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Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Bernie Ecclestone
    Ecclestone facing corruption charge on Wednesday
  • Button brightened by Silverstone dampener
  • Hamilton not best choice as Vettel teammate - Horner
  • New engines give Ferrari reason to stay on the track
  • Silverstone is all about high speed corners

Ecclestone facing corruption charge on Wednesday
(GMM)  The Gribkowsky corruption affair is expected to return to the F1 headlines on Wednesday.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone was questioned by Munich prosecutors in April on suspicion of being involved in the mysterious $50 million payment to the jailed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.

The affair surrounds the sale of formula one's commercial rights to CVC some years ago, with 80-year-old Ecclestone insisting that he will ultimately be "exonerated" of "any wrongdoing".

But it is only on Wednesday that the Briton will learn whether he has been charged and summoned to court, according to the Guardian.

The Times quotes him as saying: "I have done nothing so I have no idea what charges they could bring.

"I have done what I had to do at all times during this investigation and I have cooperated fully with the people in Germany.  As far as I am concerned there are no problems."

If a charge is brought, it would likely relate to 'aiding and abetting' the deliberately wrong valuation of the commercial rights by Gribkowsky, who was then the chief risk manager of BayernLB bank.

London's Telegraph said it believes Ecclestone has been asked to cooperate by supplying evidence about Gribkowsky on the promise of a lighter sentence such as a monetary penalty.

"As long as it's not too much.  I'm only joking," he said.

The newspaper also asked Ecclestone if he was aware Tuesday was the six-month deadline for either releasing or charging Gribkowsky: "I've not heard anything," he answered.

Button brightened by Silverstone dampener
(GMM)  Jenson Button is hoping bad weather will help him end his podium drought at Silverstone this weekend.

The 2009 world champion has not only never won his home British grand prix, he has not even stood on the podium after any of his eleven previous races at the famous Northamptonshire venue.

31-year-old Button and his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton left Valencia two weeks ago downbeat on their chances of matching the Red Bulls on the circuit's high speed curves.

But a weekend weather forecast predicting likely rain has brightened his spirits.

"If you look at the pace in Valencia you'd say we were nowhere near close enough to the Red Bulls," said Button.

"Our car seems to work well in the wet so if it rains it's not so good for fans sitting out there but for us, in terms of our pace and a result, wet weather could be good."

Red Bull's rivals also have their fingers crossed that Adrian Newey is right, as the dominant RB7's designer on Tuesday admitted the blown exhaust clampdown will affect the car "quite heavily".

"Our car was designed around the exhaust," the Briton is quoted by the BBC.

"So it might be that it's going to be more of a hit for us, but it's very difficult to forecast," added Newey.

Hamilton not best choice as Vettel teammate - Horner
(GMM)  Pitting Lewis Hamilton against Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull would risk the harmony of the team.

That was the message of Christian Horner on Tuesday as the team principal finally dealt a knock-out blow to speculation linking McLaren's Hamilton with a 2012 switch.

It emerged this week that Hamilton, 26, handed over to Horner a business card of his new manager Simon Fuller in Montreal and will be free to sign a Red Bull contract if he is not crowned 2011 champion.

But Horner, indicating Mark Webber is very likely to be offered a new contract, has told British reporters ahead of Silverstone this weekend that he has "severe reservations" about signing Hamilton.

"A Hamilton-Vettel combination, on paper, would look very attractive.  But what we have to look at is the dynamics of a partnership and it's difficult to see how two sportsmen at the absolute top of their game could work in harmony under one roof," he said.

"History demonstrates, whether you look at Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna or Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet, that it doesn't tend to work.  Lewis is one of the top three in the world but we are very happy with the combination we have.

"Lewis must be very frustrated this year.  But it be would be difficult to envisage a driver of Sebastian's caliber and one of Lewis's under the same roof," added Horner.

The comments might be regarded as insulting to both Hamilton's current teammate Jenson Button and also Australian Webber, with the implication that Horner does not regard them as truly top drivers.

There also might be a deeper relevance ahead of the 2012 talks with Webber about his role at Red Bull.

"We are not looking for anybody else.  I don't believe Mark is looking to go anywhere else," said Horner.  "When the time is right we will sit down and have what is hopefully a very straightforward conversation.

"We are very happy with the job Mark is doing."

Webber, who is 35 in August, told the Telegraph: "We are talking but there is no real urgency from either side."

New engines give Ferrari reason to stay on the track
The decision by Formula One to switch to a V6 turbo engine from 2014 has given Ferrari added reason to stay in the sport, the company’s chairman Luca di Montezemolo said on Monday.

The Italian had been critical of earlier plans to switch to a ‘greener’ 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine, but those plans were officially dropped last week in favor of a new V6 1.6 liter turbo engine to replace the current V8 engine.

“I (will) do Formula One as long as Formula One represents for us the most important research centre,” Montezemolo told a small group of reporters in Tokyo, adding the sport had helped advance Ferrari’s gearbox, composite materials and other important technologies throughout the years.

