ING to pull out from F1 sponsorship deal with Renault
17 February 2009
Published at 19:50 Comments (0)
Dutch financial services entity ING said it will pull out from its Formula 1 sponsorship deal with French car maker Renault.
“In light of the recently announced cost reduction programme, ING confirmed today not to renew the three-year sponsorship contract with Renault F1 and to end its presence in F1 beyond the 2009 season,” the firm said in a statement.
The Dutch company is exploring cost cutting measures amid deepening global financial turmoil.
The financial services major said that one of the main aims of the company’s participation in Formula 1 was to increase its global brand awareness.
Noting that F1 remains a powerful business driver even in a difficult economic climate, ING said, “whilst ING has cut the F1 sponsorship costs by 40% in the final year, revenue generating opportunities will be a continuing focus through 2009”.
The statement added that ING would continue to work closely with Renault F1 team in the final year of the partnership.
Hamilton delighted by Jerez test, Ferrari sink in the sand
15 February 2009
Published at 10:44 Comments (0)
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a confidence-boosting, warm-weather drive in his 2009 McLaren on Thursday while title rivals Ferrari were bogged down in a Middle East sandstorm.
The British driver put in 93 laps of the Jerez circuit with a best time of 1:20.737, the second fastest on the day behind Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais who clocked 1:18.493.
“Today’s test gave me the first opportunity to drive MP4-24 in warm, dry conditions — and I’m very encouraged by what I felt,” said Hamilton.
“The car feels strong, very similar to last year’s car, in fact. It doesn’t take long to get used to the new buttons in the cockpit, but the real test for everyone now is to understand the slick tyres ahead of the first race in Melbourne next month.”
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (1:20.738), Kazuki Nakajima in a Williams (1:20.898) and former double world champion Fernando Alonso, in a Renault (1:21.307) completed the top five.
Bourdais’ time was slower than that set by team-mate Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland the previous day.
Meanwhile, in Bahrain, Ferrari, as well as Toyota and Sauber, saw their testing schedule decimated by a desert sandstorm.
The teams were allowed out for installation laps in the morning at the Sakhir track, but after that running was suspended because the medical helicopter was unable to fly between the track and the nearest hospital.
The storm meant that former world champion Kimi Raikkonen spent the day in the Ferrari garage, unable to set a time.
“Another extremely precious test day has been lost,” said a Ferrari team statement.
“There are just another 12 testing days left before the season starts. We have another session planned for Friday with Kimi behind the wheel but the weather forecast is not optimistic.”
Chelsea, Liverpool focus on league title race
13 November 2008
Published at 16:01 Comments (0)
The managers of Chelsea and Liverpool went through the motions of expressing disappointment at exiting the League Cup. In reality, the Premier League pacesetters removed an irritating distraction from their pursuit of the Premier League title.
The greatest benefit for both teams Wednesday was star strikers Didier Drogba (Chelsea) and Fernando Torres (Liverpool) making their first starts in more than a month.
Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari will hope Drogba, who scored his first goal of the season before the Blues were beaten by Burnley on penalties, can help improve Chelsea's goal difference, which is keeping the team above Liverpool atop the standings.
And ahead of Saturday's match at last-place West Bromwich Albion, Scolari refused to blame his players after a second-tier club denied him a League Cup quarterfinal place.
"The players are disappointed because they lost a competition," the Chelsea manager said Thursday. "They wanted to win this game (against Burnley) but now it is time to work for Saturday's game.
"I am not angry with the players because they tried their best. If they make mistakes maybe it is because I have not given them good lessons. The players tried to do their best."
While Torres couldn't find the net in Liverpool's 4-2 loss at Spurs, manager Rafa Benitez is glad to see him back ahead of Saturday's match at Bolton.
"He needed to play some minutes and he is feeling positive now," Benitez said. "He will train with us and will hopefully be ready for Saturday.
"We now turn our focus to Bolton and we will try to win the game to stay at the top of the league. You have to concentrate on the Premier League and Champions League — and then the FA Cup."
