BREAKING British regulator begins investigation into sale
The British government have launched an investigation into the acquisition of Formula One by Liberty Media. The investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to ensure it does not breach anti-cartel laws.
A statement from the government said “The CMA is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction has resulted in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if, so, whether the creation of that situation has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”
Interested parties with concerns that it will lessen the sports involvement in the UK have been asked to write to the department before the 21st of November. The decision whether a formal investigation will launched will be made in January.
In September Liberty announced it was buying for $8 billion (USD) to buy all of F1 holding company’s Delta Topco’s shares in the sport. But this was subject to UK, EU and US regulators’ approval.
Already, the EU has expressed concerns over the FIA’s involvement with Labours Anneliese Dodds asking the Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager to investigate the conflict of interest of the FIA.
There is also a question if the EU needs to agree as Brexit wouldn’t have happened by the deal going through and with it being the eve of the US Election there could also be questions from US Federal trade Commission still to come.
Dennis would be great loss – Horner
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says it would be a “great loss” to Formula One if Ron Dennis leaves McLaren at the end of the season. It is thought that Dennis is going to leave after over thirty years at the helm of the Woking team amid long-running boardroom tensions.
Horner and Dennis aren’t the best of friends but despite their spats over the years there is that mutual respect between the two. The Red Bull boss has praised the McLaren chairman for his achievements in F1.
He told Sky Sports “I only have the utmost respect of Ron. We’ve gone head-to-head and fought over sponsors, engineers, drivers, whatever, but he’s always played fair.”
“It would be a great loss if he’s not involved, certainly for McLaren and also Formula 1.” Dennis is the most successful team bosses in the sport winning seventeen Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. Horner says he has put the sports interests before that of the team.
McLaren last month “he is not stepping down”. But the speculation about his future remains at the top of the agenda with boardroom disputes continuing. It is though that the other shareholders Mansour Ojjeh and Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, are plotting a coup to not to renew his contract.
Driver Fernando Alonso said at the Mexican GP he was in the dark about the situation, but was keen to find out in the next few weeks what changes, if any, were going on.
Renault not worried about drivers looking
It is normal for Kevin Magnussen to hold talks with Haas over a seat for next season. The French team are believed to be looking at a number of drivers including himself and team-mate Jolyon Palmer at who will partner Nico Hulkenberg next season.
In Mexico there was reports that the Dane had spoken to the team about 2017. With Renault currently looking at a number of drivers for next year a decision expected before the end of the season later this month.
Speaking about this report team principal Fred Vasseur told Autosport: “Everybody is talking with everybody, that’s life in the paddock. As long as I’ve not taken a decision then it’s quite normal everybody is talking.”
“We will make our own choice; like Gunther [Steiner, Haas team principal] will make his own choice and everybody will be happy.” Meanwhile he dismissed suggestions it was a straight one between their current drivers saying the high performances from all of the drivers under consideration.
He says the team is able to fight with McLaren and Toro Rosso which is a big improvement. But ads “It’s not enough, everyone in the team would like to be in better shape, but that’s life. We have to be realistic, and we know where we are coming from, and we are improving step by step.”
We weren’t serious about quitting – Mateschitz
Red Bull wasn’t serious about quitting Formula One during its dispute with Renault says CEO and founder Dietrich Mateschitz. Last year the teams and engine partner Renault had fallen out over the lack of competiveness on track.
Red Bull terminated there contract but after failing to agree a deal with Ferrari, Mercedes and Honda, in the end it had to go back to Renault for a deal that allows it to run rebranded TAG Heuer power units. Despite the ‘serious’ treats now Mateschitz says they weren’t that serious.
Speaking to the Spanish newspaper Marca he said “Really, we never thought about it. Although, in theory, there were always circumstances that could have made us go down that route, like for example, the obvious case of not having been able to secure a power unit supplier.”
This season has seen a huge turn around by the team who are second in the constructors championship with them tipped to be the main challengers to Mercedes next season. Mateschitz has been delighted with the way Max Verstappen has progressed.
He believes that the Dutchman has the potential to become as big in F1 as former champion Ayrton Senna
When asked if he was the like the famous Brazilian, Mateschitz said: “If you consider his natural talent, his mental strength and the courage .He also needs to be capable of keeping his speed, his skills and his strength up for a period of several years. Nobody knows if that will happen, but we believe he has the potential.”
Speaking about Carlos Sainz he seemed to suggest that they would like to move him into Red Bull, but the team is only permitted two cars. Mateschitz says “the performance of the Toro Rosso is not strong enough to challenge the leading drivers at Mercedes and Red Bull.”
Ocon close to Force India deal
Esteban Ocon is close to signing a deal to replace Nico Hulkenberg at Force India next season according to Autosport. Hulkenberg is leaving for Renault on a multiyear deal.
Ocon is also said to be a target for Renault and Manor look to retain him alongside Pascal Wehrlein, but both team-mates have been linked. Other drivers on that list are Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr. Last week Force India were discussing drivers they said in Mexico and according to the magazine Ocon has emerged as the leading candidate to take the seat.
The finer details of the deal are currently being discussed. Ocon has tested for the team and a move to the team would make sense as Mercedes can bring him into the works team should Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton leave at the end of 2018.
News – In – Brief
Wehrlein Happy to stay – Pascal Wehrlein says he would be happy to say at Manor next season. There has been speculation linking him to Force India for next season following Nico Hulkenberg switch to Renault for 2017.
Manor has expressed a desire to retain both Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon, who is said to switch to Force India as reported above.
Zander to join Sauber
Sauber have confirmed the reports that Jorg Zander is returning to the team after Audi announced it was withdrawing from the World Endurance Championship at the end of the season.
Last week it was reported that the teams former chief designer when it was owned by BMW, was returning to F1 after being enthused by the regulation changes next season. Zander who also has worked with Toyota, BAR, Williams, Honda and Brawn GP told Autosport “The new Formula 1 regulations offer a great opportunity to point the way with innovations and technical creativity.”
“One of my tasks will be to define a stable and efficient technical organisation that evolves the potential of creativity and, therefore, the basis for the development of successful Formula 1 cars.” He added. Zander adds the team wants to improve and establish themselves as a midfield team.
Zander is the latest appointment in the restructuring of the team following new owners taking over in July. Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said “This is a very important step for the implementation of our strategic goals, in order to guide the team into a new and successful era,” she said.
“Zander fits well into our team, he has a lot of know-how in Formula 1, as well as in motorsport in general. As technical director he will have the overview as well as the responsibility for all technical departments.”
It’s the fifth big move to the Swiss team in the last few months following the new investment by Longbow Finance.
Ecclestone clarifies wall position
Berine Ecclestone has clarified his comments on building artificial walls around corners in order to enforce track limits and add to the risk factor.
A few weeks ago Ecclestone was quoted in the press after saying he wants to see walls erected on the outside of corners to punish drivers for making mistakes and to prevent them from simply running wide. In an interview with F1.com Ecclestone said “What I really said was that these walls should prevent the drivers from running off the track,”
Ecclestone explained “because now when they do, it is a case of somebody has to decide whether they ran off because they had a problem, or because they wanted to get an advantage or they make a mistake.” The F1 boss says small walls should only be made to corners which are not too dangerous.
Ecclestone was also alleged to have said that fans should guess what driver was injured in an accident. He denies that he wanted to make F1 more dangerous and highlighting his work to improve safety in the sport over the years.