Category Archives: Grand Prix News

Liberty confirms Ecclestone’s demotion to advisory role

Liberty Media has formally confirmed that Bernie Ecclestone has been succeeded as the CEO of F1 by Chase Carey, who already held the chairman title.

The company says that Ecclestone will be the “Chairman Emeritus” and “will be available as a source of advice for the board of F1.” Liberty will be renamed the F1 Group later this week.

I am excited to be taking on the additional role of CEO,” said Carey in a statement. “F1 has huge potential with multiple untapped opportunities. I have enjoyed hearing from the fans, teams, FIA, promoters and sponsors on their ideas and hopes for the sport. We will work with all of these partners to enhance the racing experience and add new dimensions to the sport and we look forward to sharing these plans overtime.

I would like to recognise and thank Bernie for his leadership over the decades. The sport is what it is today because of him and the talented team of executives he has led, and he will always be part of the F1 family. Bernie’s role as Chairman Emeritus befits his tremendous contribution to the sport and I am grateful for his continued insight and guidance as we build F1 for long-term success and the enjoyment of all those involved.”

Greg Maffei, President and CEO of Liberty Media Corporation, said: “There is an enormous opportunity to grow the sport, and we have every confidence that Chase, with his abilities and experience, is the right person to achieve this. I’d like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, who becomes Chairman Emeritus, for his tremendous success in building this remarkable global sport.”

I’m proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula 1,” said Ecclestone. “And would like to thank all of the promoters, teams, sponsors and television companies that I have worked with. I’m very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1. I am sure that Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport.”

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FIA World Council green lights Liberty F1 deal

The FIA World Motor Sport Council has formally approved the sale of the F1 business, just a day after Liberty Media’s shareholders agreed that the deal could go through pending the go-ahead from the governing body.

The FIA’s role in the sale has come under some scrutiny as it owns 1% of the business, and as such stands to benefit.

Liberty made a presentation at the WMSC meeting in Geneva today, before the deal was voted through.

A statement today from the FIA said: “The World Motor Sport Council has unanimously approved the change of control of Delta Topco Limited (the holding company of the Formula One Group and thus the owner of the Commercial Rights of the FIA Formula One World Championship) from CVC Capital Partners in favour of Liberty Media Corporation at an extraordinary meeting today in Geneva.

The transaction will see the transfer of 100% of the shares in Delta Topco to Liberty Media Group, one of the tracking stocks of Liberty Media Corporation.

During the meeting, the representatives of the prospective new owner made a detailed presentation of their strategy. The members of the World Motor Sport Council then had the opportunity to ask questions about the specifics of the agreement, the ongoing working relationship with the FIA and Liberty’s plans for the sport.

Liberty, Formula One Group and the FIA intend to collaborate to create a constructive relationship that will ensure the continued success and the development of the FIA Formula One World Championship in the long term.

The World Motor Sport Council’s decision confirms the FIA’s belief that Liberty, as a renowned media organisation with expertise in both sport and entertainment, is clearly well positioned to ensure the continued development of its pinnacle Championship.

The FIA holds a one per cent shareholding in Delta Topco. As part of the sale by CVC to Liberty Media Corporation, and in line with the agreements between the FIA and the Formula One Group, the FIA will be dragged along in the sale process under the same conditions as CVC and all the other shareholders.

The FIA looks forward to working with the new owners of the Formula One Group on further developing the unrivalled global spectacle that is the FIA Formula One World Championship for all stakeholders.”

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Brown takes up new McLaren role

American Zak Brown has been appointed executive director of McLaren Technology Group as the company restructures after Ron Dennis lost his chairman and CEO role.

Brown, who will start his new job in December, had also been considering an offer to join the F1 organisation, having been tipped as a possible successor to Bernie Ecclestone.

McLaren says that together with COO Jonathan Neale “Brown will will jointly lead the businesses as part of the first step in the Group’s transition to a new and strengthened organisational structure. The process of identifying and recruiting a new Group Chief Executive Officer will continue.” He will report to the company’s executive committee.

Brown’s JMI organisation, which is also active in NASCAR, has worked with McLaren on a number of commercial deals, including Johnnie Walker, GSK, Hilton, Lenovo, Chandon and NTT.

Brown has raced extensively himself, and his car collection includes a McLaren-Mercedes that he regularly samples on track.

I have the utmost respect and admiration for what the business has achieved to date,” said Brown. “And I look forward to contributing to the next important phase in its development. Having worked closely with McLaren for many years, I’ve been struck by the talent and ambition of the entire workforce, and I very much look forward to complementing the business’s many existing strengths, and building on them to drive future success in everything we do.”

Best of all, in my new role I’ll be able to combine my absolute passion with my unparalleled area of expertise – respectively motorsport and marketing – while ensuring that the two stay totally aligned.”

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McLaren to be run by “executive committee” as new CEO is sought

McLaren has paid tribute to Ron Dennis and says it is seeking a new CEO – and the company will in the interim be run by an “executive committee,” headed by the group’s majority shareholders, working with the directors and senior management team.

Although names such Zak Brown have been connected with a future role at McLaren it would seem that no firm arrangements have been made as yet. It is possible that two individuals will be recruited to head up the organisation.

The company said in a statement: “As of this afternoon Ron Dennis no longer holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Technology Group (or its subsidiaries). However, he remains a shareholder and a director of McLaren Technology Group.

