156 thoughts on “Grown men wasting millions of dollars while burning fossil fuels for fun?

  1. As a little kid, I used to be fascinated by Formula 1. Then I grew up and realized it’s not a real sport, it’s more like a mix of noise pollution with organized crime.

      • However I have some family members who love F1 and even watches the Asian races live.

        OT: If anybody is not watching the Man City-QPR, you’re missing PURE. DRAMA.

        • I used to watch it a lot, Ayrton Senna was my idol, then I saw him died live when I was 9 and kind of lost interest. I saw the documentary about Ayrton Senna a few days ago, I highly recommend it.
          Good for the guy that he is actually getting good, but its just hard to forget all the money that the government of a country where there are no supplies in hospitals and basic materials in schools is expending on a F1 car.

    • Actually, the reverse happened to me. I never liked the Formula-1 racing until as an adult I began to appreciate the feats of team engineering involved. In universities you have the equivalent competitions between engineering departments trying to get greater optimization combinations of speed, power, efficiency, etc.. That’s without mention of the material science developments involved in producing the strongest yet lightest yes most durable materials possible. Or the aerodynamics designs involved in achieving least wind resistance while having the air push the car down to avoid losing traction, in an even fashion even with side gusts. Or the strucural designs involved in preventing the drivers from being crushed or mauled in a crash. Or even the subtle aspects of design in locating the indicators on the dashboard, or optimizing the distances of the pedals for correct split second reaction time.

      All learnings that get applied to the automotive industry in a very direct fashion. Learnings that are worth millions, and yearly save tens of thousands of lives.

      As to the pilot, I’ve come to learn that his skills are *really* not easy to come by. And clearly he deserves at least the respect of any test pilot, regardless of his possibly childish motivations.

      By the way, I still don’t watch the races. I don’t like them, nor the noise, nor the “ambiente”. But I do appreciate the value of team engineering behind them. It’s not your average joe engineer that wins those races…

      • Think of the opportunity costs, Torres! Hundreds of the world’s top engineering minds dedicating their effort to…making one car go Vrooooom Vroooom marginally faster than another nearly identical car…

        • That, Quico, is the universal tragedy of all our Western society. From F1 to iPads, mobile apps and banking, while half of humanity is still miserable or close to it.

        • My reply was not to a comment about opportunity cost, by the way, but even so it is debatable because those minds dedicated to making cars go vroom don’t develop anything worthwile. For example, in England an infinitely variable pulley transmission, weighing less than the current F-1 transmissions, with fewer parts, lower power requirements and no shift changing from the pilot is making headway into the circuit. A win by such an equipped vehicle would save tens of percents of vehicular gasoline use because it would go straight from the track to Detroit, so to speak. And, again, many of the learnings from F-1 or LeMans, etc., translate into saving tens of thousands of lives in driving accidents.

          If your point is that you would spend the money differently, I won’t argue that; I would go further to say prosecutions for spending national monies on this are in order. But if your argument is that there are no worthwhile benefits from the money spent on this “non sport”, then there’s no debate, either, because you’d be flat out wrong.

        • FT,
          A lot of the technology that you drive today in your car was first developed for F1. I don’t follow it, I don’t watch it, and it sure annoys me that he turned himself into a Chavez’s propaganda puppet.

          But engineers working on F1 are tackling real engineering problems that will have uses in other areas. Sad is when engineers dedicate themselves to develop farmlike facebook games or work at hedge fund management firms.

          It is a slippery slope to say that a problem is less important than others (quoting Torres here). One might argue that there shouldn’t be any baking blogs because political issues are much more important. Or worse, that we should not have artists because “engineers and scientist push our progress”. Like CADIVI is doing today.

          About the change in rules, many of them are very sound. The switch to flat tires has made the sport a lot safer. The rule about not allowing to change your engine more than once in a race has allow smaller teams to better position themselves and not to have Ferrari winning all the time.

          I for once believe that the oil industry is dirty and bad for our planet and that engineers should commit themselves to find more sustainable solutions for energy and economical development. But who I am to tell others not to pursue an oil career.

        • I totally agree with Fray. Its waste of fuel, tremendous noise and air pollution. People talking @ engg works why can’t we use that brain, cost in contributing towards global warming iuess?

      • You don’t need car races to test aerodynamics. It’s a lot of wasted effort that can be optimized. Sorry, the engineering interest doesn’t cut it. You can use that technology in a more direct way with a thousand other vehicle types that do have some very direct use…hell, even developing technology for vehicles going to Mars.

        As for “human skills”: you can say the same thing of people playing any video game…and I think it would be silly to congratulate someone for that, at least as a grown up.

        • Well there are video games that are based on biology. And, videogames are entertainment. IF you have that argument against them, you should use it to tackle TV and literature too.

          • Guido,
            If you can entertain 10 million Venezuelans on a sustainable basis by letting us watch you play a video game, I will support the government giving you 60 million dollars.

            A writer can be read by millions and millions can increase their vocabulary by reading his books.

            • You made an argument about video games themselves, as I understood your posts, not about watching people play them.
              ANd, well, depending on what kind of video games, you can learn new words and even new languages. I insist, if you make that argument about lost opportunity cost, you have to make the same argument for literature and TV too. In the end, people needs entertainment.

            • Sure, but the state should pay not for every entertainment and not in such a way that it goes for all. 60 million for the success of a man and the “pleasure” of a couple of million Venezuelans for a couple of minutes?

              Again, about video games: the most I can see are instructive video games in a public library. That doesn’t cost 60 million dollars. Even here the government spends just a couple of hundred thousand euros a year in writers. Now I can read Congo by David van Reybrouck and learn new Dutch words and expressions and history of Congo…even native speakers will. He didn’t get more than a thousand dollars. Now you will come and tell me you are going to develop a video game with the same effect and the same cost.

