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Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday
  • Jean Todt
    F1 must accept move to new markets - Todt
  • Battle for millions is further down India grid
  • Force India trio to learn 2012 fate by Abu Dhabi
  • 'Delhi belly' strikes McLaren team members
  • Red Bull lost front wing before Ferrari 'flutter'
  • Brawn puts job on line for Mercedes success
  • Hamilton accepts the risks of racing
  • Schumacher also accepts risk of racing

F1 must accept move to new markets - Todt
(GMM)  Jean Todt says he supports formula one's push out of Europe into new markets.

The FIA president was speaking at India's new Buddh circuit, amid some observers' fears that the sport is steadily walking away from its traditional hosts and venues.

"Slowly (F1) is moving from Europe to other developing countries in Asia and the Middle East.

"India is a strong emerging country and I admire the investments made for building the infrastructure and the resilience shown by the people," said Todt.

It has also been suggested in the F1 paddock that the calendar is becoming too crammed, with personnel required to travel quickly between countries separated by long distances and different time zones.

"Firstly, the calendar is proposed by F1 rights holder or should we say Bernie Ecclestone," Todt told the Times of India.

"We are running a world wide championship and teams should be prepared for some travelling.  But I think 20 races is good and we shouldn't increase that," he said.

And as for F1's European decline, with the sport absent even in Todt's native France, he told the Economic Times: "I wouldn't call it a decline; the world is changing.

"This is a transfer of ideas and resources from one part of the world to another - from the traditional F1 enclaves to big emerging nations."

Battle for millions is further down India grid
(GMM)  With the championship victors now decided, one of the remaining points of interest in 2011 is the multi million dollar battle among F1's non-top four teams.

"I am very disappointed," said Peter Sauber after qualifying in India.  "I was expecting more from the car and from the drivers," he told Blick newspaper.

Kamui Kobayashi failed to speed out of Q1, and teammate Sergio Perez will start even further behind after receiving a grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags.

The Swiss team, seventh in the championship, is just three points ahead of the rapidly-improving Toro Rosso, whose drivers are both in the top ten for Sunday's race.

The junior Red Bull team has been streaking forwards with its blown diffuser, a technology abandoned by Sauber after the FIA's banning saga in July.

"Sauber are not our opponents," admitted Force India team manager Otmar Szafnauer.  The Silverstone based team is sixth in the points standings, nine ahead of Sauber and 12 ahead of Toro Rosso.

For Toro Rosso, the difference between eighth and sixth is many millions of dollars, distributed according to the tables in the confidential Concorde Agreement.

"We need to worry about Toro Rosso," Force India's Szafnauer told the Sonntagsblick newspaper.

Force India trio to learn 2012 fate by Abu Dhabi
(GMM)  Vijay Mallya has flagged Abu Dhabi in two weeks as the accelerated deadline for the announcement of Force India's 2012 driver lineup.

The billionaire had intended to hold off the call until mid December, but reports in the last week strongly suggest he has already settled on pairing Paul di Resta with Nico Hulkenberg.

That has worried Adrian Sutil, who - if he is ultimately to lose his seat - wants the time between now and the end of the year to find a new one.

"I am happy that he has understood this (need) now," German Sutil is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Mallya told the SID news agency: "I have three top drivers, but only two can sit in the car.  This is a difficult decision for me."

He went on to hail Force India's 2011 Friday and reserve driver, Hulkenberg.

"He has done his job very well, and the fact that he put his Williams on the pole position in Brazil (2010) says it all," said Mallya.

Sutil, however, argues that he too has done a good job recently alongside his rookie teammate di Resta.

"I am doing the best job possible," insisted the 28-year-old.  "That should be quite obvious to people.  But ultimately they must make the decision."

With his sponsors Medion and Capri-Sun in tow, Sutil's main alternative for 2012 is Williams.

"I will look around a bit, of course," he admitted.  "But I will behave loyally to my team that I have been together with for so long.

"Let's wait for the decision."

'Delhi belly' strikes McLaren team members
(GMM)  The first reports of 'Delhi belly' affecting a formula one team this week have emerged from the McLaren garage.

SID news agency reports that the famous British team had to fly in from Woking some replacement staff, who had been placed on standby in case those in India suffered the notorious traveler’s illness.

The report quoted boss Martin Whitmarsh as revealing that four team members have been affected, with at least two already replaced.

Auto Motor und Sport says the affected number is closer to six.

"With the budget limitations (agreement), you cannot take spare staff to the races," Whitmarsh said.  "But we have had standby personnel in Britain for each position in the team.

"They all had a packed suitcase and were waiting for the call," he added.

