Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
Bahrain still in turmoil as F1 deadline looms
|Bahrain race unlikely to be reinstated in 2001. Like all F1 races, the fact it loses a lot of money probably does not help|
- Kubica future to remain unclear for months
- Ecclestone issues quit threat amid F1 takeover reports
- Japan crisis to also affect F1 - Ecclestone
- No rush for new Hamilton contract - Whitmarsh
- Stragglers also important to F1 - Karthikeyan
- Booth downbeat despite 'B' Virgin for Turkey
- Another Indian state starts F1 track project
- Di Montezemolo still calling for third cars
Bahrain still in turmoil as F1 deadline looms
(GMM) With just a few days remaining until the May 1 deadline, Bahrainis have urged Bernie Ecclestone against rescheduling a grand prix in the island Kingdom this year.
The activists' open letter to the F1 chief executive comes amid Bahrain Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa turning down an invitation to Prince William's wedding on Friday.
The Crown Prince said he did not want to overshadow the happy event, admitting he is "saddened and troubled" by media reports of his government's treatment of protesters.
In a statement, however, he acknowledged Bahrain is still dealing with "a number of significant issues", with the activists writing to Ecclestone that F1 should stay away until "basic human rights are restored and the repression is over".
They said Bahrain is still "a country under siege and martial law, surrounded by tanks and military forces".
The Bahrain Football Association has confirmed that the civil unrest has led to six players being detained as the government cracks down against the protests that have resulted in 30 deaths.
Kubica future to remain unclear for months
(GMM) At least three more months will pass until Robert Kubica's future in formula one is any clearer.
That is the claim of Renault team doctor Riccardo Ceccarelli, as the injured Polish driver was on Saturday finally released from hospital after an 11-week stay.
Kubica, 26, will now continue his rehabilitation at Ceccarelli's facilities in Italy.
The doctor is quoted as saying by Italian reports: "It will only be by August that we will be able to know when and if Kubica will be ready to return to formula one with Renault."
As Kubica was discharged, the Santa Corona hospital said in a statement that the F1 driver's "condition is good".
Shortly before he returned home, Kubica said himself in an interview distributed by Renault that he is feeling "a lot better now" following his life-threatening rally crash that caused multiple fractures and a near-severed right hand.
"The mobility of my hand is limited," he admitted, "but this is pretty normal in this kind of situation, because the connected arm muscles are still very weak due to the long period of immobility. Things are definitely improving day by day.
"From my side, I'll try to use my difficult experience to come back as strong as I possibly can," added Kubica.
Ecclestone issues quit threat amid F1 takeover reports
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone's latest comments have been interpreted as a threat to quit in the event Rupert Murdoch takes over formula one.
The F1 chief executive initially dismissed the rumors of a takeover by Murdoch's News Corporation and Carlos Slim as "rubbish", but he has now told the Sunday Times that he fears not being able to work alongside the moguls.
"I'm old enough to get a pension, so I don't have to get a job," said Ecclestone, who is also embroiled in an extortion scandal surrounding the sale of the commercial rights to F1's current owner CVC some years ago.
"I'd have to be sure the people (who own F1) are people I would like to work with and whether they would want to work with me," he added.
Japan crisis to also affect F1 - Ecclestone
(GMM) Attendance at the Japanese grand prix later this year will surely be affected by the country's earthquake and nuclear crisis.
That is the view of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, as according to a report in the Daily Mail he is already counting the costs of new losses in the sport's crucial corporate hospitality area.
The 2010 accounts show a $5.2 million loss, as sponsors cut spending on hospitality, causing ticket prices to rise.
Another headache for F1 is the looming race at Suzuka, even though the highly popular circuit was not actually damaged in the recent earthquake and tsunami.
"The problem is not going to be any damage to the circuit, it is how much damage is done commercially with people buying tickets," said Ecclestone.
The 80-year-old revealed that F1 assisted Japan some years ago when an earthquake struck.
"We had trouble with an earthquake before and tried to help them," said Ecclestone.
No rush for new Hamilton contract - Whitmarsh
(GMM) Months may pass until Lewis Hamilton signs a new deal to race in formula one beyond 2012, according to Martin Whitmarsh.
Whitmarsh is the team principal for McLaren, where the 2008 world champion has spent his entire F1 career to date.
The Woking based team has made clear its desire to hang onto the 26-year-old but Hamilton has also been linked elsewhere, notably to Red Bull.
