Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
Russian government to fund Sochi F1 track
|Sochi F1 race, like all others, has government backing. Weehawken NJ race will not|
- Ecclestone happy despite early Indian glitches
- New York promoter denies doubting Austin race
- Red Bull 'behind me' for final 2011 goal - Webber
- F1 destroyed my marriage - Ecclestone
- Hulkenberg, di Resta not counting on 2012 seats
- Ex F1 co-owner mused sacking Ecclestone - witness
- Cosworth preview of Indian GP
- Power outages in India frustrate teams
- Massa: Wheldon/Simoncelli deaths a terrible shock
Russian government to fund Sochi F1 track
(GMM) The Russian federal government has committed to invest heavily in the country's inaugural grand prix in 2014.
The Ria Novosti news agency reports that the circuit in Sochi, located on the Black Sea coast, is to be built at a cost of towards US $200 million.
And the Krasnodar region's deputy governor Alaxander Ivanov is quoted by Reuters: "The federal government has allocated $195.4 million for this project."
Officials said the remaining few million will be financed through sponsorship and private investors.
In contrast, this weekend's Indian grand prix has been financed entirely by the private promoter Jaypee, and the 2013 New Jersey race will also not receive any state help.
The New Jersey promoter Leo Hindery told Austin American Statesman newspaper: "As a matter of principle, I don't believe in government subsidies for sporting events.
"I would never have done this project if it took a subsidy."
Ecclestone happy despite early Indian glitches
(GMM) Vicky Chandhok experienced a classically harrowing moment on Wednesday when greeted by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone at the new Buddh circuit.
The first Indian grand prix has endured a tumultuous build-up, but the Hermann Tilke-designed venue has ultimately been delivered just on time.
"You are always nervous," Tilke admitted to the German news agency DPA. "Little things do go wrong at a (circuit's) first grand prix."
One of those 'little things' was the presence of mouse droppings all over the brand new team facilities buildings, and faulty wiring that had to be fixed, an unnamed member of the Williams team revealed.
Tilke told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper: "We did the project and advised the work. We are not responsible for the buildings."
And Germany's Die Welt revealed that there was a worrying glitch during a safety test this week when key marshals could not find the medical centre even after 20 minutes.
Vicky Chandhok, the boss of India's motor sport clubs, admits he felt a rush of adrenaline when sternly greeted by Ecclestone on Wednesday.
"I had Charlie (Whiting) drive me round the track this morning, and afterwards Bernie came up, slapped my face and he said to me, How did you put up such rubbish?" he told the Daily Mail.
"I looked at him aghast and said, What are you saying?" added Chandhok.
"Then he laughed, gave me a big hug, a slap on the back and said 'Great job'."
New York promoter denies doubting Austin race
(GMM) The promoter of F1's newly announced New York round has denied doubting the separate US grand prix in Texas will ever take place.
Austin is scheduled to host the sport on a purpose-built circuit late next year, but there has been speculation construction is seriously delayed and that state funding may be in danger.
New Jersey's 2013 race, however, will take place on existing roads alongside the Hudson river, and the event is being funded privately.
"There's not a yard of dirt being moved," promoter Leo Hindery told a New York Times blog. "We're pennies on the dollar compared to Austin."
The column also quoted Hindery as saying: "I wouldn't bet on Austin making it."
But in a telephone interview with the Austin American Statesman newspaper on Wednesday, Hindery denied making the latter statement.
The NY Times author Jonathan Schultz insists however that Hindery was quoted accurately.
But Hindery told the local Austin publication: "I have no skepticism about Austin."
Red Bull 'behind me' for final 2011 goal - Webber
(GMM) Mark Webber has admitted he is focused on overtaking his rivals to take second place in the drivers' world championship.
With the drivers' and constructors' titles now both in the bag, Red Bull boss Christian Horner said recently that helping Webber climb from fourth to second is the team's remaining objective for 2011.
Asked if he is happy to give up wins so that Webber can outscore Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, world champion Vettel admitted: "Yeah, definitely."
Australian Webber told India's Mid Day: "The entire team is behind me in support for the number 2 position.
"With the constructor's title in the bag, and Seb having won the drivers' title, a Red Bull one-two in the drivers' championship will be a great achievement and a fantastic way to end the season."
And ahead of 2012, Webber denies he will be under pressure to finally beat Vettel for ultimate spoils.
"Not really," the 35-year-old insisted. "In fact, I think the pressure is on him because he has to defend."
F1 destroyed my marriage - Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that formula one destroyed his long marriage.
The F1 chief executive was married to Slavica, the mother of his two daughters, for almost 25 years until 2009.
"I have worked very, very hard for formula one and probably so intensively that it destroyed my marriage," Ecclestone, to turn 81 on Friday, told Germany's Die Welt newspaper.
"I'm too busy and I enjoy what I do," he explained. "Most of the time I work from nine to six, and even then in the evenings, seven days a week.
"She (Slavica) was not happy about it. I tortured her with my work for 25 years and now she travels around the world like there's no tomorrow. She's trying to catch up," said Ecclestone.
Asked if he ever goes on holiday, the diminutive Briton answered: "Very rarely, and not for long anyway. Ten days off was the most I've done in 50 years. I don't need to rest."
Hulkenberg, di Resta not counting on 2012 seats
(GMM) Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta are refusing to believe they will definitely front Force India's race driver lineup in 2012.
It is now expected that the team's long-time regular Adrian Sutil may have to seek alternate employment, with Friday driver Hulkenberg set to step up to the race seat alongside rookie Scot di Resta.
"There are quite a few rumors going on. At the moment, that is what they are," admitted Hulkenberg in Delhi this week.
