Teams face two years of reduced prize money
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has warned that teams could face two years of reduced prize money before the commercial benefits from Liberty Media sees profits rise and the prize money increase.
Recent news from the sports owners that profits had fallen by £32 million in the last quarter compared to 2016, caused alarm. The drop in profit caused some alarm in the paddock. However, Horner says that team could face longer spells of declining profits in the short term as they invest in the sport.
He told Autosport “You have to invest in the business to accumulate and I think Liberty has had a big learning year. They have done a season now, they have applied the right specialists in the right areas, and they are forming their game plan for 2021.”
“It’s very easy to criticise on head count or spending, and it is just a different mentality to how Bernie [Ecclestone] operated. Bernie ran a very tight closed shop. He was the marketing department, he was the sales department, and it was very much a one man show.”
Liberty has changed the business model and are looking at longer-term planning with more analysis to create a viable business in the future, Horner says he expects a profit in two years.
But the Red Bull boss says that the sport needs to get new sponsors and for that to happen the sport needs to be a good product to invest in. F1 has attracted new sponsors in recent years, however, that portfolio has decreased compared to the late nineties.
Adding “We have to create a more attractive show to draw in sponsors that offer tremendous value from what F1 is.”
Asked how the current situation compared to the circumstances teams faced in the wake of the global financial crisis of nearly a decade ago, Horner said: “I would say it’s harder now because there’s more choice as the world evolves. There are more platforms and the product we have at the moment isn’t fantastic.”
Hamilton vows never to repeat Hungary
Lewis Hamilton says he vowed that he would never let his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to get ahead of him after the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Bottas out qualified Hamilton but allowed him to overtake in the race to allow him to try to attack the Ferrari’s. However, Hamilton was unable to get the move done, so hand third place back to Bottas. The Englishman says that was a turning point in harmony for Mercedes.
Speaking at his press briefing ahead of the FIA gala, he said “”We did a great thing for the team that had a positive ripple effect. It was a really positive thing that I let Valtteri back past and finished fourth.”
“I went into that break and mentally I was like ‘I don’t ever want to be in a position, or even put the team in a position where they have to decide whether we’re first or second’.
“I was like ‘from now on, I need to be ahead every single time’ and then there’ll never, ever be the question or whether Valtteri should let Lewis past and those kind of things.”
Hungary could have been the point where he lost the title to Sebastian Vettel, but he won five of the next six races and ultimately claimed the title. Hamilton also outqualified Bottas at every race after Hungary until his Brazilian GP qualifying crash.
One year on from the shock of Nico Rosberg’s retirement he said he used that to spur to be more “positive” in 2017.
“We lost a member of the team last year, obviously retiring, and I really wanted to make sure I brought a new positive, restructured me to the team and into this season and to really lead the team to the world championship, which I did,” he said.
Ocon believes he could get Mercedes seat
Esteban Ocon believes if he builds on his promising first full season with Force India he could have a chance of gaining a race seat with Mercedes in 2019.
The Frenchman completed his first full season with the British based team, proving himself to be an equal match for his more experienced teammate Sergio Perez. Ocon has renewed his contract with the team for next season and has been hailed by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff as a “Superstar of the future.”
Mercedes is yet to sign either Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas for 2019, but its expected that Hamilton will sign a new multi-year with Bottas’s future expected to be shaped by his performance next year. Ocon Told Sky Sports “I think there are going to be a lot of movements so if you do a strong job and a good season, then there will be opportunities there.
“I want to start the season strongly with the experience I have gained this year, and then we’ll see.” Force India are benefiting from Ocon and Mercedes, as its strengthened ties with the German manufacturer and he has helped the team to finish fourth in the constructors.
Force India’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafuner, says leasing drivers is sometimes better than buying. However added, “They might take him back, and I think the better he does the more likelihood of him stepping into a Mercedes role at some point.”
“But for next year he is with us. We’ll see what the future holds but I think he will continue to improve.” Ocon is often compared to Max Verstappen, in karting and Formula Three the two appeared very evenly matched with the Frenchman winning the 2014 title.
He still believes he has the edge today, insisting he “was quicker than him, for sure. I got a lot more poles than he did. I don’t know if I’m quicker than him now, but I think so!”
