Ecclestone: ‘No doubt’ Hamilton will win F1 title in 2016

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Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has “no doubt” that Lewis Hamilton will clinch a fourth world championship in 2016.

Hamilton has won three F1 titles since making his debut back in 2007, the last two coming in 2014 and 2015 with the all-conquering Mercedes team.

A rocky start to the year saw Hamilton fall as many as 43 points behind Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, only to mount a fightback that saw him take the lead before the summer break.

Wins for Rosberg in Belgium and Italy have caused Hamilton’s lead to shrink to just two points heading into the final seven rounds of the season.

In an interview with the official F1 website that also featured Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff, Ecclestone expressed his belief that Hamilton would win the title again.

“Of course he will win,” Ecclestone said. “No doubt about that.”

Wolff remained coy given his role as team boss, managing the seasons of both title contenders.

“If you switch off the microphone I can give you my personal opinion…” Wolff said.

“But I try to be as neutral as possible with the two of them. I would be happy with either of them winning.”

Ecclestone and Wolff also discussed their talks in 2015 over a possible Mercedes engine supply for Red Bull, something the F1 CEO was pushing to make a reality.

Amid ongoing difficulties for Red Bull with existing supplier Renault, Ecclestone tried to help broker a deal for Mercedes to supply its rival with power units.

However, Mercedes rejected the deal, ultimately leading to Red Bull to stick with Renault for 2016 before ultimately signing a further two-year contract.

“We never did, and probably never will agree on that,” Ecclestone said.

“Yes, I understand the reasons – I would have reacted just like them in their shoes. Toto was in a very difficult position back then, because maybe – in his heart – he would not have minded, but he had to look at what’s the best for his team and him personally.”

Wolff added: “In all the discussions we had about this topic, we both always understood why the other had that standpoint.

“If I had been in Bernie’s shoes I would have wanted the most sensational fight for the titles. I always accepted that, but I could not follow that path.

“Running a team means you very much have to look out for yourself, for your team. Running Formula One you naturally want to have the most competitive and entertaining platform – which can translate into very different objectives.”

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”