              I produce software, I know what it costs. Don’t come try to talk about opportunity costs with video games. The same time you can produce a comparable effect, I give you a comparable amount of money.

            • ¿?
              Am I arguing that we should give 60 million euros to videogame developers? No, I am not. So, please engage with my actual arguments instead than answering to the straw man.

              You can learn some Cold War history playing Metal Gear Solid. That’s besides the point. What I am challenging is your broad statement about video games. If I focused on Corín Tellado, Marcial La Fuente Estefanía or Coelho, I could make a really good argument about the futility and lack of value of literature. I’d have to ignore many names and books, of course. You are doing the same about video games.

              Sturgeon’s law says 90% of everything is bullshit. More people read Hola than Zola, yet Nana or J’accuse are still valuable. More people watches Dancing With the Stars rather than a BBC documentary with Kaiku or Attenborough, yet that does not make TV per se useless as a medium of communication and art or education.

          • Guido,
            I am not arguing against entertainment, only that the state should pay for entertainment in as much as it is what we consider the most productive entertainment – for really improving someone’s health, education, etc, not for the most popular.

            In every case is about achieving the maximum effect with a limited amount of money. Whoever wants to read Corin Tellado or for play Mist VI can do that on her own with her own money. Public libraries could also allocate some part to a little bit of Corín Tellado and Killing-Everyone 2.0 (they do here), but only for a fraction of the money they offer for Shakespeare, Mulisch or a Go/history games.

            It’s state money. Likewise, the state gives money to maintain the park I visited today. It shouldn’t be giving money for my private mountaineering. People who go to that park breathe fresh air, lots of kids can do sports there, the elderly, pregnant women, etc.
            If someone wants to do boxing, she should pay.

            • Agreed. And I am not asking the state to fund such thing. I agree also that for public libraries Corín Tellado is a must, as it can work as a bait book so people get interested in other things.

              What I took issue is your comment about the uselessness of video games. Only that.

            • Kepler,

              I suggest you play/investigate the series of games called “Sid Meier’s Civilization” and “Age of Empires”. Actually, most of Sid Meiers games are pretty interesting. Videogames have evolved.

        • Kepler, nowhere do I state that F-1 is the best way to test or develop any of the team engineering feats that they do test and develop. I stated and maintain that it still tests and develops worthwile engineering, so it’s not just grown children at pointless play.

          If you are suggesting that there are better ways of spending the same money, I won’t argue that because I’m in agreement; but if you are suggesting that these people should not be allowed to dedicate themselves to this activity, or that no benefit comes from it that affects many other aspects of automotive industries outside of the sport, then you’d be just flat out wrong.

        • Kepler, as to human skills, video gaming is in fact being used to find people with F-1 level skills and not just in that area. But, much like hockey goalies having lower reaction times than most human beings, the physical reaction times and other mental processes of F-1 pilots are quite simply not easy to find.

          By the way, video gaming helps develop many abilites, as is being discovered. One of them is that those who do better at World of Warcraft type games are much more aware of detailed changes near the edges of the screen than those who don’t do so well. Gaming develops that keenness. And that keenness seems to translate to an increased ability to detect criminals out of a crowd, or criminal activity at an event, or hidden terrorist devices, etc. Agent stuff, pues. Again, saving lives.

        • Kepler I disagree here. The technology that is developed in F1 is developed for winning races and thus funding your research, and then transferring that to commercial application. The progress in car technology would happen way slower if we didn;t have this for profit, competitive system that pushes technology forward,

          FYI, same happens in aerospace, or similar. Military or government funded project fund the development of military technology that then Boeing and Airbus uses in civil applications.

          • Rodrigo,

            Some of the work produced by Chomsky (of all people) on formal languages was actually financed by the US military. You say Internet and you have to say DARPA.

            Now: does that mean the government couldn’t have allocated
            that through another ministry that could use the results for whatever they wanted?

            Is defence per se the most efficient way of allocating money for research? I don’t think military objectives somehow produce better use cases from which to get projects.

            The same goes for things like Formula 1.

            And let me clarify: I am not against private investors doing whatever they want for Formula 1; some technology will eventually come from there to other fields. Still,
            I think a government can be more efficient by letting society as a whole or an open borad of experts decide what use cases can be the inspiration of government-funded R&D. There is overhead in every field, but most of the money for Formula 1 does not go into R&D-related overhead.

            • Kepler,

              Two things have annoyed me about the comments in the post. One, that F1 is useless. You may like or not, but for many car companies it is free research funding. For that reason alone F1 is not useless. Second, should state owned companies sponsor it? Remember that this is not government! well, if PDVSA had operations or presence internationally, why the hell wouldn’t they sponsor it? aren’t they a fuel/lubricant company? Shouldn’t they promote themselves in foreign markets to sell their products? In my opinion not now, because they don’t have that international presence. But that means that PDVSA is poorly manage (oh surprise). I think we all agree there.

            • Rodrigo,
              I repeat:
              I don’t care what the private sector does with its money and the money some guys want to give it in car races.
              PDVSA is indeed a company but it IS state-owned. Why the hell should it not
              sponsor it?

              1) Because it first needs to sponsor Intevep, maintenance and so on. PDVSA is crumbling down, that’s priority 1, 1 and 1
              2) Because it needs approval from the Asamblea and it didn’t have it and the Asamblea could perhaps find better areas where there is more return for investment.
              You are determining that because Porsche uses Formula 1 we should do the same. Sorry, PDVSA is a company property of the state and the deputies are my representatives in that board.

