Ecclestone on Carey: 'What has he done up to now?'

F1i 6/05/2017
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Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at F1 CEO Chase Carey’s comments about the former supremo’s management of Formula 1 in the recent years and his lack of vision.

Carey, who praised Ecclestone for growing the sport to its blockbuster status, said that the 86-year-old had managed F1 for the short term benefit of its shareholders and had failed to bring Grand Prix racing into the digital age.

While Mr. E is not entirely disputing Chase Carey’s claims, he denies his guidance was ill-fated or inefficceint.

“He’s probably dead right,” he told the Mail.

“If an idea was not going to make money or waste everyone’s time I did say ‘No’.

“He’s not very specific, is he?” he continued.

“I’d like him to say, ‘Bernie did this or that and it was stupid’.

“I ran a company as chief executive that had to show a profit. If I ran it inefficiently Liberty probably wouldn’t have bought the shares.

“I had to make sure we could get the maximum financially we could for the company to make it interesting for somebody to buy, which is obviously what happened.

“It appears he doesn’t need to make money any more. But it’s good he has an opinion.

“Maybe there are things I missed and maybe they will come up with things and hopefully it moves forward,” he added.

As Liberty Media reaches its 100 days at the helm of Formula 1, and while it’s still early days, Ecclestone also questions the company’s accomplishments to date.

“What has he done up to now?” asked Ecclestone.

“He said he was going to open up the paddock, get more people in. And what he did was withdraw paddock passes from senior Russians in Sochi, apparently including President Putin.

“He talks about the social media side, but I haven’t seen anything he’s done that has been beneficial to Formula One,” he added.

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McLaren boss Zak Brown feels Laser-focused Fernando Alonso can win the Indy 500

F1i 5/05/2017
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Fernando Alonso

McLaren boss Zak Brown believes Fernando Alonso has as good a chance of winning the Indy 500 on May 28th as any of the top drivers in the field.

Brown was the principal instigator behind Alonso’s venture at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and enjoyed a front-row seat on Wednesday when the Spaniard made his debut at the Brickyard.

All things considered, the McLaren executive believes the two-time F1 world champion is in for a shot at winning the Indy 500.

“I think he can win,” Brown told CNN’s World Sport.

“He’s going in with the mindset of doing the best job possible and if he’s able to do that, and if he’s got a good car underneath him — which he does — he’s absolutely capable of winning.

“There’s about 15 people who can win the race — to give you a sense of how competitive it is — and he is one of those,” Brown added.

“He knows it’s a long way to the race and so he’s just laser focused.”

Asked about the possibility that Alonso’s experience at Indy could prove compelling and lead to the Spaniard leaving F1 for a season in the US, Brown said he was thinking about that prospect for now.

“I think he wants to race competitively, he’s got a lot of time left in his career and has a decent amount of time left in his F1 career.

“Something like this just motivates him but I don’t think it necessarily takes him off his track which is to win another world championship.”

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Mercedes still trailing Ferrari, says Lauda

F1i 4/05/2017
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Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda believes that Ferrari still has the upper hand against Mercedes despite Valtteri Bottas’ win in Sochi last Sunday.

The German squad dominated Formula 1 in the past three season but this year a Ferrari resurgence has instilled doubt in the Mercedes camp.

“Ferrari is clearly ahead,” Lauda told the Austrian newspaper Krone.

“We need to analyse what exactly is not working and take the right steps for Barcelona.

“Because all the teams will bring updates, Ferrari will make a step forward, we have to make two and Red Bull needs to make three,” he added.

Mercedes has identified a chronic weakness in the way its W08 deals with tyre degradation, but Lauda insists that’s not the only problem facing.

It is said that Mercedes’ biggest problem is inconsistency with the tyres, but Lauda says that’s not the only issue affecting the Silver arrows’ performance.

“We have too much weight in the car, we need to improve the aerodynamics, and above all we need to understand why the new Pirelli tyres do not work as they do on the Ferrari,” he said.

Finally, Lauda appeared to agree with reports that suggest Valtteri Bottas is on course for a new contract for 2018, after winning in Russia.

“It was a perfect performance that I never expected,” he said.

“It was the right decision by Toto Wolff and myself to get Bottas on board. Bottas is our man.”

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