Latest F1 News in Brief – Wednesday

  • The new and the old, Chase Carey (L) and Bernie Ecclestone (R)
    The new and the old, Chase Carey (L) and Bernie Ecclestone (R)

    New F1 Chair Chase Carey Calls Ecclestone's Departure Necessary For 'Fresh Start'

  • Ecclestone offices 'too small' for F1
  • Teams welcome 'experts' replacing Ecclestone
  • Teams turned down offer of F1 shares – Wolff
  • New F1 rule to reduce driver penalties
  • British GP safe in Liberty era – Carey
  • Liberty era future brighter for German GP
  • Brawn to attend F1 winter tests
  • Giovinazzi would 'accept' 2017 debut
  • 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Early Bird Tickets – One Week To Go!
  • Mercedes pays over $5m in 2017 Formula 1 entry fees

New F1 Chair Chase Carey Calls Ecclestone's Departure Necessary For 'Fresh Start'
Formula 1 Chair Chase Carey said that Bernie Ecclestone was removed as F1's CEO because the sport "needs a fresh start," according to Roan & Benson of the BBC.

Carey "has been put in charge by Liberty Media," the U.S. group which completed its $8B takeover of the sport.

Carey said that he had "tremendous respect" for Ecclestone, but F1 "needs to be run differently than for the last four or five years."

He said, "Bernie is a one-man team. New F1 Chair Chase Carey Calls Ecclestone's Departure Necessary For 'Fresh Start'

It was not right in today's world." Carey said that Liberty had "major plans" to grow F1 around the world. He said:

•F1 is a "unique, iconic, global event that is a spectacle second to none."
•The sport has not grown in recent years "as much as it needed to and Liberty could exploit new technologies to do that."
•Liberty would protect historic races and sees Europe as the "foundation" of the sport.
•It would "expand, particularly with a view to new events" in the U.S.
•Liberty "wanted to make much more of the promotion of F1 itself, its participants and individual events."
•There will be a British Grand Prix "despite speculation" Silverstone could be dropped by '19.

Carey decided over the past four months that Ecclestone, 86, "was no longer the right person to run F1." He said, "We needed a sport that while respecting what made it great has a sense of energy and innovation." BBC

REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported Ecclestone's ousting "will take the sport in a different, digital direction," but there is "much work to be done" in the months and years ahead.

Carey: "F1 has huge potential with multiple untapped opportunities. We will work … to enhance the racing experience and add new dimensions to the sport and we look forward to sharing these plans over time."

Carey and Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei have both said that "there is a lot they want to do differently."

Maffei has spoken of more races in Latin America, Asia and the U.S., "while Carey has indicated that Liberty wants to safeguard the sport's historic venues in Europe, ramp up marketing efforts and engage the fans more." REUTERS

WHAT ABOUT BERNIE?: SKY SPORTS' Galloway & Slater reported Carey said that Ecclestone will find it "difficult" to adjust to his new role but "hopes the sport continues to benefit from the Briton's input."

In his first interview since adding Ecclestone's former CEO title to his chair role, Carey said, "Bernie has run this business the majority of his adult life.

When he's run it for the period he's run it I certainly understand that the change is going to be difficult for him and create challenges for him. But hopefully we'll find a way that it continues to be rewarding for him. I want him to feel good about it." SKY SPORTS

EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE: BLOOMBERG's Tariq Panja reported the days of F1 "taking millions from deep-pocketed nations with little history in auto racing to stage Grand Prix events may be over."

Liberty Media wants to end a "deal of the day" mentality to focus on key markets, including the U.S. and Europe.

Carey said, "Some of the decision-making hasn't been efficient and effective in how do we manage the sport."

He added, "Fans mean western Europe as a foundation, growth means markets like the U.S. and China where there’s obvious growth potential, real growth potential that we haven’t tapped."

He said that he would "focus on expanding" F1's digital media development.

Carey: "We don't really have a meaningful digital presence in a competitive sense today. That's an increasingly integral part about how you're going to develop a broad-based television strategy." BLOOMBERG

REVENUE DISTRIBUTION: SKY SPORTS' William Esler reported Ross Brawn hopes to make F1's revenue distributions "more even to help secure the long-term futures of the smaller teams."

Brawn is part of a new three-man management team put together by Liberty Media, with the Englishman "taking the position of motor sport managing director."