            • Kepler,
              We both agree that PDVSA is poorly managed and that it doesn’t have its priorities straight. Nor that it is following constitutional processes. I also think it shouldn’t be sponsoring the Vino Tinto (although people seems to have a double moral around this one).

              I think sponsorship are OK if there is a business strategy to it, i.e. marketing. If you will get a return on that investment why the hell not?

              Since you brought up the Norway example, Statoil sponsors Norway’s ski team.

              Anyway, we are both in agreement about PDVSA sponsoring. They shouldn’t, but then the comments should be framed around that and not around “I don’t like F1 thus they should get squat”.

      • If this were true, then why Mercedes wasn’t in the races for decades (and they were building the safest cars, with Volvo)? There are in no way saving tens of thousands of lives, how do you come to that? Some research could be used, but most research is not done using race cars, and most of these for F-1 has no further application. For car makers it is done for advertisement/image-building. I don’t know if Mercedes is actually racing, but they talked years ago of leaving, because of the costs, without getting benefits (as they didn’t win the races…)

        • LD, that is faulty logic. Just because others achieved a better development outside of racing does not mean that one way is the best way nor that the other way is useless. Besides, Mercedes built engines for many other teams in F-1 even when they didn’t race, as did other manufacturers.

          As to the tens of thousands of lives, the distancing of the pedals and their heights was directly learned from racing needs, as have 5-point harnesses, tire material testing, lubrication oils, structural crash designs, non electronic traction systems, and more.

          Again, we can quibble numbers and alternatives, but there’s is no debate that some worthwhile benefits are transferred to other areas outside the sport.

    • Despite being an environmentalist, something about racing gets my blood going. The fact that there’s still people willing to push a V-12 engine to its limits around a track JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN makes me sleep better at night. Is it melting the polar ice caps? Definitely. Is it increasing global warming. Sweet Jesus, yes. However, something deep and emotional in me that is probably illogical and inexplicable (that’s the 5-year old in me probably) LIKES things that go fast and make a lot of noise. As a kid I was always pushing toy cars around on the living room carpet and going vroom vroom. The world would be a sad, boring place if we were all stuck driving Toyota hybrids and ‘sensible’ cars. That being said, you guys in Venezuela drive around like you were getting paid to burn gas, so I understand your point of view as well.

  2. I just can’t bring myself to feel any pride over this guy using up millions of dollars which would be better spent by PDVSA paying their current accounts or donating it for hospitals which have non working equipment – x-rays, mammogram machines, radiotherapy machines, etc., etc.

    Then you look at a site like ND & see all the worms & paid Chavez posters gloating over a win that has taken HOW long? It’s like the second coming of christ. Makes me sick.

    Now if Jhonattan Vegas were to win The Players championship today that would be something to cheer about.

    • I don’t follow sports, nor F1 nor futbol. I get the feeling that if Maldonado wasn’t chavista we wouldn’t have this argument.

      How about the PDVSA sponsorship to the vino tinto? Is that evil? Or it is better because it is futbol? Or are we just annoyed because PDVSA today is pro chavez? Becaus the VIno tinto funding could go to hospitals too.

      I

      • For the record, I’m a Real Madrid fan. Today was an amazing day for football fans everywhere. Sorry for your loss. I must say though this season ManU wasn’t the best (City drop the ball sometimes too thanks to the Tevez-Balotelli drama) and even so, they fought the title to the end. Just unbelievable. What a season was this one in England.

        And is not completely over yet: Champions League Final next saturday.

          • And Capriles goes along and praises Maldonado as well…so disappointing. Geez, he could show he really has cojones and thinks differently from Chávez.

            • It’s more recognition that praise, matter of fact. Just courtesy. It’s not like he will make a rally celebrating that. I’m not celebrating nothing. Venezuelans shouldn’t celebrate it because it only an act of individual achievement. Nothing more. In the end, it’s only a race.

            • People is happy about the fact that he won and if Capriles says something now it would backfire. No one was really outraged when the government expended the 66 million dollars in financing him the first place and. One thing that Venezuelans really have to learn is identifying the ironies in our reality and realize that in a country where there are people starving, destroyed schools and hospitals, its immoral to do something like this. I think that is hard for many people to face the fact that we are not a rich country that can spend money in this. This is not new, that’s why you had a CAP giving a destroyed ship to Bolivia worth several million dollars (la mentira del país rico)
              The other sad thing about this is the servility of many professional athletes in Venezuela, you wont be financed unless you were that red t-shirt. Did your read the Larreal tweets

            • Not praising or dismissing it could cost him votes. Sadly, that’s the country we have right now. OOOOHHHH shiny!

      • I know the sponsorship to the vino tinto is in the same ball park, and overall I would think it receives more funding than this guy when you add all the state owned companies sponsoring it. Correct me if I am wrong.

    • Exactly. That’s the problem. It’s wrong to use public funds for F1 when the country needs more schools, roads and hospitals.

    • We don’t even have to leave Williams F1 team to compare Maldonado’s funding with other drivers. Bruno Senna also “purchased” a spot in the team. The difference is that while Maldonado did the same with public funds (from a poor country), Senna’s sponsors are all private companies.

  3. Well, I guess I’m going to be like the cockroach in the hen-house, but I love F1.

    I enjoy the races, both live and on TV. It is the most technologically advanced form of motor-racing on the planet, where hair splitting differences can mean victory or defeat.

    There are some technologies that do make it into regular road cars, but I do agree that it is mostly a form of prestige marketing, more so now than decades ago when it first got started.

