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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Honda scuttled Super Aguri team sale
  • FIA incompetence triggered 'lie-gate' - Stewart
  • FIA should drop 'lie-gate' - Ralf Schumacher
  • Confirmed - Schu to skip next two F1 races
  • Sepang wants twilight concept scrapped
  • Quitting could destroy Hamilton - Stewart
  • TWG to address Williams car concerns
  • Coulthard thinks FIA will approve diffusers

Honda scuttled Super Aguri team sale
(GMM)  The former administrators of the now-defunct Super Aguri outfit claim the formula one team could have been rescued.

Insolvency experts PKF are pursuing Honda for more than $400,000 in fees, saying they were dismissed as administrators last year after planning to sell the Leafield based squad as a going concern.

According to the UK financial press, PKF had lined up a buyer for Super Aguri but the plan was rejected by Honda, the team's major creditor that was owed millions.

Honda ultimately appointed another insolvency group to oversee the team's voluntary liquidation.

"Any insolvency practitioner will say that (administration) was the only route for Super Aguri as there were buyers for it," said PDF partner Philip Long.

"Honda didn't want Super Aguri exposed to the marketplace," he added.  "Smaller unsecured creditors voted for our proposals and fees."

FIA incompetence triggered 'lie-gate' - Stewart
(GMM)  The out-of-control 'lie-gate' scandal is the result of unprofessional stewarding in formula one, according to regular FIA critic Sir Jackie Stewart.

The Scot, seemingly perpetually locked in a war of words with FIA president Max Mosley, said the entire affair could have been avoided if the governing body's officials on duty in Melbourne were better organized.

Stewart, a former triple world champion and ex-team owner, said McLaren rightly radioed race control during the Melbourne race for quick clarification about whether Lewis Hamilton should or should not give the place back to Jarno Trulli.

"But he (Charlie Whiting) was apparently unavailable, trying to sort out the Sebastien Vettel problem," the 69-year-old, referring to the German's crash with Robert Kubica, told the Scottish newspaper the Herald.

Stewart added: "It seems strange that only one person has the authority to deal with these inquiries which could be result-changing in a multi-million pound sport.

"As it is, we now have a potentially serious state of affairs for McLaren."

He believes McLaren will be harshly penalized, now that the affair has spiraled into formal admissions and sackings by team figures, and incontestable fraud to be assessed by the World Motor Sport Council later this month.

FIA should drop 'lie-gate' - Ralf Schumacher
(GMM)  According to Ralf Schumacher, the FIA should have dropped the 'lie-gate' scandal in the interests of formula one.

The German and former six-time grand prix winner already admitted last weekend that lying is not a rare commodity at the pinnacle of motor racing.

"You could say that this is inexcusable," 34-year-old Schumacher is quoted as saying by the German press, "but I say it should be excused."

The scandal has claimed the scalp of sacked McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan, triggered an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, and thrown into doubt the futures at McLaren of team boss Martin Whitmarsh and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

"I have to ask myself why the FIA draws this thing out even further," Schumacher continued.  "It is unfortunate that at the moment such an exciting season is overshadowed by such things."

Also in the German press, experts and pundits are fearing the outcome of the FIA meeting on April 29.

Sporting sanctions may spark the already struggling Mercedes' withdrawal from the sport, while financial penalties would be disastrous amid the backdrop of the global recession.

Mercedes' racing boss Norbert Haug told the Cologne newspaper Express: "This situation is absolutely not positive for Mercedes.

"I report directly to Daimler chairman Dr Dieter Zetsche.  If the situation should become intolerable, we will get together in Stuttgart and make a decision."

Confirmed - Schu to skip next two F1 races
(GMM)  A Ferrari spokesman has confirmed that Michael Schumacher will not be travelling with the team to the forthcoming Chinese and Bahrain grands prix.

The 40-year-old former seven time world champion, on duty as an advisor to the Italian team at the opening two races of 2009, faced immense public criticism for his apparent role in strategic blunders.

Ferrari figures got together for a post-Sepang 'crisis meeting' at Maranello earlier this week, but Schumacher was not present.

It now emerges that the team will do without the services of the most successful driver in F1 history for rounds three and four of the current championship.

"He will not be at those races," the spokesman is quoted as saying by Germany's Sport Bild.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said after the Tuesday meeting that he is determined the team should not become a laughing stock.

"I made the point that I don't want to find us on some sort of TV comedy video program after each race," he insisted.

Marc Surer, a former Swiss F1 driver and regular commentary pundit, told a German language newspaper that Ferrari should not employ Schumacher if he is only a part-time advisor.

