Ecclestone ousted as F1 boss
Berine Ecclestone has left his post as Formula One chief executive. The departure of Ecclestone will be the biggest shock for the sport after forty years as CEO.
Liberty Media are on track to complete a £6.5bn takeover by the end of March. Ecclestone told the Auto Motor dun Sport he has been offered an honorary role of life president but he is unlikely to take the role.
He said “I was deposed today. I am simply gone. It’s official. I am no longer the leader of the company. My position has been taken by Chase Carey.
“My new position is one of those American terms. It’s something like an honorary president. I have this title now, even though I don’t know what it means.”
Asked about his future, he said: “My days in the office will be getting quieter now. Maybe I will attend a Grand Prix sometime in the future.”
F1 Vault’s Analyst Jason Fuller says “Not that shocked to be honest he’s been in charge for many years and some of the changes in recent years have been ridiculous I feel this would have been a long time coming if he was to leave.”
The final deal is still being negotiated and will be formally agreed tomorrow. If Ecclestone departs it would be the biggest change for the car dealer who turned an amateur motor-racing series enjoyed by enthusiasts into a multibillion-dollar business with millions of fans around the world.
Liberty are planning to turn the sport into events. Over the weekend there were suggestions that Liberty are planning a major overhaul to its management, with the possibility that Sean Bratches. There has been no comment from either Liberty or Ecclestone.
Vettel and Montoya take wins at Race Of Champions
Sebastian Vettel took victory for Germany and former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya has been crowned drivers champion at the Race Of Champions in Miami.
The four times champion, single handily took victory after team-mate and Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein was forced to sit out the race on medical grounds. Vettel now a seven times winner, after winning every year alongside Michael Schumacher between 2007 and 2012.
Vettel held of the fight from Team GB’s Jenson Button, McLaren and Channel 4’s David Coulthard and Nordic rally drivers Petter Solberg and Tom Kristensen by winning all four of his races to progress to the semi-finals.
The German then beat Montoya and Gabby Chaves, followed by Busch brothers Kyle and Kurt proved no match for Vettel in the final either, with the German finishing with a remarkable eight wins from eight races.
Vettel told Sky Sports “I had a better day than yesterday. It is a bit of a shame that Pascal is missing, but I did my best.”
“I had a clean day, no big mistakes, in the last round against Kyle I was a bit nervous because I nearly bogged it at the start, the revs dropped and the car nearly stalled, but I came back so really, really happy.” Added Vettel.
Mercedes harder to beat – Button
Jenson Button says that the new regulations could make Mercedes harder to beat. This season the new aerodynamic rules are being introduced which are aimed at closing the gap, But Button thinks the champion team’s power advantage could still be crucial.
Speaking over the weekend and ahead of the Race of Champions in Miami Button told Autosport “For anyone to catch Mercedes is a big ask, it really is. They’ve been so strong the last three years.”
“Nobody knows with completely different regulations. With the way the regulations are now, there’s a lot more drag. So you need massive amounts of power, which Mercedes seems to have.” The Brit says that he is hopeful that the changes will create a more open fight.
Next engine regs need to focus on entertainment
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the next engine regulations needed to be focused on entertainment, rather than being a platform for manufacturers to develop new technologies.
Since the introduction of the current regulations in 2014, the sport has face criticism as the engines don’t produce enough noise. But the new hybrid engines were introduced in order to tempt more manufacturers into the sport by shifting to turbocharged hybrid engines, but despite impressive gains in fuel efficiency, only Honda has returned since 2014.
The current engine agreement runs until 2020, bringing about the possibility for change at the end of the decade. The sport is at a ‘crossroad’ says Ros Brawn, does it continue on a path that leads towards electric motors or bring back the entertainment factor of screaming naturally-aspirated engines.
Horner told ESPN “I think the commercial rights holder needs to dictate that because he’s got to sell a product. For me F1 should be entertainment first and technology should play a secondary role.”
“I would prefer to go back to a normally-aspirated, screaming V10 engine with a standard energy recovery system.” Horner says that the technology is so complex and the sound is part of the advertising.
The sport has concern that if it was to return to the V8’s that would be a step backwards from the manufacturers point of view.
Horner says that he thinks “ building a formula around suiting just manufacturers is unhealthy. The manufacturers will choose to be in F1 just if it suits them and it gives the commercial return and advertising platform for their product.”
Wet running in Barcelona
The opening test of the season next month in Barcelona, will feature at least one day of wet weather testing so that teams can gain some experience of the new, wider rain tyres.
Pirelli have already been given two extra wet tests with the mule car before official testing begins in six weeks time. But they want teams to try the new rain designs before the Australian Grand Prix in March. The current plan is for this to happen during the first of Barcelona’s two tests, on February 27-March 2.
According to Autosport one of these days will be for wet testing, this has always been difficult to simulate, and teams were never keen to devote a full day of running to it, given their existing wet-weather tyre knowledge. Like with all the tyres this season they will be wider. This gives them a different cross over point.
Motorsport boss Paul Hembery told Autospsort “The only area where we will be working during this season is with the wet tyres, and we are trying to improve the warm-up time of the wet tyres – especially in relation to the standing starts. So that is one area where we will have development during the season”
McLaren announce 3D printing partnership
McLaren have announced a four year partnership with Stratasys to provide the team with a 3D printing suite and additive manufacturing solutions. The technology will work closely with the team ramps up manufacturing capacity at the McLaren Technology Centre.
Stratasys will supply McLaren with their FDM and PolyJet based 3D printing solutions and cutting edge materials for visual and functional prototyping. This includes composite tooling, and customised production parts
Andy Middleton, Stratasys President EMEA, said: “The speed and technological precision required to be the best in Formula 1 is a perfect fit for Stratasys. The two companies share a deep passion and commitment to push the technology envelope, as we prepare to define the new frontier of 3D printing”
Racing director Eric Boullier added “The ability to rapidly model, build and evaluate new components is an invaluable asset for any fastmoving and dynamic racing organisation.
“our new partnership with Stratasys will not only increase our output in that area, but also allow us to dynamically explore and utilise the cuttingedge of Stratasys’ new 3D printing innovations” he Added.