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In the 2010 F1 season, Sebastian Vettel was crowned the youngest F1 champion ever at the final race. A year later, the German Red Bull driver had absolutely no problems defending his championship, locking it in with three races to go.
Formula One’s head honcho, Bernie Ecclestone, doesn’t seem pleased with how things went last year. Ecclestone is hoping that this season’s championship will go down to the final race in Brazil.
It’s not so much that Ecclestone wants a new F1 champion, but more that he wants the series to have life at the end of the season. Ecclestone believes that Vettel’s recent dominance of the sport could be harming it as interest wanes further on in the year if the championship is decided early.
“We always say this, but I hope the last race is going to be the one where the championship is won,” Ecclestone said Thursday. “We don’t want what happened last year, which was not too good … The only person that would say no to that would be Sebastian, but I think everybody else would agree with it.”
He went on to elaborate, ”But it wasn’t good. I am surprised we survived with (the TV ratings) we got right at the end. I often wonder whether people watch because of the championship or watch because of the particular race.”
Before Vettel, Lewis Hamilton claimed the crown in 2008 and Jenson Button was the 2009 champion. Button finished second last season, Hamilton was fifth.
The Nürburgring race facility is currently seeking a new operator, which has left a lot of race promoters and organizers wanting new contracts for the German race venue.
Newest to insist on a new contract is Formula One and Bernie Ecclestone, and currently the future of the biennial event doesn’t look good. But Ecclestone desires to found a solution and has no gripes to agree to a new contract so long as the government finds a new partner that agrees to have the race. The current F1 world champion, Sebastian Vettel, is German, which is probably motivating Ecclestone to want to resolve the contract issue as soon as possible.
Roger Lewentz, the relevant state governor minister has told the media that he is willing to meet with Ecclestone.
“We want to continue with formula one at the Nürburgring, but at a reasonable rate,” he said.
Thanks to a last-minute financial deal that came through to secure the $25 million in sanctioning fees needed for the new Circuit of the Americas to part of next year’s F1 circus, the US Grand Prix is back on track for 2012.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, had given the consortium that’s constructing the track in time for next season, until December 7th to come up with the money, otherwise the Circuit of the Americas risked being withdrawn from the 2012 racing schedule.
Ecclestone had said that providing the money upfront, as well as assurances that the required funding would be available for the race over the next 10 years, was necessary for the deal between F1 and the Circuit of the Americas to go ahead, even though previously, the Texas state comptroller said that the $25 million in public funds necessary for sanctioning wouldn’t have been made available until the start of the race next year.
Now that the money has been secured, work on constructing the circuit (which had been on hold since November 15th) could resume. The 2012 US Grand Prix is slated to take place on June 17th, one weekend after the Canadian Race in Montreal.
[Source: KXAN news]
Next year’s U.S. Grand Prix could be in jeopardy if organizers of the Austin, Texas race do not agree on a contract and pay fees by the end of next week. Formula One’s head honcho Bernie Ecclestone’s patience is clearly wearing thin with negotiations and does not want to wait beyond the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix race in San Paulo on November 27th for a decision to be made.
The first race to be held in the United States since 2007 has been hyped up and highly anticipated but Ecclestone has no problems calling it off if no deal is done. Some might believe that Ecclestone isn’t so focused on working out a deal for the Austin, Texas race since a deal has been settled for a grand prix in New Jersey for 2013.
As with everything else that makes the world turn, negotiations have come down to money, Ecclestone exclaiming that “they can’t bloody well pay,” and “the teams want paying.”
Ecclestone claims that the deal has been ongoing for 18 months now, and that he doesn’t have any contract with anybody concerning the race in Austin. As of Tuesday, construction at the Austin track was halted but Steve Sexton, Circuit of the Americas president, remains optimistic.
At the end of the day though, Ecclestone is clearly becoming impatient and frustrated with the negotiations. “Since we’ve been talking to the people in Austin we’ve done two or three deals with different countries. I don’t know what the problem is for America really.”
[Source: Reuters UK]
The world of Formula One has been flipped upside down by new regulations approving the switch from current V8 engines to V6 turbos. The rev limiter has also been lowered from 18,000 rpm to 15,000 as a major change. As a result, many companies associated with the commercial side of the sport are very concerned about a decline in popularity. Renault and the FIA want to see F1 become more environmentally active while Ferrari and Bernie Ecclestone feel that abandoning what F1 has become known for will affect ticket sales.
