Formula One has always been a rich man’s sport. It’s also known as the pinnacle of motor racing due to its innovative engineering. This year, hell, the past three days, has seen a lot more talk about what’s going on in the sport and we haven’t even gotten to the livery reveals.
Last week, it was determined that the application for an 11th team on the grid – Andretti-Cadillac – was denied. It comes down to money. The official stance is Andretti-Cadillac would not be competitive in its first year. I say, great, if that’s your response, boot Haas off the grid. They’re a sad sack of shit taking up space. Gene Haas hasn’t provided any development on the car since they came onto the grid in April 2014. They buy parts and mix and match and hope for the best. Then, when things don’t work right, they don’t understand how the parts work together to fix things.
The fact is, the 10 teams want to keep their prize money. If they allow an 11th team, then they have to split the money 11 ways instead of 10. We’ve had more teams before. The 2013 and 2014 season had 11 teams. From 2010-2012, there were 12 teams.
People will also point out the cost cap and how every penny counts now or that the FIA emails went into Andretti’s spam folder so that’s why they didn’t respond to deadlines. Then, there’s the “the cars are too big now,” argument, except they’ll be smaller with the 2026 regulations and, holy shit, stop already. It’s really about money and keeping their current cash cows flowing.
Next up is the renaming of the Alpha Tauri team. It used to be called Toro Rosso, but that’s just Red Bull in Italian. Being the sister team of Red Bull caused them grief. So, they rebranded as Alpha Tauri, but no one spelled it right because of Alfa Romeo.
The team has been trying to distance themselves from Red Bull for a number of years, so, yup, we get another new rebranding. Their name is now Visa Cash App RB Formula One Team. I shit you not. This is the name of the team. What the hell do you call them now?
Aston Martin’s full name is Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team, but we just call them Aston Martin or occasionally, Aston. There is also MoneyGram Haas F1 Team, but they’re just Haas. It’s the same with Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team – it’s just Mercedes – and BWT Alpine F1 Team is Alpine. You also have the likes of Williams Racing and McLaren Formula 1 Team.
So what the hell do you call this team? Internally, they’ve been calling themselves VCARB, which is fucking stupid. They’ve received such backlash, the team has admitted they’re still deciding on a final name.
Well, some folks on Reddit have been having some fun with all of it.
“so fucking name it Toro Rosso instead of Venmo Mastercard Amex Citi UBS Maybank Paypal Cows”
“Needs more financial institutions”
“how preposterous of me. I meant to say Venmo Mastercard Amex Citi UBS Maybank Paypal ICBC AXA Prudential Santander HSBC BNP Paribas Wells Fargo Goldman Sachs Black Rock JPMorgan Chase Allianz Cows”
If they had went with something like Visa Cash App Toro Rosso it would have been better. You can’t call a team RB. That’s stupid. And now I’ve been pulled into this nonsense.
The biggest news, however, is that Lewis Hamilton is leaving Mercedes at the end of the year to go to Ferrari. This is a huge deal in F1. Hamilton has never driven anything except Mercedes engines. Up until Thursday night, when the rumors emerged, everyone thought he would end his career with Mercedes.
Just a side note here, but to all my journalist friends, the Italian reporters had all the “details” of the official confirmations, so I’m pretty sure they had an embargoed press release when they started “leaking” the rumor.
I like this. The Mercedes has been crap for a couple of years. Hamilton complained a lot last year how the team wasn’t listening to him anymore and it’s likely the car is going to be semi-shit this year. He also willingly tested the car until about halfway through the 2022 season to figure out why the car was garbage. His thanks is to stop listening to his feedback.
Hamilton has won seven world championships. He and Michael Schumacher are tied. Hamilton wants an eighth. If he gets it with Ferrari, he will tie Juan Manuel Fangio, who raced from 1950-1958, and have three championships with at least three different teams.
The current rumor mill is Hamilton asked for an ambassadorship until 2035 and the Mercedes board said no. From talk around the F1 world, Mercedes wanted to offer Hamilton a 1+1 deal (one year guaranteed with an option for a second) and Hamilton wanted something longer.
In comes John Elkann, executive chairman of Ferrari, who says, dude, here’s a package that could end up being around £410 million ($517,945,329.39). This includes money for Hamilton’s Mission 44 plus a €250 million ($271,172,086.67) investment fund, jointly owned by Hamilton and Elkann, which comes from the Elkann family fund to build Hamilton’s brand.
Given that Hamilton dreamed of driving for Ferrari as a little boy, it’s hard to turn down such a shiny gold plate with everything you want on it. Regardless as to whether Hamilton gets that elusive eighth championship, I think he, Elkann, and Ferrari are big winners here.
To end on a fun note, for the next couple of weeks, livery reveals will have people talking as will the new race suits. McLaren already released what their suit looks like. It’s garbage. Williams hinted their suit might be white, so we’ll be seeing lots of butt stains from the swamp butt drivers get during races. Ferrari hinted theirs is probably going to be red, which is nice. The last couple of years, they’ve added bits of black, which didn’t look good. Stick with the color everyone knows is you.
Preseason testing is February 21-23 where we will encounter a lot of stupid speculation. The season starts February 29, in Bahrain with free practice 1 and the first race is March 2.
I am looking forward to the season, no matter what happens. Just always remember – it’s a rich man’s sport which is primarily run by oil (Aramco and Petronas) and stupid sponsors like Visa Cash App.