Bratches steps down as commercial managing director
F1’s commercial managing director Sean Bratches will leave his role at the end of the month, three years after being appointed. The American has run the sports commercial operations since Liberty Media completed its takeover of F1 in January 2017.
Bratches is leaving the role to be closer to his family and will continue to help F1 in an advisory role from America. He told Sky Sports, “The past three years at Formula One have been an incredible journey, one which I have enjoyed thoroughly.”
“I want to personally thank the team at F1 for their extraordinary efforts and dedication, they are the best of the best and I am confident they will continue to serve fans and deliver on the strategy we have set in the years ahead.”
He says that he is proud to leave the sport in a better position than when he joined, he says the foundations are in place to continue to serve fans around the world and reach new audiences.
Speaking about Bratches achievements CEO Chase Carey said, “I want to thank Sean on behalf of everyone at Formula 1 for the leadership, passion and expertise he has given to the business over the past three years.”
“Sean has transformed the commercial side of Formula 1 and a testament to his work is shown in our momentum and growth as a business.”
Don’t complain about expanding calendar – Todt
FIA President Jean Todt believes people who work in Formula One should not complain about the calendar expanding in future, and instead acknowledge how fortunate they are to be involved in the sport.
This season the calendar features twenty-two races with Vietnam being added and Zandvoort returning to the calendar, but only Hockenheim dropping off. The regulations allow a maximum twenty-five races, however, this has prompted concerns about the strain put on those who travel to all the races, with teams looking at ways of rotating staff.
F1 CEO Chase Carey has acknowledged what he calls “wear and tear” on personnel is a potential issue, which is why race weekends are being shortened from 2021, with fewer activities on Thursdays. However, Todt has downplayed such concerns.
Todt told Motorsport.com, “I think it will be a long process before being close to 25 races. Probably so much emphasis on speculating and assessing 25 races, and at the moment we should concentrate on 22, which is the situation.”
“Now about what it does represent, here I may have a different point of view. I really feel that, and I include myself, we are so blessed to be in a world where we love what we do. We have the passion. We are privileged. Whoever is in F1 is privileged.”
“When I was in other positions [as Ferrari team principal], I was working 18 hours every day, seven days, six or seven days a week, because I had passion, I wanted a result.”
Todt who is also the UN’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, says that has opened his eyes. Saying the sport needs to thing also about the privilege it is to be in F1, when eight hundred million people are not able to eat and drink.
Adding, “we have to be blessed, and all those who are in F1, with much higher salaries, incidentally, than any other business, should be very happy.”
Perez will leave if not competitive at end of 2022
Sergio Perez says he will not stay in Formula One much longer if he is not able to fight near the front of the field after his current contract ends. The Mexican driver is entering his tenth season in the sport and is still looking for his first win.
He has recently signed a three-year deal to stay with Racing Point until the end of 2022, Perez joined the team in 2014 and believes that the regulation changes next years an opportunity for his team to make a big jump ahead, but admitted he is unlikely to extend his career further if he continues to fight in the midfield when his contract expires.
He told Autosport, “What gave me the hope is a change of rules and that I know what’s going on with the team. I have to be also realistic. I cannot be with Mercedes or Ferrari. [So] this is a fantastic place to be.”
“Many drivers would love to be here, especially with what is going on behind the scenes. So it’s a good opportunity. But obviously it’s going to be my tenth year in F1. If things keep going the same way I don’t see me extending my career much further than 2022.”
Perez also believes that Racing Point would not stand in his way if an opportunity with a top team were to arise. He says “don’t think there will be anyone more happy if an opportunity comes to me with a top team. They will for sure give me the opportunity. But if that’s not the case it is a fantastic place to be.”
Latifi chooses number six
Nicholas Latifi has chosen number six has his permeant race number, the Canadian will make his debut this season with Williams after finishing second in last year’s Formula Two, partnering George Russell at the British team.
He will be the only rookie on the grid for 2020, making him the only driver without an existing permanent number choice. Latifi has picked six, the number last used by Nico Rosberg in 2016 when the Mercedes driver took his only world title.
In a video posted on Twitter, he said “The reason I chose this is because I am from Toronto, and Toronto is known as ‘The Six’, basically because if you’re from there, your area code for your phone number is either 416, or 647. It’s a bit silly, but that kind of stuck, so I decided to choose that.”
