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DATE News (chronologically)
11/18/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Spa issued new racing license
  • Schu spokeswoman says Merc race seat 'unlikely'
  • Confusion reigns as Button eyes 2010 team
  • No F1 drive for Raikkonen in 2010 - manager
  • Glock's Manor switch a 'mistake' - Lauda
  • F1 on Wednesday: around the 'net
  • Montezemolo to step down as FOTA chairman
  • Bianchi set for F1 test debut with Ferrari
  • Webber drives new GP3 car in France
  • Trulli to test NASCAR on Wednesday
  • Buemi to move from Bahrain to Monaco
  • Horner says no to rally for Vettel
  • Webber not sure all new teams will race
  • Gascoyne named Trulli as target Lotus driver
  • Hamilton/Button would be 'excellent' lineup - Massa
  • Zetsche defends Brawn buyout after criticism
  • 2010 to show whether Senna ready for F1 - Berger

Spa issued new racing license
(GMM)  Spa-Francorchamps has been issued a new operating license.

The popular and historic Belgian grand prix venue had its original license revoked recently by an administrative court, following the complaints of local residents about noise.

But according to rtbf.be, a new license was signed in earlier this week by Philippe Henry, the planning minister of the Wallonia government.

The new operating license is reportedly valid until March 2011.

Schu spokeswoman says Merc race seat 'unlikely'
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's spokeswoman has played down reports the seven time world champion could be set to return to formula one.

After Norbert Haug this week flagged some forthcoming "surprises" to emerge from the Mercedes GP team, rumors were sparked about Schumacher joining Nico Rosberg in an all-German lineup.

"You never say never in this sport, but you can rule it out at the moment.  It's highly unlikely," Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm told the Mirror.

Haug, Mercedes' competition director, said he is hoping driver announcements can be made soon.

"I would rather hope next week," he told reporters, "but don't kill me if it is a couple of weeks longer.  But I would like to say definitely this year."

Confusion reigns as Button eyes 2010 team
(GMM)  Confusion reigns as to whether Jenson Button has agreed a deal with McLaren for 2010, but widespread reports agree that a signature is at least close.

The Daily Mail said the deal, with the new world champion pitting himself against 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton, could be announced "in the next 48 hours" and possibly on Wednesday.

But another British newspaper, the Daily Express, said 29-year-old Button's management has given Brawn/Mercedes until the end of the week to up its financial offer.

"We are not going to be drawn into an auction," said chief executive Nick Fry.

Team boss Ross Brawn told the Independent: "Negotiations are continuing and the reports that he has already agreed terms with McLaren are not helpful."

The Sun said Button's McLaren contract has been agreed "verbally" and the Evening Standard reported that meetings with McLaren took place in the last 12 hours.

But a spokesman for the Woking based team would not clarify the situation.

"The situation is that we've got no comment at the moment.  There's been a lot said on it already and there's nothing I can say over and above what is out there," he said.

Numerous pundits have advised Button to stay put rather than share a garage with McLaren favorite Hamilton, and in the British media on Tuesday, the likes of Johnny Herbert, Murray Walker and Martin Brundle agreed.

But, referring to the salary standoff, Niki Lauda told the Daily Mail: "If he did not feel valued there (at Brawn) then he should go.

"If those (reported) figures are right, I would be upset by that after winning the championship," added the former triple world champion.

No F1 drive for Raikkonen in 2010 - manager
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen will be absent from the formula one grid next season, his manager Steve Robertson announced to the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat late on Tuesday.

The Finn, having agreed to make way for Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, had been in serious talks with McLaren, but the parties reportedly disagreed about his salary, sponsor duties and his freedom to race in rallies.

"The only option for F1 next season was McLaren or nothing," Robertson said.  "Kimi and McLaren were unable to reach an agreement, so he will not drive at F1 level, at least not next year."

Raikkonen's severance deal with Ferrari means that he stands making more money by taking a year off in 2010 than he would if he had stayed in F1.

Turun Sanomat said the most likely option for a Raikkonen return in 2011 is with Red Bull Racing.

Next year, he is likely to be active in rally cars and possibly the Le Mans 24 Hours, the newspaper added.

Glock's Manor switch a 'mistake' - Lauda
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has questioned Timo Glock's claim that he chose to switch to the new Manor/Virgin team for 2010 even though he had other options.

German Glock, 27, had been linked with a move to Renault next year, but earlier this week he insisted that despite having "several options" with "more established teams", he chose to be part of "building a team" from scratch.

Triple world champion Lauda told Germany's Auto Bild: "I can only imagine that Manor was his only chance, otherwise the choice was a mistake."

