MEP’s call for investigation
The European Parliament has called for an investigation into “anticompetitive practices” in Formula One. MEP’s past the motion in the amendment to the parliament’s annual competition report.
The vote passed by a majority 311 with 86 abstentions now gives the Commission the power to launch an investigation. The main supporter the Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds says smaller teams are “unfairly punished” because of the way F1 is run.
She has also previously expressed concerns over the sport’s takeover by Liberty Media and its UK tax arrangements. Dodds pointed to the recent collapse of the Manor as an example of how the sport is failing some teams.
The issues are wider than the sports distribution of prize money and tax arrangements, Dodds highlighted a conflict of interest of F1’s sale to Liberty Media, which saw governing body the FIA benefit financially once it had given its approval.
She said “There is also significant conflict of interest over the recent sale of the sport to Liberty Media, after the regulator received a $79.5million (£63.7m) profit from authorising the sale.”
“I have written a number of letters to the European Commission calling for a full investigation and I am grateful that the rest of the European Parliament has added its voice to this call.”
If the commission finds the sport culpable of an abuse of power in the way it handles its affairs, a fine of 10 percent of turnover.
Alonso or Vettel, maybe – Rosberg
Mercedes Nico Rosberg says the team should be looking at Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso when looking at their 2018 driver line up. The current world champion shocked the sport when he announced he was retiring from the sport.
But, both Vettel and Alonso were already signed to Ferrari and McLaren respectively, for this season. This meant that Bottas was signed on a one-year deal with ‘options’, but should he manage to prove himself this season he could be retained.
Rosberg told the Italian media “What I said was is that it would definitely make sense for Sebastian to have a look at that Mercedes seat for 2018 and for Mercedes to have a look at him and consider him for 2018.”
“That’s obvious. He’s one of the best drivers out there and he doesn’t have a contract for 2018, so they should explore the possibility. Who knows? Let’s see what happens, but it could be a good fit.” He adds. Both Hamilton and Rosberg were contracted until 2018.
Mercedes boss who also is part of Bottas’s management Toto Wolff has said the team have deliberately kept their “options open” so they can be best placed to assess the driver market again heading into next year.
Asked if Alonso, who is out of contract with McLaren at the end of the year, could also make sense for Mercedes too, Rosberg added: “Even though he’s not the youngest out there anymore he’s still driving at his best from what we’ve seen and he should be considered as well. I’m sure they will.”
Bottas optimistic he can follow Rosberg
Valtteri Bottas has optimism that he can follow the example set by Nico Rosberg, in beating new team-mate, Lewis Hamilton. The Finn was brought in following Rosberg’s retirement late last year, putting himself head to head with three-time world champion Hamilton.
Anthony Hamilton, Lewis’ father, even claimed that Bottas’ switch could be a “career-ending” decision, but the 26-year-old says Rosberg proved that Hamilton can be defeated in 2016’s title triumph. Bottas told Sky Sports Germany “I feel it is possible, Nico showed beating Lewis is possible.”
“But I really respect what he has done with his career. He has so many poles, wins – three titles – and I still don’t have a race win. I have a lot to prove.” He added. Bottas has not had his first taste of a race win so far in his career but has proved he can get podiums in an underperforming Williams.
Mercedes will be hoping despite the regulation changes, that they can remain the dominant team in the sport. “”If the car is the strongest, yes [I can fight for the title].
“I’m not here to be in second place or worse. It is definitely a challenge, and going up against Lewis is always going to be a challenge.” He added.
Honda admits taking risk
Honda boss Yusuke Hasegawa has admitted the Japanese manufacturer is taking a risk, but choosing a completely different concept in designing the 2017 engine.
After a difficult 2015, last season the manufacturer made some gains in performance, but ultimately they were still behind the other manufacturers. Honda this season has taken a risk, with a radical overhaul of the power unit.
Hasegawa told Autosport “The concept is completely different. It’s very high risk, we don’t know a lot of things about that new concept.”
“We know it will give us a performance advantage but the biggest risk is whether we can realise that potential this year.” Last month, McLaren’s technical director Tim Goss said Honda had completed a redesign of its power unit, aided by the abolishment of the token system.
The redesigned power unit is to improve performance and packaging based on lessons learned from the past two seasons. But, Hasegawa says the internal combustion engine remains the main focus, with other elements in tandem.
Adding “If we improve the engine itself, which means boosting exhaust gas energy, we need to boost the turbine otherwise, we cannot perform at the same level in terms of deployment.
“We still have to do some tests and there will be some trial and error. I hope we have understood the direction and the elements to focus on.”
What does Sainz describe Alonso & Hamilton as?
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr has described Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso as Formula One’s versions of football icons Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi and Ronaldo have long been considered football’s two premier talents, having exchanged the world player of the year award between themselves since 2008. With Hamilton and Alonso often referred to as the best drivers in the sport, by fans and the press.
However, there are a number of drivers amongst themselves regard as the best including four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and emerging Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
Three existing F1 drivers are high on the sport’s all-time winners’ list: Hamilton (2nd; 53 wins), Vettel (4th; 42), Alonso (6th; 32), with Hamilton and Vettel third and fourth in all-time pole positions.
Sainz told the Macra “Hamilton is the Messi of F1 and Christian Ronaldo would be Fernando Alonso, although Christiano wants [it all; to win and be the best]. Fernando also wants to [win], but not both.”
Hamilton and Alonso have been fighting each other since they were team-mates, during Hamilton’s debut season when he narrowly missed out on the title by a point. While Alonso hasn’t taken the title in a decade since his two in 2005/06.
When asked the most difficult driver to fight in a wheel-to-wheel battle, he replied: “If I have to say one would be Alonso. Fernando is a fighter and has so much experience, he’s always more difficult than the others. He’s an old dog who knows everything.”
Singapore still interested in F1
Singapore’s tourist board says that the city-state is still interested in holding a Formula One race, as discussions remain ongoing about the race. Ousted CEO Bernie Ecclestone suggested in November that the city wouldn’t renew the deal when its expires this year.
CEO of the tourism board Lionel Yeo told Bloomberg “I think the event is still a good one and I think it’s something we’re interested to look at provided the terms and conditions are right.” When asked if hosting the event makes sense “The discussions are still ongoing” he added.
A senior economist at DBS Group Holdings, Irvin Seah suggested: “We should move away from the mindset that the F1 should be here just so we can bring in a certain number of tourists every year.”
“You must look beyond the numbers. It’s about the branding, overall image of Singapore in the global tourism landscape.” He added.