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DATE News (chronologically)
08/17/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Renault to confirm Grosjean this week
  • Badoer to drive F60 at Fiorano this week
  • Manager hits back after Prost's Schu jibe
  • Points system means Vettel title over - Ecclestone
  • Renault appeal begins in Paris
  • Donington rejects latest doubts over F1 plans

Renault to confirm Grosjean this week
(GMM)  No matter the outcome of Monday's Court of Appeal hearing, Renault has scheduled an announcement regarding its driver lineup for this week.

It is understood that, if the Court overturns the French team's suspension from the European grand prix, Romain Grosjean will be confirmed on Tuesday as sacked Nelson Piquet's immediate replacement.

The Court of Appeal meets to consider the team ban in Paris on Monday morning, but the actual verdict will not be known until late Tuesday.

If the Hungarian GP stewards' decision is upheld in full, it is believed the Enstone based team is prepared to wait until Friday to announce officially that Grosjean, 23, will replace Brazilian Piquet beginning at Spa-Francorchamps next weekend.

Britain's Guardian newspaper said French-Swiss Grosjean recently had a seat fitting for Piquet's car number 8 at the Renault factory.

Badoer to drive F60 at Fiorano this week
(GMM)  Luca Badoer will get a two-day stint at the wheel of Ferrari's 2009 car this week, prior to making his race debut in the place of injured Felipe Massa at the European grand prix.

Massa's intended substitute Michael Schumacher tried to get authorization within the strict in-season testing ban to drive the F60, but not all rival formula one teams agreed.

However, permission in the case of 38-year-old Badoer's two-day test at Fiorano beginning on Monday is not necessary, given that it falls under the category of allowed running "for promotional purposes".

Ferrari confirmed that the Italian's test "will be part of a video shooting", while it is understood that Bridgestone's demonstration-specification of tires - which are much harder than those seen at grands prix and in real tests - will be used.

Former triple world champion and Ferrari champion Niki Lauda told Germany's Sport Bild that he is not looking forward to Badoer's Valencia debut.

"Ferrari will have only one car in Spain: for Kimi Raikkonen.  Badoer will barely exist.  He will not be good enough," the Austrian predicted.

Manager hits back after Prost's Schu jibe
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's manager has hit back after Alain Prost suggested the 40-year-old's neck injury might not be the only reason he called off his F1 comeback.

"It remains to be seen if Schumacher stopped solely because of the health problem, or because when he resumed driving he realized the task was enormous," Frenchman Prost, a winner of four titles, told the Le Parisien newspaper.

Following two weeks of hype and excitement, German Schumacher announced last week that he will no longer replace Felipe Massa at forthcoming races due to the lingering effects of a motorcycle testing fall earlier this year.

But Prost, 54, said the full truth of Schumacher's u-turn may be different.

"The body changes very quickly when you stop racing," said Prost, who had a sabbatical in 1992 and then returned to win his last title in F1 the following season.

"A driver does not react the same way and the vision is not as sharp.  When I returned in 1993 after eight months out it was very difficult to find the best level.

"In 1994 McLaren asked me to take the wheel.  I conducted three days of testing and I immediately realized something in me was broken.

"The speed was there but not the will to manage the pressure, travel and media that comes with a championship contest," he explained.

Schumacher's manager Willi Weber rubbished Prost's hypothesis in the pages of the German newspaper Bild.

"Unfortunately I have to disappoint Mr. Prost.  Michael's (lap) times at his test (in the 2007 car) at Mugello told a very different story.

"The decision (to not return) was only because of his neck problems," Weber insisted.

Points system means Vettel title over - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel would still have a real chance of winning the 2009 title had F1's points system changed prior to the start of the season.

That is the claim of Bernie Ecclestone, who failed to have his desired 'medals' scoring system introduced for this year due to a lack of support by the teams.

To Germany's Auto Bild, the F1 chief executive said that with the current 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points scoring system, Red Bull's Vettel is "too far behind" to mount a challenge to Jenson Button's 23-point lead in the remaining seven races of 2009.

"If the medals system that I proposed would be in (effect) now, he (Vettel) would still be in the title fight," 78-year-old Ecclestone said.

The Briton's reasoning is that, even if Vettel is unbeaten for the remainder of the season, Button could finish the races in second place and still comfortably be champion.

If the number of wins was the decisive tally, however, Vettel would be trailing Button by a factor of four 'gold medals'.

Ecclestone added: "I think Vettel is capable of five more victories, but with these stupid points (system) it's not going to be enough."

Renault appeal begins in Paris
(GMM)  Renault's appeal against its suspension from the European grand prix began in Paris about an hour ago.

The hearing is taking place inside the FIA's Salle du Comite (Committee Room) at 8 Place de la Concorde in the French capital, with a decision not expected until Tuesday afternoon.

Present for Renault were technical bosses Bob Bell and Pat Symonds, with the FIA's technical delegate Charlie Whiting appearing for the sport's governing body.

Fernando Alonso, whose wheel fell off during the Hungarian grand prix thus triggering the sanction by the race stewards, is not in Paris.

Donington rejects latest doubts over F1 plans
(GMM)  A spokesman for the Donington Park circuit has rejected reports suggesting Silverstone is set to retain the British grand prix.

With skepticism still rampant about Donington's ability to upgrade its track and honor its contract to begin hosting the grand prix next year, it is increasingly reported that the race will stay put rather than move away from its current home at Silverstone.

The latest media reports suggest an Arab takeover might secure Silverstone's future on the F1 calendar, while managing director Richard Phillips has been quoted as saying the Northamptonshire circuit needs to know its plans for 2010 within the next six weeks.

"There has been no response to the internet reports as they have no substance or factual basis," a Donington spokesman told the local Derby Telegraph.

"Donington Park still holds the contract for F1 for 17 years from 2010," he added.

The spokesman said details of the necessary funding for upgrade works will now be forthcoming in September, despite chief executive Simon Gillett earlier claiming the information would be available in March or July.

Earlier this month Donington appointed Red Grouse Properties, involved in the Wembley Stadium and O2 Arena projects in London, to oversee the refurbishment of the Leicestershire circuit.

"(Red Grouse Properties chief) Jayne (McGivern) will ensure that all of the new work on site is completed in a timely manner and to the highest standards," said Donington in a statement.

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