F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Bottas wed Emilia Pikkaraine
    Bottas weds Emilia Pikkaraine

    Bottas gets married in Helsinki

  • Engine survived big Magnussen crash – report
  • Kaltenborn expects European decision 'soon'
  • Stroll 'absolutely' ready for F1 debut
  • Bianchi hits back at legal action criticism
  • F1 Sale To Liberty Media tidbits
  • Red Bull targets 2017 Mercedes challenge

Bottas gets married in Helsinki
(GMM) Valtteri Bottas has enjoyed an exciting preparation for this weekend's Singapore grand prix.

Turun Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper, reports that the 27-year-old Williams driver married his long-term girlfriend Emilia Pikkarainen in Helsinki in the days after Monza.

The newspaper published a photo of the happy bride and groom, and explained that a couple of famous Finns attended the ceremony — former F1 drivers Mika Hakkinen and Heikki Kovalainen.

Now listed in Wikipedia with the married name Emilia Bottas, Emilia is a professional Finnish swimmer who holds national records in the butterfly stroke.

Valtteri Bottas recently watched his then fiance compete at the recent Rio Olympics.

Other married F1 drivers include Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Nico Rosberg and Bottas' current teammate, Felipe Massa.

The engine survived this? Let's see how long it runs before failing
The engine survived this? Let's see how long it runs before failing

Engine survived big Magnussen crash – report
(GMM) Kevin Magnussen looks set to re-use the power unit that was aboard his Renault when he crashed heavily at Eau Rouge recently.

The car was destroyed and the Dane needed a trip to hospital after the violent accident, but Ekstra Bladet newspaper reports that the engine itself survived.

"We will probably use Kevin's motor unit on Friday in Singapore and Sepang, as it seems that there was no serious damage in the accident," technical boss Bob Bell said.

Bell added that, amid Renault's struggles in 2016, the power unit itself has at least been a success story.

"One of the real success stories of this year is how strong the power unit has been," he said. "And not only in relation to improved performance, but also reliability."

See rumors page - John Malone is rumored to want equal payments for all teams, which might be in line with EU rules
Will Kaltenborn soon be smiling? See rumors page – John Malone is rumored to want equal payments for all teams, which might be in line with EU rules

Kaltenborn expects European decision 'soon'
(GMM) Monisha Kaltenborn has tipped the European Commission to rule on the fairness of the governance and income distribution in formula one "soon".

At Sauber and Force India's behest, the anti-competition authorities are investigating whether the way the big teams receive the lion's share of the annual prize money, and wield the most decision-making power, is fair.

The Swiss team Sauber, led by boss Kaltenborn, almost collapsed in 2016 but has been rescued by a mysterious Swiss-based investment group.

Some Swiss newspapers, however, had already written off the Hinwil based team.

"Of course you can always criticize," Kaltenborn told Auto Bild, "but they should also consider if they have the expertise to do so.

"I find it presumptuous to have written us off, because for 40 years we were great partners for formula one from Switzerland, which is not known for its motor sports industry," she added.

Asked if the rescue deal means Sauber is still pushing for fairer revenue distribution, Kaltenborn insisted: "Absolutely!

"All this changes nothing with respect to our position with the EU Competition Commission," she added.

As for when the Commissioner might rule, Kaltenborn answered: "We are confident that it will be soon.

"We are not in any way doing this to get more money. The distribution of money and the way the decision making is done simply gives some teams a privileged position and therefore a competitive advantage."

So with Sauber secure for now, Kaltenborn said the team's ambition is to "stabilize".

"What we will not do, as was the case with BMW, is to increase everything. If we expand selectively and specifically, we can get back to working on our efficiency, which has always been our strength," she added.

Lance Stroll - has check will drive
Lance Stroll – has check will drive

Stroll 'absolutely' ready for F1 debut
(GMM) Lance Stroll says he is ready to drive a formula one car.

Still just 17, the Canadian is now the favorite to replace Felipe Massa at Williams for 2017.