In fact, some companies and race promoters are becoming antsy and are threatening to move to IndyCar racing instead. Promoters feel that the signature engine note produced by the V8, V10 and V12 engines will be lost, and with it, a major part of Formula 1′s branding. Bernie Ecclestone cannot blame the companies and could hardly hold the race promoters at fault. Switching to V6 engines may prove to be trickier than imagined because the F1 is a bigger spectacle these days than it was in the past, when the racing itself mattered more than the commercial aspect.
Formula One’s governing body is planning to reconsider the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix and cast a revote among all teams, after its former president and one of its top drivers called for F1 to cancel the event among continued unrest.
“The way things are at the moment, we have no idea what is going to happen,” said Bernie Ecclestone, head octogenarian of the FIA corporate machine. Bahrain is slated to pay the FIA $40 million to host the race, but Ecclestone insists it isn’t about the money. “It is whether it is safe and good to have a race, that is the issue. We can change this by October 30 date by having a vote by fax if necessary. It can be done, and fast.”
So did it take Mosley to pipe up about Bahrain for the FIA to act, or was it inevitable all along? Well, head FIA president Dark Helmet Bernie Ecclestone is a buddy of his, and the two have stuck together through times of whips and chains thick and thin, and Mosley defends this new position from Ecclestone.
“I don’t think there is the slightest chance the Grand Prix will actually happen,” he said during a BBC radio interview. “Apart from anything else you cannot change the calendar, in the way that is proposed to change, without the unanimous agreement of the teams.”
Bahrain is still facing political turmoil as of recently, with police arresting protestors en masse. A vote to cancel the Bahrain race, currently scheduled for October 30th, would require a unanimous decision from all teams.
[Source: Times of India]
The FIA has just posted its 2012 Formula 1 schedule, and good news to race fans and Americans in general: in the world of international motorsports, our fair nation is once again significant!
That’s right, the 10th round of the 2012 Grand Prix schedule includes a date in Austin, Texas—the return of F1 to our shores since 2007, when the U.S.: Grand Prix at Indianapolis staggered on for two years after the embarrassing 2005 tire controversy. FIA president and Dr. Evil impersonator Bernie Ecclestone vowed in 2009 to never return to the U.S. again, but last year Austin was awarded a 10-year race contract on a brand-new track, the Circuit of the Americas, to be completed in time for next year’s race.
So mark your calendars for June 10th, for when the F1 circus storms into Austin to continue keeping it weird. Now that America is back on the international racing map, maybe we can embrace soccer next. Nah, one step at a time.
Due to the ongoing protests in Bahrain, F1 officials have officially pulled the plug on the Bahrain Grand Prix, originally scheduled for March 13th.
F1′s governing body, the FIA, and its president Bernie Ecclestone have decided to “postpone” the opening race of the 2011 season, instead starting in Melbourne, Australia on March 27th. A new date is still being considered to the already-full 20-race schedule.
The past few weeks have been full of speculation on whether the FIA would make a statement regarding the humanitarian issue. The deadly protests in Bahrain against the monarchy are still ongoing, and holding an F1 race there after such political upheaval would have been trivial, if not disastrous.
The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) will be sitting down on December 10 to vote on technical specification changes for the 2013 Formula One season, and the biggest change expected to be announced will be regarding the engines.
Rumors are circulating the web about the possibility of a return to four-cylinder, turbo charged engines. The last time a Formula One race car used a four cylinder unit was back in 1988. Since then, the engines have grown in size and the cylinder count has varied, but all engines have been normally aspirated.
The FIA wants to increase fuel-efficiency by 50% and the only logical way to achieve that it seems is to go with smaller engines with turbo chargers. Since many road cars these days have small, turbo charged engines to improve their efficiency, this move would increase public demand for such engines.
BBC Sport reports that great measures are being taken to ensure the speed of the sport is not sacrificed to achieve their goals, so the new 1.6-liter motors will still be able to produce around 750 hp, even though engine revs will also be limited to 10,000 rpm – current engines spin up to 18,000 rpm.
However, not everyone is in favor of these smaller engines. Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari are reluctant about the spec changes, and even F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has voiced his dislike for such huge specification changes. He believes these changes will cost a lot of money, especially in an era when all teams are trying to save money.
