Ok,,,just STOP! What the heck is going on in F1?

It’s hard to keep up with all the shenanigans and goings on in Formula 1 at the moment. What with all the talk about VW possibly entering F1 with Red Bull as their sponsor—after acquiring the Red Bull Racing team of course—and Renault taking over Lotus F1 and putting Alain Prost on the pit wall but losing their only French driver while retaining their most accident-prone driver in favor of his big, fat check from PDVSA.

Button Jenson PArasol C600

Then there is the issue of Jenson Button toiling away at a team that has won eight Constructor’s Championships and 12 Driver’s Championships but now finds itself mired at the back of the grid—stuck there like a bad piece of gum on the bottom of a OMP racing boot. Now we hear that Button will announce his retirement this weekend after failing to get McLaren to renew his contract for 2016.

Then there is the issue of Mercedes and their lack of pace at Singapore last weekend launching a raft of conspiracy theories as to why they lacked pace and just short of having gerbils up their tailpipe, they range from logical to outlandishly mental.

Two big stories that are world-shaking as far as F1 goes are the Lotus F1 buyout by Renault, the cessation of an engine supply program by Renault and the possible acquisition of Red Bull Racing who, at this point, don’t have an engine for the 2016 season.

Lotus F1 Monza

I know most fans are taking all of this in stride but trust me folks, this is HUGE! There’s always been speculation in the F1 press and much of it relatively sound while other outlets get a little more “creative” with their imaginations. What I do find interesting is that most of the normally trenchant news outlets have all said things like the Renault deal is done, the Red Bull deal is nearly complete and that Ferrari will supply engines to Red Bull in 2016.

None of the organizations mentioned have confirmed any of that in the press and while F1 journalists are real professionals who get paid to have sources behind the scenes who share this information, I do find it odd that the outlets have all said these are done deals. It’s odd, too, that the organizations have not made any attempt at explaining these deals and their interest in them.

In this day and age, it’s difficult to not have a certain level of transparency but F1 is doing a great job of simply keeping its mouth shut. Sure, this leaves reporters to actually make the jump and tell the world that Renault, has in fact, bought Lotus F1. And yet, there are the nagging details that the team is still negotiating with Formula One Management over a Historic Team status and fee. Meanwhile, the team re-signs Pastor Maldonado in order to take advantage of his PDVSA sponsor money in order to keep the lights on. I find that all rather odd.

Maldonado Pastor Lotus F1

If the Renault deal were, as they say, a done deal, the team wouldn’t be snatching snipes out of the ash tray to try and keep the cherry lit. Why on earth would Renault want or need Pastor’s big check if they were taking over? Why would Renault want to lose their star driver, Romain Grosjean, who is French if the deal is already done? None of this makes sense if the French car maker has done the deal with Lotus F1.

Then there is the mystery of VW and Audi who have been rumored to be entering F1 for over a decade. Now they say it’s old president is gone and the new president likes F1 and they are almost done with the deal to buy Red Bull Racing. The $7 billion set aside to cover VW’s recent debacle of flouting emission standard via software has no impact on their appetite to get into F1? You know, seven billion is a big number but perhaps if it is going to be Audi, they have a different balance sheet and this don’t confront them.

Audi to F1

Perhaps one of the most imminent speculations is the retirement of Jenson Button and while that pains me to say it, he most likely is tired of trolling around at the back of the grid in a car that isn’t competitive. He’s paid his dues and honestly, both he and Fernando Alonso deserve much better as champions in the sport. It makes sense that he would pack it in and go do something else.

Regardless, these assumed big deals are, in fact, huge deals and I’ll be happy when all the news stories are about the official announcements instead of a crap load of speculation and words telling us that the deals are done.

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Spot on…you could have thrown HAAS into the mix of speculation also…it appears that all these issues will come to light in the very near future…and like you said, it will be good to get the real story behind all these silly speculations out in the open…

Negative Camber

Agreed. I have people calling me an idiot because they say the Renault thing is already done and Red Bull have sold. Well, that may be what reporters have been told by their sources but the lack of any official notice by the entities involved or press releases leaves me unwilling to say that Renault has bought Lotus etc. they may, but this has been lingering to the point where speculation, no matter how well informed, is being taken as writ. I’d be happy to see Renault fully in and Audi in but people keep commenting as if this has… Read more »


Youre not an idiot Todd you and your podcast make my week man :)


I agree, if the Renault/Lotus deal was done then we should have had an announcement by now. There’s certainly signs that it’s close, the stay in the HMRC case against Lotus based on a letter from Renault would seem to indicate that – but as you mention there is still the stink of financial desperation around the team thanks to the re-signing of Pastor. James Allen is saying that the actual Renault/Lotus deal is done – but as you indicate the Renault/FOM deal doesn’t appear to be done, and he’s saying that he’s hearing from multiple sources that it doesn’t… Read more »

Negative Camber

I’ve met James and he’s an ace guy, I would never doubt him or his source but as you say, it’s not something Renault are trumpeting to the world as a completed acquisition. I’m not parsing words or stories here or trying to be difficult. My main point is that there are so many things going on with no confirmation, just speculation, and it has many F1 fans arguing points with complete confidence that actually haven’t been officially confirmed yet. My point is, let’s be measured with our speculation. I would say James is 100% correct because he’s a top-shelf… Read more »


The late Yogi Berra said it best: “It ain’t over, ’till it’s over”


Sorry I didn’t mean it. Please don’t fire me.

Tom Firth

The new president may not be at VW by the end of the week if the BBC is to be believed.


