F1 Business Diary 2018: The Singapore Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton wins easily as Ferrari tactics backfire.

F1 Business Diary 2018: The Singapore Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton claimed a straightforward victory at the Singapore Grand Prix, stretching his lead in the overall drivers’ standings to 40 points over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Starting the race on pole, the Mercedes star never looked in any danger of throwing away his position at the front, with the Brit assisted by a series of questionable in-race decisions from Vettel’s team.

The German had begun the race behind both Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. However, a stirring first lap overtake had seen him move up to second place ahead of the Dutchman, only for strategic errors to see the German driver soon back behind him.

It made life even easier for Hamilton at a venue at which he has now won on four occasions, with his only moment of concern coming when he found himself unable to pass a group of backmarkers as they jostled for their own positions on the track. The scare cost Hamilton a portion of his lead but never enough for the four-time champion to lose his way at the front of the competition.

His 40-point lead now becomes all the more significant, with just six races and 150 points still left to play for.

Mercedes team boss in favour of streamlined race calendar

Toto Wolff, the executive director of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Team, has told German weekly magazine that he would be in favour of shortening the Formula One season.

The Austrian former driver acknowledged that the move would cause controversy and would reduce short-term profits, but also highlighted its potential long-term benefits.

He said of his thoughts on stripping the calendar down from 21 to 16 races: “This means less revenue in the short term, but in the long run the product will be more exclusive and valuable.”

He added that he would also consider reducing the maximum race times by 40 minutes – from 120 to 80 minutes, explaining the importance of adapting to the desires of Formula One’s audience.

Wolff said that it was necessary “to pick up the young people who have a shorter window of attention due to the new digital formats.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff watched Lewis Hamilton take his team a step closer to both the drivers' and constructors' championship crowns.

New car plans revealed for start of 2021 season

Formula One sporting boss Ross Brawn has revealed new car designs to be introduced in 2021, with the aim of improving the quality of racing in the series.

Brawn said that the plans had been in the works for a year, with much of the work focused on fixing an outstanding issue whereby a car behind another has found itself losing a significant portion of its performance. He also explained that the aerodynamics of the racing vehicles would now enable the cars to follow each other more closely than at present.

He added that the main purpose of the renovations was “to produce cars that are more raceable.”

Brawn, who previously worked at Brawn and Mercedes, said: “I'm pretty optimistic we are going to produce some great looking cars and they are going to be able to race more closely than in the past.

“The primary thing we're doing is trying to reduce the amount of performance lost to a following car.

“It is like a force field. You can't get near it, because as soon as you do you lose performance and fall back, and you see people dropping back and the loss of performance degrades the tyres more than it should do.

“We can't eliminate that completely but we can reduce it, so the time differential for one car to attack another can be much less.”

Force India avoid suspended fine from previous ownership

Racing Point Force India escaped a US$99,000 fine following the unsafe release of Esteban Ocon’s car during a practice session at the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

The terms of the avoidance of the fine bring into question the status of the Lawrence Stroll-owned team as to whether it exists as a new entity or as an extension of the Force India team that entered administration earlier this season.

The case has highlighted how only certain aspects of the now defunct team have been carried over to Racing Point Force India.

The team had previously been found guilty of releasing Sergio Perez’s car despite a loose wheel at the French Grand Prix, with a US$99,000 fine suspended for a 12-month period. The weekend’s incident falls within the timeframe of the suspended fine. However, the decision has been made not to impose it on the Stroll-owned outfit.

Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez fought each other for position during Sunday's Singapore race.

UK-based F1 teams could be forced to cut jobs

The seven Formula One teams based in the United Kingdom could be forced to cut up to 1,250 jobs when a new financial cap is introduced by Liberty Media next year, a Mail on Sunday report has revealed.

Liberty Media, which owns the sport, is bringing in a yearly UK£117.6 million limit on each team, with reports suggesting that the move could cause a number of job losses.

The report states that close to a third of the near 4,000-strong workforce in the Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire regions dominated by motorsport industry staff might have to be scrapped. While the average team in the series spends UK£171.8 million annually on its various costs, Mercedes – for whom Lewis Hamilton has dominated this year’s championship – spent UK£274.9 million in 2016.

Formula One teams correct their finances by relying on race results, rather than through profits made through other means.

A spokesperson for Formula One said of the cap: “The introduction will be phased to allow for adjustment, and due to an improved revenue distribution going hand in hand with the cost cap, smaller teams will be able to expand their organisations, making it more of redistribution of labour.

“Some teams will absorb surplus labour into their road car groups, others are already involved in other motorsports, including Formula E.”