Brawn: "We need to find solutions where the small teams can stand on their own two feet and put up a good challenge to the hierarchy of Formula 1 and stand on their own two feet commercially. At the moment it is a big challenge for them, it is too big a challenge, and we need to find ways in future of having a healthy Formula 1 from top to bottom. " SKY SPORTS

With Kevin Kalkhoven no longer involved with IndyCar (apparently) will F1 try to steal the Long Beach GP?
With Kevin Kalkhoven no longer involved with IndyCar (apparently) will F1 try to steal the Long Beach GP?

REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported Liberty Media said that Brawn "would be one of two managing directors." The other, "for commercial operations," is former ESPN exec Sean Bratches.

Brawn: "I've enjoyed consulting with Liberty Media these last few months and I'm looking forward to working with Chase, Sean and the rest of the Formula 1 team to help the evolution of the sport." REUTERS

U.S. STREETS: The AP reported F1's new owners plan to add a street race in the U.S. in "an attempt to improve a sport which they feel stagnated" under Ecclestone's control. Driving growth in the U.S. is "seen as a priority for Liberty," which also owns the MLB Atlanta Braves and has investments in cable TV companies.

Carey: "We would like to add a destination race in the U.S. in a location like New York, L.A., Miami, Las Vegas. We think we can create something that will be a really special event. Obviously the U.S. is all upsides for us. We haven't invested in the way we need to build the U.S. market."

The sport has "remained stuck in the past," making "events feel a little tired," while the modern media landscape was not "grasped" by Ecclestone, according to Carey. Carey said, "Bernie really ran a one-man show. I don't plan to run a one-man show." AP

Ecclestone offices 'too small' for F1

Ecclestone in his wood paneled office - very 1970s
Ecclestone in his wood paneled office – very 1970s

(GMM) F1 will relocate from Bernie Ecclestone's current offices in London, new CEO Chase Carey has announced.

Speaking to the media as he swept into power, replacing long-time F1 'supremo' Ecclestone, Carey said: "We will not be able to run the business from Bernie's offices. They are too small."

Replacing Ecclestone, 86, are Carey and managing directors Ross Brawn (sport) and Sean Bratches (commercial).

Referring to Ecclestone's 6 Princes Gate, Knightsbridge headquarters, Carey told the Daily Mail: "There isn't even room there for me now. We will find somewhere else.

"I am living here most of the time in an apartment in central London, and formula one will still be based in the United Kingdom."

Sources report that although Ecclestone said he is being "deposed" but staying on board as honorary chairman, the diminutive Briton was still at work this week.

Carey said: "It will be up to us where and when his advice is of help and appropriate."

And he told the Sun newspaper: "Bernie is a one-man team — it was not right in today's world."

Teams welcome 'experts' replacing Ecclestone

It takes 3 people to replace Bernie. Bratches, Carey and Brawn replace Ecclestone
It takes 3 people to replace Bernie. Bratches, Carey and Brawn replace Ecclestone

(GMM) Top teams were looking confidently into F1's future this week, following news of Bernie Ecclestone's departure as CEO.

Publicly, almost every influential figure in the sport was on the one hand applauding the 86-year-old Briton's contribution to F1 whilst welcoming the new Liberty Media era.

"Bernie made a global show out of nothing, made many people rich including us, but we are also aware of the problem areas," Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

Now, everyone is wondering what will happen next. New managing director Ross Brawn spoke about keeping endangered races, and possibly getting rid of 'artificial' DRS overtaking.

"Is that (DRS) really what the fans want to see?" Brawn wondered.

"They want entertainment, they want to see close racing, they want to be able to understand what's going on," he added.

Also on the table are budget caps, the end to Ferrari's $100 million bonus, and up to 25 races per year, but Marko said: "Technically, everything is contractually regulated until 2020.

"But I think there is a lot that can be done in the short term. The sport must be more open. This year is only the beginning," he added.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff told Germany's DPA news agency that this week's announcements marked "The end of one era and the beginning of a new one".

And he welcomed the arrival of new F1 chiefs Carey, Brawn and Sean Bratches.

"They are experts in their fields," said Wolff. "Ross knows formula one exactly, Sean knows everything about the commercial side, so this is all good news for us.

"Chase is responsible for formula one, but he has directors for sport and commercial affairs and I think this is a good setup. Ross's role shows that he (Carey) is looking for competence in areas where he lacks experience."

Teams turned down offer of F1 shares – Wolff

Wolff (L) turned down share offering
Wolff (L) turned down share offering

(GMM) F1 teams turned down Liberty Media's offer to become co-owners of the sport.

That is the news from Toto Wolff, boss of the championship winning Mercedes team.

As the American company Liberty Media took over F1 this week, it urged the teams to consider an offer to buy up to 20 per cent.

But we reported that because the teams were not being offered voting rights, they turned it down.

