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Old 24 Aug 2005, 01:24 (Ref:1389809)   #1
Valve Bounce
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Drivers are commodities to any team

I was going to post this in the Ant thread, but I would have to go Off Topic because the discussion involved Bunsen. Then there is SchM and so on.

The reason why Frank wants Bunsen is because he is a commodity - something that Frank can sell to a high paying sponsor. Could be well over 10 million dollars which means it will pay for his engines next year. So what is Ant worth in sponsorship? Not much YET!! because the Birtish media hasn't built him up to be a super hero. So even if Ant could get into the same race car and beat Bunsen after three races say, he hasn't, and he won't get that chance at BAR unfortunately.

Look at SchM: a lot of people complain that he is being paid too much by Ferrari. Well the reality is that Ferrari makes more out of having him in the team than they pay him. First of all, the team's sponsors have to pay Ferrari megabucks simply because SchM drives for Ferrari and has won championships at Ferrari. Then there are the team flags, caps, shirts, jackets and whatever else Ferrari sell that brings in oodles of cash. Then of course there are the cars which they sell, and any rich guy in Dubai, Hong Kong and anywhere else where millionaires wants a status symbol drives the most expensive and fastest Ferrari because they will then have something in common with SchM.

And that brings me back to Bunsen - he would command high sponsorship fees next year because he is going to be the next World Champion according to the British Media.

Then of course there is Ralfie who is paid a very high salary because he is SchM's brother and Frank hired him to win the championship for Williams. There have been rumours that BMW footed a large portion of Ralfie's salary, and I don't doubt that. He was the poster biy for BMW in many ads.

So I hope this, in part, answers the question why BAR wants to retain Bunsen and Frank wants Bunsen rather than the Ant.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 08:08 (Ref:1389917)   #2
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Check out some of the recent BAR/Williams/Button threads to see these ideas discussed!

It is assumed by most that a lot of Williams sponosrship was sold on the back of Button. Although no one has signed Cadburys yet. And on that: Isn't "Button" far more amusing than "Bunsen" anyway?
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 09:40 (Ref:1389975)   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valve Bounce
Then of course there is Ralfie who is paid a very high salary because he is SchM's brother and Frank hired him to win the championship for Williams. There have been rumours that BMW footed a large portion of Ralfie's salary, and I don't doubt that. He was the poster biy for BMW in many ads.
Not to turn this into a Ralf-bashing thread, but one has to wonder for how much longer Schuey Minor can command such a high salary; his results so far at Toyota really haven't justified it, and Toyota has a reputation for impatience in the driver department.

V-B's main point is sound, of course. But I'd add a rider: I think that Williams's approach to driver management - "They're just employees, we hire them to win the constructors' championship" - has been raised to a fetish by Sir Frank and Patrick, and has done the team serious harm. They lost Damon Hill when he probably had another title, maybe two, in him, they saw Villeneuve walk away probably at the peak of his ability for a more conducive working atmosphere, they failed to get the best out of Frentzen before his move to Jordan showed what he was capable of, and they failed to keep Ralf and JPM in the same team when they could have achieved great things. I'm not suggesting that the drivers were blameless in these incidents, but I would accuse Williams of plain bad man-management. And for what? To prove how tough they are?
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 10:50 (Ref:1390028)   #4
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Originally Posted by BSchneiderFan
Not to turn this into a Ralf-bashing thread, but one has to wonder for how much longer Schuey Minor can command such a high salary; his results so far at Toyota really haven't justified it, and Toyota has a reputation for impatience in the driver department.

V-B's main point is sound, of course. But I'd add a rider: I think that Williams's approach to driver management - "They're just employees, we hire them to win the constructors' championship" - has been raised to a fetish by Sir Frank and Patrick, and has done the team serious harm. They lost Damon Hill when he probably had another title, maybe two, in him, they saw Villeneuve walk away probably at the peak of his ability for a more conducive working atmosphere, they failed to get the best out of Frentzen before his move to Jordan showed what he was capable of, and they failed to keep Ralf and JPM in the same team when they could have achieved great things. I'm not suggesting that the drivers were blameless in these incidents, but I would accuse Williams of plain bad man-management. And for what? To prove how tough they are?
The thing is, when Williams replace a driver with a lesser-known one, it usually means they are paying out a much smaller salary to the new man. That saved money can be ploughed back into development of the car, thus boosting the performance of both their entries. Frank understands that the driver is a fairly small part of the performance equation. Do you think Williams would have done significantly better in 1999 with JV at the wheel instead of Ralf, or in 1997 with Frentzen in place of Damon?

