Sky – there are people of a certain generation who will often arbitrarily shout “bloody Rupert Murdoch! I’m not giving that man a single penny!” POP has never really fully understood why the majority of middle England has such a vitriolic dislike of the former Sky Chairman, but this week POP has reason to be mildly alarmed by the whispers of a Murdoch takeover of F1. One of the appeals of Formula 1 is its availability to the masses. If F1 moved to a pay-per-view provider such as Sky, that’d, well, ruin everything.
There is, however, one fan of Sky, Heikki Kovalainen:
Back home in Geneva, Indian takeout and terminator 2 on skybox!
But with rumours of bribery still swilling around the previous sale of F1 (see below) to CVC capital partners, Murdoch-controlled News Corp will want to tread carefully in its potential bid for the sport. It is also understood that Bernie has a right of veto over any new owners, as does the FIA – but everyone has a price, especially Bernie. The current Concorde agreement (between the governing body the FIA, the teams represented by FOTA, and FOA which owns the sport) expires in December 2012, which could throw a spanner in the works – so News Corp is likely to hold off until a new agreement is settled. Bloody Rupert Murdoch.
F1’s Got Talent – Formula 1 is often compared to a circus, and quite rightly so – they’re definitely a talented troupe! With Britain’s Got Talent back on the telly, and F1 on Easter holidays, WTF1 has merged the two to make … F1’s Got Talent! Round 1 sees Mark Webber battling it out with Jacques Villeneuve and the ‘McLaren Bromance Duo’ in the singers category. POP would like to add Fernando Alonso to the mix for ‘Best Singer’ – because you’ve got to have a dud in these ‘talent’ shows, right?
Lewis ‘Pop Idol’ Hamilton? We could have a late entry for F1’s Got Talent! Lewis Hamilton has recently signed to Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, the man who brought us Spice Girls, S Club 7, and Amy Winehouse. Sorry Lewis, the role of Sporty Spice has already been filled!
I can sing anything, man. If we were to do karaoke I think I could compete pretty well. I can do Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World pretty good. – Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton: talented, and modest.
The Driver Formerly Known as Lewis – a double entry for race winner Lewis Hamilton! But does he owe his win to his new lucky charm? Last week he bought Prince’s guitar for $100,000, and promptly went on to win the Chinese Grand Prix. Perhaps Lewis can Kiss goodbye to losing? Partying like it’s 1999 might be a good idea given that a McLaren driver won the championship that year! Let’s Go Crazy!
Bernie Ecclestone – POP has previously reported on the bribery investigation surrounding the sale of F1 to the private equity firm CVC capital partners back in 2006. Bernie’s not in the dock, but he has been questioned by German police.
In a nut-shell, way back in the sunny days of 2005, a guy called Gerhard Gribkowsky, a banker for the German bank BayernLB (the seller of the shares to CVC), was involved in the sale to CVC, and has now been accused of not running a competitive auction. It has been contended that he undervalued the shares which were sold to CVC. He was also, handily, given a directorship with Delta Topco soon after the sale, and later received a sum of $50 million. Not fishy at all.
Monaco … on a yacht – POP is quite a connoisseur of mad, bad, and dangerous F1 stories. And this week is no exception! A new super yacht has been designed as a section of Monte Carlo, incorporating: a beach, waterfalls, a spa, buildings, and a grand prix starting grid! Bad taste, or just plain mad taste?
Jenson Button – if anyone deserves to be in the ‘Pits’ this week, it’s Jenson Button. That pits incident in China will be a hard one to live down in the paddock. But after suffering much ridicule for his mistaken stop outside the Red Bull pit garage, Button has hit back:
I’ve just arrived to Tokyo and Jessy [Jenson’s girlfriend] has recommended giving me some parking lessons before the next race in Turkey!! 😉 – Jenson Button
He’ll need more than parking lessons at this rate …