Stroll's father is the well-known fashion billionaire Lawrence Stroll, but Lance is also the runaway leader of the highly-competitive European F3 series.

So when asked if he is ready for F1, Stroll told Germany's motorsport-magazin.com: "Yes, absolutely.

"I think formula 3 is at a very high level and only one step below GP2. Our cars have a lot of downforce but of course not as much power as F1, but the competition level is very high."

When asked what the other differences between the categories are, Stroll added: "I think a bit of everything, but I cannot say exactly because I have never experienced F1."

Stroll will at least be 18 by next March if he is selected to replace Massa, satisfying the FIA's new age limit that was introduced after Max Verstappen's debut.

"Max was unusually young when he got his opportunity that not many others get, but as we saw he did an incredible job," said Stroll.

"It is good for motor sport and formula one that young drivers are able to show what they can do. But I don't want to compare myself with anyone, because each situation is different.

"However, if you are well prepared and have the necessary talent then I see no problem about starting even at a very early age," he added.

Philippe Bianchi (L) with his wife and daughter
Philippe Bianchi (L) with his wife

Bianchi hits back at legal action criticism
(GMM) The late Jules Bianchi's father has defended his criticism of F1 authorities.

Philippe Bianchi has engaged the help of lawyers to press a case against the sport, alleging that serious mistakes led to Jules' accident and subsequent death.

"I say and I repeat that errors were clearly made," Mr. Bianchi told Minute-Auto.fr.

"Jules did not have an accident related to the risks of the job.

"For all the accidents I have seen, even the most terrible, there are always replays but this time there were no FOM images to show what really happened.

"People who attack me because they want to keep their privileges in F1 do not affect me. But if it was said 'Yes, errors were made but we can't go back', then for me that would be a step forward," Bianchi added.

"I hired lawyers so that the truth is known and those responsible pay for their mistakes. I cannot imagine any parents, including those who criticize us, not doing the same as us if this happened to their child."

Mr. Bianchi said that the accidents in 2009 of Henry Surtees and Felipe Massa were completely different.

"If Jules had had an accident like these, I would have said nothing, as Jules knew the risks he was taking," he added. "But Jules' accident was a complete mess!"

Finally, Bianchi said one of the projects he was working on in Jules' honor – a young driver support program – may not now happen.

"I remember a time during Jules' hospitalization when a friend said to me 'You know Philippe, there will be a time when you will be alone'. I feel a bit that way now.

"Among the projects I had was to help young drivers but it turns out it's much more difficult than it seemed. There are people who were committed who have since become difficult to reach.

"We hope they have not forgotten what they told us at the start," he added.

F1 sale to Liberty Media tidbits
Australian Judith Griggs could earn more than $20M from the sale of F1 to Liberty Media, according to John Stensholt of the AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW.
Griggs, the one-time CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corp. who started in the job when the race controversially moved to Melbourne in '96, has for some time held a 0.5% stake in the business. According to Christian Sylt, Griggs can emerge with a stake worth about $22M after the "complicated deal under which Liberty plans to buy the sport in two transactions."
Sylt said, "Judith was one of the management who was rewarded for years of service soon after … CVC took over F1 for $2 billion in 2006. Management got shares in the business and it has paid off as they have quadrupled in value since then. At 0.5 percent, Judith has a significant stake which is worth around $22 million.
It reflects her early work for Formula One's corporate hospitality outfit the Paddock Club which now makes more than $100 million in annual revenue." Formula One Management, a group of execs that includes Griggs, "will have their stake diluted from 2.8 per cent of the business to 1.8 per cent under the plan."
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "will stay in control of the sport as its figurehead, and will personally keep a 3.3 per cent shareholding." Former AGPC Chair Ron Walker said, "I spoke to Bernie on the phone and he said the deal was about pushing Formula One into the United States, where it needs to be" AFR.

