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DATE News (chronologically)
10/22/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Loeb doubts another GP chance will arise
  • Williams thanks fire-fighters after factory blaze
  • Vatanen also asked Ecclestone for backing - Todt
  • Button 'almost' drove for free in '09 - Brawn
  • 'Pure-Mercedes' name for Brawn turned down
  • USF1 eyes Kyle Busch for 2011 race seat
  • De la Rosa not ready to sign Campos deal
  • Liuzzi snatched back stolen steering wheel
  • Engineering staff upset with Brawn bosses - report

Loeb doubts another GP chance will arise
(GMM)  Sebastien Loeb has admitted the opportunity of making his formula one debut in Abu Dhabi was probably a one-off.

The multiple champion of world rallying had hoped to race for Toro Rosso in the 2009 season finale, but was not granted a mandatory Super License by the governing FIA.

But Loeb, 35, insists he had "accepted" team owner Red Bull's offer of the seat.

"Finding an opportunity like that again seems very unlikely," said the Frenchman.

However, he said he would be happy to do some more F1 testing "if my (Citroen) boss lets me go".

Loeb said he is not surprised the FIA decided against granting him the credential, despite his vast experienced in motor sport, including at the wheel of F1, GP2, and Le Mans sports cars.

"The regulations for getting it are very precise.  I do not meet any of the conditions stipulated in the regulations.  So it's logical that I failed to obtain such a license," he said.

"It's the rule, the decision of the FIA.  There's no crying foul," he added.

Williams thanks fire-fighters after factory blaze
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams has thanked a local fire-fighting crew for putting out a blaze at his formula one team's Grove factory.

According to the Oxford Mail, the 67-year-old Briton gave the crew a tour of the facility in return.

The fire in early July was reportedly caused by a machine malfunction in the metal department, and at the time, the two Nurburgring-bound FW31 cars were in the building.

Williams also made a donation to the Fire Fighters Charity.  "Due to their efforts," he said, "no one was hurt.

"The damage to the factory was minimal and we suffered almost no downtime in getting back to work.  I can only commend their professionalism," Williams added.

Vatanen also asked Ecclestone for backing - Todt
(GMM)  Ari Vatanen's complaint about the lack of neutrality displayed by outgoing FIA president Max Mosley is hypocritical, the Finn's opponent Jean Todt has suggested.

Vatanen, taking on Todt in Friday's election to find a new leader for F1's governing body, has said it was improper and illegal for Mosley to publicly back the 63-year-old former Ferrari boss.

But Mosley has already revealed that during a lunch earlier this year, Vatanen actually asked the FIA president for his support.  1981 world rally champion Vatanen, 57, has since said he was only "joking".

"I know my competitor went to see Bernie (Ecclestone) as well," Todt said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.

"He wanted to try and convince Bernie to support him.  Bernie said no," the Frenchman revealed.  "There are a lot of others he tried to convince."

A curious side-note to their battle for control of the FIA is that they know each other very well; Todt was once the boss of the Peugeot rally team that Vatanen drove for.

And Todt claims he was even a big supporter of Vatanen's recent push to be re-elected to the European parliament.

"Last year at Monte Carlo he asked me to give him official support at the European elections.  I was the only one to do that.  I spoke for him but he was beaten in those elections," Todt said.

Button 'almost' drove for free in '09 - Brawn
(GMM)  Team boss Ross Brawn has dropped a strong hint that Jenson Button can expect some sort of pay-rise before returning as world champion to the wheel of a Brawn car in 2010.

The two sides are currently at odds over the size of 29-year-old Button's retainer, after the British driver agreed to slash his contracted Honda fee from $13m to just $5m this year.

In an interview published by Italy's La Stampa, Brawn was asked whether he thinks Button - following the Honda withdrawal and the struggle to arrange a management buyout for a single symbolic pound - would have driven for no pay in 2009.

"He almost did: this year he agreed to take less than half (his contracted fee) because he risked being unemployed," Brawn is quoted as saying.

Given Brawn's admission that Button's 2009 retainer equated to "almost" driving for free, a pay-rise for 2010 is therefore very likely.

Britain's Daily Telegraph, however, paints a more complicated picture, with Button's morale portrayed as "low" over the issue, and the new world champion having received "offers from more than one grid rival".

'Pure-Mercedes' name for Brawn turned down
(GMM)  One proposed alternative name for the Brawn GP team in 2009 was vetoed because it risked overstating its relationship with engine supplier Mercedes.

In the wake of the management buyout after former owner Honda's withdrawal, the Brackley outfit considered reviving the Tyrrell name, while Ross Brawn preferred the moniker 'Pure Racing' over naming the team after himself.

"There were several options," he said in an interview published by Italy's La Stampa.

"Pure Racing appealed to me, but our engine was Mercedes and therefore we would have been 'Pure-Mercedes'," he added.

Ironically, during the course of the season as Brawn GP, the team's relationship with Mercedes flourished, and it is now rumored that a 75 per cent buyout is on the cards.

USF1 eyes Kyle Busch for 2011 race seat
(GMM)  Sporting director Peter Windsor has named NASCAR's Las Vegas-born Kyle Busch as an ideal driver for the new USF1 team in 2011.

Briton Windsor, who with Ken Anderson aims for their Charlotte-based team to debut next season, said he keeps up to date with the 24-year-old's progress "on a daily basis almost".

"If I was Kyle, I'd be saying to myself, yeah, those guys all talk the talk, let's see what they do, let's see what the car's like.  Let's see what the race shop is like.  Fair enough," he told USA Today.

Windsor revealed that he has already met with Busch's business team, and is confident his talents would transfer to formula one.

"If he wants to jump in our car next year for doing some demonstrations here in the States, he's very welcome to do that," he added.

Busch is under contract to his Sprint Cup team Joe Gibbs Racing until the end of 2010.

Marco Andretti, the son of 1993 McLaren driver Michael and the grandson of 1978 world champion Mario, has also been linked with USF1, but the team is likely to make its plans for 2010 without an American driver.

"It's not because I don't rate him (Andretti), but I don't think he'd be right driver at the right time, or equally that we're the right team," said Windsor.

De la Rosa not ready to sign Campos deal
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa has confirmed he is not yet ready to sign with the new Spanish formula one team Campos.

Although the outfit, whose car is being built by Dallara, is tipped as among the strongest of the 2010 debutants, de la Rosa told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that Campos' "sponsor package" has yet to be finalized.

"I'm waiting," said the 38-year-old, who is McLaren's long time primary test and reserve driver.

"It's the same situation with all the new teams; if you commit now and in January there is suddenly no money, you are left standing.  So first of all I am with McLaren," de la Rosa added.

Liuzzi snatched back stolen steering wheel
(GMM)  One of Vitantonio Liuzzi's first tasks after crashing heavily during the qualifying rain at Interlagos was snatching back his stolen steering wheel.

When the Force India driver finally emerged from his shattered car last Saturday afternoon, he tried to put the steering wheel back in place only to see a cheeky marshal dashing away with it.

Italian Liuzzi, 28, promptly ran down the Sao Paulo marshal and relieved him of his new piece of ultimate memorabilia.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the steering wheels - featuring digital read-outs as numerous buttons, controls and levers - are worth up to 30,000 euros.

"The team has said to me: 'no matter what happens, never let the steering wheel leave your hands'," Liuzzi said.

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