Mick Schumacher joins Ferrari
Ferrari has announced they are signing Mick Schumacher on “talent” rather than his name. The nineteen-year-old will enter Formula Two this year with the Prema team, the final feeder before Formula One.
Last week it was widely reported that the nineteen-year-old would join the team, with the deal being confirmed by the team over the weekend. As part of the deal, he will drive for the team at two of the five tests in 2019. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto also highlighted the teenager’s “human and professional qualities”.
Schumacher Jr said he would use Ferrari’s expertise to “extract whatever helps” him to achieve his “dream, racing in Formula 1”. His father, Michael won five of his record seven world titles with Ferrari.
Mick was with his father when he suffered severe brain injuries in the French resort of Grenoble in 2013. Last year he won the won the European Formula 3 title at the second attempt last year.
He said “ I am thrilled that Ferrari has entered a partnership with me and my next future in motorsport will be in red, being part of the Ferrari Driver Academy and also of the Scuderia Ferrari family Again, this is another step forward in the right direction.”
“I can only profit from the immense amount of expertise bundled there. Be sure I will make everything to extract whatever helps me achieve my dream, racing in Formula 1.”
Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto added, “For someone like me who has known him from birth, there’s no doubt that welcoming Mick into Ferrari has a special emotional meaning.”
“But we have chosen him for his talent and the human and professional qualities that have already distinguished him despite his young age.” Ferrari has insisted since Schumacher was linked to the team that it’s not his name but his talent which would see him earn his place.
Ocon believes he won’t be forgotten
Esteban Ocon believes that he will not be forgotten by Mercedes during his year out of Formula One, while he admits that “you don’t earn anything” on the sidelines.
The Frenchman has lost his seat at Racing Point this year to Lance Stroll after his father Lawrence lead the consortium which brought the team. Ocon also missed out on drives with other teams because of various other factors going against him.
Ocon will spend this year as Mercedes test and reserve driver, and he will be hoping that his results over the last two years will earn him a quick return to the grid in 2020.
Asked by Motorsport.com, what he can do on the sidelines to improve his 2020 prospects, he said “I don’t know about that. When you’re not racing you don’t earn anything. I hope that those two years were enough to prove I deserve a seat for 2020.”
Ocon has been backed by Mercedes since 2016 when he was picked up from the collapse of the Lotus programme. Having won the GP3 title he then raced in DTM, before his chance of a race seat in Formula One.
Ocon added, “I’m lucky, that’s a positive to have the massive support from Mercedes. Even in difficult times, they remember my potential and what I’ve done. That’s different to other junior programmes in F1.”
Brexit – Teams write to May about the impact of no deal
Three UK based teams and the national governing body have discussed writing to the British prime minister Theresa May about their concerns about a possible no deal Brexit.
The head of the national body Motorsport UK, David Richards has been lobbying the government over the departure of the UK from the European Union and spoke with three of the teams last week. The deal negotiated by Mrs May and the government was rejected by MPs earlier last week by 230 votes, the largest defeat suffered by a government in the House of Commons since the First World War.
The teams and UK nationals could face delays travelling to and from the European races this season if no deal is reached on customs, travel and cross border trade. Mrs May will set out her Plan B later on Monday.
Prior to the vote, the teams shared their concerns and agreed that a no deal Brexit needs to be agreed. They also agreed to not to name themselves but speak as one voice, however, it is believed to include one of the biggest teams.
They agreed that they wouldn’t take a pro-Brexit or anti-Brexit position, however, agreed that a no deal Brexit needs to be avoided. While no action has yet been taken, the teams believe that speaking collectively would be stronger than raising concerns individually.
They are worried about the impact a no-deal Brexit would have on their ability to move goods and people across borders in Europe. The other concerns include hiring staff from EU countries, particularly in manufacturing, as well as the cost of importing and exporting goods.
Richards warned last weekend that one outcome could be teams having “satellite operations” in Europe. Richards at last week’s Autosport International Show, “Something we should be so proud of is the top F1 teams and world champions based here.”
The impact of Brexit will likely extend beyond the teams to suppliers who import and export to the EU, as well as drivers, fans, team personnel and the media.
Ghosn calls for bail
The chairman of Renault Carlos Ghosn says that he will remain in Japan and follow restrictions if he is released on bail in Japan as he awaits trial on charges of financial misconduct.
Mr Ghosn was arrested by police in November on charges of financial misconduct and under-reporting his pay. He has applied for bail for the second time after being held in custody by police since November, the hearing is set for Monday.
In a statement, Mr Ghosn said “I remain imprisoned in the detention centre, 64 days after I was arrested, with no release in sight. As the Court considers my bail application, I want to emphasize that I will reside in Japan and respect any and all bail conditions the Court concludes are warranted.”
He denies three charges of financial misconduct, including understating his salary for eight years and temporarily transferring personal financial losses to Nissan’s books.
Liberty reports strong TV and digital growth
Liberty Media has reported a worldwide audience rise across television and digital platforms in 2018. The reports from the sports owners showed that new TV deals saw Brazil, China and the United States represent the top three markets in terms of television reach.
The global TV audience in 2018 was 1.758 billion, with 1.59bn in the top twenty markets, representing a three per cent rise on 2017 and the second consecutive year of growth. With those watching at least three consecutive minutes across the season, rose 10 per cent to 490.2 million.
F1 research director, Matt Roberts told the Reuters news agency “In today’s world, just having a flat TV number is a strong performance. We’re really pleased that we’ve seen growth for the second year in a row after many years of decline for the longer term trend.”
The Monaco Grand Prix had the highest cumulative audience of the season, showing a rise of 10 per cent year on year with 110 million viewers. Bahrain, France, Austria, Britain, Italy and Mexico, also had more than 90 million viewers.
As for digital growth on social media, the sport more than doubled its growth compared to 2017. That also reflects a low starting point, with previous commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone having little interest in using social media to attract a younger demographic.
Meanwhile, market research by IPSOS Mori shows that of the new fans sine Liberty took ownership of the sport, of new fans acquired in the last two years, 61 per cent were under 35 and 36 per cent under 25.
Sky to show testing live
Sky Sports have announced they will be showing live coverage of the afternoon sessions on the first four days of pre-season testing at the first pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The test runs from the 18th to 21st of February.
Sky will begin its coverage at 13:00 GMT and will provide insight and analysis until 18:00 GMT. Including an hour of post-session reaction, news and analysis from special guests, team bosses and drivers.
Selected highlights from the day’s broadcast will be available on Sky Go, On Demand and the Sky Sports digital products. As well as live text updates and analysis, online and via its rolling news channels Sky News and Sky Sports News.
Sky says its to broadcast 20 hours of live coverage from the test, the perfect way for fans to get up to speed ahead of the eagerly-awaited new F1 year.
Channel 4 is not expected to show extended highlights later in the evening but normally provide text-based updates. While BBC Sport will have updates via BBC.com/F1, updates on BBC News, BBC World News, BBC Radio and across their digital platforms.