Finance firms race to be F1 sponsors – With the big tobacco brands gone, more ‘respectable’ sponsors are heading into F1. Foremost among which is IMG, replacing Mild Seven as sponsors of double World Champions Renault and taking over the sponsorship of the Australian Grand Prix as well.
F1 on track to be $300 million poorer – Sticking with financial developments the two owners of F1 CVC Capital Partners and Bambino Holdings (the latter belonging to Bernie Ecclestone) have paid back the $313m loan taken out five years ago to buy F1 from the FIA. The loan was originally owed to Credit Suisse (former Sauber and now BMW sponsors) but had been passed on another company called Kamos.
The news in itself isn’t fantastically important – after all, CVC paid 1bn to acquire F1 last year – but it provides useful insight into the horrendously opaque myriad of companies involved in the administration of Formula One.
Paffett eyes F1 race seat for 2008 – Jilted Mercedes racer Gary Paffett hasn’t give up on getting into F1 as Lewis Hamilton and Anthony Davidson have gotten their call-ups. Perhaps the arrival of new British team Prodrive in 2008 could offer him a way in?
Zuber heads iSport one-two as Valencia test ends – Also on the outside looking in is Brazilian racer Antonio Pizzonia. Having racer sporadically in F1 from 2003-5 he has now made for GP2 in an attempt to impress F1 team bosses. At the very least he’ll have to wipe the floor with his far less experienced rivals in 2007.
Super Aguri F1 Team: New car to be ‘100% Super Aguri’ – The first controversy of the 2007 season is already well underway. Are Super Aguri going to use the same intellectual property rights dodge that Scuderia Toro Rosso employed this year to run the 2005 Red Bull chassis as their own? Spyker team boss Colin Kolles has been kicking up a fuss…
F1 delays plan to improve racing – An unusually negative spin on the World Motor Sports Council’s ratification of changes to the F1 rules from the BBC. Downforce will be cut from 2008 in a long-overdue bid to improve overtaking – but the major change will not happen until 2009 when a whopping 50% cut in downforce is the goal. (Also see Autosport).
GPDA demands changes to test tracks – Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman and co-director Ralf Schumacher looks set to bring a greater public profile to the union than his predecessor and brother Michael did. They’re threatening not to test at circuits that do not measure up to their safety expectations. FIA President Max Mosley blew his top when the drivers voiced their displeasure about the Monza circuit, so another face-off could be on the cards.