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DATE News (chronologically)
04/14/14
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Red Bull taking 'new evidence' to Monday appeal
  • Vandoorne to replace Button 'possible' - Dennis
  • More 'small improvements' in Schumacher condition - manager
  • Prosecutors dismiss Ecclestone 'blackmail' - report
  • 'Forza Rossa' is Romanian Ferrari dealer
  • Mercedes car 'on par' with Newey's Red Bull - Costa
  • Mercedes blasts Red Bull at Paris appeal
  • F1 drives sponsorship agency to $1B of deals

Red Bull taking 'new evidence' to Monday appeal
(GMM)  Red Bull claims to have "a very strong case" as the world champions try on Monday to overturn Daniel Ricciardo's Melbourne disqualification.

Initially, many believed the team would surely fail to convince the FIA's international court of appeal to quash the stewards' ruling in Paris.

That is because Red Bull admittedly ignored the readings of the mandatory fuel flow sensor, claiming the devices supplied by a British company called Gill are inaccurate.

Team boss Christian Horner now says: "As more races have progressed, issues have become more evident, new evidence has come to light and new understandings have come to light.

"We believe we have a very strong case," British broadcasters the BBC and Sky separately quote him as saying.

Following a disastrous winter pre-season for Red Bull and its engine supplier Renault, the team is only fourth in the constructors' championship after three races.

Defending Red Bull's push to recover Ricciardo's second place finish, Horner insisted: "Those points are vital, every point is vital."

The FIA says it intends to publish the results of Monday's appeal "as soon as possible" after the hearing is complete.

Vandoorne to replace Button 'possible' - Dennis
(GMM)  McLaren could oust Jenson Button at the end of 2014 and replace him with the team's next young development driver talent.

That is the admission of returned McLaren supremo Ron Dennis, who told F1's official website that it was mainly his decision to axe Sergio Perez after a single season and replace him with in-house rookie Kevin Magnussen.

Dane Magnussen, 21, has subsequently been hailed by Dennis as having "all the ingredients necessary" to follow in Button's footsteps and win a title.

"The decision to take Kevin (in 2014) was mine," said Dennis.

"I took the decision because I felt that we needed to see if he could meet the expectations of our engineers, and so far he has done a great job.

"And also Stoffel Vandoorne did a great job last weekend in Bahrain," Dennis added, "so I think he will be highly desirable by the end of the season."

Belgian Vandoorne, who is actually a year older than Magnussen, has this year been placed by McLaren in GP2, where at the Bahrain season opener he won a race.

Vandoorne is driving for ART, after Nicolas Todt's GP2 team entered an agreement to work not only with McLaren but also the team's 2015 engine supplier Honda.

At the same time, Button's contract is up for renewal.

The 34-year-old driver said in Bahrain: "I have no worries that a guy in his thirties is as good as a guy in his twenties in a formula one car."

Nonetheless, Dennis admitted it is "possible" McLaren's 2015 lineup could see Magnussen alongside Vandoorne.

"Anything is possible," he said, "but Jenson is doing a great job.  He is quick and he is dedicated so there is no reason not to stay with Jenson from any perspective.

"But we still have a whole season to go."

Haas driver Busch says no to F1
(GMM)  Kurt Busch, a leading Nascar driver, has ruled himself out of the running to enter F1 next year with Gene Haas.

Busch, 35, drives for Haas' Nascar team, and this year he will try his hand at single-seater racing, driving for former F1 driver Michael Andretti's team at the fabled Indy 500.

But the Associated Press has quoted him as ruling out a F1 foray, despite his close ties to Haas.

"My time has passed to be a competitive driver in F1," he said.  "But a test session?  I'd jump on that every time."

Busch warned that Haas is "serious" about his new F1 adventure.

"You just don't drop $40 million on a wind tunnel and not think that you're serious about racing," he said.

"It will be an incredible challenge.  He knows that," Busch added.

"We've had Michael Andretti, before him was his dad.  We had Scott Speed as a driver.  Now we have an (American) owner.  It will be interesting to see how the driver lineup shapes up."

