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Renault may extend Budkowski gardening leave to appease F1 rivals

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Renault may wait an additional three months before allowing ex-FIA technical chief Marcin Budkowski to join its Formula 1 operation in a bid to appease rival teams left unhappy by the move.

Budkowski, a point of reference for all teams with technical queries about their cars, tendered his resignation with the FIA last week ahead of a move to Renault that was announced on Friday.

As Budkowski is only required to take three months of gardening leave, F1 team bosses were left fuming that someone privy to information about their cars could take their knowledge to a rival not long after leaving another role.

As a result, Renault is currently in talks with the FIA about extending Budkowski’s gardening leave by an additional three months, meaning he would not join until April at the earliest.

“There has been lots of talk about [the length of gardening leave], not from us. We always made it clear that we would not want to be aggressive in relation to that,” Renault F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul said.

“From a contractual perspective, he could be available from early next year, but we have had a constructive discussion with the FIA and I believe that we are close to reaching an agreement on a start date that would I say make everyone comfortable.

“I think that is a date of early April, which is basically twice his gardening leave provision has been discussed, has been invoked.

“Nothing has been confirmed yet but that is something we are completely prepared to entertain as far as we are concerned.”

Abiteboul also expressed his doubt that Budkowski could have much of an influence on its plans in the near-future, making any information he has from teams about their 2018 cars redundant.

“When you recruit someone, it is not a short-term opportunity. All the designs of next year’s car are already frozen,” Abiteboul said.

“We are in the process of manufacturing moulds, suspension geometry, all of that is already decided since months. It is not something that is going to influence, and things will again start from scratch for 2019.

“There is limited influence someone like that can make to a car, and because of the obsolescence of information in Formula 1, it’s not going to make a huge difference.

“We are taking that person because he has the skills, he has the experience of Formula 1 this is required for our programme and our project, which is to become a top team by 2020 – full stop.

“It’s not for what he knows today.”

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.