Carey eyes Concorde replacement
Formula One CEO Chase Carey says he doesn’t want to renegotiate the Concorde Agreement when the terms expire in 2020, saying he would like a new open-ended “partnership.”
All the changes that Liberty Media want to make before that date will be constrained by the current agreement. Carey wants to replace it with a system that is less contentious.
He told Autosport “We have the infamous document called the Concorde Agreement, which is this agreement that comes up every six to eight years – it comes up in 2020 – which defines the financial arrangements with teams.”
“Our goal is to create much more of a long-term partnership, not a partnership that sort of has a point in time that you go out and renegotiate the next eight-year partnership, that there’s a continuum,” Carey says that a looming deadline creates problems, as the parties fight for their own interests and makes longer-term planning difficult.
Carey has confidence that the teams will fall behind his vision for the sport, but he accepts that changing the culture of the sport will not be easy.
He says his idea is a partnership between the teams and share the benefits of doing that together. Carey says Formula One “Is a sport that historically was a little bit every man for himself, and how do you game each other and the like, and that leads to one plus one is one and a half.”
“If you could pull together and figure out what is the right path forward for everybody, you make one plus one is three,” Carey adds the goal is to change the culture of the sport and create a new culture
Newey ramps up Red Bull involvement
Red Bull’s design guru Adrian Newey has been ramping up his involvement in the team in recent weeks as the team looks to turn around their season.
Red Bull was expected to be the main challengers to Mercedes this season, but have failed to match the performance of Mercedes and Ferrari. This is because of a combination of wind tunnel correlation issues and an aero-efficient concept that did not produce enough downforce has hampered its efforts.
The team did introduce a big upgrade for Barcelona, while the gap has been reduced the team is well aware that even more progress is needed. Newey’s role in the F1 team had wound down in recent years, with roughly half his time spent on other projects.
But team boss Christian Horner says that has steadily increased once Red Bull’s lack of competitiveness became clear in pre-season testing and he attended his second Grand Prix of the year in Spain.
Horner told Autosport “He has just been listening very carefully to what the drivers have been having to say and it is a bit like a trip to the doctors.”
“He has been very keen to understand what the drivers’ feedback and comments are, and I am sure he will be looking to evolve this package accordingly.” Newey’s involvement has upped partly because his commitments on Aston Martin’s hypercar project have eased off for now.
Full support still for Stroll
Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says the team still has full support for Lance Stroll, despite his thought start to the season.
The eighteen-year-old has struggled against his experienced Williams team-mate Felipe Massa so far this season and has yet to score a point in his first five races. But Ms Williams told Sky Sports that Stroll has all the tools to deliver, claiming the teenager “needs a bit of space” as he looks to bounce back.
She said “I think it’s really hard to make that step up from any junior formula. People can really underestimate that, and the pressure that these guys put themselves under.”
“He needs a bit of space, a bit of head room, just to be able to go out and do what I think we all know he’s fully capable of doing. Once he has that pressure eased off him a bit I think he’ll go great guns.”
Stroll’s difficult start is not helped by the strong start made by Massa, the Brazilian has made it into Q3 in every qualifying session this season. Stroll, on the other hand, has been knocked out in Q1 twice, out-qualified by an average of 0.9 seconds by his veteran team-mate.
But Williams insists this is a great learning curve for Stroll, who has plenty of help to call on within the team. Ms Williams adds that he needs to listen and take on board the experience around him.
Adding “I don’t think anyone needs to worry quite yet about Lance. He’s proving he’s more than capable and more than deserving of a seat in Formula One.”
Man guilty of blackmailing Schumacher
A German court has handed a suspended sentence after a man attempted to blackmail Corina Schumacher and kill her children. The 21-year-old admitted to demanding £768,000 from the wife of seven times champion Michael.
The email read “If the money is not received by March 31, your children will be killed in some way or other. In Formula 4, a lot of accidents happen.”
Huseyin B’s identity was easy for the police to find out, as the man had put his own personal bank details in the email. During the court case, it emerged he also planned to blackmail the owner of the Sixt car hire company in a similar fashion.
The convicted man’s lawyer said his client “can’t until this day explain why” he acted how he did. Huseyin B was handed a suspended sentence of one year and nine months, ordered to carry out 50 hours of community service and undergo therapy.
Dorna and Liberty discuss what they can learn
Director of Motorsport Ross Brawn has met with the Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta in Barcelona to discuss ways that they can avoid races clashing.
The opening two Grand Prix’s of both series clashed this season and there will be six more clashes this year including the MotoGP finale at Valencia and F1’s penultimate round in Brazil.
In an interview with Reuters Brawn, F1’s managing director for motorsport under new owner Liberty Media said it was “not smart” to be in this situation. He added that they also discussed what they could learn from each other.
Brawn told Autosport “We’re not too proud to consult with other championships and work out the best way forward. It’s difficult to juggle dates, and you can’t always achieve what you want, but at least we’re having a dialogue to try and work it out.”
Brawn also said he was an admirer of the MotoGP ladder structure. “I like the meritocracy that they have between Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP.”
“I think it’s interesting looking at the commercial side, the way they structure the teams and the deals and the way it works for the customer teams.” Moto GP has a better progression structure as the Formula One structure is messy.
Brawn says F1 has put the teams “in a position where they don’t have to make those commercial decisions, they just make the decision based on the strongest drivers they can find.”
Force India revise numbers and TLA
Force India has unveiled the revisions they have been forced to make to the car numbers following a €25,000 suspended fine they were awarded in Barcelona.
The team was summoned to the stewards after the Barcelona race for having failed to put its numbers in a place that it was felt complied with new FIA requirements.
The new regulations require the number to be visible from the front and their number and/or the driver’s three-letter abbreviation (TLA) be placed on the side of the car.
The stewards decided that the teams positioning of numbers on top of the nose, and on the side pods, did not comply with the regulations. Force India agreed to make changes. During a filming day at Silverstone, the team unveiled the changes.
The location of the cars numbers on the nose had moved – and a TLA had been added to the shark fin.
COO Otmar Szafnauer said that his team had been reluctant to devote too much space to the numbers because it would compromise valuable sponsorship opportunities.
Pirelli ditches hard for Silverstone
Pirelli has ditched the hard tyre as an option for drivers for the British Grand Prix after concerns about the ineffectiveness on this year’s cars.
The hard tyre this season has been too hard to be used competitively and Sergio Perez suggested in Barcelona that the hard tyre was only good enough for “pictures” and had little point for actual competitive running.
F1 drivers brought up their concerns about the tyre during Friday night’s drivers’ briefing at Barcelona and urged Pirelli’s F1 racing manager Mario Isola to keep the hard on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
Pirelli decided this week that it would change the tyres to the supersoft, soft and medium compounds. Teams have to decide this week on their tyre choice for Silverstone.
The only other place tyres could be used is Suzuka, however, that will depend on how much load the cars place on the tyres with the upgrades in the coming months.
But, Isola said over the Spanish GP weekend: “We are planning to use the hard in Suzuka. Suzuka is in the second half of the season, so we have to wait.”
“The other high severity circuit was Sepang, but last year with the new surface Sepang was less abrasive.”