Red Bull lost front wing before Ferrari 'flutter'
(GMM)  A mischievous rumor in the Buddh circuit paddock could help to explain the behavior of Ferrari's front wing this weekend.

The team set tongues wagging in India with another version of its 2012-style prototype wing.

At high speed, the behavior of the wing has been described by observers as oscillating or - as per the aviation jargon - "fluttering".

The wing was also flexing towards the track whilst obviously passing the aerodynamic load tests -- a mysterious phenomenon first perfected by Red Bull.

Ferrari, competitive so far in India, may now be on the way to emulating the effect, less than two months after the Italian grand prix.

At Monza in September, Red Bull reportedly 'lost' an entire version of the dominant RB7's front wing following Mark Webber's crash.

According to Auto Motor Sport, some paddock figures "think the component ended up at Maranello".

Brawn puts job on line for Mercedes success
(GMM)  Mercedes' works team will "definitely" be on the formula one grid in the coming three seasons, the marque's motor sport president Norbert Haug confirmed in India.

But Ross Brawn was not willing to make the same guarantee about his job as team principal.

"I want to be here for the next three years," the Briton told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper in a joint interview with Haug.

"If you don't perform, then you're out.  I am the boss.  If the project is not running right, then it will be over," predicted Brawn.

The same might be true for Michael Schumacher, whose current contract runs out at the end of next season.

By 2013, when he will be 44, will Schumacher be clearly too old to perform?

"I see no reason why," insisted Brawn.  "Everyone can see that Michael has stepped up this season and is still growing.

"If he can fight for podiums and wins next year, then why should he stop?  At the same time if we are not successful next year, then his decision to stop will be easier."

Brawn said the decision is ultimately Schumacher's.

"It is very easy to talk to Michael about a new contract," he said.  "If he wants to continue, we will find a solution quickly.  I don't know what the outcome will be.  And neither does he.

"Let's see how good we are in 2012," added Brawn.

Said Haug: "At the very least, I don't think Michael has the intention to go to another team."

It is arguably a more complicated situation with the other seat, as Nico Rosberg has clearly outperformed Schumacher in 2011 and 2011, attracting the attention of rival teams.

"The market is open," admitted Haug.  "And there are many drivers who are knocking on our door.  But Nico wants to move forward and we want to do it with him.

"In general you can go to the wrong team at the wrong team, which is a mistake every driver should try to avoid."

Brawn agreed: "Nico believes in the people here at Mercedes, and we believe in him.  It's just a matter of time."

Haug said having the right driver is crucial for an F1 team, with the latest example being Red Bull.

"They have a fantastic car and a very stable team," the German acknowledged, "but Sebastian Vettel makes the difference for them.

"Just look at the big gap between him and his teammate Webber, who I respect a lot.  Sebastian is the key to their success," added Haug.

Hamilton accepts the risks of racing
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has said he accepts the risk of dying in a Formula One car as he follows his passion for racing to the limit.

On an Indian Grand Prix weekend where the sport is remembering IndyCar racer Dan Wheldon and MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, both killed in races in the last two weeks, Hamilton faced his own fears head on.

“Everyone will have (Wheldon and Simoncelli) in their minds,” the 2008 world champion told British newspaper reporters ahead of Sunday’s race.

“But you have got to do what you do because you love it. It is a sacrifice and a risk that we all take. No one wants to be in those situations but, for me, if I was to pass away, I cannot imagine a better way, personally,” said the 26-year-old.

“I have always said if I was going to go, then in a racing car would be the way to do it. It is what I love.”

Many of the drivers will carry tributes to Wheldon and Simoncelli, with the Briton’s initials and the Italian’s racing number 58 on cars and helmets, but Hamilton hesitated to say their deaths had been down to fate.

“I don’t know if I would agree with that,” he said.

“My thoughts go out to their (Wheldon’s and Simoncelli’s) families. I cannot imagine what they are going through. It is the same for (his own late karting mentor) Martin Hines’ family and all the people that are passing away at the moment.”

Schumacher also accepts risk of racing
Seven times world champion Michael Schumacher, still racing for Mercedes at the age of 42, told reporters earlier in the week that he took a fatalistic approach to a sport he has been involved in for two decades.

The German said total safety was impossible in any walk of life but pointed out to the huge improvements made in Formula One since the death of triple champion Ayrton Senna in 1994, the sport’s last driver fatality in a race.

“If on top something happens, then that’s what I would call fate and fate is something that we all have to face sooner or later,” said Schumacher.

“I’m certainly very touched by what has happened for both of the drivers that we have lost but unfortunately you have to say that’s life.”

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