Wolff warns Liberty not to provoke Ferrari
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has warned Formula One bosses not to provoke the Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne because there is a real danger of him pulling the manufacturer out of the sport.
Marchionne has issued several warnings that he will pull the team out of the sport if the next set of engine regulations does not suit the team’s interests. While some have accused Marchionne of using tactics Ferrari has used to get their way in the past, Wolff believes the threats need to be taken seriously.
Asked by Motorsport.com, about the threats to quit, Wolff said “Don’t provoke Sergio Marchionne. I think that F1 needs Ferrari more than Ferrari needs F1.”
“And he has an understanding and a vision of what the DNA in F1 needs to represent for Ferrari, and as he is a no-nonsense guy. If he doesn’t see the value for his brand he is going to call it a day. Very easy. With no regret. So, you better not mess with him.” He added.
The comments come a day after FIA president and former Ferrari CEO, Jean Todt suggested the manufacturer should lose its long-standing veto on Formula One rules.
Todt also said that while he thinks Marchionne’s threats are a bargaining chip, he does not dismiss the threat totally.
US questions links between F1 and Syria
An investigation by Forbs has unearthed yet more links between Formula one and the Syrian government. Last August, it was reported that the sports governing body the FIA handed grants from the F1 profits to the Syrian Automobile Club (SAC).
Now its emerged that Liberty has been questioned the US government’s Securities and Exchange Commission last August and the stock market regulator the following month when it filed its 10-K annual report.
A letter from the government to Liberty asked it to explain “the nature and extent of any past, current, and anticipated contacts with Sudan and Syria.”
Both Syrian and Sundanese governments are listed by the US as “state sponsors of terrorism,” and are subject to international sanctions because of the civil wars in the countries.
Liberty says they don’t directly deal with contracts as TV rights are negotiated on a regional basis in the Middle East and Africa.
n a reply to the SEC sent on 28 August Carleton said that “neither Liberty nor any of its subsidiaries have had any direct contacts with Sudan and Syria, and any indirect contacts have been minimal.”
However, the investigation into the FIA’s links with the Syrian Government continues. Last year, an ITV investigation reviled that the FIA gave money to the government for a rally in 2013 and held meetings with the minister for tourism.
The terms of the current Concorde Agreement, allows the FIA to use the money for grants to support less wealthy ASN’s to run national championships.
But it believes that the rallies in Syria are being used as a propaganda by the Assad regime. The SAC posted in 2016 “he eleventh Championship of Rally, organized by Syrian Automobile Club, and sponsored by Syrian ministry of tourism.”
In a statement, Liberty said “It is not within our remit to influence or determine how the FIA promotes, develops and regulates motorsport, nor how its funds are applied. We are satisfied that we are in full compliance with applicable sanctions.”
The FIA added, “all grants are subject to rigorous internal scrutiny and the FIA will continue to lead the way in ensuring compliance as it strives to put in place best practice.”
Oil burning regulations enough to catch teams
The FIA believes that the new oil-burning regulations will be successful in catching out any team that is trying to gain a power advantage.
Oil burning became a heated debate throughout last season, as some engine manufacturers accused another manufacturer of breaking the tight fuel flow limitations by using oil as additional burnable fuel.
Under the regulations, F1 engines are limited to a fuel flow rate of just 100kg/hour in an attempt to force manufacturers to find extra power through efficiency gains rather than burning more fuel. Oil burning can give teams an extra boost of power.
A technical directive last September reduced oil burning from 1.2 litres per 100km to 0.9 litres per 100km, and ahead of this year, the rules have been tightened again to limit consumption to just 0.6 litres per 100km.
Race director Charlie Whiting says measures had also been introduced to prevent teams burning oil in the combustion chamber on purpose. He told ESPN “ We’ve closed down all the things that they were able to do last year via mainly oil spec, because not only was oil being burnt a little, but they were putting things in the oil to aid combustion.”
“There was no real oil spec last year, now there is. Now they have to approve oils. They can only use approved oils. So they give us a sample, just like they do with fuel, and that has to be approved as the only oil they can use.”
He says that the regulations now stop the breather going into the air intake. Whiting added the teams “can’t use more than 0.6 litres per 100 km. All those things combined I think will do the job.”
McLaren unhappy over Mekins move
McLaren is “unhappy” that the FIA have allowed deputy race director Laurent Mekies is to leave his post with the governing body and join Ferrari, without the year gardening leave.
Yesterday, it was announced that he would leave the sports governing body for a role within Ferrari’s technical department. Last year a similar row erupted after technical director Marcin Budkowski left the FIA for Renault.
