Formula One rife with rumours of Bernie Ecclestone PLOT for breakaway championship – Daily Star



bernie formula one

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CHANGE: Rumours are rife that Bernie Ecclestone could be plotting a breakaway championship

And the billionaire, 87, who built F1 into a world force, could have the support of grand prix legends Ferrari.

The Italian giants are enraged that Liberty Media, the US company that bought F1 in a shock takeover, have announced they are poised to slash Ferrari’s massive fee deal set up by Ecclestone.

Reigning champions Mercedes are unhappy with the Liberty Media set-up and influential boss Toto Wolff has come out in support of angry Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne who has threatened to pull his team out of F1.

Late last year Marchionne said: “If Liberty make changes I do not want to play any more.”


“There is the possibility to create an alternative championship from 2020-21”


Sergio Marchionne

And, without citing his firm friend Ecclestone as a likely planner, he also added: “There is the possibility to create an alternative championship from 2020-21.

“And if Liberty Media think we are bluffing then they are playing with fire.”

Wolff said: “If I were F1’s new promotor Liberty Media I would not continue provoking Marchionne with unacceptable or non-sensical demands.

“We are looking for evolution, not revolution.”

Those statements, along with the fact former F1 leader Ecclestone is unhappy with the replacement outfit’s future aims, has contributed to the rumours of a rival title chase gaining momentum.

And Ecclestone, who still attends grands prix around the world, said: “I think Liberty want to make life difficult for me.

“I went to the Bahrain grand prix last year and had an office in the control tower but this time they dumped me in the VIP area outside the paddock.”

He knows that the top teams are on a collision course with Liberty Media as their prize money, linked to F1’s financial performance, is under threat of a cutback.

Revenue from the 2017 season, Liberty’s debut year, slumped £13m – the biggest drop for a decade. 

Meanwhile, in today’s Chinese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton started fourth on the grid with Sebastian Vettel on pole position, after winning the opening two races.



Bleep secures worldwide Formula One contract – Lancashire Business View


Preston-based technology firm Bleep UK has agreed a deal to supply payment systems for the merchandise sold at this year Formula One world championship.

Bleep UK Formula One

The deal covers apparel and merchandise sold on-site by Fanatics, with Bleep UK handling the eletronic point of sale equipment.

Over the course of the next eight months, over 700 compact, all-in-one, Bleep TS-910 EPOS Terminals will be deployed to the trackside souvenir tents across the globe.

Each terminal features a built-in receipt printer and barcode scanner, with a customer facing video display to engage with fans at the point of sale. The stores will sell team and driver merchandise, as well as official F1 licensed products and unique items from each individual Grand Prix location.

The 2018 Formula One season got underway with the Australian Grand Prix on the 25th March, with Bleep’s first installation taking place in Bahrain this past weekend.

Bleep will be involved at the Grand Prix in China, Azerbaijan, Spain, France, Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Russia and Abu Dhabi.

The largest installs will be Silverstone, Great Britain with 141 Bleep TS-910s with integrated Ingenico iPP350 Payment devices, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy with 57 and the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore with 77.

Fanatics was selected to lead a revamp of the F1 Championship’s merchandise strategy, developing an experience better suited for Grand Prix fans by moving away from the ‘small-store’ model seen previously. Bleep were identified as an integral part of the store management and experience.

John Wellman, group CEO of Bleep, said: “Events’ organisers are now finally waking up to the benefits of EPOS solutions and, in particular, what we here at Bleep can offer; leading to an increase in revenue, an enhanced customer experience, better security and more control over the retail and hospitality operations at their events.

“To be selected as the EPOS and Payments partner of the global leader in event retail and merchandising is a real honour and one that firmly illustrates our dominance in events and pop-up environments. In the past six years since the London 2012 Olympic Games we have catered for over 30 world class events with our tills seamlessly transacting over a billion pounds”.

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Motor racing: F1 owner in talks over China venture to boost market push – sources – Reuters


BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One is in talks with potential Chinese partners to set up a new local venture, four sources have told Reuters, which would help it push deeper into the huge but still nascent China market.