Wolff confirmed to Germany's DPA news agency: "It was offered to us, but no team took it up.

"There wasn't time," the Austrian explained, "and the conditions are not yet fully aligned between the interests of the selling shareholder CVC and the long-term interests of the teams, which are first and foremost about the sport and its sustainability.

"Now we need to work with Liberty," Wolff added.

Wolff said he expects that forthcoming talks with Liberty will be fruitful.

"Liberty is aware of the fact that, together with the drivers, the teams are an essential part of the show.

"At the same time, we must be aware that there is an entertainment factor and we are competing with anyone who has a video on Youtube," he said.

New F1 rule to reduce driver penalties
(GMM) F1 has tweaked the rules so that drivers are penalized less often in 2017.

This week, the final sporting regulations for the new season were published.

Of particular note was article 38.1, following widespread criticism that too many penalties are being given to drivers for on-track incidents.

Now, the rules state that even if Charlie Whiting reports an incident, the stewards can "decide whether or not to proceed with an investigation".

And another tweak should restrict whether a driver can be penalized for borderline racing incidents.

"Unless it is clear to the stewards that a driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for an incident, no penalty will be imposed," the regulations now state.

British GP safe in Liberty era – Carey

Silverstone
Silverstone

(GMM) The future of the British grand prix seemed more secure as new F1 chiefs swept into office this week.

In the Bernie Ecclestone era, the future of the popular race at Silverstone seemed in doubt for financial reasons.

But new CEO Chase Carey told the Sun newspaper: "We will have a British grand prix.

"The foundation of the sport is western Europe. We want to grow it.

"There's a negotiating dynamic that exists but we want a healthy relationship with our promoters," he added.

Interestingly, the American referred to the British GP's existing host Silverstone but said there is "no question" a street race in London is an attractive notion.

"We have Silverstone in the UK but I recognize it is not in London," said Carey.

He is also quoted by the Morning Star newspaper: "We look forward to engaging with Silverstone and talking about how we make sure that race can, and is, everything it should be."

Ross Brawn, F1's new sports managing director, also indicated that Liberty recognizes the importance of 'heritage' races in Europe, in contrast to Ecclestone's view about maximizing profits.

"Liberty have bought the heritage of F1," he told the Telegraph. "They recognize the value of that."

But also on the cards are brand new races, such as additional events in America including New York, Los Angeles, Miami or Las Vegas.

"People have said we're going to 'Americanize' it," Carey told the New York Times. "But realistically, there are some elements of Americanization that the sport could use."

Liberty era future brighter for German GP

Nurburgring
Nurburgring

(GMM) F1's new Liberty Media era is good news for "traditional" race hosts like Germany, new sport managing director Ross Brawn says.

Germany will not host a race in 2017, after talks with now former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone broke down.

So as F1's new Liberty Media era began in earnest this week, German race hosts the Nurburgring and Hockenheim sounded more upbeat about the future.

"We are still keen to host a German grand prix at the Nurburgring," new managing director Mirco Markfort told Bild newspaper.

And Hockenheim's Georg Seiler said: "I have heard that the new owners attach great importance to tradition. In this respect, I am looking forward to talks for the period from 2019."

Indeed, Brawn indicated that Germany cannot expect to be an eleventh hour addition to the 2017 calendar.

"Not that I know of. I don't think there will be any changes," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

"But what I will say is that Germany is a traditional race, and we want to protect and preserve the legacy of formula one. Because it is one of the strengths of the sport," Brawn added.

Brawn to attend F1 winter tests

Ross Brawn
Ross Brawn

(GMM) Ross Brawn will be a prominent figure as F1's new on-track era begins in earnest in a month's time.

The formerly retired team technical director and boss is returning to the sport this year as sport managing director in the post-Bernie Ecclestone era.

However, the 62-year-old said previously that he had little interest in returning to F1 in a full-time capacity.

Asked if he will attend the grands prix in 2017, Brawn told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "At the beginning of the season, for sure.

"And I will come to the tests because I want to see how the new cars look. We have a radical change of rules ahead of us and we should find out as soon as possible what impact this could have on the show.

"I want to be prepared for what awaits us in Melbourne," Brawn added.

Finally, relations appeared strained between Brawn and the now deposed Ecclestone in recent weeks, but Brawn said the 86-year-old is an "icon".

"Totally unique," Brawn added. "Absolutely irreplaceable.

"That is why formula one has been reorganized," he explained. "I can't imagine anyone who could manage the sport as he did.

"The sport is deeply indebted to him. I hope he will come to a few races and continue to support us," Brawn said.

