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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ferrari rules out 2009 race return for Massa
  • Loeb not sure he's ready for F1 debut
  • Mosley warns lawyers to prepare for his memoirs
  • Earlier Monaco date solves 2010 calendar concerns
  • Ecclestone admits not all new teams will debut
  • Ecclestone still prefers 'medals' scoring concept
  • Glock's back injury 'will heal' - doctor
  • Barrichello's Williams switch not decided yet
  • Prost still interested in Renault team boss role
  • Alguersuari's grandfather dies aged 90

Ferrari rules out 2009 race return for Massa
(GMM)  Ferrari has ended speculation that Felipe Massa could make a return to the cockpit of the number 3 F60 in Abu Dhabi in less than three weeks.

The Brazilian driver has said the chance of a 2009 comeback from his serious head injuries is very low, but on Monday he will test a 2007-spec formula one car at Ferrari's Fiorano test track.

His eyesight has been given a clean bill of health by the FIA, and Ferrari also revealed at the weekend that neurological tests in Paris had a positive outcome.

"Talk of a proper return to formula one can wait until the start of the 2010 season and only at that time will the medical checks be carried out, as required by the FIA in order to allow someone who has been injured to return to racing," the team said in a statement.

Ferrari also played down Massa's F2007 test, insisting it is not "a proper test session" and that he will only do "a few laps".

The Maranello based team also insisted that the results of the "informal" medical checks in Paris in the last days were positive but "not enough to endorse a return to competition in the next two months".

Loeb not sure he's ready for F1 debut
(GMM)  Sebastien Loeb has admitted that inexperience may be the biggest obstacle to his desire to make his F1 debut for Toro Rosso in Abu Dhabi in less than three weeks.

In changeable weather, the multiple and current champion of world rallying drove a GP2 car at the series' group test in Jerez last week but was slightly off the pace.

In an interview posted afterwards on his official website, 35-year-old Loeb admitted he is not sure he feels ready to line up on a formula one grid.

"Today, I cannot say," the Frenchman answered.  "I know that I lack driving with this type of (single seater) car.  The inexperience is a handicap.

"Just now I don't know how good I would be if a possible opportunity to participate in a grand prix presented itself," Loeb added.

Mosley warns lawyers to prepare for his memoirs
(GMM)  Outgoing FIA president Max Mosley has promised to include some explosive revelations in his personal memoirs.

The 69-year-old Briton, who will step down in charge of F1's governing body at the end of next week, told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that some top lawyers are likely to be put to work when the book is published.

"When I tell the truth, there are some people that will be very annoyed," he said, hinting that one of the revelations might relate to his beliefs about the origin of the Nazi sex scandal of 2008.

Mosley also said he believes formula one will not be rid of conflict just because either Jean Todt or Ari Vatanen will soon be FIA president.

"In this atmosphere - dominated by huge amounts of money and egocentric people - the FIA has to remain neutral and keep the balance of power.  This is a thankless task of Herculean proportions," he said.

Earlier Monaco date solves 2010 calendar concerns
(GMM)  The date of the 2010 Monaco grand prix will be a week earlier than originally scheduled to help ease concerns about next year's race calendar.

Although the date-change from the provisionally scheduled 23 May is yet to be confirmed either by Bernie Ecclestone's organization or by the governing FIA, the Automobile Club de Monaco is now reporting that the 2010 event will take place on 16 May.

The change will give teams more time to travel between the famous Principality and the next grand prix destination, Turkey, scheduled for 30 May.

The news also all but confirms that formula one will return to Canada next year.

Another possible solution to the Monaco-Turkey problem was that the latter race could be delayed by a week if Ecclestone's talks with Montreal race promoters did not come to fruition.

The fact that Monaco is having to be held a week early indicates that the Turkey date switch could not take place, ostensibly because Canada's 13 June race date is now set in stone.

The Monaco GP is traditionally held on the Sunday after the week of Ascension Day.  In 2010, Ascension Day is May 13, which means that local shops will now be closed on the Thursday before the race.

Ecclestone admits not all new teams will debut
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has admitted the possibility that some of F1's new teams might not actually make it to the Bahrain grid next March.

In 2010, four new teams - Campos, Lotus, Manor and USF1 - are scheduled to make their grand prix debuts.

The influx of entrants is due not only to cost cuts, but because the traditional $48m bond payable by new teams has been dropped.

However, it is strongly rumored that one or more of the new teams will not make their debuts as scheduled, chiefly because the budget limit regulations under which they decided to enter were subsequently scrapped.

