F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Carey is smiling and Bernie doesn't look too happy as they walk in Singapore
    Carey is smiling and Bernie doesn't look too happy as they walk in Singapore

    Ecclestone-Carey power struggle shaping up

  • FIA looking into Singapore marshal near-miss
  • Perez hoping for announcement before Malaysia
  • Italy hails Raikkonen after Singapore
  • Kvyat 'proves' he belongs in F1 – Ermilin
  • Rosberg not surprised by Hamilton 'respect'
  • No new Singapore GP deal agreed yet
  • New Formula One Chair Chase Carey Says F1 Cannot Be A Dictatorship
  • Vettel voted 'Driver of the Day' in Singapore

Ecclestone-Carey power struggle shaping up
(GMM) A power struggle between Bernie Ecclestone and F1 newcomer Chase Carey is continuing to shape up.

Observers in Singapore at the weekend reported obvious tension between the pair in the wake of the Liberty Media buyout and American Carey's appointment as chairman.

Ecclestone is said to be staying as chief executive for three more years, but when asked about that by British television Sky he answered: "Let's see. We'll see."

One interpretation is that Carey will play the role of apprentice for a time before fully taking over, but the 21st Century Fox executive told F1's official website: "I am a bit too old to be an apprentice."

The opening salvos of the Liberty Media era have been obvious, with 85-year-old Ecclestone clearly unhappy.

Told that he has to work with Carey, he insisted: "The only thing I have to do is die and pay my tax. Short of that I don't have to do anything."

But Carey is still hinting that the Ecclestone era is over.

"Sure, that (running F1) is not a task for a committee, as committees tend to become bureaucratic, but there also can't be a dictatorship — even if probably here they are used to it," he said in Singapore.

And Carey also said: "Certainly Hollywood is good training for dealing with unique personalities.

"With all credit to Bernie, he's had enormous success — the world admires Bernie for the business that he has built. But I still think that there is another level that we can take formula one to."

What does seem clear is that Mercedes' Toto Wolff will not be stepping in to replace Ecclestone as chief executive.

"I will not do it," he is quoted by Osterreich newspaper, standing with fellow Mercedes chief Niki Lauda. "We both work together here and we want to keep working together here."

Nico Rosberg almost takes out a safety Marshal in Singapore
Nico Rosberg almost takes out a safety Marshal in Singapore

FIA looking into Singapore marshal near-miss
(GMM) F1's governing body is looking into a dangerous incident that occurred during the Singapore grand prix.

Recalling a similar incident at the night race in 2015, a marshal retrieving debris had to sprint to safety on Sunday as the racing pack approached after the safety car period.

"At least the guy last year was drunk," Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff joked, according to Bild newspaper.

But it was no laughing matter, as the leader of the pack, Nico Rosberg, made clear.

"That was pretty hairy," said the German. "I think just as we didn't expect the restart, he didn't either, because the restart was pretty abrupt."

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said even race director Charlie Whiting was caught by surprise.

"Suddenly I saw yellow flags again," he is quoted as saying. "At the restart they should all be green."

Whiting confirmed that the current safety protocol at the end of a safety car period is to ask the clerk of the course if the track is clear not once, but three times.

"Then we order the safety car in. We were surprised that a marshal was then suddenly on the track," he said.

Auto Motor und Sport said the FIA is now awaiting a report about the race from Gabriel Tan, the local clerk of the course.

Germany's Auto Bild said the marshal was cleared to enter the track by his local boss.

"It was very dangerous," said Wolff. "But we have to defend the work of the race organizers — they restarted the race very quickly, which is what we ask for.

"A marshal who only meant well and wanted to clear the track was obviously surprised. Luckily, no one was hurt," he said.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez

Perez hoping for announcement before Malaysia
(GMM) Sergio Perez is hoping his future in F1 can be announced before the next race in Malaysia.

The Mexican is now regarded as the key to the 2017 driver market, with the seats at Force India, Renault, Toro Rosso and Williams all linked with the outcome.

Perez had announced after the Italian grand prix that he should be able to make an announcement in Singapore.

"Well, I tried," he said.

"Obviously there are some delays. But I really hope that before the next race we can definitely announce where I'll be racing."

It seems clear, however, that Perez and his backing by the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is staying put at Force India.

