Latest F1 news in brief
- Di Grassi eyes 2010 debut with Renault or Virgin
- Hulkenberg ended F1 test with sore neck
- Schumacher/Mercedes rumors continue to grow
- Four bidders for Renault team takeover - Ecclestone
- Length of new British GP deal to be known Monday
- Around the 'net: F1 on Monday Dec. 7th
- Sauber to pair experienced driver with newcomer
Di Grassi eyes 2010 debut with Renault or Virgin
(GMM) Lucas di Grassi has confirmed reports linking him with a seat with the new Manor/Virgin team next year, but says staying at Renault is also a possibility.
GP2 regular di Grassi, 25, completed the 2009 season as the reserve driver for Renault, who have so far signed only Robert Kubica for 2010.
"I am waiting for Renault before I know which team I will race for," the Brazilian, who at the weekend won the Granja Viana kart race with Felipe Massa, is quoted as saying by the Globo website.
Having driven Renault's R29 at the young driver test at Jerez last week, he added: "The priority if they continue is Renault, but if not for sure I prefer Manor."
Quoted by France's Auto Hebdo, di Grassi continued: "I think Manor, or now Virgin, is the best of the new teams. But most important is to find an available seat.
"If this is not with Renault or Virgin then (it will be) somewhere else. I'm speaking with several teams," he added.
Hulkenberg ended F1 test with sore neck
(GMM) Nico Hulkenberg has admitted he ended his test with Williams last week with a sore neck.
The British team's rookie racer for 2010 complied with the 'young driver' rules and therefore enjoyed two days at the wheel of the FW31 at Jerez.
Asked by Germany's Bild am Sonntag what he learned at the Spanish circuit, the 22-year-old jokingly answered: "That I have a neck."
Hulkenberg said "nothing can be compared" to the forces exerted on a racing driver by a F1 car.
The German said his manager Willi Weber's other client, Michael Schumacher, gave his old neck-training machine to Hulkenberg in order to prepare for the 2010 season.
Schumacher/Mercedes rumors continue to grow
(GMM) In the absence of a clear denial or an official announcement, speculation that Michael Schumacher is planning to return to F1 next year with Mercedes GP continues to grow.
The 40-year-old seven time world champion's father Rolf told the Cologne newspaper Express: "Michael is training every day like crazy. He's not doing that for nothing."
Bild newspaper reports that Schumacher gave his old neck-training machine to Nico Hulkenberg, because he has bought a brand new one.
F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone recently played down the suggestions about a comeback for the former Ferrari driver, but is now having seconds thoughts.
"I would personally doubt that he's going to make a comeback but, having said that, it's maybe getting a bit stronger than a rumor," the Briton told the Times.
It is believed that if Schumacher ultimately turns down the seat alongside Nico Rosberg, Mercedes has its former junior driver Nick Heidfeld next in queue.
"Well you'd have to pick Michael wouldn't you?" said Ecclestone, when told that Heidfeld and Schumacher are the contenders.
"If I was Michael I wouldn't do it, but I'm sure he knows he could get the job done," the 79-year-old added.
Schumacher's manager Willi Weber is set to meet with his famous client in Stuttgart on Monday, but he denies the location for the meeting has anything to do with the proximity of the Mercedes/Daimler headquarters.
"We are having a personal meeting, just as do we many times a year," he told the German news agency SID. "Norbert Haug and Mercedes are not on the agenda."
Mercedes' competition boss Haug also played down the circulating reports about a meeting between Schumacher, team boss Ross Brawn and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche in Abu Dhabi last month.
"There were no discussions on this subject in Abu Dhabi," he told Auto Bild.
Four bidders for Renault team takeover - Ecclestone
(GMM) British reports are portraying the takeover of the Renault team as a straight fight between two groups led by David Richards and Gerard Lopez.
Indeed, the French sports newspaper L'Equipe believes F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone favors Lopez's Mangrove/Gravity/Genii bid, and links BAR founder Craig Pollock with the role of team boss.
It is whispered that the deal could even see the Renault name remain above the team's pit garage in 2010.
Ecclestone, however, insists there are more bidders than just Richards' Prodrive and Lopez's Luxembourg-based group.
"Richards is up against more than somebody," he told the Times newspaper. "There is the Gerard Lopez group, there is David Richards and then there are another two people."
Briton Ecclestone, 79, said he hopes a deal can be reached before Christmas.
"I don't think there is any big rush to get something done. (But) I hope it can be done within the next ten days and before everybody breaks up for Christmas."
Length of new British GP deal to be known Monday
(GMM) A crucial detail of Silverstone's new multi-year deal to keep hosting the British grand prix will be divulged on Monday morning.
A press conference at London's Grosvenor House Hotel is widely expected to confirm officially that formula one is staying at the Northamptonshire circuit for now.
Contrary to earlier remarks, Bernie Ecclestone is privately conceding that Donington has now been locked out of the sport for at least the next several years.
The precise length of Silverstone's new contract, however, is not certain. Some British newspaper reports say the track is taking over Donington's full 17-year term, while others say the deal could be for as few as 5 seasons.
Another report said the agreement could if desired be terminated by either side after ten years.
The Times newspaper claimed that the deal was reached after F1 chief executive Ecclestone agreed to lower the annual fee escalator from 7 to 5 per cent.
"It's been a long and tiring nonsense," the 79-year-old Briton is quoted as saying. "They could have done this whole thing months and months ago."
Around the 'net: F1 on Monday Dec 7th
(GMM) Felipe Massa and Lucas di Grassi win Brazil's Granja Viana kart race in just under 11 hours:
Video shows wind tunnel testing of 2010 team Lotus:
Indian driver Karun Chandhok sees "three realistic possibilities" to race in F1 next year:
2010 Ferrari sponsor Santander on livery of Felipe Massa's winning Granja Viana kart:
2010 Williams driver Rubens Barrichello still racing in old Brawn overalls. His team finished the Granja Viana kart race third:
New Formula Renault UK champion Dean Smith, 21, wins McLaren F1 test:
Rubens Barrichello to live in his motor home for three days on the grounds of the Williams factory (Portuguese):
Sauber to pair experienced driver with newcomer
(GMM) Sauber's 2010 driver lineup may feature a veteran alongside an inexperienced youngster.
In the wake of the resumption as owner and boss of founder Peter Sauber and the granting of an official team entry, the 66-year-old Swiss' attention has now turned to signing up sponsors and drivers.
A multitude of names - including Nick Heidfeld, Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen, Giancarlo Fisichella, Pedro de la Rosa, Christian Klien, Anthony Davidson and Kamui Kobayashi - have been mentioned.
"In the past weeks many drivers have asked about us, but we couldn't really negotiate when we didn't have an entry. Now it's different," Sauber said in an interview with Germany's SID news agency.
"I wouldn't like to give any names, except to say that I assume we will have an experienced driver and a driver of the new generation.
"We have often had that mixture in the past and it worked well," he added.
Peter Sauber also indicated that in the wake of BMW's departure from F1, the German carmaker is still able to offer assistance.
"The people in charge at BMW have assured us of their support," he said. "For example we have a set of their contacts for sponsors who could also be relevant for us."