Formula One – F1 – Chinese Grand Prix – Shanghai, China – April 13, 2018 – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Aly Song

Liberty Media Corp (FWONA.O), which took control of Formula one in January last year, had spoken with Chinese firms including Inter Milan owner Suning (002024.SZ) and La Liga rights holder DDMC (600136.SS) to form a joint venture that would help manage business development in China, two of the sources said.

A third person said the search for a local Chinese partner was in the advanced stages, but did not name any of the partners. A fourth person close to Formula One confirmed the talks over a China joint venture but said nothing has been finalised.

Liberty, who appointed Chase Carey to run Formula One, is driving a broader overhaul to reduce costs for teams and reignite the interest of fans with simpler rules and more high-octane overtaking.

An F1 spokesman confirmed the search for a local partner but gave no further details.

F1 has held a grand prix in Shanghai since 2004, with the circuit set to host the latest race on Sunday. There has been talk about China, which has yet to produce a Formula One racing driver, having two rounds of the championship in the future.

The sport announced in 2017 it was teaming up with marketing agency Lagardere Sports to build strategic partnerships in China from this year, aiming to raise the profile in a region it sees as having huge potential for growth.

Liberty has held talks with Wuhan DDMC Culture Co and Suning.com Co Ltd over setting up a joint venture to conduct business development and manage circuits in China. Liberty would keep media rights of the sport, the first source said.

The people said the talks were ongoing but that there were not yet any concrete agreements. Currently the Shanghai race is operated by local company Juss Event Co Ltd.

DDMC, which also controls the Chinese television rights to the Premier League, England’s top soccer division, after a $500 million deal last year for local rival Super Sports Media, did not reply when contacted by Reuters.

Suning, one of China’s largest retailers which has been pushing into sports globally, declined to comment.

MARKETING STRATEGY

Since the takeover by Liberty, F1 has set up a marketing department for the first time and created a digital and over-the-top television strategy. The company is hoping to reach for greater support base in China.

China’s state broadcaster CCTV is broadcasting the Shanghai grand prix this weekend, after a five-year hiatus, with a new long-term deal announced last month.

Formula One announced on Friday a deal with tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) as well as Guangdong TV and Shanghai TV.

Tencent becomes a digital media partner in China, allowing fans to watch races live on PC, mobile and social media platforms.

“The exposure across their array of platforms and the variety of audio visual and data content they are so well placed to carry will further enhance our opportunity to address all demographics throughout China,” said Ian Holmes, Formula One’s director of media rights.

Earlier this month, F1’s commercial rights holders laid out plans for an overhaul of the sport from 2021 with cheaper and simpler power units, the implementation of a cost cap and a more balanced distribution of revenues.

Reporting by Pei Li in BEIJING and Alan Baldwin in LONDON; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge



Formula One: Gasly says he meant no offence to Alonso with radio joke – Reuters


SHANGHAI (Reuters) – French Formula One driver Pierre Gasly has said he meant no disrespect to Fernando Alonso after mimicking the Spaniard in a radio exchange when he finished fourth for Honda-powered Toro Rosso in Bahrain last Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One – F1 – Chinese Grand Prix – Shanghai, China – April 12, 2018 – Toro Rosso Formula One driver Pierre Gasly of France attends a press conference at the Shanghai International Circuit ahead of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Alonso, a double world champion, endured three difficult seasons with under-performing and unreliable Honda engines until his McLaren team finally switched to Renault power at the end of last year.

“Now we can fight,” he had said over the radio when he finished fifth in last month’s opener in Australia.

Gasly used the same words on Sunday, after a floodlit race for which he had also qualified ahead of both the McLaren drivers.

The 22-year-old was voted ‘Driver of the Day’ for his performance but his whooped comment over the radio drew a backlash from Spanish fans.

“It was simple, it was just a little joke, that’s it,” Gasly told reporters on Thursday ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

“I have huge respect for Fernando so I’m just making it clear,” he said, adding that the comment was intended to lift Honda’s spirits.

“In the end, they have had a tough three years with McLaren and to finish P4 in the second race with them was just amazing, so it was a way to give them credit,” added Gasly, who is in his first full season.

Honda have looked much more competitive since they teamed up with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso, the partnership getting off to a strong start immediately in testing.

Gasly’s showing in Bahrain equalled Toro Rosso’s second-best ever result to date and was also better than anything McLaren managed with Honda in the last three years.