    IN Pastor’s specific case I do agree that the 29 million pounds per year that PDVSA gives the Williams team could probably be spent on other more important things. After all, he is the only driver sponsored by a government this season, everyone else brings their own sponsorship from private companies or has earned their spot by sheer virtue of being an awesome driver.

    I do not like Pastor for injecting “Patria, Socialismo o Muerte” into sports, coming across as a major ass kisser and adulator for saying so.

    All that being said, he earned his maiden victory fair and square, on a clear track in good weather and having driven well all weekend.

    You can argue all you want how it promotes fossil fuel consumption, does nothing for the underprivileged around the world and does not cure cancer or world hunger. Fine. You’re right. Pat yourselves on the ass.

    I can’t wait until the next race in Monaco in two weeks time.

    Forza Ferrari Carajo!!!

    • I have no problem with Formula 1. My stepdad loves it. Better than NASCAR though.

    • So: you are going to pay us what you took from us by supporting Chávez in spending money here instead of what is important for us?

      Not even Norway, swimming in petrdollars would do that.
      We are a poor country, in case you didn’t know.

      • 1. “We are a poor country”
        Poor is a state of mind more than anything else, Kepler. What we are is a mismanaged country.
        2. I don’t owe you jack diddly squat, Kepler. Nor do I owe anyone else for that matter.

        3. Don’t confuse my liking of a sport with approval of a government spending money in it

        4. Don’t insult my intelligence by talking down to me, now or ever again.

    • Incidentally, as a fútbol fan I live in a big glass house when it comes to dumping on other sports for throwing around insane amounts of money on a schoolyard game. My only defense is that fútbol doesn’t run on internal combustion…

      • Also yesterday I saw that two young women in USA have invented a soccer ball that accummulates energy inside and a light can be them connected to the ball. I think they said that 3 min of motion (playing soccer) can generate several hours of energy for the light. They donate a bunch of the ball to several countries in Africa where electricity is a luxury…maybe the Venezuelan Government can create the MIsion “Pelotas Electricas” and solve the problem with electricity in Venezuela

    • Yeah. I expect Isaias to make a huge deal of this. That will interrupt his daily routine of writing awful poetry.

  4. I’m sorry but all this discussion is rather senseless and dumb. Wasted talent and engineering resources to make cars go vroom? Quico, how about all that wasted talent, time, and energy making art? Television sports, of which F1 is certainly one, is just entertainment. I don’t hear anybody complaining about paying Leonel Messi 14 million euros to kick a little ball around a grass field. But suddenly many Venezuelans have discovered F1 in the worst possible way, the politically poisoned way. Before continuing, here is my view of all this matter:

    1. I totally oppose PDVSA’s involvement in F1. I think is immoral, and from a business view, totally pointless. F1 feeds on sponsorship money, for which it displays the sponsor’s colors on its cars. From a strictly business point of view, F1 is nothing but really fast and flashy billboards. PDVSA doesn’t need any of that because it doesn’t sell anything commercially. It sells oil. Other oil companies, such as Elf, Texaco, ENI, etc actually compete in the commercial world, selling their brands in the world markets. They clearly could benefit from advertisement, especially the extravagant kind related to F1. But PDVSA doesn’t work in the commercial retail side of the business, so it’s ridiculous for it to pour millions of $$ into advertisement. PDVSA should use that money to invest in itself and in Venezuela, so wasting it on F1 is stupid.

    2. An F1 driver needs talent and money. Normally those who have talent bring money from sponsors that invest on the possibility of the driver’s talent to help them make Money in the future. There are VERY few drivers who don’t need sponsor money. Those are the Leonel Messi of F1: Senna, Schumacher, Alonso…. But even most of them started by bringing their own sponsors. There are also those drivers who pay their way into F1, with no talent. They fortunately don’t stay for too long. Maldonado is certainly not a pay driver, having won GP2, the stepping stone of F1. Just like World champion Lewis Hamilton, incidently

    3. I hate it when oppos throw insult at Maldonado just because his drive at Williams is funded partially with PDVSA money. It’s unfair and shows little understanding of how F1 works. For one, it’s not Maldonado’s fault that un loco fends over millions of $$ for him to be able to drive in F1 and fulfill his dream. He’s not the one to decide how many hospitals can be built with all that money? He’s just a driver, for crying out loud! He is certainly not the first driver to benefit from government support, by the way, as Juan Manuel Fangio started his European career with Perón’s support, just to give a really old example. Second, people place ALL the responsibility of this on the person who deserves it the least. It was PDVSA who decided to spend money on F1. It’s HC who, in his woefully inconsistent mind decided to promote his fiasco/revolution on preciselly the most elite and imperialista sport on the face of this earth. Why not concentrate all this indignation at the only party who deserves it: PDVSA? Why take the easy way and blame the most visible?

    I was expecting more from the comments sections, but alas, there are too many Maria Alejandra López style comments for me to take seriously. Too bad.

    • My beef with Maldonado is more about mouthing “Patria, Socialismo o Muerte” than anything else.

      Maldonado was sponsored by PDVSA in GP2, yet no one cried foul, even when he won the championship.

      • GP2? What the hell is GP2? Have you realise that probably less than 1% of people watch car races? I would have cried foul about him as soon as I knew the money he was throwing away for a poor country where children don’t get books from the state.
        I started to post about him when I happened to read in foreign news about the amount of money he got from the Venezuelan government. I wouldn’t have cared a fig otherwise.
        Don’t use state money for such a w..nking activity. Wa..ing can be fine, just do it on your own.

