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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ecclestone, Mosley, predict Honda survival
  • Mosley confirms American team interest
  • Mosley tips McLaren for strong season
  • Ecclestone unsure about Russian GP

Ecclestone, Mosley, predict Honda survival
(GMM)  F1 powerbrokers Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley on Thursday sounded confident that a buyer will be found for the embattled team currently known as Honda.

With less than 50 days to go to the 2009 season opener in Australia, there is still no sign that a solution to owner Honda Motor Co.'s shock withdrawal has been reached.

But when asked if he thinks a renamed Brackley based squad will make it to Melbourne, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said: "I think so.

"I think that will happen," the Briton told the German news agency DPA.

FIA president Mosley, meeting with reporters in London on Thursday, put a 70 per cent probability on a positive outcome to the Honda saga.

"I have no inside knowledge but my feeling from all the circumstances is that it is more likely than not," he said.

He indicated that reports of an attempted management buyout, led by existing chiefs Nick Fry and Ross Brawn, are true.

"They may succeed.  They are both very competent people.

"Talking to the people around the team, they seem optimistic," Mosley continued.  "But they always are until the moment comes."

Like Ecclestone, however, Mosley stresses that should F1 shrink to just 18 cars in 2009, no lasting damage will be done.

"I don't think it would matter provided we could lay out a plan for 2010 that makes it possible for a small team to run competitively and do so without losing money," he said.

"I think the days of the billionaires who piss money away are gone."

Mosley confirms American team interest
(GMM)  Max Mosley has confirmed reports that a prospective American team is looking into racing in formula one next year.

It emerged this week that USF1, headed by Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor, may soon launch a foray to field US-born drivers and personnel and showcase American technology.

"They are serious people, but I think they will be the same as everybody else and they need the costs to come down if they want to be competitive," the FIA president told selected media in London on Thursday.

It is believed that USF1 is planning a North Carolina headquarters, possibly with a small Spanish test base, made possible by the current number of overseas races and the new in-season test ban.

"I think it would be difficult but not impossible," Mosley said.

Mosley is confident that sweeping cost cuts for next year, despite the likely objections to the intended annual budget of just 50m euros, could lead to a fully-subscribed pitlane of 12 teams in 2010.

Should his 50m euro plan not work out, and more teams pull out that cannot be replaced by new entrants, the FIA has other means to guarantee full grids at grands prix, Mosley warned.

"In the absolute worst case, we have in our contract with Bernie that if there are insufficient formula one cars we will fill it up with cars from other categories," he said.

"For that to happen would be very unfortunate because at the moment we are in a position to arrange the rules so that we could get independent teams in."

Mosley tips McLaren for strong season
(GMM)  McLaren seems likely to begin the 2009 season very strongly, FIA president Max Mosley has predicted.

"McLaren have done a very good job over the winter -- everything indicates that," he told selected reporters at a media lunch in London on Thursday.

Rival 'big two' team Ferrari is the reigning constructors' champion, whose Felipe Massa won the last race of the 2008 season and trailed title winner Lewis Hamilton by just a single point.

But Mosley confirms the impression that Ferrari's pre-season has been less smooth.

"Ferrari are still getting their act together after a very big management change, whereas I don't think the management change at McLaren is as big -- there is more continuity," he said.

2008 was Stefano Domenicali's first season as Ferrari team boss, following the long reign and very different style and approach of Jean Todt.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis, meanwhile, is handing over to his long-time deputy Martin Whitmarsh on March 1, but remaining the company's CEO and chairman.

When asked which driver he would place a bet on for 2009 honors, Mosley said Hamilton.

"But it might be someone unexpected like Kubica or Alonso," he added.

Ecclestone unsure about Russian GP
(GMM)  Despite its long flirt with formula one, Russia is still no closer to definitely staging a grand prix.

Work on the Moscow Raceway in Volokolamsk, 80 kilometers west of the capital, began late last year.

The project is headed by Hans Geist, formerly of the grand prix venues in Austria and Bahrain, while Hermann Tilke is in charge of design.

But when asked if Russia will definitely be added to the annual calendar, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told the German news agency DPA: "We don't know."

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