Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • You can't miss William Storey in the paddock
    You can't miss William Storey in the paddock

    Haas sponsor slams F1 conspiracy theorists

  • Haas defends sponsor after Red Bull claim
  • Zandvoort says Assen not Dutch GP alternative
  • Liberty will struggle to sell F1 – Yermilin
  • Red Bull denies deliberate Mercedes launch clash
  • F1 'has gotten used to me' – Perez
  • Rosberg does not miss F1 'at all'
  • Manager says 2019 Kvyat's last chance in F1
  • Australia investigating 'Mission Winnow' branding
  • Toro Rosso announces strategic partnership with myWorld

Haas sponsor slams F1 conspiracy theorists

Haas car with Rich Energy livery
Haas car with Rich Energy livery

(GMM) Haas' new title sponsor has dismissed as conspiracy theorists those who wonder about the credibility of the Rich Energy brand.

The American team's new black and gold car is sponsored by William Storey, boss of an elusive British energy drink.

"A rare sighting," said Reuters journalist Alan Baldwin on Twitter, after tracking down a few cans of the drink at Haas' livery launch in London.

But Storey, Rich Energy's long-bearded boss, says he wants Haas to compete with energy drink giant Red Bull "both on and off the track" in 2019.

"We are confident we will beat Red Bull in many races this year," he said.

Storey said Haas' new black and gold car is reminiscent of the Lotus driven by Ayrton Senna in the 80s, and that is no accident.

"It is not necessary to be Hercule Poirot to understand why our car looks that way," he said.

The black and gold livery might ultimately have gone to Williams this year, with Storey admitting that talks with the beleaguered British team took place.

"I felt sorry for Williams in the end," he said. "I felt that as a business, they were living off past glories and didn't run a very good business."

He said the financial terms of the Haas deal were "much better", and slammed those who wonder if Rich Energy is actually even a legitimate brand.

"Anyone who says that Rich Energy does not exist is like saying that a person never walked on the moon or that Elvis is still alive," he insisted.

Haas defends sponsor after Red Bull claim

William Store (beard) is aiming squarely at Red Bull
William Store (beard) is aiming squarely at Red Bull

(GMM) Haas' team boss and driver have defended their new backer, after Rich Energy boss William Storey said the American team can beat Red Bull in 2019.

On the Rich Energy website, the British energy drink company clearly takes aim at Red Bull, declaring: "Forget the wings, Rich Energy gives you horns."

As for the long-bearded Storey's comments about beating Red Bull "on the track", team boss Gunther Steiner defended the Rich Energy boss.

"We had the fourth best car in the field at times last year, Red Bull is third, so why shouldn't we think of making life difficult for them?" he is quoted by Speed Week.

"Whether we do it, I don't know. But I know that if you do not try, you will not succeed," said Steiner.

Kevin Magnussen agreed, saying it's good that Storey is "ambitious".

"If you do not want to take on your opponents, you will achieve nothing," said the Danish driver.

"So I don't see anything wrong with such a target."

However, Magnussen admitted that Haas is not ready to legitimately beat Red Bull in 2019.

"I don't think so in 2019," he said. "But who can say what the future holds?

"We have new regulations coming and the budget cap, and no one knows how that will work. You have to believe in success to make it true."

Magnussen told Denmark's BT newspaper: "We are in the part of the field where it is really competitive.

"Renault and Force India have developed a lot, and McLaren and Williams are two big teams that should never be underestimated.

"So it will be a lot just to keep the position we had in 2018," he said.

Zandvoort says Assen not Dutch GP alternative

Assen or Zandvoort - whichever one comes up with the cash first
Assen or Zandvoort – whichever one comes up with the cash first

(GMM) There will be a Dutch GP in "Zandvoort, or not at all".

That is the claim of Jan Lammers, a former F1 driver who is now the spokesperson for a potential 2020 return to the calendar for the Dutch track.

Earlier, a letter emerged that indicated a deal in principle is in place between Zandvoort and Liberty Media, with a contract to be signed no later than March 31.

But Assen, another Dutch circuit, says it is still in the running.

"There are a lot of untruths around this," Lammers told Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.

"The confusion doesn't help the Dutch grand prix, but unfortunately this is the arena in which this must be played."

