REPORTERS – 15/01/2017

Features Reporters

Last year F1 got new owners in the form of US media giant Liberty Media. How are they getting on with the £3.3bn takeover ahead of a key week next week for the takeover?

Crucial week for Liberty takeover

Liberty Media’s planned takeover of Formula One is set for discussion at next weeks extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council. Next week is set to be a key week for the deal, as the shareholders are likely to agree the takeover of the sport by the US media giant.

Last year the company agreed to buy a 19.1% stake in the business and said they were looking to investors to fund the £3.3 bn takeover of the sport. In December Liberty said it had raised some off the money needed and later that month  that it had cleared one of its last remaining hurdles with approval of its purchase of F1 having been given by the appropriate anti-trust authorities

A statement read “Closing of the acquisition remains conditioned upon approval by Liberty Media’s stockholders of the issuance of LMCK shares in connection with the acquisition at a special meeting scheduled for Jan 17, 2017 and approval from the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, the governing body of Formula 1.

“The acquisition is still expected to close before the end of the first quarter in 2017” This also will see the WMSC meeting the day before as well as a strategy group and commission meeting.

 

‘pay driver’ often brings up images of accidents and teams running drivers for the money they bring. But, why does Claire Williams believe the words have an negative image?

Ms Williams doesn’t understand criticism of pay drivers

Claire Williams the Deputy Team Principal of Williams says she doesn’t understand the criticism of Formula One drivers who bring financial support for their teams.

This season the eighteen year old Lance Stroll will make his debut for the team, following the support of his billionaire father Lawrence who has over seen his rapid rise into F1. Stroll’s programme has been similar to the one by countryman Jacques Villeneuve.

The sport has face criticism in recent years for pushing for younger and younger drivers as well as promoting young drivers who bring significant financial support over those with greater ability but less monetary might. But Ms Williams says the loss of manufacturer support and sponsors; because of the 2007-08 banking crisis is to blame.

Williams told Autosport “With every driver in Formula 1 there are commercial considerations for any TP [team principal]. [Fernando] Alonso comes with financial backing – maybe not personal but he attracts sponsors, Santander is there because of him; Jenson [Button] exactly the same thing; Sergio Perez.”

“I don’t understand why in this sport that is such big business, and where teams rely on having budgets in excess of a million sterling if they’re to succeed, why there is such a negative connotation around having a driver that brings backing.” Ms Williams also pointed out it’s a wider motorsport issue.

She said that people criticise drivers who have backing without the support the teams wouldn’t survive and then the sport may not survive.

 

The viability of the sport is once again in the spotlight as Manor headed back into administration. But what does Ross Brawn who ran the biggest and the smallest believe need to be done?

Brawn F1 needs to be viable

Ross Brawn says that Formula One must work to ensure the financial model of the sport needs to be viable for the smaller teams in the sport. On Friday, Manor fell into administration after failing to secure new investors.

Over the last decade the issue of cost has been high on the agenda since the economic down turn and the 2009 budget cap row. Brawn believes its in F1’s best interests to create more even playing field for all teams as it would create an element of unpredictability for fans.

Asked what F1 could do to help smaller teams, Brawn told ESPN: “Well, that’s an interesting point, because I think that should be one of the objectives. One of the objectives should be looking at what can be done to reduce the margin between a small team and a big team.”

“And can things be done to reduce the performance gain that comes from the level of investment the big teams can make.” Brawn added it an interesting point how can you level out the sports costs to make small teams viable.

Brawn feels that money will always play a role in success in Formula One, and feels his team’s famous title success in 2009 — done after Honda’s sudden withdrawal from the sport — is an unfairly portrayed as a team winning despite having no money.

He says the Brawn GP example is not good for the sport because they had funding before Honda’s they withdrew from the sport. Brawn added “If we can create that then you get a much healthier flow of young drivers because it is a meritocracy based on their talent and not their commercial backing.”

Saying small teams depend so much on drivers with commercial backing it influences decisions. F1’s payment structure has been a source of criticism in recent years and prompted Sauber and Force India to lodge a complaint with the European Union in 2015.

