REPORTERS – 06/08/2017

Features Reporters

Eddie Jordan has made a name for himself as a man who breaks stories. But, a claim that Mercedes is to walk away as a works team is ‘Fake News’ which prompted Jordan to say he didn’t say they would quit entirely

Mercedes quitting is fake news

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has called on Channel 4’s Eddie Jordan to stop repeating “fake news” about the future of the team in Formula One.

The former team owner has consistently repeated doubts about the German manufacturer’s commitment as a works team. He suggests that major sponsors could leave the team soon.

In Azerbaijan, Jordan claimed that the team could be sold to a group of Chinese investors.  Wolff is upset because Jordan’s comments have planted doubts in the minds of employees of both the race team and the Mercedes engine facility in Brixworth.

Wolff told Autosport “I stop laughing when it’s about making jokes on the back of 1500 employees that care about their future. And I said it in an interview with him, that this is a too serious a topic for me.”

“We are not leaving F1, none of our sponsors is leaving F1, we are pretty happy where we are.” Jordan remains adamant that Mercedes will withdraw if they are not getting enough from their investment.

He said “I’ve never said they will pull out. I’ve said Mercedes are in the business for marketing and technical reasons, they are not in the business of love.”

“And they will go when it suits them. I don’t think I said what the right time is.”

 

The halo has divided the paddock and fans, but now the FIA has used its veto to enforce the cockpit protection device it has prompted backlash from drivers but FIA President Jean Todt defended the move

FIA defends decision to impose Halo

The FIA has defended its decision to impose the halo cockpit protection device from 2018. Since the sport’s governing body made the announcement last week opposition from fans, teams and most drivers has grown.

The decision was announced following a  strategy group meeting last Wednesday where it is understood only one team supported its use. Some drivers have been opposed to its introduction from its inception.

The FIA says the halo increased survival rates by 17%, with the Aeroscreen not being as rigorously tested. Former three times world champion and Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda, told The Guardian “We are trying hard with faster cars and getting closer to the spectators to attract new fans to the sport. “But this now is destroyed by an over-reaction.”

“There is 100% a better solution than the halo. The halo destroys the DNA of an F1 car. The FIA has made F1 as safe as it gets.” The FIA responded to that, saying in a statement “Over the past decade motor sport has witnessed serious incidents that affected drivers.”

“The severity of the incidents made it clear to the FIA that developing a solution to mitigate against frontal impact in the area of the cockpit is a research priority.”

Over the last decade, there has been a number of incidents across motorsport where serious injuries and deaths have occurred because of impacts to the head.

Last year The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association asked the FIA president, Jean Todt, for some form of protection to be “implemented as swiftly as possible’’. The FIA continued testing a variety of devices and has now explained its adoption of the halo.

 

China is rapidly becoming a key market as the wealth of people in the country continues to grow could Formula One fans who have the passion for the sport lead to two races in the country?

Target China for growth

Formula One is to team up in a strategic partnership with the marketing agency Lagardere Sports to build partnerships and raise the profile of the sport in China, a region that Liberty Media sees a huge area for growth.

Liberty is targeting China and the United States as key areas where the sport can expand. There have been rumours that both countries could hold two Grand Prix’s each season.

In a joint statement Formula One and Lagardere said it  would “identify and secure strategic partners for Formula One in areas including event promotion, media rights, digital and brand partnerships, merchandising, talent development and racing team development.”

Formula One’s managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches, says that fans in the region have already shown they are some of the most passionate in the world.

He added, “We are keen to build on this, developing our brand through unique live entertainment experiences designed to get fans closer to the action.”

CEO of Largardere Andrew Gorgiou said that the middle class in China could grow to half a billion in the next five years. Lagardere could help Formula One tap that potential by developing premium local content.

Gorgiou said “that growth is huge, 400 million people over 12 or 13 years with disposable income to spend on entertainment and lifestyle. That’s a proxy for the size of the market

 

Is Formula One a sport, entertainment, development test ground or all three? The sports hitting a point where it needs to decide what it is are the words of Red Bull boss Christian Horner.  As the sport looks at the future regulations how important is the debate about what is Formula One?

