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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Kolles puts exhaust protest on hold
  • Red Bull bomb-scare with 'Ferrari backpack' in Monaco
  • HRT hopes to replace phony sponsor logos soon
  • Booth plays down d'Ambrosio, Wickens rumors
  • Ecclestone admits December finale 'difficult'
  • Rivals dismiss Hamilton comments in Monaco
  • Drivers don't enjoy 'rest Friday' in Monaco
  • Force India to act if Sutil case proceeds - Mallya
  • Alonso plays down Ferrari's Monaco surge
  • Court to announce Lotus verdict on Friday
  • Briatore admits to missing F1

Kolles puts exhaust protest on hold
(GMM)  Colin Kolles has decided against filing a protest about exhaust blown diffusers in Monaco.

The HRT chief, whose Spanish team is among a rare few in the pitlane not using the sophisticated technology, had issued the protest warning in Barcelona a week ago.

In the AS sports newspaper, reporter Manuel Franco revealed that Kolles wrote a letter to the FIA formalizing his warning.

The FIA responded, appealing to Kolles to wait.

"We have been asked to put the matter on hold and wait for the FIA to react," he is quoted as saying in Monaco.

AS said the issue will be resolved at the technical working group meeting scheduled for 16 June.

On the track, Hispania had a troubled day amid fears the drivers will struggle to meet the 107pc qualifying rule.

"We have a day to recover from this and will work hard to do so," said Kolles.

Red Bull bomb-scare with 'Ferrari backpack' in Monaco
(GMM)  There was a bomb scare aboard Red Bull's floating 'Energy Station' motor home early on Thursday.

Police were called to the palatial structure, which features a swimming pool for the Monaco weekend, when an abandoned backpack was discovered in a corner, according to Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

The backpack, which amusingly given the recent 'spy' saga was reportedly in a 'Ferrari-design', was taken away by the bomb experts.

HRT hopes to replace phony sponsor logos soon
(GMM)  HRT owner Jose Ramon Carabante has vowed to solve the awkward situation whereby phantom 'sponsors' adorn the Spanish team's 2011 car.

The F111 was launched with logos featuring enticements to potential backers, including 'This could you be you', 'Your logo' and 'This is a cool spot'.

"We're still alive, which in these times is no small feat," Carabante told the financial news agency Bloomberg.  "The car's message is striking but we hope it disappears soon."

59-year-old Carabante, who revealed his team receives $10 million annually from the F1 television rights, said he is in talks with two potential Spanish sponsors but he would not identify them.

He also said HRT's staff is fully committed.

"When we need to work 10 hours instead of eight they do it," he insisted.  "If they have to work 24 hours a day, then they do that too."

Booth plays down d'Ambrosio, Wickens rumors
(GMM)  Virgin team boss John Booth has played down reports Robert Wickens is on the verge of kicking off his formula one career.

It has been reported not only that the 22-year-old Canadian is head of the queue to be Virgin's new reserve driver, but first in line to replace Jerome d'Ambrosio should the Belgian's sponsors not pay up.

Wickens is strongly backed in the Formula Renault 3.5 series by Virgin and its F1 title sponsor and investor Marussia.

But Booth told the Sheffield Star newspaper: "He (Wickens) is in our young driver stable but we certainly don't plan on putting him in a F1 car yet.

"Robert is concentrating on his Renault series.  He is doing a good job in that.  We will then take it from there," he added.

At the same time, Booth scotched the rumors that d'Ambrosio's late-paying sponsors are seriously endangering his race cockpit.

"Everything is fine with him," he said.

"You can never say never because you can end up looking a fool, but, as things stand now, I can't envisage anything changing with Jerome until the end of the season."

Ecclestone admits December finale 'difficult'
(GMM)  The possible rescheduling of the 2011 Bahrain grand prix was still uncertain after a meeting of the F1 teams on Thursday evening.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, however, emerged with a positive message about the ability of the island Kingdom to host a safe race this season.

"They are all nice people there and I don't think we'd have any problem," said the 80-year-old.

He admitted there might be some opportunistic protests if the race goes ahead "But I don't think from a safety point of view there is anything to worry about."

June 3 is the final deadline for Ecclestone to propose the rescheduling of the race during the Barcelona meeting of the World Motor Sport Council.

It is believed the proposed solution of reshuffling India to December 4 has been ruled out by teams on the grounds of logistics, while bosses are also concerned about pushing out the calendar beyond its current late November finale.

"It's difficult with all the working people," Ecclestone acknowledged.  "The problem is the date."

FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh, whose McLaren team is part-owned by the Bahrain government, admitted that December "makes it a very long season".

Rivals dismiss Hamilton comments in Monaco
(GMM)  After first accusing Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton has now pointed the finger at the Toro Rosso drivers for holding him up in Spain last weekend.

Hamilton had said Schumacher, a friend and countryman of Sebastian Vettel's, blocked him during the rivals' fight in Barcelona for victory.

Schumacher, however, denied favoring his friend over the similarly Mercedes-powered Hamilton, while a McLaren spokesman agreed "There is no conspiracy".

But Hamilton has now accused Toro Rosso duo Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi of letting fellow Red Bull stablemate Vettel easily pass last weekend before getting in his way.

"Definitely there was some of that - all of a sudden moving in my way - which caused a bigger gap," the Briton alleged.  "I hope the stewards are aware of it."

According to the Telegraph, Red Bull boss Christian Horner answered "no way" when asked if Toro Rosso is playing tactical games on the senior team's behalf.

