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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Big teams schedule meeting on F1 future
  • Di Grassi completes Barcelona tire test for Pirelli
  • F1 team boss slams KERS
  • Qualifying 'only half the battle' now - Wurz
  • Vettel not worried about KERS or Turkey crash
  • Haug laughs off Rosberg-to-Ferrari reports
  • Pollock heads 2013 F1 engine supplier Pure
  • Derek Warwick to be steward in Turkey
  • No Friday driver for Team Lotus in Turkey
  • Lauda thinks Renault missing Kubica

Big teams schedule meeting on F1 future
(GMM)  F1's biggest teams have scheduled a meeting in Stuttgart next weekend to discuss the future of the sport, according to reports.

The news was reported by the Daily Telegraph but also Sky News' City editor Mark Kleinman, who has been very well informed so far on the possible Rupert Murdoch-led takeover of formula one.

A Ferrari-linked company has confirmed it is allying with News Corporation in the consortium, and Italy's Autosprint says it is "absolutely conceivable" that the likes of McLaren and Mercedes might also get involved.

The governing Concorde agreement expires at the end of next year and BBC pundit and former team owner Eddie Jordan thinks there is a lot of "posturing" going on at present.

The reports said the Stuttgart meeting will involve Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull and the latter three teams may "investigate the possibility of joining the consortium themselves", the Telegraph's Tom Cary wrote.

On Wednesday Ferrari reacted to the news that a company linked to its carmaker parent Fiat was involved in the potential F1 takeover.

"We have no comment to make, partly because we are not directly involved at the moment," said a spokesman.

"All we can do is repeat what has already been said so often in the past -- Ferrari stresses the importance of ensuring the long term stability and development of formula one."

And McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh told Sky News: "I think whoever owns the sport in the future, be that the current owners or new owners, it's just important that the teams are more cohesive than they have ever been."

As for the expiring Concorde, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali suggested that the negotiations are soon set to step into a higher gear.

"At the moment it's quiet because something is going to happen soon," the Italian told Auto Bild.

Ferrari has recently been highly critical of the current state of F1, such as the emphasis on aerodynamic development.

"If formula one is interesting in the future for manufacturers we need to ensure that all the elements of motor racing are there in equal measure," said Domenicali.

He also said F1 should not "change the rules all the time" whilst ensuring that there are races "in all the important markets".

Autosprint magazine said the teams are indeed setting out plans for simple and stable rules post 2012, the revival of key European venues, reduced ticket prices and the modernizing of media platforms for the younger audience.

Di Grassi completes Barcelona tire test for Pirelli
(GMM)  Lucas di Grassi kicked off life as Pirelli's new main test driver with a two-day test in Barcelona.

The Brazilian and former Virgin driver did over 1000km at the Spanish grand prix venue on Monday and Tuesday at the wheel of Toyota's newly-updated 2009 car.

Di Grassi, 26, told Globo Esporte he was happy with the outing.

"A reserve driver in formula one will not do 500 kilometers in a whole season and I did over a thousand in two days.

"I'm satisfied because we ran through the schedule and gathered important information," he said.

The Brazilian report said di Grassi's goal is to return to F1 in 2012.

"I'm well prepared physically and technically," he insisted.

F1 team boss slams KERS
(GMM)  An unnamed team principal has criticized formula one's so-called 'green' energy-recovery KERS technology.

"It gives us a green look," the boss is quoted as saying by Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper.

KERS gives drivers a power 'boost' after collecting heat energy from braking and charging a battery.

"In reality, KERS is used only for acceleration and forces up the (car's) weight, so that in the end the fuel consumption is higher.

"That's not to mention the question of what happens to the batteries when they're finished," the unnamed F1 chief added.

Qualifying 'only half the battle' now - Wurz
(GMM)  F1's 2011 formula has pulled another key player into the foreground, according to former driver and now Austrian commentator Alex Wurz.

"Now, as well as the driver and the designer, the strategist has a crucial role," he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

China three weeks ago was a good example; many tire pitstops and different strategies, and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton emerging with victory despite Red Bull having ultimately the quicker car.

And Mark Webber's run to the podium from deep on the grid showed the value of compromising qualifying in order to save crucial Pirelli rubber for the race.

"A new set of tires for the race can be better than two or even three rows of the grid," agreed Wurz.

"Qualifying is still important but it's only half the battle.  In the past, 90 per cent of the weekend was decided in qualifying," the 37-year-old added.

Vettel not worried about KERS or Turkey crash
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel insists he is not worried about KERS in Turkey this weekend, nor a repeat of last year's clash with his teammate Mark Webber.

Red Bull left China three weeks ago with clearly the fastest car but far from the best KERS system, after Adrian Newey repackaged the Renault-based unit over the winter for best aerodynamic performance.

That caused cooling problems at the first three races of 2011, but Dr Helmut Marko insisted this week that the team used the Easter break to fix the system.

