden in your post.

            1. What reason do I apparently not like him?

              As a racing driver, he is in the same bracket as Fangio, Clark, Lauda, Semna and many others. As a human being he is a hypocrite. The only driver who has come close to breaking ranks over the last 20 years with where they race is surprisingly Mark Webber. Hypocrisy does not start with an agenda like you try to suggest. If Lewis Hamilton spoke out about Saudi being able to kidnap and kill a journalist instead of being silent, then he would have respect. Or speaking out about the issues he claims to hold dear when not in the country you would give him respect.

              If it’s about Thick, who cares, he’s not even in the top hundred players if his era

              Hamilton is a great driver, he’s a dishonest human being. Let’s not forget his father’s sacrifice and in the Paul di Resta court case it turned out hlis father still had a mortgage despite all the sacrifice

              1. Wow, he really is in your head isn’t he? Why did you change to a Dutch name from an English one?

                1. If you knew anything about anything worth knowing you would see that it was to link to what you were implying, without foundation.

                2. And for balance, it reminds me of Jackie Stewart and his stance on Royal Bank of Scotland during the crash of 2008-2009. People lost their homes, their business and their livelihood, but despite being balied out by the taxpayer of which I was one, he refused to forgo his stipend of millions as he had a contract He did have a contract, but he was also a tax exile, even during the low tax period of the late 80’s and early 90’s. He has made enough money to never have to worry, but refused to do the honourable thing where a few million was a drop in the ocean of debt but a huge indicator of the type of human being you are

                  Contrast that with Ayrton Senna who was a driver I really did not like in period. I saw the narrative woven, which is why I am now such a sceptic. Then you found out how he used his name to generate income and his own money to start community projects in Brazil. They were never reported because he did not trade on his fame, but used his earnings for the betterment of society.

                  Stewart has done things for people in the sport through his mechanics trust, maybe if he took all his RBS stipend and challenged every active driver etc to donate 10% from a PR perspective the entire thing would be different. My trust of Hamilton ended with the VAT scam. It was legalbut that does not make it morally right.

                  Then again we live in the TikTok age where reality is suspended most of the time.

  6. Only rumors for now, but fitting Japanese GP in April might be difficult if the Bahrain GP occurs in that month because of Ramadan (with Saudi Arabian GP opening the season).
    Having both Japan & China in that month would be even more difficult.
    Alternatively, Bahrain & Saudi Arabian GPs could take place before Ramadan, as nothing prevents racing in February, which has happened before.
    We’ll find out everything eventually anyway, but just things I’e thought about over time.

    1. It is possible to do BAH-AUS-CHI-JPN-SAU, if there is no ZA and the Asia-Pacific races are a triple-header.

      1. True, although avoiding triple-headers altogether should be a priority regardless of how regionalized the race calendar would be as having them doesn’t really serve a purpose anymore post-COVID, not to mention, they’re entirely avoidable even with 23-24 GPs without shortening the summer break interval.

    2. Try 3 March -Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. 10 March-Australia. 24 March-China 31 March-Japan 14 April-Bahrain or Saudi Arabia .Avoids Ramadan and Easter.Fits it in.

      1. Ironically, that’s precisely how I’ve thought about next season’s early-phase in a race calendar formation that would avoid triple-headers altogether, which in full is as follows, considering Japan’s & Baku’s (again) possible moves, & some other possible regionalized changes, albeit I’ve largely kept the schedule unchanged from this season just to be sure of avoiding triples:
        Saudi Arabian GP 3.3 (I’ve read words about them being unwilling to an April switch hence why Saudi first with Bahrain after Ramadan)
        Australian GP 10.3
        Chinese GP 24.3
        Japanese GP 31.3
        Bahrain GP 14.4
        Miami GP/Spanish GP/Emilia-Romagna GP 28.4
        Spanish GP/Miami GP/Emilia-Romagna GP 12.5
        Monaco GP 26.5
        Emilia-Romagna GP/Spanish GP 2.6
        Canadian GP 16.6
        Belgian GP/Austrian GP 30.6
        British GP 7.7
        Austrian GP/Hungarian GP 21.7
        Hungarian GP/Belgian GP 28.7
        Dutch GP 25.8
        Italian GP 1.9
        Singapore GP 15.9
        Azerbaijan GP 22.9
        Qatar GP 6.10
        US GP 20.10
        Mexico City GP 27.10
        Sao Paulo GP 10.11
        LV GP 16.11
        Abu Dhabi GP 1.12 (same race day as in 2019)

  7. Sounds an exciting time in F1 at the moment – possibly more so on the commercial side than the actual racing (although that’s OK).

    I’m just wondering how far away we are from teams having to increase budgets by about 50% to accommodate dual teams around their drivers (additional engineers, mechanics, logistics etc) to be able to fit in all the races, testing, sponsors commitments, travel-time etc. Notwithstanding the drivers who are likely to have to spend 11 months of the year on the road to do the races, pa’s, promotional work etc. in their spare time keeping their noses clean by not making any ‘unacceptable’ comments or being seen to be ‘not quite the right person’ for the job – image and all that.

