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DATE News (chronologically)
10/25/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Lotus to build wind tunnel in UK
  • Yeongam GP wants Korean team and driver in F1
  • Schumacher brothers urge Red Bull to use team orders
  • Button not yet ready to help Hamilton's title charge
  • Sao Paulo mayor not worried about losing Brazil GP
  • Government must save Spa GP insists Ecclestone
  • Sauber slams 'unsporting' Ferrari and McLaren crews
  • Korea GP vows to solve problems for 2011
  • Williams to test young hopefuls in Abu Dhabi

Lotus to build wind tunnel in UK
(GMM)  Lotus has announced it will soon start building a wind tunnel at its current UK headquarters in Hingham.

The news would seem to end team owner and boss Tony Fernandes' earlier plans to setup camp with a dedicated wind tunnel in Malaysia.

Lotus Racing also revealed that it is expanding its current UK factory to accommodate its new GP2 team AirAsia.

"Today's announcement ... gives us the facility we need to lay the foundations for long-term success," said technical chief Mike Gascoyne.

Yeongam GP wants Korean team and driver in F1
(GMM)  Organizers of the Korean grand prix have indicated they will support efforts to see a local team and driver on the formula one grid.

"This is something we really must have; a (Korean) team and a driver in formula one," Chung Yung-cho, chief executive of the race promoter KAVO, told Reuters after Sunday’s first-ever race at the $220 million Yeongam venue.

He said there is already work going on "behind the scenes" to this end, and said the Korea Auto Valley Operation - a joint private venture involving the Jeollanam-do regional government - is ready to help.

"Let's not be afraid that we might fall short.  If anyone finds they are just short of what they need, we'll help," he confirmed.

An industry official last week said Seoul-based Hyundai - the world's fifth largest carmaker - is "simply not interested in formula one", while the electronics giant LG is already involved as a sponsor.

Schumacher brothers urge Red Bull to use team orders
(GMM)  The Schumacher brothers are adamant Red Bull must now impose team orders if it wants to win the 2010 drivers' world championship.

Their young countryman Sebastian Vettel looked set to take the points lead from his Australian teammate Mark Webber, who crashed on the slippery Yeongam circuit, after controlling Sunday's Korean grand prix from pole position.

But Vettel also retired from the race with an engine failure, leaving him 14 points shy of Webber, who is now 11 points behind new championship leader Fernando Alonso.

With just two races to go, Ralf Schumacher thinks Red Bull's new strategy should be obvious.

"Now Red Bull need to play a single card; Mark Webber," the former grand prix winner, in Korea to commentate for German television, is quoted by Bild newspaper.

"Sebastian needs to get as many points as he can, but Red Bull must see to it that Webber gets the title," Schumacher added.

Reluctantly, because it will be to the detriment of his friend Vettel, seven time world champion Michael Schumacher also said a team strategy must now be taken by Red Bull for the remaining Brazilian and Abu Dhabi grands prix.

"I'm sorry for Sebastian," he told German television Sky.  "I have to recall almost a decade ago, when everyone thought we at Ferrari were crazy to be thinking about the championship so early.

"But if Red Bull had done the same, their worry lines would be much smaller now,” added the German.

His reference to "almost a decade ago" must surely be about 2002, when Ferrari was roundly condemned for moving Rubens Barrichello aside so that Schumacher could take maximum points from the Austrian grand prix.

Ferrari implemented a similarly controversial strategy at Hockenheim earlier this year, and on Sunday Fernando Alonso moved to the head of the drivers' title standings.

But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was quoted on Sunday as saying he will not be making Webber the number 1 driver for the rest of 2010.

But he also told reporters at Yeongam: "I haven't had time to look at all the mathematics and scenarios.  It's something that obviously we will look at pretty closely between now and Brazil."

Vettel, however, made clear he is not personally ready to give up, even though his engine failure seriously dented his charge in Korea.

"It is very significant for the championship situation, but I am the last to give up," German media quote him as saying. 

Button not yet ready to help Hamilton's title charge
(GMM)  Jenson Button has indicated he will not fall in line behind his McLaren teammate until his championship chances are "mathematically" over.

The reigning world champion fell 42 points off Fernando Alonso's new title lead in Korea on Sunday; 21 points shy of his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton's tally.

Immediately after the race, 30-year-old Button - when asked about his fading chances of defending his title - admitted he is "not really" still able to win the championship.

But later, he told the BBC that his comments had been made "in the heat of the moment", adding that he is confident he "won't be asked" by his bosses to play a number 2 role.

"I don't stand by that (statement) now," he said, referring to when he earlier wrote off his championship chances.

"You don't win world championships by conceding defeat before it is all over.  You have seen today how things can change," insisted Button.

With the two wins in Brazil and Abu Dhabi worth potentially 50 points in total, Button’s 42-point deficit means that he is still mathematically able to win in 2010.

"If mathematically I couldn't win the championship then, yes, I would help Lewis,” he said.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said after the race that he thought Button would “voluntarily" back Hamilton's championship push.

Asked if there was a role McLaren could play in the strategy, he answered: "We will think about that and talk about it before we get to Brazil.

"We're going away still very much in contention with Lewis and two really interesting races ahead ... it's still wide open," he added.

Spanish newspapers on Sunday noted that, for example in the event of another DNF for Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso could in theory wrap up the world championship in Brazil next month.

