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DATE News (chronologically)
04/12/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • License glitch 'not connected' to British GP
  • Sutil - racism causing Hamilton controversies?
  • No adjustable wing for Force India yet - Sutil
  • Ecclestone admits interest in Montreal, New York
  • Whiting says Hamilton apologized for lies
  • Stewart tells Brawn - don't sack Rubens for Lewis
  • Sepang reconsiders F1 night racing

License glitch 'not connected' to British GP
(GMM)  Britain's motor racing authority has played down speculation the Donington circuit is not licensed to host the grand prix next year.

Earlier this month, it emerged that the venue had failed to be granted a racing license by the Motor Sports Association (MSA) because recent renovations compromised driver safety.

But a MSA spokesman subsequently told the Guardian: "It should be understood that this matter is not in any way connected to Donington Park's contract to host the British grand prix from 2010."

He added that the body will "continue to work" with the circuit to address the current issues.

It is expected that FIA officials will inspect Donington this week.

It is also suggested that, despite a conspicuous delay, track boss Simon Gillett is poised to announce details about the debenture funding scheme.

Sutil - racism causing Hamilton controversies?
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil has hinted that Lewis Hamilton's seemingly perpetual run-in with F1's governing body could be a case of racism.

As the latest scandal - dubbed 'lie-gate' by the media - occupies the formula one world, the reigning world champion's closest friend on the grid expressed concern about constant controversies involving Hamilton.

German Sutil, 26, who was the Briton's F3 teammate in 2005, believes Hamilton is "sick" of falling on the wrong side of the FIA's attentions.

"I have no idea how he has got so many punishments," he is quoted as telling his column in the Dutch Formule 1 Race Report.

"Slowly you start to ask yourself why it always happens to him.  Is it his skin color?" Sutil wondered.

No adjustable wing for Force India yet - Sutil
(GMM)  Force India is yet to deploy the two main innovations allowed by F1's 2009 regulations, Adrian Sutil has revealed.

It is already known that the Silverstone based team's VJM02 car is not featuring KERS technology.

But 26-year-old German Sutil also admitted that the single seater is not even fitted with an adjustable front wing.

"It is not as simple as it seems," he wrote in his column for the Dutch Formule 1 Race Report.  "It has the electric motor for the up and down movement of the flap, and there is a lot of software involved.

"By the time we go racing in Europe, I believe that Force India will drive with a KERS and adjustable front wings," Sutil added.

But he insists that the features are not the silver bullet to F1's shortage of overtaking.

And he said of KERS: "It is waiting for us at the factory to be put on the car, but at the moment we think there is a weight disadvantage."

Ecclestone admits interest in Montreal, New York
(GMM)  F1 could return to Canada, and New York is the only viable alternative to Indianapolis for a US grand prix, the sport's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has admitted.

Following falling outs with both North American venues, the F1 chief executive is now under intense pressure to take his sport back to what is arguably the world's most important market.

Reports that Montreal could be reinstated to replace struggling new venue Abu Dhabi were wide of the mark, but 78-year-old Ecclestone admits he has not forgotten about the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

"We are trying to get that back on again," he told Motor Sport magazine.  "The government is interested."

The British billionaire is less keen on making up with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, saying instead he is interested in pursuing options in New York.

"It is the one place where someone could make a business out of it," he said.

"Apart from Indianapolis ... there is nowhere in America we could go to and hold our head up and say 'this is comparable to other circuits we are building around the world'," he added.

Ecclestone cautioned that reinstating North American races also depends on teams agreeing to more than 17 grands prix per season.

Whiting says Hamilton apologized for lies
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton apologized personally for lying to stewards to FIA race director Charlie Whiting, it has emerged.

In addition to his now famous public apology in front of the world's media at Sepang, the reigning world champion issued another apology at the verge of the recent Malaysian grand prix, according to Whiting.

"He came to me and wanted to talk to me privately, and just said he wanted to apologize for everything he'd done, and he wouldn't do it again," he is quoted as saying by the Mirror.

Whiting admits he suspected that Hamilton was lying in Australia, when he and McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan first insisted that Jarno Trulli had not deliberately been allowed to pass under the safety car.

Several days later, the pair lied again to a reconvened stewards meeting, triggering Hamilton's race disqualification and McLaren's summons to the World Motor Sport Council.

"I was distinctly uncomfortable about Lewis's demeanor on Sunday (in Australia), and on Thursday (in Malaysia) I would say he was just doing what he was told to do," said Whiting.

"On Sunday it was completely clear that he was telling lies."

Whiting's account is backed by what the British newspaper News of the World referred to as an 'FIA source'.

The source said Hamilton and Ryan's apparent strategy with the stewards was to be "extremely vague and not very direct with the answers".

"Then the interview where he (Hamilton) said 'I was told to let him through' was played.

"At that point they both got very uncomfortable, but still denied that's what had actually happened."

Stewart tells Brawn - don't sack Rubens for Lewis
(GMM)  Brawn GP should not sack Rubens Barrichello in favor of reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, Sir Jackie Stewart has warned.

Ahead of McLaren's appearance on sporting fraud charges at the World Motor Sport Council later this month, it is speculated that a negative result could cause Hamilton to quit the British team.

It is becoming clear that - if found guilty on the disrepute charge - the most likely sanction for McLaren is suspension for multiple races, which could also trigger the 24-year-old and his furious father Anthony's departure.

The only team linked with the potentially on-the-market Hamilton so far is the dominant Brawn, already powered by McLaren's engine partner Mercedes-Benz, who are annoyed about the scandal so soon after the 'spy-gate' saga of 2007.

With Jenson Button leading the world championship, it is suggested the most likely Brawn driver to move over for Hamilton would be the veteran Rubens Barrichello.

But Stewart, who between 1997 and 1999 employed the Brazilian racer at his own F1 team, said: "Rubens is very experienced in the setting up of the car, Lewis is not.

"And Ross (Brawn) needs that knowledge right now because of the ban on in-season testing."

Sepang reconsiders F1 night racing
(GMM)  The possibility of a second formula one night race on the 2010 calendar has stepped up a notch.

Despite Malaysia previously hesitating at the concept of installing expensive floodlighting, the chairman of the Sepang track now admits night racing is not so unappealing.

Officials of the venue near Kuala Lumpur have already expressed concern about the events of last weekend's race, which was curtailed by 24 laps amid torrential rain and fading light.

"After every race, we have discussions with Bernie Ecclestone to see where we can improve," Sepang chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir told the local New Straits Times.

"The question of having the race earlier or at night will be finalized soon," he added.

The 'twilight' concept was agreed as a compromise for 2009, amid pressure from the F1 chief executive for a night race to better serve the bulk European TV audience.

But Mokhzani now sounds open to the idea of full night racing.

"We can recover the cost (of installing floodlights) by renting out the track for other events," he said, although he admitted that night racing would not be a perfect solution for Malaysia.

"There were objections to holding the race at night because they wanted the skyline to be visible during racing," said Mokhzani.

Malaysia's current grand prix contract runs until 2015, but Mokhzani suggested the country wants to feature permanently on the F1 calendar.

Crowd numbers in 2009 were significant down but "this was because of the economic slowdown", he insisted.

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