Alonso was seventh and Belgian team mate Stoffel Vandoorne eighth in Bahrain, with both cars ending up a lap down on Ferrari’s winner Sebastian Vettel.

The former champions are third in the overall team standings, however, helped by retirements for rivals Red Bull, with Alonso fourth in the drivers’ rankings.

“We were pretty slow in Melbourne, we were very competitive in Bahrain, even faster than what we expected, so it’s still difficult for us to know exactly where is the performance of the car,” said Gasly.

“I think this weekend will be a good opportunity… definitely to judge our baseline and see if the potential is the same on other tracks.”

Editing by Alan Baldwin and Toby Davis



Formula One agrees rights deals in Europe and Asia – SportsPro Media


Global motorsport series renews with Saran Media, strikes agreement with AMI.

Formula One agrees rights deals in Europe and Asia

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Formula One has announced broadcast rights deals with the Advisers Media International (AMI) and Saran Media agencies, covering multiple markets in Europe and Asia.

The global motorsport series has agreed a three-year extension to its partnership with Saran Media, which will run from 2018 to 2020.

Under the terms of the deal, Formula One will be shown on the S Sport Channel in Turkey, which is carried on four of the country’s major pay-TV platforms, Digiturk, DSMART, Turkcell TV+ and Turk Telekom.

The agreement includes coverage of all sessions from Friday to Sunday, with live and delayed broadcast, as well as highlights, transmitted across all television, internet and mobile platforms.

The partnership will also include free-to-air coverage of all 21 Grands Prix of the 2018 season on AZ TV and Idman Azerbaijan channels in Azerbaijan. Formula One will maintain a number of digital rights both in

Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, the deal with AMI, which will also run for three years until 2020, covers Slovenia, Croatia, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan,

Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Ukraine.

The global motorsport series’ action will be shown by both free-to-air and pay-TV broadcasters, with Formula One set to retain some digital rights in those territories.

Formula One heads to Shanghai this weekend for the Chinese Grand Prix.
 



Formula One: Brown appointed chief executive of McLaren Racing – Reuters


LONDON (Reuters) – McLaren announced a management restructuring on Tuesday, with Zak Brown given overall responsibility for the Formula One team and Racing Director Eric Boullier reporting to him.

Formula 1 F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – April 7, 2018 McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in action during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

The McLaren Group said it had simplified the corporate structure into three divisions: Applied Technologies, Automotive and Racing.

Jonathan Neale becomes chief operating officer of the group with Mike Flewitt continuing as chief executive of luxury sportscar maker McLaren Automotive.

Brown, a marketing expert, joined McLaren in 2016 as executive director with a focus on raising new sponsorship after the departure of former boss Ron Dennis.

The American has, however, been effectively acting as principal of the team and now takes on the title of chief executive officer.

“The work of the past year at a corporate level has been focused on structuring and positioning McLaren for growth,” said executive chairman Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa in a statement.

“These latest developments are a natural consequence of that work and are designed to bring greater simplicity and clarity to the structure and leadership of the group.”

The Bahraini and McLaren’s Saudi-born co-owner Mansour Ojjeh continue to form the executive committee.

McLaren are the sport’s second most successful team after Ferrari in terms of race wins (182) but the former champions have been also-rans since their last grand prix victory in 2012.

Last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix saw the Renault-powered team reach a milestone of 100 races without a win and they face a tough road back after three dismal years with under-performing Honda engines.

To add to their discomfort, both the Honda-powered Toro Rosso drivers out-qualified Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne in Manama.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly then finished fourth, a better result than anything McLaren achieved in the past three seasons with their Japanese partners.

Despite that, McLaren — ninth of 10 teams last year — are third in the championship thanks to both Red Bull drivers failing to finish.

Double world champion Alonso finished fifth and seventh in Australia and Bahrain respectively and is fourth in the standings.

The results have flattered the team, however, with the McLaren considered to be about a second a lap down on the Red Bull, which has the same Renault engine.

That has focused attention on the chassis, and raised questions about whether the Honda engine was blamed disproportionately last year.

“We know that we have the potential, we know that the car has some good things, some bad things. We need to make sure we improve the bad things as soon as possible,” said Alonso on Sunday night.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis