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DATE News (chronologically)
11/04/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Barrichello visits Williams, reveals McLaren talks
  • Search begins for F1's 2011 tire supplier
  • F1 news briefs: Wednesday
  • Ecclestone wants 20 races on F1 calendars
  • Ecclestone makes concessions but no British GP deal yet
  • Toyota quit announcement to be made shortly
  • Red Bull ready to announce 2010 engine
  • Hamilton Snr eyes Raikkonen for McLaren seat
  • Thousands sign petition to save Spa track
  • Williams not releasing Rosberg until January

Barrichello visits Williams, reveals McLaren talks
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello this week made his first visit to Williams.

The Brazilian veteran has been signed by the British team for 2010, and he headed straight from Abu Dhabi to Grove to tour the factory and even look around Williams' famous F1 car museum, according to O Globo newspaper.

Barrichello, 37, revealed that he also had talks with McLaren a few weeks ago in Brazil "but my contract with Williams was already signed".

"I am going to realize a dream, because ever since I saw F1 on TV for the first time, I have dreamed of driving for them," said the holder of the record for the most career grands prix.

Barrichello, whose mentor Ayrton Senna died at the wheel of a Williams in 1994, also revealed that his Brawn contract this year was initially for only the first four races with "the rest depending on my results and my work".

Search begins for F1's 2011 tire supplier
(GMM)  Michelin and Goodyear, the most recent tire brands in formula one, have played down suggestions they might take over from Bridgestone as F1's exclusive supplier in 2011 and beyond.

A spokeswoman for Michelin's North American headquarters said the French company is not interested in returning to formula one, after it pulled out at the end of the 'tire war' era three years ago and then rowed with the governing FIA.

The American brand Goodyear left F1 at the end of 1998, following an ultra-successful three decades on the grid.

"We have no plans to re-enter F1," spokesman Ed Markey told the Akron Beacon Journal, which like Goodyear is based in Akron, Ohio.

"However, we continually evaluate a wide range of opportunities to determine the best fit for our strategic direction and make decisions based on the best interests of the company," he added.

Other reports said the Italian tire maker Pirelli, having shown interest in obtaining the 2008-2010 tender, is also not likely to be interested in returning to F1.

F1 news briefs: Wednesday
(GMM)  Team Germany, featuring Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, captured its third consecutive Nations Cup at the Race of Champions event in Beijing on Tuesday night, defeating Team Britain pairing Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx.

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Before the event at the Bird's Nest Olympic stadium, 40-year-old Schumacher said his abortive return to F1 this year had been an "emotional" rather than a "rational decision", and when asked if another attempt to return is likely, answered: "Right now, no."

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F1 insiders believed he had already parted the team, but Force India on Tuesday confirmed that former boss Colin Kolles' contract has now ended.

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Referring to McLaren - which has in the past featured great multiple world champions including Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna - Lewis Hamilton told reporters in Abu Dhabi last weekend: "I'm pushing my team harder than they've ever been pushed."

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Sir Richard Branson is still refusing to confirm the open secret about his plans to leave Brawn and rename the new Manor formula one team 'Virgin F1' in 2010.  "In a month we'll let you know," the British billionaire said in a news conference in Italy earlier this week.

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A British media source says Ross Brawn has indicated his 2010 F1 car will feature a Red Bull-style high nose, while reports in the Italian press say the new Ferrari - internally code-named the 661 - will have a Brawn-like low nose.

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F1's official logistics partner DHL has awarded its annual Fastest Lap Trophy to Sebastian Vettel, who captured the most fastest laps throughout the 2010 season ahead of his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber.  "It means a lot to me to have my achievements recognized in this way," said the German.

Ecclestone wants 20 races on F1 calendars
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has braced the formula one world for an even longer race calendar in future.

There were 17 grands prix this year, and with the addition of Korea next year and the return of Canada, the schedule is set to expand to 19.

But with the likes of India pushing for a 2011 race, F1 chief executive Ecclestone is eyeing an ideal schedule of 20 races.

"Yes, I always said that it (20 races) is possible and obviously now there are more and more people falling for that idea," he said in an interview with his sport's official website.

The Briton said longer calendars are possible now that the amount of testing has been dramatically reduced.

"Nobody needs testing," he said.  "It was always, in my opinion, that testing costs money while racing brings money."

