Tata Communications: We achieved what we set out to do in F1

Tata Communications has ended a partnership with Formula 1 after eight years working together on the sport’s digital transformation, the Indian-owned company said.

Formula 1 confirmed they were no longer official partners, without further comment.

Amit Sinha Roy, vice president of marketing, said the deal ended on Dec. 31 and Tata wanted “to explore other platforms that will allow us to showcase the full power of our digital services to our key customers.”

“Our eight-year F1 journey, spanning 150+ races, was all about driving innovation in the sport,” he added in a statement to Reuters. “As we had achieved what we set out to do, we feel it’s the right time for us to conclude this marketing partnership.”

Roy said Tata, who had been the sport’s official connectivity partner, remained committed to customer relationships with broadcasters such as Sky and Star Sports television.

They would also continue working “behind the scenes for now” with other F1 partners and customers. Those included the Williams team and world champions Mercedes last season.

Formula 1 launched a television subscription streaming service in 2018, targeting an estimated 500 million fans worldwide as part of a digital transformation.

Tata had arrived in the sport under former F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who was ousted by the sport’s new owners Liberty Media in January 2017.


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Lowe: Williams recovery my greatest challenge

Williams technical director Paddy Lowe was expected to take Williams to the next level, but the first effort at putting out a decent car under his watch has proved to be a disaster for the once mighty team, sinking them to their lowest level in memory.

Lowe arrived with pedigree, having started with Williams in 1987 before he joined McLaren in 1993 where he rose through the ranks to become technical director at Woking before he departed to join Mercedes in 2013.

Replacing Ross Brawn, he was part of the leadership that created the mega-team that the Silver Arrows has become.

His move to Williams early last year was expected to herald a new era of technical excellence at Grove, with highly rated Dirk de Beer joining the team from Ferrari. But instead of progress the team has been in sharp decline with very little light at the end of a long tunnel.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the FW41 lemon they produced, the fall-guys have fallen and now Lowe remains standing with nowhere to hide.

When asked if he was amid the toughest challenge of his impressive career, he replied, “In many aspects, yes.”

“There have been some other challenges I faced on different occasions, but this is a new challenge for me anyway. Through the years I’ve been fortunate in my career not to work in a team that wasn’t part or within reach of the front, performance wise,” the 56-year-old told Motorsport Network.

“That is where we were always playing, in the top ten and towards the front of top 10 or at the very front end. It is a new experience for me to work in a team, which has a lot of work to do to get back to where we want to be.”

“So that creates some new challenges for me personally, and I am learning all the time. Some things you get right, some things, if I had my last year again, I would do differently. But I think that is the nature of life.”

“You face challenges and you learn from them and hope that that builds your experience to do a better job next time.”

Williams have huge pedigree in Formula 1 with 114 grand prix victories since their debut in the top flight back in 1975, their collection of nine Formula 1 constructors’ titles is only bettered by Ferrari.

Lowe cites this and winning potential of the team as his source of inspiration, “I think the more we get into understanding where we are, and why, and what is not working, I think the more positive that makes me feel about the progress that we can make.”

“We’ve got a great team, you know. There are some great creative people back at Grove. And I think if we can work in the right direction, which we are now turning round to do, I think we can make some really good progress.”

“I think as we get to this point of the year, which is common with all the teams, the focus goes very much more on the current car towards pieces and developments which are also relevant into next year,” said Lowe about his team’s mindset on this front.

“I think we are definitely moving into that mode now with this car, which should be common with the other teams I would expect.

“Because although the rules are changing for next year quite significantly, there are still many aspects of the car for which the development and the learning on this car will still carry across.

“So, for instance, we probably won’t do a lot of work on front wing endplates for the rest of this year, but that’s because it’s a big change for next year,” concluded Lowe.

Big Question: Is Paddy Lowe the man to revive Williams to become title contenders and race winners again?


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Epstein: The bigger the success Miami is the better for F1

Circuit of the Americas (COTA) chairman Bobby Epstein believes says the prospect of the Miami Grand Prix is good for the sport as his organisation bide their time ahead of negotiating a new Formula 1 contract for the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

The Texas track’s existing deal agreed with Formula 1’s former supremo Bernie Ecclestone runs to 2021 with an annual escalator clause.

COTA chairman Epstein would like to secure better terms from the sport’s new U.S.-based owners Liberty Media, as do other promoters in the global series who have long complained that high hosting fees make it hard to turn a profit.

Liberty’s eagerness to add a race in Miami, possibly as soon as next year, could see a change to the old business model with media reports suggesting that deal will have shared risk and revenues.

“I think there are nine or 10 circuits that have to renew their deals before we do,” Epstein told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“So I am sure by the time ours comes up, there’ll be a lot more precedents set. And you know, hopefully the sport will have taken off in the U.S. (by then) and the reliance on the promoter income might not have to be as heavy.”

Hockenheim, which hosts this weekend’s German Grand Prix and is in the last year of its contract, has already said it cannot continue unless any new deal is risk-free.

Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, has a year remaining on its contract having exercised a break clause, while even countries like Azerbaijan that pay more than most are seeking revised terms.

Liberty see the United States as a key market for the sport’s growth and are keen to add at least a second race.

COTA is the country’s only purpose-built Formula One facility.

Epstein, who said he was not planning on starting conversations about a new F1 deal until much closer to the 2020 race, also has a MotoGP contract to renew but he was not worried about that, “MotoGP is a great event for us and we’re not going to lose it.”

COTA has drawn big crowds to the F1 race by putting on big-name concerts on the Saturday and Sunday to drive sales of family tickets.

Epstein said this year’s headliners Bruno Mars and Britney Spears meant sales were “on top of where they were last year” when Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder topped the bill.

He added, however, that the circuit was almost ‘maxed out’ as far as the concert crowd and future growth would have to come from increasing the sport’s popularity.

Miami, he said, might siphon off some fans but would be good in the long run, “I certainly think there’s a core group of the curious fans, just as we saw the first year of our event, who want to go experience the new.”

“And they will go to Miami and I hope Miami will be a great success because the bigger the success Miami is, the better it is for the sport. So that will lift all of us. At least that’s the hope.”

The Miami Grand Prix is by no means a certainty, but Epstein felt something would be sorted for 2020 if not next year.

The uncertainty has meant a 2019 draft Formula 1 calendar has yet to be published, with Liberty waiting on the Florida city before confirming any dates.

If Miami happens then it would be scheduled with Austin, Mexico and Brazil in a sequence for the later part of the season, with Canada retaining a June slot.

“I’ve a feeling they’ve got their schedule and calendar fairly well pencilled in,” said Epstein, who added that the date of the Austin race — on 21 Oct0ber — could change from next season.

“They’ve mentioned the possibility of a (date) change to us. Within three weeks either way of our existing date. It might be early November,” added Epstein.

Big Question: How important is the Miami Grand Prix for Formula 1?


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Formula 1 still mourning Jules Bianchi three years on

Leclerc, Bianchi

Three years since Jules Bianchi succumbed to injuries he sustained during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, the world of Formula 1 has not forgotten and indeed never will as the sport lost one of it’s brightest lights who had been destined for big things.

Twitter’s #ForeverJules was buzzing with good-will messages on the anniversary of a very sad day for sport:

Remembering our friend Jules today 🙏 #JB17

A post shared by Stoffel Vandoorne (@svandoorne) on Jul 17, 2018 at 4:00am PDT


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