Category Archives: FOM

Formula One: FIA clarifies position on sale of one per cent shareholding in Delta Topco

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The FIA have issued the following press release in response to inaccurate reports. To ensure no confusion the press release has been posted here in full:

Following the unanimous approval by the World Motor Sport Council of the change of control of Delta Topco Limited (the holding company of the Commercial Rights Holder of the FIA Formula One World Championship) from CVC Capital Partners in favour of Liberty Media Corporation on 18 January 2017, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has been made aware of certain declarations and comments, clearly inaccurately informed or made maliciously, relating to this process.

In light of this, the FIA wishes to make clear the following once again:

  • Firstly, the prize money allocated in the Formula One World Championship is done so in accordance with the bilateral agreements that exist between each team and the Commercial Rights Holder (CRH).  The FIA has no knowledge of these agreements
  • Secondly, there is no conflict of interest on the part of the FIA with regard to its approval of the change of control of the CRH which has been approved by the World Motor Sport Council taking into consideration exclusively the terms of the existing agreements between the CRH and the FIA and the best interests of the Championship
  • As per the Agreements made in 2001 for 100 Years, the FIA could only have withheld its consent in the event that the change of control would materially alter the ability of the CRH to fulfil its obligations; it is obvious that the taking of control of the Formula One Group by Liberty does not create such a risk, and nobody has ever suggested a different view in this respect

The FIA would naturally be happy to demonstrate the absence of any conflict of interest to any competent authority that may so request.

Once again, the FIA looks forward to its collaboration with both Liberty and the Formula One Group 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 press release from the FIA can be found here

Formula One: Mercedes brand alignment

 

In amongst new driver announcements, car launch dates, eRacing, and calender shuffling, the eagle eyed motorsport fan may have noticed a small but significant change in the name above the door of the current Formula One Constructors Champions over the Christmas period.

Since January 1st 2017, the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team has been re-branded Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport. In contacting the team the rationale for the change was explained as a move to harmonise the team with the overall strategic direction of the business. The team went on to explain the change does not necessarily indicate plans for the Brackley based team to expand into other categories, but that the team would not rule out this happening at some point in the future.

With a notice of intent offered to Formula E having been made by the Mercedes Grand Prix in 2016, in effect granting them first refusal on the final team slot in the championship, the harmonisation of Mercedes Motorsport branding could signal team preparations to enter the championship. Another factor to consider could be the rumoured budget cap set to be implemented across Formula One. Mercedes Grand Prix employ over 1200 staff, the salary bill alone could exceed the budget for running a team in future. Diversification of the team into other racing categories would serve to increase Mercedes brand awareness and maintain it’s commitment to the motorsport industry in the UK.

Mercedes’ positions in DTM & GT racing, logically, could also be housed under a single Motorsport entity, possibly located in the UK.

Formula One: Pérez for Mercedes?

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With the shock announcement from 2016 Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg’s retirement last Friday, almost every driver on the grid has been named as a possible replacement for the German. Nico’s decision came as a surprise not only to media and fans of the sport, but to his employers and rivals on the grid. Had there been an inkling from anyone that Nico may have taken this decision the contractual status of a number of leading drivers may be looking very different at this point in the season.

The Mercedes board will be keen to install a replacement driver as soon as possible to minimise the impact on the teams 2017 campaign and maximise driver acclimatisation. That being said, should Mercedes opt for a driver currently under contract with another team it is highly unlikely they will be able to work with said driver until the new year.

From an ease of transition perspective Mercedes could opt for one of their junior drivers in Ocon or Wehrlein. Whilst kind on the cheque book and simplest to implement, Mercedes require a driver capable of performing from at the very top level from the word go, it is undeniable the potential of both drivers is without question,  but it would be a risk to place them with the team from the beginning of 2017.

Realistically, this leaves Mercedes with little option than to approach drivers with existing agreements for season ahead. Toto Wolff has intimated he is reluctant to poach drivers from Ferrari or Mclaren, acknowledging the damage this could cause to future team relations in the lead up to strategy group negotiations with Liberty Media over the coming 36 months. This in theory removes Sebastian, Kimi, and Fernando from the equation. Whilst Toto did not explicitly rule out either of the Red Bull Racing drivers, it is highly unlikely either would be released from what are understood to be long term contracts.

