Liberty trying to wipe me from history
Formula One Chairman Emeritus Bernie Ecclestone has accused the sports new owners Liberty Media of trying to remove him from the history books.
Ecclestone was ousted by Liberty in January, following the takeover by the US media company. His role has been split between Ross Brawn in charges of the sporting regulations and Sean Bratches working on the commercial side, with both reporting to new chief Chase Carey.
Ecclestone who had planned to stay on as CEO until the end of this season, but says Liberty they are trying to minimise the influence he has on the future direction of the sport. Ecclestone told the Mail on Sunday “I can’t do anything. Even the staff have been told they shouldn’t talk to me.”
“They want to get rid of the Bernie era: ‘Let’s get rid of Bernie’s history’. They always say the same thing, they probably think it makes me happy but it doesn’t: ‘He has done a super job but we have to move on’, and they may be right.”
Ecclestone has defended the way he has run the sport. Saying he treated it like a restaurant where everyone wanted a seat and that’s why he was strict with paddock passes.
“Liberty’s philosophy is more open. They have an American culture and at an American race everyone is in the paddock and the pits and they can chat with the drivers and sit in their cars.” He added
Mercedes teams get upgrade for Melbourne
Mercedes have announced that all their teams will use the latest engine specification for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, despite suggestions there are concerns over reliability.
Since the last test, there have been concerns about a potential problem with its crankshaft. This could have forced it to delay using the latest specification of power unit. However, sources within the team say the reports are ‘bulls***’ and the team is sticking to their plan to run the upgraded version.
The German manufacturer has made major changes to its power unit and there are rumours that the dyno has been producing up to 70bhp more horsepower. Also, it is widely believed, the engine was being run in a more conservative mode in Spain.
This allowed it to trial experimental parts and manages components it is not yet convinced need to be brought into action. One issue it’s believed they have had is with the MHU-K with a solution being found to make the engine bullet proof.
The engine token system has been abolished, this season which will give the manufacturers more chance and unlimited improvements to their power units.
If the manufacturer has run its engine in a conservative mode and that’s why Ferrari was miles ahead. Mercedes are widely expected slightly later in the first half of the season that Mercedes will unleash the full potential of their car.
Manufactures main players – Stroll
Renault says manufacturers should be considered the ‘main players’ in the sport because of the amount the contribute.
As Formula One heads into what Renault’s Motorsport President Jerome Stroll believes is a new era, he said the French manufacturer is ready to play a central role in shaping the future. Stoll told Motorsport.com “We’ve had some discussions [with Liberty]”
“We explained that we should work together in order to increase the show because the attractiveness of the show has decreased a little bit.”
“We have to open a new era with Liberty, and they are really willing to do something different. I don’t know what that’s going to be, but we want to be considered as the main players for the show.” Stroll says without the manufacturers there is not going to be a show.
Negotiations are expected to begin later this year over the Concorde Agreement which binds the rules and commercial agreements between the teams, the Formula One Group and the FIA together.
One of the things which up for discussion is the way revenues are split between the teams. Which stroll admitted was unviable for the small teams.
He says “We should work together to increase the audience – which is a ‘chicken and egg’ process. If you increase the show you’re going to increase the audience, but you can increase the audience as well by touching people in different ways.
News In Brief
- Gutierrez goes electric – Former Haas and Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez will make his Formula E debut next weekend for Techettah at his home race. He will replace Ma Qing Hua for the rest of the 2016-17 season.
- Stinking gap – Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that the team’s gap to the rest of the field appears to have shrunk. Wolff told Sky Sports, that the team is managing expectations and faces a challenge to retain their titles.
Williams stronger than Mercedes – Lowe
New Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe, says his new team is already stronger than Mercedes. Lowe returned to Williams last week, the team where he started his career, after spells at McLaren and Mercedes.
Lowe who has guided Mercedes to three back to back drivers and constructors has been playing down the chances of his return having an immediate impact on the team. However, he has said he has already identified areas where the team is very strong.
Speaking Motorsport.com Lowe said “The first stage is to get to know the team and see how I can bring value. The challenge is how to make the best with what you have available to get the best gains and the best value from it.”
“That’s no different whether you’re working from one particular base, as I might have in another team, or what we have here.” Lowe says the process is exactly the same, but thing is much better at Williams.
Speaking about his return he described it as emotional. saying “it’s very, very special to come back and in effect take on the position of my original boss, Patrick (Head)”
“The same time, this is not about the sentimental side, this is about going forward and not telling old stories.” He added
We can do better says Haas
Hass’s owner Gene Haas, says his team can do even better this season. Speaking to F1i Haas said, “It’ll be just as challenging as it was last year.”
“I think with the knowledge we have, we should actually perform a little bit better this year. I think by the end of last season we silenced the critics and, now, most people see us as a serious competitor.”
Haas says the season ahead will be as challenging as last year but says his team should do a little better because they have more knowledge. Haas added, “I think by the end of last season we silenced the critics and, now, most people see us as a serious competitor.”
Team principal Guenther Steiner says he doesn’t think that the second season is going to be harder. However, he says the team predicted they would have big issues last season, but the team did relatively ok, finishing eighth in the constructors.
Haas should have more experience says Steiner and “Our partners, Ferrari and Dallara, they were better prepared.”
He says the team’s preparation for this season and hopes the performance is better.
Rosberg wants involvement in motorsport
Mercedes ambassador Nico Rosberg says he want to maintain involvement in motorsport, following his retirement in December. The current world champion shocked the world when he made the announcement would be quitting with immediate effect.
Rosberg has yet to decide what he will do in the long term, but has a contract as Mercedes ambassador and made it clear he will not return to the driving seat competitively. He told Sports Bild “I’m looking for new ways and I’m positively relaxed about it.”
“One thing is for sure: I want to stick with racing in some capacity, whatever it may be. But I won’t be coming back as a driver, no way. I’m thankful even though I put my life upside down by retiring from the sport.” The German says he hasn’t ruled out team management or more likely assisting others in their careers.
Asked about team management he said he wouldn’t say no, but his priority is on social projects helping the less privileged and children.
But added “There are plenty of [other] possibilities. One could be, for example, to help other drivers to be successful, maybe as counsellor or in a management capacity.”
Bottas admits it will be a “Difficult year”
Valtteri Bottas has admitted he is facing a “difficult year” as Lewis Hamilton’s new team-mate but says he is ready for the challenge of the three-time champion.
In seventy-seven races, the Finn is yet to take a race win, but he has taken nine podiums. Hamilton currently sits second on the all-time winner’s list and is the most successful British driver in the sport’s history.
But it was him and not Hamilton who set the team’s fastest lap in testing and Bottas say he can fight for regular wins ahead of this weekend’s season-opener in Australia. He told The Times “It’s going to be a difficult year against Lewis.
“He’s a great driver and a champion and I haven’t won a race so in theory, the odds are for him. But I know what I’m capable of in a winning car.”
Bottas knows that to retain the seat long term he needs to prove himself, especially as Fernando Alonso and Sebastian are out of contract at the end of the year.
He said “I know this is a special opportunity and I have a lot of things to prove to secure my place for the long term. That’s how it goes.”
“I’m fine with it. It’s a massive opportunity for me this season to prove myself. I’m only here to win. That’s the only thing.”