Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
Ecclestone, teams paid more by F1 - report
|Opponents says they know Red Bull's front wings flex downward at speed but admit they don't have the intellectual capacity to figure out how they do it and still pass scrutineering|
- Company in trouble as HRT stalls on payment
- De la Rosa laments rain for Pirelli test
- Mercedes teammates 'close' in pace - Haug
- Engineer admits Red Bull flex wing mystery
- Brazil federation eyes run-off for Interlagos corner
- Pirro to be steward, Valsecchi to test Lotus
- Sochi on track for F1 debut in 2014
- Rain to make Sepang 'distressing' in 2011
- Massa opposed to expanded DRS use at Sepang
- June 2012 deadline achievable, say Austin organizers
Ecclestone, teams paid more by F1 - report
(GMM) F1's financial loss widened in 2010 but Bernie Ecclestone took a pay-rise, documents filed in London's Companies House reveal.
The Bloomberg business news agency said the loss incurred by F1 owner CVC grew to $660 million, while the teams' income rose 21 per cent.
The teams' prize money pool in 2010 was $658 million, an average of almost $55 million per team, but with champions Red Bull receiving the most.
The prize money has increased for three years running, due to the negotiation of much better financial terms when the latest Concorde Agreement was drawn.
Teams now receive 164 per cent more income than was the case in 2007, before the new Concorde Agreement took effect.
The documents revealed that F1's total sales in 2010 was $1.08 billion, up 2 per cent due to new races including Korea joining the calendar.
The sport's net income was $296 million, with chief executive Ecclestone paid $7.9 million -- a 21 per cent increase.
Company in trouble as HRT stalls on payment
(GMM) A Spanish company is reportedly in financial trouble because it was not paid by the struggling F1 team Hispania.
The AS newspaper claims HRT breached a verbal agreement after ordering three new transporters from Cec-SA.
The report said the trucks are now sitting idle and waiting to be paid for and collected.
"For a family business like ours this is a heavy burden," said boss Victor Mendez, with the report saying Cec-SA spent EUR 300,000 building the trucks.
Mendez explained that it was departed HRT team founder Adrian Campos who commissioned the trucks.
"We had a first meeting with (new owner) Jose Ramon Carabante, who assured us he would fix everything.
"But from then we had meeting after meeting, the last a few weeks ago at the Montmelo test, and no solution is reached.
"We have nothing signed, but plenty of documentation that proves everything was commissioned by them (HRT)," he concluded.
De la Rosa laments rain for Pirelli test
(GMM) Pedro de la Rosa said it rained for most of his three days of testing with Pirelli in Turkey last weekend.
"They were not the conditions we wanted; it rained for two of the three days," the McLaren reserve driver, who was released for one final test with F1's new tire supplier, is quoted by EFE news agency.
"It was important to try the tires on turn eight, a corner more demanding than any other in the championship," he added.
De la Rosa, 40, travelled from Istanbul to Kuala Lumpur, where this weekend most insiders are expecting Red Bull to pull out an even greater advantage.
"The cars that were good in the few fast corners in Australia will be even better in Malaysia," he acknowledged. "But who knows. My team (McLaren) has done a spectacular job in the past weeks."
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso spent his time between Melbourne and Malaysia on beautiful Hamilton Island, at a luxury $2,300 per night resort.
Mercedes teammates 'close' in pace - Haug
(GMM) Norbert Haug has played down suggestions Michael Schumacher is all set for a repeat of his disappointing 2010 season.
Although it was said the new Mercedes car and Pirelli tires would see the seven time world champion more competitive in 2011, the 42-year-old German was yet again slightly off the pace of his younger teammate Nico Rosberg in Australia.
But Haug, Mercedes' competition director, insisted: "Nico and Michael were quite close in the testing.
"And Michael was one tenth from being in the top ten in Melbourne," he told the German news agency DPA.
Haug also said it is no surprise to see the highly rated Rosberg again doing well alongside his more famous teammate.
"Nico needs to hide from no driver and in my opinion would be a serious measuring stick for any competitor," he insisted.
Engineer admits Red Bull flex wing mystery
(GMM) Engineers still do not know how to emulate Red Bull's flexible front wing, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
After Melbourne, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton warned that the FIA should either move to ban the RB7's legally-bending wing extremities, or Red Bull's rivals will have to "copy" it.
But the German report quotes an unnamed engineer as admitting: "We know what Red Bull are doing, but we do not know how."
Auto Motor und Sport said the innovation is worth about "half a second" per lap.
Brazil federation eyes run-off for Interlagos corner
(GMM) Brazil's motor racing federation Confederacao Brasileira de Automobilismo (CBA) has asked the FIA to get involved after the latest fatality at formula one venue Interlagos.
