F1's new owners take aim at Ferrari's $100m bonus

F1i 22/01/2017
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Formula One’s new owners Liberty Media Group are targeting some of Ferrari’s unique perks for competing in the sport, including their guaranteed $100 million annual prize pay-out.

Ferrari is the only team which has competed in the championship ever since it began in 1950, and as a result has built up a number of financial and organisation benefits.

Ferrari receives at least $100 million in prize money each year compared with backmarkers Manor and Sauber who receive only half that amount, according to Forbes business magazine.

But Liberty wants to see a more even playing field in the sport and is aiming to reverse some of the benefits accrued by Ferrari and other top teams in the sport.

“If you’re Ferrari, you have enormous sponsorship revenue that goes directly to you,” Liberty’s chief executive Greg Maffei said. “That’s going to be impacted more positively by great races.

“So thinking about balancing the team payments, so they’re a little more balanced and creates more fairness, has to be weighed, in Ferrari’s mind, I would expect, by the fact that creating a great platform helps our sponsorship revenue, too, so there’s give-and-take.”

Liberty is also reported to be considering introducing a budget cap to the sport to cap research and development costs.

One unnamed source last month, said: “It makes no sense to have teams spending the better part of $400 million. That money is not doing anything good for fans. It is just wasted on competing on technology.”

However Ferrari chief executive Sergio Marchionne came out as opposed to the idea of a cap, saying that previous attempts to restrict spending had been completely ineffective: “We haven’t saved a Euro. We have simply redistributed our spending to other areas.”

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Start times for every 2017 F1 Grand Prix

F1i 21/01/2017
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The FIA has released the official start time for every 2017 Grand Prix.

Consistent with its tradition, the Formula 1 season will kick off  in Melbourne on Sunday, March 26 at 10 am GST.

There are no unusual schedules on the 20-race calendar, with European rounds getting the green light at their usual 1pm start time.

For residents of the UAE, each race will be broadcast live on beinSports.

The full calendar, which you can see in its entirety below, also confirms the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the final race of the season once again with a start time of 5pm GST.

Race GST
1 Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne) 10:00
2 Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai) 11:00
3 Bahrain Grand Prix (Sakhir) 20:00
4 Russian Grand Prix (Sochi) 17:00
5 Spanish Grand Prix (Barcelona) 17:00
6 Monaco Grand Prix (Monte-Carlo) 17:00
7 Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal) 23:00
8 Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Baku) 18:00
9 Austrian Grand Prix (Spielberg) 17:00
10 British Grand Prix (Silverstone) 17:00
11 Hungarian Grand Prix (Budapest) 17:00
12 Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps) 17:00
13 Italian Grand Prix (Monza) 17:00
14 Singapore Grand Prix (Marina Bay) 17:00
15 Malaysia Grand Prix (Sepang) 12:00
16 Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka) 10:00
17 United States Grand Prix (Austin) 00:00
18 Mexican Grand Prix (Mexico City) 23:00
19 Brazilian Grand Prix (Interlagos) 20:00
20 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina) 17:00

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Ecclestone: Going, going, but not yet gone!

F1i 20/01/2017
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The idea that he is a mere mortal just like the rest of us has finally sunk in to Bernie Ecclestone’s mind.

The takeover of Formula 1 by Liberty Media will undoubtedly usher in a new era for the sport, with a management shake-up at the helm the immediate first effect.

Whether executive changes will prolong part of Ecclestone’s control and power or finally leave the 87-year-old in the passenger seat is anybody’s guess, even Bernie’s.

“We will have to see how we set the company up,” Ecclestone told Press Association Sport when asked if he will continue as CEO.

“It is not a case of my terms, it is a case of let’s have a look and see which way they would like to go.

“It is something that would have happened anyway. We need to put something together if I am not here because I have become deceased or something and it is about time we did that.

“We were in the middle [of that] and when we knew these people were probably going to buy we backed off and thought ‘let’s wait because they own the company and it is up to them to decide who or what they want’.”

Initially, Ecclestone was expected to remain in power for three years, with the new owner’s blessing, as a transition would certainly be necessary in order to get to grips with the complexities of the business and the tight knit relationships forged by Mr E over the years.

“That is what they asked for,” Ecclestone added.

“In fact we are going to try to put together people that can look after all the things I have been trying to find people to do, which is the sponsorship and things like that.

“As I said, let’s see how we are going to operate.”

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