Whitmarsh is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying the British driver "is intelligent enough" to realize that McLaren is the best place for him.
"Lewis has made it clear to me he wants to stay in the team and I've made it clear to him I want him to stay," he said.
"At some point, we need to get a contractual agreement that reflects that, of course. But I don't think - despite the media interest - that either of us thinks we have to get to a contract in three months or six months.
"I trust him and I think he trusts me," added Whitmarsh.
Amid the Red Bull rumors, Hamilton said recently that the outfit is "just a drinks company" and Whitmarsh has now repeated the arguably disparaging remark.
"We are focused on winning the championship this year, next year, in five years and 10 years' time, as motor racing is our core business," he said.
"A lot of other teams are selling consumer goods, cars or high-caffeine drinks. I'm not criticizing them. But can they say, consequently, that they are in formula one for the long run?"
Stragglers also important to F1 - Karthikeyan
(GMM) There is a place in formula one for teams like HRT, the struggling team's Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan has insisted.
Lures to potential new backers like 'This could be you' aside, Karthikeyan's sponsor Tata is the only significant logo on the livery of the F111.
Hispania had an horror start to its 2011 campaign and is still at the back of the grid, but team figures now believe they can soon be troubling the next target, Virgin.
And despite Bernie Ecclestone suggesting the sport would be better off without them, Karthikeyan insists that F1's minor spat also brings value.
"The fact is we are never in contention for the title," he told the Hindustan Times. "But teams like these are equally important for F1.
"We are all a part of the show.
"(Those teams) provide the platform for younger drivers and for drivers like me who are coming back. There's this hierarchy in every sport, but it only makes it more interesting," added Karthikeyan.
Booth downbeat despite 'B' Virgin for Turkey
(GMM) John Booth sounds downbeat despite Virgin expecting to take a major step forward in Turkey early next month.
After the team's new car only narrowly staved off the struggling HRTs recently, media reports said an upgrade package for Istanbul includes a higher nose, new floor, Red Bull-like exhaust, modified rear suspension and new wings.
Germany's Speed Week is calling the upgraded version a 'B' model of the MVR-02, but team boss Booth is quoted as worrying about the development of the team in its second season.
"We have stagnated," the German-language report quotes the Briton as saying.
"The new developments for the Turkish grand prix will eliminate many of our problems, but we will only then be where we wanted to be in Australia," added Booth.
Another Indian state starts F1 track project
(GMM) With the finishing touches now being applied at the New Delhi venue, it emerges that a second formula one project in India is already underway.
The news comes as 2011 Indian grand prix organizers Jaypee played down fears the inaugural race in October could be a Commonwealth Games-style planning debacle.
"Be assured my friends," said executive chairman Manoj Gaur. "The track is ready and the homologation of the facility will be done in July as per the timetable of the FIA."
And the Times of India reports that an entirely-separate project is set to go ahead in the Goa state.
"Yes, we have been approached for a F1 circuit in Goa. We have decided to go ahead with it," confirmed tourism director Swapnil Naik, who indicated that a coastal site for the venue is likely.
According to the reports, Goa's government recently set up a tourism taskforce to decide on infrastructure projects such as golf courses, entertainment parks, boxing arenas and the F1 circuit.
Di Montezemolo still calling for third cars
Luca di Montezemolo has reiterated that three cars per team is a more sensible option for Formula 1. The Ferrari Chairman, who is widely known as a detractor of the sport’s newest outfits, first suggested the idea in 2009.
Wanting to bring Michael Schumacher back to racing for 2010, di Montezemolo put forward the three-car idea with the hope of placing the German alongside Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. This was followed by a statement from Ferrari which publically attacked Lotus, Virgin and Hispania.
However, despite the seven-time World Champion now racing for Mercedes-Benz, di Montezemolo still hopes his three-car proposal is seriously considered.
“Formula 1 is too much about the aerodynamics,” he said during an interview with Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “What we build are more planes than cars.
“The second problem is the small, slow teams. They are dangerous and I think it would be better if the top teams made a third car.”
The 63-year-old, adding that in-season circuit testing should return, went on to express his objection against the proposed four-cylinder engine idea of FIA President and former Ferrari colleague Jean Todt. “We must not lose the DNA of Formula 1,” he said. “We must not build but not motorcycles; the challenge is to make an economical eight or twelve-cylinder engine.”