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DATE News (chronologically)
06/01/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Raikkonen crashes out of tarmac rally
  • Two more new teams filed 2010 entries
  • PM looks to Magny-Cours for France GP revival
  • F1 'will die' without new blood - Mosley
  • F1 'pushing' to return to Canada - Trulli
  • Merc moving closer to Brawn branding deal
  • FOTA lobs F1 crisis into Mosley's court
  • Sutil not yet committing to Force India in 2010
  • Monaco not the final straw for BMW - boss
  • Brawn to maintain lean approach to 2009

Raikkonen crashes out of tarmac rally
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen at the weekend crashed out of his latest foray into the world of professional rallying.

The Ferrari driver, having entered two rounds of the Finnish rally championship in the winter, entered the same Tommi Makinen-prepared Fiat Abarthe Grande Punto into the Rally della Marca.

But on the third stage (SS3) of the event in northern Italy's Treviso region, while running 8th in his category, he crashed and struck a rock verge, terminally damaging the right rear corner of his white car.

Before the event, the Finn thanked Ferrari for giving him permission to compete.

"I really enjoy myself (rallying) and it will be my first experience on tarmac after some tests on snow last winter," Raikkonen had said.

"As I'm coming from the race track it will be interesting to see what I will be able to do behind the wheel on the roads."

Two more new teams filed 2010 entries
(GMM)  Two more prospective small entrants are reported to have signed up to compete in next year's formula one world championship.

While nine of the current teams lodged only conditional entries before last Friday's deadline, former champions Williams as well as new entrants USF1, Campos, Lola, Prodrive and Litespeed confirmed the filing of their official paperwork.

At the weekend, it then emerged that the veteran of nearly 70 grands prix Alex Wurz is bidding to run a team next year, to be called Team Superfund in deference to the Austrian investment company.

Also reportedly hoping for a spot on the 2010 grid is the iconic team name March, which while founded by a group involving Max Mosley in 1969 has been controlled since 1992 by Andrew Fitton.

Should the nine active FOTA teams ultimately be granted berths on next year's grid, then at least half of the hopeful new teams will not be green-lighted by the FIA.

The governing body's 2010 entry list, to feature a maximum of thirteen team names, will be published on June 12.

PM looks to Magny-Cours for France GP revival
(GMM)  The only way to quickly revive the French grand prix might be to run it at the former venue Magny-Cours, prime minister Francois Fillon insists.

Last week, the PM vowed the government's support in putting France back on the formula one calendar, amid reports that the latest project for a new circuit near Paris had struck political problems.

Fillon told Europe 1 radio that he wants a rapid solution, so that a French grand prix can be hosted again in 2010 or 2011.

And with Flins-Les Mureaux unable to be built in time, Fillon admitted that the race would for now need to be held on an existing circuit.

Paul Ricard recently declared its candidature, but Fillon indicated that Magny-Cours is a possibility, despite its unpopular location and poor attendances in recent years.

"I think this will be necessary because the time it would take to build a circuit would take us up until 2012 and I don't think we can accept that there isn't a grand prix in France before (then)," he said.

F1 'will die' without new blood - Mosley
(GMM)  Max Mosley supports the influx of prospective new names to the formula one entry list.

The FIA president is fighting the majority of the sport's current teams over next year's budget cap rules, which have triggered multiple small entries filing entry paperwork for the 2010 world championship.

In a recent media document, Ferrari mocked the names of the prospective entrants, sardonically suggesting a renaming of the sport to 'Formula GP3' would be appropriate.

But while Mosley hopes the more established brands continue next year, he also insists attracting new blood is the right move for the sport.

"No sport is healthy without new people coming in," he said in an interview with the Deutsche Presse Agentur.

"Ferrari forget that the current BMW team started as Sauber, the current Williams team started with Williams buying a March.  Tyrrell started a little team at the end of the sixties that was Honda and is now Brawn.

"Even Enzo Ferrari himself came along in 1948 and started from nothing," said the 69-year-old, who was one of the founding members of March, and after leaving the team in 1977 began his ascent to power alongside Bernie Ecclestone.

Mosley said: "If you stopped those new entrepreneurs coming in formula one will die.  You can't have just a lot of old men running it."

F1 'pushing' to return to Canada - Trulli
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli made a visit to Canada after the recent Monaco grand prix.

The Toyota driver's detour to Montreal, to promote his own wine label Podere Castorani, usually coincides with the Canadian grand prix.

But North America no longer features on the calendar.  "That's unfortunate, but I know everyone is pushing to come back here," he told the local rds.ca.

"The manufacturers especially are very keen; it is an important market for them and Canada was always one of the best events of the year," Trulli, 34, added.

He did not want to comment on the sport's current entry list crisis, dismissing the topic as a "political question" that does not involve the drivers.

Trulli however admitted to disappointment with Toyota's performance in the last two races, particularly at Monaco, where he and teammate Timo Glock lined up at the very back of the grid.

"Right now Brawn have the best car, they are very successful and everyone is working very hard to recover.  Of course it is not easy but the championship is still very long," he added.

Merc moving closer to Brawn branding deal
(GMM)  Mercedes-Benz may be moving closer to adding corporate branding to the cars of the championship-dominating team Brawn GP.

The Brackley based team's use of the Stuttgart marque's engines this year is simply a customer deal, but the package has won five out of the six races so far this season, and is comfortably leading both the drivers' and constructors' championships.