More 'small improvements' in Schumacher condition - manager
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's health is continuing to improve, his manager Sabine Kehm said in a television interview late on Sunday.

In the last official statement, Kehm said the great German was now showing "moments of consciousness and awakening" amid his long coma.

Now speaking to German television ARD, she revealed: "There are small improvements that make us happy and give us great encouragement."

She flagged the possibility Schumacher will eventually transfer to a "rehab clinic", but said a prediction of the seven time world champion's future is not possible.

"Each case is individual; every brain injury can affect someone differently," said Kehm.  "No doctor could answer these questions."

She stressed, however, that the 45-year-old is not only having moments of being awake, but also being 'conscious'.

Kehm explained that the latter is, "perhaps in a very limited form, being able to interact with the environment".

She also criticized doctors "on the outside", including former F1 doctor Gary Hartstein, who have commented on the Schumacher case despite having "no knowledge" of the details of the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver's condition.

And Kehm revealed that a journalist who dressed as a priest was not the only member of the public and media that attempted to enter Schumacher's hospital room.

"There was also another person who tried to come in (disguised) as Michael's father.

"There were a lot of cases of people who have tried to go into the ICU, perhaps to take a photo or a video," she added.

Prosecutors dismiss Ecclestone 'blackmail' - report
(GMM)  The pre-trial documents outlining the case against Bernie Ecclestone make no mention of the possibility he was blackmailed by Gerhard Gribkowsky.

That is the claim of the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, revealing that it has seen and read the 223-page document ahead of the Munich hearings that begin next week.

F1's chief executive claims he only paid the millions to jailed banker Gribkowsky because he was threatening to divulge details of Ecclestone's tax affairs to authorities.

But Welt am Sonntag claims prosecutors do not regard Ecclestone's account as legitimate, insisting the almost $44 million in payments to Gribkowsky was solely so the 83-year-old Briton can "secure his position of power" in charge of F1.

Citing the court documents, the newspaper also says 40 witnesses are scheduled to testify at the trial, which will be attended by Ecclestone himself.

Ecclestone said in Bahrain last weekend that F1 will "do our best" to run the sport while he is occupied in court.

"The judge has been very good," he told British television Sky.  "He has said you've just got two days a week in court, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

"On the Wednesday's he's going to try and get things out of the way a little bit earlier so I can leave and carry on doing what I normally do," added Ecclestone.

'Forza Rossa' is Romanian Ferrari dealer
(GMM)  A major potential link between F1's potential 13th team and Ferrari has been discovered.

Last Friday, when the governing body gave the green light for 2015 to new twelfth team Haas, the FIA also said it was "in the process of conducting further investigations for Forza Rossa".

FIA sources have confirmed that Forza Rossa is the name of the team project being fronted by former HRT boss Colin Kolles, reportedly supported by Romanian backers.

Subsequent media reports have discovered that Forza Rossa, meaning 'Red Force' in Italian, is in fact a major official importer and seller of Ferrari road cars in Romania.

The Forza Rossa showroom, in the capital Bucharest, was even inaugurated in 2008 by none other than Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

Meanwhile, Autosprint correspondent Maurizio Voltini claims Haas will be powered by customer Ferrari engines in 2015.

Mercedes car 'on par' with Newey's Red Bull - Costa
(GMM)  Mercedes insists its 2014 car is "on par" with the chassis being fielded by reigning world champions Red Bull this season.

The more common perception in the F1 paddock so far this year is that while the silver W05 is a tidy single seater, its clear dominance is being fuelled mainly by its vastly superior turbo V6 'power unit'.

Red Bull, meanwhile, is apparently only managing to stay relatively competitive amid engine supplier Renault's problems due to the once again field-leading car design efforts of Adrian Newey.

But Aldo Costa, the Mercedes car designer, insisted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that his W05 is "about on par with Red Bull".

"There are certain corners, especially the fast ones, where Red Bull is better than us," he acknowledged, "but in other places it is us with the edge.

"According to our measurements," the former Ferrari technical director added, "Ferrari is behind us."

