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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Haug exit claims 'complete nonsense' - Mercedes
  • Epsilon Euskadi yet to complete 2011 F1 budget
  • Rain forecast for whole Belgian GP weekend
  • Spa not Barrichello's 300th GP - report
  • Mosley admits F1 return for Briatore 'possible'
  • Mercedes resisting engine party push - Marko
  • Toro Rosso lineup cannot relax yet - Marko
  • Brawn too 'busy' to win 2010 title - Schumacher
  • Verstappen to attend Spa GP with son

Haug exit claims 'complete nonsense' - Mercedes
(GMM)  Mercedes has rejected suggestions that Norbert Haug might be moving on.

In his Auto Plus column, French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet said he had heard from unconfirmed sources that Haug, Mercedes' motor sport vice-president, could be called on by the German marque "for other duties".

But a Mercedes GP source said the news is "complete nonsense".

Epsilon Euskadi yet to complete 2011 F1 budget
(GMM)  There are still "three candidates" in the running to occupy F1's 13th team entry in 2011, according to Joan Villadelprat.

He is in charge of the Spanish Le Mans team Epsilon Euskadi's bid, amid recent rumors the outfit had pulled out due to a lack of funding.

It has also been claimed that Epsilon Euskadi might instead merge with the struggling existing Spanish team, HRT.

"I don't know where that information came from," Villadelprat said in an interview with the sports daily AS.

"I spoke with Jose Ramon Carabante about a possible collaboration with us as a technology provider.

"We are looking for clients and it is clear Hispania is a potential client for the type of work that we do, provided there is no conflict of interest.

"But that's it, there was never any talk of a merger, even though I do not close any doors," he added.

Villadelprat said Epsilon Euskadi is still vying for the 13th team entry.

"The FIA knows our project well and now they must choose between the three candidates," he said.

"We explained our situation, including our financial one, making it clear that we have a commitment to provide the necessary budget even if the deal is not yet closed."

Echoing the claims of Jacques Villeneuve, who is bidding for the entry in collaboration with Durango, Villadelprat said it is possible the FIA will leave the 13th team place vacant.

Asked if he would be disappointed to miss out, he answered: "Not necessarily.

"Epsilon is more than F1; we are 130 people and would not risk our stability to go where we cannot be feasible."

Rain forecast for whole Belgian GP weekend
(GMM)  Regular rain is forecast for the entire Belgian grand prix weekend.

"The weather is always something we talk a lot about when we go to Spa-Francorchamps," said Force India's Tonio Liuzzi.

Rain is traditionally regular and unpredictable in the Ardennes forest region.

"Rain can come at any time and, as the track is so long, you can have some parts of the circuit wet and others dry," added the Italian.

Spa not Barrichello's 300th GP - report
(GMM)  Not every anorak will be celebrating Rubens Barrichello's milestone 300th grand prix at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.

According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, the veteran Brazilian will actually only record the feat at Singapore late next month.

The magazine said two grands prix in 2002 - Spain and France - do not count in Barrichello's tally because he did not even complete the formation lap before technical problems grounded his Ferrari.

Auto Motor und Sport said it is not right to count those races, because it would be like saying the 14 cars that pulled into the pits before the infamous 2005 US grand prix actually contested the race.

Interestingly, F1's official website lists Barrichello as having entered 300 grands prix.

But statistical authority Jacques Deschenaux's gpguide.com website counts only 296 grands prix as having been contested to date by the 38-year-old.

Alongside the two races in 2002, also in question is Spa in 1998, when the Brazilian did not take the re-start due to injury.

Barrichello, who will mark his 300th at Spa with a special helmet and t-shirt, also sat out the 1994 San Marino grand prix after his practice crash.

Mosley admits F1 return for Briatore 'possible'
(GMM)  Max Mosley admits it is "quite possible" Flavio Briatore is gearing up to return to formula one.

The former FIA president last year oversaw the imposition of the ousted Renault boss' lifetime motor racing ban for the crashgate scandal.

But Briatore overturned that verdict in a civil court, before Mosley's presidential successor Jean Todt agreed to let the Italian and Pat Symonds back into the paddock in 2013.

It is rumored that Briatore, 60, could return in a promotional role alongside his friend and business partner Bernie Ecclestone.

"It's quite possible," Mosley said in an interview with Germany's Welt newspaper.

"Should he come back, then it will certainly not be as team boss, but rather as a promoter or a manager of his drivers," added the Briton.

Mosley acknowledged the rumors about Briatore possibly working alongside F1 chief executive Ecclestone.

"Bernie and Flavio are good friends and often go to lunch at a restaurant in Brompton Road, opposite Flavio's London office.

"That's all I know," said the 70-year-old.

Mosley said he is still in contact with Ecclestone "from time to time", but predicts trouble for the stability of today's period of peace.

"Within the parties that make up this sport - the teams, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone - there is constant friction.  The cooperation is extremely fragile," he warned.

"Strengthening the balance of this triangle is a major problem requiring a lot of skill," said Mosley.

Mercedes resisting engine party push - Marko
(GMM)  Mercedes is resisting efforts to create parity in engine performance within formula one, according to Helmut Marko.

He is the motor sport consultant at Red Bull Racing, who are still pushing for clearance to have its Renault engines brought up to speed amid F1's current development freeze.

"It's frustrating," Dr Marko said in an interview with Austria's laola1.at.

"Renault is losing about three tenths of a second per lap, but so far there is no green light (for parity).

"First we would need an agreement within FOTA, but so far Mercedes is resisting," added Marko.

Toro Rosso lineup cannot relax yet - Marko
(GMM)  Toro Rosso's current drivers cannot relax even if they have been confirmed for the 2011 season.

That is the warning of Dr Helmut Marko, motor racing consultant at Red Bull, the Faenza based team's owner.

There have been mixed messages from Toro Rosso recently: boss Franz Tost insisting that the drivers are staying put, but Red Bull-contracted pair Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi sounding less bullish about their future.

"The drivers must confirm themselves and develop," Marko said in an interview with Austria's laola1.at.

"Of course, moves like when Alguersuari crashed into the back of Buemi should not happen.

"At the moment it is looking good (for them), but with Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, we have two very fast juniors," added Marko.

He indicated that Ricciardo and Vergne can expect to get some F1 laps under their belts at the post Abu-Dhabi young driver test.

"November is still quite a long way away, but it would be a logical consequence of our junior program," said Marko.

"To what extent and for which team (they will test) has not been decided yet," he added.

Brawn too 'busy' to win 2010 title - Schumacher
(GMM)  Brawn's fight for survival affected the design process of the 2010 Mercedes car, according to Michael Schumacher.

Despite aiming for the world championship with the W01, Mercedes GP is a distant fourth in the constructors' standings, a year after the same Brackley based team won the 2009 titles before being sold to the German marque.

"Ross (Brawn) was busy last year with quite a few other things, like securing the future of the team.  So he could not fully concentrate on the development of the (2010) car," Schumacher is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"I can live with the situation even if I am not happy about it," added the seven time world champion.  "We have to recognize the reasons."

Verstappen to attend Spa GP with son
(GMM)  Jos Verstappen will be seen in the Spa-Francorchamps paddock this weekend.

The Dutchman contested more than 100 grands prix dating back to 1994, most recently with Minardi in 2003.

He announced in his latest column for De Telegraaf newspaper that he will attend the Belgian grand prix with his son Max, a keen karter.

"It was a long time ago that I was physically present at a grand prix," announced Verstappen, 38.

"I asked Bernie Ecclestone very nicely for a pass and I'm happy that The Big Boss still knows who I am!" he added.

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