Giovinazzi would 'accept' 2017 debut
(GMM) Antonio Giovinazzi has vowed to be ready in the event he might make his F1 race debut in 2017.

The 2016 GP2 runner-up and Italian, 23, has been appointed as Ferrari's official third driver for this year.

"I am still adjusting to being part of such a big family with lots of people working around two drivers," Giovinazzi told Italy's Sky Sport 24.

"As third driver I will have to work hard in the simulator," he added. "I have a lot to learn and will give 110 per cent, because if there is a chance to drive in a race, I will accept it."

2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Early Bird Tickets – One Week To Go!

Azerbaijan Grand Prix pitlane
Azerbaijan Grand Prix pitlane

This week marks the last week of the early bird phase of BCC’s online ticket sales for the newly rebranded 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix via www.bakucitycircuit.com. Baku City Circuit (BCC) is therefore calling on all F1 fans to make sure they don’t miss out on securing their tickets for the fastest street race in F1 at a special discounted rate while the offer is still open!

Since December 1st, BCC has been offering fans a limited supply of discounted prices of up to 30% on the cost of all 4-day tickets. This exciting offer now enters its last week and will run out on January 31st 2017, after which the cost of tickets will revert back to their original price.

A 4-day ticket includes grandstand access to the three days of racing as well as all accompanying entertainment offerings but also to a special Pit Lane Walk on Thursday 22nd June.

BCC’s Executive Director, Arif Rahimov today urged fans to snap up their discounted tickets while they still can: “I want to encourage to book their tickets for the 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix while this amazing offer still lasts. Of course, our ticket sales will continue after this date but we are eager to give fans the greatest opportunity to reserve the best seats at the best prices for what is going to be another unmissable weekend of racing action on the streets of Baku next June. Come join us next summer and experience the magic of F1 and Baku live and up close!"

A variety of ticket options are on offer for the 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, including various packages for the Absheron Grandstand, which will offer fans some fantastic views of the start/finish lane, as well as a wide range of different Grandstand seating options, located at various corners and straights along the track.

In addition to the discounted 4-day ticket offering, special ‘Junior’ tickets at the Khazar and Bulvar Grandstands for children aged 2-15 will also be made available at reduced prices during this limited timeframe to families travelling to the event together.

Daily Roaming Tickets will also be on offer to those preferring to watch the action from different locations on the track on various standing areas and podiums.

Discounted 4-day ticket prices range from AZN150 – AZN550 while the daily Roaming Tickets will range from AZN60 – AZN150 (cost in US$ will be determined by currency rate on day of purchase).

With only one week left to avail of this special discount offer to witness the world’s greatest race cars once again speed through the streets of this stunning city, the message from Baku City Circuit to the world’s F1 audience is very simple: get your early bird tickets while you still can and join us in Baku in 2017!

For more information on how to purchase tickets and plan your stay in Baku for the 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix taking place on June 23rd – 25th, please visit: www.bakucitycircuit.com

Mercedes pays over $5m in 2017 Formula 1 entry fees
While the aim in Formula 1 is to score as many points as possible, they also come at a cost, as Mercedes discovered when it paid its entry fee to the FIA for the 2017 championship, following a record-breaking season in which it scored an astonishing 765 points.

All teams wishing to compete in the championship must pay a base entry fee of $516,128, irrespective of their classification in the previous year’s standings.

Additional entry fees are based on points scored during the previous season and the winning constructor pays a premium of $1,033 per point more compared to their rivals.

Consequently Mercedes, having cruised to a third straight title, has paid $6,194 per point scored, while the other teams have paid $5,161.

Therefore Mercedes' entry fee for the 2017 season has set the company back $5,254,538 – $384,028 more than it paid in 2016 – and more than double the $2.5m third-placed Ferrari has been charged by the FIA to get its cars on the official entry list.

Red Bull has had to pay almost $1.5m more than it did the previous campaign, as a result of its achievements in 2016, compared to its disappointing 2015 season, the biggest rise of any team.

Williams’ fee, meanwhile, has dropped by over $600,000 after its slide down the pecking order, the largest year-on-year drop.

Full breakdown of 2017 entry fees:

# Team Points Entry Fee
1 Mercedes 765 $5,254,538
2 Red Bull 468 $2,931,476
3 Ferrari 398 $2,570,206
4 Force India 173 $1,408,981
5 Williams 138 $1,228,346
6 McLaren 76 $908,364
7 Toro Rosso 63 $841,271
8 Haas 29 $665,797
9 Renault 8 $557,416
10 Sauber 2 $526,450
11 Manor 1 $521,289

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