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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Willis to return to F1 with Red Bull
  • Abu Dhabi F1 circuit under construction
  • Winkelhock excited about Nurburgring debut
  • Schu manager faces 10 years in jail
  • Spyker target big step with 'B' car
  • Stepney ready to name names - lawyer
  • Hamilton takes over Beckham role
  • Delhi government backs India GP
  • No more movie-theatre F1 races - Odeon
  • Piquet has 'chance' for Renault seat - Briatore

Willis to return to F1 with Red Bull
(GMM) Geoff Willis is returning to formula one to become Red Bull's new technical director.

The 47-year-old Briton, who left Honda last year following a demotion, will next week start working alongside Adrian Newey at Red Bull Technology, the company that designs cars for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso.

Willis replaces Mark Smith, who "has been offered another senior position within the company," Red Bull announced in a statement on Tuesday.

He worked alongside Newey at both Leyton House and Williams, before moving to Honda-powered BAR in 2002. Since last year Willis has been "tending his garden", Red Bull added.

Abu Dhabi F1 circuit under construction
(GMM) Construction of Abu Dhabi's new formula one circuit is already well under way.

On the emirates' Yas Island, the location in the Persian Gulf will first host the sport in 2009.

"A number of tasks are already ahead of schedule, including the excavation of the marina and piling work for the pit building," the government's Khaldoon Al Mubarak is quoted as saying by formula one's official website.

15,000 people will be working on the site by early next year.

Abu Dhabi's initial contract runs until 2016.

Winkelhock excited about Nurburgring debut
(GMM) Official confirmation is still pending, but German rookie Markus Winkelhock says he is looking forward to making his formula one race debut this weekend.

The 27-year-old German, the Dutch team Spyker's reserve driver, is strongly tipped to replace the axed Christijan Albers at the Nurburgring before a higher-paying replacement finishes the rest of the 2007 season.

"To drive my first grand prix in Germany would be absolutely perfect and really special," he is quoted as saying by the Sport-Informations-Dienst agency.

Winkelhock continued to the newspaper Bild-Zeitung: "Of course I am excited.

"I have only tested for two and a half hours this year but my strength is that I get to grips with circuits very fast -- and Nurburgring is my favorite track."

More apprehensive, however, is Markus' mother Martina, who lost her husband - Winkelhock's grand prix racing father Manfred - in a sports car crash in 1985.

"I am really pleased for Markus but I must say also a little afraid," she admitted.

"It is an enormous opportunity for him, but I will also be very glad when it is all over."

Schu manager faces 10 years in jail
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's manager is facing a jail term of up to ten years for embezzling more than (US) $1.5 million in 2001.

The public prosecutor's office in Koblenz (Germany) is pursuing Willi Weber, 65, for allegedly improperly moving money and assets from his defunct company 'Pole Position Marketing' before declaring it insolvent.

"Mr. Weber denies all the accusations as groundless," his lawyer declared in a statement.

'Pole Position' was involved in the licensing of official Michael Schumacher merchandise, but there is no suggestion that the seven time world champion is also under suspicion.

Spyker target big step with 'B' car
(GMM) Spyker must struggle through two more grands prix before it can expect to keep up with the formula one pack.

That is the insistence of the Dutch team's chief technology officer and F1 veteran Mike Gascoyne, who said the highly revised 'B' car is not due to arrive before the Turkish grand prix next month.

"Certainly with the sort of improvement we're targeting in (that) car, that will allow us to become a properly competitive team," Gascoyne is quoted as saying by Speed TV.

The orange-liveried single seaters are usually the slowest in the field this season, but Gascoyne reckons the rest of the pack will be in sight by Turkey.

"If you consider a second a lap improvement, which is what we're targeting, that will mean that we're racing with them," he said, referring to Toro Rosso, Super Aguri and Honda.

"And that's where we want to be."

Stepney ready to name names - lawyer
(GMM) Embattled and sacked Ferrari veteran Nigel Stepney has requested a meeting with his former boss Jean Todt.

According to the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, the British former chief mechanic - who is being pursued criminally for sabotage and espionage - wants to clear his name by giving "names of those he suspects are involved in a plot against him," Stepney's lawyer Sonia Bartolini revealed.

"He wants those who are guilty to be identified (and) Ferrari has signaled its readiness for an encounter," she added.

Hamilton takes over Beckham role
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton is poised to assume football star David Beckham's mantle as one of the most saleable faces in Britain.

The McLaren rookie is first in line to become the lucrative 'global brand ambassador' for mobile phone giant Vodafone, following Beckham's departure to play for the American team La Galaxy.

Beckham's partnership with Vodafone broke down with his move from Manchester United to Real Madrid, as the Spanish club is backed by mobile rival Siemens.

Championship leader Hamilton, 22, meanwhile, has already also appeared in television ads for the bank Abbey and its owners Santander, as his popularity and media profile continue to soar.

A Vodafone spokesman confirmed: "He will definitely become a bigger part of our activity."

Delhi government backs India GP
(GMM) The swinging prospects for a future grand prix in India took a turn for the better this week.

Although the Indian Olympic Association declared last month that it has secured a preliminary deal for a race in Delhi in 2009, it was difficult to overlook the lack of confirmed funding or a circuit.

But reports now suggest that the project is indeed moving ahead, with the Delhi government currently in the process of identifying land for the site, according to the media outlet Delhi Newsline.

A meeting has already been held involving Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dixit and Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, where one possible site was discussed.

"Putting up a F1 track is not an impossible task. It can be done in time. The Delhi government is keen on (the grand prix because) infrastructure will be in place to host tourists, as (the) Commonwealth Games are scheduled a year after the F1 event," an unnamed government official is quoted as saying.

No more movie-theatre F1 races - Odeon
(GMM) There are no plans to screen more formula one races at big-screen cinemas, according to movie theatre operator Odeon.

For the Silverstone race a week ago, the grand prix was for the first time relayed commercial-free to Odeon and Vue cinemas across Britain in High Definition with Dolby Digital surround sound, leaving some fans hoping the trial might become a regular event.

But a spokesperson explained: "We showed the last grand prix because of the Lewis Hamilton fever, and because it was the British grand prix."

Piquet has 'chance' for Renault seat - Briatore
(GMM) Nelson Piquet Jr could find his way onto the formula one grid next year with Renault.

The German specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport quotes the team's boss and Piquet's manager, Flavio Briatore, as confirming the possibility of a different race lineup for the 2008 season.

"He has a good chance to sit in the car next year," Briatore said, referring to test driver Piquet, the son of Brazil's triple world champion in the 80s.

Auto Motor und Sport said veteran Giancarlo Fisichella's contract runs out at the end of the year, making him the more likely of the current pairing - also featuring rookie Finn Heikki Kovalainen - to make way for the 21-year-old.

Piquet, meanwhile, is reportedly scheduled to drive on at least two of the three days at the upcoming Jerez test.

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