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DATE News (chronologically)
05/11/09
f1
F1 news in brief
  • Williams to submit 2010 entry by FIA deadline
  • Briatore happy 'winner takes all' not in play
  • Domenicali offers to quit over Ferrari crisis
  • Hamilton doesn't feel like Spanish 'enemy'
  • Horner not sure if Renault staying in F1
  • 'No progress' on French GP future - Ecclestone
  • Final news briefs from Barcelona
  • Renault to assess Piquet in European season
  • Red Bull wants long-term deal with Vettel

Williams to submit 2010 entry by FIA deadline
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams has admitted that he will not be joining the threats to boycott entering next year's world championship.

Toyota and Red Bull have already issued the warning, amid suggestions that most other big teams will be following suit after a forthcoming meeting of the FOTA alliance.

They are enraged about Max Mosley's voluntary 40m pounds sterling per-team budget cap.

But for smaller teams like Williams, Brawn and Force India, F1 is their core business, and threatening to not take part would be too great a risk to their very existence.

"We race.  What else can I do?" Williams, asked about the looming May 29 deadline for 2010 team entries, is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Briatore happy 'winner takes all' not in play
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore has admitted he is relieved that Bernie Ecclestone's 'winner takes all' scoring system is not already in place.

The Renault boss insists that, with four out of a possible 'gold medals' already in the bag, Jenson Button would seem a sure bet to become the 2009 world champion.

Under the existing points system, the Briton's advantage over teammate Rubens Barrichello is 14 points, followed 4 points later by the chasing Sebastian Vettel.

"Thank god we don't have the gold medals," Briatore said in an interview with Spain's Diario AS newspaper.  "If we had that (system), he (Button) would almost be world champion."

However, the fact remains that, with only two points separating first and second places, Vettel could theoretically have to win the next seven races before he equalizes Button's points tally.

But under the 'medals' regime, the German could peg his British rival with wins in the forthcoming Monaco, Turkish and British grands prix.

Bernie Ecclestone wants the World Motor Sport Council to vote again on his proposal at their October meeting.

Domenicali offers to quit over Ferrari crisis
(GMM)  Stefano Domenicali has admitted he would consider his position as Ferrari principal if he thought it would pull the Italian team out of its crisis.

Despite a technical step forward in Barcelona, only Williams, Toro Rosso and Force India sit lower than the reigning constructors' champions in the 2009 standings, following more strategic and reliability issues at the weekend.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone mused in Barcelona that the team's new top management is the problem.

"I think with (Jean) Todt gone, we've gone a little bit back to the way it was before Todt went there," said the Briton.

And when asked about Felipe Massa running out of fuel at the end of the Spanish grand prix, Renault team boss Flavio Briatore told Spain's AS newspaper while laughing: "Fortunately I am not the head of Ferrari!"

Quoted by the German broadcaster RTL, Domenicali commented: "I do not think I'm the problem.  But if necessary, I would make room."

Hamilton doesn't feel like Spanish 'enemy'
(GMM)  A new racism scandal broke out after the Barcelona race, but Lewis Hamilton insists he does not feel like Spain's "public enemy number one".

One spectator on the grounds of the Circuit de Catalunya sparked another scandal and FIA investigation, after blacking out his face and arms in derision of F1's only black driver.

But when a plaque in his honor was unveiled for the track's 'Champions Avenue' on Friday, reigning world champion Hamilton said he felt the support of the local crowd.

"I want to say thank you to the people here at Catalunya for having me, and for their continued support," the Briton said.

Later, he was asked by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo if he minds being perceived as "public enemy number one", following his intense rivalry with former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso.

"I don't feel I am," he answered.  "I think I have great fans here.  I feel good," said Hamilton.

When asked about his rivalry with Spanish hero Alonso, and whether their friendship could be improved in the future, he added: "Fernando and I are friends already.  We get along well."

Horner not sure if Renault staying in F1
(GMM)  Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has fuelled speculation that Renault's future in formula one is far from secure.