Moreover, Mercedes is increasingly vocal about the success of the collaboration, noting in the post-race press release of the McLaren team after Monaco that Jenson Button "won the last three grands prix (using) the same engine".

In the same race, the highest-placed car (Lewis Hamilton) carrying the three-pointed star finished just twelfth.

Mercedes' racing boss Norbert Haug said last month that branding had not yet been added to the Brawn car because the marque did not want to "divert" from its works relationship with McLaren.

But to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday, the German now admits it is a possibility.

"We would not be doing our job if we were not talking about it," Haug said.

FOTA lobs F1 crisis into Mosley's court
(GMM)  After a weekend of speculation, the ball is now squarely in Max Mosley's court as the battle over budget caps continues.

Some sections of the media saw the FOTA teams' conditional entries for the 2010 world championship as the easing of their threats to quit the sport.

In fact, the crisis arguably deepened, with Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali clarifying that if the proposed budget cap rules are not binned, "the entries from the nine teams will be invalid".

The Italian team's driver Felipe Massa told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag: "We will have to wait and see how the FIA reacts."

Similarly, the Italian newspaper Tuttosport observed: "Mosley will either accept the teams' stipulations, or he will not."

The official line is that in the wake of Williams' suspension, all the remaining FOTA teams are united in their opposition to the plans.

But Force India's Adrian Sutil pointed out that the dilemma belongs almost exclusively to the big-spending teams.

Asked about budget caps, he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "Generally I think it's a good idea.

"I don't think we would have to change too much within our team.  We would probably keep most of our people and keep doing our work as before."

Sutil added: "For the big teams it is going to be very difficult for them to get along with a tenth of their money."

Sutil not yet committing to Force India in 2010
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil, whose contract expires this season, will not rule out departing Force India at the end of 2009.

The 26-year-old German has contested more than 40 races with the Silverstone based team, previously known as Spyker, since making his grand prix debut in 2007.

2010 would therefore be his fourth consecutive season presumably at the back of the grid, but Sutil told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that his plan is to graduate to a leading team.

"That is every driver's goal," he said, "and also mine.  Really I just want to win; with which team is for me not a topic.

"Force India has made progress," Sutil acknowledged, "and we will have to see how it looks for the coming years."

He admitted that, in his three years in F1, there have been occasional talks between his management and other teams.

"At the moment this is where I am," Sutil said.  "The contract runs out at the end of the year and then we will see."

He suggested that the team's smaller budget than many of its rivals is not the biggest issue.  "I don't think it's just the money; it is the whole package," said Sutil.

"Perhaps we are just missing a 'superbrain' -- like what Red Bull has in Adrian Newey."

Sutil's 2009 car may get a boost next month, when Mercedes' KERS system is scheduled to be fitted for the first time.

But the German, possibly to be further disadvantaged due to his height, isn't sure.  "I think KERS is a good thing, if it works.  But for the moment it's not really working for anybody."

Monaco not the final straw for BMW - boss
(GMM)  A disastrous outing for the German squad at the famous Monaco race was not the final straw for BMW's executive board, team boss Mario Theissen insists.

In the Principality, BMW-Sauber's disappointing 2009 season went from bad to worse, as the F1.09s qualified poorly before Nick Heidfeld finished just eleventh.

Amid the sport's political crisis and the worldwide economic slump, some speculated that BMW is moving closer to scrapping the entire project.

FIA president Max Mosley, for instance, cannot understand how carmaker-backed teams are currently fighting tooth and nail to prevent 45m euro budget caps from replacing annual budgets approaching half a billion per team.

"I cannot imagine the main board of BMW continuing to spend 300 million on formula one, or even the board of Toyota," he told Deutsche Presse Agentur.

"Some of these companies have stopped serving coffee at the meetings, they have switched off half the lights or only using one lift instead of two.  How can you then spend that sort of money on formula one?" Mosley added.

However, BMW motor sport director Theissen dismissed reports that it was Monaco that sealed the team's fate.

"An individual result has nothing to do with the evaluation of our formula one engagement," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Brawn to maintain lean approach to 2009
(GMM)  Brawn's runaway success in 2009 is not a reason to change the lean team's approach to the world championship, boss Ross Brawn has insisted.

After narrowly escaping Honda's withdrawal with an eleventh-hour management buyout, the Brackley team ironically dominated the opening races of the year while carefully managing a distinct lack of spare parts.

"If you saw our car before the start of the last race, she was looking a bit tired.  She was stone-chipped to hell," championship leader Jenson Button had jokingly informed in Bahrain.

But since then, companies have been queuing up for telephone time with team CEO Nick Fry, who has knocked back Virgin's offer for title sponsorship because the proposed figure is too low.

At the same time, Brawn GP has vowed to maintain the same approach to the forthcoming races, with a budget fundamentally the same size now as it was two months ago in Australia.

"I prefer to spend our money in the wind tunnel," Ross Brawn is quoted as saying by Spain's sports daily Marca.  "That's more important for us than the number of wings we take to the races.

"We are keeping our focus on how we can prepare the fastest possible car," he added.

"We have the budget and the people to win the championship but we are going to deal with the races as they come.  I am optimistic.  We have tremendous momentum and the rest is up to us," said Brawn.

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