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DATE News (chronologically)
09/23/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • F1 drivers worried about rain under Singapore lights
  • Ferrari not worried about Alonso's engine usage
  • 'Team orders' steward Sullivan back to work in Singapore
  • Mercedes still not worried about Schumacher's hobby
  • De la Rosa not in Singapore for night race
  • Ecclestone open to return of French GP
  • Todt denies bowing to Ferrari's team orders pressure
  • Officials deny Melbourne to move grand prix

F1 drivers worried about rain under Singapore lights
(GMM)  F1 drivers have admitted they are concerned about the prospect of rain under the Singapore lights this weekend.

During the first two editions of the sport's first night event in 2008 and 2009, wet weather did not fall on the city street circuit.

"I've never driven in the rain at night," said F1's most experienced driver Rubens Barrichello in the Asian city-state.

"I really don't know what to say about that.  We just have to wait and see," added the Brazilian.

The worries are that the bright overhead lights will reflect off the wet surface of the track, and perhaps even the rain droplets themselves.

There was a huge downpour in the Marina Bay area on Wednesday, and on Thursday another severe storm rolled in.

"It (Wednesday's rain) was so heavy that rivers of water flooded the track to a point where the tires can't deal with it," said Sir Jackie Stewart.

"In daylight, we can see beyond the track if we're heading into rain.  But here, the light is contained on the circuit and everything else is dark.

"So it'll be very challenging on the drivers' peripheral vision," added the triple world champion.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel commented: "We've yet to experience any wet running on a floodlit track, so it will be interesting if that happens."

Nico Rosberg admitted he is "definitely worried" about the weekend's weather forecast.

"It's going to be rather interesting if it rains, but I hope it doesn't because it will be quite messy," said the German.

Ferrari not worried about Alonso's engine usage
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso insists he is not worried about his engine situation with five races still to run in 2010.

Ferrari is pushing ahead with the Spaniard's championship chances, but at Monza two weeks ago he began using his eighth V8 unit for the season.

FIA rules state that if a driver uses a ninth engine during the season, he must move ten places down the qualifying grid -- a situation that would seriously affect Alonso's aim to recover his 21 point deficit to Mark Webber.

But he said: "There is no reason to worry about engine problems, because our (other) engines can also be used more.

"And there are no other tracks where we are on the throttle for most of the lap," Alonso is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo.

It is believed that, this weekend in Singapore, Alonso will use the engine he raced recently at Spa-Francorchamps.

"It is a street circuit, where the engines are less important," noted team boss Stefano Domenicali.

McLaren's chief engineer Phil Prew believes Ferrari when the Italian team says it is not overly worried about engine usage.

"I think it will only affect their Friday running, in terms of running used engines on the Friday," he told reporters during Wednesday's Vodafone teleconference.

"Sadly I don't think that will give us any advantage over them," added Prew.

'Team orders' steward Sullivan back to work in Singapore
(GMM)  Danny Sullivan will be in the stewards room this weekend in Singapore.

The 1985 Indy 500 winner debuted in the FIA's new driver-representative role at Hockenheim in July.

There, he was famously involved in the decision to fine Ferrari $100,000 and summon the team to the World Motor Sport Council for imposing illegal team orders.

60-year-old American Sullivan's formative racing career took place in European open wheel series, but he raced in CART before switching to formula one with Tyrrell in 1983.

He returned to America in 1984, winning the series in 1988 before announcing his retirement whilst recovering from a crash in 1995.

Mercedes still not worried about Schumacher's hobby
(GMM)  Mercedes insists it is still not worried about Michael Schumacher's outings on the saddle of powerful superbikes.

Immediately before travelling to Singapore this week, the seven time world champion tested 180 horse power KTM and Honda bikes at the Sachsenring circuit in Germany.

It was on the same sort of German IDM championship bike 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.

But Mercedes' Norbert Haug said in July that if "Michael can deal with the risk, so can we".

And a spokesman for the German marque told DPA news agency on Wednesday: "Michael has fun riding bikes and knows exactly what he is doing, and we know that too."

