Friday, December 3, 2021

F1: Andretti’s in the Kitty litter, Longbow says Nyet’ and Two Drivers Ponder

Although it’s Kyle Kirkwood who got the rawest of the Deal!


Ok, so we’re now two, Err three or is it Four? Formula 1 races removed from when we were supposed to All be in ah-lather’, or was that Tizzy? Over Mikey A’ taking a controlling interest in the Alfa Romeo F1 Team being announced at Austin’s Circuit Of The Americas, Where whispers even suggested that Andretti Autosport IndyCar phenom Colton Herta conceivably would have taken part in Friday’s (Free Practice) FP1 session aboard one of the Alfa’s, Huh?


Now that the dust has supposedly settled, albeit it’s such “Yesterday’s” News, since Formula 1 was All Awash with the Antics of Golden Child v Maximus Hothead at Interlagos before a fairly mundane Beatdown by Sir Lewis and Mercedes at Qatar…


Yet I still have my doubts over this whole Stakeholder Takeover, Err major Shareholder Buyout, even if Sauber is indeed up for sale? Or ever truly was? Although I’ve just learned that Longbow Finance is No longer in the “Drivers Seat,” having been replaced by Islero Investments AG due to the previous Longbow partners being unhappy with Team Owner Finn Rausing.


As can Y’all tell I’m Burned Out from another year’s No Fenders scribblings, and am simply running outta Gas for riveting topics towards Year’s end and am definitely in Battery recharging mode…


Obviously the top “Brass” at Longbow Finance, the Owners of Sauber AG who control the Sauber, Err Alfa Romeo F1 Team weren’t willing to let go of their prized Formula 1 Franchise, which perceiveably will only become more valuable in the future due to F1’s Poison Pill $200 million entry fee.


Reportedly Michael Andretti has cleared the Air by claiming the rumours of the Deal going Sour weren’t money related. Stating that he had the $350m plus $250m Euros asking price covered, but walked away since Longbow wasn’t willing to ceed control of the F1 team. As I still am baffled over how a Formula 1 Team is worth $600 Million Euros, since Longbow wanted a five year “Insurance” retainer, meaning the team perceiveably cost More than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the IndyCar Series and IMS Productions combined, Sheisa!


Although as Grizzled F1 Journo’ Joe Saward pointed out in his Green Notebook from the Road to Rio, the short answer is that Michael Andretti simply missed the “boat!” With “Cut Rate” Deals No longer in fashion with the Cost Cap and F1 Team revenues expecting to rise. And Dorilton Capital’s $200 million approx. purchase of Williams Grand Prix Engineering now being a very wise investment.


Since Joe claims that McLaren recently sold a 33% equity stake of it’s Formula 1 team for around $240m while valuing the team at $720m last year. And that Ineos purchased a 30% interest in Mercedes Grand Prix for $400m approx. and that Mercedes values it’s F1 Team at $1.2b as in Billion! Which is the rewards of being the multi-times F1 constructors and Drivers World Champions.


Although according to Joe there has been some recent changes at Sauber following this “Botched” Deal with the departure of Pascal Picci who previously was in charge overall. And that it’s now Islero Investments AG in control, albeit the Cynic in me says it was All a ruse to entice China to actually “Wire” the ($30m) Millions promised for the inclusion of China’s first ever Formula 1 driver Guanyu  Zhou to land the last available seat on the 2022 F1 Grid.


On a side note, believe it’s also Joe, who after all “Knows F1” claiming that Zhou is now No longer part of the Alpine Academy and will need to prove himself to stay at Alfa in 2023…


Meanwhile, I’m still mightily Cornfused over how Andretti Autosport IndyCar Darling Colton Herta was ever gona be able to race in Formula 1 next year? Since it’s been written about Ad Nausea that Colton simply lacked the necessary points required for the mandatory FIA F1 Superlicense, and at best would come up four points Short!


As Racer’s Chris Medland points out Herta ran Afoul of the same Superlicense issue that Pato O’Ward did, since the 2018 Indy Lights grid lacked the necessary minimum number of Full season competitors to Classify the series for FIA Points. Whilst it’s long overdue for the FIA to Quit treating the IndyCar series so pourly when Alloting points!


Thus as we All know, Herta stays at Andretti Autosport next year and Kyle Kirkwood who Mikey A’ had an option on until November 1st was the Odd Man out at Andretti, since Devlin DeFrancesco brings several million “Looneys” with his insertion in fellow Kuhnuck’ Hinchcliffe’s No. 29 seat.


Fortunately Kirkwood has landed a Full season ride at the beleaguered A.J. Foyt Racing concern and I’ll be very interested to “See” how Kirkwood fares vs. DeFrancesco and the rest of the impressive 2022 IndyCar Rookie Class.


As Racer’s Marshall Pruett continues claiming that Kirkwood will return to Andretti Autosport for 2023, after noting it’s Foyt’s Best promising young Driver talent since Davy Jones and Colton’s father Bryan Herta made brief stops Thar…


Although it makes me wonder how Foyt will ever improve to be  a legitimate Midfield team with it’s revolving door policy? But that’s entirely another subject for a different No Fenders post…