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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Last winter testing this week
  • Brawn's diffuser design also disputed
  • Coulthard museum shutting down
  • Teams pushing on amid crisis - Ecclestone

Last winter testing this week
(GMM)  One of the last days of pre-season winter testing will take place at the Jerez circuit on Monday.

Following the winter's final group session at Barcelona last week, four teams - Brawn, Renault, Williams and McLaren - scheduled one final outing at Jerez, located in the sherry-producing southwest of Spain.

The test began on Sunday, when Rubens Barrichello resumed Brawn's astonishing pace ahead of Fernando Alonso, who did not manage a full day's running due to a crash.

In ideal weather conditions, test driver Nico Hülkenberg’s Williams rounded out the Sunday timesheet, with McLaren only due to join the action from Monday.

Brawn's diffuser design also disputed
(GMM)  Brawn GP is the third team whose diffuser design for its 2009 car has been questioned by F1 rivals including Renault's Flavio Briatore.

That is the suggestion of the Cologne newspaper Express, following Briatore's comments that the rear diffusers of three unnamed teams "do not conform to the regulation".

It is reported that Brackley based Brawn, who have astonished the formula one world with their test pace in the wake of Honda's withdrawal, has taken the controversial Williams and Toyota-like diffuser interpretation even further.

Express claims the BGP001 design effectively links the floor with the diffuser in a curved fashion, with the result of radically increased rear downforce.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali on Saturday was quoted as dividing F1 teams into two camps: those (including Ferrari) who applied the 2009 rules "to the letter" and those who took "a different approach".

"The FIA has to dissipate any doubt; let's hope they'll do it fast and clear," the Italian added.

Coulthard museum shutting down
(GMM)  A museum honoring the racing career of David Coulthard will be shut down, its curator has announced.

Four years ago, the Scottish racer's sister Lynsay stopped looking after the museum on behalf of the family business because she moved away from their birthplace Twynholm.

Fan Wendy McKenzie took over the duties, but she has announced the museum's closure "with a very heavy heart".

It is rumored in the Scottish press that the reason for the closure is the decline in interest following 13-time race winner Coulthard's retirement as a race driver.

McKenzie added: "Short of a miracle, it will not be opening to the general public again."

37-year-old Coulthard remains an advisor to Red Bull's F1 team in 2009 and will have a punditry role for British television.

Teams pushing on amid crisis - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Formula one teams are yet to show any signs of being negatively affected by the global recession, according to Bernie Ecclestone.

Despite the loss of sponsors, Honda's withdrawal and the drive to radically slash costs, F1's actual competitors are pushing ahead as usual, the F1 chief executive explained in interview with the Guardian newspaper.

"You would have thought that the teams would take less people and start to cut down on costs.  But they're taking more people to the races than they took last year," Ecclestone said.  "I know exactly because we do all the credentials.

"It doesn't look to me as though they're cutting down too much."

Despite Honda's decision to quit amid flagging car sales, and the fortunate survival of the team as Brawn GP, the grid will continue to boast 20 cars this season.

Also remaining the same is the commercial structure, with Ecclestone at the helm, despite reports in the sister newspaper The Observer that the sport's debt investors are concerned about the future.

"I'll continue to do what I do as long as the shareholders are happy and as long as I can deliver," Ecclestone insisted.

"When I feel, 'Bernie, you ain't getting the job done any longer', then I'll do something else.  Until then, I'm here," he added.

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