Defender Daniel Agger is wary of Bolton's threat after the Reds lost at White Hart Lane for the second time this month.
"We must play a lot better than how we performed against Tottenham," Agger said. "Bolton are a physical and strong team so it will be a tough match for us, but we are focused on making improvements in every area.
"We definitely have to do better."
Chelsea and Liverpool are tied on 29 points, followed by Arsenal on 23, with Manchester United a further two points adrift.
Arsenal's victory over the Red Devils last weekend helped silence the unprecedented criticism being directed at manager Arsene Wenger following a defeat at newly promoted Stoke, which is at Man United on Saturday.
Wenger will hope the momentum continues Saturday against Aston Villa as he bids for his first league title since 2004.
Fulham will be wary of Tottenham's trip to Craven Cottage with Spurs manager Harry Redknapp having taken the team from last place to collect 10 points out of 12 in three weeks since replacing Juande Ramos.
Sunderland can quickly exact revenge for its League Cup elimination when it visits Blackburn, while Newcastle hosts Wigan.
Both Manchester City and Hull will be looking to snap three-match losing streaks when they meet Sunday, when Everton hosts Middlesbrough. Source: Herald Tribune
Hamilton says racist abuse not a joke
07 November 2008
Published at 09:36 Comments (0)
Lewis Hamilton says the racist abuse directed at him this year is not something that he has taken lightly after Bernie Ecclestone labelled the controversies as “a joke”.
Formula 1 supremo Ecclestone, in an interview with BBC Radio on Thursday, moved to play down the incidents of racist abuse that Hamilton has been subjected to this year, both in pre-season testing at Barcelona and on a Spanish website last week.
While Hamilton said he hadn’t heard Ecclestone’s comments and stressed that he himself had put the taunts behind him, he made it clear he didn't regard them as trivial or humorous.
“I don't particularly look at it as a joke," he was quoted as saying by Reuters at a sponsor event on Thursday.
"It's something that's happened but it's in the past and you've got to look forward.
“What's most important for me is that I know I have a lot of support, especially from my UK fans.”
He added: “I haven’t read what Bernie said but I have a huge amount of respect for him and can only assume he said positive things.”
Earlier this week the world champion’s father Anthony revealed that the racist abuse his son had suffered had led him to question whether they should remain in Formula 1.
“I am Lewis’s dad and my first duty is to be protective of my family,” Hamilton Snr told the Daily Mail.
“Sometimes you wonder whether it is worth staying in Formula 1, even when it has been your dream for so long.
“We are all human and have feelings.
“When people behave as they do by taking against Lewis it hurts, and nobody wants that for people they love and care about.” Source: itv-f1
Hamilton, world champion in the last curve
02 November 2008
Published at 22:08 Comments (2)
The youngest world champion
Liverpool seal the points as Steven Gerrard penalty defeats Tony Adams' Portsmouth
30 October 2008
Published at 09:39 Comments (0)
Manchester United and Chelsea might pack a bigger punch in the transfer market and possess squads which are the envy of their rivals, but only Liverpool have Steven Gerrard and when the title race is decided, his desperation for a Premier League winners’ medal could just tip the balance away from the power and riches at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.
Personal desire can be a potent ingredient and Liverpool are beginning to make a habit of turning draws into victories this season, especially at Anfield. Gerrard has been central to all of those dramatic late wins.
Against Portsmouth, the Liverpool captain sent Tony Adams back to the south coast with nothing to show for his top-flight managerial debut thanks to a 76th-minute penalty that sealed a deserved three points for the league leaders.
But Gerrard did more than merely score from the spot. Just as this game appeared to be drifting towards a costly draw for the home side, Gerrard did what he did best and dragged his team to victory, one which maintains their three-point lead at the Premier League summit.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said: “After the victory at Chelsea, three points tonight was really important. We changed four or five players and still won, so that sends a message to the squad, the players and everyone that we can change players and win games.
“We are still top of the table and we want to try to be at the top for a long time, but the most important thing for us now is to win the next three points. When you are top, it shows the confidence you have in yourself.”