    Don’t misunderstand me, it’s a great show and I follow it religiously. But as an engineer that does travel the world – probably once round ten times a year – I do it at my own pace, normally when I want to, and I’m in control – fortunate I know.

    Would I work for an F1 Team – Oh Yes, but the way things look to be going I think by 2026 I would have had it after about a month.

    1. Merely increasing budgets is easier said than done with a budget cap, although teams can do rotation (which they probably have already done for a little while) only so much anyway.

  8. Joe, that is NOT Tom Cruise in your photo! I saw the real Tom on TV in the Mercedes garage, and he was at least a couple of stone lighter and a decade or more older than the lookalike you spotted…

  9. Thanks Joe, any update please on the talk of Miami becoming a night race? It sounds a bit of a bizarre idea on all fronts.

  10. Thank you, as ever, Joe for your balance of topics.
    Firstly I should like to say what a masterful drive Verstappen achieved on Sunday. The car may be in a class of its own, but so is he. It all looked so effortless, but think of the time by which he bettered his team mate, who too many apparently thought could prove a worthy adversary this year. Stunning !
    My daughter is currently in Vietnam where the temperature hit 44 + last week. Even though I have family history with SE Asia I was surprised to learn that this time of year is when Tmax occurs. Electronics start to get agitated above 40 so the seasons will need to be very finely observed.
    I was also surprised that your “sparrowfart” manoeuvrings encountered neither biche nor sanglier. They are not helpful and make an awful mess of cars and also their occupants too often. Never personally made contact but have got very close on several occasions and have seen the consequences. They seem to believe they have right of passage in the dawn hours.
    Bonne route for your upcoming European travels.

    1. Where in Vietnam? I’m asking because the cities I checked didn’t get anything in the 40s last week.
      The random cities for which I checked last week’s temps are Hanoi (38 at the highest), Da Nang (36 at the highest), & Ho Chi Minh City (38 at the highest).
      Not that I don’t believe you, but because locations within the tropical climate zone (Southeast Asia & largely Vietnam) generally don’t get that hot at any time of year, I want to be absolutely sure you aren’t inadvertently exaggerating.

      1. Sorry, won’t actually know until she returns next week, but I think not far from Ho Chi Minh, where she is working this week, which was reported at 44.1, a record.
        I sent a sympathetic email but strangely though she doesn’t sun bathe she was loving it.
        The temperatures were widely reported on my phone as being records, and covered a number of centres together with the explanation why Tmax is apparently so early in the year. the monsoons come quite soon and things cool down a bit.
        I have never visited, she has spent time in the whole peninsula about 20 years ago and my Pa was born in Bangkok though 100 + years ago, and the grandparents started in Shanghai then Singapore then Penang etc hence my claim of family connections. Sorry for the boring ancestral history. One interesting tidbit; though he and they were quite eminent, I am not, I once asked if his place of birth had caused any problems and he said all of his life ev,en many years ago. They were all very English.
        If there is inaccuracy I apologise, not my doing, but it was not a single source so I’m inclined to think it correct.

          1. Update from the front line, sorry folks to go on going on.
            Last weekend on the beach about 2 hours from Ho Chi Minh, lovely but slightly moderated by the sea. From Monday, all week in the town. Her hosts said that the Friday had been phenomenal but a mere 39 through the week and the monsoon has already started with a tropical downpour every day at 1700.
            Neither excess heat nor flooding suit F1 very well.

  11. Joe as regards the Madrid circuit project, would the race track be a completely brand new built from the ground up project or are there elements that would already be in place?

  12. What an excellent photo of a [potentially] very glamorous marshal and a beaming Mr Cruise. Perhaps marshals, rather than drivers, could be presented to the crowds pre-race with all the American razzmatazz.

    Cruise has spent the last three seasons inside F1 garages on race day laying down the groundwork for an F1 movie. But up comes the rather dull Mr Brad Pitt and steals the idea from him. More’s the pity.

    1. Woaahh, perhaps the Scientologist spaceship flown by John Travalta bringing the trophies to the grid was too far fetched

      Maybe they should just recognise that there is no exciting motor racing movie to be made since Grand Prix , which was good but not great. Le Man’s was the same. The best movie if late has been One and Senna. Rush was interesting but when you have to change history to make it watchable it looses its appeal.

      Maybe Brad Pitt could make a movie where he is a promoter trying to have races in as many as his wife (ex maybe, who knows) adopted childrens coubrites where they go back and try an rediscover their heritage, roots and dignity.

      1. “Senna” was easily as economical with the truth about the man as Rush was manipulative of history. “Senna” was a puff piece, quite frankly.

