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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Nelson Piquet Jr.
    Renault pays Piquets and apologizes for 'crashgate'
  • Massa's boat crashes in Brazil
  • Ecclestone appoints successor for retiring McNally
  • Ferrari confirms Badoer leaving as test driver
  • Berger criticizes Ferrari's F-duct, not strategy
  • Horner upset but Webber 'heroic' insists pundit Stuck
  • Barrichello asked to lose weight for KERS return

Renault pays Piquets and apologizes for 'crashgate'
(GMM)  Renault has apologized to Nelson Piquet and his father and promised to pay them "substantial" compensation.

The move could be the final act in the 'crashgate' scandal that gripped formula one last year, after Brazilian Piquet Jr admitted to crashing on purpose during the Singapore grand prix of 2008.

Piquet and his namesake father, the famous triple world champion, sued Renault in the London High Court for alleging blackmail and accusing them of lying about the events of Singapore.

After a court hearing, the F1 drivers' lawyer Dominic Crossley said: "Today the Renault team apologized for defaming my clients.

"They were both treated appallingly by Renault when they dared to reveal the scandal to the governing body; and Nelsinho was abused terribly throughout his absurdly short career in F1."

Piquet, 25, now races in the American NASCAR series, admitting to news outlets on Tuesday that he is not focused upon returning to F1.

"F1 has been deprived of the best of Nelsinho and it is to its detriment that his talent is now being demonstrated elsewhere," said Crossley.

Renault confirmed: "We would like to apologize unreservedly to Mr. Piquet Junior and his father for the distress and embarrassment caused.

"As a mark of the sincerity of our apology and regret, we have agreed to pay them a substantial amount of damages for libel as well as their costs, and have undertaken not to repeat these allegations at any time in the future," the team added.

Massa's boat crashes in Brazil
(GMM)  A boat owned by Felipe Massa has been damaged in an incident off Sao Paulo's south coast.

Reports in the Brazilian dailies Lance and O Globo said the incident occurred on an island near the beach of Guaruja, when the 50 foot boat hit rocks.

Nobody was hurt, but the boat's hull is damaged beyond repair.

The reports said the boat was being driven from a marina to collect the Ferrari driver and his family when the captain had a seizure.

Massa's spokesperson Marcio Fonseca revealed that the 29-year-old was in contact with the captain when the incident occurred.

"Suddenly, Felipe could no longer talk to him.  Felipe ran to the scene to see if all was well.

"He (the captain) was taken to hospital but he's ok, only some light bruises," added Fonseca.

Ecclestone appoints successor for retiring McNally
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has appointed a successor for the retiring Paddy McNally.

Entrepreneur McNally, also a director of the sport, heads the lucrative trackside advertising company Allsport, which also runs the Paddock Club.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone, who oversees the sport's companies including Allsport since 2006, has appointed David Campbell to succeed McNally next year.

Campbell, chief executive of AEG Europe who oversaw the transformation of London's successful O2 Arena, is now tipped as a likely successor for the 80-year-old Ecclestone.

Allsport Management confirmed that Campbell will start his new role in the first quarter of 2011, with Irish multimillionaire McNally expected to stay as non-executive chairman.

"He (Campbell) is going to join Allsport run by Mr. McNally in Geneva and be helping him.  He needs a bit of help," Ecclestone told the Press Association.

"I hope he can do it.  It's a completely different thing to what he has been doing at O2.  But he's a commercial-minded guy, so I'm sure there will be no problems," he added.

Ferrari confirms Badoer leaving as test driver
(GMM)  Ferrari has confirmed that 2010 was Luca Badoer's last year as test driver.

The almost 40-year-old Italian has been in the role since the late 90s, reportedly accumulating more than 130,000 kilometers at Fiorano in Ferrari's F1 cars during that period.

The Maranello based team confirmed Badoer's departure in a press release about Ferrari's involvement in the Bologna International Motor Show.

Ferrari said Badoer's demonstration of a 2009 car at the show "will be his farewell to an amazing thirteen year career as a Ferrari test driver".

In the same F60 last year, Badoer was heavily criticized for his lack of competitiveness when he replaced the injured Felipe Massa in the Brazilian's race cockpit.

