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Formula 1 Sold to U.S. Media Conglomerate for $8 Bil

Race czar Ecclestone planning to remain CEO.

by on Sep.08, 2016

Despite a limited US presence, Formula One has been sold to Colorado's Liberty Media.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Though the exclusive Formula One race series has been sold to a U.S. media conglomerate, at least one thing will stay the same: controversial CEO Bernie Ecclestone will remain the CEO of the powerful motor sports empire.

But whether there could be other changes in store remains to be seen now that the Colorado-based Liberty Media Group has purchased F1 for $8 billion. One of the big questions is whether Liberty will take steps to increase the popularity of Formula One in the U.S. market where interest lags compared to Europe and many other parts of the world.

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“We are excited to become part of Formula One,” said Greg Maffei, the CEO of Liberty Media. “We think our long-term perspective and expertise with media and sports assets will allow us to be good stewards of Formula One and benefit fans, teams and our shareholders.”


F1 – From Track to Street

As the racing series evolves, your car soon could share parts with a Formula One racer.

by on Nov.06, 2014

Formula One teams virtually redesign their cars "every two weeks," creating significant opportunities to develop tech breakthroughs.

While Formula One remains the world’s most popular motorsport series, it’s come in for sharp criticism this year as a result of rules changes that, among other things, have tamed the traditionally ear-shattering screech of an F1 racer’s engine.

Ironically, the changes may have a positive payoff for the automakers who sponsor many of the series’ teams – and the consumers who buy their products. If anything, the result is that it’s becoming more likely that the technology used by the latest Formula One cars will help improve tomorrow’s street vehicles.

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If anything, “For the first time, Formula One is following” what’s happening on public roads, suggested Tommaso Volpe, Global Director of Formula One at Infiniti Motor Co. Ltd., the maker’s F1 operation which several years ago partnered with the championship-winning Red Bull team.


Racers, Plug in Your Engines!

Teams get ready for first Formula E battery-car race.

by on Sep.05, 2014

Formula E racers run a simulation of the first race scheduled to take place in Beijing.

It’s taken several years of planning and engineering and months of simulations and dry runs, but if all goes according to schedule, proponents of electric propulsion will get their chance, a week from now, to prove that battery cars really can play in the same league as conventional gas-powered vehicles.

August 13th will bring the inaugural race for Formula E, a new motor sports series that is being billed as the electric equivalent of Formula One, the world’s most popular racing series. Indeed, the cars that will be racing in Beijing next weekend look quite similar to those used on the F1 circuit.

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While they won’t quite hit the same top speeds, the Formula E race cars will be reasonably quick, and expected to reach as much as 140 mph – though they’ll do it in near silence, rather than the deafening screams that mark a traditional race track.


Bernie Ecclestone Buys His Way to Freedom for $100 Mil

German court drops bribery charges.

by on Aug.06, 2014

The 83-year-old Bernie Ecclestone maintains the presumption of innocence, says the German court.

What’s the price of freedom? Apparently, $100 million, at least for Bernie Ecclestone, the controversial boss of the Formula One race series who has been able to convince German prosecutors to halt his bribery trial in return for that hefty fee.

The 83-year-old Ecclestone has long been at the center of rumors and innuendo suggesting shady dealings but only last April went on trial on charges that he paid a former German banker a US$44 million bribe to help him gain control of the F1 series eight years ago.

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Ecclestone has wielded his power ruthlessly in the world of motorsports, beating down several attempts to shift control by some of the larger teams, including Ferrari. In the process, the one-time used car salesman has become a billionaire many times over.


Schumacher Hangs Up His Helmet

“Time to say goodbye” -- but hints a comeback could follow.

by on Oct.04, 2012

F1 legend Michael Schumacher preparing for a race with his Mercedes team.

Michael Schumacher, the man who rewrote the Formula One record book, has announced plans to retire – again – at the end of the F1 season.  The news comes just a week after the Mercedes team announced Schumacher would be replaced by Lewis Hamilton next year.

Schumacher’s departure follows a season in which he simply couldn’t deliver the consistent performance he had while driving for the Benetton and Ferrari teams where he racked up seven world championships and 91 individual grand prix wins, both records.

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The 43-year-old German legend made his announcement while getting ready for the upcoming weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, in Suzuka.  Last week’s decision by Mercedes to replace Schumacher was clearly a setback, but there had been numerous reports he was being sought by another team, most likely Sauber.

Instead, Schumacher revealed his decision “to retire at the end of the year.”  He insisted he was “able and capable” of continuing to compete but realized, “at some point it’s time to say goodbye – and this time it might be forever.”


Germany’s Legendary Nurburgring May Close

F1’s Ecclestone may step in with rescue.

by on Jul.23, 2012

A pair of camouflaged Cadillacs undergoing testing on the Nurburgring's brutal Nordschliefe.

