TMR Team | Apr 27, 2012
  • F1 racing ahead with $3bn floatation plans
  • ​Red Bull not ready to resume F1 dominance
  • F1 team owner Genii considers buying Group Lotus
  • British spat could drive Mercedes out of F1 - report
  • FIA tests forward roll-hoop for F1 cars
 

F1 racing ahead with $3bn floatation plans

F1's plans to float on the Singapore stock exchange are continuing to harden.

The sport's majority owner CVC has reportedly lined up several banks - including UBS, RBS, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Santander, DBS Group Holdings and CIMB - to handle the transaction.

And now media reports, including in the Financial Times, say Austrian businessman, Nestle chairman and existing F1 board member Peter Brabeck-Letmathe is being lined up to chair the parent company.

Bernie Ecclestone would remain chief executive.

It is expected that the 30 percent, multi-billion dollar floatation could occur as early as June, with Bloomberg reporting that the application could be filed this week.

CVC and Nestle, the food giant, declined to comment.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull not ready to resume F1 dominance

Red Bull has poured cold water on expectations the reigning back-to-back world champions could be set to resume their reign over F1.

After a victory-drought spanning the opening three races of the 2012 season, Red Bull broke through with Sebastian Vettel's familiar win-from-pole triumph in Bahrain last weekend.

It means he has leapt to the top of the drivers' standings, while the Milton Keynes-based team is now nine points clear of its nearest rival, McLaren.

"King Sebastian is back!" exclaimed Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport after Bahrain.

"Vettel and Red Bull dominated like old times.

"They have worked hard in recent weeks to have a great car again, so it will be difficult once again to take the throne from Sebastian."

The energy drink-owned camp, however, is not so bullish.

"To predict our performance in Bahrain just a week after what happened in China would have been tricky," said team boss Christian Horner, referring to Vettel's fifth place in Shanghai.

"I am sure that with 16 races to go, we are going to see a lot more variation."

24-year-old Vettel agrees that, despite the familiar pole-and-victory in Bahrain, 2012 is not the same as 2011, when the RB7 car utterly dominated F1.

"We're not as confident as we used to be," he is quoted by the Sun newspaper, "so small things can make a difference in qualifying and have a big impact on the race.

"We've only had four races but I'm not entirely happy with where we are."

Vettel will be back in action next week, when F1 moves to the Mugello circuit in central Italy for a rare in-season test.

"In Italy we'll be able to test and evaluate a lot of things and get the car in a happier place for Barcelona," he said.

(GMM)

 

F1 team owner Genii considers buying Group Lotus

Rumours that F1 team owner Genii is contemplating buying the Group Lotus sports car company are continuing to gain steam.

That is despite Genii's Gerard Lopez confirming recently that the Enstone based team has ended its sponsorship deal with the carmaker, even though the team will continue to carry the Lotus name.

But subsequent media reports indicate that the newly Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom owned Group Lotus is for sale.

"Genii ... is thought to be interested, and its boss, Gerard Lopez, is said to have had talks with Hicom, but also with (Group Lotus chief) Mr (Dany) Bahar about a possible management buyout," read a report in the Independent newspaper.

Bahar is not ruling out the transaction.

"Whatever happens will happen," he told the local Norfolk publication edp24.co.uk.

"Genii has expressed interest and if there is a good deal to be done, why should they not be interested? I think it would just make sense."

(GMM)

 

British spat could drive Mercedes out of F1 - report

A spat between two Britons could drive the German giant Mercedes out of F1, according to a new media report.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone recently confirmed he is at loggerheads with Mercedes over the next Concorde Agreement.

But at the same time, he insisted that the Stuttgart marque is "very important to formula one. I have always supported them and I will always," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Indeed, Mercedes has its own and newly-winning works team, it powers the McLaren outfit, and also supplies engines to Force India.

Ecclestone's dispute is with fellow Englishman Ross Brawn, who is the Brackley-based Mercedes GP team's principal.

"I have spoken to the team manager (Brawn) about it (the dispute) and he seems to believe that the team has won a few world titles and about 80 races since the Tyrrell days," said the 81-year-old.

Sport Bild reports that Ecclestone is refusing to give in to Brawn's demands for extra Concorde Agreement entitlements for past title successes and history.

The magazine said the relationship has become so intense that Ecclestone has even refused to give a joint interview with Brawn.

"He (Brawn) was never very nice to me," the F1 'supremo' is quoted as saying.

The German report said there is a risk Mercedes will, as a result of the 'ice age' between the British duo, pull the plug on its entire F1 involvement.

(GMM)

 

FIA tests forward roll-hoop for F1 cars

F1's governing body is looking into mandating 'forward roll-hoops' to boost driver safety.

The innovation would be to prevent the kind of incidents that, in 2009, seriously injured Felipe Massa, and killed the young F2 racer Henry Sutees.

The FIA tested the roll-hoop at an airfield in Suffolk, England; firing a Formula One wheel at 225kph at an F1 helmet that sat behind the titanium roll-hoop, which was designed and supplied by the Lotus team.

F1's governing body has previously tested jet fighter-style canopies and windshields, and now the forward roll-hoop, theoretically to be fitted on the front edge of the cockpit opening.

"The roll-hoop basically did a very good job," said the FIA Institue's techncial advisor Andy Mellor.

"It was able to keep a wheel away from a driver's head."

One potential problem, however, is the impact of the roll-hoop on driver visibility, with a report at F1's official website admitting the structure "might dangerously impede sightlines".

Another problem is that a forward mounted roll-hoop would not be pretty.

"But a radical aesthetic change," read the media report, "would be a price well worth paying to save drivers' lives and achieve a game-changing safety breakthrough."

Mellor insisted: "We're not at all looking at final solutions as such. The work is absolutely exploratory and we are beginning to understand the mechanisms in order to protect a driver's head in this kind of impact."

The results of the tests will be put before F1's techncial directors.

(GMM)