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  • Silverstone willing to host 2010 British GP
  • Lauda hopes FOTA 'sword-rattling' succeeds
  • Buemi's female cousin eyes 2010 F1 seat
  • Hamilton not using KERS at Silverstone

Silverstone willing to host 2010 British GP
(GMM)  Silverstone is still hoping Donington's plans for the 2010 British grand prix fail and Bernie Ecclestone agrees to keep the race at the historic track.

Ecclestone, the F1 chief executive, has penned a 17-year-old deal with Donington beginning in 2010, and warned that if the Leicestershire venue is not ready for next summer, the British GP will sit off the calendar for a year rather than stay at Silverstone.

Ahead of theoretically the last formula one race at the circuit, Silverstone owner the BRDC's chairman Robert Brooks raised the prospect that Donington will indeed be unable to deliver its promises.

"We have looked at Donington's plans," he said.  "The idea they could fund 100m pounds (sterling) on the back of debentures does not stack up.

"On the other hand, we could demonstrably hold next year's race because we are holding this year's race," Brooks added.

Silverstone is also leaving the door open to hosting a round of FOTA's breakaway series.

Former Ferrari and Jaguar driver, 1999 championship runner-up Eddie Irvine, also doubts Donington's ability to follow through its plans to come up to Ecclestone's high standards.

"If Silverstone can't make the numbers add up - and they have the infrastructure already in place - then Donington won't," the Ulsterman told Sky News.

Lauda hopes FOTA 'sword-rattling' succeeds
(GMM)  Even with plans hatched for a breakaway championship, figures in the formula one paddock are still hoping a split can be avoided.

As Max Mosley walked through the Silverstone paddock gate on Friday morning, Niki Lauda told Germany's N-TV that he hopes FOTA's threat shakes the sport into coming to a compromise.

"My hope is that the sword-rattling of FOTA means a compromise with Mosley is found.  What is clear is that the FIA and Mosley cannot simply drive over the ideas of the teams," the Austrian legend said.

Toyota is one of the hard-liners of the FOTA alliance, but its Italian driver Jarno Trulli is disappointed about the steadily deteriorating situation.

"It will be a big disappointment if they can't find an agreement.  A piece of history is going to break down and it will be everyone's fault probably," he said.

"I am only sad for the fans and the sport, because we are here to write history, and for the moment we are only writing about what the future of F1 will be and the politics," added Trulli.

Fernando Alonso has nailed his colors firmly to the FOTA movement, but even he agrees that the formation of a championship running in parallel to the official F1 series would leave "everybody a loser".

However, he told Spain's Marca newspaper that, if FOTA's plans are carried through, the survival of the FIA series "is impossible with only the small teams".

"I believe F1 would cease to exist because the interest will be so low," the Renault driver added.

By the German news agency DPA, he was quoted as saying that without the famous team names and drivers, "this is not formula one, it's another category".

"It's time for FIA to step back," Alonso, 27, said.  "Drivers are with FOTA.  They pay us, they support us and we'll support them."

The specialist F1 financial publication Formula Money predicts that losing the eight teams would cost the official series $2.2 billion in annual investment.

The team's own sponsors pour millions into F1's coffers in the form of corporate hospitality and trackside advertising.

The industry monitor also said the championship, and race promoters, will suffer immediately because fans will not be prepared to book tickets early for next year, while TV broadcasters will want to renegotiate their contracts.

Buemi's female cousin eyes 2010 F1 seat
(GMM)  A female racing driver is eying a formula one test with the new 2010 entrant Campos.

F2 racer Natacha Gachnang, a first cousin of fellow Swiss and Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi, told Spain's Marca sports newspaper that she has "been speaking" with team chief Adrian Campos.

The 21-year-old said a test is "certainly possible".

"He believes in me after we spent time together in the Spanish championship of F3," said Gachnang.

If she goes on to secure a race seat, Gachnang would be the fifth woman to attempt to qualify for grands prix.

The most recent was Italian Giovanna Amati, in 1992.

Hamilton not using KERS at Silverstone
(GMM)  Only three cars were fitted with KERS systems as the pitlane opened for morning practice at Silverstone on Friday.

Ferrari is persevering with the controversial energy recovery technology, but other KERS users BMW and Renault have moved away from their systems in recent races.

Until now, Mercedes' unit, fitted to the works McLarens, has been regarded as the best in use, and Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen's cars have been fitted with KERS for the entire season so far.

But at Silverstone, a McLaren spokesman on Friday morning confirmed reports that Hamilton's car is not using KERS for the three hours of opening day practice.

It is believed that, despite the high average speed of the Silverstone layout, the lack of many hard braking zones means that KERS is on the limit in terms of keeping the batteries fully charged.

"We want to do a direct comparison," Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen, whose MP4-24 will be fitted with KERS on Friday, said.

The Finn believes KERS will still be an advantage, even at Silverstone.

"Our simulation shows a fairly consistent advantage at each track of approximately three tenths," said Kovalainen at the scene of the British grand prix.

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