        • Don’t you understand Kepler? You’re misguiding your indignation. It’s PDVSA who made that bad choice, that pointless investment. It’s PDVSA who is being immoral and who is betraying Venezuela. PDVSA man! Not some kid living his dream, who yes, could probably know better, but why shoul he? I find it terribly unfair to place all that responsibility on him, when it’s PDVSA’s fault. What should a Venezuelan do when he goes to the gas station and pays 50 cents of a dollar to fill his gas tank? Should he stop driving so as not to be a part of such a terrible waste of resources? Should you place all the ethical responsibility on the driver or on the government for allowing such a terrible misuse of resources?

          • Fine, OK.

            I expect you, from now on, to come as indignant next time somebody says Venezuelans are Chavez loving parasites who want everything for free. I really hope you do.

            • No, no, you don’t get it! I AM indignant, just that I believe I should be indignant at PDVSA and this charade of a government, not at some fortunate kid who found his loco rich uncle. And I am indignant, I said it in my first comment. I think PDVSA acted immorally by spending all that money so pointles… ah, I give up!

        • Mr. Kepler, you are an arrogant prick. Please work more instead of spending hours posting crap on this an other blogs. BTW, how is your Chavista aunt?

          • The arrogant prick is you. Touched someone?
            Go drive your car around in circles, please…that’s what your brain is for.

        • I really don’t know the story about how the government gave the money to Williams, but I doubt that they just decided to give the 66 million dollars without Maldonado lobbying for that. There is no excuse, its just the typical case of milking money from the Country for your own purposes,.
          I agree with Kepler, this is all related to the fact that many people still cannot face that we are not a rich country, we don’t have the money to sponsor F1 teams and give money away, we just don’t. Every money spent in things like that means less people getting food, a decent education and healthcare.

      • I kind of forgive him the “Patria, Socialismo o Muerte” thing. He’s just a twentysomething guy who doesn’t necessarily own a bright, critically cultivated mind. Who has never said something stupid in his twenties?

        • I just don’t agree with mixing politics and sport. And I see people past their twenties saying stupid things everyday.

          It is the height of cynical jalabolismo that a guy that drives one of the most expensive cars on earth promotes the slogan of a movement whose philosophy is diametrically opposed to the existence of the very car he drives.

          I lost all respect for him when he mouthed that stupid slogan last year.

          • Yeah, I guess that in a few years he will look back and despise the moment he decided to blurt out the stupid slogan. Or maybe he won’t. Either way, it’s PDVSA who I really lost all respect for, but not just for investing stupidly on F1, but for everything else during its rojito era.

    • Manuel Fangio? Is that a guy from Norway who got money for that? Wait…Perón…that was a Norwegian prime minister, right? Or German? No, it was from a banana republic…no surprise: nunc Chávez et Kirchner.
      Wealthy Germany doesn’t spend that amount of money (60 million dollars!) to support the WHOLE German team that plays football and has a much more impressive effect on people’s attitude towards real sports in Germany.
      Poor banana republic wants to support one bloke…what’s going to happen now in Venezuela? Lots of people are going to start driving faster or what?

      Geez…

    • Oh, by the way, I don’t particularly support Maldonado as I’m not a patriotero, but I really like it when an F1 driver wins his first Grand Prix. The fact that today that driver happened to be Venezuelan is just icing on the cake. I do have my Venezuelan corazoncito, after all.

      • I have my Venezuelan heart and it made me angry. Because I know the average Venezuelan pupil has some of the lowest standards in the Americas and I know what those 60 million dollars would have done for schools in Barinas…and I know Venezuela is NOT a rich country but a poor one that thinks itself rich.
        So: I do think it is anti-patriotic to be happy the state wasted so much money in such a luxury activity.

        • Whilst I cannot disagree with you Kepler I believe the words “Venezuelan” and “heart” should not appear in close proximity in the same sentence.

  5. I guess Chavez paid 66 Mil for a Global Ad Campaign and certainly a success feeling for about 50% of Venezuela *at least for a short while*. He has spent way more on other nuances…thus I guess he gained all that with a rather minor investment …

  6. Guys, stop being so bitter!! Yes, we must still be pissed that PDVSA’s sponsorship of Maldonado is wrong and yes, he’s a f*****g sycophant of Chavez. But at least now we can’t say he’s not good enough for the F1. He deserves recognition for his achievement. Let’s keep criticizing PDVSA and him for being so jalabola. But let’s not fall in the chavista trap and for once be happy and stop with the partisan BS.

    • Happy of what , that a guy that happen to be Venezuelan finally gets his hands in a big metal ugly cup full and gets his picture all around the word becuase our goverment decided to give him the money that should be used in schools, books, hospitals? You know I hate when people tel me on you are Venezuelan…the country with all those MIss Universes…well at least the government does not pay the surgeries for those women to get big lolas… or may I am naive and they do!

    • Maria, my problem with people’s comments today is that 1) they’re giving Maldonado crap for stuff that could apply to virtually any achievement by a Venezuelan (that it was a personal achievement) or that could apply to any professional sportsman 2) Why is it so hard to separate the fact that he deserves credit for winning from the fact that PDVSA shouldn’t sponsor him?

      In sum: Good for Maldonado. I hope he finds a real sponsor next year and that PDVSA stops spending money on such frivolous projects

      • PM I respect your oppinnion. It may be good for him (Maldonado)…but as a Venezuelan this type of success does not impress me or make me happy when I see so many problems that could be solved. Also, if you are no part of the solution you are part of the problem and Maldonado is not solving any problems with his 5 minutes of fame.

  7. I see it like this. If you want some 2 billion people to see your logo on the rear wing of the car and the drivers kit, plus the Venezuelan flag and the natioanl anthem, then over a 9 month period 30 million dollars is a bargain. (I don’t know about the 66 million dollars and since the source is La Patilla it must be a lie. Ravell has not uttered one word of truth in the last 13 years or more).