This has left many to suggest Bottas has the most likely candidate for the seat. He is part managed by Toto Wolff and with Williams working in close collaboration with Mercedes a deal in theory could be easy to achieve. I see this to be quite unlikely. 2016 was somewhat of an underwhelming season for both Bottas and Williams. If the cliché of ‘you are only as good as your last race / season’ were to be applied. Bottas is not hot property and should not be regarded as the next best option.

Taking all of this into consideration I believe the best placed driver on the grid to replace Nico Rosberg for 2017 is Sergio Pérez. With 101 points, and 2 podium finishes in 2016 Sergio Pérez was the best performing non works Mercedes driver. He lead the Force India team to their most successful year in history, finishing 4th in the constructors championship scoring points in 16 events over the season. From a pure performance perspective Sergio Pérez has to be regarded as a genuine contender for the seat.

Over and above on track performance, Pérez is highly attractive from a commerical perspective. Mexico is a hugely important market for Mercedes, the car maker is looking to double car sales in the country by 2020. Having a national hero behind the wheel of a Silver Arrows would support this strategy.  Beyond this Sergio Pérez brings his own sponsors to a team. Mercedes are not a team struggling for budget, but opening doors to the Slim family (Telmex Group) will be more than welcome.

Of course Sergio recently signed a one year extension with Force India which in theory locks the Mexican in to the team until 2018, however were Mercedes to offer the services of Wehrlein alongside a discounted Power Unit I am sure an agreement could be found.

Sergio Pérez is a changed driver from the man who replaced Lewis Hamilton at Mclaren in 2013. He has proved his consistency and ability to work with a team during his time with Force India. He deserves another opportunity with a top team. He is the most logical option for Mercedes.

Would it prove to be a threat to Lewis Hamilton? Only time will tell. His has a unique ability to manage tyres and with the huge shift in regulations coming for 2017 this attribute could prove invaluable. At this time Sergio Pérez’s management have declined to comment on the possibility of such a move, but there should be no doubt they will be evaluating any opportunity should it arise.

Formula One: Active Ticketing joins Force India in Abu Dhabi

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Active Ticketing have joined Sahara Force India as partner for the 2016 season finale. The technology and security company will deliver an innovative mobile application at the 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Active Ticketing branding will be visible on the chassis side of the VJM09 and on the drivers’ suits.
The Active Ticketing mobile platform will enhance the fan experience for the Sahara Force India VIP guests, who will be able to access a mobile pass, enter competitions, and view exclusive content about the team.
The system will generate valuable new insights for the team and showcase the benefits of mobile experiences as part of Sahara Force India’s hospitality offering.
Otmar Szafnauer, COO of Sahara Force India: “Mobile interaction is the new frontier of fan engagement and Active Ticketing is at the forefront of this sector. It’s great to be working together to offer our guests a fresh dimension to their Grand Prix experience.”
Lee Booth, CEO of Active Ticketing: “Sahara Force India is one of the most innovative teams in F1 today. Partnering with them to deliver a premium and engaging VIP guest platform is hopefully just the start of a long-term strategic relationship to create the ultimate fan and team experience.”
For more information on Active Ticketing head to the company website here
 

Formula One: Do we want a clean fight?

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With an incredible nine wins a piece, Nico Rosberg & Lewis Hamilton head into the final round of the 2016 Formula One World championship knowing whichever driver takes their tenth win of the season will be crowned world champion….

….except they won’t.

After a season in which Nico Rosberg has elevated himself from the accomplished team mate to the formidable championship challenger, and the combined misfortune of half the grid seems to have fallen the way of Hamilton, simply winning on Sunday will not be enough to secure a forth world championship for the Brit. Every self respecting F1 fan will be more than aware of the finishing positions each driver must achieve relative to the other in their quest for the championship, but for the sake of clarity the simplest way of looking at things if Lewis wins, Nico must finish at least 3rd to be crowned champion.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas W07 will be remembered as one of the most dominant cars in F1 history. True, the reliability of one of the cars has been rather questionable but there has been no circuit in which the W07’s dominance has genuinely been in question. There is no reason to expect Abu Dhabi will be any different. The team and drivers can, with some confidence, expect to find themselves on the front row of the grid on Sunday.

