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Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
  • Alonso and Webber
    Renault concerned with FIA official's Pure move
  • Teams cautiously welcome split British TV deal
  • Both Spanish venues stay on new 2012 calendar
  • Vettel should not fear losing title - Alonso
  • Race delay is big help for 2012 US GP
  • Ecclestone: Sky will grow F1 audience

Renault concerned with FIA official's Pure move
(GMM)  Renault Sport F1 chief Rob White has admitted "concern" about the appointment of Gilles Simon by 2014 engine supplier Pure.

After leaving Ferrari, the French engine designer moved to the FIA where his role as head of powertrain has involved working closely with the teams.

"Of course, it's of concern to all of us that in this close relationship with Gilles ... we've given unprecedented access to him," said White.

He added that "all" of F1's other engine makers have also worked closely with Simon, "particularly" in respect to the new turbo designs for 2014.

"And so we would be most concerned to be reassured that information to which Gilles has had access to in those very privileged circumstances as a representative of the FIA is not used in his new capacity as an employee of a competitor," said White.

It is believed that, ten years ago, the FIA's Charlie Whiting was blocked from joining a team for the very same reason.

White said Simon's appointment poses a similarly "obvious risk".

Teams cautiously welcome split British TV deal
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed suggestions the new television broadcasting deal for Britain is a breach of the Concorde Agreement.

It is understood the highly-secreted agreement between the commercial rights holder, the FIA and the teams includes clauses guaranteeing free-to-air coverage in F1's key markets.

But chief executive Ecclestone said after a meeting with team bosses at the Hungaroring that they are "very happy" with the deal that will involve "a lot more coverage" in Britain.

As for the potential Concorde breach, he insisted: "I shouldn't worry too much about the Concorde Agreement.  We might not have another one," the 80-year-old is quoted by Reuters.

The immediate reaction from many fans, however, was far from negative, even though a Telegraph reporter can't understand the outrage.

"Sky-less petrol-heads must remember formula one has split its television coverage -- not the atom," wrote Simon Briggs.

And at the Hungaroring, it appeared the majority of the teams had also sided with Ecclestone.

"I think it is rather good news," said Renault chief and FOTA deputy chairman Eric Boullier, while Virgin's Graeme Lowdon added: "Everything in formula one changes.  Everything moves forward."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told the Express: "It's disappointing for fans who have grown used to the coverage out on the BBC but, faced with the prospect of losing the sport entirely, this is hopefully the best solution."

And McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh, who doubles as chairman of the teams association, is quoted by The Sun: "There won't be a premium for watching F1 on Sky, so it sounds like good news."

Both Spanish venues stay on new 2012 calendar
(GMM)  Fears Barcelona could be dropped from the 2012 calendar have been eased by the circulation of a new provisional schedule in Hungary.

It was rumored the Spanish venue might have to alternatively share a single annual calendar spot with Valencia, but both destinations are showing on the latest unofficial schedule.

The only change for Barcelona is a move of its original date by one week.

"Bernie asked us if we were ok with the date change and as we are still the first race in Europe we accepted completely," Circuit de Catalunya chief Salvador Servia is quoted by Diario Sport.

Another change for 2012 is the inaugural US grand prix from a hot June date to November, amid rumors the change will also give organizers more time to build the Austin circuit.

"That is provisional until approved by the WC (FIA World Motor Sport Council)," FIA official Nick Craw told the Austin American Statesman by email.

Vettel should not fear losing title - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso thinks Sebastian Vettel should not be nervous about his championship chances.

McLaren and Alonso's Ferrari team appear to have caught up with the earlier dominant Red Bull, but Vettel maintains a 77 point advantage with nine races to go.

"I don't know what's in his (Vettel's) head," Spaniard Alonso told the EFE news agency in Hungary, "but if I was him I would not be at all nervous.

"He only needs to have fourth, fifth places until the end of the season to be champion.  And I think if I had a Red Bull and I had to do fourths and fifths I would not be very worried.

"I don't think (Lewis) Hamilton would be (worried) either," added Alonso, referring to the McLaren driver who was quickest in both of Friday's practice sessions.

Vettel, meanwhile, played down reports he might be slowed even further by a cut on the palm of his right hand.

"It's a small thing," said the German after television cameras spotted the bandages, "but we're men -- we like to make a fuss," Vettel joked to Bild newspaper.

The report said the 24-year-old cut his hand in Switzerland repairing a pedal on his mountain bike.

"It's nothing, it just hurts a bit sometimes," added Vettel.

Race delay is big help for 2012 US GP
(GMM)  A delayed US grand prix next year could be a sigh of relief for more than one reason.

Officially, it is believed the organizers requested the date change from June to November to avoid Austin's hot summer.

But there might be more to it, amid speculation a deadline for the first race payment to Bernie Ecclestone will shortly pass while the Texas comptroller continues to review the application for state funding.

"We're aware of a possible date change and as part of our review we will take in any new information that may affect the timeline for disbursement under Major Events Trust Fund Statute," a spokeswoman for the comptroller told the Austin American Statesman.

Another issue is that, with less than a year to go until the US GP's original 2012 race date, actual construction of the circuit buildings has not yet begun.

"A great deal of dirt has been moved," FIA official Nick Craw said after a visit to the site last month.

Ecclestone: Sky will grow F1 audience
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has promised that the sport's audience will grow with the onset of Sky's pay-to-view television deal from 2012.

A surprise deal was announced on Friday morning that the BBC and Sky Sports will share coverage of the sport in the UK from 2012 - with the satellite and cable broadcaster showing all live sessions while the BBC transmits only half on terrestrial digital television - prompting a wave of angry responses from license holders on internet forums and Twitter.

But Ecclestone, speaking after leaving a meeting to address the subject with F1's team principals, insisted that the deal is positive for the sport.

"It's good for Formula 1," he said. "For sure there are going to be a lot more people viewing, and a lot more opportunities for people to view, so from that point I'm very happy.

"I've been finalizing this all night long and one or two things might change a little."

"Sky will broadcast everything, all the races, live. The Beeb will do 50 per cent live, and when it isn't live, they will be putting together a very good highlights package.

"They [BBC] may yet do the whole race deferred, we have to see."

"For those who can't watch Sky, they can still watch on a Sunday night, which will probably be better than watching the whole race live half the time," he added.

"The Concorde finishes in 2012," he said. "After then there may not be one, we don't need one. We'll see.

"But I think this is all positive, and having spoken to the teams, they think it's positive too."

"We do have to do the best we can, and I'm interested in getting the maximum coverage because we have to invest in the future for the good of the teams and for Formula 1," he said.

"I think in the end people will be more happy with this than they are at the moment."

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