Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
Major sponsor Philips to leave Williams
- Name change not important insists Lotus' Gascoyne
- Interlagos expected to stay wet on Saturday
- Horner tells Webber to put focus back on track
- Trulli plays down talk of NASCAR switch
- Title defeat will make Vettel stronger - Stewart
- FIA to increase maximum F1 stewards penalty
- HRT announces deal with former Telefonica boss
Major sponsor Philips to leave Williams
(GMM) One of Williams' major sponsors has revealed it is leaving the British team at the end of the season.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is also leaving Grove based Williams after next Sunday's Abu Dhabi grand prix, and it is rumored that AirAsia and McGregor are set to follow suit.
And a Dutch media report said Philips, the Dutch electronics multinational, has decided not to renew its contract beyond 2010.
Presently, Philips - a team sponsor for five years - has significant branding on the rear wing of the FW32, so the news is a big blow to the independent team.
“We have been pleased with our partnership with Williams," said Patrick Overwijk, Philips' global sponsorship manager.
"The reason we are stopping the sponsorship has nothing to do with Williams," he told formule1.nl.
"Philips has decided to withdraw from formula one in order to pursue a different kind of sponsorship," he explained.
Williams has been contacted for comment.
Name change not important insists Lotus' Gascoyne
(GMM) Tony Fernandes has denied his Malaysian formula one team Lotus is set to change its name ahead of the 2011 season.
When the team and Renault confirmed their engine supply collaboration in Brazil on Friday, neither party referred to Fernandes' outfit as 'Lotus'.
The situation comes amid the naming dispute with Proton-owned Group Lotus, and new speculation the carmaker is set to enter F1 in an alliance with Enstone based Renault F1.
The latest rumor is that Fernandes will apply for a new name for his team at the F1 Commission meeting in December, at the same time that Renault F1 asks to be called Lotus-Renault in 2011.
But Fernandes wrote on Twitter: "Next season we are still Lotus."
The team's technical boss Mike Gascoyne, however, seemed to acknowledge on Friday the possibility of a name change.
"For me, the job I do on Monday doesn't alter if the name changes," he said at Interlagos.
Gascoyne referred to F1's Brackley based team, which since 2004 has been called BAR, Honda, Brawn and now Mercedes, and said the outfit has "dealt with it very well".
Arguably the bigger story is the apparent further scaling back of French carmaker Renault's involvement with the team that bears its name, and the emergence of Group Lotus.
Renault SA chief executive Carlos Ghosn will be at Interlagos on Sunday "and maybe he will announce the deal", French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet wrote on his Auto Plus blog.
Interlagos expected to stay wet on Saturday
(GMM) It has been a wet night in Sao Paulo.
The F1 circus left the Interlagos track late on Friday expecting bad weather on Saturday, and those who then attended the open-air Eminem concert got very wet.
With Red Bull apparently dominant in the dry, the team's championship rivals were looking forward to Saturday's likely inclement conditions.
"Yes, we need rain," confirmed McLaren's Lewis Hamilton. "In terms of pure pace in the dry we can't really compete with the Red Bulls."
His teammate Jenson Button added: "I think they are not as strong in the wet as they are in the dry."
Michael Schumacher told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that he is not worried about the forecast, despite aquaplaning and drainage proving a problem at Interlagos in the past.
"You have to say that the track has improved significantly," he said.
Indeed, Interlagos has improved its drainage since last year's qualifying washout, with 'grooves' having been cut into the track surface to better direct the water flow.
"It's always a bit of a lottery when it rains, and not really welcome if you're fighting for the championship," said Schumacher.
Horner tells Webber to put focus back on track
(GMM) Christian Horner has advised Mark Webber to put his focus back on track.
Red Bull's team boss admitted he was disappointed and surprised with the Australian's comments in Brazil, with Webber suggesting it is "f***ing obvious" that Sebastian Vettel receives the bulk of the emotional support despite the points situation.
Speculation is now rife that, despite having signed a 2011 contract, it is likely Webber's last race in a Red Bull will be next Sunday's championship finale in Abu Dhabi.
"If I had a message for him, it would be 'Let's focus on the racing'," said Horner. "Let's get on with it."
He dismissed the histrionics so far this weekend as "mind games" and a push for a favorable team strategy, but advised Webber to instead work hard to beat his teammate on merit.
