Just weeks following the conclusion of a rain-soaked United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, certain details are coming to light that threaten the continuation of the event — and quite possibly operation of the facility as a whole.
One of the many pieces that keeps the event in Austin is the state’s Major Events Trust Fund, which has provided $25 million a year to race promoters since COTA began hosting Formula 1 in 2012.
It was believed the annual $25 million payment was assured for at least 10 years, for a total commitment of $250 million, to be paid by the State of Texas. However, a change in government and an audit of how the fund calculates major events payments has meant race organizers received just $19.5 million for 2015, or $5.5 million less than what was expected.
Topped only by FIFA, the two next-least trustworthy international sports associations have joined forces today to speculate that we could see Formula E cars race through Tokyo streets for the glory of games and country in 2020, according to F1Insider (via Road & Track).
The original report, which was written in German, says FIA executives pitched the idea to Olympic organizers and offered the Formula E cars for competition.
Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve said he would “definitely” participate and added that 30 years ago tennis wasn’t part of the Olympic program, but now it’s a staple.
But that’s not even the best part.
Jules Bianchi, a Marussia F1 driver, succumbed to his injuries yesterday after colliding with a tractor at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix over nine months ago.
The Bianchi family released the following statement:
It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Mélanie, wish to make it known that Jules passed away last night at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Nice, (France) where he was admitted following the accident of 5th October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end,” said the Bianchi family. “The pain we feel is immense and indescribable. We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice’s CHU who looked after him with love and dedication. We also thank the staff of the General Medical Center in the Mie Prefecture (Japan) who looked after Jules immediately after the accident, as well as all the other doctors who have been involved with his care over the past months.
“Furthermore, we thank Jules’ colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times. Listening to and reading the many messages made us realise just how much Jules had touched the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world.
“We would like to ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time, while we try to come to terms with the loss of Jules.”
I am completely at a loss to think of another sport that tests man and machine as much as motorsport. Maybe bobsledding? Nah, scratch that.
Automakers have a history of testing their latest and greatest at road courses, ovals and street circuits all over the world. Some of the best technological innovations have come directly from racing. But, is that still the case? Is racing still the test bed it used to be for what we see on our cars a decade from now? And does it still help automakers capture the hearts and minds of the car-buying public?
The latest rumor to involve Formula 1 also involves a former Nissan executive and one of Britain’s most recognized marques.
A report from Autocar sees former world champion team Red Bull ditching their troublesome Renault power units and switching to Mercedes motivation with an Aston Martin logo painted on the air box of the single seater.
And there might be some truth to it.
A Formula 1 study released yesterday shows that in just 5 years fans have gone from describing the sport as “Exciting” to “Boring” and that the more things change, the more things stay the same.
The 17-page report, which polled more than 200,000 fans of the sport, also revealed that fans are growing older and many fondly remember an era that didn’t go over so well in its time.
As Richard Hammond and James May wrap up the “lost episodes” of Top Gear sans Jeremy Clarkson, the three are rumored to be heading to Netflix with the unsuspended pair turning down deals worth 4 million GBP.
Here’s what caught our eyes over the weekend.
The ATS-V+ rumored by Motor Trend is definitely not happening according to Cadillac spokesperson David Caldwell. The proposed new model would encroach too much into CTS-V territory for comfort.
Here’s what happened overnight.
The Tyrrell P34 wasn’t Formula 1’s only car to sport six wheels. This six-wheeled Williams-Cosworth FW07D was developed by the team in Grove as a bit of aerodynamic trickery, but sported its extra axle behind the driver instead of in front.
Leave me here
The day prior, we had traded Chad for Susan, today we traded Susan for Joe. Clearly we are trading down; hopefully Sian would be there and brighten the day. The gates don’t open until 11, and after the last three late nights and (relatively) early mornings, we can use the rest.
The opening event is the 2nd GP2 Race. It’s the same as the last three days, the sights the sounds and the smells are getting routine.