Ecclestone makes concessions but no British GP deal yet
(GMM)  Despite the stream of Silverstone officials through the Abu Dhabi paddock turnstiles last weekend, a deal for a 2010 British grand prix was not concluded.

But Damon Hill, who like circuit managing director Richard Phillips and the track's chief negotiator was present on Yas Island, suggests that the talks did bear some fruit.

"There was a lot of excitement when the opportunity came back and Bernie said he was prepared to discuss the situation," the 1996 world champion, who is president of the Silverstone owning British Racing Drivers' Club, told PA Sport.

"We did go over to Abu Dhabi to try and get a deal done, but the distraction of the weekend meant it was not the right time," Hill added.

"So we'll let the dust settle and see what happens over the next week or so."

To the Guardian newspaper, 79-year-old F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone revealed that he has made some concessions to Silverstone in the past days.

"Maybe I've backed off on a few little things that perhaps I shouldn't have done to give them a helping hand, but that's it," said the Briton.

"The contract is there.  If they want to sign it, that's fine.  If not, then it's up to them," Ecclestone added.

Toyota quit announcement to be made shortly
(GMM)  Toyota's decision to quit formula one immediately will be made public at 5pm Tokyo time (8am GMT).

2009 team driver Timo Glock is tipped to jump ship to be Robert Kubica's teammate at Renault next year, and his manager Hans Bernd Kamps said he did not know if the rumors about Toyota's exit are true.

But he told Bild newspaper: "It wouldn't surprise me."

It is believed the decision to withdraw was taken some time ago rather than spontaneously, and was rubber-stamped at a board meeting in Japan earlier on Wednesday.

Talks with an Asian buyer of the Cologne based outfit may already be taking place.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told the Daily Telegraph that Toyota's decision to withdraw would be a breach of the 2012 Concorde Agreement.

"It's signed by Toyota Motor Company so I very much doubt they would not go through with something they have already signed," he said.  "They are not the sort of people to back out of a deal like that."

Asked whether legal action would be likely, he answered: "I have no idea.  It's not the sort of thing we do is it?"

While yet another blow to F1, the news would be very good for BMW-Sauber, whose new owners Qadbak were waiting for a confirmed 2010 team to withdraw in order to gain entry to next year's grid.

"Another team pulling out is the easiest way (to be in F1) from our perspective," team boss Mario Theissen said in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

Red Bull ready to announce 2010 engine
(GMM)  Amid rumors of a continuing deal with Renault, Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner says a decision about the team's 2010 engine supplier is now ready to be made.

Mercedes-Benz's exclusive F1 partner McLaren vetoed Red Bull's preferred deal, leaving the Milton Keynes-based team weighing up either staying with Renault or switching to Cosworth.

"We believe we have all the facts in front of us now and we will be looking to make a decision pretty much imminently," said Horner.

Hamilton Snr eyes Raikkonen for McLaren seat
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton would welcome Kimi Raikkonen as his new McLaren teammate, the British driver's father and manager Anthony Hamilton has confirmed.

2008 world champion Hamilton has until now stated his desire to keep Heikki Kovalainen alongside him, raising suggestions he does not want to be challenged by the occupant of the sister car.

"First, I want to say that neither Lewis nor myself have any influence on the decision," Hamilton Snr told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.

"But if I was deciding between Kimi and Heikki, I would go for Kimi," he added, "even if I have nothing against Heikki.  We've always like him; he's a great teammate and does his job well.

"Kimi is a cool guy," Anthony Hamilton added.  "I think he is the prime candidate and the best driver to be at Lewis' side in this team; they would push each other on."

Thousands sign petition to save Spa track
(GMM)  At the time of writing, nearly 30,000 people had signed an online petition vowing to defend the popular Belgian GP venue Spa-Francorchamps.

A local court recently revoked the historic track's operating license until 2026, following the complaints of local residents about noise.

The petition, which can be found at www.defendonsfrancorchamps.be, is run by "people who live near the track".

"We want to confirm that we are not disturbed by the permanent work of the circuit," they said.

Williams not releasing Rosberg until January
(GMM)  Williams is holding Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima to their contracts until the last day in December.

It is believed the decision explains the hold-up in an announcement about Rosberg's team for 2010, with the German's deal not likely to be made public until after 1 January.

"Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima remain our drivers until the end of 2009," reads an excerpt of the media statement in which Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg were confirmed as Williams' drivers for next season.

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