Stock car driver Gustavo Sondermann on Sunday died after he was struck by other cars in an incident almost identical to another fatality at the same Curva do Cafe in 2007.
In both cases, the crashed car bounced off the barriers onto the racing line, triggering calls for grandstands to be demolished so that run-off can be installed.
"Today I have asked the FIA to send an inspector. We have not found a solution to improve so now races will start with a yellow flag in that stretch," CBA president Clayton Pinteiro told Agencia Estado.
Interlagos installed 'softwall' barriers after the Rafael Sperafico fatality "but it has not worked", acknowledged Pinteiro.
"I think there is no other recourse than the expansion of the run-off area for this corner," he continued.
Pinteiro said the change would require both the FIA's agreement due to the homologation rules, and also that of the Sao Paulo authorities.
Pirro to be steward, Valsecchi to test Lotus
(GMM) Emanuele Pirro will make his second appearance as an F1 steward this weekend in Malaysia.
As an Italian, his debut in the role at the Abu Dhabi finale last year was controversial, given Ferrari's contention for the 2010 world championship.
49-year-old Pirro won Le Mans 4 times, contested 40 grands prix with Benetton and Scuderia Italia between 1989 and 1991, and was also McLaren's test driver in 1988.
He will also be the driver-representative steward in Shanghai, held one week after Malaysia.
Meanwhile, another Italian - GP2 driver Davide Valsecchi - will be in action at the wheel of Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus in initial Friday practice at Sepang.
"I hope not to make mistakes," he told Autosprint, referring to Karun Chandhok's crash within three corners of his out-lap at the wheel of Jarno Trulli's T128 in Melbourne.
"I will not create problems like that for the team," the 24-year-old promised.
Sochi on track for F1 debut in 2014
(GMM) Sochi is on course to host its inaugural Russian grand prix in 2014.
Earlier, it emerged that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has the power to delay the F1 race if it affects preparations for the resort city's winter games.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the Sochi organizing committee, told Reuters that the IOC will review the plans next month.
"It's well on track," he said when asked about F1.
"There are pure endorsement and mutual benefits for both Olympic Games and formula one project," added Chernyshenko. "It (F1) will not impact on the timeframe of the preparation for the Games."
Rain to make Sepang 'distressing' in 2011
(GMM) Rain could make this weekend's Malaysian grand prix both "interesting" and "distressing", according to McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale.
At present, there is a high chance of rain - as well as the usual hot and humid conditions - for the Sepang event.
In 2009, the race was stopped due to torrential rain, and last year in qualifying a downpour stranded top drivers for McLaren and Ferrari down the grid.
This time, a new factor is the Pirelli tires, with the Italian supplier's wet-weather products yet to be fully tested and understood.
"A high possibility of rain will make it very interesting for all of the spectators and very distressing for all of us teams," Neale said during a media teleconference.
To EFE news agency, reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa said: "The Malaysia conditions are extreme on all levels, especially the temperature and humidity but also the amount of water on the track in the case of rain."
Massa opposed to expanded DRS use at Sepang
(GMM) Felipe Massa does not want the use of F1's new adjustable rear wing system to be expanded following its debut in Australia.
After the 'drag reduction system' (DRS) did not overly contribute to overtaking on the Melbourne pit straight, it is believed officials are considering making two activation zones usable for the Malaysian grand prix this weekend.
It was believed teams were working on the assumption that the wings will only be able to be used during the race on Sepang's long front straight.
But Ferrari driver Massa revealed: "We are waiting for the final decision from the FIA to see if we use DRS on the front straight, the back one or both."
Sepang's back straight is actually longer than the one parallel the pits.
"Personally, I am not sure that allowing DRS on both straights is the best option, because I think it might actually make overtaking too easy," said Massa.
"You have to get the right balance between helping the chances of overtaking and having almost too much passing," he added.
June 2012 deadline achievable, say Austin organizers
Organizers for the returning United States Grand Prix are highly confident that the brand-new, Hermann Tilke-designed race track will be ready for its June 2012 deadline. The race is set to return to the Formula 1 calendar next year for the first time since 2007, having last been staged at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“The neat part about the construction site right now is that you can actually see the contours of where the race track is going to be,” Jeff Hahn, owner of the Hahn Texas public relations company, explained to KVUE.
“The difficult story to tell about the site is the scale of this project. The track itself is 3.4 miles from a loop standpoint, but the property and how it fills up that space is just astonishing.
“Right now, as it stands, all of our construction milestones are on track. It's an aggressive schedule, we are planning on a June 2012 opening day; now it's not unusual - a lot of other tracks like this have been built in the same amount of time.”