Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
Ecclestone eyes Asia floatation for F1 rights
- Williams to announce 2012 lineup 'within a week'
- Bottas eyes Friday role at Williams for 2012
- Barrichello working overtime to keep Williams seat
- F1 better with Raikkonen on grid - de la Rosa
- Rosberg admits early McLaren link
- Marko unhappy to see Hamilton emerge from crisis
- Vergne thinks ready to be as good as Webber
- Sahara Force India and STL extend partnership
- Kimi contacted LRGP about 2012
Ecclestone eyes Asia floatation for F1 rights
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that public floatation might be more likely than a sale in the event current owners CVC want to offload formula one's commercial rights.
A consortium headed by News Corp has expressed interest in bidding for the lucrative rights, as have the F1 teams in becoming shareholders.
But chief executive Ecclestone told the Telegraph: "If I wanted to dispose of the company today I would float it in Singapore or Hong Kong."
He added that "it would be better to float the company in Singapore than sell it".
Writing in the British newspaper, journalists Christian Sylt and Caroline Reid said there were attempts to float F1 in London in the 90s "but they failed due to an anti-competition investigation by the European Commission".
The writers explain that Ecclestone believes the "accelerating interest in the sport in Asia is too hard to ignore".
Williams to announce 2012 lineup 'within a week'
(GMM) Williams' decision about its 2012 driver lineup is nearing.
Writing in Germany's Speed Week, Peter Hesseler said the famous British team "plans to decide within a week" who will be driving the two cars next season.
"This is what shareholder Toto Wolff is saying," he revealed.
On the face of it, Pastor Maldonado's seat is safe, but reports say his lucrative backing by state owned oil company PDVSA is set to be investigated by the Venezuelan parliament.
In reality, it is Rubens Barrichello who is the most worried, with a trio of candidates including Kimi Raikkonen, Adrian Sutil and Valteri Bottas all reportedly in the running.
Italy's Autosprint reports that Raikkonen is "ready to sign" a one-season deal so that he is free to switch to Mercedes, presumably to replace Michael Schumacher, in 2013.
The report said Dutchman Giedo van der Garde is also a contender.
Bottas eyes Friday role at Williams for 2012
(GMM) Valtteri Bottas has admitted he would like to sign up as Williams' Friday morning test driver in 2012.
The Finnish GP3 driver, who contested the prestigious Macau F3 race at the weekend, was the famous British team's official test driver this year.
He tested the FW33 in Abu Dhabi last week and impressed team manager Dickie Stanford, according to Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.
"He is a really good driver," Stanford is quoted as saying.
"It was his first real test for us and he made a big impact. Valtteri is relaxed, intelligent and very good at what he does," he added.
Until now, the 22-year-old has not been regarded by the media as a serious candidate for a race seat, but he reportedly also has some sponsorship on offer.
He said: "Nothing for next year is signed, but I don't see any reason why the testing role with Williams will not continue.
"It would be really great if I could do the Friday mornings at the grands prix, as testing is so limited that it would help a lot when talking about 2013."
Barrichello working overtime to keep Williams seat
(GMM) Rubens Barrichello has revealed he is working overtime to extend his formula one career into a twentieth consecutive season in 2012.
Williams is considering replacing the 39-year-old veteran after his home race at Interlagos on Sunday, with a well-heeled quartet featuring Kimi Raikkonen, Adrian Sutil, Valtteri Bottas and Giedo van der Garde reportedly all in the running.
So, ahead of what could be his 322nd and last race this weekend, Barrichello has told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper that he has been working hard behind the scenes to compete with the sponsor money on offer.
"My desire to continue in formula one is such that in the last two months I visited more companies than I did in 1990, when I was looking for sponsors to race overseas," he said.
"We are offering an unique form of participation (for a sponsor); not just brand exposure but something personalized -- 'tailor-made' as the English would say," added Barrichello.
He acknowledged that it is tempting for his bosses Sir Frank Williams and Adam Parr to sign someone else because they can offer more money.
"But they know that they can count on me for the speed and for the experience," insisted the former Ferrari driver.
Barrichello said he is not new to uncertainty, revealing that early in 2009 he risked losing his Brawn seat because the former Honda team was struggling for money.
"Ross Brawn said that I needed money to finish the championship. So if after the fourth race someone else came with sponsorship then I would have to give up," he said.
Two years on, he is now relying on more than just his own efforts to realize his dream of extending his already longest-ever F1 career even further.
"I have a tattoo on my arm with the initials of my children, F for Fernando and E for Eduardo," Barrichello explained.
"The guy who gave it to me suggested putting an accent on so it becomes faith (fe), which I loved because I am a man of faith," he said.
But what if, despite his faith, Barrichello is left without a seat for 2012?
"Then I am a happy person and, yes, I have to be prepared for anything. I have to stop one day. And if this is god's will then I will follow that path and perhaps it will be even better for my children as they grow up," he answered.
F1 better with Raikkonen on grid - de la Rosa
(GMM) Pedro de la Rosa has revealed he would love to see Kimi Raikkonen return to formula one.
The 2007 world champion is linked with a seat at Williams, with the British team reportedly set to announce its 2012 lineup within the week.
"For now it's only a rumor but I would welcome it," said Spaniard de la Rosa, who worked alongside the Finn at McLaren five years ago.
