Tag Heuer switch to Red Bull
McLaren will lose it three decades long partnership with Tag Heuer at the end of 2015. Tag Heuer has been on the car since former CEO Mansor Ojjech came involved in the 80’s.
The company will instead sponsor the Red Bull team which as posed questions about their partnership with Casio. Speaking to Swiss magazine L’Hebdo, current Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Bivet said: “We have just signed Red Bull Racing in F1 for next season. It is a young, dynamic, go-getter, perfectly consistent with the TAG Heuer strategy.”
McLaren has confirmed the spilt with a spokesman saying “McLaren’s partnership with Tag Heuer has been one of the most successful and enduring sponsorships in sporting history. It has lasted 30 years, during which time both parties have achieved enormous success together.”
However, there partnership with the parent company will continue as they announced a partnership with Chandon last month. In recent years Vodafone and Hugo Boss ended or reduced their partnership with the team.
Open to F1 return – Booth
John Booth says he will be open to working in the sport again. Booth will leave Manor after five years with the team after reports that Booth and Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon over a difference of opinion with owner Stephen Fitzpatrick over the way forward for the team.
Manor has appointed ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan as its new racing director, but insists it is yet to offer the team principal role to anyone.
Booth says he has no plans to retire following being unemployed last year. He told Autosport “”It was always my ambition to retire early, but then I had three months of enforced retirement at the back end of last year, and it was not attractive to me.”
He said during the time he “buried (himself in gardening work as we’d just moved into a new house, and it was great for a couple of months getting up in the morning and just working without having to think about anything like F1 politics.”
Booth said there have been highs like Monaco last year when Jules Bianchi scored their first points in F1. While he didn’t want to say it he made it clear the lowest point came months later in Japan when Bianchi was involved in what we now know to be fatal accident.
Wurz & Witmarsh not interested in Manor
Alex Wurz has ruled himself out of being the Team Principal of Manor following the resignation of John Booth. Wurz will retire from racing after this weekend’s World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain.
However, he has told Manor boss Steven Fitzpatrick he has other plans. In Brazil it was announced that former McLaren Sporting Director Dave Ryan has been appointed as Sporting Director.
He left over his involvement in the events leading up to Lewis Hamilton’s lies to the stewards in Australia 2009 and his disqualification. Fitzpatrick said “We haven’t offered the post of team principal to anyone but I have been talking to a lot of people and asking for advice. I have asked a lot of people a lot of things.”
He added that he also spoken and offered Martin Witmarsh the post. He was ousted in a coup in January Witmarsh says he is “not looking for a team principal role in F1 full stop”.
He added that he would “definitely say no” if he was offered the position by Fitzpatrick.
BBC rights under treat?
Could Formula One on British free to air television be under treat as the BBC looks to save £150 million as a short fall in revenue looks to treated the broadcasters rights.
The BBC regained the rights from ITV in 2007 for the 2009 season and that contract expired in 2013 but in 2011 they renegotiated the contract bringing Sky who took half the live rights. They say the current cuts to the budget will be £35 million.
In recent years they lost the entire horse racing rights, live golf open rights, half the Six Nations and Moto GP. But it has spent £11 million on highlights of the English Premier League and wants to protect Wimbledon. 2016 is the year when talks may begin.
Rights holder Berine Ecclestone said he wants the BBC to stay on board and would be prepared to cut the fee the broadcaster pays. Speaking in August the Brit said “We’re not interested in the money. We’re interested in entertaining the public and doing a service. That’s what we are there for.”
“The continuation of the Sky/BBC deal would be good. It works at the moment so there is no reason why we should change. Sky has done a super job. They have lifted the level, and they have lifted the BBC.” He added.
Big changes to close the gap
Ferrari will be looking to make big changes over the winter in order to make another attempt to close the gap further. The team made significant gains by addressing its weaknesses.
Ferrari won three races in 2015, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene believes his team now can leapfrog the world champions. He says the team’s data shows the team is catching Mercedes.
He told ESPN “If you want my honest expectation [for 2016], it is not to be closer to them but to be in front of them. I tell you that with humility, but we are closer even now so we must be in front next year.”
The engine department has done a good job to be there on power and thanked the team for their work. However say he “knows we have other parts of the car where we have to work but this year it was not possible to make some huge changes. But we look forward for next year.”