    You should all support MCM who said that she would end Maldonado’s sponsorship by PDVSA back in February. Considering she only got just over 100,000 votes in the primaries you people are certainly in a tiny minority.

    Fossil fuels – let’s all stop driving our mcars and flying. Grown men – kicking a ball is also infantile and i know Quico loves soccer.

    So bad luck escualidos. Chavez has taken Twitter off you and now F1 and the monopoly of pharmacies and food. The next thing to do is nationalize the banks.

    Maldonado might be a one day wonder but we will wait and see just as we are all waiting for the elections to see if Chavez makes it to October 7th.

    • What you care about is propaganda, not investing the scarce resources we have in health and education. Glad you said it yourself.

  8. The only thing that comes to my mind is how many other athletes could have benefitted with those 66 millions that PDVSA only spent in one.
    We could have have a whole team of track and field, swimmers, gymnasts, our vinotinto! You name it, in order to have a better presence in the Olympics.
    But no, the resources went to one guy only because he’s chavista. That how our socialism works.
    BTW, the earnings of this race go back to PDVSA or to Maldonado’s pocket? Hum….

  9. Seriously guys let’s stop this BS, if you want to keep the average Joe to join the opposition cause against Chavez, just publish this kind of articles.

    • Sí vale, CcsChron with its mass reach is ruining everything!

      Honestly, I don’t have a problem with Pastor Maldonado. I have a problem with F1.

      • I’m sorry, Are you an advocate of PDVSA sponsoring any other sport but F1, because they are using a lot of fuel? If it were so simple…

        Nowadays It’s normal for a company to sponsor any sport, and give money for non profit organization, as long they can afford it or they have a huge surplus. I’m sorry to say but this article and the comments that followed seems to be written by non Venezuelan people, and unwillingly they are keeping people from joining the opposition cause.

        I know the money should be used for better things, and I think that PDVSA should be focused mainly in the oil business, and the government should be taking care of the investment for welfare programs.

        Besides, let’s not underestimate the influence of government media, even the tiniest one can carry a lot of influence.

  10. I am no Maldonado fan, but I this argument of “PDVSA should not sponsor Maldonado, they should be building hospitals and schools” is rubbish and I am having none of it.

    One moment, shit hits the fan [rightly] because PDVSA is managed like a Ministerio which, instead of being in the business of extracting and selling oil, is in the non-business of selling subsized food in supermarkets and injecting shitloads of money into the government’s social programs via “Hanky Panky Spending”. But then, everyone is outraged by PDVSA doing something that, from a business point of view, tends to be pretty common among oil companies. Apparently, unlike other oil companies, PDVSA should be building schools instead of having its logo plastered on fast cars.

    Señores, un poco de consistencia. If you are saying that PDVSA should not be the welfare program that it has turned into, then you should not be saying that it’s their duty to build schools and hospitals instead of sponsoring motorsport.

    I oppose PDVSA’s involvement in Formula 1 because, like César said, it is pointless from a business sense. PDVSA does not sell anything to retail consumers outside Venezuela, hence, the idea of advertising in fast moving billboards is pointless. Because it is unacceptable that it is not even advertisement at all, but propaganda. But not because “that money should go to building schools in Barinas”. That money should go where it can generate the most revenue for PDVSA and hence the largest benefit for the Venezuelan State as the company’s owner. But building schools in Barinas is a duty of the State, not PDVSA’s. Despite what Chávez has led you to believe, PDVSA and the Venezuelan State are not supposed to be the same.

    I do find Maldonado to be an annoyingly vocal chavista and a generally unlikeable character, but I am glad he won today and that rather many habladores de güebonadas will have to shut up at least for a while. Way too much María-Alejandra-Lopecismo around here.

  11. By the way, you might want to direct some of your anger towards Rodolfo González and Ernesto José Viso, who are sponsored by PDVSA in GP2 and IndyCar, respectively. Sure, they aren’t as annoying as Maldonado, but that money could also go to building schools in Barinas, no?

    • Sure, why not? Can’t you understand 99% of the population doesn’t know what this GP2 is?
      I do mountaineering and wall climbing. If someone were to discover that Chávez is paying 60 million dollars to one single wall climber through PDVSA and he did the same with two other people in yet another event but people only realised about the first event, I would not become furious about them not talking about the second case. I would need to realise – if I had some contact with the rest of the world – that most people are not into my interest so if they do find out about some case of burning money – as these are –
      they did so because they somehow came across that by accident.
      We protest about what we have heard about. So, thanks for informing
      about that those two.

  12. What a waste of space this post and comments are, with few notable exceptions.

    I don’t know what’s worse: whether FT inane comment about 24 cars going vroom vroom and the F1, presumably, having an impact on the environment, or his equally stupid comment about the futility of engineers wasting time on F1, Arturo’s PDVSA-got-an-excellent-advertisement-deal because its logo gets to be seen by 2 billion people -none of which likely to spend 1 dollar buying PDVSA products, or Gaston’s argument about construction of schools and hospitals not being the remit of PDVSA.

    You are all missing the point here. PDVSA’s sponsorship deal to Maldonado and Williams F1 *IS* the perfect case study of hanky panky spending decried in these page less than two weeks ago. Repeat. PDVSA’s sponsorship deal to Maldonado and Williams F1 was never discussed and approved legally, neither by PDVSA’s board nor by the Asamblea. That and only that is the issue here gents.