F1 at a crossroads and decisions need making

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says that Formula One is at a crossroad and needs to make decisions now to be relevant in the next decade. The sport is currently debating what kind of engine regulations should be introduced from 2021.

The teams, Liberty Media and FIA have agreed broadly that the sport must remain the pinnacle of motorsport, but also find a solution that allows for cheaper, louder and sufficiently powerful engines.

Two meetings have already taken place about the future regulations, with teams doing further analysis will over the summer before being reviewed at the next meeting of F1’s Strategy Group in September.

Horner who represents the biggest non-works team, says the sport needs to find the correct balance between road-relevant technology and entertainment. Horner told ESPN, “I think what’s really interesting is that Formula One is effectively at a crossroads with the new regulations, because those regulations theoretically come in 2021.”

“There will be probably and eight to ten-year life on those engines, so what we are looking at is actually is Formula One’s relevance pretty much up to 2030,” He says Formula One needs answers today about what it is.

He added “I hope that with the opportunity there is with the regulation change that is being discussed at the moment that the fundamental aspects of cost, performance and attractiveness to the fans, therefore the noise, the acoustics of these engines, are a key factor in the set of regulations they come up with.”

 

London held the first F1 Live last month and with Silverstone activating a break clause in its contract. How difficult would it be to move the race to the streets or a park in the British capital according to McLaren’s Zak Brown?

London race a “tall order” – Brown

McLaren CEO Zac Brown believes that moving the British Grand Prix or holding one in London would be a “tall order” and believes that Silverstone is the only realistic venue to host the race.

The long term future of the race has been put in doubt after the circuits owner triggered a break clause meaning the race’s future after 2019 is uncertain. There has long been talk of the race being held on the streets of London, but the only credible options appear to be the Docklands or the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Brown believes a street race would be unlikely it would mean shutting down London down for a week. He told Motorsport.com “People are talking about a London GP, which I think in this particular instance is a tall order – and Silverstone will remain the home of F1 racing in England.”

When asked why he felt a London race would be too hard to put on, he said: “I think the infrastructure that would be required to put on a London GP would be unlike any other street race, unless you did it maybe around the Olympic Stadium or Olympic Park.”

The McLaren boss recently suggested that a way Silverstone could be saved is Liberty buying the circuit and turning it into a hub for Formula One. He also says he believes Liberty and the BRDC will reach a deal over the future of the race.

Brown says while he believes a race is unlikely a repeat of F1 Live could be copied around the world. Saying “I think it is an example of where Liberty have talked about 20 Super Bowls. What the NFL does, they come into the town of the week of the event and they take over the city with fan engagement to a whole new level.”

 

Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg collision during the latter part of last weekends Hungarian Grand Prix sparked a debate between the two. Hulkenberg and Magnussen continued with Hulkenberg labelling  

Magnussen a “wannabe Verstappen” – Hulkenberg  

Nico Hulkenberg’s spat with Haas’s Kevin Magnussen continues to rumble on this week with him labelling the Dane as “wannabe Verstappen.”

The pair clashed in the closing stages of the Hungarian Grand Prix, as Hulkenberg attempted a move around the outside of Turn Two with Magnussen forcing the Renault driver off the road at the exit of the corner and, despite holding onto the position, was later issued a five-second penalty for the incident.

Hulkenberg confronting Magnussen in the TV pen. Leading to this exchange;

Hulkenberg “Once again, the most unsporting driver on the grid.”
Magnussen “suck my balls, mate”
Hulkenberg “You did a really good job.”

Writing for Sport1 Hulkenberg wrote “I wish there were as many people talking about the race. At the moment we have different challenges in Formula One than the balls of a wannabe Verstappen.”

“I’m not the kind of guy to curry favour with the public after the race, and I don’t need to insult someone. If I have a problem with somebody, I go ahead and say what’s on my mind.”

Hulkenberg says  he was able to take Magnussen’s retort in good humour.

Saying “With Kevin it’s like having a little brother. You know he is not able to defend himself in any other way. Therefore, it’s easy to take his remarks with a smile on your face.”

 

That’s all from this edition of Reporters.

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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