 

Silverstone faces a uncertain future despite there long contract. Redevelopment costs and others pressures, plus the saga over the sale of the circuit means it faces breaking the contract. But post Brexit says the BRDC’s President say the government need to support the race?

Silverstone talking to government over future

BRDC President Derek Warwick says that Silverstone is in talks with the government about the future of the British Grand Prix. Over recent weeks a letter from the owners suggested the circuit was thinking about activating a break clause.

Silverstone has a contract for the race until 2026, however has a clause allowing it to give three years notice of their intention to break the deal which would need triggering by July. However Warwick says that the triggering of the clause doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the contract.

Speaking at Autosport International, Warwick says talks are on-going the government as well as F1’s incoming owner Liberty Media and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone gives him hope.

“We sent a Christmas note to our members giving them an update of Silverstone. A lot of that came out as [there was] the possibility of activating the break clause before the grand prix this year, for 2019.

“Don’t worry, we 100% have it for next three years, up until 2019.”

“I have just got a feeling that, ‘we can’t do without the British Grand Prix, we can’t do without Silverstone’, so some compromise will be made, either with Bernie or the new people that are now taking over, which is Liberty.” Later in the interview said Liberty and Chase Carney understand the dilemma.

Warwick added “There is light at the end of the tunnel, we will have grands prix past 2019. We’re talking to government to see if there is any help there. Even Bernie is calling us and saying ‘let’s set up a meeting and we’ll talk about it.”

He admitted there are things they want to do but there short of cash and thing are positive at the moment.

 

Next week the World Motor Sport Council will vote on the takeover by Liberty Media. Shareholders will debate the deal next week to but how crucial is the next week for F1? 

Crucial week for Liberty takeover

Liberty Media’s planned takeover of Formula One is set for discussion at next weeks extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council. Next week is set to be a key week for the deal, as the shareholders are likely to agree the takeover of the sport by the US media giant.

Last year the company agreed to buy a 19.1% stake in the business and said they were looking to investors to fund the £3.3 bn takeover of the sport. In December Liberty said it had raised some off the money needed and later that month  that it had cleared one of its last remaining hurdles with approval of its purchase of F1 having been given by the appropriate anti-trust authorities

A statement read “Closing of the acquisition remains conditioned upon approval by Liberty Media’s stockholders of the issuance of LMCK shares in connection with the acquisition at a special meeting scheduled for Jan 17, 2017 and approval from the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, the governing body of Formula 1.

“The acquisition is still expected to close before the end of the first quarter in 2017” This also will see the WMSC meeting the day before as well as a strategy group and commission meeting.

 

Renault’s internal turmoil became public this week claiming the Team Principal Fred Vasseur. But why did decide he quit?

Differences caused me to quit – Vasseur

Outgoing Renault team principal Fred Vasseur has told Motorsport.com that differences in senior management was the reason he stood down as team principal.

Today, Renault announced that it had parted company by ‘mutual agreement’ with Vasseur and that president Jerome Stoll and managing director Cyril Abiteboul would now run the outfit together.

In his first interview, Vassuer explained he had come to the conclusion that Renault’s chances in F1 would be hindered if there continued to be differing views about what needed to be done.

In an exclusive interview, Vasseur explained “The reason is that there was too much different vision in the management of the team, so at this stage I think it makes sense for me to leave.”

“For the Renault team also, if you want to perform in F1, you need to have one leader in the team and one single way. If you have two different visions then the result is that the work inside the team is slow.” He said that discussions failed to find a compromise and following leave in december he made the decision last week.

Vasseur admits there is some sadness in leaving the staff who had made great efforts last year, but he felt it would have been wrong to carry on. “ It is a small frustration, but I have a positive feeling that we did all together a good job on some points: in terms of recruitment, in terms of restructuring the company and also in track operations.”

Vasseur says he thinks the team will be challenging for the top five this season because of the work to lay the foundations. He is yet deciding what his future would hold, but he had no doubt he would return to a racing role outside of F1.

 

That’s all from Reporters for this week.

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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