F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Carey to attend Singapore GP - at some point is expected to replace Ecclestone
    Carey to attend Singapore GP – at some point is expected to replace Ecclestone

    Ecclestone to attend Singapore GP with Chase Carey

  • Sauber keeps rebuilding after Longbow buyout
  • Button happy to retire with one title
  • Grosjean welcomes F1's new American owners
  • Hamilton not worried about Singapore slump
  • Rosberg labels Singapore 'a Red Bull track'

Ecclestone to attend Singapore GP with Chase Carey
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has had a change of heart regarding his attendance at this weekend's Singapore grand prix.

Earlier, amid the high-profile sale of the sport to Liberty Media, the F1 chief executive said he would stay in London to help existing owners CVC with the transaction.

But the German newspaper Bild reports that Ecclestone, 85, has "changed his mind".

Not only that, the Briton will reportedly be trackside at the glitzy night race with Chase Carey, who will be F1's new executive chairman.

It was announced that Ecclestone has inked a new three-year deal to stay in his role, but other reports suggest he will actually leave F1 at the end of 2016.

Indeed, his old sparring partner and former FIA president Max Mosley thinks it is possible Ecclestone will "walk away".

"These people may take a more active role and they want to sort of run the business but that could bring them into conflict with Bernie," Mosley told BBC radio.

"If Chase Carey is a person of real ability and he wants to understand and he's clever, I think he'll get along fine with Bernie," he added.

Nasr in the Sauber
Nasr in the Sauber

Sauber keeps rebuilding after Longbow buyout
(GMM) Sauber is continuing to rebuild after almost collapsing under financial strain earlier in 2016.

The Swiss team was rescued by a mysterious Swiss-based group of investors that is thought to be linked with driver Marcus Ericsson's backers.

The first couple of post-buyout recruits were Xevi Pujolar, formerly Max Verstappen's race engineer, and new aerodynamics boss Nicolas Hennel de Beaupreau.

And now, the well-connected and veteran correspondent for the Swiss newspaper Blick, Roger Benoit, has revealed the name of the latest Sauber recruit.

She is Ruth Buscombe, a Ferrari engineer who became perhaps best known for using a thermal camera to take spy shots from above the Mercedes garage in Abu Dhabi, 2014.

"It wasn't Abu Dhabi, but during the winter testing in Spain," Ferrari spokesman Alberto Antonini said in Singapore.

Nonetheless, Buscombe has now been signed up by Sauber and will move from her current role at Ferrari-powered Haas from the forthcoming Malaysian grand prix.

According to Benoit, another notable appointment at Sauber is Eje Elgh, who is Ericsson's manager. Reportedly, he is the link between the new team owners Longbow Finance, and Ericsson's Swedish sponsors including Tetra Pak.

Jenson Button knows he's not winning anymore titles
Jenson Button knows he's not winning anymore titles

Button happy to retire with one title
(GMM) Jenson Button says he would be happy to retire with just a single world championship under his belt.

Recently at Monza, F1's longest serving active driver and McLaren announced that Button will take a year out in 2017 but may return the season after.

The 36-year-old Briton said in Singapore it is possible he will do some racing in Japanese GT or rallycross next year.

"I want to live a year that's not by the formula one schedule — I want to spend more time with my friends, family, and to do other things that I love, like triathlons," he is quoted by the local Straits Times newspaper.

"The problem is it's been my life. Everything that follows after a grand prix is either recovery or preparation, so I need something else in my life next year."

Button also said his 'sabbatical' could be more like Alain Prost's than Mika Hakkinen's, because while the Finn didn't ever return, Prost came back to win a title.

But even if he doesn't, Button said he is satisfied with his career.

"As a kid, the dream was to win the world championship in formula one," he said. "I've reached my goal.

"Would I like to win more? Of course, but would I retire upset? No."

Romain Grosjean drives for the anti-American Haas team
Romain Grosjean drives for the anti-American Haas team

Grosjean welcomes F1's new American owners
(GMM) Romain Grosjean has welcomed F1's new American owners, saying the 'American way' can be good for the sport.

It has been announced that US media tycoon John Malone's Liberty Media, and new executive chairman Chase Carey, are taking over from CVC as the sport's majority owners.

Frenchman Grosjean is now well versed in the 'American way' of going racing in F1, having switched from Lotus to be the lead driver of the new American team Haas in 2016.

"America knows how to put on a show if you take a look at the Super Bowl or Nascar," he is quoted by the local Straits Times newspaper ahead of the Singapore grand prix.

"It's such a big country and a big market. In the Austin grand prix last year, people were enthusiastic and they loved the sport.

"It'd even be nice to have a second grand prix there. I'd love to have a race on the west coast, maybe somewhere around Los Angeles. If we get more races in the US, they'll probably love F1 more," Grosjean added.

Can Italian Aldo Costa give Hamilton a winning car this time?
Can Italian Aldo Costa give Hamilton a winning car this time?

Hamilton not worried about Singapore slump
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton says he is not too worried about a repeat this weekend of Mercedes' poor showing in the Singapore grand prix last year.

Amid three seasons of dominance for the German team in 2014, 2015 and now 2016, Singapore last year was a rare blip, as Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel won.

"Last year, we got destroyed by Red Bull and Ferrari," Nico Rosberg, Hamilton's Mercedes teammate, said on Thursday.

"They were 1.5 seconds quicker during qualifying and it's huge."

Their team boss Toto Wolff said Singapore 2015 means Mercedes does not necessarily go into this weekend as the overall favorites.

But championship leader and 2014 winner Hamilton is more confident.

"Last year we were blown away by the fact that we somehow got it wrong," he is quoted by the local Straits Times newspaper in Singapore. "But a lot of work went into understanding that.

"I definitely think we're not going to have as many problems as we had last year. But if we do, I think we've got the tools to correct it," Hamilton added.

Rosberg thinks Red Bull will win Singapore
Rosberg thinks Red Bull will win Singapore

Rosberg labels Singapore 'a Red Bull track'
Nico Rosberg has labelled the Marina Bay Street Circuit as a "Red Bull track", as he bids to claim victory in Singapore for the first time in his career.

Rosberg has won the most recent two races in Belgium and Italy, closing the gap to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the championship to two points, but the outfit struggled in Singapore last season.

Hamilton and Rosberg qualified only fifth and sixth and the German went on to collect a low-key fourth, as Hamilton retired.

Despite his comments, Rosberg is nonetheless aiming to maintain his recent strong form when the sport begins its 'flyaway' sequence of events this weekend.

"This is a Red Bull track and we weren't so strong there last year," Rosberg said.

"But I have faith in the team and my belief in myself is as high as ever.

"I approach each weekend aiming to win the race. The points gap has gone up and down but I've taken it one race at a time – and that's the best way for me, as you can see by how the gap is now."

Hamilton is also braced for a close fight with Mercedes' rivals this weekend.

"We didn't have the greatest weekend there last year, so hopefully we're on top of that now," he said.

"Either way, it's not going to be an easy breezy drive. Even when we won there back in 2014, it wasn't straightforward.

"Ferrari and Red Bull will be on it I'm sure, so we've got a big fight on our hands if we are up at the front."

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