In previous campaigns, this could have been a tale of what might have been for Liverpool, but Gerrard’s penalty ensured that it was points won, rather than points lost against the FA Cup holders.
Portsmouth’s woeful record at Anfield, a ground where they last secured a league victory in 1951, did not bode well for the visitors, but after surviving an early scare when Dirk Kuyt struck a post on 10 minutes, they proceeded to take charge of the first half with their five-man midfield stifling Liverpool.
Unbeaten this season and having ended Chelsea’s 86-game unbeaten Premier League home record at the weekend, Liverpool could have no complaints with Adams adopting a defensive approach. Dropping six-goal top scorer Jermain Defoe to the bench underlined what Adams wanted to get out of the game.
But despite soaking up pressure and carving out dangerous counter-attacks, Portsmouth began to be pushed deeper and deeper as Gerrard propelled Liverpool forward in the closing stages.
The big, red clock at the side of the Kop appears to inject mysterious powers into Liverpool, and Gerrard in particular, as it ticks down towards the 90th minute and once again he came to the rescue when referee Steve Tanner pointed to the penalty spot following a needless hand-ball by Papa Bouba Diop.
David James has form for saving penalties, but Gerrard doesn’t miss many and, though his England team-mate almost reached the ball as it flew into the net, Gerrard did just enough to score.
Adams said: “It’s hard to be pleased when you’ve lost 1-0, but if those players continue to show that level of commitment to me, they won’t go wrong.
“Steven Gerrard is one of the best midfielders in the world, though, and if he stays fit, Liverpool are going to do very well this season.” Source; telegraph
Rafael Benitez says winning league with Liverpool would be harder than La Liga
29 October 2008
Published at 13:17 Comments (0)
After becoming the first side in more than four years to secure a league win at Chelsea, Benitez knows that with every win he will face a growing avalanche of questions as to whether he can steer Liverpool to their first title of the Premier League era. And if he does, it will rank as a greater achievement than taking Valencia to their first Spanish title in 21 years – as he did in 2002.
"I think this is harder to win than La Liga," he said. "Here you have a lot of clubs with big money trying to be in the top four and you are competing against three teams – Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United – who are really, really strong. In England you have clubs run by an owner: in Spain the fans and the shareholders are the owners, and they elect a chairman.
"The Premier League is really difficult. Chelsea won the title with 91 points and since then  it has been won with 89 and 87 points. For us to win, we would have to have a nearly perfect season because we know that Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United will not lose too many games. You can see one of them making mistakes but to imagine all three will is very difficult.
"When I was with Valencia we had an almost perfect balance when winning it for a second time [in 2004]. We scored more goals than any other team, including Real Madrid, and we conceded fewer. The press called us a machine."
Having broken one record by becoming the first team in 87 attempts to win at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool will defend one tonight. No Portsmouth side since 1951 have left Anfield with a victory and, although Fernando Torres is not scheduled to return until Saturday's game at Tottenham, Robbie Keane will start.
As he awaited the kick-off at Chelsea last Sunday, Benitez was flicking through a set of newspapers which all mentioned the one glaring weakness in his domestic record – Liverpool's inability to take points off fellow members of the big four. It is worth pointing out that immediately after overcoming United last month Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by Stoke. However, what should give the Kop confidence this evening is the ease with which Liverpool held Chelsea at bay – only at the very end did they mount any kind of threat.
"Chelsea needed to score and in the back of their minds they were thinking of the 86 unbeaten games," Benitez said. "It made them more direct than they usually are and they used John Terry as a striker. We put on Sami Hyypia in the 88th minute and, when I checked the statistics, he cleared the ball four times – the same number or clearances that Jamie Carragher made in the whole match."
When it was pointed out that this was not a Liverpool squad with much experience of winning championships, Benitez replied that he had won titles and so had his assistant, Sammy Lee. "And we have players who have won the Champions League," he said.
"If we're still top in three or four weeks, the papers will really start to push us, the fans will be thinking: 'Maybe, maybe' – and then you have to handle the pressure."
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