Over the past 35 years Ron’s contribution to the success of McLaren has been colossal. During his tenure the team won 17 World Championships and 158 Grands Prix, making him the most successful leader in Formula 1 history. Like the company’s founder, Bruce McLaren, Ron is and will always be one of the true greats of the sport.

McLaren Technology Group is now in the process of seeking a new Chief Executive Officer. Until such an appointment has been made, the company will be run on an interim basis by an Executive Committee comprising the Group’s majority shareholders, in close collaboration with the Board of Directors and the senior management team, all of whom remain utterly committed to the company, its partners, its employees and its fans, and share a passionate determination to build on our many strengths towards future prosperity.”

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Dennis claims “entirely spurious” grounds forced him out of McLaren

Ron Dennis has relinquished his roles as chairman and CEO of the McLaren Technology Group following a lengthy boardroom battle with his fellow shareholders.

Dennis, who remains a 25% stakeholder in the company, has been in dispute with long time business partner Mansour Ojjeh (also owner of 25%) and the Bahrain government wealth find Mumtalakat (50%) for some time. Last week an attempt to defend his position in the UK courts failed, and a board meeting today saw him forced out. He remains a board member, however.

In a statement issued in his name Dennis said that he had been forced out on “entirely spurious” grounds.

Dennis said: “I am disappointed that the representatives of TAG and Mumtalakat, the other main shareholders in McLaren, have forced through this decision to place me on gardening leave, despite the strong warnings from the rest at the management team about the potential consequences of their actions on the business.

The grounds they have stated are entirely spurious; my management style is the same as it has always been and is one that has enabled McLaren to become an automotive and technology group that has won 20 Formula 1 world championships and grown into an £850 million a year business.

Throughout that time I have worked closely with a series of talented colleagues to keep McLaren at the cutting edge of technology, to whom I will always be extremely grateful.

Ultimately it has become clear to me through this process that neither TAG nor Mumtalakat share my vision for McLaren and its true growth potential. But my first concern is to the business I have built and to its 3,500 employees. I will continue to use my significant shareholding in both companies and my seats on both boards to protect the interests and value of McLaren and help shape its future.

In addition I intend to launch a new technology investment fund once my contractual commitments with McLaren expire. This will capitalise on my expertise, my financial resources, together with external investment to pursue the many commercial opportunities I have been altered in recent years but have been unable to take up while being so committed to the existing business.”

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Renault confirms Palmer for 2017

Renault Sport has confirmed that Jolyon Palmer will stay on with the team as Nico Hulkenberg’s team mate in 2017.

Kevin Magnussen meanwhile is set to move to Haas on a two-year deal.

I’m over the moon to be racing with Renault Sport Formula One Team for a second season and I can’t wait to reward the team’s faith in me on track,” said Palmer. “Having worked out of Enstone since 2015 I can fully appreciate the development of the infrastructure this year. This means I share the excitement of the team looking to 2017 and our new car.

For me, it’s been a steep learning curve driving in Formula 1 and I know that I am performing better than ever, and that there’s still more to come. There is tremendous drive and enthusiasm in Enstone and Viry looking to next year and I am honoured to be part of this.”

Renault Sport chairman Jerome Stoll said: “Jolyon has shown his hunger to develop with us as the team grows and we have been impressed with his increasingly strong performances on track as the season has progressed. We are confident that the combination of Jolyon and Nico Hülkenberg offers a very promising driving force to meet our goals.

Jolyon understands the team’s spirit and motivates everyone he works with. The line-up of Jolyon and Nico harnesses the benefits of continuity and fresh blood. I am sure that having Nico as a team-mate will help push Jolyon to greater achievements. We thank Kevin Magnussen for his efforts in 2016 as he has done a great job for us this year. We wish him all the best for 2017 and beyond.”

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Kvyat to stay at Toro Rosso in 2017

Scuderia Toro Rosso has confirmed that Dany Kvyat will remain at the team alongside the already announced Carlos Sainz next season.

Kvyat’s future at the team had been in doubt, and Force India had indicated an interest in hiring him for next season.

The news also means that there will be no race seat for GP2 star Pierre Gasly.

I’m very happy to stay with a team that feels like home to me,” said Kvyat. “I’m really looking forward to continuing the hard work together in 2017 and I’m really aiming high. I will always be fully dedicated, giving my ‘200%’, and I will be pushing as hard as I usually do, that’s for sure. I’m delighted!”

Considering how many changes there are in the Formula 1 pipeline for 2017, it’s good to know that Daniil and I will continue to be teammates here at Toro Rosso next year,” said Sainz. “We know each other very well, as we’ve been racing together since 2010, and we work well together. I know that this season isn’t over yet, but I’m already looking forward to next year!”

Team boss Franz Tost stressed that continuity is the key.

It makes a change to announce our driver line-up relatively early,” he said. “There are so many new elements coming to Formula 1 in general and to our team specifically, in terms of the change of power unit supplier, that having the same two drivers gives us stability and a benchmark to work from. For Carlos, it will be his third year with us, which speaks volumes when it comes to how highly we rate him.

In recent races, it has been clear that Daniil is back on top form. I always told him that his future with us was in his hands and he has stepped up to the mark and delivered the sort of performances that have ensured his 2017 seat in the STR 12. We now have a very talented and strong driver pairing to tackle a season in which we expect to be very competitive.”

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