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Latest F1 news in brief
  • BMW confirms Bahrain test switch
  • Renault adds another test to winter plan
  • Abu Dhabi on track for 2009 finale
  • 'White paper' reveals shape of future rules

BMW confirms Bahrain test switch
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber has confirmed reports that it is set to join next week's Bahrain tests.

The Hinwil based team had been scheduled to follow the majority of teams to Jerez in Spain, but following the recently affected Portimao session, more bad weather is expected in Europe in the coming days.

Ferrari and Toyota will also be in Bahrain, where eight days of running will be split into two tests at the Sakhir circuit between February 10-13 and 16-19, according to the local newspaper Gulf Daily News.

BMW's full compliment of drivers will be on duty, after the newly unveiled F1.09 proved reliable at its first test in Valencia.

"From now, we will concentrate mainly on performance," a spokesman said.

Despite the expense of long-haul testing, the BMW official confirmed that the search for dry and warm weather is the reason for the Bahrain switch.

"Particularly, the track temperatures are extremely important," he said.

"They were too low in Europe during the last test, and we hope that they will be significantly higher in Bahrain.

"This is the basis to get valid tire data for the first races, which will all take place in hot conditions."

It is understood that Toyota and Ferrari will also deploy their race drivers for the test.

Renault adds another test to winter plan
(GMM)  Renault has decided to add one more test to its pre-season preparations, according to the Spanish sports newspaper Diario AS.

The French team, believed to have struggled significantly at the R29's weather-affected debut test in Portugal, was scheduled to wind-up its winter program on March 14, some two weeks before the Australian grand prix.

But AS claims that one more test date, possibly at Silverstone which is less than an hour's drive from Renault's Enstone headquarters in England, is now set to take place sometime on the week beginning March 16.

From the beginning of the following week, when teams will be setting up at Albert Park for the Melbourne opener, the new in-season testing ban is set to take effect.

Abu Dhabi on track for 2009 finale
(GMM)  The finishing touches are being applied to formula one's new season-finale venue, with the inaugural Abu Dhabi grand prix scheduled to take place on November 1.

Phillippe Gurdjian, chief executive of race organizers Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, told the local newspaper The National that he does not believe the global financial crisis "will affect us".

He did, however, express disappointment about the demise of the Honda team.

"It is a new circuit, a new race at the end of the season.  I wish we had 10 teams with 20 cars racing, instead of nine teams and 18 cars."

Newly released aerial photographs show the pit buildings in place, grandstands being erected, and the progress on the unique Yas Marina Hotel -- through which a section of the track runs through.

The actual track surface is also currently being laid.

"We are on schedule, attending to a million details," Gurdjian, supported in his role by the recently departed Toyota team manager Richard Cregan, said.

"It is not difficult to build a track; it's a different story to finish it," he added.

'White paper' reveals shape of future rules
(GMM)  The F1 teams' alliance FOTA met on Tuesday, as a "white paper" authored by the sport's governing body FIA revealed the shape of the next cost-slashing reform.

A wave of cost-cutting measures was recently fast-tracked for the forthcoming season, but it is for 2010 that the Paris based FIA intends to radically amend the technical regulations for a more sustainable future.

The Financial Times said the FIA is alarmed by formula one's two and potentially three (including Honda) vacant team slots, the position of struggling carmakers, and the inability of new entrants to afford to fill the gaps.

Following the work done to freeze and de-tune engines, FOTA is therefore being urged to designate as "non-compete" other areas of the technical regulations, with the FIA keen to shortly publish the new rules.

So-called "non-compete" status would effectively mean the standardization of components so that vast sums of money are not required to implement small performance gains in the heat of competition.

The FIA proposes that gearboxes, wheels, brakes and suspension may be eligible.

It is obvious, however, that the otherwise unified FOTA group will be tested by its new task, with key figures like Flavio Briatore and Ron Dennis quoted as disagreeing fundamentally on the issue of technical dilution.

"We believe that it is possible to cut budgets by 60 per cent by 2012," Renault's Briatore said.  "We want a sport which is for the fans, not for the engineers."

McLaren's Dennis added: "F1 should not be a prescriptive formula where engines and a large group of components should be standard."

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