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Brawn: F1 has a duty to make championship more balanced

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Formula 1 sporting managing director Ross Brawn feels the sport’s bosses have a “duty” to fix the unbalanced performance of teams on the grid without acting artificially.

The 2017 season came to a close in Abu Dhabi last weekend with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull having shared all 20 race wins, marking the fourth straight year no other team has won a grand prix.

The performance gap between the three leading teams and the rest of the field has led to calls for greater balance throughout the grid in a bid to create tighter, better racing that is more attractive to fans.

Writing in a post-race newsletter in Abu Dhabi, Brawn stressed the need for F1’s bosses to review and fix the gap between the leading teams and the remainder of the field.

“The Abu Dhabi race confirmed in no uncertain terms the huge gap between the top three teams and the rest of the grid,” Brawn said.

“After 10 laps,seventh-placed Nico Hulkenberg was already 19.170 seconds off the leader, which grew to 85s by the end of the race – and here we’re talking about an exceptional driver and a factory team representing one of four major automotive manufacturers in Formula 1.

“I think we have a duty to look at ways of making the championship more balanced, without resorting to artificial or improvised means.

“That’s why, for several months, working first and foremost with the FIA and the teams, we have been looking at ideas to make the sport we all love, more interesting.

“That’s what the fans want, as has been seen from the research we have carried out over the past few months and let’s not forget that they are the sport’s most important asset.”

Tequila Patron to end ESM and IMSA partnerships after 2018 season

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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Earlier on Monday, Tequila Patron, a long-time sponsor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, both at the team level – they have a long standing partnership with Tequila Patron ESM – and the series level, announced that they will be ending their sponsorships at the end of the 2018 season.

After sponsoring Highcroft Racing in 2008 and 2009 in the American Le Mans Series, Tequila Patron and ESM formed a partnership in 2010 to launch their own team. Since then, they have scored overall wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Petit Le Mans. They have also competed internationally, in both Prototype and GT categories.

“On behalf of the entire Extreme Speed Motorsports organization, it has been an honor to represent such an amazing brand for the past 13 years,” said team co-owner Scott Sharp via a team release.

“I have the deepest gratitude for all of (Patron CEO and ESM co-founder) Ed Brown’s support. Together we have tackled various challenges, won races at each step, and built ESM into such an incredible team. Simultaneously, it has been thrilling to watch Ed and his team build the Patrón brand in a meteoric fashion and along the way become an icon in the motorsports world! We will miss not carrying the now infamous green and black livery, but the same passion for excellence will remain!”

IMSA President Scott Atherton also expressed gratitude toward Patron for their long-time involvement.

“IMSA and Patron Spirits have enjoyed a fantastic partnership for more than a decade. Tequila Patron rose through the IMSA ranks, from a high-profile team sponsor with Patron Highcroft Racing beginning in 2008, through its entitlement sponsorship of the Patron GT3 Challenge starting in 2009, and its presenting sponsorship of the American Le Mans Series beginning in 2010,” Atherton detailed.

He continued, “Tequila Patron continued in a prominent position as the American Le Mans Series merged with GRAND-AM to create the new IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and has been our entitlement partner for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup since 2014 in addition to its longstanding support of the Tequila Patron ESM race team and its pair of Nissan DPi race cars.

“All associated with IMSA – competitors, promoter partners, series officials and fans – will miss the iconic Tequila Patrón brand next year. On behalf of IMSA, we thank CEO Ed Brown and Tequila Patron for all they have done over the many years to help us grow IMSA and the sport as a whole. We’re more proud than words can express to have counted Tequila Patron among our family of premium brand partners.”

Team co-owner Scott Sharp, in a story posted on SportsCar365, asserted that the ESM team has every intention of continuing in 2019.

“We’re working on a number of options,” Sharp said. “Obviously I think we’ve singly got the best team we’ve ever had, personnel-wise. Having been refining over the years and making selected additions, we’ve gotten ourselves to be super strong. The goal is keeping everyone together. We’re working through a few different options that will hopefully allow us to do that.”

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