Lauda, 60, said moving to an existing team would have been a better idea.

"Nobody can really judge which of the new teams can do a good job.  I have therefore no idea why Glock did not see through his opportunities with Renault or the Sauber/Qadbak team," he added.

F1 on Wednesday: around the 'net
(GMM)  Felipe Massa preparing in Sao Paulo for the Granja Viana endurance kart race:
http://www.ferrari.com/English/News/Pages/091117_F1_Massa_back.aspx

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Massa also playing soccer in Morumbi, Sao Paulo:
http://globoesporte.globo.com/Esportes/Noticias/Formula_1/0,,MUL1382277-15011,00.html

-

New official F1 video game released:
http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2009/11/10224.html

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1964 world champion John Surtees drives a sports car through the Channel Tunnel:
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/motor/f1-legend-drives-through-chunnel/story-e6frey5r-1225799249973

Montezemolo to step down as FOTA chairman
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo, also president of Ferrari and Fiat, has announced he is likely to step down as chairman of the F1 teams association FOTA at the end of the year.

FOTA's deputy chairman John Howett has also left the association, following the withdrawal from formula one of his employer Toyota.

"FOTA wishes to put on record its thanks to John Howett for his great passion and his fundamental contribution", part of a statement issued by the Geneva based body said earlier this month.

Also with prominent FOTA roles since its inception in 2008 are Ross Brawn, the technical chairman, and sporting boss Martin Whitmarsh.

Flavio Briatore was the commercial chairman until his motor racing ban following the crash-gate scandal.

FOTA's secretary general is Simone Perillo.

Meanwhile, figures for the new F1 teams Campos and USF1 are now listed in FOTA's working groups, but there is no mention at all of Manor/Virgin.

Meanwhile, only Campos-Meta's official logo has been added to the organization’s website alongside the existing teams.

Bianchi set for F1 test debut with Ferrari
(GMM)  Another youngster has been tipped for a forthcoming F1 test with the famous Ferrari team.

It emerged recently that the Italian squad has allocated the three days of next month's young driver test at Jerez to Italians Daniel Zampieri and Marco Zipoli, and the Mexican teenager Pablo Sanchez Lopez: the top three finishers in Italian F3 this year.

But it is reported that French 20-year-old Jules Bianchi, who is managed by Nicolas Todt, is also likely to get a run in the F60.

He won the F3 Euroseries in 2009 with Todt's ART team, and found some F1 fame earlier this year when Todt very publicly introduced Bianchi to Ferrari team officials in the pitlane during practice for the Belgian GP.

Todt confirmed to L'Equipe that a December test for Bianchi is "very probable".  Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport said the test would likely take place in a Ferrari.

Webber drives new GP3 car in France
(GMM)  Mark Webber on Tuesday drove the new GP3 single seater at France's Paul Ricard circuit.

The Australian, to run a team in the new F1 support series with his Red Bull boss Christian Horner, said: "It's my first experience driving the car and I can honestly say it is like driving a small F1 car."

Webber, 33, admitted that Horner had convinced him to get involved with the team, named MW Arden.

"I'm not at the beginning of the F1 career so it was a logical step for me," he said.

Trulli to test NASCAR on Wednesday
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli will make his test debut in a Sprint Cup NASCAR at Florida's New Smyrna Speedway on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, another familiar F1 name was at the wheel of the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Camry, and a report in the Orlando Sentinel said Mika Salo "caught on quickly".

After Juan Pablo Montoya made the switch in 2006, and Nelson Piquet Jr recently tested a racer of the lesser Truck Series, Red Horse Racing team owner Tom DeLoach said signing non-American drivers like Piquet "could open up a new market" in US stock car racing.

"There are 200 million people in Brazil on the east coast time zone, and Nelson there is like Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. here," DeLoach is quoted as saying by USA Today.

"Competing against F1 as a truck owner, I know I'm outmatched, but I think I could make it happen.  F1 is in a lot of turmoil," he added.

Buemi to move from Bahrain to Monaco
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi will no longer call Bahrain home, according to a report in the Swiss publication Blick.

Until now, the 21-year-old Swiss has officially lived with his uncle Humbert and his family in Bahrain, where residents effectively do not pay income tax.

But Blick said Buemi, who has re-signed with the Toro Rosso team for 2010, is set to relocate to Monaco, another famous tax haven.

His new residence will reportedly be a three hour drive from his team's Faenza headquarters.

Horner says no to rally for Vettel
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel is keen to contest a rallying competition this winter, according to the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung.

The Red Bull driver joked to Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell: "Rallying for us formula one drivers is strongly in fashion."