        1. That is a matter of opinion. Much like a left or a right wing newspaper will report their version of the facts over the s,ame event with the truth falling between the two; Senna was a biopic of his life told by the narrator based on how he wished to present the footage. Nothing was embellished, some things were under played. He didn’t lap Monaco 4 seconds faster than Prost for effect. Unlike Rush where beating up the journalist never happened. The Lauda comeback at Monza was dramatised to the extent it was not possible. Much like the end of Daytona in Ford v Ferrari.

          I was never a Senna fan, I was in the frog camp, but I recognised Senna for his utter ruthless behind the wheel and his view on right and wrong. There was clear bias by Balestre towards Prost. It’s evidenct however you present it, like the footage of Ron Dennis talking about leaving the track, with 2982 footage playing behind of multiple drivers going off the circuit.

        2. I found “Senna” somewhat lacking in that it seemed to have him going straight from karting in Brazil to a top drive in F1 without mentioning all his trials and tribulations on the way up, such as his divorce and nearly jacking the whole thing in because winter in the UK.

          1. Interesting, yes that was covered in a blink. Without looking it up in FF 1600 he was dominant but went home before the festival and in FF 2000 he won relitevely easier. Cannot remember if the divorce, which was sold as he had the ambition and it was not reciprocated. Formula 3 was also the first time we saw that ruthless streak with how he took the fight to Martin Brundle (or vice versa). I think that had something to do with the Terry Fullerton comment he made and there was a lot of ground to cover in a short space of time. Certainly way better as a biopic than the poor Schumacher movie on Netflix. I thought the Willy T Ribbs biopic was well done, except using Formula Ford coverage from South Africa at the start!!

  13. Thank you for the round up.
    Miami gives me the impression they aren’t as interested in F1 as they in the tacky sideshow that accompanied it.

  14. Great reading Joe ,

    Navigating around the daily F1 news on line is often a muddy and a recycled mess , Please keep up your good work , A long time fan of F1

  15. Morocco would appear to be a great location for an African race, but no-one seems to be interested in developing an opportunity there.

  16. “Later he planned another venture to be called Hollywood-In-The-Hills, in the Adirondacks of upstate New York”

    I live in upstate NY and been to the Adirondacks more than a few times. I never knew this.

  17. My wife and I attended the Miami GP and had a great time. The Turn 18 grandstands were an excited spot to see the performance of the cars. Incredible deceleration out of the back straight and some good overtaking right in front of us. The Miami promoters seem to care about the fan experience as evidenced by some meaningful changes they made from last year regarding parking and other stuff. Yes, the driver introduction seemed over-the-top and definitely felt like a momentum killer to the pre-race energy to us in the stands. But, those not from the US should not mistaken the driver introduction thingy as some kind of insult to the sport. In the most elevated sporting contests in the US, this type of introduction is very common in the US and shows the place F1 beginning to occupy in the US sporting world. In a strange way, it is a compliment. For heaven’s sake, Will-i-am wrote an orchestral piece to honor the engineering brilliance. I couldn’t really hear it with LL Cool J yelling crazy introduction stuff over the music, but hey, what an incredible moment to see F1 cross racial/artistic boundaries and unite people. I’m all for it, even when a little cringy.

  18. I’m left with the impression, that newly planned F1 circuits are all city based. OK it’s easier for people to attend and if someone crashes during the race it’s spectacular. My problem with this is, that cars are getting ever bigger and heavier and these tracks tend to be narrow. It’s counterintuitive.

      1. Thank you for the reply. I would be excited to see if Daniel can regain his Mojo, but I would also like Nyck to get a fair chance to prove his talent. I’ve been a bit surprised by the difficulties he’s had so far.

        1. Daniel is unlikely to get a race seat according to Dr. Marko.
          It would be either Lawson or Iwasa called up to replace anyone who gets dropped.

  19. Interesting article in May 15 issue of NYT re so-called Americanization of F1. More interesting to me were the details about Logan Sargent’s dad and uncle. Crikey… political and financial intrigues. Did Joe know?

    1. DonInYYC, after reading your reply, I searched for and read the NYT article. I’m not sure what the NYT’s point was with the article besides trying to CREATE some kind of political and financial intrigue. And to make it appear that French and German races were deleted to accommodate the Ricky Bobby-esque Miami and Las Vegas races. A fairly grotesque piece of “journalism” in my opinion.

  20. Strange how principles are changed by the pressure of razz (Amatazz).
    I distinctly remember that one of the first actions of ironically named “Liberty Media” was to dispense with services of the grid girls on grounds of morality and giving the wrong impression. Questions about hypocrisy and cheerleaders were brushed aside as being “different and we would not understand.”
    But now Liberty has swung to the opposite of its first moralistic impression and apparently we have to suffer the “full American overkill pompom razz”
    Never mind the buzzcocks!
    They think its all over, it is now!

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