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DATE News (chronologically)
11/18/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday  UPDATE Update shown in red below.

11/18/11
  • Ecclestone to Austin: Pay up or it's over
    US GP has one week to save 2012 race - Ecclestone
  • UK 'fraud office' considering Ecclestone probe
  • Webber wants DRS use to be limited
  • De la Rosa slams 'young driver test' format
  • Three teams try 2012 exhaust layouts in Abu Dhabi
  • Mother Viviane says Senna negotiating 2012 Renault deal
  • Late Bottas in dash from Abu Dhabi to Macau
  • Family prevented Ferrari switch for Newey
  • Petrov apologized after slamming Renault team - manager New

US GP has one week to save 2012 race - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Organizers of the US grand prix have one week to rescue their event before it is scratched from next year's calendar.

The deadline has been imposed by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, according to the Associated Press.

"If they want to come back to us, if it (a contract) is not signed before the end of next week, I suppose it won't be on the calendar next year," he said.

It is reported that Ecclestone wants a letter of credit or a guarantor for the organizers' $25 million race sanctioning fee.

"We have a World Motor Sport Council meeting on the seventh of December and we need to prepare everything before that," said the 81-year-old Briton.

In reality, the deadline will almost certainly be missed, with the Circuit of the Americas announcing that it is setting its sights on hosting an inaugural event in 2013 instead.

"We know the US market is important to the teams and their sponsors and 2013 certainly allows time for the Circuit of the Americas to be ready," the organization said in a statement.

The project's collapse occurred apparently because of disagreements between the original promoter Tavo Hellmund, and the circuit.

"I think somebody needs to jump on a plane and go see (Ecclestone) and make him happy," Hellmund told reporters on Thursday.

Without saying it specifically, it is clear he blames the project's investors.

"It's really not a Tavo problem.  It's really an investor problem," Texas comptroller Susan Combs told the local Austin American Statesman newspaper.

"The state has no role in saving something like this," she added.

UK 'fraud office' considering Ecclestone probe
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has refused to comment on reports he may be investigated by the UK's serious fraud office (SFO).

The F1 chief executive testified recently at Gerhard Gribkowsky's high profile corruption trial and may himself be charged by the Munich prosecutors for paying millions in alleged bribes.

Ecclestone, 81, is also facing a multi-million dollar civil suit brought by a former F1 co-owner, and the Financial Times now reports that he might now be investigated by UK authorities.

"(Attorney general) Dominic Grieve confirmed the SFO's involvement ... saying the SFO was liaising with authorities in Germany to consider the allegations surrounding Mr. Ecclestone ... and whether there is scope for an investigation", the report read.

The serious fraud office confirmed: "The SFO is aware of the allegations against Mr. Ecclestone and is liaising with the authorities in Germany to ascertain if there is a case in the UK to answer."

Ecclestone said: "I haven't got anything to say."

Asked if he has been contacted by the SFO, he added: "I am sure if they wanted to, they would ask me."

Webber wants DRS use to be limited
(GMM)  Mark Webber has renewed his call for the use of the moveable rear wing 'DRS' system to be limited during grand prix weekends.

In his latest column for the BBC, the Red Bull driver claimed that the free use of the overtaking aid during practice and qualifying sessions has contributed to several crashes in 2011.

Webber, 35, said he backs the innovation in general because the teams and authorities are trying to make passing "possible but still a real challenge".

But earlier this season, several drivers expressed concern that the free use of the system in the pre-race sessions had increased the drivers' workload to a dangerous level.

And Australian Webber said some drivers have been "pushing the boundaries" in terms of where they are choosing to deploy DRS, which in the race can only be used in designated areas.

"Renault's Bruno Senna had a crash in Suzuka, I had one on Friday in Hungary, and one of my teammate Sebastian Vettel's practice crashes was caused by that, too," said Webber.

"So the drivers are almost unanimous that they would prefer the use of DRS outside of a race to be limited -- to just the DRS zone and perhaps a couple of key straights, plus a restriction on the point at which you deploy it so you're not too close to the exit of a corner," he added.

De la Rosa slams 'young driver test' format
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa has slammed the format of this week's 'young driver test' in Abu Dhabi, saying it is not fair experienced drivers are left in the cold as the sport looks to control its costs.

"It makes perfect sense to me to limit and control tests in order to contain costs," said the long time McLaren reserve driver in his latest formulasantander.com column.

"But come on, limiting them to three days a season exclusively for young drivers seems an exaggeration and an aberration for a sport which should be the prime example of competitiveness and innovation in the world of motor racing competition," the 40-year-old Spaniard said.

He said it is ridiculous that a 'young driver' like Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari is excluded at the age of 21 because he has contested more than two grands prix.

At the same time there are drivers like 30-year-old Gary Paffett "who continue to be young" according to the definition of the eligible drivers, de la Rosa marveled.

And yet he, in a more senior role than Paffett at McLaren, is not allowed to practice.

"Can you imagine David Ferrer having to play a Davis Cup final as a substitute for an injured Rafael Nadal without having practiced for six months?" de la Rosa wondered.

Three teams try 2012 exhaust layouts in Abu Dhabi
(GMM)  At least three formula one teams have this week been preparing for life after the current 'blown exhaust' era.

In 2012, to limit the possibility of using the exhausts as an aerodynamic aid by pushing the engine gases through the diffuser, the exhausts must exit at the top of the rear of the cars.