He says Verstappen is delivering and is one of the best drivers on the grid. But, Szafnauer believes that Ocon is value for money as he believes in equal cars there would be a few hundredths between them.
Election 2017 – Todt re-elected for fourth term
Jean Todt has formally been re-elected as the president of the sports governing body the FIA for his third term at the General Assembly in Paris. The former Ferrari boss who first took the post in 2009, ran unopposed and will now govern until the end of 2021.
This will be his final term as president of the FIA, having entered his third and final term. Speaking after the announcement, Todt said “It is gratifying to have such universal support. I would like to thank all of the member clubs of the FIA for their support.”
“I see this as a validation of the direction the FIA has taken under my leadership, and as encouragement to continue the programme we have pursued over the past eight years.” Todt has set out his vision for his final term with the focus on innovation, advocacy and developing a strong leader in mobility and motorsport development.
“To encourage this, we propose to establish an FIA Innovation Fund. Our clubs are the largest consumer organisations in their country and their 80-million road-user members make the FIA one of the largest global consumer bodies.” He added.
Another area of focus will be his work as the UN’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, as well as the future of the motoring industry. Todt wants the FIA to be an influence in these decisions and the FIA “to strive to be the best it possibly can – stronger, smarter, more secure, more professional and globally respected.”
Todt also announced a restructured team, with Brian Gibbons, who has acted as FIA deputy president for mobility since, taking over from Nick Craw as president of the FIA Senate.
Thierry Willemarck leaves his role as president of Region I of the FIA to replace Gibbons, while Graham Stoker continues as deputy president for sport.
Roland claims to be speaking to Williams
Oliver Roland’s team say they are in talks with Williams about the remaining race seat with the team next season, but the British team has denied the claims.
Williams is currently looking at four drivers Robert Kubica, Daniil Kvyat, Sergey Sirotkin and Paul di Resta, are all being looked at by the team to replace Felipe Massa who retired from the sport at the end of the season.
The Englishman who is Renault’s development driver finished third in Formula Two championship this season, he has no previous relationship with the team. In a statement, Roland’s management said “F1 Renault development driver Oliver Rowland is in talks with Williams about securing a seat for Formula 1 in 2018.”
“The 25-year-old hasn’t been considered an option until now, with Williams still undecided of who to put in the car next year.” Rowland added “My team is in talks with Williams, as they are with other teams. British car, British driver it fits well. Lots of drivers seem to be in the frame for 2018, so we will just have to see what happens.”
When asked to verify that claim by Motorsport.com, Williams said Roland was not in contention for a race seat and there have not been any discussions regarding that particular subject.
It is believed there have been talks between the two parties, with several options such as a reserve role or time in a 2018 car being mooted.
Williams is believed to want to sort out its race driver line-up before finalising its plans for the reserve role and any potential running of drivers in FP1 sessions.
New security measures for Brazil
Organisers of the Brazilian Grand Prix were issued on Thursday with new security recommendations by the sports governing body the FIA to implement ahead of next years race.
This year’s Grand Prix was overshadowed by a number of incidents, including robberies and attacks on F1 personnel around the circuit over the weekend. That was despite the security being stepped up following a robbery on Mercedes on Thursday night.
The security incidents also saw Pirelli and McLaren to cancel a two-day tyre test planned to take place at the circuit the following week. F1 management said it could not be held responsible for the attacks. But a report from Liberty Media outlined a series of measures.
In a statement the FIA said “The (Commercial Rights Holder) recommended that the promoter, who is responsible for the security of the event, retains an independent security expert to evaluate and advise on security plans, implements a police reporting hub at the circuit and improves overall communication between the promoter security, police and F1 stakeholders.”
“The World Council strongly urged the promoter to implement these recommendations and improve the situation ahead of next year’s event. The FIA will offer to participate in discussions with the local authorities and closely monitor the situation.”
Betty Hill dies aged ninety-one
The wife of the late Graham Hill and the mother of Damon Hill Betty Hill has died aged ninety-one. The former world champion took to Twitter to announce his mother death in series of Tweets
His first “Rest in Peace Mum #BetteHill #GrahamHill #F1 #TeamHill #TeamWork #mother #grandmother #RIP” His second “Bette Hill 12/06/1926 – 08/12/2017. Survived F1, the Blitz, me, Graham Hill and rowed for England. 91.5 for one. Power woman. @D2BDofficial