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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ecclestone tips Button to thwart title climax
  • Vettel pays $4000 for Beatles album
  • Silverstone plays cool as GP hopes re-lit
  • Candidates trade blows as battle for FIA winds down
  • UK gov't helped Brawn team to survive - Nick Fry

Ecclestone tips Button to thwart title climax
(GMM)  Wearing his hat as F1's commercial ringleader, Bernie Ecclestone's dream outcome to this year's title contest is a repeat of 2008, when the world championship was still undecided at the last corner of the season finale.

But a mere third place will guarantee the title for Jenson Button this weekend in Brazil, with a full race to spare.

"I would like to see him do me a big favor and get the world championship clinched in Abu Dhabi, but if he can't wait, well, I understand that," said Ecclestone, the sport's 78-year-old chief executive.

Albeit a big supporter of Sebastian Vettel, billionaire Ecclestone believes Button, 29, is the worthy winner -- because according to his desired 'medals' scoring concept, the Briton would already have the 2009 drivers' title in his possession.

"I think he'll get the job done," Ecclestone agrees.

If Button doesn't leave Sao Paulo with the title, however, his task for the Abu Dhabi finale is likely to be a simple one.

For instance, even if his nearest challenger and teammate Rubens Barrichello wins on Sunday while Button sleeps in the hotel, the Briton will still head to Yas Island two weeks later with a four point advantage.

And if Button is just fourth in Brazil, he will need only a single point in Abu Dhabi to emerge as world champion.

Red Bull's Vettel is a further 2 points adrift the Button-Barrichello challenge, but on his website Michael Schumacher advised his German countryman that "it's not over until it's over".

Mercedes' Norbert Haug agrees that "the momentum is with Sebastian", describing Vettel's recent Suzuka victory as the "most impressive of the entire season".

Triple world champion Niki Lauda however believes that Button cannot lose the title now unless he ceases to be "intelligent".

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton however very nearly stumbled at Interlagos a year ago, recalling the "most intense experience of my life" in front of the massed grandstands of Brazilian enemies at Interlagos.

"I had two per cent of the fans wanting me to win while the rest were for Felipe (Massa)," said the Briton. 

Vettel pays $4000 for Beatles album
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel will add an album to his Beatles collection at the forthcoming Abu Dhabi season finale -- at a cool cost of more than $4000 (USD).

The original and signed vinyl copy of the 1963 LP 'With The Beatles' was owned by Ann Bradshaw, a well-known F1 team press officer who came to know the Red Bull driver when he worked with BMW-Sauber in 2006.

Vettel, 22, found out that Bradshaw was selling the album at auction in order to fund a bathroom renovation, and asked the 60-year-old to bid on his behalf.

"I got a text and email from him telling me to 'please buy the album'," Bradshaw told the Peterborough Evening telegraph.

"I will give it to him at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi," she added.

Silverstone plays cool as GP hopes re-lit
(GMM)  Silverstone is playing a cool hand amid its desire to win back formula one.

The Northamptonshire venue ostensibly held its final formula one race in June, knowing that the Donington Park circuit had signed a contract to host the next 17 British grands prix.

But Donington is now in breach of contract, having failed to guarantee the funding for circuit renovations, sparking headlines that Bernie Ecclestone has issued a new two-week "deadline" to track boss Simon Gillett.

The F1 chief executive, however, baulked at the description of the situation as a "deadline", indicating that he has finally lost patience with Donington.

"We have informed him (Gillett) he is in breach of contract.  The contract which we have gives him 14 days to remedy the breach.  Most business contracts are like that," Ecclestone told the Daily Telegraph.

Ecclestone's stance, including his claim that he will be happy to adhere to Silverstone's desire for a new long time contract, paves the way for a patch-up with his counterparts at the track-owning British Racing Drivers' Club.

But Damon Hill, the BRDC president, is playing a cool hand, with insiders believing he is pushing for Ecclestone to substantially reduce his race promotion fees.

"We're ready to go," said the 1996 world champion, "but as yet we have not seen a contract which is a sustainable, affordable contract.

"We want to provide a really great venue for the fans but in order to do that we will need to have the kind of contract which provides enough scope to develop the facilities without too much risk to the company going bust," Hill added.

Candidates trade blows as battle for FIA winds down
(GMM)  A bitter battle for control of F1's governing body is entering its last days, with candidates Jean Todt and Ari Vatanen trading blows ahead of next Friday's election.

The heat of their conflict revved up recently after incumbent Max Mosley predicted in a leaked letter that Vatanen will "lose badly" to his preferred successor Todt, who is also backed publicly by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

"I couldn't expect anything else from them," said the Finnish candidate, a former member of European Parliament and 1981 world rally champion.

"They are a continuation of the old power and they don't want the family silver to be served by people who wish to apply modern governance," Vatanen told The Sport Briefing.

Meanwhile, former Ferrari boss Todt's final move in his campaign is a letter to the Paris based federation's worldwide membership, hitting out at the "negative tone" of Vatanen's bid for office.

The Frenchman insists that, in contrast, his own campaign has been "dignified" and "focused on the real issues", while his opponents made "false allegations" and "personal attacks".

"We regret this and will not be part of a process that can only reflect badly on our activities, our sport and the mobility world in general," wrote Todt.

UK gov't helped Brawn team to survive - Nick Fry
(GMM)  The government of the United Kingdom helped to set the Brawn team on the road to the 2009 world championships.

The Brackley outfit's chief executive Nick Fry said senior government official Peter Mandelson played a leading role in helping the team survive in the wake of former owner Honda's withdrawal.

The Mirror newspaper said the business minister urged government contacts in Tokyo to lobby Honda amid the transition to Brawn GP.

"This will not be received well in some quarters, because everyone loves knocking the British government," Fry told the latest edition of Top Gear magazine.

"But I think it would be fair to say that our survival was helped a lot by the government and specifically Peter Mandelson and the department of business," he revealed.

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