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Volume 6 No. 212


The Williams F1 Team and Mercedes-Benz signed a long-term engine partnership beginning with the 2014 F1 World Championship season. Under the terms of the agreement, Williams will be supplied with a Mercedes-Benz Power Unit by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains based in Brixworth, England. Williams will continue to manufacture its own transmission (Williams F1). In London, Kevin Eason reported "amid turmoil over the soaring cost of the futuristic new engines, teams are in deep negotiations to find suppliers who can hand over the complex power packs at the right cost." Renault is thought to want as much as £20M ($30.4M) "to supply a team for next season, more than double current rates." McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, who is also chairman of the Formula One Teams' Association, "candidly admits that the teams have 'scored an own goal' by not capping costs immediately." It "is too late to pull back from the brink" with Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault thought to have spent as much as £100M ($152M) each on developing these engines. Whitmarsh said, "We missed an opportunity and the fact is the manufacturers have and are spending a lot of money developing these engines. They have got a lot of technical freedom and engineers will try to exploit that" (LONDON TIMES, 5/30).

TAKING CONTROL: REUTERS' Alan Baldwin wrote the announcement means the German manufacturer's engines "will power four of the 11 teams next season before McLaren enter a new partnership with Honda" from '15. Renault "will have at least three teams next season." Mercedes Exec Dir Toto Wolff "is also a Williams shareholder," although he has said that he will sell the stake. Mercedes "will be Williams' sixth change of engine partner in the space of a decade" (REUTERS, 5/30). In N.Y., Marietta Cauchi reported Renault "played down the importance of the news," saying that it is shortly to sign up a new F1 team. Renault has said that "it could supply up to five teams if necessary, though commercially that would be a stretch." Renault Sport F1 CEO Jean-Michel Jalinier said, "Three, or up to four, teams is the ideal for us so the departure of Williams normalizes the situation and makes things much clearer from our side." Representatives for Williams, Renault and Mercedes "all declined to comment on whether the package being offered by Mercedes was less costly than Renault’s price for the new hybrid engines," though analysts believe that Renault’s technology is more expensive (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/30).

In a court filing on Thursday, Fenway Sports Group, the owners of Premier League club Liverpool, blasted an effort to get it to turn over all documents related to its ‘10 purchase of the football club. Former Liverpool lender Mill Financial has been suing another former club lender, RBS, in N.Y. state court, arguing the Scottish bank prevented Mill from being able to buy the club. Earlier this month, Mill asked the N.Y. court hearing the case to issue subpoenas compelling Fenway to turn over all documents related to the purchase. Fenway attorney David Pegno of Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky wrote in the motion, “Neither … FSG nor the court should have to go through the time and expense required to pare down Mill’s blunderbuss requests so that they are limited even in the most tangential way to the contract disputes between two parties before this court.” The motion also pointed out Mill had never asked FSG for the documents. Mill was a lender to embattled Liverpool co-Owner George Gillett, who defaulted on his debt. That gave Mill his stake as collateral. Its position was wiped out in the sale to FSG. The N.Y. court set a hearing date of June 13 to hear arguments over Mill’s motions to get Fenway, and former Liverpool co-Owner Tom Hicks, to turn over documents related to the sale. A spokesperson for Hicks declined to comment.

Scottish Third Division Rangers appointed former Manager Walter Smith as chairman "following the resignation of Malcolm Murray," according to Ewan Murray of the London GUARDIAN. Smith had two spells managing Rangers, spanning 11 years, in which he claimed 21 domestic honors. Most recently, he was a non-exec director on the club's board. His new post "was verified at a Rangers board meeting, held in London on Wednesday" (GUARDIAN, 5/30). In Edinburgh, David Gunn reported Smith was appointed by "unanimous decision of the board." Murray will "remain on the board" as a non-exec director (SCOTSMAN, 5/30). The BBC's Chris McLaughlin reported the move "follows weeks of infighting at the club and countless attempts" to remove Murray (BBC, 5/30). The SCOTSMAN reported an independent investigation commissioned by the Rangers board "has found no evidence" that former Owner Craig Whyte invested in the current Ibrox set-up (SCOTSMAN, 5/30).