US mogul Penske quashes rumours over Mercedes F1 buyout
Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, whose son Nikita has been testing with Mercedes, is reportedly the other possible buyer of the championship-winning team if Daimler quits
US racing mogul Roger Penske has denied that he is interested in buying the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team, quashing rumours that surfaced at the weekend.
Penske, a former racing driver who owns the IndyCar series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, dismissed a speculative German report claiming he was one of two possible buyers of the championship-winning team if Daimler decides to quit F1 — the other being Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, whose son Nikita has been carrying out a private test programme with Mercedes.
Penske told racer.com that the report is “absolutely not true, and my plate is full”.
Racer reported that Mercedes F1 is not currently for sale, but all the teams face slightly uncertain F1 futures while new commercial agreements are negotiated with the sport’s owners.
Mercedes has won the last six consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championships, and Daimler and Mercedes-Benz chair Ola Kallenius recently restated the automaker’s commitment to F1.
“With regard to Formula 1, I think having won six championships in a row — which is a historic achievement — has been an activity that, in terms of our marketing and branding strategy, has paid off handsomely,” Kallenius said.
The usually dominant Mercedes had an off day in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas retiring from the race due to mechanical failure and Lewis Hamilton demoted from third to seventh after being penalised for causing a collision with Red Bull’s Alex Albon.
The incident-filled race was won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ahead of Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz third.
Ferrari teammates Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc collided with each other six laps from the end, causing both to retire from the race.
Marquez brothers to be Honda teammates
The Repsol Honda MotoGP team will be a family affair next season after the Japanese manufacturer announced on Monday that Alex Marquez was joining as teammate to older brother Marc.
The 23-year-old Spaniard won this year’s Moto2 championship, his second title after Moto3 in 2014, while Marc, 26, clinched his sixth MotoGP crown.
Honda Racing Corporation said that Alex had signed a one-year deal.
He replaces compatriot Jorge Lorenzo, a triple MotoGP champion who retired after last weekend’s season-ending race in Valencia.
The announcement dashed the hopes of French rider Johann Zarco, who is looking for a seat after leaving the Austrian KTM team.
The Marquez brothers are not the only siblings lining up on the MotoGP grid, with Spaniards Pol and Aleix Espargaro also competing at KTM and Aprilia respectively, but they will be the only ones in the same team.
Marc won the season-ending Valencia MotoGP on Sunday for his 12th victory of the season to ensure that the Repsol Honda team won the teams’ world title.
Triple MotoGP world champion Lorenzo, who announced on Thursday that he would retire after the season-ending race, finished his illustrious career and an injury-blighted season in 13th place.
SA’s Brad Binder won the Valencia Moto2 race on his Red Bull Ajo KTM. It moved him up to second in the world standings on 259 points, just three points behind recently crowned champion Alex Marquez.
After a tricky start to the season Binder has won the last three Moto2 races, ahead of his move up to the premier MotoGP class with the works KTM team next year.