He insists that Assen is actually not an option.

"The promoters try to make us believe otherwise, but Assen has not been an option for some time," said Lammers.

"There will be a grand prix of the Netherlands in Zandvoort or not at all. Then they would go to America or Asia."

Assen promoter Jos Vaessen, however, insists a deal is still possible.

"Jan Lammers can say what he wants, but we are still in the picture," he said.

"At the end of February we have another meeting with FOM planned."

Liberty will struggle to sell F1 – Yermilin

Like he always does, it's likely Ecclestone will buy F1 back for pennies on the dollar from Liberty
Like he always does, it's likely Ecclestone will buy F1 back for pennies on the dollar from Liberty

(GMM) Liberty Media will struggle to sell F1 for a profit.

That is the view of Igor Yermilin, president of Russia's motor racing federation.

He was asked by Russia's Sportbox publication about rumors that, beset with growing problems and unrest, the American company might be looking to sell.

"The situation is completely expected," Yermilin said.

"The current management wanted to start improving formula one but it turned out to be a lot more difficult.

"They have neither the experience nor the ability to finely control the process, as Bernie Ecclestone did. And all the uncertainties that arise in such a situation generate the rumors," he said.

"All the loud statements from Liberty Media are slowly stopping and now we hear almost nothing from them.

"There are still no new technical regulations. The Concorde Agreement expires soon but that is not very clear, and there are problems with the original promoters who have had grands prix for decades," added Yermilin.

As for the sale rumors, Yermilin said Liberty Media would certainly make a loss.

"It is very difficult to find a buyer who is ready to spend the amount the Americans would need after everything they have spent. They would need to sell it more expensively than they bought it, but there is hardly anyone who is ready to do that," he said.

Red Bull denies deliberate Mercedes launch clash

Marko rubbishes conspiracy ideas
Marko rubbishes conspiracy ideas

(GMM) Red Bull has denied it timed its car launch to deliberately clash with reigning world champions Mercedes.

There is no love lost between the top teams, with Dr Helmut Marko last year describing fellow Austrian Toto Wolff as "persona non grata".

Mercedes had already scheduled a 'rollout' test for its 2019 car for next Wednesday (13 February) at Silverstone, before Red Bull suddenly followed suit.

Marko, the top Red Bull official, denied it was a deliberate ploy.

"That was just because our car was finished two days later than planned," he told Auto Bild. "We will be driving on different parts of the track, so it should not be a problem."

F1 'has gotten used to me' – Perez

Sergio Perez claims he is better with age
Sergio Perez claims he is better with age

(GMM) Sergio Perez is keen to make some noise with his performances in 2019.

Now 29, the Mexican is a F1 veteran, with over 150 grands prix to his name.

And yet, 2018 was a very low profile year for Perez, even though he finished the world championship eighth overall.

"It's as if people have gotten used to me," he told Auto Bild.

"When I was new, everyone talked about me and I was the next big thing. In 2017 I finished the season best of the rest and I've beat all my teammates."

He should at least be strong again in 2019, with Force India having been taken over by billionaire Lawrence Stroll and re-named Racing Point.

Perez says he is better than ever.

"With age you get more confidence, you know how things work," he said.

Perez also thinks that, even though his teammate will be team owner Stroll's son Lance, he will have a leadership position.

"I think experience helps in how you can direct a team, how you can build it around you, how much progress you can make with your car, with the setup," he said.

Rosberg does not miss F1 'at all'

Nico Rosberg does not miss cutthroat world of F1
Nico Rosberg does not miss cutthroat world of F1

(GMM) Nico Rosberg says he does not miss formula one "at all".

The German, now 33, quit at the age of 31 just days after winning the 2016 title.

Speaking to Germany's ZDF television, he denies regretting it.

"I don't miss it at all, and for me that's a big thing," he said.

"Back then, when I decided to leave the sport, I had no idea what it would feel like in two or three months or a year."

Rosberg admits stopping racing for the first time since his boyhood was "not easy".

"It was a complete stop. Something fundamental in my life was suddenly gone," he explained.

"Luckily I had my family and other passions. I quickly found a new way for me. It was the best decision," says Rosberg.

