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F1 teams unhappy over key FIA technical chief links to Renault

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Officials from a number of Formula 1 teams have made no secret of their frustration after reports emerged in Malaysia that FIA technical chief Marcin Budkowski could be set to join Renault.

Budkowski has been the main point of contact for teams with technical queries in F1 as the FIA’s technical chief, but handed in his resignation earlier this week.

The FIA immediately placed Budkowski on gardening leave for three months, but reports from multiple outlets on Friday claimed he is poised to join Renault’s works team.

Given Budkowski has been privy to intimate technical details regarding car design details for all teams, concerns have been raised by many about the knowledge he would take to Renault and its possible usage.

“We take major issue with that if he does end up with another team,” Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner said.

“Obviously in these individuals you place an enormous amount of trust. In the role that Marcin has been responsible for he has been in an extremely privileged position and extremely recently he has been in people’s wind tunnels and looking at intimate details of knowledge of next year’s cars.

“I think three months’ notice period for him to then turn up in a competitor team in Formula One is entirely inappropriate. I certainly hope that isn’t the case and I’m sure it will get discussed quite seriously at the next strategy group meeting.”

Force India commercial chief Otmar Szafnauer took issue to the short gardening leave period, believing it to go against the usual year-long stint on the sidelines for most in F1.

“I think three months is nowhere near long enough. I think a year [is right],” Szafnauer said.

“I mean, it has to be long enough such that the technology that he is aware of becomes, if not obsolete, then not leading edge. There are some sporting regulations as well that prohibit us from selling current-year cars for exactly the same reason.

“The cars have to be at least one year before we can dispose of them and it’s for that reason and I think notice periods should follow along the same lines.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff added: “But we need to look at the timings, we need to be transparent with the FIA and give them access.

“In order to have the full trust of the teams, it’s important to have a certain stability and understanding how quick somebody can leave the FIA and join another competitive team.”

Renault is yet to make any comment regarding Budkowski or his arrival at the team.

NBC Sports Group, INDYCAR partner on new TV and digital rights agreement starting in 2019

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NBC Sports Group and INDYCAR officials this morning announced a new partnership beginning in 2019 that will take the sport in an exciting new direction.

The new all-encompassing agreement includes TV and digital rights to all INDYCAR races — including the legendary Indianapolis 500. NBCSN has been INDYCAR’s cable partner since 2009, but this new agreement is all-encompassing and includes broadcast, cable, digital, streaming, and direct-to-consumer rights for all INDYCAR races, qualifying, practices and more.

All races will be carried live, with eight races — including the Indy 500 — on NBC, while the remaining races will be televised on NBCSN.

Here is the official news release announcing the new partnership:



New Agreement Includes Rights to All Races, Qualifying, and Practices

Indianapolis 500 Moves to NBC in 2019

Indy 500 and Seven Additional Races on NBC Annually; Remaining Races on NBCSN; All Races Live Streamed on and the NBC Sports app

NBC Sports Gold Direct-to-Consumer Package Includes Qualifying, Practices, Indy Lights, and Full-Event Replays

STAMFORD, Conn. – March 21, 2018 – NBC Sports Group and INDYCAR announced a new, multi-year media rights agreement today in which NBC Sports has acquired the rights to present all INDYCAR races, qualifying, practices, and Indy Lights races across its platforms beginning in 2019. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Indianapolis 500 and seven additional Verizon IndyCar Series races will be broadcast annually on NBC, with all remaining races televised on NBCSN. All races will be live streamed to authenticated subscribers on and the NBC Sports app. Details of NBC Sports’ 2019 INDYCAR schedule will be announced at a later date.

NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product – will offer a package to INDYCAR fans that features all qualifying and practices not televised live, all Indy Lights races, and full-event replays. Additional details, including the cost of the Gold offering, will be announced at a later date.

“We’re excited to have NBC Sports serve as the exclusive home of INDYCAR, which represents the most competitive open-wheel racing in the world,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “We’re honored to bring the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, to NBC, further enhancing NBC Sports’ Championship Season. We’ve seen consistent growth for INDYCAR on NBCSN in the past decade, and we hope to continue that growth throughout the series by leveraging the television, digital, production and marketing assets that make NBC Sports a powerful media partner.”

“This arrangement brings all of INDYCAR to one home, increases our exposure and includes our first direct-to-consumer offer for our fans,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We couldn’t be happier to have start-to-finish coverage of INDYCAR’s season with the NBC Sports Group.”

The 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500, set for Sunday, May 26, 2019, will be the first ever on NBC. The Indy 500 will also be included every year in NBC Sports’ Championship Season marketing campaign, which touts numerous high-profile championship events that are presented across NBC Sports platforms from May to July, including the Triple Crown, The PLAYERS, Premier League Championship Sunday, French Open, Stanley Cup Final, Tour de France, and The Open Championship.

The entire Verizon IndyCar Series will receive unprecedented marketing and promotional support from NBC Sports, which will utilize not only its own assets, but many NBCUniversal assets as well. With the Indy 500 and seven additional races on NBC, INDYCAR will have the second-most races on broadcast television in all of motorsports.