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Latest F1 news in brief
  • F1 'clash-gate' with football world cup
  • Massa speeds up kart race return to November
  • Huge car upgrade for BMW-Sauber in Singapore
  • Spa race going ahead this weekend
  • Briatore drivers coy on search for new managers
  • Todt quiet on identity of F1 delegate
  • Manor boss not ruling out Piquet for 2010 seat

F1 'clash-gate' with football world cup
(GMM)  The 2010 British grand prix is scheduled to clash with the final of one of the world's most popular sporting events, the FIFA World Cup.

The apparent July 11 date gaffe, jokingly referred to by the British newspaper The Times as 'clash-gate', could result in sports fans having to choose which event to watch.

The clash, engineered by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone who co-owns the London football club Queens Park Rangers, is also another piece of bad news for Donington, formula one's new British home.

It is said that to ensure the crowds still flock to Donington despite the clash, Donington organizers are considering erecting big screens so that the evening's big match can still be watched.

Massa speeds up kart race return to November
(GMM)  Felipe Massa's recovery from serious head injuries seems to be speeding along, after he fast-forwarded his expected return to competitive racing.

We reported earlier this month that, pending the go-ahead from doctors, the Brazilian hoped to return to action at the famous Brazilian Ganja Viana endurance kart race in Sao Paulo in early December.

But on Thursday he indicated that his return can now be made even earlier than that, as he announced that he will race in the International Challenge of Go-Kart Champs, scheduled for late November in the southern Brazilian city of Florianopolis.

The announcement came hot on the heels of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo's repeated proclamations this week that Massa, 28, will definitely be the occupant of a Ferrari race cockpit in 2010.

Huge car upgrade for BMW-Sauber in Singapore
(GMM)  While teams including Ferrari and McLaren have stopped developing their 2009 cars, BMW-Sauber has arrived in Singapore with a massive development of its F1.09 single seater.

Team boss Mario Theissen hinted to the Swiss newspaper Blick that it is the biggest upgrade that has ever left the Hinwil factory, while technical boss Willy Rampf added: "Everything is new except the steering wheel and the cockpit."

Tellingly, even the gearbox is completely new, which is a major sign about the team's confidence about racing under its new Qadbak ownership next year.  Theissen confirmed that the unit will also be used at the beginning of 2010, in conjunction with a Ferrari drivetrain.

Incredibly, the team's data seems to indicate a step forward in the range of up to a full second per lap, and Rampf confirmed: "The wind tunnel data is very good."

Rampf's technical team has been working on the upgrade ever since the decision to completely scrap KERS was made earlier this season.

He is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "This is our ultimate non-KERS package."

Spa race going ahead this weekend
(GMM)  There will be racing action at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, despite the Belgian circuit losing its license due to the complaints of local residents.

It has emerged that, despite the uncertainty about the longer term future of the famous track, the historic Spa 6 hours endurance race is going ahead this weekend.

The Dutch formule1.nl website said the event organizers objected to the late notice unavailability of the venue and were granted an exemption by the local authorities.

The 2010 Belgian grand prix at Spa has been scheduled for late August.

Briatore drivers coy on search for new managers
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso reacted sharply in Singapore when asked about his search to replace the banned Flavio Briatore as his driver manager.

The Spaniard, like F1 rivals including his Renault teammate Romain Grosjean, is signed to Briatore's management company FFBB.

"My manager up until now has been Luis Garcia (Abad) and he is going to continue to be my manager," Alonso, 27, is quoted as saying by the Spanish media.

He also revealed that he has spoken with Briatore, 59, since Monday's World Motor Sport Council, and revealed that the flamboyant Italian "is well".

Mark Webber and Heikki Kovalainen are also signed to FFBB, and Australian Webber said on Thursday that he would rather handle his own affairs in future than shop around to replace the trusted Briatore.

"He has been sensational for me," the Red Bull driver, already under contract for next season, insisted.

Finn Kovalainen, who drives for McLaren, is in a much more difficult situation, given his current search for a seat alongside the fact that he won't be granted a Superlicense if he is still in the FFBB stable early next year.

"I will adhere to the FIA (ruling)," he told reporters in Singapore, but clarified that he is not yet looking around for a new manager.

Todt quiet on identity of F1 delegate
(GMM)  FIA presidential candidate Jean Todt is for now refusing to reveal the name of the figure who will represent him in formula one.

The former Ferrari boss is proposing that, if elected this October, a separate Commissioner be appointed to represent him in every FIA-sanctioned championship.

It has been rumored that Alan Donnelly, currently Mosley's right hand man, might get the F1 job, and the wilder speculation is that 69-year-old Mosley himself might be an unlikely candidate.

Asked by the Daily Telegraph, Frenchman Todt refused to be drawn.

"No.  Not Max anyway," said the 63-year-old.

Todt refused to issue the same denial when asked specifically about Donnelly, currently the chief FIA steward who enraged F1 teams earlier this year by siding with Mosley amid the breakaway row.

"Again it would be inappropriate to say 'It will be x, it will not be x'," said Todt.

"For me the ideal profile would be someone who is fresh in the business and would have a lot to bring to the business," he added.

Manor boss not ruling out Piquet for 2010 seat
(GMM)  New formula one boss John Booth has refused to rule out signing Nelson Piquet Jr for the 2010 season.

Booth is taking his Manor team to the formula one grid next year, and the Yorkshire Post reports that his high profile deal with Sir Richard Branson - in which the team could be renamed Virgin F1 - will be announced a few days after November's Abu Dhabi finale.

Piquet, 23, was sacked by Renault for underperformance earlier this year, and he then triggered the crash-gate scandal by admitting to crashing deliberately in Singapore last September.

The saga has resulted in Renault losing its chiefs Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, and top sponsors ING and Mutua Madrilena.

But despite Brazilian Piquet admitting this week that he might need to revive his career in America, Booth said: "I've not spoken to him at the moment, but he's a smashing little driver.

"I've no personal problems with him, but it is unclear what his current position is with regards sponsorship."

Booth said talks have already taken place with the reigning A1GP champion Adam Carroll, as well as former F1 racers Christian Klien and Anthony Davidson.

"We have spoken to Christian but nothing more.  I've had a chat with Anthony Davidson and he's a very quick driver.

"It's amazing the amount of quality drivers that are out there," Booth added.

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