In fact, Rosberg says he often feels a sense of relief when he gets a reminder about how dangerous motor racing is.

"I have to confess, there are moments when I see something on the track and think 'It's good I'm not in that car'.

"Take Baku. We do 360 in the middle of a city and in front of you there's a wall. Unlike some other drivers, I'm not an absolute daredevil.

"Yes, there are moments when I was scared," he admitted.

Now, Rosberg is making key investments in so-called 'E mobility', including buying into Formula E.

"This championship is going through the roof," he said. "In just four years, it has reached a value of 700 million, which is incredible. But there is no profit.

"It's all for the future," he added.

Manager says 2019 Kvyat's last chance in F1

Daniil Kvyat - had check, will drive, must produce
Daniil Kvyat – has check, will drive, must produce

(GMM) Daniil Kvyat is getting his final chance to succeed in formula one.

That is the view of the Russian's new manager Nicolas Todt.

After being dropped by the Red Bull program after stints at Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing, Kvyat spent 2018 as a Ferrari simulator driver.

Now 24, he has been signed up yet again by Toro Rosso for 2019.

"In formula one, it's always difficult to get a second chance," Todt, a leading F1 driver manager who is also involved with Charles Leclerc and Mick Schumacher, told Corriere dello Sport.

The Frenchman says Kvyat entered a period of "introspection" after the Red Bull axe.

"He wanted to understand what happened and did a great job on the Ferrari simulator," said Todt.

"His situation reminds me of the return of Felipe Massa to Sauber in 2004. Two years later he was at Ferrari with Michael Schumacher.

"I don't want to indulge in dreams, but Daniil is a talented rider and a good athlete, not forgetting about cultural development. He reads Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. This is a very intelligent and self-analytical person," Todt told the Italian newspaper.

"He returns to formula one less emotional and more mature.

"It is clear that he needs to achieve results, but he also understands how important this chance is and that he will not get another one," Todt added.

Australia investigating 'Mission Winnow' branding

Minnow Winnow on last year's Ferrari
Minnow Winnow on last year's Ferrari

(GMM) Australian authorities have launched an investigation into Ferrari's new 'Mission Winnow' branding.

The branding is an initiative of the team's title sponsor Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro cigarettes.

The company says the brand promotes smoking alternatives and other initiatives, but some believe it is a clever way to keep Marlboro and the similar logo and colors in the front of F1 fans' minds.

Melbourne's The Age newspaper said an investigation has been launched in Australia ahead of the 2019 season opener in Melbourne next month.

The investigations are being carried out by the federal health department, the Victorian state equivalent, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

"It (Mission Winnow) has nothing to do with F1 cars, that's for sure," said Australian anti-smoking campaigner John Cunningham.

Philip Morris said the company "always respects the laws that apply to our activities".

"The campaign does not advertise or promote any branded products."

Toro Rosso announces strategic partnership with myWorld

Scuderia Toro Rosso is very excited to be joining forces with myWorld group of companies. Setting new benchmarks, taking innovation to new levels, shaping the future – that is the driving force behind myWorld’s successes. The Official Partner deal will see the myWorld logo appear on the STR14 as well as the drivers’ race suits and team apparel.

Franz Tost, Team Principal Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“Innovation is at the core of Formula 1 and I’m delighted that Toro Rosso will be working with myWorld, a future-oriented organization that unites different brands under one umbrella to provide innovative fan and customer loyalty programs to associations and corporations. Through this partnership we will support them in promoting how consumers, and also partners, can benefit from their international Shopping Community."

Rafał Pięta, CEO myWorld International:
“In view of myWorld’s international focus, this collaboration is an important step. Cooperation with Scuderia Toro Rosso is an optimal platform from which to present our group of companies to an international audience."

Bettina Rieger, CEO myWorld Media Group:
“We are very pleased to be collaborating with Scuderia Toro Rosso. Collaboration with this successful Formula 1 Team demonstrates that our group of companies has reached yet another milestone."

Markus Stampfer, CEO sportsWorld:
“I am very excited about the collaboration with Scuderia Toro Rosso, which is kicking off now and will be running long term. sportsWorld fully supports the myWorld Sponsorship and will also put more partners and customers in touch with the racing stable. This cooperation is a great international reference for us, which we are very proud of."

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