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DATE News (chronologically)
07/12/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday UPDATE Added Video below of Vettel breaking Top Gear record.

07/12/11
  • Mark Webber
    Webber should 'respect' team orders - Briatore
  • Lauda, Coulthard, defend Red Bull over team orders
  • Ferrari surge 'nothing to do' with exhausts - Gene
  • F1 director buys stake in sponsorship agency
  • Vettel breaks '62-year-old' Barrichello's Top Gear record
  • Clouds still lingering above US GP project
  • McLaren gives Hamilton break to avoid 'burnout'

Webber should 'respect' team orders - Briatore
(GMM)  Mark Webber's manager has refused to back the Australian's stance against Red Bull's imposition of team orders at Silverstone last weekend.

Britain's Sun newspaper says Australian Webber, 34, "put his job at risk" by openly ignoring boss Christian Horner's instruction to end his challenge on teammate Sebastian Vettel towards the end of the British grand prix.

"I wasn't happy with that (order) because you should never give up in F1," Webber said on Monday.

Although the winner of six grands prix effectively handles his own career with his partner Ann, former Renault boss Flavio Briatore is still involved as a manager.

He told Italy's Sky Sport 24 that he thinks Red Bull was justified in asking Webber to hold station.

"Welcome to F1," Briatore is quoted as saying.  "I would have done the same.

"If you're playing for a world championship, you have to take decisions and drivers need to understand that it's not your car and it's a team of hundreds of people.  They (drivers) need to respect that," he added.

Briatore's other charge, Fernando Alonso, won the British grand prix but the flamboyant Italian does not believe Ferrari can chase down Vettel.

"He (Alonso) might be second or third in the end, but he has no chance of winning because the championship is over already."

Lauda, Coulthard, defend Red Bull over team orders
(GMM)  Drivers-turned-pundits Niki Lauda and David Coulthard have defended Red Bull's use of team orders at Silverstone.

An openly unhappy Mark Webber ignored the instruction to hold station behind Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps of the British grand prix.

Despite team orders now being legal under Jean Todt's reign as FIA president, Sunday's incident has reopened the old debate about unfettered racing versus the interests of a team of hundreds of staff.

So was Red Bull wrong to clip Webber's wings?

"No, not at all," triple world champion and now RTL pundit Lauda told Germany's motorsport-magazin.com.

"I can perfectly understand Horner making that call over the radio, simply because he was worried about his two cars.  That's fine by me."

British pundit Coulthard agrees with Lauda, although he is aware that the readers of his Telegraph column may not.

He insisted: "You cannot expect teams who have sponsorship contracts worth millions to risk throwing away valuable points at that late stage of the race."

The obvious implication is that Webber's stance might affect his negotiations for a new contract with Red Bull, with boss Christian Horner already flagging private talks this week.

1996 world champion Damon Hill said: "If he was asked not to overtake, that's a bit serious for a racing driver."

But Coulthard, a former Red Bull driver and still a consultant to the energy drink's premier team, doubts Webber's reaction will affect his future.

"(Owner) Dietrich Mateschitz wants a fighter; he wants two guys battling hard for wins.  He does not want a pussycat," said the Scot.

Ferrari surge 'nothing to do' with exhausts - Gene
(GMM)  Ferrari leapfrogged not only McLaren but also Red Bull at Silverstone, but the question now is whether the Italian team will maintain its pace in Germany in two weeks.

Fernando Alonso's winning pace in Britain coincided not only with a new package for the 150 Italia car, but also changeable weather and the fact that the Spaniard did not have to use the hardest compound tire en route to victory.

But also significant is the fact that Silverstone was the debut of the FIA's full clampdown on off-throttle exhaust blowing.

Der Spiegel reports that, when unfettered blowing was allowed in Valencia and earlier, Ferrari-powered teams were only able to rev their engines to 50 per cent at the most when the driver was not on the throttle.

And unfortunately for the famous Maranello based team, the regulations will return to Valencia specification at the Nurburgring and beyond.

So will the 150 Italia lose its advantage in Germany?

"I think it would be unfair to say that.  I think there will be people who conclude it," said McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

"Ferrari have been pushing this year, pushing hard, they deserved a win."

Ferrari test driver Marc Gene said that at Silverstone, where the regulations changed multiple times, the improved 2011 car was consistently competitive.

