Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • There is always a probe when Bernie sells F1, but Bernie always wins
    There is always a probe when Bernie sells F1, but Bernie always wins

    UK launches probe into Liberty takeover

  • Alonso 'nicer in front than behind' – Massa
  • Silverstone buyout bidders pull out – report
  • Rosberg keeping eyes off the prize in Brazil
  • Ferrari stays on 'road to recovery' – Marchionne
  • Mateschitz denies F1 quit threats were serious
  • Haas to test halo in Brazilian GP practice
  • Vasseur still eyeing 2016 Renault progress
  • Red Bull Formula 1 Team's '15 Profit Accelerated 26%

UK launches probe into Liberty takeover
(GMM) The UK government has launched an investigation into the takeover of F1 by American tycoon John Malone's Liberty Media.

Bernie Ecclestone said last week that the takeover is in fact not yet complete.

And it may not be for some time yet, with the British government department the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announcing an "inquiry" into the Liberty deal.

The CMA is responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing anti-competitive activities.

A preliminary decision is expected in early 2017.

Meanwhile, two potential candidates to get involved in F1's post-CVC future have played down claims they may accept roles.

Gerhard Berger welcomed Liberty's involvement but told Austrian Servus TV: "No, I'm not in the group, I don't have the time."

And Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz told Spain's Marca sports newspaper: "That would be a big challenge, but I have a job that takes up all of my time as well as many other obligations and interests."

Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa

Alonso 'nicer in front than behind' – Massa
(GMM) Retiring F1 veteran Felipe Massa will contest his last home grand prix at Interlagos this weekend.

Ahead of his long career's penultimate F1 race, the 35-year-old appeared on the Fox Nitro program and admitted money was his biggest early obstacle in motor racing.

"In Formula Renault I only had six races and the results really mattered. I sold an Astra (road car) to pay the bills," said the Williams driver.

Massa singled out Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher as his toughest teammates, but said he remained friends with both.

"Alonso always treated me well, we never had problems," he said, "but he was always nicer in front of me than behind."

Massa then recalled a recent conversation with Alonso, following the announcement of his decision to retire at the end of 2016.

"He (Alonso) gave me a hug and I said 'You were a son of a bitch, but I like you a lot'."

As for Schumacher, Massa said the F1 legend was more of a "teacher" than a teammate.

"I visited him when he was sleeping. It was not an easy thing," Massa revealed, referring to Schumacher's recovery from a 2013 skiing crash.

"The family has the right to do whatever it wants and not say what is happening," he insisted.

Silverstone buyout bidders pull out – report
(GMM) The future of the British grand prix could be in tatters, in light of the latest news emerging from circuit owner the BRDC.

F1 business journalist Christian Sylt reports that two bidders, Jaguar and Laurence Tomlinson, have withdrawn their candidature to buy the historic Silverstone track.

"Their decisions come at a critical time for the (circuit owning) BRDC, with its accounts showing cash reserves fell to just 9,000 (British pounds) at the end of 2015," Sylt wrote in the Telegraph newspaper.

The FIA and Bernie Ecclestone have scheduled a July 9 date for the 2017 British grand prix.

Nico Rosberg could find a way to blow the title
Nico Rosberg could find a way to blow the title

Rosberg keeping eyes off the prize in Brazil
(GMM) Nico Rosberg is determined to keep his eyes off the prize as he charges for the world championship this weekend in Brazil.

While teammate Lewis Hamilton is back in top form, it is Mercedes' German driver who can mathematically clinch the title simply by winning at Interlagos.

But Rosberg has had a sharp focus on each race in 2016, refusing to talk about the championship with the media.

Speaking to the Dutch magazine Formule 1, he is changing nothing for Brazil.

"Not thinking much about the big picture works best for me," he explained.

31-year-old Rosberg admitted, however, that thoughts about the title sometimes wander into his mind.

"Of course sometimes," he said, "because I know of course what the points situation is and how many races are still to go. But I don't focus on it."

After two consecutive title defeats to Hamilton, Rosberg said he now feels ready to beat the famous Briton.

"It is experience that is helping," he said. "This is the third year that I've been fighting (for the title) with Lewis."

And he thinks his steely resolve is also helping in 2016.

"I always come back strong after difficult moments. If you're preparing for things that can go wrong, you're ready for it and deal with it better. It's all planned," said Rosberg.

"I take the races seriously, approaching it with discipline and trying to improve in every area.

"You do not win races by sitting on the couch and watching TV, but by fighting and giving everything," he added.

Marchionne still wearing his rose-colored glasses
Marchionne still wearing his rose-colored glasses

Ferrari stays on 'road to recovery' – Marchionne
(GMM) Ferrari is determined to improve for 2017, according to president Sergio Marchionne.

It has been a difficult season for the fabled Scuderia, with its failed title bid summed up by Sebastian Vettel's foul-mouthed radio calls of Mexico.

But amid the criticism, former Ferrari boss Cesare Fiorio said: "Vettel's reaction in Mexico was understandable.

"If I was (Maurizio) Arrivabene, I would just turn off Seb's radio. Or at least ask him to keep certain appraisals of his opponents to himself," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

But Fiorio also said it is important for Ferrari to record a strong result before the winter begins.

"This is not impossible," he insisted, "because in the US and Mexico Ferrari got less than they deserved."

