F1 Business Diary 2018: The British Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel wins as Force India owners admit they’re open to offers.

Sebastian Vettel won an action-packed British Grand Prix at Silverstone as Lewis Hamilton, looking to become the first man to win the race six times, recovered from a first-lap collision to finish second.

Hamilton had started on pole after a terrific drive saw him pip his Ferrari rivals in qualifying. However, he was playing catch-up from as early as the third turn of the race, with Kimi Raikkonen locking his front wheel and sliding into Hamilton’s rear, causing the Mercedes to spin.

Hamilton, though, drove superbly from then on. His Mercedes team gambled by refusing to change the Englishman’s tyres when the safety car was first employed, allowing the four-time world champion to partially recover the situation.

Vettel took advantage of the collision involving his long-time title rival, winning by two seconds to give himself an eight-point lead in the drivers’ championship as the season approaches its halfway stage. Only 14 cars finished the race, with both Sauber cars stopping early as well as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen retiring after 46 laps.

Raikkonen held off his Finnish compatriot Valteri Bottas to finish third despite a ten-second time penalty after admitting culpability in his collision with Hamilton. That result means that Ferrari now have a 20-point lead over Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.

‘Force India open to offers’, says co-owner

Force India co-owner and principal Vijay Mallya has admitted that the British-based Formula One team’s shareholders would seriously consider an approach from potential investors. However, he said that none have been forthcoming.

Mallya, who has a 42.5 per cent stake in the company, said that Best Water Technology (BWT) – the team’s main sponsor – might become more involved.

He said: “If somebody comes along and wants to pay an attractive price for anything, you have to put your commercial hat on and think about it commercially, not emotionally. And that’s precisely where I am.

“I cannot comment on the status of offers or discussions. But there is no agreed offer on the table backed by cash.”

He added: “If BWT wants the name of the team to be changed to BWT Racing, like Red Bull Racing, they need to make a very long-term commitment.

“If they want the chassis name changed, then I need F1 commission approval. But it has to be long-term. If BWT decides to walk out of Formula One, I can’t be stuck with the BWT chassis name.”

Force India had a solid weekend at Silverstone, with both Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez both finishing in the top ten and collecting seven points between them.

Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya at Sunday's British Grand Prix

F1 introduce Hamilton-backed innovation competition

Formula One Managing Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn and Lewis Hamilton have launched the first-ever crowd-sourcing competition in a global sport.

Tata Communications’ F1 Innovation Prize will allow fans to present breakthrough ideas, with one overall winner rewarded with US$50,000 and the chance for their plan to be prototyped. Now in its fifth year, the competition is a joint innovation initiative by Tata Communications, Formula One and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.

Hamilton said: “Nobody is better qualified to tell us what the fans want than the fans themselves. Bringing people closer to the sport is one thing, but asking them to help develop their sport is the next step. Finding new and more ways to engage with the fans is massively important to me, they make the sport what it is.

“The more we interact with them, the more we engage with them, the better the sport will be. With this competition we are looking to give more access to information and data – some of which has never been shared beyond the garage and cockpit.”

Lewis Hamilton meets his home fans ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix

Brawn asks for Silverstone silence

Ross Brawn has asked for calm as he updated fans on the future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone after Sunday’s race. As it stands, the race is set to leave the historic venue after next year’s edition, with the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) set to activate a clause allowing Silverstone to terminate its contract – which was due to run until 2026 – with the Formula One race after 2019.

Speaking after Sebastian Vettel’s victory, Brawn insisted that Formula One would like to keep Silverstone on its annual race schedule, but that talks between both sides must be kept private in order to achieve an agreement.

He said: “I'm sure we're going to find a solution because we cannot leave this [crowd] behind.”

He added: “The frustration is the negotiations are taking place in public. Every circuit we deal with, we do it quietly and get on with it, but for some reason Silverstone chooses to make everything public, which causes more difficulties. But we'll find a solution.”


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