And he’s gone… Resigned this afternoon…

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

The real tragedy for me is Romain leaving Lotus (if true) and Pastor staying (definitely true). Romain is a world class driver who really 180’ed his career. It would be a shame to see him leave unless he goes to a bigger team.


The word I’m hearing is that Romain is hoping that by shifting to Haas and doing well there would give him an in at Ferrari to ….. wait for it….. get put “on the short list to replace Kimi Raikonnen.” All kidding aside, that’s what I’m hearing is the motivation for him to go to Haas, plus he’s admitted that he knows more about the Lotus/Renault situation than has been released – so he (or his manager Erick Boulier) may be thinking that house of cards is about to come down…


I think that is exactly what he is doing. It leads me to think since he is jumping ship the deal with Renault and Lotus is not close to being done. Why leave when you know you’ll be a Frenchman on a french team with better financial backing. Lotus are begging for money. The signing of Carmen Jorda and this Adderly Fong character no one has ever seen. Their situation/position is just beyond a joke. The deal with Charles Pic. Palmer buying practice session although he actually is worthy of driving on Sundays. And of course Maldanado. My point is… Read more »


Haas looks very smart. I am eagerly awaiting their arrival on the grid to see the effect of their business model–which I think is disruptive in a positive way and refreshing.


I had not heard about the Boulier/Grosjean connection. However, the timing of the Grosjean rumor does seem very telling. I have heard that there are lots of teams including (and especially) Haas who are reportedly licking their lips at the opportunity to poach Lotus’ staff. It will be most interesting to see who is visiting whose hospitality palaces in Japan.

Paul KieferJr

I think the big question that hasn’t been asked is “Why are these things being said now?” Anyone with a Machiavellian bent or a paranoid person knows that nothing is ever said or done without a reason, even if that which is said is not true. So… 1. Why is it being said that VW / Audi was interested in buying RBR? 2. Why was it said that RBR and Renault were separating? 3. Why was it said that Renault was even considering buying Lotus? 4. Why was it said that Maldo was re-signed? 5. Why was it being said… Read more »

Meine Postma

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, or is it?


All this discussion is about RBR. Where does that leave Toro Rosso?


What happens to RBR happens to Toro Rosso as well.


The two biggest stories at the moment are the RBR/Toro Rosso engine situation, and the Renault deal with Lotus. Either (or both) could work out well, with Renault taking over Lotus and the Red Bull teams getting a competitive engine from Ferrari in order to, as Horner put it, hunt Mercedes down with an extra Ferrari team. If that happened then next season’s looking fascinating from a F1 fan’s point of view. However, consider what the fallout will be if (a) Renault does not buy Lotus and instead decides to pull out of F1, leaving Lotus to dissolve into bankrupcy,… Read more »

Joe Mama

The reporting on F1 has always been happy to speculate on rumor. What’s happening these days is really more of the same, just blown up in the context of genuinely seismic changes afoot. It would be nice to know what’s really going on, but often us knowing just isn’t in the best interests of the players. That said, there are some fairly solid knowns; Pastor is staying, because his money says so. VW is not very likely to venture into F1 at the moment, for obvious reasons. Mclaren are not a flash in the pan, they’ll find their way back.… Read more »


I just wish we didn’t have to let these pesky races get in the way of all this excitement!

peter riva

“The $7 billion set aside to cover VW’s recent debacle of flouting
emission standard via software has no impact on their appetite to get
into F1?” Absolutely right. And may I add that the DoJ has reminded folks that the possible fine for such EPA shennagins is $27k PER car. $& billion may not be enough (it will be, I know, but still – there is the threat).

peter riva

Oh, and I’ve said it for weeks – Renault cannot buy Lotus and their sponsorship (Nissan/Infiniti) at RBR has faltered.

Tom Firth

The $7 billion set aside is to rebuild the brand’s image isn’t it, the actual fine IF VW ever pay the actual fine to it’s full amount is far more severe isn’t it, financially?


This VW situation seems to be snowballing into a much bigger mess of potential litigation and even criminal prosecutions. Therefore, many specuilate that the $7B is just a starting point, and that it will take years and many forced resignations to unwind the mess. So, regardless of financial structures I suspect an expensive F1 project would be off the table. Also, I do not know about diesel car market shares but I wonder if other diesel car makers have not faced this same NO2 issue and made similar fateful decisions. It looks to me like this is a major technical… Read more »

Paul KieferJr

I’m also betting on a shutdown of business and asset forfeiture on the US end.

Tom Firth

Todd you aren’t an idiot for wanting official confirmation on these matters, rather than hearsay and conjecture. It’s actually quite a strength.

It’s the difference between taking this as proof – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34332452

And this … http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34340997


@negativecamber:disqus “If the Renault deal were, as they say, a done deal, the team wouldn’t be snatching snipes out of the ash tray to try and keep the cherry lit.” Nicely written: There’s your “post of the week”, right there.

Negative Camber

To make a point of how awesome all of you are, this is the kinds of discussions I would expect to see with stories from the F1 press saying that sources are telling them the deals are done or nearly done. WE discuss the merits of those deals but no one is flying in here heavy-handed and calling people stupid by suggesting these are in a state of being officially announced and completed. they may very well be done in good faith but the ink isn’t dry otherwise the teams would be announcing it. We, as fans of the sport,… Read more »



Paul KieferJr

I’m just interested in why people are saying what they’re saying and why now? Machiavelli still lives in a lot of people. F1 is just one such group of people.