Motor racing-No favours for F1 name changes, says Brawn
"I guarantee those teams that are trying to change their name will have had approaches from other teams who want different favours paid in order to agree to the name change," he told reporters at the South Korean Grand Prix."And that’s not correct. I know that happened to us when we wanted to change our name. People sought to get favours from that decision."Brawn GP, whose name was changed in 2009 from Honda after the Japanese company pulled out of the sport, won that season’s world championships.They were then taken over by Mercedes, who had provided the engines, but the second name change in as many years proved trickier when the team needed the approval of 18 of the 26 members of the FIA’s Formula One commission.Group Lotus-sponsored Renault and Team Lotus want to change their names, with the former becoming Lotus and the latter Caterham, but an attempt to fast-track the decision was abandoned after some F1 stakeholders expressed concern.That would end a confusing situation where the sport has two Malaysian-backed, Renault-powered teams with Lotus in their name and also end the anomaly of having a team whose name no longer reflects its ownership.French carmaker Renault has sold its stake in the team that bears its name to Genii Capital, with Malaysian-owned Group Lotus the title sponsor.Team Lotus is owned by Malaysian aviation entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, who has acquired niche sportscar firm Caterham after falling out with Group Lotus.RIDICULOUS POSITION"It doesn’t make any sense for a team to be called Renault when it isn’t Renault," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner, whose championship-winning team has become Renault’s main partner."Therefore a name change in a situation like that makes sense."I think where Formula One needs to be a little bit careful is that the teams are brands … there needs to be more careful consideration given to the names of teams and the mechanism by which they can be changed."We also have to be careful that it just doesn’t end up in a merry-go-round and companies that have the same company number just change effectively the entrant name on a yearly basis."With the exception of multiple champions Ferrari, McLaren and Williams, all teams have undergone name changes over time. Red Bull were previously Jaguar and Stewart.Team Lotus entered the sport in 2010 as Lotus Racing, changing at the end of the season after falling out with Group Lotus over the use of their original name.McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, whose cars are powered by Mercedes engines and who acts as chairman of the teams’ body FOTA, agreed with Brawn."I recall … when there was a desire to change the (Brawn) team name to Mercedes Benz, how a number of people conspired against that, which was a ridiculous position to take and very damaging to the sport," he said."If it’s clear that the name change facilitates the funding and the retention of that team within Formula One, then we shouldn’t use the polemics and politics of Formula One to prevent it."
Russia threatens Moldovan rebel region with brandy ban
Transdniestria, a narrow sliver of Moldova along the border with Ukraine mainly populated by Russian speakers, has claimed independence since fighting a brief war after the breakup of the Soviet Union, but is not recognised by any state.The 70-year-old rebel leader, President Igor Smirnov, plans to seek a fifth term, but the Kremlin has made clear it wants him to step down.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin said on Thursday Smirnov should step aside in favour of a younger, more diplomatic successor who could help end one of Europe’s most intractable frozen conflicts.Gennady Onishchenko, head of Rospotrebnadzor consumer protection agency, told reporters in Moscow that Russia was thinking of banning Transdniestria’s Kvint brandy, which is popular in Russia and one of the region’s singature exports.”In the near future we will undertake a whole range of measures regarding Transdniestria. This notorious Kvint brandy, there are many questions there,” Onishchenko was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.”Maybe we will restrict its imports to the territory of the Russian Federation,” he said.Onishchenko did not cite any specific consumer safety grounds for the ban. Russia has a history of imposing import bans on ex-Soviet countries and territories that fall out with the Kremlin.Russia banned imports of wine from Moldova last year, weeks after it irritated Moscow by adding a “Soviet occupation day” to its calender of national holidays. It has also banned imports of wine and bottled water from persistent foe Georgia.Smirnov said the proposed brandy ban was part of an effort by Moscow to pressure the rebels to hold negotiations with the government in Moldova.”I can give you a whole series of examples when a certain circle have blocked us, saying ‘negotiate with Moldova’,” he told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.”People in the presidential administration are trying to command our ministers by telephone,” he said of Naryshkin’s statements. “They will see, there is no way to strangle us!”Moldova and the breakaway region agreed last month to resume talks on settling their conflict. The rebels broke off talks in 2006 over a new customs regime brought in by Moldova and Ukraine, which they labelled an “economic blockade.”Transdniestria inherited a large chunk of Soviet Moldova’s industrial base, including the Tiraspol plant which made White Stork brandy, favoured by Soviet Communist party leaders and now marketed as Kvint.An executive at the plant who declined to be identified said over the telephone that Kvint brandy met quality standards and Onishchenko’s allegation were “a disgrace”.
UPDATE 1-Nasdaq approves $300 mln share buyback
The exchange operator said it will fund the repurchases from its existing cash balances.In September, the Nasdaq stock market parent company had said it would set a plan to return capital to shareholders as it looks to take advantage of a relatively low share valuation and move on from its failed takeover bid earlier this year for rival NYSE Euronext .Nasdaq also said it intends to prepay $109 million in debt in the fourth quarter, taking its total debt payments in quarter to $120 million.The exchange operator has about $1.8 billion in debt outstanding, according to Thomson Reuters data.Shares of the company closed at $25.07 on Tuesday on Nasdaq.