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DATE News (chronologically)
09/05/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Button open to managing fellow F1 driver
  • Ecclestone 'tempted' to buy Renault team in 2009
  • Karthikeyan pushing for race seat before India return
  • Former boss doubts Williams will win again
  • McLaren has own 'crash kid' now - Marko
  • Sauber's Key doubts DRS effect to be big at Monza
  • Schumacher still as good as Webber - Berger
  • Imola eyes F1 return with top FIA rating
  • Heidfeld deal removes 'insecurity' admits Senna
  • India 'will get' FIA go-ahead for GP - official

Button open to managing fellow F1 driver
(GMM)  A new management company involving Jenson Button would consider handling the career of another formula one driver.

That is the claim of the McLaren driver's manager Richard Goddard, who has set up London-based Sports Partnership in collaboration with 31-year-old Button.

Goddard told the Gulf News that Button would have no problem being involved in the management of a fellow F1 driver.

"Absolutely," he said.  "Of course Jenson wouldn't want a business relationship with a direct rival -- but he would enjoy working with a young guy, somebody who has just come into F1 or who is on the brink."

2009 world champion Button, who is likely to stay at McLaren in 2012, thinks his involvement could help the career of a fellow athlete.

"I fully understand the pressures of being a high profile international sports star and I have learned how to operate with the media and sponsors," said the Briton.

Ecclestone 'tempted' to buy Renault team in 2009
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he was "very tempted" to buy Renault's formula one team when the French carmaker pulled out as an owner.

Actually, the Enstone based team was bought by its current owners Genii Capital, but there are reports of financial trouble and rumors a group involving David Richards might step up to take over.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone told the Daily Telegraph he was interested in buying Renault two years ago but was talked out of it by Donald Mackenzie.

Mackenzie, the CVC director in charge of the F1 ownership, is the newly appointed chairman of the formula one holding company.

Referring to his interest in buying Renault, Ecclestone said: "Donald said to me, we just can't.  If we owned a team it would cause us trouble.

"Every time that team was on TV people would say we were favoring it."

Karthikeyan pushing for race seat before India return
(GMM)  Narain Karthikeyan is "trying" to secure a seat for one of the three races leading up to next month's Indian grand prix.

The Indian is still an official driver of the Spanish team HRT, but he was replaced in the racing role mid-season by Red Bull-sponsored Daniel Ricciardo.

Karthikeyan, however, will be back in the car in his native India thanks to a new long term sponsorship with the Hero automotive group, which is controlled by the Indian billionaire Munjal family.

And he told the Indo-Asian News Service: "I am trying hard to get myself a race before Delhi.  It will be a good warm-up for me heading into the home race."

HRT's driver lineup has already been announced for Monza, but before the inaugural race at the new Buddh circuit F1 will travel to Singapore, Japan and Korea.

As well as his new deal with Hero, 34-year-old Karthikeyan is also still sponsored by Tata, India's largest multinational.

"I want to drive in F1 as long as possible," he is quoted as saying by Reuters.  "How and when, that will come up in due course."

Former boss doubts Williams will win again
(GMM)  Williams' former marketing boss has said he doubts the famous British team will ever again win in formula one.

With its 7 drivers' and 9 constructors' championships, Oxfordshire based Williams is one of F1's most successful teams but the outfit has not won a single race since 2004.

Not only that, the team is ahead only of the three backmarker teams Team Lotus, Virgin and HRT in this year's constructors' standings and the Daily Telegraph reports that its share price on the Frankfurt exchange is crashing.

Williams floated 24 per cent of its shares in March at EUR 24.38, but the current price (EUR 15) represents a 40 per cent decline in six months.

Former marketing chief Scott Garrett, now vice president of brands at Heinz, admitted he does not believe Williams "will ever have the budget" to win again in F1.

"The sorry state of the WF1 equity price indicates a team that is more desperate than confident, and confidence is critical when presenting oneself to sponsors and asking them for money," he said.

Williams is reportedly considering replacing its highly experienced lead driver Rubens Barrichello for 2012 with another driver able to bring sponsorship dollars to the team.

Rookie Pastor Maldonado's place is considered safe due to his lucrative backing by the Venezuelan state owned oil company PDVSA.

"My feeling right now is unless Williams have money problems, they should stick with what they have right now", the news agency AFP quotes Barrichello, 39, as saying.

"To have two kids for next year is the wrong thing to have," added the Brazilian.

McLaren has own 'crash kid' now - Marko
(GMM)  F1 has a new "crash kid", according to Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko.

After Sebastian Vettel crashed into Jenson Button at Spa last year, McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said the young German "is a crash kid".

"It is not what you would expect to see in formula one," he added.

A year on, it is McLaren's own Lewis Hamilton who is attracting the headlines for his on-track incidents, while Red Bull's Vettel cruises to his second title.

"'Crash kid' was a McLaren media construct," the energy drink company's driver manager Marko is quoted by Auto Bild Motorsport.

Referring now to Hamilton, who crashed twice over the recent Belgian grand prix weekend, the Austrian added: "Now they have a crash kid in their own team."