    Try and understand that. The rest is just pura paja. Relativist commentary to the effect that Petronas also does it with Mercedes is totally irrelevant to this discussion. Relativist commentary to the effect that Sergio Perez and Bruno Senna are also pay drivers (money from private corporations) is totally irrelevant to this discussion. Relativist commentary about the waste of engineering minds is not only irrelevant, it is utterly stupid and ignorant: for F1 is one giant laboratory where new technologies are constantly tried and its potential benefits are then implemented by related industries and car manufacturers which in turn benefit millions of people. Relativist commentary about useless burning of fossil fuels by F1 as global warming cause is just silly. Relativist commentary about oppo leaders having to say something about Maldonado’s win shows the moral decrepitude of the opposition.

    This whole thing stinks to high heaven. As I said elsewhere da asco, but it poignantly reveals why the country is what it is, why it has the government it has, and, crucially, why there’s no hope. Cuerda de amorales no joda.

    • ” As I said elsewhere da asco, but it poignantly reveals why the country is what it is, why it has the government it has, and, crucially, why there’s no hope. Cuerda de amorales no joda.”

      Si todos fueran como tú, Venezuela sería como lo mejor de Noruega, de EUA, de Alemania, de China y del País Vasco. Pero tal como son: dan asco. Por eso es que tenemos a Chávez…porque no somos como tú.

      • “Si todos fueran como tú, Alek Boyd…”

        Oh God I just felt this cold, cold shiver going down my spine…

  13. Indeed, cold, cold shiver… I got up this morning and I had four roasted babies with my English breakfast, while Francisco Toro and his groupies were having a selection of organic, locally sourced, carbon neutral cereal with locally sourced semi skimmed milk…

    You didn’t feel that cold shiver when you wrote “God bless Alek Boyd” did ya? Aparte de comeflor, hipocrita.

    • So I suppose without F1 we’d all be bumbling around in Model T style 1930s looking cars, right?

      Sorry, RevBob, but the contention that these advances wouldn’t have been made without F1 is absurd on its face. All kinds of industries invest heavily in Research and Development without the need for these gaudy extremes of Recreational Pollution. Siemens didn’t need to race medical machines around a track to invent Magnetic Resonance Imaging, y’know?…

      Listen, I know full well it’s no use arguing with a Sports fan. I KNOW how useless and wasteful fútbol is, and I still love it. You’re allowed to love F1, but don’t bullshit me with this “it’s-all-for-the-greater-good” crap…it’s silly.

      • There’s no way I could argue that these would not have happened without F1, but they did happen because of it.

        Let’s just agree, you and I, to disagree and celebrate our differences!

  14. Turns out one Formula One car puts out per year the equivalent of the yearly average of 20 average cars in England. That’s hardly anything to gripe about when these grown men developed fuel injection, turbocharging, variable valve timing, kinetic energy recovery systems, and more. I can’t wait to see what they develop in the hybrid technologies and infinitely variable transmissions.

    • How about the emissions from flying around the cars and teams all over the world for a year for no particular reason?!

      • As opposed to soccer teams having more appropriate reasons for the even more flying around?

        Let me reiterate, I believe there are better ways to spend the money they spend, but that’s not what you started saying. So, what exactly is your gripe?

        • it’s really a preference, wholly aesthetic. Racing cars around a track is unpardonably tacky, men of taste can see that without difficulty…

            • Rodrigo,

              If the German team does well, millions, millions of German kids start to kick more the ball and reduce their fat, become fitter, become healthier, become less obese.
              I saw that. A lot of sports (real sports) is done all the time in Germany but all those sport events where they do particularly good reinforce the enthusiasm for this or the other sport.

              When Michael Schumacher was winning, Germans would…well, watch TV and that only a fraction of them (usually a really minority of males). Perhaps you can show me some calculations about how they would drink more beer, thus supporting the beer industry

            • I think you meant to hit reply on my comment bellow. If so, I was just joking. Again, I don’t care about spectator sports. I enjoy beer drinking quite a bit on the other hand. Which by the way also emits CO2 produced by the yeast while fermenting the sugars in wort :D

          • :) Let me know the next time a soccer team develops technology useful outside the sport, besides sportswear…

            By the way, I should point out, I do watch World Cup soccer matches, while I have never watched a full car race or any kind.

            • 1-I accept that justifying sports by their social utility is silly, BUT…
              2-As a virtually-free, all-you-need-is-a-bit-of-open-space-and-a-round-thing-to-kick sport, soccer has contributed more to the cardiovascular health and the life-long exercise habits of children than any other sport, probably preventing millions of heart attacks and cardiovascular accidents per year. Getting excited about your favorite fútbol star on TV and wanting to emulate them drives kids to do something healthy, getting excited about your favorite F1 star on TV and wanting to emulate them gets kids killed on the streets.
              3-I love a pointless fight now and again!

            • Until those men hit 17, don’t actually cut it to continue to play and develop a beer belly due to 90 minutes + extra times of tv watching/couch potatoing/beer drinking/chip eating and their health actually declines. ;)

              ps. I am just giving you a hard time hehehe

      • OK. I had enough with people dropping carbon footprint without the slimmest clue of what are they talking about. Yes, there is a big carbon foot print from F1. No arguments about it. But are you really concerned about that? If you are you should probably be more concerned about carnivores than this.

        What is the lifecycle analysis on football? and the flying of all the players all around? And the buses? And making those balls! and the big concrete stadiums! (because you know, concrete has a very very large carbon foot print). And for god’s sake the feeding of the players! Do you know how many calories a high performance athlete eats!!!!!!!!!

        F1 it is not for a greater cause. It has positive side-effects that actually leads to better safer cars. Faster than the option, i.e. no F1. Football you could say that keeps kids healthy and drug free, other than that it entertains. But your arguments are heavily biased here!

