F1 Business Diary 2018: The Brazilian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton profits as backmarker crash costs Max Verstappen victory.

Max Verstappen was left furious after a collision with backmarker Esteban Ocon cost the Dutch 20-year-old the chance of victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton, who won the drivers’ championship in Mexico a fortnight ago, took advantage of the Red Bull’s issues to claim a victory that also secured the constructors’ championship for his Mercedes team.

However, the race was all about Verstappen, who began fifth on the grid, only to speed his way to the front on tyres that saw him achieve far greater pace than Hamilton had managed prior to the race’s defining moment.

With Force India’s Ocon a lap behind the race leader Verstappen, the Frenchman attempted to overtake the Red Bull in a tight segment, hitting the leader’s side and spinning him off the track. Such was the extent of Verstappen’s superiority at the time, the incident only pushed him down to second.

Once Hamilton had gained the lead in the most fortuitous circumstances, however, he was not to hand it back. The crash had left Verstappen’s chassis damaged, preventing him from wrestling back his advantage over the British five-time world champion.

The drama continued after the race’s conclusion, with Verstappen indirectly warning Ocon not to approach him in the paddock on his team radio, while Verstappen later confronted the driver during the post-race weighing session, pushing and criticising the Frenchman.

The pair’s rivalry goes back as far as youth karting, with Ocon beating Verstappen to the European Formula 3 title in 2014.

Chase Carey defends deal to allow F1 betting sponsorships

Formula One’s chief executive Chase Carey says the championship must approach betting promotion in a “healthy way” after striking a deal that allows partnerships with gambling firms.

In September, the championship’s owners Liberty Media agreed a five-year deal with Interregional Sports Group (ISG) worth a reported US$100 million – granting the company the right to strike separate deals with betting companies globally.

The agreement effectively ends a blanket ban of betting sponsorships imposed by former Formula One owner Bernie Ecclestone to avoid tarnishing the sport’s image.

It also means that gambling firms will have a physical presence at Formula One racetracks for the first time in nearly 40 years.

“With betting, obviously we have responsibilities that go with it,” Carey said during an investors' call with Liberty Media. “We want to make sure it's done in a healthy way, we want to make sure it's done with proper integrity tools around it.

“But it's clear that fans enjoy it, I think it makes it more interesting, it makes it more exciting.

“As an American I look at in some ways like fantasy football, which is a great enhancement to the NFL. Here's a form of fun betting.

“I think that type of engagement in a sport widens its appeal to others, it makes the experience better, and obviously [presents] business opportunities for us.

“It's both a sponsorship element and providing a more expanded and interesting set of opportunities to engage with the sport and bet on things that may not be available.

“People can obviously bet on the sport today, so it is not new, but I think we can provide new and interesting ways.

“We have to make sure we have integrity and disciplines around to ensure that with anything one bets on there is proper oversight, and it's properly policed.”

Carey was also asked to clarify whether the agreement was a straight sponsorship deal or whether Formula One would share in betting revenues.

“We are not in the betting business,” Carey continued. “We are more engaged with opportunities to bet and promoting the betting aspect of it, but we're not in the gambling or betting business.”

Liberty Media agreed a five-year deal worth a reported US$100 million with Interregional Sports Group (ISG) in September.

Formula One continue to drink to Carbon

Formula One has extended its partnership with premium champagne maker Carbon, with the brand remaining as the series’ official champagne supplier.

As part of the agreement, Carbon will remain as the brand provided during post-race podium ceremonies until 2021. The Carbon name is partially the result of the presentation of the bottles – wrapped in a thin layer of carbon fibre.

Murray Barnett, director of sponsorship and commercial partnerships at Formula One, said: “Formula One represents the pinnacle of excellence in sport, so we are delighted to be associated with such a prestigious Champagne mark as Carbon.

“Our first two years together have been extremely successful and we are excited about embarking on a long term partnership.”

Alex Mea, chief executive of Champagne Carbon, added: “Champagne Carbon understands that executing on our commitment to excellence and uniqueness is a prerequisite to this partnership. As a result, we are very proud and excited to announce this multi-year agreement, which will continue from the start of the 2019 season.”

McLaren enter 2019 Indy 500 with Fernando Alonso at the wheel

The McLaren motorsport team has announced that it enter the 2019 Indianapolis 500 race with Fernando Alonso, who races for the British constructor in Formula One.

Alonso, the two-time Formula One champion who is set to retire from the series after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 25th November, last took part in the Indy 500 in 2017, when his Honda engine failed while he led the famous race.

The race, which is held annually at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) – informally known as The Brickyard, is part of the Verizon Indycar Series, the top level of American open-wheel car racing.

Alonso contested the 2017 race under the banner of Andretti Autosport which, while being supported by McLaren, had little direct involvement from the Woking-based team beyond the car’s branding.

For next year’s race, however, McLaren chief executive Zak Brown has confirmed that Alonso’s entry – a bid to win the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’ – will be supported by a specific McLaren backroom team.

He said: “It’s a whole separate racing team that will be created. We’re a large racing team with lots of resources, and I’m extremely confident – or we would not have entered – that we will give maximum effort to F1 and this Indy 500 effort without one compromising the other.”

He added: “It’s going to be people that aren’t currently on our F1 team. It will be built up from relationships that we have. But yes, it will be a new McLaren entry.”

In October, Brown confirmed that McLaren would not enter the IndyCar Series on a full-time basis, but that the Indy 500 remained of interest to the company.

Fernando Alonso took part in the 2017 Indy 500, winning the race's Rookie of the Year award.