The final decision will be announced in a few days time, so watch this space for an update.
[Source: BBC Sports‘
Never one to miss an opportunity to make a dollar, Formula 1 magnate Bernie Ecclestone decided to pose with his bruised and battered face – the result of being mugged weeks ago – for Hublot watches, the official horological sponsor of Formula 1.
It seems that Bernie was wearing a Hublot at the time, and his new campaign will feature the tagline “See what people will do for a Hubolt”. We find it tasteless but strangely alluring…much like the watch featured in the Hublot ad campaign.
There’s a reason they call Formula 1 “The Circus.” Not only are race days a dramatic spectacle that draw thousands of fans from thousands of miles away, but also they can pretty much demand anything they want from cities for the right to host races. These “sanctioning fees” are anywhere from $25 million to $50 million per year, just for the right to have a race.
Although New York had been gunning for the world’s most glamorous racing series to return to the state after a 30-year absence, it seems as though Austin, Texas won (ahem, *bought*) that race, and the right. Now about those sanctioning fees…..
We’ve learned that the $25 million in taxpayer fees that were supposed to go to local governments to help support the race is actually going directly into Formula 1′s pockets for the sanctioning fees. A state law that was changed last year indicates that the state’s “Major Event Trust Fund” can use its funds for whatever it sees fit, including “attracting and securing eligible events.”
What that money isn’t going towards is the roughly $250 million needed to actually construct the facility and surrounding infrastructure, or actually supporting those local businesses. Where that money will come from, as of now, is a mystery.
[Source: The Statesman]
Eight Afghanis, four Iraquis, and four Vietnamese nationals were arrested at the UK border after a border patrol agent noticed the side door to Aston Martin Racing’s trailer appeared to have been forced open. The illegal immigrants had stashed away on the top shelf of the trailer, hiding behind the $1,000,000 LMP1 Race Car.
This news comes just a few days after several other illegal immigrants were arrested while trying to sneak into the UK on one of Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula 1 Management Trucks, carrying F1 Broadcasting equipment. When the driver arrived home, he discovered the immigrants and called authorities, who arrested them all.
What is it about racing rigs that they have become such popular methods of transport for illegals? It’s possible that at many checkpoints, especially before and after a well-known race, the folks in charge will simply wave race teams through, since it costs so much money to race they wouldn’t even bother smuggling drugs, but on the other hand…..
[Source: UK Telegraph]
But... GM still open to offers
It’s been said several times before, but GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre today told reporters that the company is shutting down its Swedish Saab unit. “We’re closing down Saab,” he said. “We’re winding it down.”
Recently GM hired on wind-down firm AlixPartners, but continued to say that it was evaluating proposals from several interested parties.
Whitacre today said that so far none of the proposals, which include bids by Dutch exotic car maker Spyker and investment company Genii Capital, have been any better than closing Saab.
Product boss Bob Lutz, notorious for producing quotable phrases did so again today, telling Automotive News that, “For years GM has been procrastinating when it comes to Saab. I’m glad to see that for once GM is sticking with a decision to wind something down.”
Over the 20 years that Saab has been owned by GM, not once did it turn a profit.
The wind-down will begin, however, Whitacre said GM continues to keep its eyes and ears open should a viable proposal be put in front of them. Today, Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri reported the Genii, backed by Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, will have financing arranged for a cash bit shortly.
[Source: Automotive News]
The future of Saab just became a little more certain today. Or did it?
General Motors has released in a statement that it has hired on AlixPartners to oversea the wind-down of its loss-making Saab unit. In other words, GM is planning to close the doors on the Swedish automaker, sending the company into liquidation and the employees to the soup kitchen.
But hold on… GM also announced, in the same statement, that it has received several proposals by companies looking to purchase Saab and that it is, “continuing to evaluate these proposals.”
Yesterday GM delayed a board meeting that was to decide the fate of Saab, with rumors that it had given until today to get clear proposals from the two main interested parties: Dutch exotic car maker Spyker and and a newly interested party, Genni Capital.
Recent reports have tied Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone to the Genni Capital bid.
GM has been trying to off-load Saab since it emerged from bankruptcy, with previous efforts, including a sale to Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg, having fallen through.
Official GM press release after the jump: