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February 24, 2011

Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled amid political turmoil

Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled amid political turmoil

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

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A week after Sunni and Shi’ite youth protesters marched on the capital city of Manama, the Bahrain government informed Formula One Management that it would withdraw from hosting the Bahrain Grand Prix. The decision was made in an effort to focus on the pressing national issues facing the country. Demonstrators, who are still holding Pearl Square, had threatened to target the Media attention if the event went ahead as scheduled. The race is the opening event of the 2011 Formula One racing season.

Bahrain’s Crown Prince, HRH Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, sent a statement to Formula One Management which said, “At the present time the country’s entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain. After the events of the past week, our nation’s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together; reminding the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix was to be held on March 13, with teams coming in within the next few weeks to prepare for the race. Formula One president and CEO Bernie Ecclestone issued a public statement saying, “It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country.” Ecclestone also noted that despite reported rumors, the Bahrain International Circuit would not be charged for their cancellation of the event, citing that he considered the political unrest to be a “force majeure” and that the events that took place could not have been predicted. “What has happened in Bahrain is desperately sad but one month ago everyone was looking forward to the race,” he said. Formula One Management will most likely have to absorb the costs related to the canceled race, estimated at around $40 million, unless it can be re-scheduled later in the season.

With the announcement from the Crown Prince that political issues would be addressed, exiled Shi’ite political leader Hassan Mushaima announced that he would return to the country. Mushaima, leader of the Haq Movement opposition party, was tried in absentia in 2009, accused of attempting to overthrow the government. Other Haq Movement members have also been arrested in recent years, but received royal pardons. While 23 members of the political movement are currently awaiting trial, on Tuesday the Bahrain government released a group of political detainees without comment, meeting one of the demands of the protesters.



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August 20, 2009

Formula 1 new team USF1 sponsored by YouTube co-founder

Formula 1 new team USF1 sponsored by YouTube co-founder

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

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Chad Hurley at the World Economic Forum in 2007.
Image: World Economic Forum.

2010 Formula One World Championship entrants USF1 have secured an investment deal with YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, British magazine Autosport have revealed.

Hurley was positive about the future, and hinted at long term involvement with the team.

YouTube was bought out by search engine giants Google in 2006, which has consolidated the video-sharing website as a global phenomenon, valued at $1.65bn. However, its relationship with Formula 1 has not always been rosy. Video rights to Formula 1 are under the strict copyright of Bernie Ecclestone’s FOM concern. Videos of Formula 1 footage posted on the website are soon challenged and removed, however once removed they are soon replaced, due to the sheer number of videos on the site.

USF1 team principle Ken Anderson was positive about the deal, noting that Hurley’s business acumen and experience in setting up a global brand from scratch can be applied to the fledgling team.

Autosport have also revealed that veteran drivers Alexander Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa may be in the running for a seat alongside “an American rookie”. Austrian Wurz has not competed in Formula 1 since 2007 (For Williams in China), and de la Rosa has not raced competitively in F1 since 2006, when he replaced Juan Pablo Montoya at McLaren mid-way through the season.

The other two new entrants for next year, Campos Grand Prix and Manor Motorsport are yet to announce any investment or sponsorship agreements.

Hurley’s involvement is unlikely to see the YouTube logo added to the car as this is a personal involvement independent of his current position with YouTube.



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July 4, 2009

Bulgarian officials in grand prix talks

Bulgarian officials in Grand Prix talks – Wikinews, the free news source

Bulgarian officials in Grand Prix talks

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

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Bernie Ecclestone
Image: PaddyBriggs.

Rumen Petkov, the chief of the Bulgarian Motorycling federation has been invited by Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One boss, to discuss plans for a Bulgarian Grand Prix to be added to the Formula One calendar in 2011.

The talks will be held during the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring next weekend. If the bid is successful, the new circuit is likely to be located near Pleven.

The president of Bulgaria’s Automobile Sport Federation, Georgi Yankulov is said to be lacking opitimism regarding the bid due to the current recession creating problems attracting sponsors and constructing a circuit.

It was announced in 2008 that the Indian Grand Prix will be added to the 2011 calendar, delayed from its intended 2010 debut.



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June 19, 2009

Formula One teams to set up breakaway championship

Formula One teams to set up breakaway championship

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Jenson Button, the current championship leader, racing in Shanghai, China.
Image: Derrick Noh.

Formula One was in disarray last night after eight members of the F1 Teams Association (FOTA) announced they are going to set up a rival championship to the current series next season.

Cquote1.svg “We’ve no alternative than to commence preparation for a new championship.” Cquote2.svg

—FOTA

The reason for this drastic move is Max Mosley’s plan to introduce a voluntary £40 million budget cap in order to make it easier for new teams to enter & existing teams to continue.

The association refused to agree to this, worried it would result in two divisions. After a four hour meeting last night, Brawn GP, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso announced their decision.

A FOTA statement read the following: “Since the formation of Fota last September the teams have worked together and sought to engage the FIA and commercial rights holder (Bernie Ecclestone), to develop and improve the sport. Unprecedented worldwide financial turmoil has inevitably placed great challenges before the F1 community. Fota is proud that it has achieved the most substantial measures to reduce costs in the history of our sport. In particular, the manufacturer teams have provided assistance to the independent teams, a number of which would probably not be in the sport today without the Fota initiatives. The Fota teams have further agreed upon a substantial voluntary cost reduction that provides a sustainable model for the future. Following these efforts, all the teams have confirmed to the FIA and the commercial rights holder that they are willing to commit until the end of 2012. The FIA and the commercial rights holder have campaigned to divide Fota. The wishes of the majority of the teams are ignored. Furthermore, tens of millions of dollars have been withheld from many teams by the commercial rights holder, going back as far as 2006. Despite this, and the uncompromising environment, Fota has genuinely sought compromise. It has become clear, however, the teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport and have declined to alter their original conditional entries to the 2010 world championship.”



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February 25, 2009

U.S. team unveils plans for F1 entry in 2010

U.S. team unveils plans for F1 entry in 2010

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

USF1 logo.

A United States-based operation, known now as USF1, has unveiled plans to join the Formula One motor racing series beginning in the 2010 season. Team principal Ken Anderson and sporting director Peter Windsor officially launched USF1 in a live press conference broadcast on the US television channel Speed.

Peter Windsor in 2004.

Ken Anderson has previously worked for the Ligier and Onyx Grand Prix Formula One teams, and most recently held the position of technical director for the Haas CNC Racing team in the American NASCAR series. Windsor has previously been general manager at Scuderia Ferrari and team manager for WilliamsF1 before taking up his current role as a journalist and reporter for the Speed channel.

USF1 would be based in Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States, unlike all eleven teams that participated in the 2008 Formula One season, which are based in Europe. Anderson also expressed a preference for the team’s drivers to be of American nationality. They confirmed that they do not yet have an engine supply contact but expressed a desire to contact all existing Formula One engine builders before signing one.

The team expressed an intention to be more open to fans than current Formula One teams in order to appeal to the US market. The possibility for fans to tour the factory and see the car being built as well as television shows showing the inner workings of the team were suggested. Windsor claimed that the team had received the backing of both Max Mosley, the president of Formula One’s governing body, and Bernie Ecclestone, president of Formula One’s commercial rights holders. No details were given on the team’s financial backers, however.



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December 12, 2008

FIA lays out cost cutting measures for Formula One

FIA lays out cost cutting measures for Formula One

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Friday, December 12, 2008

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Logo of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)
Image: Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile.

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has revealed the details of the cost-cutting measures for Formula One that were agreed on Wednesday in talks with the teams. The new measures are expected to save the manufacturer teams at least 30 percent of their budgets next season, with the savings increasing as more of the measures are introduced in the future. The raft of agreements has saved the teams from the threat of standardised engines until at least 2013 and savings for independent teams are predicted by the FIA to be even higher.

