F1 Business Diary 2015: the Mexican Grand Prix

With Lewis Hamilton claiming the world title last weekend, the Mexican Grand Prix had an "after the Lord Mayor's show" feeling about it.

After the wash-out in Austin the previous week, Mexico City's Grand Prix went ahead in altogether warmer conditions – similar to those newly recrowned world champion Lewis Hamilton claimed were now surrounding his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg after the two clashed during the US race. Since which time, Hamilton believes, “the team has felt the need to be extra warm” to Rosberg.

The German came out on top in Mexico, with Hamilton, frustrated in second place, left to rue the team's strategy, which he claimed favoured Rosberg.

“I never think those kind of things,” said Hamilton, before adding his thoughts on those kinds of things: ” I didn't agree with the decision but the team make decisions and I abide by them most of the time. There was no risk, there was nothing for me to lose. We have won the constructors' championship, the team have won, so let me take a risk, let's go for it. But we did what we did and we still got the one-two.”

With just two races remaining and both the drivers' and constructors' championships settled, the kind of off-track drama and petty squabbling at which Mercedes have become adept in recent times might well be the best way to sustain interest until the end of the season.

Return of Aston Martin

If the race itself was a moderate success for Force India – Nico Hulkenberg and Segio Perez lifting themselves from underwhelming grid positions to 7th and 8th-placed finishes respectively – the news that Aston Martin might be ready to step in as the team's new naming rights partner and technical collaborator will be welcomed as a vindication of the hard work put in off the track by Force India bosses.

The British brand has a close relationship with Mercedes, the current supplier of Force India's engines, and that deal would be expected to continue, though the engines may also be re-branded as Aston Martin. The Silverstone-based team has raced as Force India since the 2009 F1 season.

Co-owner and team principal of Force India Vijay Mallya said nothing had been confirmed and added that he doesn't like to “count my chickens before they hatch”. But Aston Martin's desire to return to F1 has been one of the worst-kept secrets in the sport in recent years, and the British brand may see the chance to base its team at another British racing institution in Silverstone as too good an opportunity to pass up.

More bad news for McLaren

After a disastrous season on the track, more bad news might be on the way for McLaren. SportsPro reported back in September that the team's long-time sponsor Johnnie Walker was ready to jump ship; now, the whiskey brand may have found a ship to jump to, as rumours have linked the Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker to a deal with the re-branded Aston Martin Racing team. Team principal Mallya's close ties with Diageo, through his United Breweries firm, will do little to quell the flames on this one.

Marussia rush-out

Despite having agreed technical deals with Mercedes and Williams ahead of the 2016 F1 season, and despite surviving the near-dissolution of the group in November 2014, Manor Marussia looks set to lose its two most prominent bosses at the end of the 2015 season.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that the team's founder John Booth and his deputy Graeme Lowdon have tendered their resignations and will step down after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of November.

The news is reportedly the fallout of the deal that rescued the team in late 2014, with tensions between Stephen Patrick, the British millionaire whose investment kept the team alive, and Booth and Lowdon cited as the reason for their leaving.

Manor are the only team in the constructors' championship not to have taken a single point all season.


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