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Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Changes need for 'flawed' Abu Dhabi layout - Whitmarsh
  • Abu Dhabi F1 track eyes 2012 MotoGP race
  • Chandhok to try Pirelli tires on GP2 car
  • Champs Red Bull to spend $9m on staff bonuses
  • Melbourne may drop F1 race after 2014 - premier
  • Alonso will challenge Vettel's title in 2011 - Fittipaldi
  • 'Red Bull Ring' approved for F1 races
  • Friday could see Lotus naming dispute solution

Changes need for 'flawed' Abu Dhabi layout - Whitmarsh
(GMM)  The actual track layout of the impressive Yas Marina venue in Abu Dhabi is "flawed", according to Martin Whitmarsh.

"It is a great facility and everything else, but as we saw in GP2 and as we saw in F1 it is almost impossible to overtake here," the McLaren and FOTA boss is quoted by The Guardian.

1992 world champion Nigel Mansell agrees, arguing that the lack of overtaking last Sunday meant an anti-climactic finale to the otherwise thrilling 2010 title.

"The two protagonists, Alonso and Mark (Webber) just didn't pass anybody," he told the Daily Mail.  "It was a very boring race.

"Alonso is known for his charging, and to have a car which seems to be quicker than the car in front and not being able to overtake doesn't make sense," added Mansell.

Whitmarsh said he thinks the Yas Marina layout should therefore be changed.

"I personally would like to see it changed.  I think it is a fantastic facility that we come to, but the end of the straight they need a wide challenging corner, not a chicane that has got one line through it," he argued.

"You could see that when we first saw the plans.  There is a massive commitment here to making this a great venue, so in the scheme of things priority should be given to looking at the circuit," said Whitmarsh.

Circuit boss Richard Cregan did not rule out layout changes for the future.

"We have already extended the exit of turn eight and we are now studying the other various elements that we can improve," he is quoted as saying by Auto Hebdo in French.

Abu Dhabi F1 track eyes 2012 MotoGP race
(GMM)  The Yas Marina track, scene of the last two F1 season finales, is targeting a round of the MotoGP series.

"We are working on it for 2012," the Abu Dhabi venue's boss Richard Cregan told emirates247.com.

"It's not confirmed yet, but we are working on that with MotoGP.  The circuit may have to have some work on the curves but this is normal," he added.

The impressive floodlit circuit was built in 2009 at a cost of some $1bn.

Chandhok to try Pirelli tires on GP2 car
(GMM)  Karun Chandhok will test the 2011 GP2 car this week in France.

The Indian driver has been asked by his old team ORT to give the new car its maiden test in Paul Ricard beginning on Thursday.

"I really hope my experience in formula one and in GP2 will be helpful to the team," he said.

"My goal for 2011 is to remain in formula one, but for the time being it's good to have the opportunity of knowing the new GP2 car," said Chandhok, 26.

The new GP2 car has been designed by Dallara, who also penned the Hispania that Chandhok raced early in 2010.

Chandhok wrote on Twitter that the Paul Ricard test is a "good chance to try (the) Pirelli tires and knock the rust off!"

Champs Red Bull to spend $9m on staff bonuses
(GMM)  Red Bull its paying its entire staff - about 550 people - a healthy championship bonus.

Media reports say the bonus for the workers at the team's Milton Keynes headquarters is 10,000 British pounds each.

"I've had a load of texts saying 'Thanks for the new kitchen'," joked team boss Christian Horner.

The bonuses, costing the team almost $9 million, will be paid out of Red Bull's extra FOM prize-money for winning the constructors' world championship.

"Championship bonuses are in every contract," Horner is quoted by The Independent.  "I guess we can afford this."

The other piece of news emerging from the new F1 champions is the apparent thawing of relations between teammates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

"He (Webber) came to congratulate me (after Abu Dhabi) and showed me a lot of respect which was one of the most important things that happened," world champion Vettel revealed.

"We talked about some things that got in our way a little bit this year."

Webber is quoted by Swiss newspaper Blick: "The rivalry was maybe a bit too much sometimes.  It is important that you can shake hands afterwards."

