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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Button wants to stay at McLaren
    Investors to 'bombard' CVC over F1 bribery scandal
  • Button wants McLaren to trigger 2012 contract
  • Press says Vettel strolling to early second title
  • Buemi's father insists new Webber deal 'no surprise'
  • Kolles staying at HRT in 2012 - advisor Sala
  • 'Emotional' Heidfeld reaction 'surprised' Renault
  • Renault team owner Lopez open to Spa buy-out

Investors to 'bombard' CVC over F1 bribery scandal
(GMM)  Investors in F1 rights owner CVC are set to ask tough questions at a forthcoming meeting, the Financial Times is reporting.

One "large European investor", concerned about the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery affair involving Bernie Ecclestone, confirmed he will be asking some of those questions at the meeting in September.

Another said he expected investors to "bombard" the CVC board with their concerns.

"Every large investor has this on the radar screen and will want to get answers to two questions: did you know anything about what was going on and, if not, what changes have you made at the company level after you have found out?" he said.

The Financial Times said investors are particularly concerned about the handling of the affair by CVC's F1 manager Donald Mackenzie.

"One of the larger, institutionalized private equity groups would have long dealt with it by changing F1's management and communicating openly," the source added.

The bribery affair has triggered wider questions about the legitimacy of CVC's purchase five years ago of the commercial rights from the BayernLB bank.

The German bank's chief financial officer Stephan Winkelmeier insists the sale has been audited.

"So far those checks have not revealed any problems and have shown that the sale was carried out properly, in accordance with the bank's regulations and with a price that was in line with expectations," he said.

But former owners Constantin Medien - formerly EM.TV - have filed a lawsuit claiming the rights were undervalued amid the sale to CVC.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone however, suggesting Constantin Medien is hoping for an out of court settlement, insisted to The Independent that CVC paid "a very good price".

"They didn't buy the shares under value, it was the opposite ... four or five proper people offered considerably less ... there could have been a big bust-up with the teams," he said.

Button wants McLaren to trigger 2012 contract
(GMM)  Jenson Button is pushing McLaren to trigger the one-year option the British team has on his services for 2012.

The Daily Telegraph said the 2009 world champion would be happy with that solution for now, with the 2012 option expiring next month, "rather than hurrying into" a new longer-term deal.

"All Martin (Whitmarsh) has got to do is say 'yes' and I will say 'yes' because I want to be here next year," the Briton, who on Monday was demonstrating the Woking based team's single seater in Manchester, said.

Team boss Whitmarsh said after Sunday's Belgian grand prix that Button's was a performance "that marks out a true champion".

It is possible that Button, 31, is happy to stay at McLaren in 2012 whilst leaving his options open for a change of teams - maybe Ferrari - in 2013.

Putting the pressure on McLaren amid other teams' interest next year could also mean Button can "cut down the number of PR days and sponsorship activities he must perform" beyond 2012, according to Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary.

Button edged ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the 2011 points standings at Spa-Francorchamps.

But he told the Mirror: "Neither of us will remember where we finish if we don't win the championship."

Press says Vettel strolling to early second title
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel will certainly win the 2011 world championship, according to the international press after the weekend's Belgian grand prix.

"Whoever thought the championship was wide open after the holiday was in all likelihood thinking again after Spa," said Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, referring to the Red Bull driver's return to victory after McLaren and Ferrari had appeared to break his dominance in the month of July.

24-year-old German Vettel's points lead extended to 92 in Belgium, meaning he could fail to finish first or second at all of the remaining races and still be champion by November's Brazil finale.

Moreover, it is mathematically possible he will secure the championship in Singapore, just two weeks after the forthcoming Italian grand prix.

"His opponents can start packing their bags," said the German daily Bild.

The Spanish sports daily Marca added: "Vettel is like FC Barcelona -- from another world and unbeatable."

Italy's Tuttosport said: "Vettel's victory is a testament to the strength of a team that had recently lost the right path."

La Stampa also hailed Red Bull, insisting that "Vettel is good, but it's easy for him in a rocket car that always secures pole position."

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, now more than a century of points behind Vettel, said Red Bull's run of pole positions dating back to 2010 "has rarely occurred in F1".

"We need to keep fighting now but with much thought to prepare well for next season," the Spaniard told El Pais newspaper.

Test driver Marc Gene thinks Alonso will be competitive at Monza, the high speed circuit that is Ferrari's spiritual home.