"Well, I always say I'll be very happy if I can stay, if everything is fine for me to stay where I am," he said in Singapore.

Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen

Italy hails Raikkonen after Singapore
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen appears to be back in top form in formula one.

Earlier, some questioned whether the now 36-year-old Finn was still fully motivated and at the top of his game during his second Ferrari tenure.

But he has been re-signed by the Italian team for 2017, and after Sunday's Singapore grand prix the influential La Gazzetta dello Sport gave him a mark of 9 out of 10.

Only winner Nico Rosberg scored higher, with 9.5.

"Raikkonen was assertive, intelligent and topped it off with the Hamilton pass. Brivissimo," the Italian sports daily declared.

Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene agreed. "With his experience and skills, he proved again that he is a great champion," he said.

Raikkonen's body language, however, indicated he was not happy with a strategy call that arguably cost him the last podium spot to Hamilton.

Arrivabene said: "We made the decision based on our data. We will now examine whether that information was correct, but Kimi drove like a world champion."

Kvyat 'proves' he belongs in F1 – Ermilin
(GMM) Daniil Kvyat is pushing to prove he deserves to stay in formula one.

That is the view of presidential advisor Igor Ermilin, of the Russian automobile federation, who hailed Kvyat's performance in Singapore after a slump.

"Singapore was a demonstration of the fact that Daniil has maintained his abilities and skills," Ermilin told the Izvestia news agency.

"He showed that when the car does not have problems, he will not let you down. Races like this prove that formula one needs Kvyat."

Another Russian observer, Russian driver and pundit Nikolay Martsenko, hopes the result in Singapore will give Kvyat a boost in confidence.

"It is very important that he gets ahead of his teammate in the races and the overall standings," he told Sportbox.

"No matter how bad the car is, whether it is updated or not, it is just important to be ahead of his teammate," he added.

Rosberg and Hamilton
Rosberg and Hamilton

Rosberg not surprised by Hamilton 'respect'
(GMM) Nico Rosberg says there is still "respect" between himself and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

With his victory in Singapore – his third on the trot – German Rosberg recaptured the lead of the world championship.

It was on the occasion of his 200th career grand prix, but earlier Hamilton had answered "Not really" when asked if he wanted to congratulate Rosberg on the milestone.

However, Briton Hamilton was then the first to congratulate Rosberg as he emerged from his cockpit after winning on Sunday, and he was also complimentary of his championship rival's win throughout the post-race interviews.

Asked if that praise had been a surprise, Rosberg told Germany's Auto Bild: "No, the respect between us is still there.

"I had a good weekend so it's normal that he recognizes that. I would do exactly the same the other way around, and have done in the past," he added.

Rosberg, however, did not want to talk about the likelihood of keeping his new championship lead throughout the final six races of 2017.

But he was happy to hear about boss Toto Wolff's claim that Rosberg is currently in the form of his life.

"It's good to hear that. They are cool words from Toto!" he exclaimed.

Singapore too spectacular to not be on F1 calendar
Singapore too spectacular to not be on F1 calendar

No new Singapore GP deal agreed yet
(GMM) The Singapore grand prix weekend was run and won without a new deal being agreed for the future.

We reported that talks took place at the scene of the spectacular night race because Singapore organizers' contract runs out after the 2017 edition.

"I think in due course you will hear more about it," a government official had said.

But trade and industry minister S. Iswaran said whether a new deal will be struck depends on how things proceed with F1's new owners, Liberty Media.

"It's an early stage in the new configuration of F1, so we have to give them (time) to settle down and think it through in terms of what they would like to put forward," he told the Straits Times newspaper.

"I don't want to put a timeframe to it, to be fair the transaction (F1 sale) is still ongoing, so I think you need to give them time to settle down and have the transaction completed," Iswaran added.

Chase Carey (L) and Ecclestone
Chase Carey (L) and Ecclestone

New Formula One Chair Chase Carey Says F1 Cannot Be A Dictatorship
New F1 Chair Chase Carey, appointed to work with CEO Bernie Ecclestone, said that F1 "cannot be run like a dictatorship, even if many people in the sport are used to that," according Alan Baldwin of REUTERS.

