F1 Austrian GP 2019: Verstappen made to wait as Ferrari miss out on track but top sponsorship charts

Meanwhile Silverstone bosses get cold feet as talks stall amidst concern over London Grand Prix rumours.

Max Verstappen was forced to wait to celebrate his first win of the 2019 Formula One season as stewards took more than three hours after the end of the Austrian Grand Prix to confirm the Red Bull driver’s victory.

Verstappen passed Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with just two laps remaining to win a thrilling race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, only for stewards to open an investigation into whether the Dutchman had unfairly run his opponent off the track.

The stewards eventually decided to take no action over the collision, ruling that the wheel-banging moment had been a ‘racing incident’ to give Verstappen a sixth win of his career.

Verstappen made a bad start to the race to drop from second to seventh, but surged back through the field before diving up the inside of his fellow 21-year-old’s Ferrari in the closing stages.

“What the hell was that?” Leclerc immediately asked over the team radio after the collision.

Verstappen’s victory also brought to an end Mercedes’ eight-race winning streak at the start of the 2019 season, with drivers’ championship leader Lewis Hamilton finishing outside of the podium places in fifth for the first time this campaign.

Verstappen celebrates after taking the checkered flag

Could a London Grand Prix spell the end for Silverstone?

London’s bid to stage a Formula One race is making Silverstone organisers think twice about signing a new contract for the British Grand Prix, according to the BBC.

The Northamptonshire circuit’s hosting contract expires after this month’s British Grand Prix but it was reported in April to be inching closer to agreeing terms on a new deal with Formula One owners Liberty Media.

However, Silverstone bosses have since been made aware of Formula One’s plans to hold a race in the Docklands area of east London, which the track’s managing director Stuart Pringle says “significantly increases the risk” in holding the race.

Silverstone is apparently worried that having two Grands Prix in Britain would reduce its attendance enough to make staging the race financially unviable. There is also concern that the two races would have to be held close to each other on the calendar due to the British weather.

Speaking to the BBC, Pringle added: “Formula One have admitted to us for the first time that they want to have a race in London. That's a material change because it's different to previous arrangements and Britain is not a very big island and it's a commercial concern.

“Throughout this process we have sought to manage the significant risk that comes with promoting a Formula One race and this does nothing to reduce it.

“In fact, it significantly increases the risk to Silverstone that only a few short years ago was nearly obliterated by its commitment to Formula One and trying to maintain a British Grand Prix. We metaphorically and literally cannot afford to go back to that position.

“But we are still very much talking. They've always said they want a British Grand Prix at Silverstone and we've always said we want to host one.”

Lewis Hamilton has urged Formula One chiefs to reach a new deal with Silverstone

Ferrari top sponsorship charts

Ferrari might have missed out on a race victory over the weekend, but they have at least brought in the most sponsorship income of any team in Formula One over the past decade.

That is according to data from sponsors.formulamoney.com seen by Forbes, which says the famous Italian outfit have generated a whopping US$2.1 billion from their commercial partnerships during that time despite not winning the constructors’ championship since 2008.

According to the data, Ferrari’s sponsorship revenues peaked at US$249.5 million in 2010, representing the biggest annual total for any team competing in motorsport’s premier series during the ten years to the end of 2018.

Much of that income was generated by a new deal with Spanish bank Santander, worth a reported US$50 million per year. A further US$100 million apparently came from tobacco firm Philip Morris, although the company has since reduced its commitment due to strict advertising laws for tobacco manufacturers in some Grand Prix destinations.

Ferrari’s overall sponsorship revenue is 69.2 per cent higher than their closest rival McLaren, who according to the new Formula Money Sponsorship Database secured around US$1.2 billion between 2009 and 2018.

The next two teams in the list were Red Bull and Mercedes, whose sponsorship deals brought in approximately US$972.6 million and US$944.9 million, respectively.

Ferrari remain the most attractive team for sponsors despite not winning the constructors' championship since 2008

Confusion over Rio’s hosting bid

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro said last week that there is a “99 per cent chance” that Rio de Janeiro will replace São Paulo on Formula One’s calendar from 2021 after Interlagos’ hosting contract expires next year.

Bolsonaro said a new private racetrack on Brazil’s Atlantic coast would have a capacity for 130,000 fans compared to 60,000 at the São Paulo venue.

“No one is trying to take Formula One away from São Paulo,” Bolsonaro told reporters. “The race will stay in Brazil, that’s what counts.” 

Adding to Brazilian outlet Globo: “The contract expires next year with São Paulo and we have decided to retain Formula One in Rio de Janeiro. There's a 99 per cent chance, or more, of having Formula One from 2021 in Rio de Janeiro.”

However, since then, Brazilian media have reported that there are problems with the way the Rio organisers and authorities are going about putting together the new venue.

According to Globo, Rio Motorpark Holding SA, the company that won the circuit build and management rights contract for the new venue, has as little as 0.14 per cent of the required capital to be eligible to bid.

Globo claims that the firm has R$100,000 (US$26,000) when the public notice required a minimum of R$69.7 million (US$18 million).

Manoel Peixinho, a professor of administrative law, was quoted by the paper as saying: “We are facing one of the largest corruption cases in public tenders in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

“In the legal environment, this is what is called a paper company.”

Formula1.com gets new look in global ad deal

Formula One’s website is set to get a new look after the series landed a global advertising partnership with Inskin Media.

Starting with the UK, the London-headquartered firm will exclusively deliver non-intrusive Pageskin ad formats for the first time across the series’ official website.

The ads will subsequently roll out across other global markets including Australia, Singapore and the United States, providing the motorsport organisation with a new digital revenue stream.

Frank Arthofer, director of digital and licensing at Formula One, said: “Our digital ambition is to provide powerful, immersive and unforgettable experiences for our dedicated legion of fans – and this spans right through to their experience with online ads.

“Inskin compliments this exactly, a premium network bringing creative and flawless delivery of ads, plus a brand-new source of revenue.”

Home Comforts

It's hard racing or we have to stay home. If those things are not allowed in racing then we have to stay home.

Max Verstappen on his controversial pass of Charles Leclerc

The Big Picture

Sebastian Vettel spins during practice at Red Bull Ring

Social Moment


Related content