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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Norbert Haug
    India GP track eyes 2012 MotoGP race
  • Haug insists 'no contact' with Hulkenberg
  • French GP revival failures frustrate Prost
  • Alonso has congratulated Vettel 'repeatedly'
  • Pirelli wants to boost F1 'show' but duck criticism

India GP track eyes 2012 MotoGP race
(GMM)  India's new formula one circuit may also be used for a MotoGP race.

With a bespoke venue currently being built by the Jaypee Group near the capital New Delhi, India is set to host its inaugural grand prix next October.

And according to a report in the Times of India, Jaypee is currently in talks with the MotoGP organizing body Dorna.

"Yes, we are in touch," said Jaypee's executive general manager Manu Bhaskar Gaur, hinting at a first MotoGP race in 2012.

Haug insists 'no contact' with Hulkenberg
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg could become Mercedes' third and reserve driver in 2011.

Following a shining formative career with titles in A1, European F3 and the F1 feeder series GP2, the 23-year-old rookie has stumbled at the first hurdle in formula one by losing his Williams race seat for 2011.

Efforts to secure potential comparative seats with Renault and Force India look set to founder, leaving manager Willi Weber reportedly believing a top test cockpit is the best remaining alternative.

Weber told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that it is a more attractive option to be "the third man in a top team than the first man with a backmarker".

And during a season with a straggler, "you learn nothing and your career is going backwards", according to Weber.

But Mercedes chief Norbert Haug played down the Hulkenberg rumors.

"There is currently no contact," he said, whilst praising the young German's potential.

"His car didn't drive itself to pole position in Brazil.  A GP2 champion and someone on pole in formula one must of course be very capable," said Haug.

And he disagrees with Weber that a top test role is better than a race seat with a smaller team.

"If he wants to keep his career going in a straight line, he would be better off racing with a second or even third-rate team," advised Haug.

French GP revival failures frustrate Prost
(GMM)  Alain Prost has admitted he is frustrated that moves to revive a French grand prix have so far not succeeded.

After the demise of the Magny Cours event, the quadruple world champion actively supported the major alternative projects, including one at Flins-Les-Mureaux as well as Disneyland Paris.

He told RMC radio that he is concerned efforts to put France back onto the F1 calendar is losing momentum.

"It must not be buried now," said Prost.

"There was a great opportunity last year at the time of the regional (elections), and a first draft for Disney which in hindsight was perhaps a bit complicated.

"But Flins was an exceptional site with a real project, a real business plan, and formula one to happen for only eight hours in a year, to appease the critics," he explained.

"There was a real program for the utilization of the circuit, with an economic and social advantage.

"There would have been 100,000 extra people near Paris.  Everyone was enthusiastic, especially Bernie Ecclestone.

"But the project was abandoned when everything was ready and financed, because of the regional election and an environmental problem that was essentially political," Prost charged.

He confirmed that the biggest problem seems to be a lack of political will.

"Do we want a grand prix of France?" wondered Prost.  "Today, there are no French drivers in F1, Renault will soon not be called Renault ... it's a bit complicated and a financial issue.

"The price asked by Bernie Ecclestone (for a GP) is variable -- about EUR 15 million per year in Europe.  Abroad, it is between 30 and 40 million, as in Abu Dhabi.

"It's an economic equation: how many spectators can you get?  (If it's) about 50 or 60,000, and the price is 15 million, your losses are about 8 million.

"Who can put up 8 million?  So if the politicians or the government are not saying 'it's important for France to have a grand prix', it's not worth talking about.

"It's rubbish when I hear that what is needed is a promoter.  The promoter (of the Disneyland Paris project) was the Lagardere group and myself.

"Above all what is important is that the economics are sustainable," added Prost.

Fernando Alonso wasn't happy about losing because of poor strategy, but if he and his Ferrari were fast enough to be on the front row in Abu Dhabi he probably would be world champion right now.  They weren't and he isn't.
Alonso has congratulated Vettel 'repeatedly'
(GMM)  The Italian press has leapt to the defense of Fernando Alonso, following media reports that he has so far refused to congratulate F1's new world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Widespread German reports in recent days quoted Vettel, whilst on a triumphant return to his hometown Heppenheim last week, as saying "He (Alonso) still has not congratulated me".

Asked to explain Alonso's cool, Vettel added: "Someone from Heppenheim took the title from him."

But a report in Italy's authoritative daily sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport insists that the Ferrari driver "in fact congratulated him (Vettel) repeatedly in the press".

Alonso said in an interview with the broadcaster Rai that he is already looking ahead.

"There's definitely a lot of sadness but at the same time thinking that 2011 will arrive soon when we can win as we know we can," he said.

Alonso said his and Ferrari's disappointment at missing out on the 2010 title is "normal".

"It happens when you are second in any sport; Wimbledon, (French Open tennis) Roland Garros, the World Cup, NBA -- there is always a feeling of sadness.

"From 2011, I am expecting a lot.  2009 was a difficult year for Ferrari but now we are back in form, the worst is over."

As for the title winner Vettel, he insisted: "He was the fastest of all, with 10 pole positions and some mechanical problems that took points away from him, but he won in the end.

"Congratulations, but we hope that next year is more difficult for him," added Alonso.

Pirelli wants to boost F1 'show' but duck criticism
(GMM)  Pirelli has confirmed it will try to contribute to the F1 'show' next year but warned it must also be seen as a competent tire maker.

In Canada this year, the products supplied by the sport's departing official supplier Bridgestone fell apart, resulting in a highly entertaining race.

The event sparked suggestions the arrival of a new tire supplier next season is an opportunity to manufacture more Canada-like thrillers.

F1 teams and drivers got their first taste of Pirelli's proposed tires for 2011 last week in Abu Dhabi, and noted that while the harder compound wore quickly, the soft was oddly much more durable.

The marque's motor sport boss Paul Hembery confirmed that Pirelli has responded to the desire that tire strategy influences the entertainment-value of grands prix.

"We have been asked to produce tires to improve the show," he is quoted by the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.

"But if we are very criticized by the teams or the drivers, yes, we will be able to bring to the next race very durable tires," added Hembery.

Overall, he insisted that the teams were generally "very enthusiastic" after their first encounter with Pirelli, and played down estimates that the tires are about 2 seconds slower than this year's Bridgestones.

"It is pointless to make those sorts of comparisons at this stage," said the British engineer, who also speaks fluent Italian.

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