Latest F1 news in brief
- French GP return unlikely in 2011
- Name change for Sauber not planned yet
- Senna happy with weather after arriving in Bahrain
- Vettel - still no plans to hire a manager
- Vettel has no problem with blunt teammate Webber
- Horner admits 'danger' of new teams' slow debuts
- Glock chose Virgin over Renault, Sauber for 2010
- Heidfeld says Red Bull 'clearly' best 2010 car
- No major backer for Sauber in Bahrain
French GP return unlikely in 2011
(GMM) France is not on this year's F1 calendar and the situation is unlikely to change in 2011.
That is the admission of Nicolas Deschaux, president of the country's motor racing sanctioning body FFSA (Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile).
Following the demise of the Magny Cours event and then proposed alternative hosts, he blames French politics.
"There is a time for sponsorships of the government," he is quoted as saying by the L'Equipe sports daily.
"When I see (Russian prime minister Vladimir) Putin announcing the support of (Vitaly) Petrov with Lada, I see the gap is huge compared to what happens in France.
"The (French) government has a view on this subject that is distorted by electoral considerations under the heading of the environment," Deschaux added.
He said Magny Cours, Paul Ricard, and the Sarcelles project are the three possible venues for a reinstated French grand prix.
"I am awaiting clarification of the financial feasibility of Sarcelles," said Deschaux, who also said he is in "very regular contact" with FIA president Jean Todt.
"But I cannot predict the year of the next grand prix of France. It would be unrealistic to think it will be 2011," he added.
Name change for Sauber not planned yet
(GMM) Sauber has still not decided when to officially drop 'BMW' from the official name of its Swiss formula one team.
The Hinwil based squad is still officially known as BMW Sauber F1 Team, despite the total withdrawal of the German carmaker.
The name has been retained so as not to jeopardize the commercial rewards due from Sauber's participation in the 2009 world championship, resulting in sixth place in the title.
But with no ongoing involvement from BMW, the situation means Sauber's chassis this year is awkwardly known officially as the BMW Sauber Ferrari, due to the use of a Ferrari customer engine.
In its most recent media communiqué, Sauber revealed a new red logo and name (Sauber Motorsport) that indicated an official change is due soon.
But when asked why 'BMW' is still part of Sauber's official name, boss Peter Sauber told Switzerland's 20 Minuten: "It's very simple.
"We enrolled last summer with that (BMW) name for the 2010 season and it is still our name.
"We have not yet made an application to change it, and the timing of that is still open," Sauber added.
It has been reported this week that Sauber's new C29 car is perhaps the best of all in terms of tire wear, but the 66-year-old is not getting carried away in the days before the Bahrain season opener.
"I've said it many times: interpreting the results of testing is like reading tea leaves. After all these years I have become quite cautious," said Sauber.
Senna happy with weather after arriving in Bahrain
(GMM) Early on Wednesday morning, Bahrain was already boasting a plethora of formula one drivers who have arrived early ahead of the 2010 season opener.
24 hours ago, we reported that Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Sebastien Buemi and Nico Hulkenberg had either already touched down or were en route to the sunny and warm island Kingdom.
HRT rookie Bruno Senna is also already in Bahrain.
"It has not been so hot, at least for now," the Brazilian is quoted as saying by Globo, having reported that Senna visited the Sakhir circuit on Tuesday.
"It's 25-26 in the days and about 18 at night."
Senna revealed that he is to undergo the mandatory F1 rookies neurological test on Wednesday, which serves as a basis in the event of head injuries.
At the time of writing, Lucas di Grassi was jogging the circuit, and Heikki Kovalainen was set to travel to the track after eating breakfast.
More arrivals on Tuesday were Timo Glock and the FIA's Charlie Whiting, and on Wednesday morning it is expected that the McLaren drivers will touch down.
Bahrain's General Directorate of Nationality, Passport and Residence reported that about 100,000 visitors are expected in the country this weekend, up 10,000 on 2009.
Vettel - still no plans to hire a manager
(GMM) Even as a favorite for the 2010 world championship, Sebastian Vettel still has no plans to hire a manager.
As a boyish rookie with BMW and Toro Rosso a few years ago, the now 22-year-old German has always handled his own formula one career.
"People say 'oh, you need a manager to get you into adverts or to make you more money'. But I'm fine," the Red Bull driver told the Guardian newspaper.
"I want to make my own decisions," he added.
Vettel admitted that contractual negotiations can be a peculiar experience, but is yet to encounter a situation that requires the assistance of a professional manager.
"Sometimes it's funny because, in a negotiation, you can sit at a table with some very experienced people in their sixties. But you soon forget about your age and you do your best," he said.
Asked if he has ever made any mistakes as a manager, Vettel added: "No, I don't regret any step I've taken so far.
"The problem with formula one and football is that so much money is involved. Formula one is big business and, unfortunately, everyone is too caught up in his own interests and what ends up in his own pocket.
"For some people it is just business. And that's a big problem. You can't always say what you'd like to say. But the important thing for me is the racing -- and to stay the same person I've always been," he added.