Carey, who took on the role as part of Liberty Media's takeover of the sport this month, said also that F1's U.S. expansion "should ultimately look at big cities" like L.A., N.Y. or Miami. He said, "Realistically what I am doing in the next few months is probably more listening to what people have to say. You cannot make everybody happy all the time, but you’ve got to understand what everybody wants and then find a path. That is not a task for a committee, as committees tend to become bureaucratic — but there also can’t be a dictatorship, even if probably here they are used to it."
Carey said he was too old to be an apprentice to Ecclestone, who has run F1 for decades, but "hopefully by working together we can figure out how to get the best out of the sport." He reiterated that "nothing was written in stone." Carey: "Bernie is the CEO, so Bernie is going to lead it and I will work with Bernie to establish some kind of strategic plan to where you want to go." REUTERS.
REUTERS' John O'Brien wrote Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner "believes Liberty Media's takeover of Formula One will help the sport crack the U.S. market and bring in a strategy to ensure the long-term success of motor sport's most prestigious series."
Horner: "From what we've heard so far it sounds very positive. They are part of a very serious group and I can't believe that a company like Liberty would buy into Formula One at a value rumored to have been purchased at without having a long-term game plan." The Briton "is also keen to see Liberty play a leading role in Formula One's strategy in an arena where the teams are often at loggerheads over the future direction of the series." He added, "If you take a simplistic view of it, the promoter is there to promote the sport and should dictate what product they want Formula One to be." REUTERS.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES: In N.Y., Brad Spurgeon wrote F1 "could clearly benefit from the Liberty Media deal," in particular by the cash injection of $4B that could pay off the company’s debts linked to its purchase by CVC Capital a decade ago. F1 "is also underdeveloped in its use of social media." Having become successful through lucrative TV contracts, Ecclestone "saw no way to make money out of the internet and he made few advances in the area."
Carey said, "There are multiple dimensions to developing the digital opportunities in Formula One. No question the digital platforms are essentially becoming a part of the larger video marketplace. It’s creating new competition for these rights, new opportunities to exploit these rights in different ways, to take advantage of what each of the platforms has to offer." N.Y. TIMES

Sebastian Vettel dead-last to 5th with no caution flag
Sebastian Vettel dead-last to 5th with no caution flag

Vettel voted 'Driver of the Day' in Singapore
Sebastian Vettel has been voted as the 'Driver of the Day' for the Singapore Grand Prix, the first time he has won the award, after recovering from the back of the grid to fifth position.

Vettel dropped out in the first qualifying phase at Marina Bay after reporting an anti-roll bar issue, but worked his way up the order in the race on a Soft/Ultra Soft/Ultra Soft tire strategy.

He first pitted under the early Safety Car, brought out when Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hülkenberg collided, and pulled off a string of moves to follow team-mate Kimi Räikkönen home.

"Anything can happen here," commented Vettel of his recovery.

"For sure, it was a long way out of reach after a poor start, but then we slowly got into the groove, especially in the last two stints, as the car really came alive and we made good progress.

"It was good fun, I enjoyed it a lot, and I was hoping that we could maybe get close to the battle for third with Kimi and Lewis [Hamilton], but in the end the gap was a bit too big.

"I think we lost a bit too much in the opening stages which was expected, but I think we were hoping for a Safety Car that didn't come – nevertheless, it was an optimal result."

Informed that he had been voted 'Driver of the Day' by viewers around the world, Vettel commented: "That's nice, thank you very much – whoever voted, thank you!"

Räikkönen lamented missing out on a podium in the other Ferrari.

"I managed to pass Hamilton at one point, as he made a mistake, but then I don't know what happened," said Räikkönen, who fell back behind as Hamilton made use of the undercut.

"We managed to give it back to him, so it's not ideal, but the car was behaving OK."

'Driver of the Day' awards in 2016:

Australia – Romain Grosjean (6th)
Bahrain – Romain Grosjean (5th)
China – Daniil Kvyat (3rd)
Russia – Kevin Magnussen (7th)
Spain – Max Verstappen (1st)
Monaco – Sergio Pérez (3rd)
Canada – Max Verstappen (4th)
Azerbaijan – Sergio Pérez (3rd)
Austria – Max Verstappen (2nd)
Britain – Max Verstappen (2nd)
Hungary – Kimi Räikkönen (6th)
Germany – Daniel Ricciardo (2nd)
Belgium – Lewis Hamilton (3rd)
Italy – Nico Rosberg (1st)
Singapore – Sebastian Vettel (5th)

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