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Volume 7 No. 149

Franchises

The departure of scandal-hit Renault Chair & CEO Carlos Ghosn "changes nothing for the French carmaker’s involvement" in Formula 1, team President Jerome Stoll said on Tuesday, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Speaking at the launch of the team’s '19 car at its English factory, Stoll said that the company "remained fully committed." He said, "OK, Carlos Ghosn is gone but (new Renault CEO) Thierry Bollore is a real fan of Formula 1. Despite his very busy agenda, he came to (the Renault techno center) in Viry in late December to make an address to all the staff and restate the fact he was a strong sponsor and it was not because Carlos Ghosn was no more the chairman that Renault will limit its commitment to the Formula 1 competition." Renault replaced Ghosn in January, "more than two months after his arrest in Japan over allegations of financial misconduct" uncovered by Renault’s Japanese partner Nissan, which he also chaired. Stoll warned that the carmaker "was very concerned by the lack of a clear plan" for F1 beyond '20, when current commercial agreements expire. He said, "The Concorde will come to an end within two years, and we need visibility to know what is going to be the next step after" (REUTERS, 2/12).

STAMP OF APPROVAL: The BBC reported Founder Frank Williams "likes the paint job" on his team's new cars -- "which is fortunate" for daughter and Deputy Team Principal Claire, who said that "she would have been fired" if he had not. She said, "Frank loved it, and you might be surprised to hear that. I was a little nervous presenting it." The British outfit, founded by Frank more than 40 years ago, has won a combined 16 driver and team titles "but finished bottom in the constructors' championship last season." Williams' new title partner, telecom ROKiT, "is expected to add substantial investment." Claire said, "We are telling the world a very clear story and clear message as to where we are as a company. Frank is very protective of the traditional navy blue and white, but also understanding of the arguments behind the change. He is fully behind it. I am still here, and if he didn't like it, he would have fired me." She added that moving away from the team's traditional colors shows it is a "fresh," revitalized brand (BBC, 2/12).

The A-League’s newest franchise "will be called Western United and become the first team to wear green and black" when it kicks off in October, according to David Davutovic of the HERALD SUN. The club’s football execs warned A-League rivals that they will "continue to recruit aggressively" after "poaching" Socceroos fullback Josh Risdon from Western Sydney Wanderers. Risdon, 26, is the second player to sign, after Greece int'l Panagiotis Kone was last week announced as Western's "inaugural marquee signing." Western United will be Victoria’s third A-League club, but unlike Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City, it "will not feature the state’s capital city in the name." The name and colors follow consultation with Herald Sun readers via an exclusive poll, with club chiefs "opting to incorporate both black and green," which were "neck and neck" in voting. Western United Football Dir Steve Horvat said, "This week the club proper has been born. People might not like it, but we’ll be very aggressive in the marketplace both locally and overseas" (HERALD SUN, 2/12).