"He is one the drivers that I worked best with," the McLaren reserve driver is quoted by Spanish reports. "He is such a natural talent and F1 is better with him than without him.
"Formula one is his place and I am glad to hear that he has been training hard.
"He is a tough opponent but of course it depends on what Williams can do. They have had a very bad year but for sure Kimi is going to strengthen them."
Rosberg admits early McLaren link
(GMM) Nico Rosberg has admitted he had talks about switching to McLaren while he was under contract to Williams some years ago.
"It's true, there was a first discussion, but there was never the possibility of changing because I had a contract already," the German told Kolner Express newspaper.
"So it wasn't a topic for me at all," added Rosberg, who now drives for Mercedes. "I am glad that I was with Williams and now Mercedes is my challenge."
Highly competitive alongside seven time world champion Michael Schumacher in the last two seasons, the 26-year-old has even been linked with Ferrari.
But despite failing to record a single race win after more than a century of attempts, Rosberg insists he is happy.
He even thinks Mercedes, with its iconic Silver Arrows, is just as prestigious a brand as the Prancing Horse.
"Definitely, if not even more so," he insisted.
"More and more I see those old videos with Fangio from the 50s; the history of the Silver Arrows is very impressive. I've said it before that winning in a Silver Arrow is my dream."
Marko unhappy to see Hamilton emerge from crisis
(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has admitted his disappointment with Lewis Hamilton's apparent return to form.
After a tumultuous season, not only was the McLaren driver smiling again after the recent Abu Dhabi race, he was also holding aloft the winner's trophy.
Marko, Red Bull's motor sport consultant, insisted after the Yas Marina event that had Sebastian Vettel not retired with a blown tire, Briton Hamilton might not have been smiling so widely.
Nonetheless, he told Auto Motor und Sport: "For us, we would not have minded if Hamilton had stayed quiet for even longer.
"When he is back at 100 per cent, Mr. Hamilton is a dangerous opponent," Austrian Marko admitted.
The German report said Marko and Red Bull fear McLaren - the famous British team that has surged back to top form during the course of 2011 - more than Ferrari or Mercedes.
"They are like a terrier biting a bit more with each race," he smiled. "McLaren emerge from every crisis, which shows the class of a racing team."
McLaren's obvious target for 2012 is, unlike in recent years, to not just end a season on terms with Red Bull, but also to begin it with a winning car.
"Our car is always as good as the Red Bull eventually," Hamilton is quoted as saying. "It would be helpful for the future if we get there earlier than we have been."
Vergne thinks ready to be as good as Webber
(GMM) Buoyed by his impressive form in Abu Dhabi last week, Jean-Eric Vergne thinks he would do as good a job in formula one as Mark Webber.
Frenchman Vergne, the latest cream of Red Bull's development program, tested Sebastian Vettel's title-winning RB7 during the young driver test and was fastest in all six sessions over the course of the three days.
Already Toro Rosso's Friday driver, the 21-year-old is scheduled to practice with Sebastien Buemi's car in Brazil and is considered a hot contender to replace the Swiss full-time in 2012.
But he also thinks he would be ready to be Vettel's teammate at the senior team.
"When I came back (from the test) I saw the comments of (engineering boss) Ian Morgan and they were very positive, I cannot hide it," Vergne is quoted as saying by French newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur.
"I know that the top teams are cautious of young drivers; the only one (McLaren) that dared to go with a young guy recently was Hamilton, and it worked.
"We have had a similar preparation; I did three days of testing and physically had no problems.
"So I think if I was put in the Red Bull, I would do no worse than Webber. That's my impression, anyway, after these tests.
"But I know that the road is still long and where I go next is Brazil. This is my last practice session with Toro Rosso before I know what I will be doing next season," he added.
Sahara Force India and STL extend partnership
Sahara Force India is pleased to announce the extension of its partnership with communications firm STL for a further three years. The agreement marks the continuation of a long-term relationship that has been in place for over ten years.
With a long track record of working with Sahara Force India, STL understands the communication requirements needed for the demanding word of Formula One. Their support includes voice and data communications services, such as the Samsung OfficeServ telephone system installed at the team headquarters in Silverstone and on-location at Grand Prix circuits around the world.
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India: “STL plays an important role in our operations at the factory and at the race track. For example, the telephone system installed at our Silverstone head office and at the wind tunnel in Brackley helps create a virtual office across two sites. As well as this, our travelling staff can attach themselves to our main communications network and use their usual telephone extensions, make calls and access voicemail wherever they are in the world. Understandably, this technology improves the efficiency of our organization and helps generate significant cost savings.”
Brendon Cross, Managing Director of STL Communications: “We have supplied communication solutions to the team for over a decade now and are delighted to be continuing our relationship with Sahara Force India. As the team’s supplier of voice and data communications, STL has a thorough understanding of the requirements needed to support a successful Formula One team at race venues across the world from the factory at Silverstone. The continuing collaboration between STL and Sahara Force India demonstrates an important synergy between two organizations who share the drive for success through technology, innovation and teamwork.”
Kimi contacted LRGP about 2012
Speculation into a possible Formula 1 return for Kimi Raikkonen has been fuelled by Lotus Renault GP, as Team Principal Eric Boullier confirmed that the Finn’s management have recently been in touch. However, any comeback for the 2007 World Champion would most likely be with Williams.
Raikkonen left F1 as Ferrari replaced him with Fernando Alonso for the start of 2010. