Welcoming EU investigation
Berine Ecclestone does not blame Force India and Sauber for launching a complaint with the European Union.
The teams are complaint on anti-competition grounds because of the way the way revenues in the sport are shared. The focus will be around the governance and payment structure of the sport which are negotiated by commercial rights holder Ecclestone and F1 owner CVC Capital Partners.
Currently the big four (Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and Williams) receive the majority of the money made by the sport which the small teams hope will be changed. Ecclestone told Autosoprt “We haven’t discouraged or encouraged anybody to do anything. That’s what the European Union is there for, for these sorts of things.”
He added “They [the teams] must give it a go, and if they’re successful it’s good, and if not then it costs nothing.”
If an investigation is launched and it is found that F1 is culpable of an abuse of power in the way it handles its affairs, a fine of 10 per cent of turnover (which last year was £1.06billion) can be levied, as well as forcing a shakeup of its structure.
Ecclestone added he has no ill feeling towards Force India and Sauber in their bid to compete on a more equal financial footing.
Season to start in March
Organisers of the Australian Grand Prix have confirmed they have brought the race back to the traditional mid-March slot. Organisers and FOM have moved it forward to create the three week eastern break.
The race will now take place on the 20th of March subject the approval of the World Motorsport Council.
The race is normally supported by a non-championship round of the Australian V8 Supercars series which will most likely change its season because the second round is scheduled for that weekend
Points early in 2016
Romain Grosjean believes that Haas will score there first points early next season because of their “different approach”. Yesterday he was anouced as the teams lead and first signing.
He said “From what I’ve seen so far, we should be able to run straight away without the problems for new teams, which was part of my reason for the decision.”
He said he thinks it will be “really good to score a few points early in the season.” The team will share some components with Ferrari after agreeing a technical partnership with Ferrari. Haas has used Ferrari wind tunnel earlier this season to develop their own chassis which is requirement of the regulations.
Grosjean added “I like the idea – the partnership with Ferrari – I like the way everything has been going; I like the fact it’s going slowly but nicely and as I said in the media recently.”
News In Brief
McLaren sponsor – Chandon has been announced as a sponsor for McLaren. They will replace the Johnnie Walker brand which is part of the LVHM group which owns both brands
Happy 18TH – Max Verstappen celebrated his eighteenth birthday by passing his driving test on his first attempt. The Dutchman tweeted a picture of him in his road car and “Legal to drive. Born to race! #driverlicense”
Pressure on Ecclestone over tyres
Pressure is building on Berine Ecclestone to open talks with Michelin rather than Pirelli about a three year contract from 2017. The pressures has been caused by two high-speed failures at last month’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The sport’s governing Body has approved both suppliers on technical and sporting grounds, leaving the decision and commercial side to Ecclestone. The FIA now has questions following two high-speed failures at last month’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Teams and drivers have had concern about the supplier with one leading figure who wants to be anonymous telling the BBC “There is a number of people making that position clear to Bernie.”
Earlier this month Ecclestone and Pirelli were told by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and team bosses that according to one source “none of these drivers have any faith in your capabilities as F1’s tyre supplier.”
The drivers were asked not to express their concerns in public. One driver added “We agreed to carry on talking to Pirelli, but that’s not the main question. The question is could they produce the tyres we want even if they were asked to?”