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Ferrari wants Liberty to make F1 plans clear before buying shares

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Ferrari CEO and president Sergio Marchionne says he wants Liberty Media to make its plans for Formula 1 clear before the Italian marque will consider buying shares in the sport.

Liberty completed its planned takeover of F1 two weeks ago, with American executive Chase Carey become the sport’s new CEO following Bernie Ecclestone’s resignation.

As part of Liberty’s plans for F1, $400 million worth of shares in the sport have been put aside for teams to buy in the next six months.

Speaking during a conference call with Ferrari investors, Marchionne said that preliminary talks had taken place with Liberty regarding a stake in F1, but that he would need greater clarity of its future plans before agreeing to any deal.

“We started exploring that opportunity now. We’re in discussions with Liberty, I just recently had a meeting with Chase,” Marchionne said.

“The issue is not just a question of the financial investment. It’s something we do for a living and in a very serious way.

“The Concorde Agreement expires in 2020, so becoming a non-voting shareholder in an entity which effectively keeps us trapped in without knowledge of what the 2021 and later world will look like is something I consider unwise.

“So one of the things that we have tabled with Chase, and I think we are not the only ones who are tabling these concerns, is clarity on what the post-2020 world will look like and what Ferrari may be able to get from its involvement in Formula 1 activities.

“Once we have clarity, then I think it becomes a lot easier to decide if we want to participate in this venture.

“I think there’s a huge amount of upsides left in F1 which if properly managed can deliver rewards to everyone who’s an investor in this business.

“But we need clarity and we’re not there yet.”

Teams have until July 23 to buy a stake in F1, after which date any unissued shares will be retired.

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.