14th February 2017, 12:27
A NEW F1: Broadcasts, Teams, Tech, Mngmt changes, Venues, FIA/FOM etc.
Formula 1 now capable of 'internet' broadcasts with new technology Published on Tuesday February 14th 2017
Formula 1 is now capable of delivering broadcasts directly to internet users following tests carried out in 2016.
Work carried out by Tata Communications in conjunction with Formula One Management, which included a test run at last year's Singapore Grand Prix, has proved that the technology is now in place for 'Over the top' broadcasts, more commonly known as 'OTT'.
This would allow for F1 action to be broadcast direct to a viewer via the internet, rather than requiring access to a particular television channel, which has been F1's mode of delivery for decades.
Tata's managing director of F1 business, Mehul Kapadia, said a lot of effort has gone into removing the delay often associated with watching something live through an internet connection.
"One of the challenges that OTT has faced in the past is that what you see on your television versus what you see on your iPad or phone would not be synced up," he told Autosport.
"That was the one big technology challenge that we have worked on solving, and demonstrating that we can do it.
"This was something we ran at the Singapore race and I would say the technology is now there to do it."
However, F1 is unlikely to witness a quick shift to OTT as its main form of broadcast, with TV companies still paying high fees for exclusive rights.
Kapadia added: "OTT has a couple of answers needed from a commercial standpoint.
"It is a commercial challenge about whether sports franchises want to directly reach to consumers and then not have the scale that comes to them from broadcasters."
While new F1 owner Liberty Media is unlikely to be able to create a shift in the championship's TV model in the short term, Kapadia expects plenty of areas to improve for fans in terms of the viewing experience.
"Loads of opportunities are still there, and there are so many things that we can work on," he added.
"The entire digital transformation that is happening, whether it is the way we work or the way we look at the sport, or how we interact with the sport when you are at the race track or at the stadium.
"Whether you are watching football, F1 or cricket, the entertainment value is coming from being immersive and closer to the sport.
"While some part of that immersion has been solved by what sort of data you can get on your second screen, fundamentally your primary viewing experience, irrespective of the screen size, needs to give you more immersion, more choice in terms of how you want to view it, and a higher degree of what data points you now want to look at.
"We are looking at a 360-degree digital transformation that is going to happen, and all of it catering for fans."
15th February 2017, 10:43
The Deal That Threatens Liberty Media's $8 Billion F1 Buyout
Feb 14, 2017 @ 06:38 PM
Europe’s governing body, the European Parliament, today voted for an “immediate investigation” into the takeover of Formula One auto racing by Liberty Media last month due to allegations that it broke the law.
The European Parliament publishes an annual Competition Report and amongst the anti-trust areas referenced in the 2017 edition is the motion to back “calls for an immediate investigation into competition concerns arising from the Formula One motorsport industry.” The vote to approve the report was passed through today with 476 in favor compared to 156 against.
It follows a formal complaint made in 2015 by two of F1’s smaller teams – Force India and Sauber. They raised concerned about F1’s governance and the distribution of its $903.8 million in prize money which is biased towards the top performers. An anti-trust investigation could lead to contracts at the core of the auto racing series being torn up if they are declared illegal. It would create uncertainty for Liberty and its investors about the structure of the business they have acquired but that’s just the start.
It could also jeopardise F1’s future as its best-known teams, including Ferrari, have built their business models around the multi-million Dollar bonuses they receive. There is a real risk they could reverse out of the series if Europe’s anti-trust regulator forced F1 to balance its prize money payments. However, that is by far and away not the most serious implication of an investigation for Liberty. The validity of its entire investment in F1 could be called into question.
The F1 championship has been held for the past 67 years but July 22 2013 could prove to be one of the most significant dates in its history. This is when auto racing’s regulator the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) signed a deal which granted it an option on a 1% stake in F1’s parent company Delta Topco. The FIA took the option up later in the year and bought the stake for $458,197.34 which was a bargain-basement price as it was informed at the time that it had a market value of $70 million.
In 2013 the FIA issued three press releases about the deal it had signed which also confirmed the terms of its governance of F1 until 2030. However not one of the releases mentioned that the FIA had acquired the stake in Delta Topco which was later revealed by this author in an article in Britain’s Guardian newspaper. One crucial detail was yet to be revealed.
The FIA didn’t acquire the 1% stake from one of the shareholders in Delta Topco but from the company itself which was controlled by the private equity firm CVC. It owned a 38.1% stake in Delta Topco, worth around $3 billion, and in order to exit through a sale it needed the FIA’s approval as it would involve F1 changing control. This approval came last month and it fuelled claims that there was a conflict of interest.
