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DATE News (chronologically)
12/15/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Button may be F1 'sub' - Coulthard
  • Williams favors salary caps for F1
  • Hartley aims for F1 license at Jerez
  • Hamilton beaten to British sports plaudit
  • Di Resta no longer in running for F1 seat
  • Ecclestone determined to save marriage
  • No testing for Hamilton until new car

Button may be F1 'sub' - Coulthard
(GMM)  There is a risk Jenson Button will not line up on the formula one grid in 2009, fellow British driver David Coulthard admits.

Coulthard, who contested his last of 247 grands prix last month, is a close friend of 28-year-old Button, whose contracted employer Honda shocked the motor racing world by announcing its withdrawal.

Button is now hoping a buyer can be found before the start of the 2009 season next March, or must switch to another team.

"There's a lockdown at the big teams at the moment, so they're not going to kick anyone out to make way for Jenson right now," Coulthard, who contested the Race of Champions along with Button at Wembley stadium, said on Sunday.

Coulthard admitted: "He may have to wait on the subs' bench until the following year."

Williams favors salary caps for F1
(GMM)  Williams, the only team not backed by a car manufacturer or a billionaire individual, is in favor of imposing salary caps in formula one.

The co-owner and boss of the Oxfordshire based squad, while happy with the newly announced cost cutting measures, believes the concept - already in force in many sports codes - would be an effective way to further reduce costs.

"We've raised this issue several times and will take the opportunity to do so again," Sir Frank Williams told The Times.

"We'd also strongly support a budget cap, introduced gradually, if it could be properly policed."

When the FIA recently proposed budget capping, the concept would have excluded driver and top management salaries.

In cases such as Renault and Fernando Alonso, a driver salary in formula one can near 20 per cent of a team's total budget.

Despite Williams' recently reported debt and lost sponsors, however, Sir Frank insists his team will not follow Honda out of the sport.

"Our budgeted income for next season is more than 90 per cent of what it was last season," he said.

In fact, he hints that the current predicament, with the world entering recession and carmakers rethinking their participation, could work in Williams' favor.

"It was always in the back of my mind that having them all in the sport at the same time, driving up the costs, could be a temporary phenomenon."

Hartley aims for F1 license at Jerez
(GMM)  Brendon Hartley will this week take another big step towards a future in formula one.

After conducting some in-car work with Red Bull's two teams in 2008, the 19-year-old from New Zealand is set to appear at Jerez as a testing substitute for the injured Mark Webber.

And one of his tasks, it has emerged, is to professionally complete 300 kilometers of the Spanish circuit in order to qualify for an FIA super license.

A super license is only necessary to take part in official action at grands prix.

The news therefore raises expectations that Hartley, who finished this year's British F3 series in third place, is set to replace Sebastien Buemi as Toro Rosso's official third driver.

"It won't be about having the fastest lap -- it's all about completing 300km to get his super license and doing what he is told," his manager Peter Johnston said ahead of Hartley's Jerez test.

"If everything goes square, they can use him for proper testing next year," he told the NZPA news agency.

Hamilton beaten to British sports plaudit
(GMM)  Because the Wembley tarmac was too slippery on Sunday, a 'car versus bike' head-to-head between British sportsmen Lewis Hamilton and Chris Hoy was called off.

The pair settled instead for some laps of the Race of Champions layout in a Mercedes road car, before jetting from London to Liverpool for the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.

The pair finished first and second for that award, with Olympic cyclist Hoy beating F1's youngest ever world champion Hamilton at the line as the result of a public vote.

Hoy captured 283,630 votes, compared with Hamilton's 163,864.

"I really wasn't expecting this, it's such a shock," Hoy said.

"I was looking at the odds over the last few weeks and I was lagging in third behind (swimmer) Rebecca (Adlington) and Lewis."

Hamilton, 23, also took the runner-up spot in 2007, after finishing second in the championship as a rookie to Kimi Raikkonen.

Di Resta no longer in running for F1 seat
(GMM)  Even with Force India's 2009 driver lineup now confirmed, speculation that Paul di Resta was still in a running for a race seat raced on.

Amid speculation that the Silverstone based team's new McLaren-Mercedes alliance might influence the driver decision, Mercedes DTM driver di Resta, as well as test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett, were linked with Force India.

The Vijay Mallya-led squad moved to end the rumors at the weekend by announcing officially that Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil are staying put for 2009.

Sutil responded in the German press by saying he "always felt secure" in his contract for next year.

But the British newspaper The Independent said 22-year-old di Resta, managed by Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony, is still in the running even after Force India's announcement.

"McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh is expected to lobby Mallya strongly on di Resta's behalf," the newspaper said.

Di Resta was quoted as saying: "I'm not going to say that I am definitely not in contention, my name has been bandied about.  I don't know where I stand or if it is going to happen."

The Scottish newspaper The Daily Record subsequently clarified that di Resta will in fact remain in the German touring car series DTM in 2009.

"I showed in the two tests I had with McLaren that I'm capable of racing in F1 and that's ultimately where I want to be," he said.

Ecclestone determined to save marriage
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has vowed to save his marriage with his wife of 24 years, Slavica.

It emerged last month that Mrs. Ecclestone had moved out of their Kensington home, before her PR agency "formally announced" she has filed for divorce.

The story is particularly significant given the fact that - for tax reasons - most of 78-year-old billionaire Ecclestone's immense wealth is in the non-domiciled Slavica Ecclestone's name.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, however, Bernie said he was determined he is "not going to get a divorce".

"Slavica's travelling in India with friends at the moment, but, when she gets back, we're going to talk things through," Ecclestone said last week at the London boutique Moussaieff, where his daughter Tamara was unveiled as the new 'face' of the jeweler.

Ecclestone originally explained that his wife only moved out of their home due to noisy neighbors' renovations, and expressed surprise when he heard of the pending divorce.

"Really?" he said last month.  "Oh ... we will see. I didn't even know she had a PR company.  You hear of things -- I must find out."

Slavica Ecclestone, a former model from Croatia, is 50.

No testing for Hamilton until new car
(GMM)  Newly-crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton has revealed he will not test for McLaren prior to the 2009 car's completion in January.

The 23-year-old Briton has had a seat-fitting in a mock-up of the MP4-24, but said he is not scheduled to join the Mercedes-powered team for its last test of 2008 in Portugal this week.

Hamilton on Sunday attended the Race of Champions in London and then the BBC Sports Personality of the Year event in Liverpool, and said his next step is a Christmas break.

"I plan to take a holiday and return fresh and positive to kick start our winter test program with the MP4-24," he said.

The car will be launched at McLaren's factory on January 16.

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