F1 Business Diary 2018: The Mexico Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton clinches fifth world title as Max Verstappen claims second 2018 victory.

F1 Business Diary 2018: The Mexico Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton secured his fifth Formula One World Championship title, despite struggling to a fourth-placed finish at the Mexican Grand Prix on a weekend where Mercedes struggled for pace.

However, the race result was insignificant, with the British driver only requiring five points from the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez to clinch a title that takes him above his long-term rival Sebastian Vettel in the all-time list of Formula One champions.

The 2018 triumph is Hamilton’s fifth, taking him level with Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio, who dominated the racing series through the 1950s, winning two world titles in a Mercedes car. Only Michael Schumacher, the great German driver, now sits ahead of Hamilton, having won seven world crowns.

Of the race itself, its result paled into irrelevance for Hamilton, though Red Bull’s Max Verstappen continued an impressive season for the 21-year-old Dutch driver, easing to victory over Vettel.

Daniel Ricciardo, who had qualified on pole position, was one of four men to retire in Mexico City, with the Spanish-speaking trio of Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr all failing to finish.

Alonso, who is to quit the sport at the end of the season, was forced out early on, having seen his car hit by debris from a crash in front of him involving Esteban Ocon and Sainz, who was racing at his home circuit.

Haas F1 secure Rich Energy as first ever title sponsor

North Carolina-based Formula One team Haas have unveiled Rich Energy as their official title sponsor.

The multi-year agreement with the British energy drinks company, which comes into place at the start of the 2019 season, marks Haas’ first title sponsorship deal since joining the Liberty Media-owned motorsport series in 2016. As a result, the team will be known as Rich Energy Haas F1 from the beginning of the next campaign.

As part of the arrangement, the team’s livery will also change from the grey, red and black colours that have adorned the their cars for the last three seasons.

Rich Energy’s decision to sign up with Haas comes with the drink manufacturer having long held an interest in entering the Formula One industry. Earlier this year, the company failed in an attempt to buy out Force India, who were – at the time – faced with financial turmoil. However, the team – now known as Racing Point Force India - have since been acquired by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.

Guenther Steiner has been the boss Haas Formula One since the team's arrival on the grid in 2016.

Spark beats Sky to Formula One rights in New Zealand

New Zealand telecommunications company Spark has secured rights to broadcast Formula One on its online platform for the next three years.

Starting in 2019, the coverage will add to Spark’s range of motorsport content, which includes Formula Two, the GP3 Series and Porsche Super Cup Series.

Head of sport Jeff Latch has said the company is set to announce further sporting deals in the coming weeks, with its content set to stream on its new over-the-top (OTT) streaming service which launches next year.

Spark’s Formula One coverage clicks into gear at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March.