For next season the engines will now have to last 3 races, rather than thee current 2 race requirement, and each driver is allowed up to 8 engines throughout the year and the team is allowed a further 4 for testing. Engines will now be rev limited to 18,000 rpm and Renault managed to obtain agreement from the other teams for modifications of its engine to bring it into line with the other engines in the sport. Testing will be affected, with in season testing banned and wind tunnels not to exceed 6:10 scale or 50 metres per second. Teams will be expected to share fuel and tyre data at grand prix in an effort to save on the manpower requirement at the race weekends. The teams will also have to close their factories for 6 weeks a year. The FIA will also be conducting research into the possibility of using a medal system for F1 next season, an idea championed by Bernie Ecclestone, the boss of Formula One Management.

Starting in 2010 more changes will come into force, with the introduction of the cheaper engines being made available to independent teams, costing less than €5 million per season. Any contracts for the cheaper 2010 engines will have to be signed by the 20th of December, 2008. Another engine freeze will occur at the start of the 2010 season, with the engines from 2010 continuing through to the end of 2012. The FIA also intends to try to introduce standardised transmission systems in 2010 and will look at chassis design to determine which aerodynamic parts will be standardised or allowed to be competitive differentiators. Races will see more changes in 2010 with the use of tyre warmers and refuelling banned, and the possibility of shorter race distances has been put forward pending market research. What work the teams can engage in at the factories will also be further limited this season to reduce the manpower and other running costs.

The FIA has raised the possibility of a new power train entirely to be developed for the 2013 season, in consultation with the Formula One Teams Association, and will also discuss making Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) compulsory from 2010. KERS, which is being introduced as a voluntary measure in 2009, has divided the teams with some embracing the technology while others, such as Ferrari, have criticised it.



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December 8, 2008

Details emerge of Honda\’s withdrawal from Formula One

Details emerge of Honda’s withdrawal from Formula One

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Jensen Button driving one of the two 2008 Honda F1 cars at the Malaysian Grand Prix
Image: flickr user kuda2001.

More details have emerged over the weekend after the surprise announcement last week of Honda’s intention to sell its Formula One racing team, Honda Racing F1. The team management, Nick Fry and Ross Brawn, have already announced confidence in their ability not only to find a buyer for the team but also to deliver the performance expected of Honda’s 2009 car. Prices as low as £1 have been put forward as possible prices tags for the Northampton based team, with Honda CEO Takeo Fukui stating that “Just to make the team possible to exist, a small price tag is acceptable”.

On Saturday the Japanese car giant said that before selling the team it was going to offer British driver Jensen Button, who had given the Honda team its only victory, a way out of his recently signed multi-million pound contract with the team so he could try to get a drive with other teams. However, Ross Brawn appears eager to retain the Briton and either retain Brazilian Rubens Barrichello or sign GP2 driver Bruno Senna, nephew of legendary racer Ayrton Senna. At an industry awards dinner, Button indicated his desire for a buyer to be found for Honda, saying any buyer would get “… a great team with excellent facilities. And with the leadership of Ross Brawn, and the whole team as they are, we can come through this and be on the grid in 2009”. Button has also spoken of his shock and pain at Honda’s decision.

Honda Racing F1 logo

Ross Brawn, who was brought into the Honda team with much fan fare before the 2008 season, has spoken of his shock at finding out about the sale of the team. Brawn, who is credited with helping Michael Schumacher and Ferrari dominate Formula One for much of the last decade, indicated he was expected funding cuts and had prepared a reduced budget but hadn’t expected the full withdrawal of support that Honda announced. Brawn has also indicated understanding of Honda’s reasoning, with their sales down 40% in some markets and Honda F1’s £200m+ budget a cost they were unwilling to bear.

Though Honda has committed to providing a budget for the team until March, the budget is lower than that which had been expected and so the team has had to pull out of the crucial winter tests at Jerez. This has denied Formula One hopeful Bruno Senna another test with the team and has combined with the engine implications of Honda’s withdrawal to push the new car’s final testing from January to March, just weeks before the first Grand Prix in Australia. Ross Brawn however remains confident of competing with new Formula One frontrunners BMW Sauber and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has tipped the team as a great buy, saying “I’ve no doubt Honda would have been in top four next year without any problems. They’ve spent a lot of money to put themselves in that position so if anyone does want to be in F1 this is a team they should look to buy. It’s a big opportunity for any company that’s run efficiently to benefit”.



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  • “Honda quits Formula One racing” — Wikinews, December 6, 2008

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