The Briton has admitted that he is on the market for a new customer engine, because Red Bull's current contract with its French supplier is due to expire.

"We need to know if Renault is staying in formula one," Horner is quoted as saying by Germany's Sport Bild.  "We don't know that for sure at the moment."

Renault is set to lose the title backing of the struggling Dutch bank ING at the end of the year, but boss Flavio Briatore insists the situation is no worse for Renault amid the economic crisis than it is for any of its rivals.

And he told Spain's Sport newspaper: "I've been to the president of Renault in Paris and he confirmed to me that F1 is a priority for the group."

'No progress' on French GP future - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone insists there is still no guarantee France will return to the formula one calendar in 2011.

Following the demise of the Magny-Cours event, authorities in March unveiled detailed plans for a new grand prix venue at Flins-Les-Mureaux, northeast of Paris.

But as for the venue's inclusion on a calendar of the future, F1 chief executive Ecclestone told the French radio station RMC that there is no progress in particular to report.

"We are still in negotiations but there is nothing to announce," the Briton said.

Final news briefs from Barcelona
(GMM)  Timo Glock was stunned to discover that his grid girl for the Spanish grand prix was ... a man.  Holding the placard bearing his race number in Barcelona was Thomas, a model from London.  "I've never seen that before," the Toyota driver smiled.  "At least a girl is holding the German flag," Glock added.

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Nick Heidfeld celebrated his 32nd birthday on the day of the Spanish grand prix by cutting a cake -- and the diminutive BMW-Sauber driver even ate half a slice.

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Mark Webber's Barcelona podium fell on the 50th anniversary of the first win of his Australian compatriot Sir Jack Brabham, a triple world champion and former constructor.  "He did a huge amount for formula one," the Red Bull driver said.

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He might be on top of the world in the excessive world of formula one, but it seems the economic crisis applies even to Ross Brawn.  The owner of the team that is currently leading both the drivers' and constructors' championships flew back to the UK from Barcelona on EasyJet, a discount airline.

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Brawn may have flown EasyJet, but F1's regulars from the Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV did not travel to Spain at all, for fear of contracting the deadly Swine flu.

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In Aosta, northern Italy, Nico Rosberg won a poker tournament in the week before the Spanish grand prix.  Also taking part were Michael Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Eddie Irvine.

Renault to assess Piquet in European season
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore has vowed to "help" rather than immediately sack Renault's struggling Nelson Piquet.

Intense speculation has surrounded the future of the 23-year-old Brazilian, including rumors in Barcelona last weekend that Piquet could be ousted as soon as the forthcoming British grand prix to make room for reserve driver Romain Grosjean.

But in interview with Spain's Diario Sport, team boss Briatore said Piquet is being given time to prove himself now that the season has begun on the more familiar European circuits.

"He is a good teammate for Fernando (Alonso) and has always been very loyal to him," the Italian said.

"He is experiencing a difficult moment, but when someone is having trouble you help him, not kill him.  We have to give him some room for the European races," added Briatore.

Briatore also did not want to address rising speculation that, given Kimi Raikkonen's struggles, Alonso is now being tipped by the Italian media to restore Ferrari's fortunes perhaps as soon as 2010.

"I do not talk about these issues because I have others to solve.  These decisions are for another time," he said.

Red Bull wants long-term deal with Vettel
(GMM)  Red Bull is keen to secure the services of Sebastian Vettel for a long time, team boss Christian Horner has admitted.

The Austrian squad's contract with the 21-year-old German, the only driver apart from Jenson Button to have won a race this year, runs out at the end of 2010.

But Horner told Germany's Sport Bild: "We see our future with Sebastian.  We want to strengthen and expand our team around him."

Openly interested in Vettel beyond 2010 is BMW and McLaren-Mercedes, but Bernie Ecclestone has made clear he would like to see his driver favorite at the wheel of a Ferrari.

However, Horner said: "Sebastian feels comfortable with us.  If we give him cars with which he can drive at the front, there will be no reason for him to move."

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