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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Still no debut date for Williams KERS
  • Brawn confident team will race in 2010
  • Button pulled out of triathlon
  • Le Mans invites F1 teams to switch
  • Lauda blames egos for 'absurd' F1 feud
  • FIA hits back at FOTA's Donnelly jibe

Still no debut date for Williams KERS
(GMM)  Williams is still yet to set a date for the debut of its KERS system in 2009.

The Grove team said earlier this year that at least six or seven races would pass until it deployed the energy re-use technology.

"We're still pushing as hard as we can to get our KERS onto the FW31," technical director Sam Michael said this week, ahead of the British grand prix, round eight of the world championship.

Williams took a novel approach to the KERS implementation, buying into a hybrid power company and designing a mechanical flywheel solution that is said to be safer and less expensive than the more popular battery-based systems.

"We're developing both the flywheel and the battery systems," Michael clarified, "but we've put more effort into the flywheel program over the last 18 months and we're making progress on reliability every week.

"We want to race it as soon as possible, but we're not going to put it on the car until it's fully reliable," the Australian added.

Brawn confident team will race in 2010
(GMM)  Initially with a budget only for 2009, and as yet not officially signed up to race next year, Ross Brawn is nonetheless confident his championship-leading team will still be around next season.

"I'm completely confident (we will be), and you have to plan on that," the Briton, who headed the Brackley outfit's management buyout following the Honda withdrawal, told the British media this week.

Brawn GP's results success stirred the interest of corporate backers, but as yet no major deals have been inked: probably predominantly due to the sponsors' nervousness about the political crisis.

Brawn, and other major teams, have been given only until Friday to finalize an unconditional FIA entry for 2010, so until then there can no concrete planning either for the current series or an alternative.

But Brawn said the factory at Brackley is already working on next year's F1 car.

"There's nothing else to plan for," he confirmed.  "We cannot allow this row to be a distraction to our engineering and racing plans.

"We've been working on the new car for about a month now," added Brawn.  "About a third of our wind tunnel time at the moment is spent on the new car."

Button pulled out of triathlon
(GMM)  Championship leader Jenson Button last week failed to contest as scheduled the tough Nokia Windsor Triathlon in England.

The Brawn driver, who regularly takes part in the athletic endurance events, pulled out because he hadn't realized it was to take place just a week before the British grand prix.

"He wasn't comfortable that it was quite so close," a spokesman told the Telegraph.  "There seemed too great a risk of him sustaining an injury and there wouldn't be time to get fixed before the grand prix."

Button, 29, still plans to take part in the London Triathlon in August, which coincides with a break in the formula one calendar.

As a Honda driver last year, Button contested last year's Windsor triathlon, which took place a week before the 2008 French grand prix.

Le Mans invites F1 teams to switch
(GMM)  An official of the famous sports car endurance race has invited formula one teams to next year's Le Mans.

Ferrari president and FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo was the official starter at the Circuit de la Sarthe last weekend, where he insisted that Le Mans was a serious alternative for the Italian marque.

Ferrari and seven other current F1 teams are threatening to abandon formula one over its rules and governance dispute with FIA president Max Mosley.

"The more the better.  They are welcome here," said Remy Brouard, general manager of the organizing body Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), which also runs the European Le Mans series.

Identifying with the F1 teams' rules dispute, Brouard said the major teams including Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Renault and Toyota would be welcome to suggest new technical regulations for Le Mans.

"If they want to make proposals, we will listen," he said.

All of the aforementioned F1 manufacturers have contested Le Mans in the past.

Lauda blames egos for 'absurd' F1 feud
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has slammed formula one's political crisis as the making of "egocentric managers" engaging in "personal feuds".

The straight-talking former triple world champion fears that the players in the dispute between existing teams and the FIA's Max Mosley are no longer focused on the sport as opposed to their own agendas.

"The real absurdity is that everyone agrees in principle about the problem of reducing costs," Lauda, 60, told the Stuttgarter Zeitung.

Also exasperated by the crisis is the F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who this week predicts "more talking" and "little progress".

"With all these meetings, I should have bought shares in a mineral water company," the 78-year-old joked dryly in interview with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Austrian Lauda, however, believes the real tragedy is the apparent eagerness by both sides to play out their battle in full glare of the world's media.

"Everyone is worried most about losing face, and because of that everything could fail.  That would be the biggest joke of all," the great Austrian remarked.

Lauda is most baffled by Ferrari, for whom he won two of his three drivers' titles.  The Italian team has played a leading role in the struggle against Mosley's rules and governance.

"They are the only team with a FIA contract to 2012, and in the past years they received 100 million euros more than anyone else," he said.

Lauda also slammed the threats about an alternative championship as "laughable" and "totally unrealistic".

On the entire affair, he added: "I have never experienced anything as counter-productive as this, in terms of the external effect.

"It is a miracle anyone is still watching: these quarrels interest nobody."

FIA hits back at FOTA's Donnelly jibe
(GMM)  In a brief rejoinder, F1's governing body has rejected suggestions that a high-ranking FIA official should be stepped down for behaving inappropriately.

The latest stoush amid the current political crisis, sparked by yet another leaked letter, revealed that the F1 teams alliance FOTA believes Max Mosley's right hand man at races displayed a conflict of interest at the recent Turkish grand prix.

The letter said it was inappropriate for Alan Donnelly, also head of the three race stewards, to actively seek the FOTA members to abandon their stance and sign up for the 2010 world championship, before attempting to act impartially in the stewards' room.

FOTA also said in the letter that Donnelly tried to "create division" within FOTA by "misrepresenting the positions" of teams in discussions at Istanbul.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the FIA responded by saying: "We utterly reject the suggestion in the correspondence received."

The next explosive deadline is Friday, the first day of practice at Silverstone, by which the FIA wants the five teams listed as provisional on the 2010 entry list to have signed up officially.

"The newspapers are going to be full of all that nonsense, when it should be about Button and the drivers competing in the British grand prix," Mark Webber said in his latest BBC column.

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