After that, the strategy group agreed that all FOM and FIA staff who join teams must have a minimum gardening leave of a year. But the fact the agreement has been broken so soon has angered McLaren.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, racing director Eric Boullier said “We very unhappy with the FIA for losing yet another key employee to a racing team.”
“Especially after it was agreed by all teams at the last Strategy Group meeting that no key technical FIA employees would be employed by a race team within 12 months of leaving the FIA.” He added
Bouiller says Ferrari has gone against the gentleman’s agreement and the FIA has not enforced it. While other teams share the views of McLaren, they haven’t expressed them publicly.
DHL extends partnership with F1
DHL and Liberty Media have signed a new contract for the German logistics firm to remain as the sports official logistics partner. DHL has had a partnership with the sport since 2004.
The new deal will see the German logistics company work closely with the sports owners Liberty Media on Formula One eSports as the first partner for the series. DHL will also continue to present the DHL Fastest Lap Award and the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award, two prizes for exceptional performances by racing drivers and teams.
DHL is responsible for the global logistics for the FIA, teams, FOM and the broadcasters. The sport will use DHL’s full range of its services including shipping of cars, components, broadcast equipment, air freight, express, customs brokerage and specialist handling, across all the Grands Prix in 2018 season.
Sean Bratches, Formula One Managing Director, Commercial Operations said: “I am delighted we have renewed and reinforced our long-term commitment with DHL, the official logistics partner of Formula One.”
“Our sport is very fast-moving, where precision and punctuality are ingredients. These attributes are also central to DHL, and this is a guarantee for the ongoing success of this relationship.”
DHL’s head of Corporate Brand Marketing Arjan Sissing added “ As logistics partner, DHL is in charge of the complex shipping of Formula 1 vehicles and equipment. The brand is, therefore, an integral component of this highly emotional sporting and entertainment experience with global reach.”
Ocon relishing Verstappen fight
Force India’s Esteban Ocon says he would sign for his backer “straight away” if he had a chance to fight Max Verstappen for the F1 title, a battle that would revive a “very intense” karting rivalry.
Ocon was beaten to the 2011 WSK Euro Series title by Verstappen, but Ocon beat Verstappen to the 2014 European Formula 3 Championship as Verstappen finished third.
Verstappen committed to Red Bull for the long term, while Ocon is preparing for his second full F1 season with Force India and eyeing a future Mercedes drive. Speaking to Motorsport.com Ocon said, “Yeah, if there is a championship at the end of that fight I’d sign straight away, there’s no problem there.”
“Charles [Leclerc], Max, those drivers are very, very strong. I’ve been racing with them since the very beginning. I know how good they are and I’m sure we’ll meet in the future again.” Speaking about the rivalry with Verstappen he said it goes back a long way.
Adding “It was a very intense fight. It came out a bit too much at some point. Now we have no problem at all, we speak well together and he is a cool guy. Back in the day, it was very intense.”
Verstappen told Motorsport.com that he and Ocon “didn’t have that many positive moments with each other.”
He admitted, “At the time we didn’t really like each other. But that’s part of the game. It’s normal. I had the same thing with Charles Leclerc.”
The Dutchman says he doesn’t care about being part of a big rivalry. Adding “I never think about these kinds of things. And I don’t think it’s between two drivers nowadays, it’s between multiple drivers.”
Senna’s Toleman goes up for auction
The car which Ayrton Senna used to claim second place with Toleman at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix is going up for auction at Bonhams in May.
In appalling conditions the three times world champion past his future rival Alain Prost at the chequered flag. But the race result was declared the previous lap handing the Frenchman the win. Senna has been lapping three seconds faster than Prost.
As a result, he drew widespread plaudits for his performance, with BBC commentator and 1976 world champion James Hunt saying: “I think we are watching the arrival of Ayrton Senna as a truly outstanding talent in grand prix racing.”
The car is part of a Monaco sales which also features the McLaren MP4-8a in which Senna took his last win in 1993 at the circuit. As well as Tecno 69, which Ronnie Peterson won the 1969 Formula Three race in.
The Tecno 69 is currently listed without an estimate, the Rory Byrne and Pat Symonds-designed Toleman-Hart was sold for £1 million in 2015, three years after failing to sell at auction with a £550,000 reserve.
Mark Osborne, global head of motorsport at Bonhams, said: “The Senna-Prost joust of the late 1980s and early 1990s was one of the greatest sporting rivalries of all time, with two great champions providing F1 fans with some of the most eye-popping and spectacular racing ever witnessed.”
“The spark that ignited this fierce competition can be traced back almost 35 years to the 1984 edition of the Monaco Grand Prix, and the politically charged decision to throw out the red flag when it was clear that the young Brazilian was about to ruffle some feathers!