Vettel, 22, is referring to the recent rally exploits of Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica, amid reports Heikki Kovalainen is also hoping for an outing ahead of the 2010 F1 season.

Bild, however, said that Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is not currently releasing Vettel for a competitive rally, on grounds of safety.

Webber not sure all new teams will race
(GMM)  Mark Webber has added his skepticism to the progress of F1's new teams for 2010.

Campos, Manor, Lotus and USF1 are all scheduled to launch their start-up projects off the Bahrain grid next March.

"It would be good to have them," Australian Webber, 33, said in an interview with the French language website toilef1.com, "but it is too early to say if they will all be there.

"We are in mid-November and the road to March (2010) is long," the Red Bull driver added.

Gascoyne named Trulli as target Lotus driver
(GMM)  Mike Gascoyne has for the first time named Jarno Trulli as an ideal driver for the new Lotus team.

Boss Tony Fernandes has revealed that one driver for 2010 has already been signed, although his identity will not be confirmed until a second driver also joins.

Gascoyne, Lotus' technical director, has worked with 35-year-old Trulli at the Jordan, Renault and Toyota teams.

In recent comments published by France's L'Equipe, the Briton said: "On a single lap, Jarno is always able to do an excellent time.

"It's important for a team to know fairly quickly where it is on a Saturday.  Jarno would give us that," Gascoyne added.

Trulli, a veteran of 13 F1 seasons, almost 220 grands prix and victory in the 2004 Monaco GP, will on Wednesday test a Sprint Cup NASCAR in Florida.

Gascoyne said Lotus' drivers will be confirmed within November because the team wants to "act rather than just react to the others".

Hamilton/Button would be 'excellent' lineup - Massa
(GMM)  Experts and pundits are questioning the wisdom of Jenson Button's reportedly likely move from Brawn/Mercedes to McLaren for 2010.

Sir Jackie Stewart and David Coulthard have advised their British countryman to stay put rather than accept a bigger-money offer from McLaren, where 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton is regarded the unofficial number 1 driver.

The Daily Telegraph said Button, 29, has been assured equal billing, but Martin Brundle - who drove for the team in 1994 - told BBC radio on Tuesday: "In the past they (McLaren) have had a history of really being able to only fully support one driver."

Former commentator Murray Walker was quoted in a Reuters news report as saying he is "not sure that Button could keep up with" Hamilton, while Johnny Herbert told The Sun that the all-British pairing will be "like the adopted son (Button) going up against the prodigal son (Hamilton)".

Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who will be paired with Fernando Alonso in 2010, was also asked about Button's potential move to McLaren in between practicing this week for the Granja Viana kart race in Sao Paulo.

He is quoted as saying by globo.com: "I have read about the negotiations but I cannot speak about it as if it is certain.

"If it happens, it will be an excellent pairing," added Massa.

Zetsche defends Brawn buyout after criticism
(GMM)  Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche has written a letter in defense of Mercedes' decision to take over the Brawn team and rename it Mercedes GP.

A member of the carmaker's Betriebsrat (supervisory board) said this week that amid the economic problems and after Honda, BMW and Toyota pulled out of formula one, Daimler should have instead invested "in better marketing of its real (road) cars".

But in a letter to his colleagues, Zetsche said the plan with Mercedes GP is to enjoy a higher profile in F1 for "under 60 million euros" annually by 2011.

"That is approximately a quarter of our formula one budgets of earlier years," he said in extracts of the letter published by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Zetsche added: "In the future we will attain a greater attention for our brand for a clearly smaller cost."

However, a Daily Telegraph report written by F1 finance experts Christian Sylt and Caroline Reid said Brawn's new owners will actually have to immediately spend 50 per cent more on F1.

2010 to show whether Senna ready for F1 - Berger
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger says 2010 will show whether Bruno Senna is ready for formula one or not.

The Austrian, who was a close friend and teammate of Senna's famous uncle Ayrton, was a constant presence throughout the 26-year-old's accelerated rise through the lower categories to his 2010 Campos debut.

"I watched him for a long time," Berger, who at the end of last season sold back his share in Toro Rosso to Red Bull, told Austrian Servus TV.

"He had his considerable ups and downs.  In formula one, he must show whether he has what it takes -- and it's hard to say beforehand.

"In the rain and in the dry, there have been races where he looks like he belongs in formula one, and there were others where you have to say he is not ready.

"I think he is going to jump into cold water now and see what he can do," Berger added.

Like many other pundits, Berger is concerned about the huge weight of expectations brought by the Senna name.

And he added: "He's coming in as a rookie with a new team, which is never ideal but you cannot choose.  It was the chance he got, so he has to take advantage and make the best of it."

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