Another Austrian, the outspoken triple world champion Niki Lauda, agrees that Hamilton might now learn from the unflappable Vettel.

"You can't win championships if you are crashing," he told the Sunday Express.  "Look at Sebastian Vettel, he is not making any mistakes or crashing, and that is why he is going to win the title again this year."

Sauber's Key doubts DRS effect to be big at Monza
(GMM)  Teams are not getting enough time to respond to the FIA's decisions about DRS, according to Sauber's James Key.

For the first time in 2011, there will be two independent DRS overtaking zones at Monza this weekend, each with a separate activation point.

"It's going to be a pretty major asset for a following car," predicted McLaren's Jenson Button.

But with top teams bringing special rear wings to Monza for the Italian venue's uniquely high speed layout, Key is not so sure the full potential of the DRS will be seen this weekend.

"They FIA always let us know about the DRS areas a week before the race," said the Swiss team Sauber's technical boss.

"It is very important in the development of the wing to know how often we will be able to use it.  But the design (for Monza) was already set in July."

Auto Motor und Sport also quoted Key as revealing that Sauber expected there to be only one DRS zone at Monza.

"We don't know yet how effective the DRS will be," the Briton continued, referring to the fact that rear wings for Monza are already designed to severely reduce drag and produce less downforce.

"We think the effect (of DRS at Monza) will be half the normal amount," added Key.

Schumacher still as good as Webber - Berger
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher is not as good as Sebastian Vettel or Nico Rosberg, but he's still up to speed with Mark Webber.

That is the view of former ten time race winner Gerhard Berger, who until 1997 shared the circuits with F1's only seven time world champion.

Der Spiegel quotes the Austrian as saying Schumacher, while once the fastest driver in the sport, no longer holds that mantle.

The case in point is qualifying, where Rosberg has utterly dominated Schumacher this year at Mercedes.

"In my opinion Rosberg is on the same level as Vettel; in the right car he could win races and titles," said Berger.

"Schumacher can no longer beat them, but he is still as good as - for example - Mark Webber."

Berger is therefore highly critical of the apparent place-swapping between Rosberg and Schumacher at Spa recently, with the younger German dropping behind to save fuel while Schumacher drove ahead on the 20th anniversary of his debut.

Norbert Haug denies Mercedes imposed team orders, also insisting that Schumacher "would not accept such gifts".

But given the safety car period in Belgium, the German team's claim about Rosberg running out of fuel has been ridiculed.

Former Sauber driver Karl Wendlinger told Servus TV: "Without the safety car you would have to believe that Rosberg would have run out of gas with ten laps to go."

Added Ferrari engineer Dieter Gundel: "It is possible to make an error in calculating the fuel level before a race, but you then have to wonder why Mercedes made the error only with one car."

Imola eyes F1 return with top FIA rating
(GMM)  There remains a chance Imola might return to the formula one calendar.

The famous Italian circuit last hosted the San Marino grand prix in 2006, when delayed renovations and an increase in the race sanctioning fee moved Bernie Ecclestone to admit: "I'm sorry, but we have lost Imola."

Since then, there have been changes, including the complete rebuild of the pits, pitlane and paddock overseen by F1 track architect Hermann Tilke.

But Imola, officially called the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, was granted a 1T rating, making it usable by formula one only for testing.

It now emerges, however, that the track has received the top '1' FIA homologation rating after a recent inspection by Charlie Whiting.

"We are proud of the objective reached," said circuit chief Walter Sciacca, "which is a clear sign that we are working in the right direction.

"With this approval we are in a position to once again host a formula one grand prix.  So we don't limit ourselves; if we experience the right economic conditions, we are ready to face any challenge."

Heidfeld deal removes 'insecurity' admits Senna
(GMM)  Bruno Senna has admitted he will be feeling more relaxed when he races on the fabled Monza circuit this weekend.

The Brazilian made his grand prix return at Spa recently, but a pending court decision could have seen Nick Heidfeld back in the Renault after Monza.

The team has subsequently reached a financial settlement with German Heidfeld, confirming Senna as Vitaly Petrov's regular teammate for the remainder of 2011.

The 27-year-old confided to Brazil's Agencia Estado that he drove in Belgium with a "sense of insecurity" due to the Heidfeld impasse.

"The pressure for results is imposed mainly by myself, but the announcement (about Heidfeld) at least alleviates the feeling of insecurity -- of not knowing what was going to happen next," said Senna.

"I am delighted.  It means I can go to the next race able to take more risks," he explained.

India 'will get' FIA go-ahead for GP - official
(GMM)  The Buddh circuit will definitely receive the FIA's approval ahead of its inaugural Indian grand prix next month.

That is the claim of the Delhi promoter Jaypee Sports, after a two-day inspection by FIA medical officials.

Last week, Charlie Whiting inspected the venue and indicated that progress is "more than satisfactory".

The Press Trust of India now reports that the homologation process has ended with an inspection led by the FIA's medical expert Jean Charles Piette.

"Getting these two certificates were important," said Jaypee's senior vice president Askari Zaidi.  "We'll get both the certificates."

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