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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ecclestone slammed as Canada GP rescue fails
  • Walker questions BBC's F1 return
  • Barrichello wins Brazilian kart race
  • Police catch Panis doing 212kmh in Ferrari
  • NASCAR stops F1 test for Kyle Busch
  • Schu says Ferrari treated Rubens fairly
  • Protesters say no to Disneyland Paris GP
  • Alonso to test new Renault in late January
  • Alonso rubbishes Glock conspiracy theory

Ecclestone slammed as Canada GP rescue fails
(GMM)  Organizers of the axed Canadian grand prix have slammed F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone as "unreasonable" and "unrealistic", after their efforts to rescue the race for 2009 failed.

In a statement and with a press conference on Sunday, they confirmed that Ecclestone turned down a package to reinstate the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on next year's calendar.

"The unreasonable demands of formula one exceeded the taxpayer's ability to pay," Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay commented.

Quebec government minister Raymond Bachand added: "We cannot meet Mr. Ecclestone's unworkable demands.

"Unless he eases his requirements and adopts a different approach, there will be no grand prix in Montreal in 2009."

Bachand also said Ecclestone's multi-million dollar demands were "unrealistic".

In the information released publicly on Sunday, the organizers revealed the precise monetary demands contained in Ecclestone's final contract offer, including the need for a government or bank guarantee of $175m over five years.

"Ultimately, no private promoter expressed interest in taking on such a great risk, considering the limited revenue generated by the event," the Canadian officials said.

When faced with a counter-offer, Ecclestone "refused to budge", they added.

"Faced with this intransigence, he was presented with an enhanced proposal for the 2009 edition, but Mr. Ecclestone would not alter his position," the statement explained.

In the accompanying press conference, the officials were no less scathing of the diminutive 78-year-old billionaire, but the door to a return in 2010 was left open.

"After 2009, there may be another round of negotiations," Bachand said.

Walker questions BBC's F1 return
(GMM)  Despite headlining the British broadcaster's coverage for years, retired commentator Murray Walker is unsure formula one's return to the BBC is the right move.

Walker, 85, called races for the BBC until 1996, when he - and the British television broadcast rights - switched to the independent channel ITV.

From 2009, however, F1 is returning to the public broadcaster -- a move Murray Walker, who retired in 2001, openly questions.

"ITV devoted a lot more time to formula one than the BBC ever did and they did an absolutely superb job," he told The Independent newspaper.

"They will have a hard furrow to plough to even match the ITV coverage," Walker added.

He suggested that the BBC did not commit "the right people and facilities" to their last F1 foray.

"They didn't appreciate how important it was.  ITV spent a great deal on those rights and they made the most of them.

"They devoted a lot more time than the BBC ever did."

Barrichello wins Brazilian kart race
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello's team at the weekend won the famous Brazilian 'Granja Viana' endurance kart race in Sao Paulo from pole position.

The formula one veteran, who also set the fastest lap of the event, had joined forces with Indy racer Tony Kanaan and former grand prix driver Luciano Burti to win the 500 mile event in just under 11 hours.

2008 world championship runner-up Felipe Massa's team, including his brother Dudu, finished third despite engine problems, after Nelson Piquet Jr's team was disqualified for fielding a kart that weighed less than the minimum 200 pounds.

"I did this race as training, because I do not want to stop (racing in F1)," 36-year-old Barrichello, who has not been invited to test for Honda in Barcelona this week, said.

"If it is not possible (to stay in F1), it will not be through lack of trying," he added.

Police catch Panis doing 212kmh in Ferrari
(GMM)  Former grand prix winner Olivier Panis has lost his driver's license after he was caught speeding, it is being reported by the international media.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport said the 42-year-old was driving a Ferrari when it was clocked at 212kmh by police patrolling a 130kmh-limited motorway.

The newspaper said Panis, who last contested a grand prix for Toyota in 2004, was driving the A40 motorway between the French town of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and Geneva.

The Frenchman's license was suspended, the car seized, and he has been summoned to appear in court at the end of March.

The French morning newspaper Le Figaro said Panis fell foul of a speed camera on November 6, and will report to the police court in Bonneville (France).

NASCAR stops F1 test for Kyle Busch
(GMM)  NASCAR driver Kyle Busch has expressed disappointment that he will no longer be able to make his formula one test debut this winter.

It emerged earlier this year that the 23-year-old American was likely to test at Toyota's end-of-season exhibition in Japan -- possibly as a prelude to a more serious foray.

But according to the Charlotte Observer newspaper, the Toyota test has been called off because NASCAR is enforcing his presence at an awards banquet for the second-tier Nationwide Series.

"I don't get to drive the formula one car anymore," said Busch, who did not contest the entire Nationwide calendar this year.

"I have to go to the Nationwide banquet and accept my sixth place awards instead," he confirmed.

"NASCAR took me away from the formula one car."

The newspaper cited representatives for Busch as saying he might still test a formula one car, possibly in the first half of next year.

Schu says Ferrari treated Rubens fairly
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has responded to reports that Rubens Barrichello plans to one day publish a book of revealing memoirs about his time at Ferrari.

Barrichello, 36, spent six years as Schumacher's teammate at the Italian team, during which time the German secured five of his seven drivers' titles.

In the same period, Barrichello won just nine races, but Schumacher has rejected claims the Brazilian was not given a fair chance to succeed.

"Nobody can make you slower because of a contract," he told the Cologne newspaper Express.

"If you are fast, you are fast, and then you are the number one."

Protesters say no to Disneyland Paris GP
(GMM)  An anti-formula one protest has taken place at the gates of Disneyland Paris.

The site, located about a half hour drive from the French capital, is a frontrunner to stage the country's grand prix in the future.

But on Saturday, about 250 protesters with banners, declaring 'no' to the proposed formula one circuit, demonstrated at the site in Marne-la-Vallee, which houses theme parks and hotels.

They made clear their opposition to the project, which involves France's quadruple world champion Alain Prost, on the grounds of noise, disruption to the area, and environmental damage.

Alonso to test new Renault in late January
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso says he plans to test Renault's new single seater for 2009, the R29, in the "last week of January".

The Spaniard said he hopes that by then the car will be ready for thorough testing, given the likely teething problems caused by the introduction of KERS, the sweeping aerodynamic rules, and other changes.

"It will be important not to waste time in this period," the 27-year-old told the Spanish newspaper Sport.

"All I ask is that, from an early point, the car is reliable so that we can begin to make good progress in terms of the development," Alonso added.

He said reliability will be a key factor to success in 2009.

"It will be necessary to have a fast and consistent car that can always be on the podium, and in the decisive moments to rely on some good luck.

"We cannot forget that Massa would have been world champion if his engine had not failed on the last laps in Hungary," Alonso noted.

Alonso rubbishes Glock conspiracy theory
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has rubbished conspiracy theorists who believe Timo Glock gifted Lewis Hamilton the 2008 world championship.

In the wake of the incredible dying moments of the Brazilian grand prix, it was suggested that Toyota's Glock ceded fifth place to the McLaren driver so easily that he must have been in cahoots to prevent Felipe Massa from securing the title.

"It is absolutely clear that Glock did not just let him pass, or did anything strange," the 27-year-old former double world champion told the Spanish newspaper Diario Sport.

"On the contrary, I don't know how he managed to get to the finish at all with dry tires.

"On the last lap it was raining a lot -- we were in the 1m20s (with wet tires) and he did a 1.44s, the same as (his Toyota teammate) Trulli," Alonso added.

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