Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • Bernie might stay or go - his call
    Bernie might stay or go – his call

    Ecclestone not committing to post-sale F1

  • Sainz Jr. plays down latest Renault switch rumors
  • Russian GP2 driver reveals F1 talks
  • Silverstone boss Patrick Allen departs role
  • Formula 1 Could Undergo Major Facelift If Liberty Media Completes Takeover
  • Imola Taking Legal Action After Monza Secures Three-Year Deal To Host F1 Race
  • Ecclestone threatens to quit F1 as EU investigation looms

Ecclestone not committing to post-sale F1
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is not committing to his current role in charge of F1 if the sale to US media tycoon John Malone's Liberty Group goes through.

The first installment in the billion dollar deal is expected to arrive on Wednesday, with Malone said to be keen to put Chase Carey, a 21st Century Fox executive, in a key role.

"I guess the new man will want to come in and make some noises," Ecclestone told the Daily Mail this week. "If I don't like those noises, I will say adios."

The 85-year-old also told the Times newspaper: "I have been offered a contract to stay and help them. It's whether I want to do that. We'll see."

Carlos Sainz Jr.
Carlos Sainz Jr.

Sainz Jr. plays down latest Renault switch rumors
(GMM) Carlos Sainz Jr. has played down any lingering speculation that he might still be in the running to change teams for 2017.

Earlier, there were suggestions Red Bull might agree to release the Toro Rosso driver to engine supplier Renault, in exchange for a better deal on the 'power unit' supply.

Those rumors resurfaced at Monza, and the correspondent for Denmark's BT newspaper claims that Sainz was even seen in the Renault motor home.

But Sainz now tells France's Auto Hebdo: "I think if Red Bull rushed to extend my contract at Toro Rosso, it was only to stop those sorts of rumors.

"I am very pleased that I am appreciated and I'm proud of it. In the history of Toro Rosso there were not too many drivers whose contracts were confirmed so quickly," said the 22-year-old.

However, Toro Rosso has struggled recently, so Sainz might be forgiven for thinking his career is currently just treading water.

"That's formula one," he answered. "I'm only 22. We could say that Valtteri Bottas or Nico (Hulkenberg) is trapped in his team, but not me," he insisted.

"Another season at Toro Rosso will not spoil my career — on the contrary, it will allow me to show who I really am," said Sainz.

Not only that, Toro Rosso will swap its aging, 2015-spec Ferrari power for full 2017-specification Renault units next year.

"Renault is reducing the gap to Mercedes with every grand prix, and we have a team of highly skilled designers under James Key. In general, our new machine will be much closer to Red Bull Racing," Sainz revealed.

Who Sainz's teammate will be next year is unclear, with GP2 driver Pierre Gasly champing at the bit and Daniil Kvyat struggling just to keep his F1 career alive.

When asked about Kvyat's struggle in 2016, Sainz answered: "This is not the first example that shows how harsh the world of F1 can be.

"Daniil is a very talented driver but we always knew he had to continually progress or the worst could happen. In recent years we have often battled so I know what he can do.

"After returning to Toro Rosso, he was quick in Monaco, in Baku. He may have lost a bit of confidence, but it will definitely come back," Sainz added.

Artem Markelov - has check will drive
Artem Markelov – has check will drive

Russian GP2 driver reveals F1 talks
(GMM) Artem Markelov, a Russian GP2 driver, claims he is in talks with "a number of teams" about entering formula one.

The 21-year-old, who is linked to the ownership of the Russian Time GP2 team, is currently 11th in the standings and won the Monaco feature race this year.

"Now I can say that we are negotiating with a number of formula one teams," Markelov told Russian radio Sport FM.

"I cannot rule out that we will get into the Williams (driver development) academy, but it is also not a certainty. There is still time before the end of the season," he added.

Current Williams development driver Lance Stroll is tipped to step up and become Valtteri Bottas' teammate at the British team in 2017.

Silverstone boss Patrick Allen departs role
Patrick Allen has left his role as Managing Director of Silverstone, the venue for the British Grand Prix, circuit owner the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has announced.

It was reported last month that Allen, who took over the position from Richard Phillips in 2014, had been given a leave of absence, related to the BRDC's attempted track sale.

According to a report by UK business-focused newspaper City A.M., Allen was suspended for being "too close" to tycoon Lawrence Tomlinson, bidding to take over the circuit.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) closed on a 249-year lease earlier this year, before the sale stalled, with a rival bid coming from Tomlinson, who is a former colleague of Allen's.

Allen's full exit has now been confirmed, the BRDC saying his role "has always been on a consultancy basis", before stating "it is time to put a permanent management team in place".

"I have greatly enjoyed working at SCL (Silverstone Circuits Ltd)," said Allen.

"Some of you may have heard, or seen in the press, some rumors about my departure.

"It is true that some allegations were made against me but, for the avoidance of doubt, these have all been withdrawn and I am pleased to have concluded mutually agreeable terms with the BRDC."

