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Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Schumacher testing superbikes before Singapore
  • Webber has fresh engine advantage over title rivals
  • My F-duct not working as well as Sutil's - Liuzzi
  • Dutch airline angry after McLaren sponsor event
  • Santander delighted with F1 sponsor backing
  • Black clouds above Singapore
  • Carmaker Lotus entering GP2 with ART team

Schumacher testing superbikes before Singapore
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher returned to the saddle of a powerful racing motorcycle this week before heading to Singapore.

According to German media reports, the 41-year-old on Tuesday morning travelled in his private plane to the Sachsenring.

He then tested 180 horse power KTM and Honda racing bikes with friends he met during his time in the IDM German superbike championship.

It was when testing the same sort of IDM bikes in early 2009 that Schumacher fell and hurt his neck; an injury that prevented him from racing in injured Felipe Massa's Ferrari cockpit last August.

Meanwhile, Schumacher's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg was already in Singapore on Tuesday, where he had to hitchhike back to his hotel in the cab of a truck after a taxi lost its way due to road closures around the Marina Bay circuit.

"Good luck, stay safe," one of his Twitter followers wrote.

Webber has fresh engine advantage over title rivals
(GMM)  From the perspective of spare fresh engines in the bank, championship leader Mark Webber has an advantage in the five-race run to the 2010 finale.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have each used their full allocation of eight engines for the season, meaning that if they need to use more engines in 2010, they will incur ten-place grid penalties.

"We preferred to use a new engine at Monza and then manage the mileage for the next five races," team boss Stefano Domenicali is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have used 7 engines apiece, so they each have a spare engine in the bag.

"The McLaren drivers (are a threat) because they look to have a bit more reliability up their sleeve with engines, and we don't know what's going to go on at the end of the year," Webber said in an interview with BBC Sport.

Also having used 7 engines so far are the Mercedes, Force India, Toro Rosso, HRT, Virgin and Lotus drivers, Williams' Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi.

Sebastian Vettel has a spare Renault engine in the bank, but Webber has two fresh engines still to fit in the rear of his RB6.

"Singapore should suit us if Monaco is anything to go by," said the Australian, who won that famous street race in May.

"We've seen performance move around a little bit - not much - against the form card but on paper the next few circuits look like they should be good for us," added Webber.

Also with two spare engines left are the works Renault drivers, and Williams' Rubens Barrichello.

Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa, meanwhile, ran out of engines in Belgium last month, forcing him ten places down the grid after a ninth Ferrari unit was installed.

Nick Heidfeld is now taking over car number 22, meaning that if a tenth engine needs to be fitted at any of the five remaining races this season, it will be the German serving a grid penalty.

My F-duct not working as well as Sutil's - Liuzzi
(GMM)  Force India's F-duct system is working better for Adrian Sutil, his teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi insists.

"It's not working as it should for me," the Italian is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

"In terms of top speed I'm generally slower than my teammate," he insisted.

Italian Liuzzi, 29, is regarded as having struggled against German Sutil in 2010, having scored 32 fewer points in the sister VJM03.

But reports recently indicated that Liuzzi is already under contract for 2011, despite speculation Force India would like to give its promising reserve driver Paul di Resta his F1 debut next year.

Di Resta, a Scot who won his second successive DTM race last weekend, will not be driving the Force India on Friday morning in Singapore, as he has at several race weekends this year.

Lewis Hamilton believes that if a Force India driver is ousted at the end of the year, it will not be his friend and former F3 teammate Sutil.

"Adrian is doing a pretty good job and it is very difficult to see anyone dislodging him from that seat," the 2008 world champion told the Times of India.

German reports suggest Sutil, 27, would be the leading candidate to drive for Mercedes next year if Michael Schumacher decides to return to retirement.

Dutch airline angry after McLaren sponsor event
(GMM)  Dutch airline KLM is unimpressed after a recent promotional event involving McLaren and Lewis Hamilton.

The Vodafone sponsor event earlier this month involved Hamilton driving a formula one car on a runway of the Netherlands' main international airport Schiphol over two days.

According to a KLM spokesman, the runways should be exclusively for aircraft "and not for race cars".

"An airport is not a theme park," he told Amsterdam daily Het Parool.

"As the main user of the major Schiphol airport it was a huge inconvenience," a spokesman is also quoted by nu.nl.

"At such a busy airport, safety and sustainability must come first."

KLM also claims it was not informed in advance about the closure of the runway for the F1 demonstration.

The local airline said it will discuss the situation with the government authority Inspectie voor Verkeer en Waterstaat (IVW) in order to avoid a repeat of the situation.

De Telegraaf newspaper said IVW has launched an investigation after receiving multiple complaints.

"Why couldn't a campaign like this take place at a closed airport?" said the KLM spokesman.

Santander delighted with F1 sponsor backing
(GMM)  Santander is more than happy with its sponsorship activities in formula one, according to Spanish media reports.

Citing the confirmation of communications boss Juan Manuel Cendoya, the EFE and Europa Press (EP) news agencies said the Spanish bank's EUR 50 million spend this year will net a five-fold return.

That means that the returns gained in 2010 will pay for Santander's projected spending between 2011 and 2014, involving trackside and race sponsorship and the major backing of the Ferrari team.

The EP report said Santander reduced its advertising in other areas after investing in F1, including a 10 per cent decrease in 2009.

Black clouds above Singapore
(GMM)  It has been a glum day in Singapore, where in the city's Marina Bay area the fifteenth round of the 2010 world championship will be held this weekend.

The paddock of the street circuit is currently wet, and there have been black clouds overhead, amid reports bad weather is forecast for most days of the grand prix event.

That will be a concern for the teams and drivers, who are worried that rain could produce reflections from puddles and glimmering water droplets under the bright trackside lights.

"I think rain would be really challenging," said Nico Rosberg, who arrived in Singapore at the weekend.

But the majority of Singapore's rain at this time of year is reportedly falling during daylight hours, while the track action is scheduled either in the evening or after sunset to suit the bulk European television audience.

Another concern is the city's high humidity conditions.

"Even though the race is at night it's still very humid, which makes it difficult for the drivers to stay cool," explains Formula Medicine doctor Riccardo Ceccarelli.

Carmaker Lotus entering GP2 with ART team
(GMM)  British sports car maker Lotus is entering F1's main feeder category GP2.

Lotus Motorsport, an arm of the Proton-owned Lotus Cars, is entirely separate to Lotus Racing, the new formula one team headed by Tony Fernandes.

Amid reports Group Lotus is set to retract its license of the use of the Lotus Racing name for the F1 team, it is expected that Fernandes' outfit will become known as Team Lotus for 2011.

The Team Lotus name was owned separately by David Hunt, brother of the late 1976 world champion James Hunt.  Hunt acquired the name after the original Team Lotus folded in 1994.

It was announced late on Tuesday that Group Lotus' Lotus Motorsport is entering GP2 next year with Nicolas Todt's top line team ART.

"We come together with a common goal: to continue our great success in motorsport," said Lotus' communications boss Gino Rosato, formerly the security man at Ferrari.

The deal sees Lotus commit to "providing technical and engineering support for the GP2 and GP3 race series for the foreseeable future", a statement read.

Added director of operations Miodrag Kotur: "Lotus won't simply be partner in name only, ART will also benefit from our considerable engineering and technical support and experience."

Fascinatingly, Fernandes will also be linked to the GP2 grid in 2011, with his team to be called Team Air Asia, after his low-cost Malaysian airline.

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