NO CHANGES: In London, Charles Sale reported Sky’s $1.3B contract to televise F1 until '24 "will not be affected by Liberty Media’s takeover of the sport, despite their ownership of Sky rivals Virgin Media, Discovery and Eurosport."

There has been widespread speculation that Liberty’s imminent takeover "would impact on Sky’s live coverage of every grand prix for the next eight years." But it has emerged that Sky’s huge investment in F1 "was one of the reasons for US media giants Liberty buying a controlling interest" for $4.4B DAILY MAIL

Chase Carey
Chase Carey

TAKE IT UP A NOTCH: Also in London, Daniel Johnson reported Chase Carey, one of Rupert Murdoch’s closest lieutenants and Ecclestone’s new rival at the summit of Formula 1, "has promised to take the sport to the 'next level'" after a £6B ($8B) takeover.

Carey "poses perhaps Ecclestone’s greatest challenge for control in decades." F1’s 85-year-old CEO "has been given a three-year contract by the new owners, John Malone’s Liberty Media, yet he has always worked alone."
Carey: "Building the sport in Europe, building on that foundation, has got to be second to none. We do want to take advantage of the global footprint of this sport, we want to focus on it." Carey also "signaled plans to expand the current 21-race calendar, something which it likely to fill the sport’s staff with dread" TELEGRAPH.
In London, Matthew Garrahan wrote Carey "was a calm, steadying figure" at Murdoch’s side during the "turmoil of the phone-hacking scandal." He was a regular presence on earnings calls, his "somnolent tones and tendency to delve into the most granular aspects of operations making him popular with market analysts."
He is "revered on Wall Street, where his negotiating skills are as notable as his impressive handlebar mustache." BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield said, “He is one of the hardest negotiators in the business. He has a long history with John Malone and he loves sports."
Greenfield added that the F1 switch is "a great move for him." MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said, “He has always believed in the power of live sport and the ability to monetize it. [At DirecTV] he made sports the core selling point [of the service]" FINANCIAL TIMES

AMERICA AN OPPORTUNITY: SKY SPORTS' Simeon Gholam reported Carey insisted Liberty Media will not try and "Americanize" F1.

He said, "I want to be clear, we didn't make this move because of America. America is an opportunity, I think we can do a lot more [there], but it's probably more long-term than short-term. It will take time to build the audience, but there's a much more passionate fan base than anybody realizes in America.
"I think we can do a lot to develop that but realistically it's a global sport, we're not trying to Americanize the sport … This is a great global sport, a great franchise and one we're just going to continue to build on the things Bernie has built." SKY SPORTS

Red Bull says it will be ready next year
Next year could be a battle between Aldo Costa and Adrian Newey, the drivers really do not matter

Red Bull targets 2017 Mercedes challenge
Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko says the outfit will be "ready" to fight Mercedes in Formula 1 next season, as it bids to wrestle the world championship away from the German manufacturer.

Red Bull claimed successive titles between 2010 and 2013 but slipped behind Mercedes when the sport entered the V6 power unit era, and dropped to fourth in the Constructors' championship last year.

Red Bull has recovered to second in the standings this season, with Max Verstappen taking victory in Spain, and Marko reckons the squad can profit from Formula 1's amended technical regulations.

"We think that we are ready [to compete at the front] next year," he told the official F1 website.

"We've always done well when there is a regulation change that doesn't only focus on the engine.

"And the work on our engine is developing in the right direction, so in 2017 we should be within around 15 horsepower [of Mercedes] – and this we can compensate for.

"So our aim is to challenge Mercedes next season."

Marko also expects Red Bull to form a closer alliance once more with Toro Rosso next year, as the Faenza outfit prepares to switch back to using Renault power units.

"We try to have as much as possible – first of all for cost reasons and then for performance reasons," he explained.

"Whatever the regulations permit we will do – probably not to the full extent next year as Toro Rosso cannot work as quickly as Red Bull, but I expect that this will change over a period of two years."

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