"We were good when we were blowing 50, 20 or 10 per cent," the Spaniard told El Mundo newspaper.  "There are teams who think we benefit the most but it (the better pace) has nothing to do with it."

Niki Lauda, however, thinks the discussion is moot, given Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel's huge championship points advantage.

"Sebastian is clearly on course for the championship," the triple world champion told Germany's N-TV. 

F1 director buys stake in sponsorship agency
(GMM)  One of F1's non-executive directors is looking to get involved with formula one sponsorship deals.

The Financial Times reports that global communications services company WPP, headed by founder and boss Sir Martin Sorrell, is taking a minority stake in the biggest F1 sponsorship agency Just Marketing.

Sorrell is a board member of CVC, the controlling shareholder of formula one.

He said motor sport and F1 have grown significantly "But it needs a more professional approach from the marketing side".

Zak Brown-headed Just Marketing handles the F1 sponsorships of clients including LG, Johnnie Walker and UBS.

"Motor sport is a very interesting area.  It is very global, it has good reach, and with its live events has tremendous cross-media and new media opportunities," added Sorrell.

Brown confirmed that the deal is going ahead and will "result in bringing in more clients and more money in the sport".

But he remains concerned that F1's constant politics is a barrier to the involvement of some potential sponsors.

"I do think it crosses the line from time to time, and I'm sure there are some companies that won't participate in F1 because they can't stomach the politics," said Brown.

Vettel breaks '62-year-old' Barrichello's Top Gear record
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has broken yet another record.

The Red Bull driver, already the sport's youngest ever race and title winner, broke Rubens Barrichello's lap record whilst appearing on the popular British motoring program Top Gear.

The flying lap, called 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, takes place at the BBC show's UK test track with F1 drivers at the wheel of a Suzuki Liana.

Last year, Barrichello leapt to the top of the times by beating previous laps set by mystery Top Gear driver The Stig as well as the likes of Nigel Mansell, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber.

But a few days before the British grand prix, Vettel broke that record by 3 tenths.

"Why are we all surprised," host Jeremy Clarkson joked, "that he's faster than a 62-year-old Brazilian?"

Clouds still lingering above US GP project
(GMM)  Clouds still linger above the health of the 2012 US grand prix project.

Progress at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin appeared brighter last week, when the state's $25m annual subsidy was signed off by the council and a legal action brought by a group of disgruntled taxpayers was dropped.

But the local Austin American Statesman newspaper now reports that a meeting of the event's quasi-governmental Local Organizing Committee was on Monday mysteriously called off.

The vote of the committee is apparently required as the next step in race organizers receiving the state funds.

"As recently as late June, the local lawyer representing the F1 efforts told the city council the project's finances could be imperiled if the committee met later than the July fourth weekend," read the report.

And a freelance reporter has been quoted by KUT News as revealing that organizers do not yet have permission to build the circuit pits and other buildings.

Jacob Dirr said "All they can do is start pouring the track, build a couple of tunnels and keep pushing dirt around".

McLaren gives Hamilton break to avoid 'burnout'
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has won his bid for a breather this week after complaining at Silverstone about his busy off-track schedule.

At the end of an arduous media and sponsor regime ahead of his home grand prix, the Briton had warned that McLaren "are going to be shocked" when they hear his demands for a new contract beyond 2012.

"I will be doing a lot less work.  There is definitely a danger of burn-out," said the 2008 world champion.

Hamilton then revealed on Monday that he refused to do two additional days of appearances early this week.

"I was supposed to be working today and tomorrow but I said 'no way' because I've been in England for the last week or so and it has been quite busy here.

"It's great to get home and put my feet up and watch the telly," he said.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh admits Hamilton is feeling overworked.

"I think Lewis has done too much coming into this grand prix," he said.

"We've managed to organize a bit of a break for Lewis before Germany, which I know he wants," added Whitmarsh, who said F1 drivers also get "a big break" during the factory shutdown in August.

It appears one of Hamilton's cancelled appearances was a scheduled trip on Wednesday to India, with Calcutta's Telegraph reporting that the Briton's "visit is off".

"I was supposed to be flying to India for a day on Wednesday, in and out within a day.  Fortunately, for some reason, it got cancelled," said Hamilton.  "So that's good."

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