So how will the drivers approach the race? Lewis has an incredible track record around the Yas Marina circuit and heads into the weekend on the back of three straight wins. Since Lewis’ retirement in the Malaysian Grand Prix Nico appears to have been secure enough in his championship position to not feel the need to push for outright wins accepting he does not need to win another race this season to seal the championship. Will we see a repeat of this on Sunday? Does Lewis believe the best he can do is simply get his head down and win the race and the leave the outcome of the championship to fate. Could Nico see a return of his form from earlier in the season and dominate Lewis removing any possibility for Hamilton to do anything other than accept 2nd place both in the race and the championship? Or will either driver try to change up the race to influence the result for their rival?
Knowing Lewis MAY be considering an aggressive approach, could Nico take matters into his own hands and end both his own and his team mate’s race in the first corner by simply driving into him? Nico appears to have taken on a much more aggressive approach to his racing and defending this season. Securing his championship in this manner should not be ruled out. And would anyone blame him?

Earlier this week Nico reflected on his approach to the 2016 championship and how he plans to carry that into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:
“In Brazil, after the race, I was joking that I would still be taking things one race at a time. But, the more I think about it, the more that’s actually not as crazy as it sounds. I have to treat this like any other race. Doing a good job on a Grand Prix weekend is always a challenge. Nothing in this sport is easy, so this won’t be any different and I still have to go all out for a good result.
The closer it gets, the more I’m feeling excited. It will be a big battle and hopefully the fans will get a great show to end the year.
I will give it everything to end the season with a win.”
Of course the team will publicly deplore any actions their drivers take to imped the progress of each other, but after sealing the constructors championship back in Suzuka will they really mind? Viewers of the Brazilian Grand Prix would be forgiven for thinking Max Verstappen won the race so little airtime was given to the dominant Silver Mercedes finishing ahead of him. If Mercedes want exposure, which let’s face it is one of the primary reasons they are in the sport, perhaps their drivers working to manipulate the others race result is the best way to achieve this.  Whilst they might not support any efforts either driver may take to increase pressure on his team mate, they might feel they owe their drivers the freedom to approach the conclusion of the drivers championship as they see fit.
In the build up to the Grand Prix Toto Wolff has commented:
“As a group, we now have one very important final duty this season – to give Nico and Lewis the platform they need to battle it out to the flag. Both of them have been exceptional and either one would make a worthy Champion. It’s been a gruelling year for us all, with a record-breaking calendar and the added challenge of a new regulation set to prepare for in 2017. After such a battle of endurance, the winner can say without doubt that they earned it. We are all excited to see who that will be. May the best man win.”  

So what could Lewis do in the race? In the lead up to the weekend he was quoted as saying:
“I can’t and won’t give up. You never know what might happen.
I’m approaching this weekend the same as I do every race. I want to win and I’ll give it everything to finish the season on a high.”
Assuming he is the pole man and manages to maintain this position at the start of the race with Nico in second, would he look to back his team mate into the clutches of his rivals? Ferrari will desperate to close out the season with the best possible result, and the Red Bull Racing duo will be fighting tooth and nail for supremacy as they head into the winter break. Nico won’t want any of those drivers anywhere near his car during the race and so would be unlikely to battle too hard for fear of a race ending incident. Realistically one or more of them getting past Nico is Lewis’ best chance of taking the championship.

Yes, anther factor to consider is that statistically Nico is long overdue a mechanical issue in his W07, but Lewis can’t and won’t bank on statistics finally falling his way. Any issue Nico faces could hit him as well.  I’ve read a lot of articles recently asking if Nico Rosberg is worthy champion. To my mind, if you’re leading the championship at the end of the season you are champion. Simple as that. There is no worthy or not worthy. Whoever that may be they deserve all the accolades and respect they will receive.
So what kind of race do we want to see on Sunday? I for one don’t want to see another demonstration of Mercedes dominance. We’ve seen twenty of those races already this year. I want to see tactical excellence from two drivers at the very top of their game. Ignore the team calls, ignore the critics, you have a championship to win and a championship to lose, be the master of your destiny and give us a truly historic race.

Formula One: The ultimate F1 Yard Sale

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As Christmas edges ever nearer Racing Gold, known for their Red Bull Racing PART of the Team Collection, are having a YARD SALE. The PART of the Team (POTT) Collection is a range of unique, functional art objects, hand-crafted from components which have run and raced on Red Bull Racing’s Formula One cars. The POTT is an exquisite range of products with the serious collector, or significant other of a serious collector in mind…

In a quest to connect with more of the sports fans, Racing Gold have introduced a new range calling it the“YARD SALE”. In reality, the amazingly engineered parts are from the very same archives as the POTT & are still re-functioned with care & style. However, the Yard Sale represents a new level of value. Starting at under £50 & capped at £200, the new range engages with more fans than ever before.