Taking your points in reverse order, Ralf is probably safe at Toyota as long as the team is German-based and needs a German driver to boosdt its appeal, and as long as his ast name is Schumacher. Any improvement they could get with a moere capable driver (assuming that guys like Davidson and Zonta are mroe capable, whcih is unclear), they would lose out in terms of publicity and sponsorship, and the whole effort would have less percieved value without a sueprstar driver. It's a sad state of affairs really.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 11:38 (Ref:1390084)   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamAshmore
Check out some of the recent BAR/Williams/Button threads to see these ideas discussed!

It is assumed by most that a lot of Williams sponosrship was sold on the back of Button. Although no one has signed Cadburys yet. And on that: Isn't "Button" far more amusing than "Bunsen" anyway?
Why?? is Button laughing at Bunsen to make it more amusing?

In the same vein, would you say that SchM is more amusing than TGF?
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 11:48 (Ref:1390094)   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BootsOntheSide
The thing is, when Williams replace a driver with a lesser-known one, it usually means they are paying out a much smaller salary to the new man. That saved money can be ploughed back into development of the car, thus boosting the performance of both their entries.
Maybe, just maybe Frank got a wiff of BMW pulling out on him, and reports are that BMW stopped funding Frank's tanks from around the time they decided to buy Sauber. For a start, I think JPM quite Williams in a huff after a very heated quarrel with the HEAD, but let's face it, there was no way that Frank could have forked out that high salary that BMW subsidised (reportedly) for Ralfie if BMW pulled the plug on him. Hiring MarkWebber and Quick Nick was, in my opinion, not that bad a move for Frank. If the cars are going properly, these two guys can hack it with the best.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 12:21 (Ref:1390125)   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valve Bunsen
Why?? is Button laughing at Bunsen to make it more amusing?
I've never heard of Cadbury's Bunsens. They'd melt. I just don't get the Bunsen thing, what am I missing Valve Bunsen?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valve Bunsen
In the same vein, would you say that SchM is more amusing than TGF?
You have lost me here too. Sorry.

Last edited by Adam43; 24 Aug 2005 at 14:22.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 12:22 (Ref:1390130)   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BootsOntheSide
Do you think Williams would have done significantly better in 1999 with JV at the wheel instead of Ralf, or in 1997 with Frentzen in place of Damon?
You mean Damon in place of Frentzen? Yes, I think Hill would have performed better than HHF in 1997, and might well have beaten Villeneuve and Schumacher to the title. 1999 is less clear-cut, perhaps, but again, yes, I think Villeneuve, though he was obviously becoming a little weary of Williams's lack of performance, would probably have done better than Schumacher did. Better still, in view of Zanardi's failure to perform, would have been Villeneuve/Schumacher.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 12:41 (Ref:1390153)   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamAshmore
I've never heard of Cadbury's Bunsens. They'd melt. I just don't get the Bunsen thing, what am I missing Valve Bunsen?

You have lost me here too. Sorry.
Have you ever heard of Murray Walker?
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 12:54 (Ref:1390167)   #10
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why was frentzen so crap at williams? that has always puzzled me
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 13:20 (Ref:1390182)   #11
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Originally Posted by Valve Bounce
Have you ever heard of Murray Walker?

Murray made a slip of the tongue and called him that once.

It doesn't really explain why you have to call him it every single time rather than ever use his name.

And the TGF thing has (thankfully, IMO) almost died out.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 14:14 (Ref:1390234)   #12
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why was frentzen so crap at williams? that has always puzzled me
I think it's down to psychology. Frentzen needed to feel protected and loved to perform at his best, and if ever a team wasn't going to go out of its way to provide that coddling environment, it's Williams. He drove better (and with better results) at Jordan in 1999, in a car that wasn't a patch on the 1997 Williams. But, and here's my point, that's Williams's loss as much as Frentzen's. Would it have killed them to make HHF feel a little more loved and valued?
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 14:21 (Ref:1390241)   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valve Bunsen
Have you ever heard of Murray Walker?
He was Mars Bars wasn't he?
Quote:
Originally Posted by k b
Murray made a slip of the tongue and called him that once.
I didn't know that, thank you.