Prototype solutions were seen during the 'young driver test' in Abu Dhabi this week on the cars of the Williams, Mercedes and Ferrari teams, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

It - along with the debut of Pirelli's 2012 tires - was one of the points of note in an otherwise quiet three days of testing, with the field comprised of many drivers who paid handsomely for the privilege.

Auto Motor und Sport estimates that, of the two dozen drivers in action this week, perhaps only Charles Pic and Jean-Eric Vergne might actually secure a drive for next season.

Attracting a lot of attention, therefore, was Frenchman Vergne, who at the end of the six separate test sessions over the course of the three days was fastest on every available opportunity.

"I must say I have been very impressed with him during this test," said Red Bull's engineering chief Ian Morgan.

Vergne's lap times have compared favorably to Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber's of a week ago, but Ferrari's Jules Bianchi pointed out to Autosprint: "I honestly don't know what tires they've been running".

At the very least, 21-year-old Vergne is - with his Red Bull junior stablemate Daniel Ricciardo - now a frontrunner for a Toro Rosso seat, or at least place at HRT if the energy drink company extends its driver deal with the Spanish team.

It is bad news for Sebastien Buemi, the lower points scorer at Toro Rosso this year who must now sit out morning practice in Brazil next Friday to make room for Vergne.

"In life you can't ever give up," the Swiss is quoted by Blick newspaper this week.  "No matter what happens, the sun rises every day as it did before."

Mother Viviane says Senna negotiating 2012 Renault deal
(GMM)  Bruno Senna's mother insists her son is in negotiations to stay with the Renault team, which is set to become Lotus for the 2012 season.

Officially, the Brazilian as well as his current teammate Vitaly Petrov, Romain Grosjean and Robert Kubica are all in the running for the two race seats.

But team boss Eric Boullier has hinted that Pole Kubica will not be ready to return early next season, while Petrov made an extraordinary rant in the Russian press this week that might have breached his contract.

"It's a world where everything is possible, it will be hard to oppose if they want to remove someone," the Russian told Rossiya 2 television.

Therefore, despite Senna occasionally struggling since replacing Nick Heidfeld earlier this season, the 28-year-old looks a favorite to pair alongside new GP2 champion Grosjean in 2012.

"In the first race, Bruno didn't know the car at all," Senna's mother Viviane, the sister of fabled triple world champion Ayrton Senna, said during the SporTV program Linha de Chegada.

"In formula one there is no testing and the car was new to him, so he has been learning about it live and in color," she said.  "Bruno has barely begun."

Regarding 2012, Viviane Senna said he son is in talks with Renault.

"We are already negotiating a contract with the team," she revealed.  "Bruno has already gone beyond the expectations for someone with so little experience.

"The team is happy with him," she added.

Late Bottas in dash from Abu Dhabi to Macau
(GMM)  Valtteri Bottas almost didn't make it from Abu Dhabi to Macau ahead of this weekend's prestigious F3 race.

The Finn, a test driver for Williams, was among the 'young drivers' at Yas Marina this week for some precious F1 running.

But for the trip from the Middle East to China, time was tight ahead of F3 qualifying.

Turun Sanomat newspaper reports that the 22-year-old, after leaving the Abu Dhabi paddock after 5pm on Wednesday and missing his original flight, was still travelling when the morning practice session took place.

And his ferry from Hong Kong arrived just in time for qualifying.

The rush, however, might just have been worth it, given he was outpaced in Abu Dhabi by only a McLaren, a Ferrari and Jean-Eric Vergne's flying Red Bull.

Asked last week if he has any plans for Bottas, Sir Frank Williams said: "Depends how quick he is.  He does look very good but I don't know enough about him."

Family prevented Ferrari switch for Newey
(GMM)  Adrian Newey has admitted that one of the only things that has held him back from switching to Ferrari is his family.

The Briton, who has also won titles with UK based McLaren and Williams, is regarded as the best technical mind in formula one and instrumental to Red Bull's current run of dominance.

So has he thought about moving to Ferrari, F1's most evocative marque?

"There is no particular reason (why he has not), there has just never been the right time for it to occur," Newey told Spain's Canal 9.

"Also, my family and my children are in England and so it would be an upheaval for them to have to go to live in Italy.

"It is a shame," he acknowledged, "because it is a great team and while many drivers covet driving for Ferrari one day, the same goes for engineers."

Meanwhile, Newey denied recent reports that his next F1 car, the 2012 Red Bull RB8, will be completely different to the current single seater.

"People think I said that, but I did not," he insisted.

"It will be an evolution of the (2009) RB5, the car that started this series," Newey explained.  "Last year's car was based on it and so was this one (2011).  RB5 is the father of them all."

Petrov apologized after slamming Renault team - manager
(GMM)  Vitaly Petrov has apologized for slamming his employer Lotus Renault GP in an interview, manager Oksana Kossatchenko said on Friday.

In the Russian interview with Rossiya 2, the 27-year-old hit out at the Enstone based team's rate of development this season as well as its pitstops, race strategies and bosses, and admitted it is possible he will be ousted for "business" reasons despite having a signed contract for 2012.

"It was an emotional interview," Kossatchenko is quoted as saying by Reuters.

"It was an exception and he apologized afterwards to the team.  It will never happen again.

"We are really sorry and the management has discussed it with Vitaly already," she said, adding that she has also spoken with team boss Eric Boullier.

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