Schumacher arrived in Singapore on Wednesday, and immediately headed to the Marina Bay area to inspect the street circuit on a scooter.

The German has never raced in the Asian city-state, nor in a formula one car under lights.

"Driving a new track has never been too complicated for me and I am usually very quick to learn and find the rhythm," he said.

Fellow Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was asked in Singapore on Thursday if he will be offering advice about night racing to his famous teammate.

"He will probably ask, I probably won't tell him anything," he joked.

De la Rosa not in Singapore for night race
(GMM)  For the first time in many years, Pedro de la Rosa will be watching a grand prix this weekend from the comfort of his Zurich home.

The Spanish 39-year-old, who before returning to the F1 grid this year with Sauber was McLaren's long-time tester and veteran of some 70 grands prix, has been ousted and replaced for Singapore and beyond by Nick Heidfeld.

"It's a shame I'm not racing because Singapore would have been my first night race," he said.

"But I will be following the race with interest from home," added de la Rosa.

"I must admit it will be difficult to watch on TV because for years I have either been taking part or commentating, so to see it from the sofa will be very strange," he admitted.

Ecclestone open to return of French GP
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he is not opposed to the idea of France returning to the formula one calendar.

Earlier this month it emerged that Magny Cours, the long-time scene of the country's annual race between 1991 and 2008, is ramping up its efforts to return to the calendar by 2012.

But F1 chief executive Ecclestone is no fan of Magny Cours' remote location, and has been pushing for a grand prix venue nearer the French capital.

The Briton is also involved with the test track at Paul Ricard, near Marseille.

"Paul Ricard is probably one of the best in the world," Ecclestone is quoted by L'Equipe.

"But we still don't have a place for a race.  You know the problem.

"The (French) grand prix has a future, but where is the promoter?" said the 79-year-old.  "I really thought the project near Paris would happen."

He said he is open to finding a place on the calendar for France, the scene of the very first grand prix in 1906.

"I am ready to sign a contract as soon as possible, the very moment someone comes to me and says 'I have the money and a circuit'.

"I would be happy to have a race in France," insisted Ecclestone.

Todt denies bowing to Ferrari's team orders pressure
(GMM)  Jean Todt has hinted that F1's team orders ban will be reconsidered in order to make the sport more "transparent".

But the FIA president denied he is bowing to the pressure and ideals of Ferrari, the famous Italian team he led to enormous success last decade.

Maranello based Ferrari recently and controversially escaped additional penalties for switching the places of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim.

Instead, the World Motor Sport Council ruled that the ban on team orders, installed after Todt ordered Rubens Barrichello to let Michael Schumacher win the 2002 Austrian grand prix, be reconsidered.

"I'm not for or against team orders; it depends on the situation," Todt told the Clarin daily whilst visiting Argentina.

"It's as old as racing," the Frenchman insisted.  "After what happened with Alonso and Massa in Germany, the issue was reopened and passed to a committee to make the rules clear.

"The idea is to find out what is most healthy and transparent," said Todt.

He denied that the FIA's apparently new approach to team orders demonstrates a link between his new presidency and Ferrari.

Asked what his response to those types of critics is, Todt answered: "They are fools.

"It is the same as when I was with Peugeot, and also Ferrari.  Now as president of the FIA, I do my best for the organization, regardless of the particular interests of others," he explained.

Officials deny Melbourne to move grand prix
(GMM)  Officials have denied reports there are serious moves afoot to relocate Melbourne's Australian grand prix.

With the current contract for Albert Park running until 2015, and in light of mounting taxpayer losses, it emerged this week that permanent circuits outside of Melbourne - at Calder Park or Avalon - are being considered for the event's future.

But a spokesman for the state Victorian tourism minister said: "The grand prix is staying at Albert Park."

Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker added: "The government is happy to leave it (the grand prix) at Albert Park because it showcases the city."

And state premier John Brumby told reporters on Thursday: "I think it (the chance of the grand prix moving) is about as close to zero as you can get."

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