Team boss turned 37 on Tuesday.

"I got a message from Bernie which said 'You've already had your gift from Ferrari so you won't need anything else from me'," he is quoted by the Telegraph.

Melbourne may drop F1 race after 2014 - premier
(GMM)  2014 could be the last time Melbourne hosts the Australian grand prix, state Victorian premier John Brumby has admitted.

The race's annual taxpayer-funded losses have grown to almost $50 million, moving the ruling Labor Party to consider not renewing the current contract.

"I know there's a range of views in the community and it is a costly major event, but we've got it until 2014, and really we'll look at whether we go beyond that," Brumby told the national radio broadcaster ABC.

He added that the debut race in 1996 was amid a broader major events program for the state.

"Certainly when we first won that (event) in Victoria it had a newness and a freshness and the longer you go with these things that freshness can obviously diminish a little," said Brumby.

The other side of state politics is also questioning the value of the grand prix, with opposition leader Ted Baillieu saying the cost is "a real worry".

Alonso will challenge Vettel's title in 2011 - Fittipaldi
(GMM)  It will be "difficult" for Sebastian Vettel to defend his title in 2011 because Fernando Alonso is F1's best driver.

That is the view of 63-year-old Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi, who like Spaniard Alonso is a double world champion.

When asked by Germany's Die Welt newspaper if German youngster Vettel will win again in 2011, he answered: "It is possible, but it will certainly be very difficult.

"Ferrari will be improving their car for 2011 to make up the little missing piece from this season.

"And Fernando Alonso is currently the most complete driver," insisted Fittipaldi.

"He has so much experience and as much ambition, and he doesn't like to lose," he said.

Fittipaldi also thinks Michael Schumacher will be back to full strength in 2011.

"Before the race in Sao Paulo I had breakfast with (Mercedes bosses) Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug and they assured me that the next car will better meet Michael's style."

"I believe in Michael Schumacher," he admitted.

"I remember having a talk with Ayrton Senna when Michael was at Benetton.  Ayrton found it extremely hard to race against him.  That, you do not lose.  I won my last major race when I was 49."

'Red Bull Ring' approved for F1 races
(GMM)  FIA official Charlie Whiting has inspected the reconstructed A1-Ring and approved it for events up to formula one standard.

That is the news of the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung, reporting that the former venue of the Austrian grand prix has been renamed 'Red Bull Ring'.

The track in Zeltweg was demolished after its final F1 race in 2003 and was recently rebuilt by Dietrich Mateschitz's energy drinks company.

It is set to be reopened in mid 2011 and is slated to host a range of motor racing categories including DTM, F3 and Formula 2.

"Red Bull's world championships are the best advertisement for the race track in Spielberg," said the Kleine Zeitung report.

A major hurdle for the Red Bull Ring, however, is the circuit's noise quota, with an F1 race meaning few other events could be held to make the venue profitable.

Friday could see Lotus naming dispute solution
(GMM)  This Friday has been marked out as a likely turning-point in the Lotus naming dispute.

Finland's Turun Sanomat reports that November 19 could see a settlement in the dispute, with Tony Fernandes' team wanting to keep its name but the separate Group Lotus looking to enter F1 with a Renault collaboration next year.

Indeed, it is believed that Proton-owned Group Lotus is scheduling an official announcement about its F1 project for 2011 this week.

At the same time, Fernandes is hinting that a decision has been made about how his team should proceed.  "(Shareholders) Nasa, Din and myself know what to do.  We are the people's team," he wrote on Twitter.

It seems likely that the matter will not become a messy court battle.

"What we don't want to be involved in is destroying the Lotus name," Fernandes is quoted by Reuters.

"We feel that we've done justice to the Lotus name.  We want to keep it.  We feel it's ours.  But we are also pragmatic human beings," he said.

And the team's technical boss Mike Gascoyne told Turun Sanomat: "I don't know what the name will be in the future, but that's not the important thing.

"I'm proud of the team and we've proved this year how strong we are.  And at least one thing can never be taken away from us -- we brought Lotus back to F1," he said.

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