F1 »

Murdoch Jr back in F1 paddock

James Murdoch, son of News Corp mogul Rupert, made an unexpected appearance in the F1 paddock on day one of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The surprise appearance of James Murdoch on the opening day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has sent a wave of speculation coursing through the F1 paddock.

According to Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, the media mogul was in town to hold top-secret talks with senior members of the McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull teams, suggesting that the family could again be interested in securing the rights to F1, after an earlier bid was scuppered by the 'phone-hacking scandal that hit its News International operation in 2011 [see separate story].

With the Murdoch-owned Sky Sports having invested heavily in its first season of coverage of the sport this year, becoming more involved in the running of F1 would be a logical step, particularly if it would simultaneously allow the broadcaster to expand into new areas globally. The quality of its coverage has also led F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone to suggest that terrestrial television's hold on the sport could be coming to an end, especially as the BBC was forced to reduce its involvement due to budget constraints this season [see separate story].

However, News International's plans for F1 hit an unexpected bump in the road last month when the company's US sports cable channel SPEED TV lost the rights to show F1 in the US. (See separate story.) The channel was outbid by NBC, which will split 2013 coverage of the series between its main broadcast network and its recently relaunched NBCSports cable channel.

­Murdoch's appearance coincides with that of current FIA president Jean Todt, but many in the paddock were unaware of the visit.

"One thing is for sure: Murdoch is not here just to take in the F1 scenery or glad-hand over Sky's F1 channel," the Mirror's veteran F1 journalist Byron Young tweeted on Saturday morning, "What was interesting [however] was how many didn't know he was coming - about 99 per cent of teams and paddock. That, itself, is curious...."

Two years ago, Rupert Murdoch determined that Abu Dhabi should become a key location from which to base efforts to expand across the Middle East, with plans to open offices in the capital. News Corp subsidiary Fox International Channels made Abu Dhabi its regional hub for online advertising sales, documentary production and satellite television broadcast and a partnership between Fox and Abu Dhabi's media zone was announced

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jean Alesi, Tyrrell, 1989 French Grand Prix [Credit: Crash PA]
31.07.2016 - Race, Jean Alesi (FRA) and Nikki Lauda (AU), Mercedes
31.07.2016 - Race, Jean Alesi (FRA) and Nikki Lauda (AU), Mercedes
31.07.2016 - Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Ferrari reserve driver
30.07.2016 - Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Ferrari reserve driver
24.07.2016 - Race, Jean Alesi (FRA)
22.07.2016 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Nicola Todt (FRA), Manager of Felipe Massa
22.07.2016 - (L-R) Nicola Todt (FRA), Manager of Felipe Massa, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Dudu Massa (BRA), Brother of Felipe Massa (BRA)
Jean Todt
10.07.2016 - Race, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA and his son Nicola Todt (FRA), Manager of Felipe Massa
10.07.2016 - Race, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
10.07.2016 - Race, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
10.07.2016 - Race, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA and Geri Halliwell (GBR)
10.07.2016 - Race, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
08.07.2016 - Free Practice 2, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Ferrari reserve driver

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Caroline - Unregistered

November 03, 2012 9:54 AM

This quote is reappearing all over the web ... "10/11/2011 Tom Watson (Parliamentary Select Committee) to James Murdoch. “Mr Murdoch you must be the first mafia boss in history who didn't know he was running a criminal enterprise.”"

© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.