"You can only become part of the process of being a racing team if you are there all the time.  But Schumacher is only a semi-advisor, and that is no solution," he told the Basler Zeitung.

Sepang wants twilight concept scrapped
(GMM)  In the face of television ratings and Bernie Ecclestone's defiance, the boss of the Sepang circuit insists the Malaysian grand prix needs a new start time for 2010 and beyond.

Following Sunday's rain-shortened race amid fading natural light, F1 chief executive Ecclestone insisted the event had still been a good show.

Indeed, the television viewing figures of the European audience, buoyed by the more civilized watching time, seemed to support the 78-year-old's stance.

But Razlan Razali, chief executive of the venue near Kuala Lumpur, insists: "We do not look at just television viewers.  What about the thousands who paid money to come to the circuit, some from out of the country?

"Of course, even after Sunday's race, some said it was exciting even if it was only half a race.  Maybe it was the case for television viewers, but not for those at the track," he emphasized to the local New Straits Times.

He suggests that organizers will now push for a reversion to a normal afternoon start time, and not embrace a floodlit night race.

"Even holding the race at night, given our weather, it would provide even more difficulties if it rained.  Visibility, even under not such heavy rain, would be more severely affected," said Razali.

Negotiations about scheduling for the following season's F1 calendar normally takes place around mid-year.

Razali made clear he blames no-one for the problems with the 2009 Malaysian grand prix.

"I don't think there was any right or wrong with the outcome.  The problems were due to the weather and when the race started at 5pm, it left no room for error," he said.

Quitting could destroy Hamilton - Stewart
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton could "destroy his career" if he hastily quits McLaren over the lie-gate scandal, Sir Jackie Stewart has warned.

Some have suggested the reigning world champion's rumored quit threats are merely his and father Anthony's way of making clear their disgust at being caught up in a saga that has damaged their integrity.

But an authoritative source this week reported that Hamilton, 24, was genuinely overheard in his Kuala Lumpur hotel lobby musing about opportunities that exist for him on the American racing scene.

And Norbert Haug, racing boss for Mercedes, is quoted by the German press this week as revealing that Hamilton "really was very close" to calling it quits after being accused of being a liar.

Stewart, the 69-year-old former triple world champion, believes there would be some sort of 'moral clause' in Hamilton's contract that would allow him to leave McLaren in this sort of situation.

But the Scot warned: "Lewis and his father need to keep cool heads right now.  If he goes elsewhere it could destroy his career, certainly put it in jeopardy."

Scandal aside, Stewart also wonders if a better option than McLaren really exists for the Briton.

"McLaren are not competitive right now but there is no reason why there could not be an immense improvement in the next two or three races," he said.

TWG to address Williams car concerns
(GMM)  Williams' concerns about some rival cars' possible infringement of the 2009 rules is likely to be cleared up on Thursday.

In Australia late last month, in the middle of the 'diffuser' saga, the British team lodged but ultimately dropped a protest against the Red Bull and Ferrari teams.

It is believed the protest - a rare action for Williams - related to concerns about the sidepod aerodynamics of the respective cars.

The Grove based team said it withdrew its protest "in the interests of the sport", and technical director Sam Michael said he trusted the FIA to handle the problem.

Motorsport Aktuell reports that the Technical Working Group, comprised of top technical boffins of the F1 teams, is meeting on Thursday where the matter will be discussed.

The Swiss publication said Williams could have dropped the protest also because it was discovered that half of the cars on the grid fall foul of their concerns.

Coulthard thinks FIA will approve diffusers
(GMM)  David Coulthard believes the Court of Appeal will declare the diffusers of the Brawn, Toyota and Williams cars to be legal in next Tuesday's FIA hearing.

The Scot, although now retired as a racer, remains an advisor to Red Bull Racing, one of the teams that is questioning the legality of the rear aerodynamic solutions.

But Coulthard, also currently standing in as Red Bull's F1 reserve driver, is sure the FIA will tell the protesting teams that the designs are legal.

"I am not an engineer, so I have to rely on the judgment of the FIA technical people," he said in an interview with the Austrian sports website laola1.at.

"They said in Melbourne that the cars were legal and I think the FIA will confirm that judgment on the fourteenth," Coulthard added.

"The other seven teams are probably going to have to change their cars."

One of the arguments against the controversial diffusers is that declaring them legal will result in the other seven teams having to implement expensive and extensive car redesigns amid a global recession.

"That is right, but it does not mean that the diffusers are illegal," Coulthard insisted.

"You shouldn't necessarily be punished because you have interpreted the rules differently and thus taken an advantage.  Those three teams also spent money to develop their aerodynamics, so that money would also be wasted.

"Formula one is not just about saving money, it is also a championship!" Coulthard said.

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