According to a recent report in The Economist, discussions about the agreement with the FIA had been going on for around a year prior to the deal being signed on 22 July 2013. At the start of the previous year CVC planned to exit F1 through a flotation which would not have needed the FIA’s approval. However, a flotation became increasingly less likely over the following 12 months as F1’s chief executive Bernie Ecclestone became embroiled in a bribery scandal.
He was accused of paying part of a $44 million bribe to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to steer the sale of F1 to CVC in 2006. On 27 June 2012 Mr Gribkowsky was found guilty of receiving a bribe and newspapers including Britain’s Independent reported that in light of the outcome“German police were considering whether to prosecute” Mr Ecclestone.
On 17 July 2013 CVC issued a press release confirming that Mr Ecclestone had received a bill of indictment, in English, from the Munich Regional Court and this effectively put the brakes on the Initial Public Offering (IPO). It would be almost inconceivable to successfully float a company which has a CEO who is facing the possibility of jail time as a result of criminal charges for bribery.
A spokesperson for Delta Topco told the Economist “there can be no inference” that the transfer of the 1% was an inducement to the FIA to approve a sale. It said “no such transaction was contemplated” at the time because Delta Topco was still “contemplating and preparing for an IPO.” The spokesperson added that the timing of the July 2013 options grant was not connected to the indictment of Mr Ecclestone but was “the result of a 12-month negotiation” over renewing the terms with the FIA.
The case against Mr Ecclestone was settled in 2014 with the judge in Munich saying that “prosecution of the defendant due to bribery is not probable.” By then CVC had changed its direction. As the chronology below shows, CVC’s co-chairman Donald Mackenzie told Reuters in November 2013 that the company had “no plans” to float F1 in the imminent future. Instead CVC was considering exiting through a sale which is exactly what happened when Liberty offered $8 billion putting an $80 million value on the FIA’s 1% stake.
There is no suggestion that Liberty wasn’t suitable buyer but as Forbes has revealed it didn’t make its first approach to CVC until September 2013 so when the FIA acquired its 1% stake two months earlier it could not have known for certain who would buy F1. What the FIA did know for certain is that its 1% stake came with the crucial condition that it could only be monetized in the event of a sale by CVC and this required its approval.
The FIA knew that if it approved the sale it would make a net profit of $79.5 million on its stake and the only way it could get it was by approving the sale. CVC on the other hand needed the FIA’s approval in order to sell its stake and make $3 billion on it. Liberty needed the approval to buy F1 and it paid a total of $80 million in cash and shares to the FIA.
Liberty is listed on the Nasdaq with the ticker FWONK and repeatedly disclosed in its filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) that the FIA’s approval was needed to close the takeover. However, it didn’t highlight the fact that the FIA has a stake in F1 and that Liberty would therefore be paying the regulator if it approved the deal.
another independent source :
15th February 2017, 11:42
Pirelli: Don't blame us if F1 races are boring pub. Feb. 15,2017
Paul Hembery says there will be no point complaining if the move to lower degradation tyres makes Formula 1 grands prix less exciting because Pirelli is doing what was asked.
Pirelli has overhauled its tyre concept to reduce degradation for 2017, as requested by the new rules, allowing drivers to push harder in a philosophy that is a departure from the policy it has followed since it became F1's tyre supplier in 2011.
Pirelli motorsport chief Hembery has previously said F1 could end up with processional racing this year because the rules shake-up, which includes significant tweaks to aerodynamics, will spread the field out.
Speaking at an event in Turin to mark Pirelli's 110th motorsport anniversary, Hembery told Motorsport.com that if the new tyre concept does not deliver a good show, the blame should not lie with the Italian company.
"You can't please everyone and you can only go in one of two directions," Hembery said. "We did something from the outset which was desired, then there was a decision to go in another direction.
"We're just following what the sport asks us. All we ask is that they tell us what they want. There's no point in complaining that we deliver what we have been asked to deliver.
"As a sport we're moving in a different direction, and if it works as people say then we should get good racing."
While the modified 2015 mule cars Pirelli used for testing failed to deliver the required amount of downforce expected in 2017, the tyre supplier was able to fall back on simulation data.
"The biggest challenge is if you don't have downforce, you might not be able to get the tyres working as intended, because we worked to a level of downforce given by the simulation," he said.
"It's true the mule cars were some way off in terms of performance levels, but we do have the simulation data.
"That's the question, how close will the cars be to that data – maybe they will have more and go much quicker."
Hembery feels while there may be fewer pitstops, the change in the rules should create a situation where overtaking possibilities are increased.
"We'll see fewer stops," he said. "That comes with less degradation. You come into the pits either because of performance loss [due to degradation] or wear, and in this case we are reducing both.
"We'll see a lot more one-stop races but if we deliver with the aerodynamic package cars that are closer together, and the tyre's not overheating on the surface, drivers will be able to push and lead to a scenario where overtaking is improved."