Costa also hit back at suggestions F1's new engine rules have made the sport too slow.

Actually, he said it is "quite simple" to calculate precisely why lap times are slower in 2014, explaining that the engines are in fact compensating for most of the losses.

"The cars are 50kg heavier (than in 2013)," he started.  "This alone costs 1.5 seconds.  The downforce was reduced, which is another half a second," said Costa.

"Add to that the harder tire, then without these factors we would be faster (than in 2013)," said the Italian.

Mercedes blasts Red Bull at Paris appeal
(GMM)  Title rival Mercedes on Monday was highly critical of world champions Red Bull's behavior, as the appeal hearing in Paris began.

Red Bull is appealing Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification from the Australian grand prix for ignoring the mandatory sensor governing fuel flow.

Red Bull's lawyer argued that the Gill-supplied sensor was "faulty" and that is why it fell back on its own measurements, but the legal representative for Mercedes hit back that what occurred in Melbourne was a "flagrant breach" of the regulations.

"Red Bull thinks it is entitled to pick and choose between the measurements," the Mercedes lawyer was quoted by the Associated Press as telling the court.

Using near-identical words, the FIA lawyer agreed: "A team cannot pick and choose."

He added: "The essence of sport is the contest on a level playing field and you can't have that unless everyone abide by the rules."

According to Reuters news agency, the Mercedes lawyer said the five-judge panel might in fact increase the penalty against Red Bull in its decision on Monday.

Also present at the Paris hearing are representatives for McLaren, Lotus, Williams and Force India.

F1 drives sponsorship agency to $1B of deals
It may seem like all of the money in Formula One is sucked up by the circuits, the teams and the sport itself but, in fact, there are other big winners as well. One of the biggest is sponsorship agency, Just Marketing Inc (JMI) which has brokered some of the most well-known deals in F1 such as McLaren's partnership with whisky brand Johnnie Walker and Martini's title sponsorship of Williams. Indeed, it is so successful that since it was founded in 1995 it has done more than $1bn of deals according to an article in business magazine Forbes by Christian Sylt.

Although JMI was established nearly two decades ago, its founder and chief executive Zak Brown says that the vast majority of its income has been generated over the past five years. "We have raised over a billion," he told Forbes adding that "it is really in the past five years that we have probably done the majority of that." F1 has been the driving force behind it.

Brown was born in Los Angeles and JMI's origins lie in America brokering deals with the NASCAR stock car series. One of its most high profile NASCAR deals is with Crown Royal, the whisky brand which has naming rights to the Brickyard 400. Crown Royal is owned by Diageo, the world's largest producer of spirits, and it was JMI's entry point into F1 as one of its other brands is Johnnie Walker.

In 2005 Johnnie Walker signed its partnership with McLaren which gives it branding on the top of the cars' wing mirrors as well as on the drivers' overalls and helmets. "Our first client in F1, Johnnie Walker, came out of having a successful program with Diageo in NASCAR," says Brown. "Just as the NASCAR people look up to F1 because of its technical expertise, I think the general feeling in F1 is that NASCAR does a really good job commercially."

He adds that "our competitive advantage was knowing the tricks of the trade of NASCAR. That was appealing to companies in F1 because they felt that maybe NASCAR was one step ahead in terms of leveraging sponsorships." Things have changed since then.

Since 2005 JMI has brokered several more deals with teams including bringing consumer goods firms GSK and Unilever to McLaren and Lotus respectively. However its biggest gains have come through dealing with F1's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone and bringing global partners to the sport itself. They get trackside advertising spots and use of the F1 brand in advertising for an annual price tag which rises up to more than $30m.

JMI was responsible for investment bank UBS and Korean electronics firm LG becoming official F1 partners. Another could be on the horizon as it has been revealed that Subway, the US sandwich chain which is JMI's oldest client, is considering becoming an F1 sponsor.

"I would say F1 and NASCAR probably capture 90% of our income," says Brown adding that "F1 represents probably 70% of our profits and growing. The F1 business is growing faster than NASCAR for sure."More at Pitpass.com

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