Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Bernie to stay on
    Bernie to stay on

    Ecclestone staying as F1 sale announced

  • Vandoorne wants to beat Alonso in 2017
  • Verstappen thanks Hamilton for backing
  • Ecclestone wanted 7-year Monza deal – Capelli
  • Whiting denies job talks with F1 teams
  • Steiner: Haas could help Ferrari youngsters

Ecclestone staying as F1 sale announced
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is staying in formula one, despite earlier speculation that the F1 supremo would be ousted amid the sale deal to Liberty Media.

That deal was announced late on Wednesday but must first be approved by European authorities and the FIA.

But when it does go through, Ecclestone will still be chief executive.

"They want me to be here for three years," the 85-year-old told Express newspaper.

"I'll be 89 by then," he also told the Telegraph, "and probably then I might want to retire or do something else. But I'm carrying on.

"I'll just have a bit of help."

Some of that 'help' will be from Chase Carey, a 21st Century Fox executive who will be the new chairman.

"He can do lots of things that I haven't done with this social media, which he seems to be in touch with," said Ecclestone.

Amid the high-profile sale by CVC, Ecclestone announced that he will miss next weekend's Singapore grand prix.

"Because all this is going through, CVC want me to be in London to help them with all sorts of things," he said.

Stoffel Vandoorne
Stoffel Vandoorne

Vandoorne wants to beat Alonso in 2017
(GMM) Stoffel Vandoorne insists he is looking forward to going up against Fernando Alonso next year at McLaren.

It was announced at Monza that the 24-year-old Belgian rookie will make his full-time F1 debut next year with the British team.

Spaniard Alonso had a bad experience of going up against a highly-rated rookie at McLaren, clashing badly with Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

But he joked last weekend: "Stoffel is not English, so it will be fine."

Vandoorne is also looking forward to the challenge.

"I see it as an advantage to be able to debut alongside him," he told the Belgian broadcaster Sporza.

"Alonso is a double world champion and is considered one of the best drivers in F1. If I can prove that I am better than him, that's good for my career," Vandoorne insisted.

He also said he sees the opportunity of debuting with a top team like McLaren as positive.

"There is more pressure, but if you want to be world champion, you have to be able to deal with it," said the Belgian.

Verstappen is fast, but takes a lot of risks
Verstappen is fast, but takes a lot of risks

Verstappen thanks Hamilton for backing
(GMM) Max Verstappen has thanked Lewis Hamilton after the reigning world champion backed the driving of the controversial 18-year-old.

With the Dutchman under attack recently for what some see as an overly aggressive racing style, Hamilton said at Monza: "Give the guy a break, he is 18 years old."

Verstappen, having faced a barrage of criticism, sounded happy to hear Hamilton's support.

"That's nice and it shows me just what a racer Lewis is," he is quoted by Speed Week.

Amid the detractors, Verstappen also has plenty of support, including from the controversial former Renault boss Flavio Briatore.

"He reminds me of a young Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso," the Italian, who was at Monza, told Sport Bild. "He brings new energy into the sport and formula one urgently needs it.

"To criticize him for a spectacular driving style is stupid," Briatore insisted.

Briatore, who was at the Monza GP contract extension announcement and also handed out the GP2 trophies, also commented on Ferrari's current problems.

"To look at Sebastian (Vettel)'s problems shows how good Fernando really was. Because it was him making the difference, not the car.

"Ferrari has 80 per cent of what it takes to win," Briatore added, "but the missing 20 per cent is a huge task."

Ivan Capelli
Ivan Capelli

Ecclestone wanted 7-year Monza deal – Capelli
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone wanted Monza's new deal to be for a full seven years, according to race consultant Ivan Capelli.

The F1 supremo and Italian grand prix officials finally announced last weekend that Monza's future on the calendar is secure at least until 2019.

However, Ecclestone usually prefers long-term, 7-year contracts rather than the 3-year deal announced with Monza.

"Monza wanted to remain flexible, because in formula one no one knows what could happen," said Capelli, a former F1 driver.

It was expected that the 2017-2019 contract would actually be signed last weekend, but the parties said it could only be done in London for jurisdictional reasons.

However, Auto Motor und Sport reports that the deal might actually be held up further by legal action being taken by rival race bidder Imola, after the Italian automobile club vowed only to support Monza.

"It is understood the Aci president intends to proceed with the signature on a potentially flawed contract before the decision of the courts," Imola declared in a statement last week.

Whiting denies job talks with F1 teams
(GMM) Charlie Whiting has slammed reports suggesting he is looking for another job in F1.

Germany's Auto Bild claimed last week that the sport's long-serving race director and starter wants to leave the FIA and is already in talks with a couple of teams.

"That's preposterous," the 64-year-old told Auto Motor und Sport. "I don't know where it (the speculation) has come from."

Whiting's F1 career dates all the way back to when he was a mechanic and engineer at Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham team. He became the FIA's technical delegate in 1988 and the F1 race director in 1997.

Guenter Steiner willing to dispose of Gutierrez for another Ferrari youngster
Guenter Steiner willing to dispose of Gutierrez for another Ferrari youngster

Steiner: Haas could help Ferrari youngsters
Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner has indicated that the outfit would be receptive to the idea of running Ferrari youngsters, akin to the relationship between Mercedes and Manor.

Haas currently has a strong technical alliance with Ferrari and recruited Esteban Gutiérrez from the outfit, and also has Ferrari protege Charles Leclerc on its books as a development driver.

Haas is yet to name its 2017 driver line-up and Steiner has hinted that the operation is willing to form a closer partnership with Ferrari in the future.

"I think Ferrari helped us out this year to find a driver, because last year we were looking for good drivers, and they had one with Esteban, so we took him," he explained.

"Ferrari is Ferrari, they don't want to test a driver, they need to have a finished product there.

"If they ask us to have him [a driver] for a year or two, to develop him, why not, but at the moment these discussions are not taking place.

"If there is a good driver in the future, we will always talk with Ferrari, and we are pretty close to them as everybody knows, for sure.

"It's similar like Mercedes does with Manor; they've got two drivers there [Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon] who they developed because they've got Mercedes engines.

"But there is nothing in the pipeline at the moment."

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