Latest F1 news in brief
- Massa 'certain' Alonso involved in crash-gate
- Simon Roberts returns to McLaren from Force India
- N.Technology/FIA court outcome known soon
- Aus GP organizers reveal $40m race loss
- Vatanen ejected during Mosley meeting
- Lauda tips big teams to bounce back in 2010
- Lotus eyes experienced drivers for 2010 line-up
Massa 'certain' Alonso involved in crash-gate
(GMM) Felipe Massa risked tainting his forthcoming 2010 pairing at Ferrari with Fernando Alonso this week by declaring that the Spaniard must have known about Nelson Piquet's deliberate crash in Singapore.
"Without a doubt he knew it," Brazilian Massa, who will be joined at Ferrari by the current Renault driver next year, told a group of journalists in a Sao Paulo restaurant on Wednesday.
"There is no way he couldn't know it. I'm certain," he added, when asked about 28-year-old Alonso's knowledge of the crash-gate affair.
By the Spanish news agency EFE, Massa was quoted as adding: "Without a doubt, Fernando knew it. Logically he had to. There is no way he couldn't have."
Italian reports added that Massa and Alonso have had no contact since the Spaniard was confirmed as a 2010 Ferrari driver.
Later, a statement appeared on Ferrari's official website, playing down Massa's comments that caused "some uproar on the internet".
The Italian team said Massa, also 28, wanted to clarify his comments.
"What I've said is the outcome of a hunch I've had and is not based on any concrete evidence," said Massa, who insisted he respects that the FIA cleared Alonso of any implication in the affair.
"What is certain is that this episode will not mar in any way the relationship I'll have with Fernando when we will be teammates," he added.
Simon Roberts returns to McLaren from Force India
(GMM) McLaren's Simon Roberts will next month return to the British team after a one-year appointment with Force India, it was announced late on Wednesday.
Roberts acted this year as Force India's chief operating officer, as the Silverstone based team got up to speed with its McLaren partnership, including a supply of Mercedes engines.
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh was present at Force India's factory for the confirmation, where it was announced that former BAR and Honda official Otmar Szafnauer will take over the role from Roberts.
Both Romanian-born American Szafnauer and Roberts will attend the last two races of 2009 to "ensure a smooth transition", Force India said in a statement.
"Otmar was selected by myself in full consultation with McLaren to replace Simon, who has now completed his secondment with Force India," said team boss and co-owner Vijay Mallya.
The Indian added that he was "sad" to see Roberts go but "he was always on secondment and we knew we would have to let him return to the McLaren fold".
Meanwhile, it was announced last week that Toyota's departed engine boss Luca Marmorini is rejoining Ferrari, to replace Gilles Simon as the Italian team's engine and electronics chief.
N.Technology/FIA court outcome known soon
(GMM) The outcome of legal action against the FIA by an unsuccessful team applicant for the 2010 season will be known on 10 November.
Reports on Wednesday, including in the Italian publications La Gazzetta dello Sport as well as La Repubblica, said the court hearing brought by the rejected applicant N.Technology took place earlier this week.
After the Italian entry was turned down by the FIA, parent company MSC commenced legal action, claiming the selection process had been "highly questionable".
Other unsuccessful team applicants also hit out at the FIA's apparently unofficial requirement that Cosworth engine contracts be signed, and the Serbian entry Stefan Grand Prix filed an anti-competition complaint with the European Commission.
"I can't imagine what everybody is complaining about," Peter Windsor, whose Cosworth powered USF1 entry was accepted by the FIA, told the Italian website 422race.com.
"One thing I would say is that not every potential formula one team that suddenly came together in 2009 and put in the bid had a chance of success," he added.
Aus GP organizers reveal $40m race loss
(GMM) Organizers of the Australian grand prix revealed that March's Melbourne event cost taxpayers $40 million (AUD).
In the Australian Grand Prix Corporation annual report, the loss was blamed on the global financial crisis and lower ticket sales.
A similar loss, picked up by the state Victorian government, was recorded in 2008. 2009 event revenue was also $40m, representing a slight increase compared with last year, due to improved corporate sponsorship.
Vatanen ejected during Mosley meeting
(GMM) A meeting with Max Mosley ended after three minutes this week when FIA presidential candidate Ari Vatanen was shown the door, according to the Guardian newspaper.
The Finn is set to take on Mosley's preferred successor Jean Todt in next Friday's election.
Vatanen's campaign has been characterized by his push for sweeping change, criticizing the current regime and hinting that pressure is being applied for votes against him.
It is reported that the former European parliamentarian and 1981 world rally champion tried to raise the issue of electoral transparency with Mosley, but the 69-year-old Briton showed him the door exclaiming: "I am not arguing with you."
Vatanen is reported to have told his colleagues that he wanted to discuss claims the 2010 FIA voters will receive their ballot papers in named envelopes, rather than distributed randomly.
Todt ended his campaign with a push this week, backed by an 'open letter' signed by Michael Schumacher and posted on his official website.
The seven time world champion said he is "deeply convinced" his former Ferrari boss Todt should be FIA president, adding he was "astonished and disappointed" by some of the Frenchman's opposition.
Lauda tips big teams to bounce back in 2010
(GMM) The expulsion from F1 of KERS systems will return the sport's pecking order to normality next year, triple world champion Niki Lauda believes.
The famous Austrian argues that the time and money spent fruitlessly on the technology by big teams caused the competitive re-shuffle of 2009, with Brawn and Red Bull left to scrap for the titles.
Lauda, 60, said the big teams' focus on KERS last winter was to the detriment of their aerodynamic packages.
"Brawn and Red Bull did not have that problem and so the title was almost determined before the first half of the season.
"Next year Ferrari and McLaren will dominate again because everyone will start from the same point and also because their driver line-ups will be very strong," Lauda added.
Lotus eyes experienced drivers for 2010 line-up
(GMM) Mike Gascoyne has refused to comment on reports that Jarno Trulli is at the top of the list for a Lotus seat in 2010, but admitted that appointing experienced drivers is a wise policy for a new team.
In the same media reports, Kuala Lumpur-born rookie Fairuz Fauzy, 27, has been linked with a race seat with the new team, which is aiming to represent Malaysia on an international scale.
"You have to look at what's best for the team," Briton Gascoyne, who admitted one of his roles is to find a Malaysian successor within a few years, told the New Straits Times newspaper.
"Ultimately, you'd want to have two experienced drivers. Because as a new team, with two new drivers, you would not know where you are," he added, after the team published images of a scale model of the 2010 car that is ready to enter the wind tunnel.
Gascoyne said Fauzy is a top driver but that many of his rivals in the GP2 championship are of the same high standard. The team's first driver line-up will be announced next month.
"I'm sure that we'll have a Malaysian driving the car at some stage next year in testing, but will he have a race seat? That we have to wait and see," he added.
Gascoyne also made a distinction between Lotus, with aims to become a fully Malaysian team, and his former employers Force India, headed by the Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya.
"If you look at Force India, it's just the old Jordan team with a Force India badge. It doesn't employ any Indians, it's based in Oxfordshire," said the 46-year-old Briton.
"It's an English racing team with a German engine and an Italian and German driver. There's nothing Indian about that. Just Indian money," he insisted.