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DATE News (chronologically)
11/08/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • CEO Ghosn admits changes in Renault F1 involvement
  • Red Bull should stick with fair play policy - Alonso
  • Button attack possibly kidnap attempt - Stewart
  • Maldonado to test HRT in Abu Dhabi

CEO Ghosn admits changes in Renault F1 involvement
(GMM)  Carlos Ghosn has admitted there are moves afoot to change the nature of French carmaker Renault's association with the F1 team that currently bears its name.

The marque's president attended Sunday's Brazilian grand prix amid rumors Renault is set to further distance itself from F1 as Group Lotus looks to get involved with the Enstone based team.

But Ghosn said Renault has actually expanded its involvement as an engine supplier by agreeing a deal with 1Malaysia for 2011, and said the carmaker will continue to be involved with both the engine and chassis at Renault F1.

"Beyond this, there may be financial agreements, marketing agreements, to suit our interests," he is quoted by Auto Hebdo.

"There may be some developments, but for the moment there is nothing," added Ghosn.

"What I can tell you is that, increasingly, we will be technology suppliers to many teams that are involved in formula one," he said.

Amid rumors Renault F1 could become Lotus-Renault in 2011, Ghosn also left the door open for a change of team name.

"Name changes are everywhere," he said.  "The key is to preserve the Renault name.  Apart from Renault F1, yes, there may be other associated names.

"We don't want to give the impression that we are an exclusive team.  We are now developing our technology with multiple teams," added Ghosn.

As for whether Renault SA might sell more of its minority stake in Renault F1, he answered: "I am not going to give a running commentary about discussions that have or have not occurred.

"But everything concerning our financial participation in this team or another, is tactical.  We are not in F1 to have a particular team but to promote the name and the technology of Renault.

"We will do whatever is necessary to do so at a lower cost and less investment.  We will not put in more resources that is necessary for that purpose.

"What is important is the expansion of our role as an engine and technology supplier."

A report in the O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper estimated Group Lotus' likely naming sponsorship of the Renault F1 team at EUR $60 million over three years.

Red Bull should stick with fair play policy - Alonso
(GMM)  The teams' differing philosophies about driver equality could mould the outcome of the 2010 world championship.

Red Bull has now secured the constructors' crown, but not echoing Ferrari's Hockenheim tactics in Sunday's Brazilian grand prix means Mark Webber is 8 points behind Fernando Alonso instead of just one.

However, the latest rumblings from Red Bull suggest that the team is prepared to play a tactical game in Abu Dhabi this weekend if it means either Webber or Sebastian Vettel can be champion.

The most likely move would be Vettel moving over for Australian Webber, because if the German wins again with Webber second in Abu Dhabi, Spaniard Alonso would stroll to the title.

But Alonso thinks Red Bull should be consistent.

"Red Bull has spent three months preaching about equality, so now they should continue with the same philosophy," he is quoted on Sunday by the El Pais newspaper.

Germany's Der Spiegel points out that this philosophy is indeed a gift to Alonso.

"He is benefitting from a policy of fair play that his own team abandoned months ago," said the publication.

But at Ferrari, the key philosophy is a course that leads to the title.  German reports quote Chris Dyer, chief engineer at the Italian team, as calling the Vettel-Webber one-two at Interlagos a "big favor" to Ferrari.

"But I am sure they will not be so generous in Abu Dhabi," added the Australian.

Button attack possibly kidnap attempt - Stewart
(GMM)  Jenson Button might have been the victim of an attempted kidnapping in Sao Paulo on Saturday night, according to Sir Jackie Stewart.

The F1 paddock was in shock on Sunday after it emerged the reigning world champion's car had been approached by up to six men with guns whilst returning from Interlagos to his Morumbi hotel.

The specially-trained police driver fended off the attack by smashing through traffic, with triple world champion Stewart worrying that wallets and watches might not have been the target.

"Drug barons don't go out to kill people but kidnap them because they are linked to rich multinational companies.  In Jenson's case that means Vodafone and Mobil," the Scot said.

50 years ago, Cuban rebels kidnapped the then reigning world champion Juan Manuel Fangio at gunpoint and held him for 24 hours.

Button's father John, who was in the car with his son at the time of the attack, admitted he fears it was not random.

Rumors on Sunday suggested the attackers were alerted a few minutes before the attack that Button's entourage had left the circuit.

"It was really weird," said John Button, "because we were in a very small, compact Mercedes, and they couldn't see in.

"It looked like they were waiting for someone, so that's a little bit worrying."

Button's attack was not the only security issue at Interlagos this year.  A group of photographers had their cameras stolen, a radio producer was relieved of his wallet and car keys, and even the local Lucas di Grassi admitted to being mugged.

"A guy walked up to the car, tapped a gun in his belt and I handed over the watch," said the Virgin driver.

One certainty is that Button was relieved to leave Brazil on Sunday night.

"I don't think that's the way to put it," he said before the race.  "It's an epic circuit and it holds a lot of good memories.  But I'll be on my way home tonight."

Maldonado to test HRT in Abu Dhabi
(GMM)  HRT on Monday announced that Pastor Maldonado will test with the Spanish team on three of the four forthcoming test days in Abu Dhabi.

The news follows reports the 2010 GP2 champion, who is substantially backed by the Venezuelan petroleum company PDVSA, is close to agreeing to race in 2011 with HRT's new gearbox supplier Williams.

It has already been announced that Maldonado will test the Williams on the remaining day of the tests after next Sunday's season finale.

Earlier, it was rumored that Williams' Finnish test driver Valtteri Bottas, and possibly even Nico Hulkenberg, might be among other candidates to test with HRT in Abu Dhabi.

Hulkenberg, however, is no longer a candidate, given that Maldonado has been scheduled for the whole of the Pirelli test on 19-20 November.

The 23-year-old German is not eligible to test on the young driver days.

Q&A with Pastor Maldonado

What does it mean for you to participate in these F1 tests with Hispania Racing?
P.M. “It will be something special to test with Hispania Racing after being the GP2 champion. It will definitely be an experience and one I am looking forward to very much.”

You are the second Venezuelan driver to drive a F1 car. How does this make you feel?
P.M. “It is simply an honor to be only the second Venezuelan driver after Johnny Cecotto, who drove nearly three decades ago. I have much to be grateful for being given this opportunity.”

You have gained a lot of experience in lower categories (GP2, GP2 Asia, RWS, F3000…) How do you think this has helped you to get here and test a F1 car with Hispania Racing?
P.M. “My previous experience will be very important, at this test in particular. Having the experience that I do can only help me adapt to a new, more complex category. I know as well that it has only increased my determination to be successful.”

What do you expect these 3 days of testing with Hispania Racing?
P.M. “The three days will be very important. I hope to contribute to the development of the team and to accumulate as much experience as possible.”

Describe yourself as a driver.
P.M. “I am a fast and technical driver and I’m here to win.”

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