Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Newman's Take on the Merger

Quoted from USA today: Paul Newman

"Listen, I'm just like Fox News. I'm fair and balanced," he says, playfully mocking Rupert Murdoch's cable network. "But for this merger to occur, Tony must first think about what is fair and realistic. He can't load the gun, point it at us and expect us to make a deal. I know what the offer was, and it was neither fair, nor balanced."

I hate to say I told you so but here we go again.

If the "nobody can lose" filter doesn't get turned off there will be no merger!

Monday, May 22, 2006

1 Bourdais, 2 Bourdais, 3 Bourdais, Four?

Sebastain Bourdais made it three in a row at Monterrey Sunday with his third victory in as many tries. After leading the first stint he was passed during the first pit stop only to regain the lead at the next stop. Nothing seemed to bother the Frenchman, not even a near miss of a back marker, as he went on to complete the last stint and bring home his third win of the year.

Next I suppose he will show us how to do circles!

There were an estimated 76,000 in attendance for the three day event. Yes I said only 76,000 for the three days. Long Beach draws that many for the race. Gerry Forsythe indicated that this could be the last event there.

There goes another permanent road course!

Monday, May 15, 2006

128,000 Watch Bourdais Light up Houston

Well, Houston is in the books and Bourdais is still dominating the Champ Car scene. In spite of a handful of troubles that might have stymied lesser competitors Bourdais took advantage everything given to him during the race to win his second straight race of the young season. The event was attended by an estimated 128,000 fans.

Bourdais times were disallowed on the first day of qualifying when his car failed tech for being 3 pounds underweight. Not something you would expect of the Newman Hass guys! Bourdais eventually qualified an unfamiliar 5th for the race. Then during the first pit stop the concrete gave way under the rear air jack causing a longer than expected pit stop and a shuffle for the lead.

Eventually Dominguez, leading after the first pit stop, missed a turn and although he was able to get back on track unassisted gave up the lead and the race to Bourdais.

How was the track you asked? Too rough, I was surprise they weren’t breaking suspensions as they did in San Jose! An aerial view of the track revealed a funnel shaped entry into the first turn, a chicane made temporary traffic cones to slow the cars before the originally designed turn 1. It’s no wonder the start of the race was single file and only slightly a faster pace than during a caution. Perhaps Champ Car needs a track guru too assist with these new venues!

But they all made it through the first turn without an incident. I guess they had to do something to keep all 17 cars entered from wiping out on the first lap. (he said with tongue cheek)

Monday, May 01, 2006

May - Merger Mania Month

I wanted to be first to post merger mania news for May since everyone is saying this is the year, - like we haven’t heard that before!

I will examine the information and try to bring some new perspective to the deal. I believe all that has been said and written has been done so with too much bias from both sides. The suggestions being tossed out are old hat and without much imagination.

I am hoping that this merger, if it happens, is a result of the two businesses realizing that the combination will yield a profit by becoming one. If it is done for any other reason, such as for one or the others ego, then forget it, it won’t change things. I want the natural order of business to be the driving force here.

So far we have two criteria that have been made public by the protagonists for this deal. Actually both have been put forth by KK, they are; the merger must be one that can last and cannot be done simply for the sake of merging the other, no one can loose. Although that hasn’t been elaborated on I think we all know what that means.

So far TG is quoted as saying there’s a lot of hair on this cat. I suppose that means there are a lot of obstacles facing the merger.

Let’s look at the possibility of the merger being announced this month to be effective for 07 and what it might look like. What is needed to meet the two criteria? The chassis and engine combinations must be decided and must not give either side an advantage. The obvious chassis choice would be the Panoz DP01. It’s the only chassis that neither side has experience with. If the engine choice is turbocharged then Cosworth seem the logical choice however if the engine choice is NA then the Honda seems a likely choice.

What is needed for the new series to begin with the first race in 07? If the car count is simply brought forward there would be a need for 72 Panoz chassis. Since there are likely to be drop outs that number should be smaller. Could Panoz make that many cars in time for next seasons testing? I don’t know but it doesn’t feel good to me!

Also needed would be 72 engines for the season. If it’s NA then Cosworth has to update one, if its turbo then HPD has to dust off the old turbo they had built by Ilmor. Would there be a third engine manufacturer?

Do these combinations pass the tests of making for a lasting business and no one loosing? You decide.

I say these combinations or a variation them of might well work but there is not time for implementation for all of 07. The chassis and engine suppliers simply cannot get it done in time. So then what happens if the merger doesn’t happen for 07 and CC continues with their planned new chassis? Doesn’t that eliminate the window of opportunity for both sides to get a fresh start with new equipment and satisfy the,” nobody looses” test?

Perhaps TG and KK could give the cat a haircut by infusing Panoz with cash to help move the timeline in. But what do you do about the engine problem, more money?
There is a need for some very creative thinking here. As I see it the merger might be best served by happening over a period of time instead of all at once. Perhaps for 07 the only race for the combined series would be Indy the other races would be as before. Then in succeeding years the schedule is combined to make the merger complete. This method would also help to clear the calendar of previous commitments by both sides.

The initial league could be made of two divisions which could have individual champions who might race for the championship in a race off in the last race.

Something different than we are familiar with has to come of this merger if it is going to pass the “long lasting test”.

I would like to add two more requisite tests to the merger. First the costs must be controlled so that the owners can participate without graft and secondly the organization must have a strong independent leader that can lead the new series up out of the ashes. Perhaps a commissioner of sorts?

So what all is stopping this merger? Perhaps nothing, perhaps everything! Frankly I don’t look for a merger to happen in time for 07. But if it does it won’t look like anything we now know. The longer they wait the harder it will be to past all of the tests! But then if they wait much longer there may only be one left, then of course no merger will be necessary!