It’s the first time since permanent numbers were introduced in 2014 that a number has been reused. Other drivers to use six in the past include Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Kimi Raikkonen.
Ticktum “one of the best”
Williams says driver Dan Ticktum is one of the best it has ever seen in its simulator, with the team confident it can harness the British youngster’s full potential.
Ticktum had a difficult season in 2019 racing in Super Formula where he did not deliver the results he had hoped for – and Red Bull dropped him from its young driver programme. The decision appeared to make it difficult for Ticktum to find his way back into the sport.
Williams picked him up as development driver. Despite Ticktum’s rollercoaster career so far, which has included two Macau GP victories but also a spell where he was banned from competing, Williams has confidence that it can get the best out of him.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams told Motorsport.com, “I am looking forward to working with him, and the team is as I know when we put him in our simulator the guys said he’s one of the best drivers they’ve ever seen.”
“I think he’s got great talent, and I think it needs harnessing. We have experience doing that. He knows what’s expected of him and how he needs to behave.”
She said he is part of a team and no one was bigger than the team. Ticktum has a reputation of having a strong personality and once got in hot water with Red Bull over outspoken remarks he made.
However, Williams believes he is more mature, and has a much better understanding of what is expected of him.
Bottas finishes ninth in Arctic Rally
Valtteri Bottas finished ninth at the weekends Arctic Lapland Rally in Finland, which was won by new Toyota World Rally Championship driver Kalle Rovanpera.
The Mercedes driver was driving a previous-generation Citroen DS3 World Rally Car, he started the weekend going second fastest in the second stage. However, he then dropped more than three and a half minutes on the final stage of the opening day when he went off on the second pass at the short 2.17-mile Mantyvaara test, dropping him to twenty-second.
On day two and following repairs, he recovered to make it into the top ten for the second year. Bottas’s deficit to rally winner Rovanpera was almost 10 minutes.
Rovanpera, who has joined Toyota’s WRC stable alongside Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans for 2020, drove a Toyota Yaris WRC in the same LK6 class as Bottas. The teenager won eight of the ten stages, ending the rally almost three and a half minutes ahead of his nearest rival Teemu Asunmaa.
No regrets in letting Sainz go to McLaren
Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko says he has no regrets about letting Carlos Sainz part ways with the energy drink giant, as he does not rate Sainz as highly as Max Verstappen.
The Spaniard was backed by Red Bull until the end of 2018 after he left the programme because he wasn’t retained by Renault. He was replaced by Daniel Ricciardo who filled his seat and led to Sainz being released to join McLaren.
while Gasly struggled to assert himself at Red Bull and was demoted back to Toro Rosso mid-season, Sainz flourished in his new surroundings, finishing the 2019 campaign a standout sixth in the drivers’ championship.
Asked by Motorsport.com, if he regretted allowing Sainz to go, he said “No. Sainz was comforted with one Max Verstappen [at Toro Rosso], and later we had to choose which one of the two to promote [to the main team in 2016]. And when you get right down to it – Carlos is quick, we would not have signed him otherwise, but he is no Verstappen.”
“We helped Carlos with his career and we didn’t have to let him go. But we allowed the move to Renault and then to McLaren. We have a good relationship, but at that moment there was a Verstappen there, and there’s a [performance] difference between the two.”
It is known that Sainz and Verstappen didn’t have the most harmonious relationship, which may have been a factor in why Gasly was chosen to partner Verstappen.
asked whether the factor Sainz’s ‘political’ father had played a part in the decision to release him, Marko said: “I wouldn’t say he has a political father, rather one of those motorsport fathers who doesn’t look at it objectively – which is understandable – and just always does what he thinks is best for his son.”
However, Marko in the past has said that Sainz Sr had played a role in unsettling his son.
Alonso finishes thirteenth in Dakar
Carlos Sainz Sr has won his third Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia, after finishing six minutes 21 seconds clear of defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah, who won Thursday’s final stage in Qiddiya.
The Spaniard now has three wins all with different car manufacturers, with this latest win for Mini joining triumphs for Volkswagen and Peugeot.
In his first attempt, two times champion Fernando Alonso finished thirteenth. Ricky Brabec won the motorbike section for Honda to become the first American to win the endurance race.
Portuguese motorcyclist Paulo Goncalves died following a crash on stage seven last week.