Sorry, back to topic.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 15:24 (Ref:1390272)   #14
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Originally Posted by BSchneiderFan
I think it's down to psychology. Frentzen needed to feel protected and loved to perform at his best, and if ever a team wasn't going to go out of its way to provide that coddling environment, it's Williams. He drove better (and with better results) at Jordan in 1999, in a car that wasn't a patch on the 1997 Williams. But, and here's my point, that's Williams's loss as much as Frentzen's. Would it have killed them to make HHF feel a little more loved and valued?
yeah, i just remember his time in the jordan and thinking, "hello, star on the rise here...gonna kick villeneuve's ass (whom i was already losing respect for)" but sadly not to be.
if i was running williams i'd have given him a bit more love...but it's possible his personality wasn't one to warm to...
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 15:36 (Ref:1390281)   #15
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That Peter Sauber, Eddie Jordan and, briefly, Alain Prost were all able to coax good results out of HHF but Frank Williams and Patrick Head were not rather suggests that the problem lay at Grove.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 15:45 (Ref:1390286)   #16
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Off Topic, but I find the use of Bunsen rather condescending - you can't even class it as an abbreviation. Likewise TGF is dubious; I suspect the user who originated it would hate to be identified as TJL or similar.

On topic, yes I did get those names the wrong way round. The point is that Williams would have had a 1-2 in the drivers championship, adn thus the constructor's championship - it doesn't really matter from a team owner's perspective how dominant you are.

The problem for Frentzen may have been that he was comfortbaly oupaced by JV in the early part of 1997, by which time the team naturally focused on fending off Ferrari's unexpectedly strong challenge, so perhaps HHF felt unlvoed for that reason. In the other teams you mention he was very much the lead driver and 'point man', once it became clear that Damon was off-form in 1999.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 15:47 (Ref:1390287)   #17
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HHF was perhaps the most praised and "loved" driver by Williams (to the extent Williams can feel anything remotely comparable to "love" toward this component of the package that a driver is). He was still at Sauber that Williams / Head were openly considering him as the best driver of the grid. It is only after JV had the edge over him that both Head and Williams started to show some respect toward JV (at the time).

To answer the question as put in the title of this thread: Drivers have, unfortunately, become a mere commodity to the teams. IMO, attitude, personnality and marketability have become even more important than talent (BTW, have you noted that none of the active ones can be considered below the average of mankind in terms of physical appearance except for their size?). The only way to "fix" this (as I think this is a problem) would be to give back a greater role/responsability to the driver in the outcome of the races. Personnally, I wish I could one day see all of them racing in identical equipment. Unfortunately, it won't happen.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 15:48 (Ref:1390288)   #18
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The use of Bunsen isn't condescending, or disrespectful. It's just painfully unfunny, and rather tiresome when it's repeated again and again and again.......
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 15:51 (Ref:1390292)   #19
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Originally Posted by Hip Priest
The use of Bunsen isn't condescending, or disrespectful. It's just painfully unfunny, and rather tiresome when it's repeated again and again and again.......
Especially when the "B" of "Louis B." stands for "Louis Bunsen"
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 17:29 (Ref:1390347)   #20
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Originally Posted by Louis B.
BTW, have you noted that none of the active ones can be considered below the average of mankind in terms of physical appearance except for their size?
what else would you expect? they're all athletes.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis B.
Personnally, I wish I could one day see all of them racing in identical equipment. Unfortunately, it won't happen.
sure it can. it's called nascar
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 17:57 (Ref:1390369)   #21
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Nascar does not have identical equipment.

Yes, there's a lot done to ensure manufacturer parity, but a good team is still better than a poor one.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 18:03 (Ref:1390373)   #22
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easy there tex, whoa big fella, i was just kiddin'
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 18:55 (Ref:1390406)   #23
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what else would you expect? they're all athletes.
They could be bad looking like you and I. Don't you sometimes feel f1 has become a fashion show?
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 19:15 (Ref:1390423)   #24
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They could be bad looking like you and I. Don't you sometimes feel f1 has become a fashion show?
To a certain degree, yes. F1 is a huge marketing machine and I'm sure pretty pilots sell more Tag watches. On the other hand, I wouldn't exactly call Rubens or Jacques stellar examples of manhood.

and please don't call yourself bad looking Louis ... modern medical science can do wonders nowadays.
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Old 24 Aug 2005, 19:23 (Ref:1390428)   #25
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That's a good one QuickSilver. We would need some women expertise on this point though.
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