“The decision of V6 is important because turbo-six is good for the future, not only for Ferrari but also for Mercedes and others,” he said, suggesting that a V6 Ferrari could one day join the brand’s product line-up.

The luxury sports car maker, a unit of Fiat SpA , now only sells V8 and V12 cars.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Italian financial holder Exor, which controls Ferrari’s Formula One team through Fiat, have teamed up to explore the possibility of creating a consortium to take over the sport.

Montezemolo himself said in May that Formula One teams could consider setting up their own series from 2013 when the sport’s current ‘Concorde Agreement’ expires.

Montezemolo, who welcomed the engine decision on Ferrari’s website on Friday, also said Formula One was gaining traction in more countries, offering another reason to stay.

“Formula One is really booming all over the world in terms of globalization,” he said. “This year we will go to India, last year we were in Korea and (in 2014) to Russia. Formula One is really becoming a worldwide sport.”

Silverstone is all about high speed corners
Although the circuit layout at Silverstone has changed many times, one thing has remained constant in the 61 years since it hosted the opening round of the Formula One World Championship: speed.

By the mid-1980s, Silverstone was the fastest circuit on the calendar, thanks to its sweeping high-speed corners; indeed, Keke Rosberg’s 1985 pole lap, at an average speed of 259 kph, stood as the fastest average lap speed in Formula One until 2002.

And although the old circuit was lengthened for 2010, it retained its essential character, and even gained another flat-out sweeper, at what is now Turn One, in the new layout. No wonder Silverstone is praised every year as an example of a true driver’s circuit…

How did the layout changes for 2010 alter the circuit’s character?
The new layout introduced last year lengthened the circuit by 750 meters, and added approximately ten seconds to the overall lap time. The circuit is now 1241 meters (27%) longer than the circuit first used for Formula One in 1950 and, coincidentally, the same length (3.67 miles) as the very first layout used in 1948. However, although the circuit layout was changed between 2009 and 2010, the average lap speed remained almost identical: the fastest lap during qualifying in 2009 was at an average speed of 236.915 kph, while in 2010, it was at an average of 236.652 kph. The circuit includes eight corners that are taken at over 250 kph and just two below 100 kph; in complete contrast, Monaco has eight corners below 100 kph and none above 250 kph.

What is the quickest corner at Silverstone?
Using FIA numbering, the fastest corner on the circuit is Turn Two, known as Farm Curve, on the new section of the circuit – but this is more a flat-out sweep than a proper corner. The quickest true corner is Turn One, Abbey, the flat-out right-hander after the new pit complex. This requires a small confidence lift, but no braking, and is taken at approximately 290 kph. It was “quite slippery last year because it was very new,” according to Michael, “but I expect it to be good this year.” The drivers experience a peak g-force of 4.8G, and over 4G for 1.3 seconds, while the car experiences a peak vertical force, including car mass, of 22kN – equivalent to 2.2 tones. This means the car generates two and a half times its weight in downforce in the corner.

The sequence from Copse through Becketts and down to Stowe is one of the most famous in Formula One. What challenges does it present?
With the new corner numbering, Copse Corner is Turn Nine while the Becketts complex accounts for Turns 10 to 14, and Stowe is Turn 15. This section of the circuit is 1.88 km long (32% of the lap distance) and negotiated at an average speed of 272 kph – in around 25 seconds. The lowest speed of the car during this sequence is 195 kph.

What do the drivers experience through the Becketts complex?
The Becketts complex includes five corners in total, through which the drivers experience extremely high g-forces in opposite directions within an extremely short space of time. As Michael says, “Silverstone is a lot about high-speed but it is also about getting the combination through Turns 11 to 14 right – if you don’t get the first one right, you will still suffer at the last one.” Nico echoes those thoughts: “It’s a great part of the lap, and very challenging, because the car has so much grip through there! You need a perfect car balance to do a good lap.” On the technical front, this sequence rewards both downforce and an agile change of direction; the cars experience an average vertical force of 21 kN (equivalent to 2.1 tones). The drivers barely touch the brakes through here: there is gentle braking before Turn 12, and a little more (but only 35% of maximum) before turn 13.

The sequence of g-forces is as follows:

Turn 10
300 kph
Turn 11 (Maggotts)
275 kph
Turn 12 (Becketts 1)
230 kph
Turn 13 (Becketts 2)
195 kph
Turn 14 (Chapel)
240 kph

The circuit presents two contrasting halves, with only fast corners from the exit of Turn Seven (Luffield) to braking for Turn 16 (Vale). How different are these sections of track in actual terms?
The section of track from Turns Seven to 16 is 3.2 km long, equivalent to 54% of the lap distance. It takes around 41s to negotiate, at an average speed of 250 kph. The other half of the circuit, from Vale to Luffield, including the new Arena Loop, is 2.7 km long (46% of lap distance). This is completed in around 48s, at an average speed of 199 kph. In other words, the section between Luffield and Vale is some 25% faster than the other half of the circuit.
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