Brown to take senior McLaren role
BBC and Sky Sports say they have learnt that Zak Brown has taken a senior role at McLaren following the removal of Ron Dennis. Dennis was removed last week in a coup which placed him on gardening leave by fellow shareholders pending the end of his contract in January.
Brown has been linked to the job with McLaren and the new owners of the sport liberty media, which he turned down. Dennis remains a shareholder and last week lost a bid to prevent his removal as chairman, but is believed to be considering legal action against his employer and fellow shareholder.
Sources close to F1’s commercial rights-holder Berine Ecclestone said Mr Brown had informed them at the weekend that he had opted to take the McLaren job, and said an announcement was likely to be made as early as Monday.
There is also questions whether Dennis’s shareholding allows him to block other board appointments.
If Brown gets the job he has major issues to solve, the teams performance financially, competiveness on track and a lack of a title sponsor. But Brown has the experience from America and one of the most influential motorsport media-owners in the world.
Mr Brown could not be reached for comment, while McLaren declined to comment.
Honda not McLaren’s biggest challenge
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso believes that Honda will not be the biggest challenge for the team next season. Honda had a difficult start to their return to the sport last season, but this season they have made progress on track.
Their progress have meant that both Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button to be in the points more regularly which means the team are current sixth in the constructors championship. Speaking to Autosport “On the engine side we learned a lot this year, much more than last year because last year with the power unit, we had to survive,” said double world champion Alonso.
“We had to make it last until the chequered flag. It was down on power, down on battery, down on reliability, down on everything so it was difficult to learn because it was just to make it run.” Alonso added he is confident of making more progress and fine-tuning the engine for next year, saying it will pay off more in 2017.
The new regulations next season will lead to faster cars, with aerodynamic and tyre changes. With Alonso saying he hopes that the size and capabilities of McLaren will allow them to react well to the challenge.
Adding “Next year we want to do the final step and fight much more than this, We have a great opportunity with new rules because everything will mix and if we are able to produce a quick car in race one we have a chance to do well.”
Silverstone in talks with Russian investors
A group of Russian investors are believed to be in exclusive talks with the owners of Silverstone according to The Telegraph. Silverstone is currently owned by the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), who are trying to sell the circuit which has made a loss of £55.2 million over the last five years.
This is just the latest twist in the sale which has seen the suspension of managing director Patrick Allen for being too close to a bidder, Porsche trying to block Jaguar Land Rover over a the use of circuit and Allen labelling F1 as a ‘s*** product’ which is becoming increasingly difficult to sell to fans.
One member of the BRDC and senior figure in the automotive industry told The Telegraph who we believe to be Neil England said he has “been told that the bid is being fronted by former Silverstone chairman Neil England with Russian money. There are a group of members now that are absolutely up in arms”
“and are planning to put a note to the board saying “If this is the case, and this is what you are honestly proposing in the face of a proper offer from Lawrence Tomlinson, then quite frankly we are going to ask for an EGM [Extraordinary General Meeting].’”
Added Mr England, who according to the BRDC member, has resigned from chairman of the company contradicting the records at Company House and declined comment on whether he is behind the current bid, when aske by The Telegraph.
Ericsson to say with Sabuer
Sauber have announced that Marcus Ericsson will stay with the team for a third season. Ericsson joined the team in 2015 following the collapse of Caterham where he made his debut in 2014.
The news was expected as his sponsors where involved earlier this year in supporting the team financially as the team struggled to pay wages. Ericsson had a strong 2015, but this season because of the lack of funding has not scored points
However, with the new investment Ericsson has confidence in the team saying “It is great news that I will be racing for another year for the Sauber F1 Team. I have spent two years with Sauber now, and I really feel at home. Big thanks to everyone within the team for trusting in me again.
“I have developed a lot as a driver during my time at Sauber. We have had ups and downs, but we always stick together and work as hard as we can. Since the new ownership, there has been a positive push in the team, so it will also be exciting to go into this new era.”
His team-mate Felipe Nasr future still hangs in the balance due to complications with sponsorship.
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn added “During the current season Marcus has again showed he is willing to go that extra mile in order to make progress. He went through very difficult times with us, but managed those very well.”.
“He is not only a good driver, but also an important team player who understands how to work with the team and how to motivate everyone with his positive attitude”
Mercedes strongest as ever – Lowe
Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe say that Mercedes is as “strongest it has ever been” at the moment and says the stress of the title race between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg is being handled in a “very professional” manner.
Hamilton and Rosberg are the only drivers who can take the title this weekend with the odds looking to be in the favour of Rosberg taking hisa first title. Lowe told Motorsport.com “”The best seasons are the ones where it goes down to the wire at the final race, and we’ve created that again. They are both deserving champions, so we’ll see what comes.
“Credit to Lewis, he’s been working well in the last few races. Fantastic focus, discipline, and great driving. As we’ve seen, he’s put a win in every time. Lewis is one of the best drivers in F1 history.” Lowe added that when Hamilton hooks it up he is difficult to beat.
Lowe’s message to both of them is that “they’re both in great shape, a very good mood, very professional, very good-humoured.” Lowe said that they are at their strongest now, in a very good mood, professional and humoured.
Ecclestone says Southeast Asia could be dropped
F1 CEO Berine Ecclestone has cast doubt over the future of races in south-east Asia after saying that Singapore no longer wants to hold the race after next year.
Meanwhile, Malaysia are considering pulling out of holding the race because of declining ticket sales and TV viewership, the region could be left without a race for the first time since 1998. The race in Marina Bay costs £85 million ($105.05 million) every year, with sixty percent funded by the government.
Next season sees the end of their contract to hold the race, but speaking to Auto Motor und Sport, Ecclestone suggested negotiations over a further extension have not gone well., “Look at what we have done for Singapore.”
“Yes, the grand prix has cost Singapore a lot of money, but we’ve also given them a lot of money. Singapore was suddenly more than just an airport to fly to or from somewhere. Now they believe they have reached their goal and they do not want a grand prix anymore.”
In an email from the organisers a spokeswoman said “We don’t comment on ongoing commercial negotiations.” Ecclestone is outspoken about negotiations, but for the city it seen as one of the most important races on calendar.