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Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Nico Rosberg hoping for rain in Germany
    Ecclestone goes to Nurburgring despite bribery probe
  • F1 people might reject Murdoch bid now - Ecclestone
  • No state support for Nurburgring after 2011 - minister
  • Crashes due to 'risks' not lack of focus - Schumacher
  • Rosberg hopes for Nurburgring rain
  • Sauber happy with team and driver lineup
  • Buemi 'better than current results' - Marko
  • 2012 race seat crucial for F1 career - Hulkenberg
  • F1 voices not keen on jet canopy proposal
  • Exhaust saga was 'political' not technical - Illien
  • Williams not told of Coughlan legal action
  • F1 teams discuss relaxing test ban for 2012
  • Glock hopes for midfield assault with Virgin in 2012

Ecclestone goes to Nurburgring despite bribery probe
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone insists he is not afraid to travel to the Nurburgring this week for the German grand prix.

"Of course," the F1 chief executive told Bild newspaper when asked if he will be at the tenth round of the world championship.  "Why wouldn't I be?"

There has been speculation Ecclestone, 80, might stay away while he is being investigated by German prosecutors for possible involvement in the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery affair.

"Why would they arrest me?  There is no reason," the Briton insisted.

The German newsmagazine Focus reports that Gribkowsky faces a longer prison term than originally envisaged - ten years - due to the prosecutors' plans to lay additional charges.

Bloomberg said a spokeswoman for the prosecutors did not answer her mobile phone on Sunday.

F1 people might reject Murdoch bid now - Ecclestone
(GMM)  The News Corporation scandal might have damaged the Murdochs' plans to take over formula one.

That is the claim of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who said he feels "sorry" for Rupert Murdoch amid the fallout of the phone hacking scandal and closure of the News of the World.

Earlier, FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh insisted he thinks News will survive the scandal to be "alive and powerful" again.

"I'm terribly sorry for Rupert, who I know quite well, and James (Murdoch) because they are running their businesses very well," Ecclestone told the Telegraph.

"If they were to bid for F1 they might find that people would object to it.  We have still had no contact from News Corp about a takeover of F1."

The 80-year-old also ruled out a move for F1 to Murdoch's pay-TV networks and said he hoped the sport stayed with the BBC in Britain.

"Let's wait and see about the BBC because at the moment they want to make a noise," said Ecclestone.

"I can't see how the BBC could cancel (its contract).  We could probably sue them."

No state support for Nurburgring after 2011 - minister
(GMM)  This weekend's German grand prix will be the last race at the Nurburgring supported by the state, according to a government minister.

Earlier this year, it emerged that the new SPD/Green government alliance for the Rhineland-Palatinate state was only willing to support two more races at the Nurburgring until the current arrangements expire in 2016.

"Until 2016, there will be only one formula one grand prix sponsored financially by the land, and it's 2011," Eveline Lemke told business newspaper Handelsblatt.  "That's it."

Crashes due to 'risks' not lack of focus - Schumacher
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher insists his crashes this season are a mark of his push to the front of the grid rather than a sign he is no longer fully focused.

Some commentators have observed that the seven time world champion has been involved in more incidents since he returned to F1 last year as compared with his ultra-successful first career spanning a record 91 victories.

"Each of the collisions this season had a different reason," the 42-year-old German responded to Auto Motor und Sport.

"I'm no different to before and certainly not unfocused.  Believe me, I have found some unfortunate situations unnecessary and would gladly have avoided them.

"I am just fighting as hard as I can to get to the front, and for that I have to take some risks," added Schumacher.

Rosberg hopes for Nurburgring rain
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has admitted he is hoping for some of the Nurburgring's famous weather to strike this weekend.

"So far we do not have a really top car but the weather could be a chance for us to do a bit better," the Mercedes driver, during a visit to the DTM show event on Sunday at Munich's Olympic Stadium, is quoted by SID news agency.

The early weather reports are indeed calling for more rain in the Eifel mountains throughout this week and into the German grand prix weekend.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton on Friday recalled his first Nurburgring race in 2007, when a huge downpour struck a few laps in.

"The weather (at the circuit) can turn in a matter of moments -- you can have all the seasons in one afternoon," he said.

Sauber happy with team and driver lineup
(GMM)  Peter Sauber has revealed he is happy with the performance of his Swiss formula one team so far in 2011.

After a difficult season in 2010 following BMW's withdrawal, Sauber is currently sixth in the constructors' championship behind Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault.

"We are well ahead of our direct rivals Toro Rosso, Force India and Williams," the team owner and boss wrote in a column for Sonntagsblick newspaper.

"I am particularly pleased that at the last race at Silverstone we were clearly ahead of Renault and on a par with Mercedes.  It has paid off for us to build a car that treats the tires gently."

Peter Sauber said the Hinwil based team is happy with its drivers Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi and hinted that both will be retained.

"Kamui has grown into a good leadership role and Sergio has shown that he is not only fast but can also race very consistently.  For the future, in this respect, I am very much relaxed!" he wrote.

"Overall we have done a good job this year so far even if we have a lot of untapped potential in qualifying.

"Our team has stabilized significantly over the past year in every respect, which is the basis for us to continue to move towards the front," said Sauber.

Buemi 'better than current results' - Marko
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi's place at Toro Rosso appears safe for now.

After teammate Jaime Alguersuari put in a string of good results, reports suggested Swiss Buemi, 22, is now most in danger of losing his full-time seat to Daniel Ricciardo in 2012.