Sao Paulo mayor not worried about losing Brazil GP
(GMM)  The mayor of Sao Paulo has played down fears poor circuit facilities will see the Interlagos venue fall off the annual formula one schedule.

Mayor Gilberto Kassab was at the scene of next weekend's Brazilian grand prix at the weekend, as the circuit performed safety checks for the forthcoming race.

Asked if he is worried that many in the F1 circus - including the sport's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone - believe Interlagos features arguably the worst facilities on the calendar, he answered: "I am not.

"The city of Sao Paulo has a great interest in staying on the schedule and has invested a lot for it.

"The organizers of F1 also have an interest in having the race here," he is quoted by Agencia Estado news agency.

"After all, Sao Paulo is one of the major cities of the world, and there's no reason for Brazil to not be in the loop," added Kassab.

For the 2010 event, new 'soft wall' barriers, anti-slip paint, synthetic grass and better drainage have been installed around the circuit.

More comprehensive upgrades to the ageing facilities have not been done yet, but the mayor said a 'Master Plan' will be drafted at the end of the year.

Kassab is also quoted by Globo Esporte: "There are some things missing, but I like what I see.  I am very calm.  Every year we improve the autodromo, which is one of the best in the world.

"If not the largest, F1 is one of the major events of the world.  It generates jobs and income for the city.  That is why we invest so much in it," he added.

On the other end of the scale is Abu Dhabi's impressive Yas Marina circuit, which is set to host the 2010 season finale one week after Brazil.

Ecclestone told Gulf News: "If only all the venues were as superb as Abu Dhabi, I would be a happy man.

"How long is their arrangement to hold a grand prix?  For ever.  For as long as they want it," added the Briton, who turns 80 this week.

Government must save Spa GP insists Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has played down reports he has already earmarked the popular Spa-Francorchamps venue as the most likely to be axed in Europe.

In a recent interview with the British newspaper the Guardian, the F1 chief executive was quoted as saying the much-loved Belgian track could "absolutely" make way for new international hosts like the US and Russia.

And Ecclestone reportedly confirmed "Yes, Spa" when asked for confirmation that at least one European race will need to be taken off the calendar in the near future.

But he has now told Belgian television RTBF that the Guardian journalist “misinterpreted" his comments.

"The Guardian twisted my words," the Briton insisted.

"I am sure that in the years to come, we will lose a few races in Europe.  It is almost certain.

"Which ones?" said Ecclestone.  "I have no idea.  But from our side, we want to keep Spa.  There are long discussions about the grand prix there, but if it does go, it will be because of the government, not me."

Sauber slams 'unsporting' Ferrari and McLaren crews
(GMM)  Peter Sauber has denounced members of the Ferrari and McLaren teams for displaying "unsporting" behavior during Sunday's Korean grand prix.

Hinwil based Sauber's founder and boss said he was upset to see team members of the rival teams celebrating jubilantly when Red Bull's Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel retired from the front of the inaugural Yeongam event.

In terms of the championship fight, it was indeed Ferrari and McLaren who benefitted most from Red Bull's problems, but after he saw their celebrations on the pitwall monitors, Sauber said: "They were scenes that didn't please me at all.

"Very unsporting," the 67-year-old told Swiss daily Blick.

Meanwhile in Korea, Bernie Ecclestone helped veteran Blick correspondent Roger Benoit celebrate his 600th grand prix.

Korea GP vows to solve problems for 2011
(GMM)  Organizers of Sunday's inaugural Korean grand prix have vowed to put on a better show in 2011.

"There are a lot of things to work on," admitted Chung Yung-cho, chief executive of the promoter KAVO.

Following the horror stories in the media of the past weeks and months, the F1paddock in general was surprisingly impressed with the facilities, layout and welcome at Yeongam.

But a lack of affordable accommodation for mechanics and reporters meant many of them stayed in what became known as 'love hotels', while those at the circuit grappled with internet and utility connection problems.

The circuit itself was tinkered with by FIA officials throughout the weekend, local roads struggled to cope with lines of cars whose occupants missed the start of Sunday’s race and then parked in sodden car parks, and some ticket holders were directed to other vantage-points when their grandstands proved unready.

"We'll do our best to correct these flaws and be perfectly ready for next year," Chung is quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

FIA president Jean Todt, who attended the event, said: "It is easy to be very critical in this situation.

"I think that the essentials are an admiration for all the work which has been done," the Frenchman told the South Korean JoongAng Daily.

"I feel that problems will definitely be solved in the future," he added.

Williams to test young hopefuls in Abu Dhabi
Williams F1 today announced that the team will run Pastor Maldonado and Dean Stoneman during the young driver test days in Abu Dhabi on 16 and 17 November 2010.

Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado recently took championship honors in the 2010 GP2 series, while Briton’s Dean Stoneman took title honors in this year’s FIA Formula Two Championship.

The team also confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will remain as the team’s test driver in 2011.

Frank Williams, Team Principal of the AT&T Williams team, commented, “We are delighted to have the two reigning champions of the two strongest feeder series for Formula One in the FW32 for these two test days. Valtteri fought hard for his third place in this year's Formula 3 Euroseries, taking two wins and six podiums in a very competitive year. He also set a record with his second consecutive victory in the Formula 3 Masters. He has worked hard both on and off the track and learnt a great deal. We continue to see talent, discipline and dedication and are happy to help foster that further in 2011."

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