Vettel has no problem with blunt teammate Webber
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel insists he gets on well with his outspoken Red Bull teammate Mark Webber.
There were rumors of discord during last season when they shared the competitive RB5, and just a year earlier, following a collision, Australian Webber slammed Vettel for being one of F1's "kids" who "do a good job and then f--k it all up".
This week, 33-year-old Australian Webber again dismissed F1's new generation as not "real men".
"Every now and again - whether it's a Lewis Hamilton or a Sebastian Vettel - they can come in and do a good job," he added.
22-year-old Vettel - who insists he has "never had a problem" with Webber since their Fuji crash - told the Guardian: "You know Mark, he is not afraid of saying what he thinks.
"Of course I want to beat him every time, and he wants to beat me, but we get along well," he added.
Horner admits 'danger' of new teams' slow debuts
(GMM) Bosses of the top outfits McLaren and Red Bull have issued differing views about the influx of small new teams in formula one.
After Ferrari issued a scathing denunciation of Virgin, Lotus and HRT, McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale on Tuesday called on the sport to support its newcomers.
"We have to try and get new teams off the ground and stabilize them as quickly as possible because we need it in view of the disappointing (team) losses," he said.
But Neale did express some concern about the Spanish outfit HRT, whose rookie lineup Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok will give the 2010 car its track debut on Friday.
"I'm sure that the FIA will look very closely at it and if there are big gaps in closing speeds and plenty of red flags, then they'll take the necessary actions," he said.
Former McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen, who has switched for 2010 to Lotus, said it is "great to hear" his ex team is supportive.
However, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was less diplomatic than Neale.
"We will just try to stay out of their way," he is quoted as saying by the Times. "The danger is the time difference is going to be so big - up to five seconds a lap - and the difference in the closing speeds is massive.
"The potential for them to cause an incident is reasonably high," added Horner.
Timo Glock, who last year raced for Toyota but has switched to Virgin, said the criticisms do not concern him.
"I don't care," he told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.
"I think that for the fans and for formula one, it is a good thing if new teams can come in," Glock added.
Glock chose Virgin over Renault, Sauber for 2010
(GMM) Timo Glock says he decided to join Virgin over moving to Sauber and Renault because the new British team was a safer employment option for the 2010 season.
With Toyota leaving the sport, insiders had expected the 27-year-old German to move to Renault this year to be Robert Kubica's teammate.
The Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reveals that Sauber was also an option for Glock.
"In purely sporting terms, they would have been very good options," he admitted.
"But with Sauber they were facing a very long wait to be clear they were going to be there (in F1).
"Renault was high on my list, but then came their (takeover) situation. I said to myself that if it doesn't work out for either of them, I will be left at the end with nothing.
"And I'm just a man who likes something new and exciting," added Glock.
Heidfeld says Red Bull 'clearly' best 2010 car
(GMM) According to Nick Heidfeld, there is a standout favorite for Sunday's 2010 world championship opener.
In the approach to the Bahrain grand prix, it has emerged that mere tenths separate the pace of the top four challengers also including Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes.
It is believed at the bottom of this pecking order at present is Mercedes, who intend to debut what the German press is calling a 'super diffuser' this weekend.
Presumably in the hands of test driver Heidfeld, a new front wing for the silver single seater was secretly debuted at an English airfield this week, the German daily Bild reports.
"The Red Bull is clearly the best car," the 32-year-old told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"It's almost frightening how easily Vettel and Webber are able to drive it at the limit," the veteran of 169 grands prix added.
He believes Red Bull were disguising the true pace of the Adrian Newey-penned RB6 throughout February by running "more fuel" than its rivals.
Meanwhile, while the general media gears up for Michael Schumacher's sensational return to the grid this weekend, it is very possible the seven time world champion will be outpaced by his 24-year-old teammate.
His manager Willi Weber said this week that Schumacher, 41, does not enjoy the W01's tendency to understeer, while team boss Ross Brawn said: "Nico (Rosberg) has felt a little better in the car (than Schumacher) in his test days."
No major backer for Sauber in Bahrain
(GMM) Contrary to earlier rumors, it appears that Sauber will in fact not contest this weekend's 2010 season opener with a new major sponsor.
It had been speculated that talks with a significant backer could result in a deal to be unveiled in Bahrain, but team boss Peter Sauber reports that the bodywork of the Ferrari-powered C29 is to remain mostly blank for now.
"After the withdrawal of BMW and the takeover of the team, the time was simply too short for us to find a partner or principal sponsor," the 66-year-old told Switzerland's 20 Minuten.
"We only had confirmation of the 13th team entry in December so concrete negotiations (with backers) could only start very late.
"Nevertheless, the 2010 season for us is guaranteed, even though the more sponsors we have, the more we can invest in the development of the car."
Sauber said the team's drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi are not bringing any sponsors to their seats.
"Neither of them has brought money. I hired them only because of their achievements," said the Swiss.
But when asked if he thinks Sauber will be able to tap into the Spanish and Japanese markets, he answered: "I hope so.
"The Spanish and Japanese markets are lucrative, although there has also been the impact of the global financial crisis."