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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ecclestone could rescue British GP
  • Ferrari hits back at Lauda 'spaghetti' jibe
  • Prince says Mosley now welcome in Bahrain
  • Mosley tempts big teams to join budget cap
  • Another diffuser tweak for McLaren in Bahrain
  • Silverstone's door still open to F1

Ecclestone could rescue British GP
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone is his usual inscrutable self in Bahrain, but interestingly he did not completely rule out getting involved with the British grand prix saga.

On Thursday it emerged that legal action between Donington's owners and leaseholder has commenced, raising the prospect of formula one having to move away from the country altogether.

The court case has been scheduled for June 8.

Speaking with reporters, F1 chief executive insisted that if Donington fails, his sport will definitely not fall back on Silverstone.  He also ruled out simply stepping in and becoming the Donington promoter.

"I'm too busy," he snapped.

But the 78-year-old Briton said: "I've been in talks with (track CEO) Simon (Gillett) and we've been talking through the money situation.

"I'm trying to help him sort things out.  What he really needs is an investor, that's the best hope of saving the race," Ecclestone said.

When put to him that he could simply step in and personally safeguard the race, he added: "Let's see what happens, shall we.

"At the moment, it's all speculation.  I haven't thought about it."

Ferrari hits back at Lauda 'spaghetti' jibe
(GMM)  Ferrari's boss has hit back at Niki Lauda, after the former triple world champion said a re-emerging "spaghetti culture" is to blame for the team's struggles.

With the efficient and dispassionate German, French and British influences of Michael Schumacher, Jean Todt and Ross Brawn respectively now missing, it is tempting to compare Ferrari's past with its increasingly all-Italian makeup.

But the Maranello team's current team principal Stefano Domenicali, an Italian, responded: "I take it very personally when people suggest that because we are Italians we cannot get things to work properly.

"We have won titles and races in the past with fundamentally the same team," he insisted.

Domenicali also responded to speculation that Michael Schumacher's expiring contract will be simply allowed to end this year, after the German was implicated in the strategy chaos of the opening races.

"Michael is very important for our group.  At certain moments he can be heavy because of his personality, but his positives far outweigh his negatives," he said.

Prince says Mosley now welcome in Bahrain
(GMM)  Max Mosley is once again welcome on the island Kingdom of Bahrain, Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa insists.

The FIA president was asked to stay away from the event last year, while he was gripped in an allegedly racially-themed sex scandal.

Mosley, who was subsequently backed by FIA members and won legal action against the tabloid newspaper News of the World, never intended visiting Bahrain this season.

But he is now welcome, the Crown Prince told the Times newspaper at the Sakhir track.

"Yes, absolutely.  He was cleared and re-elected," he said.  "And as long as the court case and the re-election has taken place, he is the representative of the FIA and therefore is due respect and is welcome."

Mosley tempts big teams to join budget cap
(GMM)  Max Mosley is tempting bigger formula one teams to also sign up for a budget cap next year.

The FIA president has already unveiled plans for a 33m euro cap, including all team expenditure, that was designed for small teams.

The bigger teams, meanwhile, would have been able to continue spending vast sums, but they would have been more technically limited than their capped rivals.

However, in a move seen as an invitation for the big teams to also join in, Mosley this week wrote to team principals informing them that driver salaries and marketing may now be excluded from the caps next year.

Additionally, the teams - having ruled out Mosley's initial 'two-tier' system - were asked by Mosley to respond to whether the 33m euro figure needs to be modified.

"It should be an gradual adjustment (from a higher to a lower cap) over three or four years," BMW's Mario Theissen told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.  "The big teams can't just get rid of hundreds of jobs tomorrow."

Fascinatingly, even the boss of a small team - Toro Rosso's Franz Tost - thinks 33m is too low.  "You can't just turned back the clock to the 80s," he said.

"The working processes have become more complex and therefore more expensive; the materials cost a fortune," Tost added.

Mosley wants to finalize plans by presenting them for ratification to the World Motor Sport Council next Wednesday.

It is also expected that the April 29 WMSC will agree to raise the allowed number of teams to 13, which effectively will open the door for three new teams to join formula one in 2010.

Another diffuser tweak for McLaren in Bahrain
(GMM)  McLaren is using another development of its modified Shanghai-spec diffuser in Bahrain.

"We have an adaptation of our conventional diffuser," team boss Martin Whitmarsh is quoted as confirming to Auto Motor und Sport.

The changes, as in China, are based on the Court of Appeal ruling, where the controversial Brawn, Toyota and Williams-style diffusers were deemed fully legal.

While those teams are thought to be benefiting to the tune of several tenths per lap, however, those needing to adapt can expect less advantage.

Whitmarsh said of McLaren's Bahrain update: "It brings a bit more downforce but is not a giant step."

He said aerodynamicists in the wind tunnel are yet to unlock the full potential of the 'double-decker' concept.

"It is a difficult area," Whitmarsh continued.  "If we had begun with it a year ago, the whole car would have been conceived on that basis."

Ferrari is also working on a new diffuser, that should be ready by the forthcoming Spanish grand prix.

But Stefano Domenicali warned: "It depends on what our people in the wind tunnel find.  It will be no 'F61'.  There will no new car because it would be finished too late."

Silverstone's door still open to F1
(GMM)  Silverstone has not closed the door to hosting the British grand prix beyond this season, the president of the circuit-owning BRDC insists.

1996 world champion Damon Hill heads the British Racing Drivers' Club, which will promote its final F1 race in July due to rival circuit Donington's signing of the rights contract for 2010 and beyond.

But a new legal wrangle is threatening Donington's chances, leading Bernie Ecclestone to muse that Britain stands to lose its spot on the calendar altogether.

"There is no question of us going back to Silverstone.  They have had enough chances and have not delivered what they promised," the F1 chief executive said in Bahrain.

But despite Ecclestone's firm stance, Hill insists the BRDC has attempted to keep the door open to F1.

"We've had communications," he told BBC Radio Five Live.  "There's always been an open line of communication between ourselves and Bernie.

"We're very keen on Formula One and Silverstone has a long history with formula one, so we've always tried to keep the door open," Hill added.

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