The range includes a stunning desktop pen set that uses a polished aluminium section of a part once destined for the Hi-Tech Hybrid KERS system. Inside this part is a carbon fibre disc also from the car, topped with a carbon fibre trimmed ball-point pen. £44.95 inc FREE UK delivery. The range topping pieces include variations of the original POTT brake disc mirror & 2 new mirrors from special wheel fairings. £179.99 – £199.99 3 new table lamps have been designed. The lay-shaft lamp uses a selection of gearbox parts in a style similar
the exclusive lamp found in the original POTT range. £99.99 – £199.99

The quality and ingenuity of these pieces really have to be seen to be believed. So for the F1 collector looking to bring their passion into everyday house hold items, or the partner looking for that ‘unique’ Christmas gift, look no further.

For more on the Racing Gold heritage check out this film:

Click here to visit the Racing Gold Yard Sale

Formula One: KIO Networks join Scuderia Toro Rosso

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Scuderia Toro Rorro have announced a new partnership with Mexican IT company KIO Networks. At the Mexican GP, their logo will appear prominently on the nose and barge boards of both cars.
Franz Tost, Team Principal commented: “Last year’s Mexican Grand Prix proved to be a great success, providing an amazing show. It’s a real pleasure to welcome KIO Networks on board for this race on their home soil, establishing a good new connection with such a high profile IT company. We look forward to enjoying together what we are sure will be another exciting race weekend for the many passionate fans filling the grandstands here.”
 
Sergio Rosengaus, KIO Networks’ CEO, said: “We are very happy to join forces with Scuderia Toro Rosso, with whom we share the passion for technology, innovation, IT and its high-level performance. We are happy to be associated with a team that, as KIO Networks itself, is daring, challenging and fun. We are sure that Carlos and Daniil will give their best on track and we can’t wait to see them in action at our home Grand Prix, with Scuderia Toro Rosso.”
This partnership will be a great opportunity for fellow Tech partner of Toro Rosso, Acronis to explore possible business to business opportunities. The Mexican Grand Prix paddock will be a buzz with senior leadership in a critical growth market for this industry.
KIO Networks partnered with the Lotus F1 team over the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix weekend.
 

Formula One: Motorsport network acquire Autosport & Haymarket Media motor racing portfolio

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Motorsport Network, the Miami-headquartered publisher of Motorsport.com and Motor1.com, today announced the acquisition of six business operations that make up the Haymarket Media Group’s interests in motorsport publishing, photography and events.

The acquired businesses in the Autosport portfolio include Autosport.com, a respected and authoritative digital voice in international motorsport. The website has a provenance derived from its sister business, Autosport Magazine. Continuously published since August 1950, the weekly magazine has a heritage that dates back to the very origins of the Formula One World Championship™.

In addition to the Autosport brand, Motorsport Network has also added F1 Racing, the premium monthly periodical, to its stable. F1 Racing is published in nine languages in 15 editions, sold in 60 countries and is the only magazine licensed by Formula One Management.

The print assets acquired also include Motorsport News, which has been the voice of British motorsport since the era of Moss and Fangio in the fifties.

The publishing interests are supplemented by the world’s richest and most extensive motorsport photographic archive, LAT Photographic. With 13 million images that date from 1895, the archive forms the central element of a full-service photo agency with staff presence at all major international motor racing series. The company also provides image production services and studio facilities.

The acquisitions by Motorsport Network are founded on the principle of preserving the rich heritage in Haymarket’s motorsport businesses. Its fans, followers and customers can continue to seamlessly enjoy the world’s best-loved racing websites, magazines and blue-riband events.

Best known for its Motorsport.com and Motor1.com brands, Motorsport Network speaks to 75 million people every month across 22 website editions operating in 16 languages. The success of the Motorsport Network has been founded on three guiding principles: speaking to audiences in their native tongue, packaging & presenting unique content for digitally engaged audiences. Together this provides customers & clients with an integrated array of products & services to connect with this global audience.

The acquisition of the Haymarket businesses will contribute a rich seam of heritage and unparalleled media assets to Motorsport Network’s dynamic business culture and intent to provide solutions in automotive and motor racing across digital, broadcast, social networking, merchandise & license and gaming.

Commenting on the announcement, Kevin Costello, CEO of the Haymarket Media Group, said, “Motor racing has formed part of the Haymarket portfolio for almost half a century and the company has nurtured these businesses from their origins to be global category leaders. However, we are reassured that the Motorsport Network are the right people to be custodians of these businesses for the next stage of their investment and development.