"Monza and Singapore are always good for him, and in Asia and Italy it's usually warm.  However, Red Bull had doubts about Spa and the result for them was a double success," he told El Mundo.

According to Martin Whitmarsh, big teams like Ferrari and McLaren cannot give up.

"If we say that we are going to free-wheel now then I don't think that is the right message.  The fans deserve a stronger battle than that," he said.

Buemi's father insists new Webber deal 'no surprise'
(GMM)  Red Bull's decision to re-sign Mark Webber for 2012 was not a surprise.

That is the claim of Antoine Buemi, the father of Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi.

According to Swiss newspaper Blick, Buemi was disappointed to learn the news about Webber's new deal at Spa-Francorchamps because he was hoping to be promoted to the premier Red Bull team next year.

The news leaves a dark cloud over Buemi's career, with either he or Jaime Alguersuari expected to have to make room at Toro Rosso for Daniel Ricciardo.

On the Webber news, however, Antoine Buemi told the Swiss newspaper Le Nouvelliste: "We were not surprised.

"Mark Webber and Red Bull have grown together and the team is pretty thankful.

"The Australian is also the ideal teammate for the world champion (Sebastian Vettel).  He is fast enough to allow the team to go for both titles while doing no harm to the lead driver.

"By having an ambitious young man, there could be too many quarrels between the two drivers," added Buemi Snr.

Antoine Buemi insisted that his son might be able to stay at Toro Rosso next year.

"There is nothing saying that one of the two has to leave, in fact both of them might be able to stay.  The press tends to amplify the rumors," he said.

As for Buemi's other options, "There are few teams that focus on drivers that are not directly or indirectly connected with money, which is a handicap for us," said his father.

"Having said that the pressure is easier today than at the beginning of the season.  Sebastien has got used to it.  He knows the rules of the game."

Kolles staying at HRT in 2012 - advisor Sala
(GMM)  HRT has no immediate plans to replace team principal Colin Kolles, according to new team advisor Luis Perez-Sala.

Sala, a former Minardi driver, was appointed by the former Hispania team's new owners Thesan Capital amid rumors Kolles might be asked to step aside.

Not so, Sala told the Spanish website CarAndDriverTheF1.com at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend.

"There are no thoughts about changing the head of HRT; it is he who brings together the entire workforce.  It would make no sense now or in 2012," he said.

Sala, who contested 30 grands prix in the late eighties, also said HRT is sticking with Cosworth power and its technical tie-up with Williams.

"We have a contract with Cosworth for next year and we also have an agreement with Williams," he revealed.  "We will stay with these components because they are not the problem of the car."

'Emotional' Heidfeld reaction 'surprised' Renault
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld's response to the appointment of Bruno Senna in Belgium and beyond "surprised" Renault team owner Gerard Lopez.

German Heidfeld attempted to win a court injunction prior to Spa-Francorchamps to enforce his contract to race in Robert Kubica's cockpit this year until the Pole is ready to return.

The judge ruled that Senna be allowed to race for the next two races before a full High Court hearing can take place after the Italian grand prix next month.

Heidfeld, 34, then appeared in the Spa paddock last weekend in order to be able to show the judge that he never breached his side of the contract.

"I was surprised," Genii chairman Lopez told the Tageblatt Luxembourg newspaper.  "I would say it is an emotional reaction."

Lopez however defended Renault's decision to replace Heidfeld with Senna.

"His performance was not right so we need to test other drivers," he insisted.  "Nick has always been a good colleague but we told him that we had not from him what we had expected.

"He was always treated with respect and that will continue, because he is still a member of the team," added Lopez.

Renault team owner Lopez open to Spa buy-out
(GMM)  Renault team owner Gerard Lopez has confirmed his interest in buying into Spa-Francorchamps.

The fabled Belgian circuit is a favorite among drivers and fans, but for financial reasons it might have to annually alternate a single race date in future with France.

Spa is currently controlled by the local Walloon government, and it was rumored recently that Lopez's Genii Capital was interested in buying into the track.

"Spa is a great circuit," he told the Tageblatt Luxembourg newspaper, "and there would be a lot more we can do with it.  We could develop together for the region.

"So if they are open for (talks with) private investors, then why not?" said Lopez.

The circuit's general manager Pierre-Alain Thibaut, however, said that is unlikely.

"It is not possible," he told The National.  "The circuit is so important and imperative to all the region from an economic point of view.

"Of course, anything can happen, but, in my opinion, it is not the right way forward."

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