Badoer raced 58 other times for minor Italian teams throughout the 90s but never scored a point.

Ferrari announced last month that 21-year-old Frenchman Jules Bianchi has been signed as a test driver for 2011.

Also contracted in test roles are Giancarlo Fisichella and Marc Gene.  Ferrari has not said which driver will be the official F1 reserve in 2011.

Berger criticizes Ferrari's F-duct, not strategy
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger has refused to join those critical of Ferrari's strategy mistake that cost Fernando Alonso his third drivers' title in 2010.

Sections of the Italian press as well as some F1 pundits have called for consequences, after strategists called Alonso in for an early pitstop in Abu Dhabi that ultimately stranded the Spaniard behind Vitaly Petrov.

But Berger, a former Ferrari driver and ten-time grand prix winner, as well as former Toro Rosso team owner, said he knows how difficult is the task of calling the shots from the pitwall.

"Afterwards, when you've got all the information at hand and you have time to think about it, you're always smarter," the Austrian told Auto Motor und Sport.

"It was easy to criticize Ferrari after that race but it's incredibly difficult to do the right thing in the crucial second," added Berger.

If Ferrari is criticized, it should be for not giving Alonso the right car with which to pass the less competitive Petrov's Renault, Berger insisted.

"It shouldn't happen with Ferrari that Renault has better F-duct technology than you.  The F-duct is a thing that everyone knew about well (by season's end)."

He also predicted a long period of dominance now for Red Bull.

"They won't be beaten as long as they have Adrian Newey," said Berger.  "What can Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes do in this situation?  I would try to take away Newey as a tool (to Red Bull).

"So that's on the aerodynamic side.  If I was Red Bull's competitor I would be doing everything politically to reduce the importance of aerodynamics.  Today this is done simply with the whole cost argument about wind tunnels," he added.

Horner upset but Webber 'heroic' insists pundit Stuck
(GMM)  Pundits have leapt to the defense of Mark Webber, after his boss Christian Horner revealed "disappointment and frustration" with the Australian driver.

Suggestions that Webber, 34, is still at loggerheads with Red Bull - and possibly to split with the Austrian team before the start of the 2011 season - have resurfaced since it emerged he hid his recent shoulder injury from his bosses.

"Of course he has obligations to his employer," said former German F1 driver and now VW advisor Hans-Joachim Stuck, "but it (the injury) cannot have been very bad," he told the SID news agency.

In fact, Stuck thinks Webber's performances whilst in pain during the crucial events in Japan, Korea and beyond were "absolutely heroic".

"To have that handicap and still show such good performance, I tip my hat to him," he insisted.

And Stuck thinks Webber perhaps kept quiet about the injury in order to "not weaken his position within the team".

"Without doubt he did everything possible to try to become world champion," he added.

Another pundit and former grand prix driver Christian Danner also backs Webber, particularly as it emerged that the Australian's pain treatments at races were under the supervision of F1 doctor Gary Hartstein.

"If the FIA knew about it then he did nothing wrong, and it cannot have been too dramatic otherwise he would not have had such good performance," he said.

Barrichello asked to lose weight for KERS return
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello has revealed he has been asked to lose some weight ahead of the 2011 season.

Prior to the introduction of KERS systems in 2009, many drivers slimmed down to counteract the additional weight.

With the technology being re-introduced in 2011, the weight problem - and the sight of skeletal F1 drivers - should be less dramatic, given the higher car-plus-driver minimum weight and a standard weight distribution.

During Brazilian Barrichello's long F1 career, it is believed his weight has fluctuated between 70 and 79 kilograms.

When he received a prize at the Autosport awards last weekend, he insisted he is driving better than ever and is fitter even than when he made his formula one debut in 1993 at the age of 20.

But the German language Speed Week quotes him as admitting: "Next year KERS is being reintroduced.  Therefore, the engineers have asked me to lose weight."

Williams, although famous for pioneering flywheel KERS technology used by Porsche in GT racing, will use a conventional and smaller battery system for F1 next year.

"Everything is being done in-house," said technical boss Sam Michael in 2010.  "Only the battery cells are being bought from outside."

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