But Blick newspaper quotes Red Bull's driver manager Dr Helmut Marko as saying: "Buemi is definitely better than his current results."

The Swiss publication also quoted Buemi as expressing confidence in himself.

"I have confidence with the car, I'm fast -- but luck is sometimes just not with you.  Eventually it will come back to me," he said.

Meanwhile, Buemi has celebrated with his grandfather Georges Gachnang, who has restored the Cooper Monaco in which he contested Le Mans in 1960.

"Without his passion, I would not have become a racing driver," he said.

2012 race seat crucial for F1 career - Hulkenberg
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg has admitted it is crucial for him to return to the formula one grid in 2012.

After making a solid debut in 2010 with Williams, the 23-year-old German was replaced for this season by Pastor Maldonado.

"The timing of the decision was not perfect, because all of the other seats were already taken," he said.

Hulkenberg rescued his career by moving to Force India with a deal that involves him driving during Friday morning practice at every grand prix in 2011.

"The test driving is not much and it's frustrating, but it's better than nothing," he said in an interview with Dutch magazine Formule 1.  "Luckily I can at least drive on Fridays.

"This one season is not fatal to my career, but next year I have to have a race seat.  Otherwise it's difficult for me," insisted Hulkenberg.

F1 voices not keen on jet canopy proposal
(GMM)  F1 figures have admitted they are not keen on proposals to put a roof above the heads of the sport's drivers.

After the incidents involving Felipe Massa and the late Henry Surtees in 2009, technical chiefs started looking into the possibility of jet fighter-style canopies or polycarbonate screens for the cars' cockpits.

The FIA has released a video showing a F1 wheel being fired at 225kph at a jet-fighter canopy and a proposed cockpit screen.

FIA Institute Jet Canopy Test from FIA Institute on Vimeo.

"Full scientific results of the firings ... have now been presented to the formula one technical working group," the video revealed.

1992 world champion and occasional F1 steward Nigel Mansell admitted: "I don't know if I'd like to see that.  It wouldn't really be formula one," he is quoted by ennstal-classic.at.

Another former driver Marc Surer agrees: "It would be very warm in there, and then the next problem is needing an air conditioner.  And imagine if KERS fails and the vapors get into the cockpit."

Christian Danner said: "The visibility of the drivers will be affected by the reflection."

Mercedes' Norbert Haug told Bild am Sonntag newspaper: "We are always interested in the advancement of safety.  It's an interesting experiment but I feel that a single seater cockpit needs to be open."

Nico Rosberg added: "It sounds good.  Anything that increases safety is a step forward."

Exhaust saga was 'political' not technical - Illien
(GMM)  The blown exhaust saga has been a political rather than a technical argument.

That is the view of Mario Illien, the former designer of Mercedes' formula one engines who now as an outsider admitted to watching the Silverstone saga unfold.

During the British grand prix weekend, teams argued about the FIA's clampdown on the grounds that limiting off-throttle blowing too much risked damaging the engines.

"That's not an issue.  It's an argument, but it really is not an issue," Illien is quoted by ennstal-classic.at.  "These were political statements."

He also played down continuing fears that, with F1 now having scrapped its plans for four-cylinder engines, the V6 turbos of 2014 will also not sound as good as the current V8s.

"I don't think it's an issue," said Illien.  "The noise of a V6 turbo is fine."

He also refused to rule out following the footsteps of Craig Pollock's PURE in designing a V6 engine for F1.

"I can't say yet.  If a manufacturer wants an engine from us, then I would definitely be interested in a long-term project."

Williams not told of Coughlan legal action
(GMM)  Williams has not been notified officially about the legal action filed by NASCAR team Michael Waltrip Racing.

It was reported at the weekend that MWR is suing Grove-based Williams because it negotiated and hired new chief engineer Mike Coughlan while the Briton was already under contract.

"We are aware that a complaint was filed by Michael Waltrip Racing against the team and Mike Coughlan," the team is quoted as saying by France's autohebdo.fr.

"We were not notified of any pending court process," added Williams.

F1 teams discuss relaxing test ban for 2012
(GMM)  F1 teams have discussed the possibility of allowing some in-season circuit testing in 2012.

FIA president Jean Todt said recently that the current blanket ban is "stupid" and teams should be allowed to do a few tests during the season in 2012.

A report at France's autohebdo.fr said the teams, who must agree to the rule change for next year, discussed relaxing the test ban during a meeting at Silverstone.

But the talks "have made little progress", the report said.

Williams technical director Sam Michael is quoted as confirming: "There has not yet been a vote, just some ideas about having a test for young drivers during the season.

"It (testing) was on the table but we had many other things to deal with (at Silverstone)," added the Australian, referring to the V6 engine rules and the blown exhaust saga.

Glock hopes for midfield assault with Virgin in 2012
(GMM)  Timo Glock is hoping to step into the midfield with Virgin in 2012.

The German was earlier disheartened with the new team's lack of progress after its 2010 debut, questioning Nick Wirth's approach to designing his cars without a wind tunnel.

But Virgin has now split with Wirth and inked a deal to use McLaren's wind tunnel, and the latest indication is that Glock, 29, is staying on board.

"I know it sounds ambitious," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, "but we are already planning to be in the midfield in 2012.

"Then if possible we'll fight at eye-level with Toro Rosso, Force India and co.  It won't be easy but I'm optimistic," added Glock.

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