        Again I could care less about football or F1. I do care about carbon footprint.

        • You’re right. As I think honestly about it, I realize my real objection is aesthetic. There’s no arguing about taste, of course, but I can’t get over the sheer tackiness of driving cars around real fast and calling it sport. If I didn’t love soccer, I’d have a leg to stand on, but I do, so I don’t.

        • I’ve had this argument on the other side with Guido, who finds my thing about fútbol just as insane and inexplicable as I find RevBob’s thing with F1.

          People who love a sport and people who don’t can’t reason with one another, I should know that by now.

      • I just noticed you sidestepped the part where F-1 developments are what allow average cars to use less fuel, so the world is actually producing a smaller carbon footprint thanks to F-1. You’re really not being fair with these guys. These are true engineering teams coming up with very useful and advanced stuff, whether we like the “sport” or not, which I don’t.

        • My problem is with the counterfactual – you’re assuming that without F1 these advances wouldn’t have been made. But that’s preposterous! The basic commercial reasons car makers want to make cars that use less fuel (and stand to profit from designing engines that use less fuel) would’ve been there with or without F1. It’s just that they’ve attached part of their R&D budget to a hideously loud, ugly, obnoxious pursuit, which people inexplicably like for some reason…

          • My problem is with the counterfactual – you’re assuming that without F1 these advances wouldn’t have been made. But that’s preposterous!

            Prove it.

          • “you’re assuming that without F1 these advances wouldn’t have been made.”

            No, I’m not. I’m just not ignoring that these advances were made by F1 which you imply has no redeeming value other than entertainment.

    • They are on the way. This season and for the past two they have been using a Kinetic Energy Recovery System, or KERS. A system that recovers energy from braking and stores it in electrical form, to be used to boost the car up to 80 BHP.

      There are already plans being drawn up to make F1 all electrical in a decade or so, and by next year driving into and out of the pitlane will be electric.

      Whatever advances made there will find their way into road cars
      Of course, there is still a huge carbon footprint from the 20 747’s that the F1 circus uses to get around the world……………………….

  15. I am extremely surprised that a lot of people here would call F1 “Childish”, “a waste of time and resources”, but would happily discuss the VinoTinto, Man U and the Real Madrid prowess without a hint of irony! Or are you football fans not ALSO wasting valuable time with you could spend with your families to go watch a game (instead of, for example, actually going out and playing the game with friends), putting hard-earned money on a T-Shirt with someone else’s name on it, and generally making a bunch of guys who couldn’t learn to do anything better than to hit an animal skin for a living richer and richer? Anyone see a bit of hypocrisy there? Any consistency issues at all? In the immortal words of Bartholomew Simpson … “Dude…!”.

    If you have that stance you should apply it to any other form of organized competition, so if you like a sport and think like that, go ahead and PLAY IT, don’t watch someone else playing it!

    C’mon, your stance against the Venezuelan Government notwithstanding, if PDVSA (a gasoline maker and exporter, fer cryin’ out loud) had decided 14 years ago that it was going to sponsor a budding car racer (Say, Milka Duno), or if back in the Seventies-Eighties motorcycle champs Johnny Cecotto or Carlos Lavado had carried a Maraven or Corpoven logo on their racing suits, NOBODY would have had chided the company, on the contrary, they would have said that finally the Venezuelan Government was taking a long overdue interest in Venezuelan sportsmen and women.

    Venezuela was too a poor country with haunting public safety and job creation issues back then, don’t you guys remember? And we would have seen people on the telly saying that it was a “bold marketing strategy” or somesuch.

    And you might not like F1, and even question its value as a sport (I like it as entertainment)… Even more, you could question as Quico does whether or not it is run by a Mafia, but then again what is the FIFA? Or the several different organizations that govern Boxing? Baseball? The Olympics?

    Maldonado just proved he is a top-line competitor on a top-notch professional organized form of international competition, I believe if such a person shares your nationality the normal response is to cheer for him? You would do it for the VinoTinto even with the dreaded PDVSA logo on their t-shirts … or suddenly -like my extremely escuálida mamá- you would think all of the footballers on the Venezuelan team have become sneering, malevolent henchmen of Miraflores?

    Aaaaand to address those here who would tear their clothes apart on the prospect that PDVSA is “giving away the public money”… Brothers and sisters, stop buying heavily subsidized gasoline at PDVSA service stations RIGHT NOW! The Government is throwing away millions and millions of our dollars every day on giving you gasoline almost for free! Or do you REALLY think a tank of gasoline on your SUV’s (or the lowly Corsa I had back in the Land) . If you want to be patriotic and responsible with the Government money, tell your elected officials to please stop subsidizing fuel! In the meantime, go buy your gas on a Colombian or Brazilian gas station to free up the local stuff for full-priced export revenues!

    Abrazos!

    • Fe de erratas … “or do you REALLY think a tank of gasoline on your SUV’s (or the lowly Corsa I had back in the Land) costs less than a Mac Combo to produce and sell?” that should have been the entire phrase…

  16. This is the worst post ever at this blog.
    The worst comment section ever.
    Congrats to JC who didnt comment at all.

    • Oh, it’s not that I have standards or anything, it’s simply that I don’t really understand F1 nor follow it. It bores me to tears.

      • With Mr. Nagel we’d be thrilled to talk about the huge contribution Roger Federer has been making to humanity since the mid 90’s, right? decade

  17. Yon Goicoechea agrees with you. And the stuff that #meiriademasiado guys endured was a walk in the park compared to what I am seeing thrown to him. Check his FB page.

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