The acquisition and integration of the Haymarket motorsport portfolio into Motorsport Network will be stewarded by its Chairman, Zak Brown. “This milestone in acquiring the businesses that Haymarket has grown over decades will be recognised by everyone in the industry as a mark of our intent. All that is best about Autosport and its sister businesses will be preserved. Supported with investment and aligned with our dynamic organisational culture and high-speed growth that is attracting younger demographics to motorsport, the fusion of these two organisations presents tantalising opportunities for our staff and our clients alike.” he said. “This acquisition is part of a broader consolidation strategy and is aligned with a series of significant changes we’re witnessing across the motorsport landscape,” he added.

JWGP Opinion: The rapid expansion of the Motorsport Network juggernaut is overwhelming. The group is growing from not simply touching every element of motorsport to dominating or controlling it. On the one hand this could result in improvements in consistency in quality, the Motorsport Network is ultimately a business. It needs to generate a return on investment. The way in which this will be achieved remains to be seen, but it could result in restructuring across the networks. Dominating the world of motorsport journalism could have a negative impact on the quality and diversity in voices.

The motorpsort industry being dependant on a single network for specialised journalism could be a concern. The industry is dependant on their success to ensure sports are promoted.

The ultimate investors behind the Motorsport Network at this time have not been disclosed, but given Zak Brown involvement in the group and his rumoured future involvement with Liberty Media and taking on a leading role in Formula One Management, could the Motorsport Network be part of the Liberty Group?

It is never healthy for a single entity to control anything. The same can be said about Motorsport.

 

 

Formula One: Iceman becomes Fireman – Kimi’s Job Swap

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In the build up to this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen took time away from the circuit to try his hand as a fire fighter in the latest project in the  the Shell V-Power Job Swap campaign.

Job Swap, as the name suggests, takes Scuderia Ferrari drivers away from the familiarity of an F1 cockpit and gives them an opportunity to experience other roles in which vehicle and fuel performance are critical for a very different reason. Following Sebastian Vettel’s job swap with a Paramedic earlier this year, Kimi set out to go one better working Mohd Uzair bin Abdullah – a veteran with Malaysia’s Fire and Rescue Department.

Unsurprisingly when commenting on his experience tackling a purpose build obstacle course in an 18 tonne fire truck Kimi remarked “The fire truck is such a different vehicle to my Ferrari car, and it was a new experience to drive it.”

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Uzair mentioned, “getting the opportunity to work with Kimi to understand how he safeguards himself, helped me realise how similar we are in our jobs. Although we face different challenges, ultimately we both strive to protect ourselves so we can perform better at our jobs.”

“Initially, we were unsure what to expect from this unique activity. In the end, both drivers discovered the importance of preparation, and the vital role played by protection in the performance of both roles. Shell is committed to motorsports as an integral part of our Research & Development programme. Our innovations developed for the track help us make better fuels for our customers, enabling them to perform on the road with engines protected by Shell V-Power” said Shairan Huzani Husain, General Manager of Shell Retail Malaysia/Brunei.

With a strong performance from Scuderia Ferrari in the opening practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Kimi and Sebastian look to be in a position to challenge for the top step of the podium this weekend. The team will be working closely with Shell to ensure the perfect balance between performance and efficiency as they seek to bring secure the best possible position in the 2016 Formula One World Constructors Championship.

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Formula One: Scuderia Ferrari deny rumours surrounding Paddy Lowe

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Scuderia Ferrari have moved to deny rumours suggesting Paddy Lowe will join the team taking on the role vacated by James Allison earlier this season.

Commenting directly to JWGP a team representative remarked:

“There’s no comment to make as it is what it is-just rumours generated from some media.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas are yet to respond to the rumour, but a similar response should be expected. Such rumours are common around this point in the season, silly season extends far beyond the driver market these days!

It should be noted that Paddy Lowe has attended all races this year with AMG Mercedes Petronas, if he were to be switching teams he would likely have been placed on gardening leave.  Furthermore, should any change prove to be on the cards existing contracts would likely preclude Paddy Lowe from any involvement with the Scuderia for a minimum of 12 months. Which would in effect marginalise his ability to influence any F1 car design until 2019.

With many elements of teams 2017 challengers already in place, a rival team seeking to challenge the dominance of Mercedes through poaching key personnel would have had to have made a move far earlier in the season.

Paddy Lowe joined Mercedes in 2013, at the same time as Lewis Hamilton. Lewis Hamilton has a contract with the Silver Arrows through to 2018.