"We have had some problems but have had very good people working on it," agreed championship leader Vettel to Auto Motor und Sport.

"That's why for this next race I am not worried," he added.

The German also revealed that the RB7 will have some other improvements for Turkey this weekend.

"When I asked the team what (new) to expect, I received many answers," Vettel answered coyly.  "You'll have to ask them for yourself."

Also in the back of his and teammate Webber's minds at Istanbul Park will be their clash last year, which brought their working relationship under severe strain.

Asked about the crash a year on, Vettel told DPA news agency: "I cannot change what has already happened, but I can learn from it."

Haug laughs off Rosberg-to-Ferrari reports
(GMM)  Mercedes' Norbert Haug has laughed off reports that Nico Rosberg could be set to switch to Ferrari.

Italian magazine Autosprint reported that Ferrari made initial "contact" with German Rosberg recently about racing alongside Fernando Alonso next year.

Bild newspaper said it believes that, depending on his results at Mercedes this season, the 25-year-old could get out of his contract at the end of 2011.

The German marque's motor sport chief Haug responded: "Last weekend it was the first of May, not the first of April.  So this joke is a month too late."

Bild said Rosberg would not comment on the Ferrari reports.

But he told the newspaper's Sunday edition after Shanghai that he would have no qualms lining up in a team alongside the likes of Alonso, Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel.

"They are all top drivers and I would take on any of them," he said, then referring to Michael Schumacher: "I already have the best driver of all time in my team."

And Rosberg told the DAPD news agency: "I am very happy where I am, I believe in the team and want to go with them to the top."

Pollock heads 2013 F1 engine supplier Pure
(GMM)  BAR team founder and Jacques Villeneuve's former manager Craig Pollock has announced plans to head a new formula one engine supplier.

He said Propulsion Universelle et Recuperation d'Energie, to be known as Pure, is already designing an engine for the new 2013 turbo regulations.

There are at present only four engine suppliers in F1: Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Cosworth.

Pollock said he has not yet spoken to the teams about his plans but has scheduled talks for the Spanish grand prix later this month.

"Our design and development is already way down the road and we are now ready to approach the teams," said the 55-year-old Scot, who brought Villeneuve into formula one and then founded Brackley based British American Racing.

Villeneuve is apparently not involved with Pure, with Pollock confirming that he is funding the project whilst finalizing contacts with partners.

The Renault-linked Mecachrome is reportedly involved, and Pollock revealed he has the "very clear backing" of the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone's "support".

"We wish Pure every success in developing powertrains compliant with the new FIA regulations," a Pure media statement quoted Jean Todt as saying.

Derek Warwick to be steward in Turkey
(GMM)  Derek Warwick will make his third appearance as an FIA steward this weekend in Turkey.

The 56-year-old British veteran of 146 grands prix fulfilled the role last year in Spain and Hungary.

Working alongside Warwick and experienced Swedish steward Lars Osterlind in Istanbul is 25-year-old female steward Silvia Bellot, a Spanish graduate of the FIA's trainee steward program.

No Friday driver for Team Lotus in Turkey
(GMM)  Neither Jarno Trulli or Heikki Kovalainen will have to give up their T128 cockpits on Friday morning in Turkey.

It will be the first time in 2011 that the green-clad team has not appointed a Friday driver for the initial practice session.

Finland's Turun Sanomat reports that Angolan Ricardo Teixeira, backed by the state oil company Sonangol, is next in line for a Friday outing.

"But he will not be seen in Turkey as negotiations with his sponsor are still ongoing," said the report.

Team boss Tony Fernandes said he expects Lotus to make its "next step" forwards not in Turkey this weekend, but in Barcelona in two weeks.

"I am not expecting us to have found another chunk of time here as we have been focusing on the Barcelona race for the update package," he said.

Lauda thinks Renault missing Kubica
(GMM)  The loss of Robert Kubica has hurt Renault's ambitions for 2011, according to the always-blunt Niki Lauda.

With Kubica recovering from horror injuries in a pre-season rally crash, Renault turned to the German veteran Nick Heidfeld to become Russian regular Vitaly Petrov's new teammate.

"Renault have had a good car from the beginning but the team is being limited to some extent by its drivers," triple world champion Lauda told the German broadcaster RTL ahead of the Turkish grand prix.

"They are doing a good job but when you are looking for that last little bit from your car you do miss the top drivers," he added.

The 62-year-old gave a similarly forthright view when asked about the proposed four-cylinder engine rules for 2013.

"I've thought about it and don't understand why there are always smaller and smaller engines.  It is expected that in formula one there is a lot of power for high speeds and with a noise level that everyone wants," he said.

"Now if the new engine comes they need to think about how to make them loud enough."

As for rumors CVC could sell F1 to a bidding consortium, Lauda answered: "CVC is an investor, so it's natural that they buy cheap and after a period of time they sell.  But I don't know anything about it so I can't comment."

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