It has also been suggested that some of the new teams are now sitting tight so that their places might be bought by more serious entrants.  This would be one possible explanation for Campos' opposition to allowing a 14th confirmed entry for the BMW-Sauber team for 2010.

"I think at the beginning all of them were serious projects," F1 chief executive Ecclestone told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport during an interview.

The Briton confirmed that the reason for the $48m bond, abandoned to entice new teams onto the grid, was to ensure that teams did not enter F1 simply to profit from later selling their official entry.

"I hope we will not be punished because of our generosity," Ecclestone added.

Ecclestone still prefers 'medals' scoring concept
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone disputes claims that the outcome of the 2009 world championship proves that his 'medals' scoring system proposal was a bad idea.

It is true that, had the F1 chief executive's plan become a reality and the number of race wins crowned the drivers' title winner, Jenson Button would already be in possession of this year's championship.

Instead, the Brawn driver has a comfortable points lead, but is struggling to put a lid on his 2009 campaign with a recent string of modest performances.

Asked about the overly mathematical end to the title race, 78-year-old Ecclestone told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "You know that I do not like the current points system."

Told that Button would already be the champion if his medals system was in place, the Briton answered: "With my system, he would not have won all those races at the start.

"Brawn benefited from their superiority in the first half of the season," Ecclestone explained.  "But if you had to win races to become world champion, the other teams might have woken up earlier.

"With my way or the current system, Button is world champion.  But with my way, the guy in second place would never say he is going to stay there because the difference is only two points."

The current points system will remain in place in 2010.

Glock's back injury 'will heal' - doctor
(GMM)  Timo Glock's doctor has played down the back injury that will prevent the Toyota driver from racing in Brazil this weekend.

As well as helping with the cut on his lower left leg, Johannes Peil was the doctor who diagnosed the 27-year-old with a cracked vertebra during exams at the Bad-Nauheim Sportklinic in Germany.

"Timo complained about back pain so we checked it," Peil told Germany's Bild newspaper.

He confirmed the back injury but said the fracture "will heal completely without further consequences", which is good news for Glock especially in light of his search for a new team for 2010.

Whether Glock will be fit to return in Abu Dhabi in less than three weeks is currently not known, but until then his replacement is Toyota's Japanese reserve Kamui Kobayashi.

Skeptics at Suzuka wondered whether Glock, with a heavy cold prior to Friday practice for the Japanese grand prix, might have been diagnosed with a convenient case of "Kobayashi fever".

"I just won't answer," team president John Howett hit back.  "It is a stupid question and it doesn't deserve an answer."

Barrichello's Williams switch not decided yet
(GMM)  A spokesperson for Rubens Barrichello has denied suggestions the Brazilian veteran has already signed to switch to the Williams team in 2010.

The 37-year-old, not only the oldest active driver in F1 but also the most experienced in the history of the sport, is still in contention for the 2009 title but reported to be likely to leave the Brawn team after the Abu Dhabi finale.

Specialist reports have said his move to replace Williams' departing Nico Rosberg is all but signed, but a spokesperson said it is "only speculation", according to the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper.

"We do not have anything to say about that," the official added.  "Season 2010 is not one of the things that we are deciding upon now."

However, the same source admitted that Barrichello is in talks with "several teams" in addition to Williams and Brawn.

Prost still interested in Renault team boss role
(GMM)  Alain Prost is still not ruling out a move to Renault as a full-time replacement for the ousted and banned team boss Flavio Briatore.

Earlier speculation linking the former quadruple world champion and ex team owner with Briatore's role ended when Bob Bell was named as the new Renault principal.

But Irishman Bell has subsequent acknowledged that his new job is not necessarily a long-term appointment.

"It is complicated," 54-year-old Frenchman Prost, who has not been involved in F1 since his eponymous team folded in 2001, told the Belgian newspaper Vers l'Avenir.

"I am not looking for work, but it is something that could interest me.  Everything depends on what Renault really wants to do," he added.

Prost also spoke about the collapse of Prost Grand Prix eight years ago, saying: "Some day I will write a book that says everything about it.

"There are very few people who know what really happened, and a piece of the puzzle only very recently fell off its pedestal," added Prost.

Alguersuari's grandfather dies aged 90
(GMM)  Rookie Spanish formula one driver Jaime Alguersuari's grandfather has died at the age of 90.

Francisco 'Paco' Alguersuari was a renowned sports photographer, covering events including the Tour de France, multiple Olympic Games, and motor racing including grand prix bikes and F1.

He won a prize for the best image of the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, and was the only photographer in the world to possess the prestigious Olympic Order award.

After a long illness, Alguersuari's funeral takes place in Barcelona on Monday.

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