Formula 1 Could Undergo Major Facelift If Liberty Media Completes Takeover
Formula 1 "could undergo its biggest facelift in years" with U.S.-based Liberty Media in "advanced talks to take control of the sport," according to Matt Maltby of the London DAILY MAIL.

Discussions "are believed to be at an advanced stage." What does this mean "for F1 and its fans?" The £6.5B ($8.7B) deal with Liberty Media, which has stakes in several sport companies including the MLB Atlanta Braves, would "finally see a change of ownership" after years of rumors.

American media mogul John Malone is poised to become the sport's new custodian "despite interest" from broadcaster Sky, Paris St.

Germain owner Qatar Sports Investments and NFL Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross. German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reported that the first of two installments "were expected to be paid on Tuesday."

Liberty Media declined to comment. A sale would "end years of speculation" and rumors about a potential change of ownership. Should the takeover "go through as expected," F1 would receive "the shake-up many believe it is in desperate need of."

With a "technical shake-up" in F1 happening for the '17 season, it "promises to be" a new look to the sport. And with "new ownership, too, the sport is set for a huge facelift."

A takeover by a media and entertainment group, "and the injection of fresh ideas," could see the sport attract a new audience and "bring the X-Factor back to F1." DAILY MAIL

Ivan Capelli
Ivan Capelli

Imola Taking Legal Action After Monza Secures Three-Year Deal To Host F1 Race
Automobile Club of Milan President Ivan Capelli said that Imola "is taking legal action regarding government backing of the deal to keep Formula 1's Italian Grand Prix at Monza," according to Rencken & Barretto of AUTOSPORT.

On Friday, Monza announced it had "secured a new three-year deal to host the race" through '19, but the contract "has not yet been signed."

In a "fresh twist to the long-running saga, it has emerged this is because Imola has taken legal action." The venue feels it is not legitimate that Automobile club d'Italia has "awarded government backing to Monza and not Imola" to help fund an Italian GP beyond this season.

Capelli, a director of the Monza organizing committee, said that the court will meet on Oct. 26 to assess the case. F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that the Italian GP deal would be signed "hopefully in a couple of weeks" but added, "We have to wait."

When asked "what the reason was" for the delay, he said, "The people in Imola are starting an action against these people using public money." AUTOSPORT

Somehow we don't see Bernie tending to his vegetable garden
Somehow we don't see Bernie tending to his vegetable garden

Ecclestone threatens to quit F1 as EU investigation looms
Bernie Ecclestone has threatened to walk out of Formula One after 40 years in charge as a takeover of the sport by an American media group faces an EU investigation.

The 85-year-old Formula One billionaire chief executive said that he would not be dictated to by new management from Liberty Global, part of the empire owned by the media mogul John Malone.

Malone is thought to want to bring in Chase Carey, vice-chairman of 21st Century Fox, to be Formula One's executive chairman. Carey is a key lieutenant of Rupert Murdoch at News Corporation and a non-executive director of Sky.

We gave the teams almost US$1 billion last year and the complaint is that the money wasn't distributed equally. We don't care who gets what, but the EU has obviously decided to take an interest.

Ecclestone was candid when asked if he would abandon the sport that has been his life and made him one of the richest men in Britain.

"I guess the new man will want to come in and make some noises," he said. "If I don't like those noises, I will say adios."

One source said that Malone would turn to Sacha Woodward-Hill, Ecclestone's chief legal officer, to help run the business.

Liberty Global is widely expected to pay US$800 million (S$1.07 billion) to CVC Capital Partners, Formula One's controlling shareholder, for a 10 per cent stake, paving the way for a full takeover within six months.

The media outfit is scheduled to make the payment today, although Donald Mackenzie, the CVC chairman, said that the agreement was not yet final.

However, the entire deal could be jeopardized by EU competition investigators, who are ready to open an inquiry into allegations that the sport is run as a cartel for the benefit of the four leading teams, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari.

Last year, Force India and Sauber complained to the EU about how Formula One's prize money is unevenly distributed and how decisions are made on new regulations, technology and car design that are tilted in favor of the bigger teams.

It is understood that letters have gone out to Ecclestone, CVC, the 11 Formula One teams and the FIA, the sport's governing body, with a "request for information" – formal language that signals that an investigation is under way.

Ecclestone was briefed on the EU inquiry at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend and warned that it could disrupt Formula One for years.

"It will be two years of aggravation," Ecclestone said. "We gave the teams almost US$1 billion last year and the complaint is that the money wasn't distributed equally.

"We don't care who gets what, but the EU has obviously decided to take an interest."

Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, has the power to force Formula One to tear up contracts and even fine the sport's teams millions of pounds if she believes they received unfair or illegal payments.

She is in an aggressive mood, underlined by her recent decision to hand Apple a €13 billion (S$19.7 billion) tax bill.

The feeling is growing in Formula One that the sport faces the biggest potential shake-up since Ecclestone took the wheel and turned Grand Prix racing into one of the richest sports in the world. THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

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