Tag Archives: F1

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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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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Toto Wolff: “The best Nico Rosberg I have ever seen…”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that Nico Rosberg’s drive to victory in Singapore was the best the German has produced so far.

Rosberg took pole, left Lewis Hamilton far behind in the race, and then held on to defeat a charging Daniel Ricciardo in the closing laps.

“I’ve known Nico since 2013 and that is the best Nico Rosberg I have ever seen throughout a weekend since then,” said Wolff.

“We have the tendency of saying that Lewis has an awesome pace, and this is what we have seen with Nico this weekend – he was just blindingly fast. He was sixth tenths quicker than P2 in qualifying in Singapore – something we are not used to seeing at all here.

“And in the same way he drove the race. He had a great start, controlled the pace and on the contrary, Lewis didn’t have a clean weekend, he was lacking laps in order to find the right set-up so he couldn’t really choose the direction and from then on went backwards.

“Spa wasn’t a real good opportunity for him because of the engine penalty and here it just started on the wrong foot. And he couldn’t recover. In Singapore if you are lacking laps in free practice and lacking direction on where to take the set-up, it is a vicious circle and confidence is key around Singapore and if your team mate gets out of the block in the way Nico did this weekend it becomes very difficult. Lewis is the first one to acknowledge that.

Regarding the change of momentum in the title battle he said: “We have the tendency of talking one up and the other one down. We have had this since three years, since the two of them have been fighting for the championship, you have seen those waves.

“I remember talking about Lewis’ momentum a couple of weeks ago and suddenly we have this mega Nico weekend, and in two weeks we will see if that changes or stays the same in Malaysia.”

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Eric Boullier: “Our focus is on trying to beat Toro Rosso”

McLaren boss Eric Boullier admits that McLaren’s main focus in the Singapore race will be on outscoring Toro Rosso, the team’s rival for sixth place in the World Championship.

Sixth would represent respectable progress for McLaren since last year, as well as having obvious financial implications.

McLaren’s improving form and some bad weekends for Toro Rosso allowed the Woking team to move ahead after Spa, with an advantage of 48 to 45 points. However in Singapore Toro Rosso has bounced back and earned sixth and seventh on the grid, while the McLarens will start ninth and 12th.

“Obviously our focus is on trying to beat Toro Rosso and keep increasing our lead on them in the championship,” said. “They are in front of us, we kind of guess they did a better job for this track layout. I think it’s just a one-off to be honest, but we will do our best tomorrow, and at least have a good start.”

Boullier is confident that McLaren can claw back some points.

“We may expect a bit of tension in the first two rows, and you never know. Maybe with a better strategy we can definitely beat one of them, because they can’t double pit their cars under safety car, for example. So there is plenty of opportunity to not lose points on them, and if possible to keep our lead.”

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Team bosses open to F1 share acquisition

Team bosses are open to the possibility of accepting Liberty Media’s invitation to acquire shares in the F1 business.

Last week F1’s new owner indicated that it is willing to allow the teams to acquire a stake, although the company did not give any more details on how that process might unfold, or what the timing would be. Until now only Ferrari has held a minority stake.

“I think it’s a sensible thing,” said Red Bull’s Christian Horner. “I think the teams are key stakeholders in F1, without the teams there is no F1. For the teams to take a minority shareholding would make sense, to be offered to all the teams on the same terms would make total sense. I think to keep it for a minority shareholding the teams would be the right thing, because anything beyond that, we’re never going to agree upon. But obviously it does make sense for the teams to be a participant in the shareholding.”

“The idea sounds good,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. “If you are able to align the major stakeholders with a long term vision, and you make the teams shareholders, there are many problems you could solve. But obviously it’s a commercial and financial decision, and the devil lies in the detail.”

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul. “A lot of value has been derived for the existing shareholders from F1. I think it will be a great thing if F1 teams were able to capture some of that value given the risks that are taken by the different parties who finance the team. So yeah, if it makes sense, I would say clearly why not?”

“Why not?,” said Sauber’s Monisha Kalternborn. “We’ve had these kinds of discussions before. I think it’s an interesting idea. It can make sense to have all times actually given this opportunity and be represented as well. At the end of the day it depends what you get and what the price is.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “I’m told it wasn’t driver error…”

Lewis Hamilton says he was not responsible for his poor start in Monza, despite a radio message to the team during the race in which he accepted blame.

At the Mercedes post-race debrief Hamilton was told by his engineers that it wasn’t his fault, and that the clutch was responsible.

“I’m told it wasn’t driver error, I’m told it wasn’t anyone’s error,” he said. “We continue to have an inconsistency with our clutch. You’ve seen it with Nico in Hockenheim. It’s bit me quite a lot this year. I was told the procedure was done exactly how I was supposed to do it, but unfortunately we just over delivery of torque, and the wheels were just spinning from the get-go.”

Hamilton said the team has worked extensively on the clutch this season.

“Of course, we never stop improving and learning. Today we would have learned again. But yeah, this year has been a harder year for us with out clutch. They’ll be working very hard. It’s not a quick fix, something you can change for the next race. We have made improvements, so we have seen more consistent, better starts, but we are still caught out by the random variation that we have from one weekend to the other. We do practice starts all weekend, and they’re varying a little bit, and then we get a drastic variation on the grip.

“As I said you’ve seen it with Nico, you’ve seen it with me, quite a few times. It is something that we need to work on. I can assure you on Tuesday [in the factory] that’s the only thing we’ll be talking about, because everything else we’re doing really well. So we’ll be trying to work and give as much information, learn as much as we can, if there’s any more, to try and make sure in the next six or seven races… We’re not struggling with pole positions, it’s just getting off the line.”

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