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F1: New Backer To Join F1 Consortium Buyout Plans Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | May, 13 2011 | 0 Comments

A consortium planning to bid for ownership of Formula One has reportedly gained a powerful backer.

News Corp and the Fiat shareholder Exor had already confirmed they are considering making an offer to buy the multi-billion dollar commercial rights from CVC.

It was rumoured that others are considering joining the consortium, such as the major F1 teams whose shareholders are preparing to meet with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp in Stuttgart this weekend.

And the partly News-owned Sky News now reports that Raine Group is set to invest in the F1 buyout consortium.

Raine is a New York-based boutique merchant banking firm with $500 million to spend on media, sports and entertainment acquisitions, the Financial Times reported last month.

FT also reported that among Raine's big financiers are former Google chief Eric Schmidt and former Facebook president Sean Parker, whilst heading the fund is former Goldman Sachs partner Joe Ravitch.

News Corp and Raine did not comment, but FIA President Jean Todt pointed out in Turkey last weekend that he has the power to veto any proposed buyout.

"It's strange I must say for someone to want to buy something when it is not for sale," said the Frenchman.

Bernie Ecclestone agreed: "Somebody might say that they want to do it, but that doesn't mean the owner wants to sell. And CVC have made it very clear that they don't want to sell."

(GMM)

 

Whitmarsh critical of Hamilton In Turkey

Martin Whitmarsh had some criticism of Lewis Hamilton's driving after the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend.

After the 2008 world champion damaged his tyres in qualifying in Malaysia, he conserved his allocation in China and duly beat Sebastian Vettel.

But Hamilton struggled at Istanbul Park, and his McLaren team boss Whitmarsh blames the 26-year-old's early aggression including his scrap with teammate Jenson Button.

"We want Lewis to attack but sometimes it does not pay off," he is quoted as saying by British newspapers.

"If you look at Lewis's race pace it was ok later in the race but the tyres are so delicate and if you scrap with others including your own teammate you will damage your tyres. In a race that critical you can't do that," added Whitmarsh.

Hamilton, who finished the race in fourth place, acknowledged the mistake.

"If I hadn't damaged the tyres at the beginning, we would have been a lot closer," he conceded.

"The race is not won at the first two corners. I was impatient and that was my fault but it was a good recovery," said the Briton.

(GMM)

 

Massa reveals racy pre-race ritual

Felipe Massa has revealed a racy detail of his preparation for a grand prix.

The Ferrari driver told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport: "On the Saturday night before the race I always have sex."

30-year-old Massa, who has not won a race since his championship challenge in 2008, is married to 33-year-old Raffaela, with whom he has a 1-year-old son Felipe Jr (Felipinho).

The Brazilian said he enjoys his qualifying night ritual "even though I know it doesn't make me faster!"

He had another disappointing outing in Turkey last weekend but Massa said he is buoyed by the aerodynamic upgrades introduced at Istanbul Park.

"They definitely increased our performance level," he said.

(GMM)

 

Mateschitz insists F1 return for Austria unlikely

Dietrich Mateschitz has repeated his recent claim that formula one's return to Austria in the near future is a "more than minor" chance.

The Red Bull mogul was speaking as the former grand prix venue at Zeltweg, previously called A1-Ring but now re-christened the Red Bull Ring, is ready to re-open.

Mateschitz has rebuilt the facility, having been demolished following its last F1 event in 2003, at the cost of a reportedly nine-figure euro sum.

It has obtained F1 homologation status, moving the likes of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel to admit they would like to see the Red Bull Ring added to the calendar.

Bernie Ecclestone said in Turkey that a return to Austria is "possible".

But Austrian billionaire Mateschitz told Kleine Zeitung: "If you look at the new F1 circuits, the ones that came recently and the ones that are coming, one has to say the probability of formula one returning to Spielberg is more than minor."

Triple world champion and Austrian Lauda agrees that the chances are small, but he said: "There are several obstacles to overcome, but, firstly, no one knows what Mr Mateschitz is planning."

(GMM)

 

Sutil apologises for injuring Renault official

Adrian Sutil has apologised for injuring a senior formula one team official amid reports the German driver got in a nightclub fight after last month's Chinese grand prix.

It was widely reported on Wednesday that Sutil, who drives for Force India, left Renault owner Genii executive Eric Lux bleeding from the neck after a scrap whilst in a VIP room at Shanghai club M1NT with his friend Lewis Hamilton.

Renault and Force India confirmed that an incident took place on the Sunday night but both said it was a "private matter".

"During a private event, there was a very unfortunate action by me in which I hurt another person completely unintentionally," the 28-year-old confirmed in a media statement to the German media.

"I regret the incident and have apologised accordingly," added Sutil.

"Since this was a private event and not directly related to formula one or my job as a formula one driver, I ask for understanding that I will say no more on this incident," he said.

Britain's Daily Mail alleges Sutil injured Lux with a broken glass and the latter needed to go to hospital for stiches.

Writing in his Auto Plus column, French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet said Lux has also suffered from hearing problems since the incident, and speculated that Sutil had been drunk.

In other news, Paul di Resta's stepfather Dougie McCracken, a former professional footballer who lived with the Force India rookie's mother Marie, has died after reportedly committing suicide.

(GMM)

 
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