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SBD Global/October 22, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
F1 team McLaren "is reportedly planning a massive attack on Red Bull and driver Sebastian Vettel," according to Frank Schneider of BILD. At "the core of the plan is current Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso." The Spaniard has been chasing a third world championship title for four years with the Italian team. Despite a contract until '16, Alonso "is losing trust in the historic team." McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh "has been wooing him for weeks." In addition, Honda, which will return to F1 as McLaren's engine supplier in '15, is sweetening a possible deal for Alonso by reportedly paying half of the €25M ($34M) salary. The Japanese company "will supply McLaren with its engines free-of-charge." Therefore, the British team will be saving €20M ($27M) per year -- or €100M ($137M) during a five-year deal. It is money that team "is already investing." McLaren "has already hired two engineers from Red Bull's aerodynamics department." Mercedes Non-Exec Dir Niki Lauda said, "There's a new power emerging" (BILD, 10/19).
Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop "has played down suggestions of an imminent sale of Australian sporting success story Western Sydney Wanderers despite indications a consortium is close to sealing a deal," according to Ray Gatt of THE AUSTRALIAN. A group of businessmen from Asia and Australia "have been in talks for some time with FFA, which owns the club, about a takeover of the A-League's newest franchise." Indications "are something could be in place within weeks." If the sale goes ahead, it is understood the Asian group, headed by a Chinese businessman who is reportedly already investing in the Wanderers' youth development, "will be the majority owner of the club." One of the potential local investors appears to be Wanderers board member and long time Australian football fan Paul Lederer, the majority shareholder of food manufacturer Primo Smallgoods. Lederer, whose wealth is valued at A$630M ($609M), is close friends with FFA Chair Frank Lowy. Gallop "would not be drawn" when contacted by The Australian, though it is understood Lowy and Lederer "have recently held a number of meetings about the potential sale" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/22).
F1 driver Fernando Alonso's advisers confirmed that the "project to create a cycling team is alive and well despite the collapse of talks to save Euskaltel-Euskadi," according to Andrew Hood of VELO NEWS. Alonso's adviser, Luis Garcia Abad, said that the team’s future "would be revealed during the 2014 Tour de France, with an eye on having a squad up and running for the 2015 season." Abad added that the team "has signed two title sponsors." Regarding the sponsors, Abad said, "They are not sponsors currently involved in cycling. We are drawn toward businesses interested in innovation and with an ecological vision. We already have two deals signed." The plan is to "have a top-level, WorldTour team ready to race" by '15. Abad: "Fernando has said that he wants to bring the best of Formula One to cycling, and vice versa. This means technology, investment, commercialization, marketing, and using new tools such as telemetry, and the formation of a medical center, all with the intention of avoiding the troubles of doping." If the deal "comes to fruition, it would be a boon" for Spanish cycling. Following "the demise of Euskaltel, only Movistar remains in the WorldTour, with Caja Rural the lone Spanish survivor" in the Int'l Cycling Union Pro Continental ranks (VELO NEWS, 10/17). LIBERTAD DIGTAL reported Alonso "wants to revolutionize the world of cycling." Alonso wants a cycling team "that will have all of the technology applied to F1" (LIBERTAD DIGITAL, 10/21).
Chinese Professional Baseball League team the Brother Elephants President Hung Jui-ho said that the team "is being put up for sale because of heavy financial losses," according to the CNA. Hung said, "I'm here to announce a painful decision made by the board of directors -- the Brother Elephants will come to an end." Hung said that the Brother Hotel, which owns the Elephants, "hopes to find a buyer before the end of the year." Hung: "We hope a company that is bigger and richer than the Brother Hotel will contact us for talks on a takeover deal." Hung calmed fans, however, when he stressed that the team continued to operate normally and said that "it would remain in the league in 2014 if a buyer were not found by the end of this year" (CNA, 10/20).