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Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Schumacher hometown not planning celebration
  • India not like F1's Korea shambles - Whiting
  • Schumacher would make good team boss - Ecclestone
  • Briatore in Russian champagne scam
  • Mansell back in steward office for Spa

Schumacher hometown not planning celebration
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's home town is not planning an official celebration this weekend.

At Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the seven time world champion will mark the 20th anniversary of his meteoric formula one debut.

But 70 kilometers away in Kerpen, Germany, Schumacher's home town will be quiet as usual, mayor Marlies Seiburg told the DAPD news agency.

"We have not planned any events because we have found that the interest of the spectators is no longer on the same scale," she said, comparing Schumacher's return to F1 with his ultra-successful initial career until 2006.

Schumacher's first F1 boss Eddie Jordan has featured prominently in the German media this week; not only revealing Renault's apparent plans to drop Nick Heidfeld but also calling 42-year-old Schumacher an "old fart".

The Irishman also contradicted Schumacher's claim that his manager Willi Weber only accidentally lied about the fact he had never raced at Spa prior to his 1991 debut.

"I asked him (Schumacher) and Weber if Michael had ever been to Spa.  Both said yes.  Taken literally it might be true but actually it was an outright lie," said Jordan.

"Had they told the truth, I would not have let him race," he added.

Jordan also admitted that he only signed Schumacher as jailed Bertrand Gachot's one-off replacement because "I just needed the money", referring to the $150,000 paid by Schumacher's Sauber-Mercedes sports car team.

Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm told Bild newspaper: "It is good if Eddie keeps Michael in the media constantly."

India not like F1's Korea shambles - Whiting
(GMM)  Charlie Whiting has moved to allay fears that India could falter at the final hurdle in organizing its inaugural formula one race.

With observers recalling last year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, it has been rumored that the grand prix might suffer the same shambolic preparations.

"Luckily, we don't have the government involved," motor racing official Vicky Chandhok is quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

However, the FIA's final inspection for the mandatory homologation of the new Buddh circuit has been delayed until September, amid reports some parts of the venue will not be finished even by the scheduled late October race date.

The September inspection will be carried out personally by Whiting.

"I don't want to offend the people in South Korea, but compared to that I definitely get a good feeling (about India)," the Briton, recalling his most recent visit to the site and comparing it with last year's first event at Yeongham that was almost called off, is quoted by German press.

Schumacher would make good team boss - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he would like to see Michael Schumacher on the pitwall when he hangs up his helmet once again.

Throughout F1's August break, the seven time world champion and his management had to fend off the latest round of speculation suggesting Schumacher, 42, could or should quit at the end of this season.

"I can not see Michael leaving formula one until he believes that the team is not competitive and he really thinks it's time to go," DPA news agency quotes F1 chief executive Ecclestone as saying on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Schumacher's 1991 debut.

When that time eventually comes, Ecclestone thinks the great German would make an ideal team boss.

"He should run a team," the 80-year-old Briton continued.  "With his experience and his talent, he would be first class."

Mercedes chief Ross Brawn, however, said Schumacher is not ready to hang up his helmet.

"Michael is a great driver, but what is not seen and what also made him a multiple world champion is his work with the team behind the scenes.

"If we can give him a car with the potential to fight for the championship, then I have no doubt that he will be in a position to win his eighth title," added Brawn.

Along with Ecclestone's team boss speculation however is Norbert Haug's admission this week that a move at some point to the German touring car series DTM cannot be ruled out for Schumacher.

"It's quite possible that Schumacher is being offered a 'voluntary' departure so that he can save face," said Austria's Sportwoche magazine.

But with 20 years now on the F1 odometer, might Schumacher also celebrate a quarter-century at the pinnacle of motor racing in a few years' time?

"With Michael, you can never say never," said his manager Sabine Kehm.

Briatore in Russian champagne scam
(GMM)  A group of Russians have scammed former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore to the tune of EUR 86,000.

According to the Unione Sarda newspaper, they got off a superyacht and entered Briatore's ultra-expensive Billionaire club in Sardinia, charging 90 bottles of EUR 900 Cristal champagne to a Russian oligarch's account.

Police are now searching for the group.

"We trust our clients and there are some who choose not to settle their bills until the end of the summer," Briatore's spokeswoman Patrizia Spinelli told the Daily Telegraph.

"This was a very unfortunate exception."

Police investigator Giulio Brandanu told The Guardian: "We have seen people here skip out on drinks bills before, but never this much."

Mansell back in steward office for Spa
Nigel Mansell will be making his second steward appearance in three races as Formula 1 returns to Spa this weekend, governing body the FIA has confirmed. The 1992 World Champion also took on the role at Silverstone last month.

During an F1 career which began in 1980 and ended with a short stint at the end of 1994, Mansell celebrated two pole positions and one race victory at Spa, which came for Williams in 1986. In his title season of 1992, the Englishman finished second to first-time race winner Michael Schumacher.

The driver adjudicator will be joined by Paul Gutjahr and Paolo Longoni.

The following drivers have served as stewards in 2011:

Hungary Allan McNish
Germany Tom Kristensen
Great Britain Nigel Mansell
Europe Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Canada Emerson Fittipaldi
Monaco Allan McNish
Spain Mark Blundell
Turkey Derek Warwick
China Emanuele Pirro
Malaysia Emanuele Pirro
Australia Johnny Herbert

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