A Toro Rosso spokesman added: "The suggestion we would have held up any other car to favor a Red Bull is preposterous, and would never have happened."

Hamilton, meanwhile, said audaciously before Monaco that if he was sitting in a Red Bull this season, he would be quicker than Vettel.

And Bild newspaper published comments by Hamilton claiming he "works on a higher level" than Vettel, and insisting that "the only one who can beat him is me".

"I guess Lewis said it all," responded Vettel in an interview with F1's official website.  "If that is what he thinks, that's fine with me."

Drivers don't enjoy 'rest Friday' in Monaco
(GMM)  It is commonly referred to as the 'rest day', but Friday in Monaco is not universally popular among the F1 drivers.

Unlike elsewhere on the calendar, the drivers practice on Thursday in the unique Principality before resuming the weekend with qualifying two days later.

"For me, I'd rather we practiced on Friday and went straight into qualifying," said Jenson Button.

His argument is that the gap day actually creates more work for the drivers, who usually spend time at the circuit anyway with engineers, media and sponsors.

"Usually we have events," Michael Schumacher agreed.

Added Rubens Barrichello: "It's kind of a boring Friday, really, because you can't sleep because other people are driving on the track."

"Basically in your mind," explained Nick Heidfeld, "you're just looking forward to the next day, you want to get into the car and get on with it."

Said Jarno Trulli: "We spend one more day in such a chaotic situation, a day that most of the time is spent doing PR or media or anything like that."

But not every driver rues 'gap Friday' in Monaco.

"For me, it's a quick engineer meeting and then straight to the pool with friends and have a good time and relax," said Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg.

Added Trulli: "I hope I can get a ride on my bike and then lay down by the pool but I'm sure I will have to come here and do some work."

Force India to act if Sutil case proceeds - Mallya
(GMM)  Boss Vijay Mallya has admitted Adrian Sutil could lose his Force India race seat due to the Shanghai nightclub incident of last month.

The Force India team owner revealed to reporters in Monaco that German driver Sutil would be in breach of contract if Renault co-owner Eric Lux, injured in the neck with a broken glass, successfully prosecutes for criminal assault.

But Mallya insists that, as yet, Lux has not taken the matter beyond a press release.

"We have not heard of any formal complaint being registered in any country for any sort of misconduct by Adrian," he said.  "So it would be highly inappropriate for us to presume that he did something."

Mallya admitted, however, that Force India will take "appropriate action" if a complaint about Sutil is formally filed.

"You know, contracts do not supersede misconduct so unless I'm convinced that there is misconduct the contract shall prevail," he said.

"I don't know what happened there (in China), none of my people know what happened so there's a due process of law.

"If and when he's charged, I will assess the situation," he added.

Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann confirmed in Monaco that they are yet to hear anything official from Lux, his lawyers or any authorities.

"The situation is unchanged," Zimmermann, who last addressed the media in Spain a week ago, is quoted by DPA news agency.

"We are still awaiting a response from the other side.  So far we have not heard anything."

Alonso plays down Ferrari's Monaco surge
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso played down Ferrari's apparent surge in form at Monaco.

The Spaniard was setting the pace in Thursday practice, mere days after technical director Aldo Costa was ousted following a dire performance for the 150 Italia car in Spain.

"You do not turn around the world in five days," insisted Alonso.

"The truth is that the aerodynamics are less important on this track because we go slower, but the engine, suspension and mechanicals are equal if not superior to the others.

"That's why we look good, but for pole and the race, I expect the Red Bulls (to be fast)," he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The tire situation is also vastly different this weekend; the super-soft compound is being supplied for the first time while degradation was much lower on Thursday than has been seen elsewhere in 2011.

"It's amazing," said Pirelli's Paul Hembery, according to Auto Motor und Sport.  "We think a two-stop strategy will be possible."

Runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, is expecting Ferrari to remain strong all weekend.

"They were very strong last year here as well," the German is quoted by Speed Week.  "It's close."

Court to announce Lotus verdict on Friday
(GMM)  The outcome of the Lotus court battle will be announced in London on Friday afternoon.

The High Court said Justice Peter Smith is scheduled to declare the outcome of the F1 naming dispute between Group Lotus versus Team Lotus at 2pm.

The verdict, which is expected to be appealed no matter which side is successful, follows a ten-day trial at the end of March.

Briatore admits to missing F1
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore's was a familiar face in the Monaco paddock on Thursday.

Currently banned from returning to F1, a reporter for Spain's AS newspaper took the opportunity to ask the flamboyant Italian when he might be seen again at the sport's circuits.

"I'm here now, do you not see me?" he laughed.

"Seriously I miss the relationships with the people, that sort of thing, but I am in constant contact and that's fine," added Briatore.

"What I don't miss is travelling to China.

"Formula one is a great sport, and I'd love to be a part of it because I've good friends here," he is quoted by Britain's Daily Mail.

"But at this moment I don't have any plans to come back at all."

Briatore has, however, been linked with Bernie Ecclestone as well as Ferrari, and the latter team is in a restructuring phase after parting company with Aldo Costa.

Fernando Alonso immediately had a surge of form in Monaco but Briatore insists there is no connection with Costa's departure.

"A single person cannot be expected to improve everything, but there was some kind of restructuring needed," he said.

Briatore was also asked about the criticism Michael Schumacher has been receiving lately as his comeback continues to disappoint.

"For him it (returning) was a lifestyle choice and we can't criticize that," he said.

"This is what he chose and I hope he has fun -- sometimes more, sometimes less, but we have to respect it."

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