16th February 2017, 00:34
I for one will not pay anything in addition to my already extortionate Comcast cable bill package for Formula 1 coverage, even it's "enhanced or expanded" especially in the
(dim) light of the lackluster F1 of today. This is a microscopic data tidbit that Liberty won't take into account:) Just saying, though this may not be the best place to post.
16th February 2017, 08:30
I can only hope we fans will go from watching F- Pirrelli to F1 again . Tyres was more the topic than engine, areo and driver! They ran the show! I hope it really stops.
16th February 2017, 12:30
FIA denies conflict of interest in F1 sale to Liberty Media Feb. 16, 2017
British MEP Anneliese Dodds, who has regularly voiced her suspicions about anti-competitive practices in F1, recently put an extra focus on the sale, by successfully calling for approval for an investigation by the European Parliament, although it won't necessarily go ahead.
She wrote: "There is also significant conflict of interest over the recent sale of the sport to Liberty Media, after the regulator received a $79.5million (£63.7m) profit from authorising the sale.
"I have written a number of letters to the European Commission calling for a full investigation and I am grateful that the rest of the European Parliament has added its voice to this call."
The FIA has responded by stressing that it still believes that there was no conflict of interest, distancing itself from the commercial agreements between the Commercial Rights Holder and the teams, and pointing out that it could only withhold permission for the sale if believed that the CRH could not fulfil its obligations it went ahead.
In a statement referencing the sale the FIA said that it "has been made aware of certain declarations and comments, clearly inaccurately informed or made maliciously, relating to this process. In light of this, the FIA wishes to make clear the following once again:
"Firstly, the prize money allocated in the Formula One World Championship is done so in accordance with the bilateral agreements that exist between each team and the Commercial Rights Holder (CRH). The FIA has no knowledge of these agreements.
"Secondly, there is no conflict of interest on the part of the FIA with regard to its approval of the change of control of the CRH which has been approved by the World Motor Sport Council taking into consideration exclusively the terms of the existing agreements between the CRH and the FIA and the best interests of the Championship.
"As per the Agreements made in 2001 for 100 Years, the FIA could only have withheld its consent in the event that the change of control would materially alter the ability of the CRH to fulfil its obligations; it is obvious that the taking of control of the Formula One Group by Liberty does not create such a risk, and nobody has ever suggested a different view in this respect."
In its conclusion the FIA said that it "would naturally be happy to demonstrate the absence of any conflict of interest to any competent authority that may so request.
"Once again, the FIA looks forward to its collaboration with both Liberty and the Formula One Group to create a constructive relationship that will ensure the continued success and the development of the FIA Formula One World Championship in the long term."
17th February 2017, 14:10
Rumours of 4x4 F1 cars, FOTA reunion Feb. 17, 2017
A new political storm could be on the horizon for formula one.
The sport's new owner Liberty Media has been generally welcomed to the paddock, but 1996 world champion Damon Hill compared the company to "the Trump administration".
"I think they're learning," he told the London publication City AM.
The latest rumour flowing out of Portuguese media sources is that some in F1 want the controversial current engine regulations to take a further step forwards for the post-2020 period.
Mercedes' Toto Wolff told German newspaper FAZ recently: "We have to look at how we can pull even more power from these hybrid engines.
"Formula one is the fastest laboratory in the world and we must not abandon that."
His comments come amid strong contrary opinions that F1 should actually abandon its 'green' credentials and focus more on the spectacle, with loud, fuel-guzzling engines in the future.
But the Portuguese rumour is that the post-2020 vision could be of the existing traditional engine allied to MGU-H and MGU-K, but with additional 'hybrid' elements incorporating the front wheels as well.
A source told us: "Mercedes and Honda would be keen on this kind of technology. Personally I'm excited about the prospect of 4x4 F1 cars."
But a potential dispute over the post-2020 engine regulations is not the only future prospect. There are also fundamental disagreements about how the sport's huge revenues should be split, with some believing the current system is even "anti-competitive".
Hill continued: "I think it is worth asking those questions. We do appear to have a situation where teams are favoured. Particularly Ferrari is a little bit more than everyone else and seems to get some sort of preferential treatment."
Amid that talk, another rumour is that there could be a move to put the former teams alliance - or FOTA - back together, after it dissolved in 2014.
"I created FOTA to ensure that the drivers were again at the centre," Flavio Briatore told Italian broadcaster Sky Sport 24 recently.
"Those watching TV don't care if the engine can go to the moon or not. They want the drivers in cars that have more or less the same performance."
Its still a ways out and it is rumours but I can see this.....aside from the hybrid PU's()....only because there is only so much hp/ft lbs that a RWD car can put down on the asphalt....an extra 2 would most definitely help....from a luanch and corner perspective AND rain perspective. However there would be a increase in weight in an F1 car due to the transfer case.