Short of Indy’s brickyard perhaps no race track in the world is as well-known as the German Nurburgring. But the challenging course could soon see its last race.

Dating back to the 1920s, the long and challenging circuit has been regularly used for a variety of motor sports events, such as Formula One but has become increasingly familiar to even non-racing fans because it has become the track of choice for testing by manufacturers such as Porsche, Ford and Cadillac – something they frequently note in commercials.

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But the track’s management warns it is rapidly running out of cash and with the German government rejecting a requested $16 million bailout, the ‘Ring, as it’s frequently called, may be forced into insolvency.  A rescue is still possible, however, and Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, not a many known for having a charitable side, is offering to “do everything” he can to help the track survive.

“We will do everything that is commercially feasible,” the 81-year-old Ecclestone told the German weekly Auto Bild, suggesting that his F1 organization would “bear all costs” for the 2013 race though the quid-pro-quo is that it would “also claim all revenues.”


Team Lotus Buys Caterham Cars

Both trace roots to Lotus founder Colin Chapman.

by on Apr.27, 2011

Caterham rolls out a special-edition 7 to celebrate its sales to Lotus.

Team Lotus Enterprises has expanded its motorsports base by acquiring Caterham Cars, an investment group led by London-based Corven Ventures. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Both makers trace their heritage back to Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, the British sports car company – with which there are no current ties.

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“Caterham has a unique place at the heart of the motoring world. As well as being proudly and staunchly British, it has an enviable and uniquely unblemished reputation within the industry for performance, handling and engineering excellence,” said Lotus chief Tony Fernandes, who also owns Air Asia.

To celebrate the new deal, Caterham plans to produce a limited run of 50 Team Lotus Seven club racers bearing the team’s green and yellow colors.


“Racing In America” Gets the Green Flag at The Henry Ford

$15 million exhibition will cover all aspects of auto racing

by on Jun.11, 2010

The Henry Ford's new Racing in America exhibition will honor all forms of racing, from dragsters to Formula One.

It’s already the home to everything from some of the earliest sewing machines to the largest steam locomotives, but soon, The Henry Ford Museum, in Dearborn, Michigan, will add a $15 million, 22,000 square-foot permanent addition to its Hall of Innovation, to be called Racing In America.

Museum president Patricia Mooradian said that the exhibition would combine a number of significant race cars the museum already owns, as well as a variety of donated and loaned items from various team owners, drivers, racing teams and other museums.

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“The Henry Ford,” as it has come to be known, will be the first to cover all forms of racing in one collection, she noted, along with the “risk-takers, problem-solvers and people who dared,” who made their names and fortunes in racing.


Renault Sells Formula One Team

Retains small stake in ultra expensive sport, continues racing.

by on Dec.16, 2009


Renault devrait transférer à Genii Capital une large part de F1 Team et les deux partenaires enassureront ensemble le management.

Renault is in the process of selling most of its Formula One team to Genii Capital, a Luxemburg based firm specialized in new technologies, brand management and motor sport.

The letter of intent signed by the two companies calls for the deal to close in early 2010. At that time ownership of its racing shops in the United Kingdom would go to Genii.

However, the new team retains the Renault name for the 2010 season. And Renault will also continue to supply engines through its subsidiary in Viry-Châtillon to Red Bull Racing next season. Thus, Renault’s presence in what some maintain is the preeminent motor sport series is retained after 35 years of competition. Renault won the series as recently as 2005 and 2006.

Speculation says that the Renault stake in the new team will be about 20%, and the sale should cut its costs by at least half. Formula One teams can easily consume more than $500 million to operate for a single season.

The latest development followed months of speculation that Renault would quit the scandal-ridden sport, including race fixing by Renault in 2008, which cost it major sponsors, and follows the withdrawal of Toyota, Honda, Bridgestone, and BMW.


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The  decision was debated at Renault’s latest Board of Directors meeting as the loss-making company struggles with the ongoing negative effects of the Great Recession.


Sauber Team Given Toyota’s Formula One Spot

Renault is rumored to be the next automaker to withdraw.

by on Dec.05, 2009

BMW Sauber 2009 F1 Car, Courtesy BMW AG

The spot is contingent on Sauber signing the Concorde Agreement that rules Formula One.

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile confirmed late last week that the Sauber Team would be given a starting grid slot next year, taking the place of the departing Toyota team.

The spot is contingent on Sauber signing the Concorde Agreement that governs Formula One racing.

BMW announced earlier this year it was withdrawing from the super expensive and controversial sport at the end of 2009. In November BMW sold the team back to its original founder Peter Sauber, when BMW rejected its previous plan to sell its 80% stake to an unknown Mideast investment group, Qadbak.