Phil MeekinView Profile
Yes it’s that time of year again –the Formula 1 season is nearly upon us. I am an avid fan and cannot wait for that and, obviously, qualifying sessions and the races.
I love the roar of the engines, the speed, the excitement and the rivalry between the teams and the drivers. Of course I support our British lads although now Lewis has changed teams so that should be interesting.
When you think about Formula 1, with all the expensive cars and equipment that goes with it, never mind the salaries of the drivers, you think of a sport that has plenty of money to go around. The top teams like McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes certainly do not have to worry so much about money like the lower teams such as Caterham .This is because these top teams have spent decades investing £10 – £30 million a year on facilities for their teams.
The Caterham chief says that current spending levels are madness and simply surviving in F1 will be a challenge to the new teams on the grid this year. New teams cannot just come in, even on a decent budget, and match all of the top team’s facilities overnight. You cannot suddenly spend £100 million that these teams have, so it’s a huge step to move into F1. For the Catherham team, the most important thing is to make sure it is sustainable and survives, which other new teams will struggle to do this year.
Whereas you might realise some of the new teams will struggle in F1 this year, you probably won’t think that some of the grand prix venues might be struggling to hold the races.
This is why I was very surprised to learn last year that the future of one of the two German venues had been uncertain as Nurburgring faced possible insolvency. According to reports, Nurburgring GmBH, which operates the 90% state-owned circuit, owed the Rhineland-Palatinate bank around £235 million for redevelopment in 2009. The Nurburgring and Hockenheim host the race on alternate years but financial problems at the former caused uncertainty over this year’s event. The Nurburgring has now agreed a deal with Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to host the 2013 German Grand Prix.
I am really pleased a deal has been done as it would be a disappointment to all F1 fans to lose this venue which is much loved.
Let’s hope it’s going to be another exciting season, I’m certainly looking forward to finding out what Mercedes can do this year now they have Lewis Hamilton in their team.
By Nicola Raynor