F1 news in brief – Saturday

  • Even Kaltenborn would like to buy into F1, but with whose money?
    Even Kaltenborn would like to buy into F1, but with whose money?

    F1 teams keen on buying into sport

  • Europe could put brakes on F1 sale – Mosley
  • Haryanto in talks for 2017 return – mother
  • Talks on to keep Singapore on calendar
  • Pirelli scraps plans for 2016 tire change
  • Lauda hits back at Verstappen's 'psychiatrist' reply
  • Rivals see three-team battle in Singapore
  • Hamilton ready to race Halo now

F1 teams keen on buying into sport
(GMM) F1 teams are open to the concept of buying into the sport's commercial rights.

US media tycoon John Malone's Liberty Media group is taking over from CVC and reportedly wants to offer up to 20 per cent of the commercial rights to the teams.

"The idea sounds good," said Mercedes' Toto Wolff in Singapore.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner agreed: "I think it's a sensible thing.

"The teams are key stakeholders — without the teams there is no formula one.

"To keep it as a minority shareholding for the teams would be the right thing because obviously anything beyond that we're never going to agree on," he added.

And Renault's Cyril Abiteboul commented: "I think it's a great opportunity, so if it makes sense then I would say clearly 'Why not?'"

Even the small teams may be interested, with Sauber chief Monisha Kaltenborn saying: "It can make sense to have all teams being given this opportunity and be represented.

"But at the end of the day it depends on what you get and what the price is."

Ecclestone needs Todt's approval
Ecclestone needs Todt's approval

Europe could put brakes on F1 sale – Mosley
(GMM) Former FIA president Max Mosley has warned that the European Commission could put the brakes on the sale of F1 to Liberty Media.

Before current majority owners CVC can get the deal through, it needs to be approved not only by the governing FIA but also the European Commission (EC).

That is because, when Mosley was in charge, it was agreed with the EC that the FIA would never take a commercial interest in F1.

But the FIA currently owns a 1 per cent share in the commercial rights, which means that approving the Liberty sale could net the Paris federation a cool $90 million.

Asked if that is a conflict of interest, Mosley told Britain's Sky: "You could say that, I suppose.

"It's arguably contrary to the deal that we did with the Commission back in 2001.

"It may be that the Commission might come along and say 'You're not allowed to do that', but they might not. I've no idea," he added.

The fact that the FIA also needs to green light the Liberty deal is also a conflict, Forbes' F1 business journalist Christian Sylt told us.

"Obviously, the promise of a $44 million payment is a significant financial inducement for the FIA to approve the transaction," he said.

Rio Haryanto - if he has money to buy ride he will drive
Rio Haryanto – if he has money to buy ride he will drive

Haryanto in talks for 2017 return – mother
(GMM) Rio Haryanto could be on the way back into F1 for 2017.

Haryanto lost his race seat at Manor to the Mercedes and Renault-backed Esteban Ocon in August, after his state-linked Indonesian funding dried up.

But Haryanto's mother, Indah Pennywati, has told the Antara news agency: "Yes, we are in talks with new teams to see if Rio can join them next season."

She admitted three teams had expressed interest but insisted: "I can't mention the teams."

Singapore looking to renew F1 contract
Singapore looking to renew F1 contract

Talks on to keep Singapore on calendar
(GMM) Talks are on to keep F1's popular Singapore night race on the calendar beyond 2017.

The local Straits Times newspaper reports that a deal 'is likely'.

Government official Low Yen Ling said in Singapore: "It is something we are still deliberating about and I think in due course you will hear more about it.

"It involves a lot of consideration and certainly we will share as soon as we have the details," she added.

Pirelli scraps plans for 2016 tire change
(GMM) Pirelli has scrapped its plans to introduce a new construction for its 2016 tires.

F1's official supplier had hoped to take an apparently safer construction to Malaysia in a fortnight, but it would have required the unanimous consent of the teams or the intervention of the FIA on safety grounds.

"Unfortunately, there was some variation in the data provided by various teams," said Pirelli's Mario Isola, referring to recent tests conducted in practice.

"Their experiences were quite different, so we decided to leave the current specification of tires until the end of the year. Some teams complained of poor grip, or at least a lower level than with the usual soft compound," he said.

"I also want to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with the current specification," Isola added.

Pirelli will instead get on with its preparations for 2017, with tests of the bigger, wider and more aggressive slicks for next year now well under way.

Red Bull tester Sebastien Buemi has warned that next year's cars could even scare the drivers, but Kimi Raikkonen is the latest to test the 2017 tires.

The Finn commented: "The (test) tires are only the path for development and they will certainly be better when we get them on the new cars next year.

"I am sure we will really notice the difference then," the Ferrari driver is quoted by Turun Sanomat newspaper.

Pirelli's Isola said the issue at the moment is that the specially-modified 2015 test cars supplied by Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull are not producing enough downforce.

"The problem is that we lack the downforce that we need to develop the new tires," he said.

"The teams are working to ensure that the grip level goes up for the next steps, because at the moment we can't properly load the tires to reproduce what we will see next year," Isola added.

Niki Lauda
Niki Lauda

Lauda hits back at Verstappen's 'psychiatrist' reply
(GMM) Niki Lauda says he is not sorry about criticizing Max Verstappen's aggressive driving.

Amid widespread criticism of the 18-year-old's driving at Spa recently, F1 legend Lauda suggested Verstappen needed a "psychiatrist".

The Red Bull driver and teenager hit back: "If I go, then we might as well go together."

Now, Mercedes team chairman Lauda has responded yet again, smiling to the Italian broadcaster Sky: "Go together? Sure, but then the psychiatrist will decide which of us needs to stay."

Lauda added: "I think Max has an incredible talent, but there is a limit to what you can and cannot do on the track and someone needs to point it out to him.

"The problem is that Max is very young," the triple world champion said. "But if we do a balance between talent and youth, then his talent wins."

Wolff looks worried
Wolff looks worried

Rivals see three-team battle in Singapore
(GMM) Singapore 2016 could be a close, three-way battle for victory.

Mercedes has dominated this year, but last season the German team mysteriously struggled under the city-state's floodlights.

Red Bull, meanwhile, is very strong on the tighter street circuits, and it was Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel who won in Singapore a year ago.

But Dr Helmut Marko warned that Red Bull is not relying on a repeat of Mercedes' Singapore troubles of 2015.

"I think Mercedes solved its problems from the previous year long ago," he told Welt newspaper.

"But even without their problems we see a chance against them," added Marko.

Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda told the Italian broadcaster Sky: "We are fast and do not have last year's problem.

"But Ferrari and especially Red Bull seem very fast here. This track is perfect for Red Bull, not for us, so we are going to have to sweat a lot."

Hamilton running the ugly Halo
Hamilton running the ugly Halo

Hamilton ready to race Halo now
Lewis Hamilton says he would happily keep Formula 1's halo cockpit protection device on his Mercedes in the Singapore Grand Prix, after trying it during practice.

The three-time F1 world champion was one of the strongest critics of the halo when it first appeared, with Ferrari during pre-season testing. However his stance has softened and after becoming the latest driver to evaluate it, in first practice on Friday, Hamilton says he would have been fine leaving it on the car this weekend, rather than waiting until 2018.

"Apart from getting in, which is a lot different, I don't really notice much difference," he said. "I could run it this weekend, no problem, if they allowed it.

"[From] my mirrors, I couldn't see the rear wing, so it blocks a little bit of the view in the mirrors, but otherwise in the corners I didn't really notice it. I kinda felt like I should've just kept it on.

"It definitely doesn't look good, but when we go back to that 17% [safety improvement], it's still better than nothing."

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