Meanwhile, team president Marchionne indicated Ferrari will now keep its eye on ensuring 2017 is a better year for Maranello.

"We are not happy with the results," he said, "but we go forward on the road to recovery.

"We want to finish the season in the best possible way," said Marchionne, "but it is crucial that the ambition is to return competitively next year."

Dietrich Mateschitz did a head fake
Dietrich Mateschitz did a head fake

Mateschitz denies F1 quit threats were serious
(GMM) Dietrich Mateschitz has denied that Red Bull ever seriously contemplated pulling out of F1.

A year ago, the energy drink brand's billionaire mogul threatened to withdraw both of his teams from the sport amid Mercedes' dominance and a struggle to find an engine supplier for 2016.

But when asked by the Spanish sports newspaper Marca this week if he is still thinking about quitting F1, Mateschitz answered: "Actually, I never thought of it.

"Of course there were circumstances that could have led us to take that route, for example obviously if we did not have a power unit supply," said the Austrian.

But 72-year-old Mateschitz is much happier in late 2016, with Toro Rosso stepping up to Renault power for next season and Red Bull now Mercedes' closest challenger at the top.

Not only that, Red Bull has two of the best young drivers under contract, including Max Verstappen, who is being compared to Ayrton Senna.

Asked about the Senna comparison, Mateschitz said: "If you consider his natural talent, mental strength and courage he has shown in the races, then yes.

"But he also has to be able to maintain that speed, skills and strength over a period of several years. Nobody knows if this will happen, but we believe he has the potential."

And waiting impatiently in the wings for a better seat, meanwhile, is Carlos Sainz.

Asked if the young Spaniard is another future world champion, Mateschitz agreed: "Yes, he can be.

"His problem is that with Max and Daniel (Ricciardo) we already have two great drivers in the Red Bull seats and the performance of Toro Rosso is not enough to challenge the front runners.

"But I firmly believe that it will be good for Carlos to continue in our rookie team for another year," he added. "Especially as we hope to be able to significantly improve the car's performance."

Haas to test halo in Brazilian GP practice
Haas will test the 'halo' during practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, team boss Guenther Steiner has confirmed, in turn ensuring that all teams have sampled the device.

At present, the halo is the FIA's preferred cockpit protection device, though the introduction of any system has been delayed until at least 2018, in order to conduct further tests.

All other Formula 1 teams have previously tested the three-pronged design, and Haas will become the final outfit to do so during Friday's first free practice session at Interlagos.

"We are planning to run it with Romain [Grosjean] in FP1 in Brazil," said Steiner.

"There needs to be more testing and we're happy to contribute.

"Even though the halo won't be introduced next year, it's a step toward finding a device that provides protection but also allows drivers to get in and out of the car quickly."

In addition to running with the halo, Steiner confirmed that Haas will trial products from a different brake manufacturer in practice, in a bid to overcome its struggles.

"We will conduct a test in either FP1 or FP2 with a different brake manufacturer," he added.

"It is a test to see how the other material reacts and how the drivers like it or don't like it. We will try to find out as much as possible in the short time we have available."

Frederic Vasseur
Frederic Vasseur

Vasseur still eyeing 2016 Renault progress
Renault team boss Frederic Vasseur says the outfit can still make gains across the remaining two rounds of the current campaign, despite the bulk of the focus now being on the 2017 season.

Renault returned to Formula 1 as a manufacturer team this season and occupies ninth in the Constructors' championship, having only scored points in Russia, Singapore and Malaysia.

Vasseur insists that progress made by Renault in Brazil and Abu Dhabi can still boost the team for 2017.

"We are seeing for a while now that we have made a step up in terms of performance regardless of the circuit we are visiting, so that is encouraging," he commented.

"We are seeing that the gaps in the midfield are getting smaller all the time and it's up to us now to put it all together in terms of set-up, tire management, and extract everything possible from the potential of the car.

"I expect further progress on track as we continue to extract the maximum from the R.S.16.

"There are still areas that we can work on to improve the overall team performance whether it is pit stops, set-up work or tire management.

"I know that the team is completely focused on that and it's good to see their motivation."

Vettel was paid over $20M per year by Red Bull
Vettel was paid over $20M per year by Red Bull

Red Bull Formula 1 Team's '15 Profit Accelerated 26%
Profits at Red Bull’s championship-winning Formula 1 team "accelerated 26%" to £11.4M last year when its costs "reversed after its star driver Sebastian Vettel defected to Ferrari," according to Christian Sylt for the London INDEPENDENT.

Vettel won four consecutive championships for Red Bull Racing but left for Ferrari after the team’s winning streak came to an end in '14 when F1 switched from 2.4-liter V8 engines to 1.6-liter V6 hybrids.

Vettel was paid an estimated £13M annually and his exit fueled "a sharp decrease in the team’s costs which in turn boosted its profits."

Recently-filed accounts for Red Bull Technology, the company which owns the team, show that its costs in '15 fell by 11.3%. They came to £225.5M on revenue of £235.6M which "primarily comes from three sources:" prize money, sponsorship and payments from its parent, energy drinks company Red Bull.

Like last year, Red Bull has been developing its '17 car throughout this season and is fueled with more investment "after signing new partners watch maker TAG Heuer and Aston Martin."

It can also count on a boost in its prize money due to its improved performance. Independent

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