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Alex Lynn joins DS Virgin in Formula E as reserve driver

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Recent GP2 race winner and Williams Formula 1 test driver Alex Lynn has joined Formula E outfit DS Virgin Racing in a reserve role.

Lynn, 23, won the GP3 title back in 2014 before spending two years in GP2, balancing his racing commitments with a test/development position at Williams.

Lynn announced in the summer that he would be exiting GP2 after 2016, and angled for a drive with Jaguar’s factory Formula E operation ahead of its on-track debut in October.

Despite testing for Jaguar at Donington Park, Lynn missed out on the seats to Adam Carroll and Mitch Evans, prompting the Briton to look elsewhere for a drive.

On Monday, DS Virgin Racing announced that Lynn would be joining as its new reserve and test driver on a multi-year deal.

“Formula E is arguably the most competitive motor racing championship in the world, with the highest caliber of drivers,” Lynn said.

“As a driver I want to be competing in the top series, which is why I’ve been trying so hard to get into Formula E, and DS Virgin was my first choice. So I’m delighted to have signed a multi-year deal with DS Virgin Racing.”

Lynn’s arrival comes at a time when DS Virgin Racing is braced to possibly lose both of its drivers for at least one event in 2017, owing to clashes with the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Sam Bird raced for Ferrari’s factory GT team in the GTE Pro class of the WEC last year, and could be forced to miss the New York Formula E race due to a clash with the 6 Hours of Nurburgring.

Jose Maria Lopez is yet to enter the WEC, but is widely expected to be signed to a factory Toyota seat in the LMP1 class for 2017, putting the Argentine in a similar quandary.

The Mexico ePrix also clashes with the pre-season WEC test at Monza on April 1, but it is thought that drivers with clashes would split their duties between the two series – and two continents – over two days.

Berlin Formula E race set to change location after city senate vote

BERIN, GERMANY - MAY 21:  In this handout image supplied by Formula E, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), DS Virgin Racing DSV-01 and Sebastien Buemi (SUI), Renault e.Dams Z.E.15 lead at the start of the race during the Berlin Formula E race on May 21, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by LAT/Formula E via Getty Images)
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Berlin’s Formula E race is set to change venue ahead of its third edition in June after the city senate voted against keeping it in a downtown location.

Berlin featured on the first Formula E calendar back in 2015, hosting a race around the site of the disused Tempelhof Airport.

When the site was turned into a refugee camp following the migrant crisis that hit Europe last year, an alternative location was found in the city center.

A circuit was constructed in downtown Berlin around Strausberger Platz and using Karl-Marx-Allee, with the race and location proving popular for the Formula E fraternity.

However, the race caused disruption for local residents, prompting city officials to vote against the event staying in the same location for its third edition on June 10.

“We are in constant dialogue and cooperating with local authorities to determine the final location of the race and are thankful for the continued interest and support shown from the mayor to host a race in the city of Berlin,” a spokesman from Formula E told NBC Sports.

This is not the first time that Formula E has been forced to change the location of a race due to local pressure, with the London ePrix dropping off the calendar at the end of season two after multiple court battles to keep the event at Battersea Park.

New F1 CEO keen for ’21 Super Bowls’ per season, U.S. expansion

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 23: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP, Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing, Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari line up on the grid before the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 23, 2016 in Austin, United States.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Newly-appointed Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey has set his sights on expanding race weekend events and turning each race into its own Super Bowl-style event.

Carey was appointed F1 chairman back in September before becoming CEO on Monday following the completion of Liberty Media’s takeover of the series.

Long-standing CEO Bernie Ecclestone resigned from his role to make way for Carey, who will run F1 alongside commercial chief Sean Bratches and ex-Ferrari and Benetton technical boss Ross Brawn.

Carey confirmed on Tuesday that the decision to change F1’s management structure was sparked by Liberty’s belief that the series had not reached its full growth potential in recent years.

Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Carey identified sponsorship as being a key area where F1 could grow quickly, as well as stressing the need to increase the show surrounding race weekends, drawing a comparison to the Super Bowl.

“The one that grows the fastest is sponsorship,” Carey said when asked about revenue streams.

“Right now we have a one-man sponsorship [team]. There are many categories we’re not selling into. We have signage we’re not selling. We need to execute on that.

“The opportunity in the event side is to make our events bigger, broader. We have 21 events… we need 21 Super Bowls.

“Realistically, they should be weeklong extravaganzas with music and activity, not just at the track. Over time the goal is to grow that dimension.”

Carey also wants to harness the popularity and global awareness of F1’s star drivers, identifying Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen as two of the sport’s top names that need to be more accessible to fans.

“We have great stars. Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, an 18-year-old who broke out,” Carey said.

“We have wonderful stars, incredible cars. We have to create the vehicles to allow the fans to connect to them.”

Liberty’s arrival as F1’s new owner has led to much speculation that it is set to expand the sport’s presence in the United States, a market that has traditionally proven difficult to crack.

Currently there is just one annual grand prix held in the United States, taking place at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, but Carey wants to bring F1 to some of America’s biggest cities.

“The U.S. is a real opportunity for us. There’s real upside for us in the U.S. market,” Carey said.

