Canadian GP Weekend: All posts, one place

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The Canadian Grand Prix is a firm favorite among the drivers, teams and fans in Formula 1, and this weekend’s race certainly has the makings of another thrilling event.

Nico Rosberg managed to snatch pole position away from Lewis Hamilton during qualifying, but with the two drivers starting side-by-side on the front row of the grid, the run down to the first corner in Montreal could make or break the race.

Here is a round-up down of MotorSportsTalk’s coverage of the Canadian Grand Prix so far.

THURSDAY

F1 Flashback: Schumacher’s seventh heaven in Canada
MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Canadian GP
Gutierrez not letting Monaco setback get him down
2014 Canadian Grand Prix Preview
Magnussen always learning in his rookie season
Vettel confident of a good result in Montreal
Raikkonen not expecting quick Ferrari fightback
Button not yet ready to discuss a new McLaren deal
F1 drivers ready for FIFA World Cup
Exclusive interview with Caterham’s Alexander Rossi
Canadian GP Paddock Notebook – Thursday

FRIDAY

Pirelli confirms tire nominations for the next four races
Canadian GP marshals to honor fallen colleague
Hamilton: Rivalry with Rosberg has been exaggerated
FP1: First blood to Fernando Alonso in Canada
Rossi pleased with showing in Canada practice
F1 could cut Friday practice to reduce costs
Ricciardo handed reprimand for pit lane error
FP2: Hamilton and Mercedes back on top
Vettel and Ricciardo both chasing improvements
Hamilton wary of the field closing on Mercedes
Renault power still down for Maldonado
VIDEO: Vettel tries out a 1988 Ferrari at the Red Bull Ring
Canadian GP Paddock Notebook – Friday
F1 Paddock Pass: Canadian GP

SATURDAY

Renault still having problems in Canada
FP3: Hamilton closes out practice fastest
Canadian GP contract extended until 2024
Grosjean believes Lotus is heading in the right direction
Gutierrez misses qualifying after FP3 crash
Qualifying: Rosberg rockets to Canadian GP pole
VIDEO: Marcus Ericsson’s qualifying ends in the wall
Williams secures its best team qualifying result since 2006
Alonso hoping to beat Williams, Red Bull on Sunday
Kobayashi takes gearbox penalty, Maldonado reprimanded
Rosberg ready for race-long battle with Hamilton
Ricciardo frustrated to only qualify sixth
Vettel calls P3 “a very good result”
VIDEO: Gene Haas talks exclusively to NBCSN about his F1 plans
Button happy with McLaren’s new direction
Canadian GP Paddock Notebook – Saturday

Street race in Vietnam could lead Formula One’s Asia expansion

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TOKYO (AP) — Formula One is expected to add more races in Asia, including a street circuit in the capital of Vietnam, a country with little auto racing history that is on the verge of getting a marquee event.

“We think Hanoi could come on in the next couple of years, and we’re working with the Hanoi government to that end,” Sean Bratches, Formula One’s managing director of commercial operations, told the Associated Press.

There is even speculation it could be on the schedule next season, which Bratches rebuffed.

Vietnam would join countries like Azerbaijan, Russia and Bahrain, which have Grand Prix races, little history in the sport, and authoritarian governments with deep pockets that serve F1 as it tries to expand into new markets.

“This (Hanoi) is a street race where we can go downtown, where we can activate a large fan base,” Bratches said. “And you have extraordinary iconography from a television standpoint.”

A second race in China is also likely and would join Shanghai on the F1 calendar. Bratches said deciding where to stage the GP will “be left to local Chinese partners” – Beijing is a strong candidate.

Bratches runs the commercial side of Formula One, which was acquired last year by U.S.-based Liberty Media from long-time operator Bernie Ecclestone.

Formula One’s long-term goal is to have 24-25 races – up from the present 21 – and arrange them in three geographical segments: Asia, Europe and the Americas. Bratches said the Europe-based races would stay in middle of the calendar, with Asia or the Americas opening or ending the season.

He said their positioning had not been decided, and getting this done will be slowed by current contracts that mandate specific places on the calendar for several races. This means eventually that all the races in Asia would be run together, as would races in Europe and the Americas.

The F1 schedule is now an inefficient jumble, allowing Bratches to take a good-natured poke at how the sport was run under Ecclestone.

“We’ve acquired an undermanaged asset that’s 67-years-old, but effectively a start-up,” Bratches said.

Early-season races in Australia and China this year were conducted either side of a trip to Bahrain in the Middle East. Late in the season Formula One returns to Asia with races in Japan and Singapore.

The Canadian GP this season is run in the middle of the European swing, separated by four months from the other races in the Americas – the United States, Mexico and Brazil. These three are followed by the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, which means another trip across the globe.

“With the right economics, with the right structure and cadence of events across territories, 24 or 25 is probably where we’d like to be from a longer-term standpoint,” Bratches said.

Big changes are not likely to happen until the 2020 season ends. This is when many current rules and contracts expire as F1’s new owners try to redistribute some income to allow smaller teams to compete.

“There’s more interest than we have capacity in the schedule,” Bratches said, firing off Berlin, Paris or London as potentially attractive venues. “We want to be very selective.”

“Those cites from an economic impact standpoint would find us value, as do others around the world,” Bratches added. “It’s very important for us as we move forward to go to locations that are a credit to the Formula One brand.”

An expanded schedule would have to be approved by the teams, which will be stretched by the travel and the wear-and-tear on their crews. The burden will fall on the smaller teams, which have significantly smaller revenue compared with Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull.

Bratches also envisions another race in the U.S., joining the United States Grand Prix held annually in Austin, Texas. A street race in Miami is a strong candidate, as are possible venues like Las Vegas or New York.

“We see the United States and China as countries that could support two races,” he said.

Liberty Media has reported Formula One’s total annual revenue at $1.8 billion, generated by fees paid by promoters, broadcast rights, advertising and sponsorship. Race promotion fees also tend to be higher in Asia, which makes the area attractive – along with a largely untapped fan base.

In a four-year cycle, F1 generates more revenue than FIFA or the International Olympic Committee, which rely almost entirely on one-time showcase events.

Reports suggest Vietnamese promoters may pay between $50-60 million annually as a race fee, with those fees paid by the government. Bratches said 19 of 21 Formula One races are supported by government payments.

“The race promotion fee being derived from the government … is a model that has worked historically,” Bratches said.