"A decision has not yet been taken," said the 24-year-old, referring to his boss Vijay Mallya's scheduled announcement in mid December. "I'm waiting for that day.
"Hopefully, the association (with Force India) will be a good one and I look to a good future with them."
Even di Resta, Sutil's current race teammate, is not feeling comfortable.
"It (the December announcement) does play on your mind, I won't deny it," he told the Guardian. "You have got to keep showing the results, maybe show them even a bit more."
Ex F1 co-owner mused sacking Ecclestone - witness
(GMM) German bank and former F1 shareholder BayernLB contemplated dismissing Bernie Ecclestone six years ago, it emerged during Gerhard Gribkowsky's corruption trial this week.
The trial, with Briton Ecclestone set to appear as a witness next month, surrounds the F1 chief executive's suspect payment of millions to Gribkowsky, who was then in charge of BayernLB's F1 share.
An employee testified on Wednesday that Ecclestone heard during bank meetings several times in 2005 that F1 "could do without him", the Reuters news agency reports.
Ecclestone, turning 81 on Friday, told the German newspaper Die Welt this week that formula one would survive without him.
"It would," he said, "but things would be very different if I'm not there.
"I have a very great and strong support from many people, with a lot of mutual trust.
"If the leadership was to change, nothing would be affected seriously but it would be more complicated and difficult because that trust might not be there any more.
"People would probably want to read the contracts ten times more than if I was there," added Ecclestone.
Cosworth Preview of Indian GP
The ‘Cosworth Circuit Tracker’ takes a look at the Buddh International Circuit from an engine's eye view with more topical insights direct from the race track.
Cosworth also details specific metrics that are intended to give an ‘at-a-glance’ look at the demands placed on the engine.
An Engine’s Eye View
The Buddh International Circuit features an interesting mix of corners. The first half of the lap generally comprises low speed turns, before the pace picks up at T8. The circuit also incorporates a long straight between T3 and T4, which includes a couple of pronounced humps as well as a generous DRS zone to assist with overtaking. Note that for this event, the FIA have also included a second DRS zone along the start-finish straight.
As at Yeongam two weeks ago, the circuit features three relatively long straights. The power sensitivity, in terms of lap time per horsepower, is therefore slightly higher than average.
7th gear selection will as usual be governed by the longest straight, as well as the compromise between qualifying and race DRS usage. With the start-finish straight running in the opposite direction, any wind direction change is at least partially negated by the corresponding benefit along the opposite straight.
T10 and T11 are likely to be amongst the most challenging of the circuit, from both a driver and engine perspective. Although the peak lateral acceleration here is not the highest of the lap, it will be sustained over a large period of time. As such, it will test the integrity of the oil system. Although in the opposite direction, these two corners feel similar to Suzuka’s famous Spoon curve.
From the Race Track
Walking the track on Wednesday, one immediately obvious feature of note was its width. It is particularly wide at the entry of T3 and T15. Presumably this has been done deliberately to open up the options for drivers to take alternative racing lines, and thereby promote overtaking.
Another feature apparent upon arriving at the circuit is the fact that it is very dusty. This could prove problematic if this passes into the engine. Dirt ingress is prevented via the air filter, which Cosworth will inspect regularly during Friday’s running. If this becomes blocked, engine power reduces as a result. As with nearly all aspects of engineering, filter design is a compromise. The thinner the filter, the less the blockage and the better the engine performance. However, go too thin and dirt will pass into the engine which will have similar, if not worse, results.
As at any new venue, absolute fuel consumption is a relative unknown. Whilst this can be simulated, it will be governed to a certain extent by grip level. The track will ‘rubber-in’ more than usual over the course of the weekend because it has not been used before, which will increase lap-by-lap consumption. Clearly the pre-race strategy will account for this, but the driver can select different engine maps to increase or reduce fuel consumption during the race should it differ from predicted values.
Power outages in India frustrate teams
On Thursday, team and press members at India’s Buddh International Circuit have been frustrated by two separate power cuts, preventing work from being carried out. Organizers are now ensuring that no such repeats will occur over the race weekend.
With numerous live television broadcasts beginning on Friday, not least as the track’s first free practice sessions take place, any power failure would present a significant issue. Similar problems were faced at Japan’s Fuji Speedway and Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina venues - both either modernized or new - in 2007 and 2009, respectively.
Ironically, India is currently celebrating Diwali – the renowned festival of light.
Massa: Wheldon/Simoncelli deaths a terrible shock
Felipe Massa has recalled his feelings when hearing of the accidents which recently killed Britain’s Dan Wheldon and Italy’s Marco Simoncelli in the IndyCar Series and MotoGP, respectively. In the case of the latter, his funeral is taking place today.
“At the moment all my thoughts are with the families and friends of Marco Simoncelli and Dan Wheldon,” says Brazilian Massa, who came close to losing his own life when hit by an airborne steel spring in qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.
“It seems that, when bad things happen, they come all at once. Because of the time difference between Malaysia and Brazil, I found out about the MotoGP accident as soon as I woke up on Sunday morning, when I was at home in São Paulo. It is unbelievable and I was in a state of shock afterwards.
“Simoncelli was such a nice guy - one of the characters in motorcycle racing and a great talent. Coming so soon after the death of Dan Wheldon, who was a friend of mine, these have been really difficult times and it is just unbelievable that these sad events happened just one week apart.
“Of course, those of us who race, we always know the risk is there - every time you go out on-track. When you are racing, you do not think so much about the risks and you always push hard, sometimes too hard. But all the same, it is still a terrible shock when you see something like that and it reminds you the risk is there.”