“We want destination cities: Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas. That way, people would come to for a weeklong event.”

Carey: Lack of growth prompted change in F1 leadership

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 27: Chase Carey, Chairman of Formula One Group walks in the Paddock ahead of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Pasquale Lattuneddu of FOM before the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 27, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Recently-appointed Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey says that the series’ failure to grow to its full potential in recent years led to the decision to change its management structure, as announced on Monday.

Former CEO Bernie Ecclestone’s 40-year stint at the helm of the sport came to an end on Monday night when he tendered his resignation, moving aside for Carey to become CEO. Ecclestone has been given the role of ‘chairman emeritus’.

Carey’s arrival comes following the completion of Liberty Media’s acquisition of F1 in a deal worth more than $8 billion.

Liberty announced on Monday that Carey would be joined by ex-ESPN marketing chief Sean Bratches and former Ferrari and Benetton technical boss Ross Brawn, creating a triumvirate to run F1.

“We looked at the business, and felt over the past four to five years the business and sport had not grown to its full potential,” Carey told Sky Sports on Tuesday.

“We needed to put a new organization in place to be able to grow the sport in today’s world in the way it needs to grow, and in some ways work with the partners we have in the business to make sure we can make the sport everything it can and should be for its fans.

“Both Sean and Ross will have critically important roles in developing the sport overall. Ross brings decades-long experience of incredible success in the sport.

“From Ross’s perspective, what we want to do is make sure we make the sport on the track everything it can and should be; make it as exciting as possible for the fans, as energizing as it can be for its fans.

“It’s a great sport today. It’s got drivers that are iconic stars. It has cars that combine power and technology in a way that truly amazes people and a brand that has fans around the world.”

Liberty completes F1 takeover; Bernie Ecclestone out as F1 CEO

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 11:  F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone walks in the Paddock during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 11, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Bernie Ecclestone’s 40-year reign at the helm of Formula 1 has come to an end following the CEO’s resignation on Monday, the major bit of news on a day when Liberty Media has formally completed its acquisition of Formula 1.

Ecclestone, 86, played an instrumental role in building F1 into the global success it is today, forming the Formula One Constructors’ Association in 1974 and becoming its CEO.

Ecclestone has controlled the commercials rights to the series ever since, but his position came into question last fall when F1 was sold to American company Liberty Media. Liberty installed Chase Carey as F1’s new chairman, with Ecclestone staying on as CEO.

However, with Liberty’s takeover of F1 set to be completed by the end of the month, Ecclestone’s tenure as the sport’s ringmaster is set to end following his resignation as CEO. Carey is now formally confirmed as new Chairman and CEO of the sport.

“I was deposed today,” Ecclestone told Auto Motor und Sport. “This is official. I do not run the company anymore. My position has been taken over by Chase Carey.

“My new position is now such an American expression. A kind of honorary president. I’ll get this title without knowing what it means.

“My days in office are now somewhat calmer. Maybe I’ll come to a grand prix. I still have a lot of friends in the Formula 1. And I still have enough money to be able to afford a visit to a race.”

AMUS’ report was followed by an official statement from Liberty later Monday afternoon, confirming Ecclestone no longer served as F1’s CEO, and confirming Ecclestone as Chairman Emeritus of the sport.

“I’m proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula 1, and would like to thank all of the promoters, teams, sponsors and television companies that I have worked with,” Ecclestone said in a release. “I’m very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1. I am sure that Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport.”

Carey said, “I am excited to be taking on the additional role of CEO. F1 has huge potential with multiple untapped opportunities. I have enjoyed hearing from the fans, teams, FIA, promoters and sponsors on their ideas and hopes for the sport. We will work with all of these partners to enhance the racing experience and add new dimensions to the sport and we look forward to sharing these plans overtime.”

“I would like to recognize and thank Bernie for his leadership over the decades. The sport is what it is today because of him and the talented team of executives he has led, and he will always be part of the F1 family. Bernie’s role as Chairman Emeritus befits his tremendous contribution to the sport and I am grateful for his continued insight and guidance as we build F1 for long-term success and the enjoyment of all those involved.”

Greg Maffei, President and CEO of Liberty Media Corporation, added: “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of F1 and that Chase will lead this business as CEO. There is an enormous opportunity to grow the sport, and we have every confidence that Chase, with his abilities and experience, is the right person to achieve this. I’d like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, who becomes Chairman Emeritus, for his tremendous success in building this remarkable global sport.”

Liberty confirmed within the release that the Liberty Media Group name will become the Formula One Group. Full formal details are linked here.

While not announced today, Liberty is reportedly set to bring in ex-ESPN marketing chief Sean Bratches in a commercial role, and ex-Ferrari and Benetton technical chief Ross Brawn has been linked with a sporting role to define the future roadmap for F1.

Liberty’s takeover is set to result in a number of changes for F1, with the United States being identified as a key market for the series to grow in.

Recently-appointed McLaren executive director Zak Brown said earlier this month that he believed Liberty would focus on putting fans first in a bid to boost its audience.

While Liberty’s exact plans for F1 moving forward remain unclear, the departure of Ecclestone as its ringmaster certainly signals the end of an era for the series.