Red Bull Formula One driver Vettel steers his car during the second practice session of the German F1 Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring racing circuit

Ecclestone: Dominant Red Bull won’t get tired, leave F1

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Four years into Red Bull’s reign of dominance in Formula One, and it’s still pretty amazing that an energy drink company, of all things, has come in and created a team capable of beating the likes of Ferrari and McLaren.

Their latest triumph was a thorough one as well, with both team and driver Sebastian Vettel claiming their fourth consecutive championships in the constructors’ and drivers’ categories respectively with three races to go in the 2013 season.

It’s a remarkable achievement to win one championship, but what Red Bull’s done is even more impressive. However, when you’ve continually shown yourselves to be at the top of your game, you can wind up pondering over new challenges to conquer.

So, would Red Bull one day take a look around F1, say ‘we’ve done all we can here’, and move out? For his part, F1 kingpin Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t think so.

In comments to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport, the British billionaire cites the drive of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, the bounty that the team’s received thanks to its current run of glory, and the benefits of doing business in F1 as reasons why he’s not counting on an exodus anytime soon.

“Dietrich Mateschitz is so competitive, he loves racing, he likes when his car wins,” Ecclestone explained. “The successes of recent years also mean his team has earned much more than some of the others.

“Not only that, where else is he going to find as good a platform to advertise his brand?”

F1 is a nice platform indeed, but considering Red Bull’s ubiquitous stature in the landscapes of both sports and pop culture, it’s not the only one that the beverage giant has.

Still, you figure Ecclestone’s right to think Red Bull won’t leave F1 any time soon. The group enjoys worldwide exposure every weekend during the season, boasts one of the greatest drivers to ever race in F1 in Vettel, and has even managed to revive the Austrian Grand Prix for this coming season at its Red Bull Ring track.

Nothing lasts forever, of course. But right now, Red Bull’s presence in the sport appears ready to continue for a while.

Here are your Russian Grand Prix air times on NBCSN, Live Extra

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The Russian Grand Prix airs this weekend on NBCSN, marking the second time for Formula 1 to hit the streets of Sochi after its debut at the new track last year.

Here’s your TV times breakdown:


Formula One returns to Sochi for its second race in Russia in as many years, following the first running of the Russian Grand Prix in a century last year. Mercedes enjoyed success at last year’s Russian GP, as Lewis Hamilton led Mercedes to a 1-2 finish and the team clinched its first-ever constructors’ championship. Mercedes is on the brink of winning its second straight constructors’ championship, and needs to outscore Ferrari by just three points this weekend in Sochi to secure the title.

Hamilton dominated the most recent race on the F1 calendar, the Japanese Grand Prix on Sept. 27, as he led all 53 laps to claim his eighth win of the 2015 campaign. Hamilton leads teammate Nico Rosberg by 48 points with just five races remaining in the season.

Live coverage from the Sochi Autodrom begins Friday morning with Practice 1 at 3 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra, followed by Practice 2 at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN. Live Extra will stream Practice 3 on Saturday at 5 a.m. ET, prior to live qualifying at 8 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

Live Russian Grand Prix coverage begins Sunday at 6:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN, followed by F1 Extra at 9 a.m. ET. NBCSN will air an encore presentation of the Russian Grand Prix at noon ET on Sunday.

Lead F1 announcer Leigh Diffey will call the Russian Grand Prix, and will be joined by veteran analyst and former racecar driverDavid Hobbs, and analyst and former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team Steve Matchett. F1 insider Will Buxton will serve as the team’s on-site reporter from the Sochi Autodrom. Alex Jacques will call the GP2 race in Sochi airing Sunday at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

F1 Motorsports Coverage This Week on NBCSN & NBC Sports Live Extra (subject to change):

Date Program Time (ET) Network
Fri., October 9 F1 Russian Grand Prix – Practice 1 3 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
F1 Russian Grand Prix – Practice 2 7 a.m. NBCSN
/DRIVE on NBC Sports 8:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sat., October 10 F1 Russian Grand Prix – Practice 3 5 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Russia Grand Prix – Qualifying 8 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., October 11 F1 Russian Grand Prix 6:30 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Extra 9 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Russia Grand Prix (Encore) 12 p.m. NBCSN
GP2 – Russia* 10:30 p.m. NBCSN

Rosberg: F1 title race is not over yet

xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on September 27, 2015 in Suzuka, Japan.
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Nico Rosberg is refusing to back down in the fight for the 2015 Formula 1 drivers’ championship despite trailing Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by 48 points with five races remaining.

F1 arrives in Sochi this weekend for the Russian Grand Prix, and Rosberg knows that failing to score any points would leave Hamilton just one victory away from a third world title.

Rosberg has failed to put up the same kind of fight to his teammate this year as he did in 2014 when the championship was only decided at the final race in Abu Dhabi.

However, he is refusing to back down and write off his title hopes yet, despite not having won a race since June.

“Once I got back from Japan, I was able to focus on the positive elements from my weekend in Suzuka: pole position, the on-track pass on [Valtteri] Bottas and then having the speed to undercut [Sebastian] Vettel’s Ferrari at the second pit-stop,” Rosberg said, reflecting on his fightback to second place at Suzuka two weeks ago.

“I’m not backing down in my fight for the championship and gaining those positions back fair and square showed that. We have five races to go and, although the championship gap to Lewis is quite big, in my mind it’s definitely not over yet.

“The way the whole team has performed this year – from the factories to the garage – has been just incredible and I have the car I need to get back to the top step.”

Sochi was the site of Mercedes’ first constructors’ championship victory in 2014, and Rosberg is hoping to aid its bid to clinch a second title on Sunday.

“I really enjoyed our first trip to Russia last year and it was an awesome weekend for the team – one that I will always remember after seeing all the hard work they’ve put in during my time here,” Rosberg said.

“So, I’m aiming to put all those tools they’ve given me to good use and bring home a top result.”

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra this weekend.