"No one wants to be gifted a championship and he owes it to himself to go out and finish the job," said Horner.
"He has had a great season winning some of the great races, like Silverstone and Monaco, and he needs to focus on redelivering that kind of form."
The apparent disunity is also a psychological gift to Red Bull's championship rivals, with Fernando Alonso already admitting this weekend that he is happy with the situation.
And McLaren's Jenson Button said: "He (Webber) is obviously all over the place after the last race, binning it, and suddenly he's behind, chasing.
"He hasn't got the margin anymore and there is a lot going on in his mind, I guess, because of that," added the defending world champion.
Trulli plays down talk of NASCAR switch
(GMM) Jarno Trulli has dismissed reports he is set to switch to NASCAR in 2011 rather than stay another season with Lotus.
The Italian veteran has bemoaned his abysmal run of reliability with the new team this season, and travelled straight from the recent Korean grand prix to Miami.
There, the 36-year-old met up with his old friend Juan Pablo Montoya, rekindling memories of when Trulli tested a NASCAR late last year when his future was also uncertain at the end of Toyota's F1 foray.
It Interlagos on Friday, he was asked about his latest US visit.
"I know that Juan Pablo was testing somewhere a few days before but honestly no, I was there for a holiday and I think people are just making up rumors," said Trulli.
Lotus technical boss Mike Gascoyne hinted strongly on Friday that both Trulli and his current teammate Heikki Kovalainen are staying put for 2011.
"I think a decision is imminent," he added.
Trulli even admitted to France's Auto Hebdo in Brazil that he played a role in advising Lotus to switch to Renault power for 2011 and beyond.
"Honestly, yes," he is quoted as saying.
"I talked with Mike and Tony (Fernandes) about my experiences with Renault in the past.
"I am very happy about it because I'll be working again with Renault, with whom I get along really well.
"We seem to be doing the right things for the future so I think we can expect a good season next year," added Trulli.
Title defeat will make Vettel stronger - Stewart
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel is too young and immature to win the 2010 world championship.
That is the claim of 71-year-old Sir Jackie Stewart, who won his first of three drivers' world championships in 1969 at the age of 30.
When asked about 23-year-old German Vettel's chances of winning the title this year, Scot Stewart told Auto Motor und Sport: "He is too young for the world championship.
"He has all the time in the world to do it, and he will. The defeat will make him even stronger for 2011," he said at Interlagos.
"I can't even remember when I was 23 years old. You're far too immature for the title.
"I was 30 when I became champion for the first time, and 34 when I won my last one. And I can tell you that I was a better champion when I was 34," said Stewart.
He also advised Red Bull to take a strategic approach to the last two races of 2010.
"As a team boss, in their situation, I would say that the constructors' title is virtually in the bag. If I wanted the bonus of the drivers' title, I would put all my chips on Webber," said Stewart.
FIA to increase maximum F1 stewards penalty
(GMM) The FIA has moved to increase the maximum penalty that can be imposed by formula one stewards.
When Ferrari controversially breached the team orders rule at Hockenheim this year, the maximum financial penalty available to officials was $100,000.
"$100,000 is no penalty for a team whose budget is many, many multiples higher," Sir Jackie Stewart told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport in Brazil.
"For Ferrari, it's small change," he added.
The FIA's General Assembly met in Paris on Friday and proposed to increase the stewards' maximum penalty to EUR 250,000 by altering the international sporting code.
The higher penalty will not be relevant for the remaining two races of 2010, but Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz insists that team orders between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel will not apply.
"What Ferrari did, we certainly will not," he is quoted by Kleine Zeitung newspaper.
"It means that in the worst case, we are not world champions -- but then there is always next year," added the Austrian billionaire.
Vettel confirmed that team orders have not been discussed behind closed doors in Brazil.
"My team boss has said nothing," the German told Bild newspaper.
"I will drive my race and try to win. If I cannot be first, I want to be second, and if I cannot be second, I want to be third," added Vettel.
HRT announces deal with former Telefonica boss
(GMM) HRT on Saturday morning confirmed reports the struggling Spanish team has agreed a deal with a new investor.
In a media statement, the team said former Telefonica president Juan Villalonga is partnering with Hispania's owner Jose Ramon Carabante.
"The immediate aim is to be able to have a much more competitive team," the statement read.
And Carabante said the money involved "is a sum that multiplies and enhances our ability to grow as a team".