Latest F1 news in brief
- Brawn takes wind out of Barrichello rumors
- Honda crisis inspires Brawn
- Rally champ Loeb to test for Renault
- Force India plans 'B' car strategy for 2008
- Keep GP at Albert Park, Webber pleads
Brawn takes wind out of Barrichello rumors
(GMM) Ross Brawn has taken the wind out of speculation that Brazil's Rubens Barrichello might not be retained by Honda in 2008.
It was reported recently that, although the 35-year-old penned a new deal in July, F1's most experienced driver could lose the ride if Honda find a better alternative in the wake of Fernando Alonso's impending impact on the driver market.
But after Brawn on Monday was confirmed as Honda's new team principal, the former Ferrari technical director said Barrichello and his teammate Jenson Button are both "more than capable" of winning grands prix.
Brawn, 52, worked with Barrichello between 2000 and 2005, when the nine-time race winner was Michael Schumacher's teammate at Ferrari.
Barrichello failed to score even a single point in 2007, but Brawn said Honda's problem was not its drivers.
"The drivers are not an issue," he told reporters on Monday.
"On his day Rubens was as quick as Michael and Jenson is outstanding. They are as good as anyone. Let's hope we can give them the material to do the job," Brawn added.
Honda crisis inspires Brawn
(GMM) Ross Brawn might have returned to Ferrari in 2008 if the Italian team was "in crisis", he has revealed.
The 52-year-old engineer, who spearheaded Ferrari's technical challenge throughout the ultra successful Michael Schumacher era, was on Monday confirmed as Honda's new team principal.
Brawn held talks with Ferrari near the end of his recent sabbatical, but he said returning to Maranello while the team celebrated its newly won world titles would have been like "putting on a very comfortable glove".
"The fact that Ferrari wasn't in crisis made it less attractive to me," the Briton said during a conference call on Monday.
In stark contrast to Ferrari's success in 2007 even without Brawn, Honda scored a meager six points all season with the abysmal RA107 'earth car'.
He said of his recent Ferrari talks: "I just wasn't getting a feeling that there was a strong enough challenge for me."
Brawn's Honda salary, moreover, will be performance-dependent, which he said is a "great incentive" to deliver for the Japanese giant.
Brawn also said he was looking forward to being based in England, where his family has always lived, after a long tenure abroad.
He said he had "missed" formula one this year.
"I had a wonderful year but you can only indulge yourself for so long," Brawn added.
Countryman Jenson Button, who earlier threatened to quit if Honda has another uncompetitive season in 2008, is understood to have greeted the news of Brawn's arrival later this month as "the best thing that has happened in a long time".
But Brawn played down the effect that he can have on next year's car.
"That (car) has been manufactured, but I hope I can start to introduce philosophies and ideas for the future," he said.
He also dismissed speculation that he nearly switched to Red Bull as part of a 'super team' alongside Adrian Newey and possibly Fernando Alonso.
"Honda was the only team I talked to after the Ferrari discussions came to nothing," he said.
Rally champ Loeb to test for Renault
(GMM) Three time rally world champion Sebastien Loeb will get his long awaited first taste of formula one power next month.
The German news agency SID reports that the 33-year-old Frenchman, who is in contention for a fourth consecutive title this season and is one of the most successful drivers in the sport's history, will enjoy a three-day test for Renault at Paul Ricard in early December.
The test has reportedly been organized by a French sponsor that is common to both the Flavio Briatore-led team and Loeb's rally outfit Citroen.
To no avail, Loeb had previously lobbied Ferrari team boss and countryman Jean Todt for a formula one test.
He said last year: "I know many people who would also like to see me in a F1 car."
Loeb contested Le Mans for the first time in 2005, and in 2006 finished the famous 24-hour race second overall.
He said he was keen on an F1 test "only for pleasure", to "know how I measure up."
Force India plans 'B' car strategy for 2008
(GMM) Force India will begin the 2008 season with essentially the car used by Spyker at the end of 2007, it has emerged.
But according to the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report, the newly acquired Silverstone based team plans to introduce a substantially modified model - a 'B'-spec version - around the time of the 2008 British grand prix in July.
Spyker/Force India's policy is at odds with the more conventional practice in F1 of starting each season with an entirely new car and adding incremental development throughout the year.
"We plan a large step in the second part of 2008," team boss Colin Kolles confirmed to the magazine.
Keep GP at Albert Park, Webber pleads
(GMM) Australia's Mark Webber has rubbished suggestions that moving the Melbourne grand prix to a permanent race track will save money.
It is reported that the Victorian state government is stalling over negotiations to renew the Albert Park race beyond 2010 because of rising costs.
But Webber, who drives for Red Bull, insists that developing the horse racing venue Flemington for formula one, or improving the nearby Phillip Island MotoGP circuit, would not solve the problem.
"There would be absolutely massive costs to get Flemington underway to hold a motor race," the 31-year-old is quoted as saying by the news agency AAP.
"The other suggestions are also out of the question. We need to make Albert Park work, that's what we have to do," Webber added.
He said complaints about the costs of organizing the Australian grand prix underestimate the importance of the race to the country.
"Formula one is massive in Europe and Asia, it's not massive in Australia and we know that," Webber acknowledged.
"As a proud Australian we need to embrace international sporting events when we can.
"There will be a day maybe where we don't have any and then they'll be winging," he added.