Despite the drizzle hanging about the Istanbul track on Friday, there was an awful lot of hot air blowing about the place. With Red Bull Racing having perfected their exhaust-blown diffuser and Renault getting the maximum out of their ingenuous front-exiting system, the likes of Ferrari, Sauber, Williams and Virgin were working at measuring hot air flow across and under the rear ends of their cars.
Still, most of the hot air was evident in the paddock, with virtually every pass-holder having an opinion on the possible takeover of the lease over Formula 1's commercial rights by the News Corp/Exor syndicate.
Not surprisingly, said opinions changed throughout the weekend, being influenced by various factors, including, not surprisingly, with whom individuals had last spoken with. Some folk performed abrupt about-turns every five minutes or so as they worked the paddock...
At the heart of the confusion lay three issues: whether or not CVC Capital Partners, present owners of the 100-year lease over the sport's commercial rights, are willing to sell this extremely valuable - and arguably under-realised - sport's property; whether its sale to a media conglomerate would result in F1 being broadcast purely on pay-TV to the detriment of teams' commercial partners; and whether the European Commission would even permit such a deal after some or other agreement was allegedly struck between the EC, the CRH and the FIA at the turn of the millennium.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken