Thursday, January 13, 2011

Formula One report shows at least half the teams are struggling to stay afloat. Is the sport living on borrowed time?

According to an analysis by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, only four out of the 12 teams on the Formula one grid have secure, stable budgets. 

These four teams; Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes are secure from a financial point of view while the remaining teams are fighting for survival.

The German motorsports news page cited HRT as the team at the bottom of the pecking order with a budget of EUR 40 million and 120 employees. On the other end, Red Bull Racing has spent 330 Million annually. Other back-marker teams are barely scraping by as well with Virgin at 60M, Lotus 70M and William, Toro Rosso, and Force India each going on 80M a year.

Former Italian driver, Artuto Merzario thinks the sport is running on borrowed time before it collapses in on itself. "It will go back to being a sport for only a few car manufacturers" is what the driver told La Repubblica in an interview.

With HRT's split from FOTA, and Red Bull allegedly overspending, it makes me wonder if what Merzario says may have some merit to it.

But we all know how I feel about Formula One's economic standings.
Source: SpeedTV

Derek Gardner; designer and innovator

Excuse my tardiness. 

Derek Gardner, the man best known for designing the innovative 6-wheeled Tyrell P34 Formula One car passed away January 7, 2011 at the age of 79 in Lutterworth, England.

From his beginnings as a transmission specialist, Gardner proved to be quite the innovator in the field; developing such radical ideas as 4-wheel drive Formula One cars like the Ferguson P99 in 1961. Eventually, Gardner was recruited by Ken Tyrell. From there, his first car he developed was the Tyrell 001 which he built in his home garage. The 001 debuted in the 1970 Canadian Grand Prix grabbing pole position with the great Jackie Steward behind the wheel. Eventually, Gardner's Tyrell 003 and 006 powered Jackie Stewart's world championships in 1971 and 1973. 

In 1975, Gardner developed his most daring idea yet; the Tyrell P34.  Noticing a loophole in the regulations, Gardner took advantage and designed a car with 6 wheels, 2 drive wheels and 4 steering wheels in the front. The front wheels were smaller to reduce frontal area while increasing the contact patch thereby increasing mechanical grip.  The car took the 1976 Swedish Grand Prix by storm with Jody Scheckter taking the wheel.

In 1977, Gardner left Formula One, taking a position as director of Borg-Warner's R&D division.

Now as a tribute, soak in the madness of 6 wheeled performance.

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