Latest F1 news in brief
- Hockenheim future verdict shifts to May
- Car numbers 18 and 19 dropped for 2009
- Singapore race keeps naming sponsor
- Toyota ready to fight diffuser protest
- KERS for Heidfeld, but not Kubica, in Aus
- Spaniard was first choice for Red Bull role
- Ross Brawn at war with old team Ferrari
- Button unveils bright yellow helmet
Hockenheim future verdict shifts to May
(GMM) The future of Hockenheim's formula one race is to remain unresolved until the end of May, when a summit has been scheduled to take place in Stuttgart.
German news sources report that F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is slated to attend, as well as stakeholders including Mercedes and BMW, and German state prime minister Gunther Oettinger.
A final decision about the loss-making event had been expected to be made earlier this week, but the circuit owners instead vowed to push for the Stuttgart meeting.
Should the town of Hockenheim's projected 6 million euro loss for the 2010 event not be covered, the organizers will not apply for a spot on the calendar.
"We are examining all the options," mayor Dieter Gummer said, "and the result remains completely open. But by the summer we need to know because the (2010) race would need to be planned."
As Hockenheim currently alternates the German race annually with the Nurburgring, representatives of the Rhineland-Palatinate state will also attend the May 20 meeting.
Car numbers 18 and 19 dropped for 2009
(GMM) The car numbers 18 and 19 will not appear on the 2009 formula one grid.
Previously, the Honda team was due to be assigned the numbers for this season, but the FIA's decision to consider Brawn GP a new entrant meant the Brackley camp had to move to the bottom of the pitlane.
Therefore, Force India was assigned the higher car numbers, but had already prepared for its 2009 campaign on the basis of using the numbers 20 and 21.
The FIA has thus agreed to allow the Silverstone based team to revert to its original numbers, with Brawn GP again moving to the tail of the field with the numbers 22 and 23.
As an aside, for traditional reasons of superstition, drivers are never assigned the number 13.
Singapore race keeps naming sponsor
(GMM) Singapore telecommunications company SingTel has renewed its naming sponsorship of the Singapore grand prix for 2009.
The island city-state's current contract with formula one is for five races beginning with last year's floodlit event, but SingTel had inked only a single-race deal.
The local Straits Times newspaper estimates the cost of the deal at (US) $10 million.
SingTel chief executive Allen Lew said the decision to stay with the event was "relatively simple".
"Sponsorships are like capital investments -- you don't get returns on year one. You have to persist with it for a period of time," he added.
KERS for Heidfeld, but not Kubica, in Aus
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld's BMW-Sauber F1.09, but not that of his teammate Robert Kubica, will be fitted with an active KERS system for the Australian grand prix weekend.
The news was confirmed not only by German Heidfeld, 31, but also his team boss Mario Theissen.
The reason for the split strategy is due to the weight of the drivers: while diminutive Heidfeld is perhaps the lightest in the entire 2009 field, Kubica - one of the tallest drivers - would have made his F1.09 ten kilograms overweight had he elected to run KERS.
"The regulations mean that heavy drivers are disadvantaged," Theissen said in Melbourne.
He added that he hopes an advantageous KERS solution will be able to be devised for Kubica, for deployment later this season.
Spaniard was first choice for Red Bull role
(GMM) David Coulthard was Red Bull's third choice for the role of reserve driver this weekend, according to the Spanish newspaper Marca.
Second in the queue was the New Zealand teenager Brendon Hartley, who so far has been unable to obtain a mandatory FIA superlicense, Marca claims.
The first preference was reportedly Jaime Alguersuari, a 19-year-old Spaniard, who turned down the role when offered by the energy drink company in February.
Marca claims that reigning British F3 champion Alguersuari's management said no because of the lack of F1 testing an official test driver role affords.
He will instead contest the World Series by Renault championship in 2009.
A spokeswoman confirmed at Albert Park that veteran Coulthard has been designated reserve driver status for both Red Bull-owned F1 teams this weekend and in a week's time in Malaysia.
Beyond that, the situation will be revisited.
Ross Brawn at war with old team Ferrari
(GMM) Only two years after amiably leaving Ferrari, Ross Brawn is at war with his former team.
The 54-year-old Briton, formerly technical director with the famous Italian marque, now runs his own team, the ex-Honda operation Brawn GP.
The Brackley based team has stunned its rivals with prodigious winter test pace, but as the circus congregates in Australia for the 2009 opener, rivals have questioned the legality of its (and two other teams') rear diffuser.
Red Bull, BMW and other teams are expected to lodge formal protests, but so angry is Ferrari that it is understood the Maranello marque is planning to also protest after Sunday's checkered flag.
Ross Brawn on Thursday reacted to Ferrari's stance.
"Ferrari have only woken up because someone has driven faster than them," Brawn is quoted as saying by the Mirror.
He added: "The accusations are coming from teams who did not come up with the idea and now they are getting angry.
"For anyone who has read the rules it was quite obvious," said Brawn.
Button unveils bright yellow helmet
(GMM) Jenson Button is to use a new helmet livery to coincide with the debut of Brawn GP.
The British driver, wearing the Brackley based team's new white and black overalls design at Albert Park on Thursday, also showed off his new helmet colors.
Incorporating the basic design of his usual Union Jack-colored design, the helmet now features the Brawn corporate colors incandescent yellow and black.
The un-sponsored BGP001 car livery, meanwhile, remains essentially the same as in winter testing, except with prominent 'Brawn GP' signage on the engine covers.