ING slashes budget
Dutch bank ING is slashing millions of dollars from its Formula One program this season as part of a massive cost-cutting effort triggered by the global financial crisis. ING NV is in the final season of a three-year sponsorship deal with Renault and will review that deal this year, company spokesman Nanne Bos told reporters on Tuesday. “We are now in the third year, so we plan to evaluate and make a decision on the future this year, taking into account current market circumstances,” Bos said. The cost-cutting will mainly be from F1-related advertising, Bos said. It will not affect the bank’s sponsorship of the Renault team or four of this season’s races. The company’s total F1 budget is believed to be between 50 million and 100 million euros (US$66 million and US$132 million).
Super Bowl rings found
Authorities say they have found 27 New York Giants NFL Super Bowl rings, valued at more than US$170,000, stolen last June from a Massachusetts jewelry manufacturer. The Essex District Attorney’s office said investigators found the rings on Tuesday in a bank safe deposit box in Saugus, Massachusetts. Prosecutors said 22-year-old Kristen Sullivan, who allegedly rented the box, was being held on a charge of receiving stolen property and was to be arraigned yesterday. Sullivan was one of three people arrested on Friday over the US$2 million robbery of jewelry manufacturer EA Dion in Attleboro. Sean Murphy, 44, pleaded not guilty on Monday to receiving stolen property. According to court documents, police found one of the stolen Super Bowl rings in his bedroom, jewelry in his car, and rare coins in a bank safe deposit box. Murphy’s lawyer says his client looks forward to his day in court.
Safety car penalty dropped
Drivers will no longer be penalized for entering pit lane during the early stages of a safety car being sent onto the track because new software has enabled the FIA to ensure they don’t rush to refuel. The 2007 rule change has been reversed because drivers won’t be able to pit “any quicker than your dashboard display allows you to,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said on Tuesday in a technical briefing. “We intend to implement a minimum time back to the pits,” Whiting wrote. “When we deploy the safety car, the message will go to all the cars, which will then have a ‘safety car’ mode on their ECUs [electronic control units]. As soon as that message gets to the car, it’ll know where it is on the circuit, and it’ll calculate a minimum time for the driver to get back to the pits. The driver will have to respect this and the information will be displayed on his dashboard.”
Italians closer to Becks deal
AC Milan moved a step closer to a permanent purchase of loan-signing David Beckham after saying they would buy him outright if discussions with his advisors bore fruit, Sky Italia reported on Tuesday. The 33-year-old former England captain, who signed a five-year contract with LA Galaxy in 2007, is on loan in Milan until early March, but club chief executive Adriano Galliani said they were willing to buy him should they get the permission to do so. Beckham scored his first goal for Carlo Ancelotti’s team in a 4-1 victory at Bologna on Sunday. “If Beckham comes to an agreement with Galaxy, we are ready to pay a figure. In the coming days we will meet his advisors,” Galliani told Sky Italia. “If Los Angeles Galaxy decide not to sell him, they won’t sell him.”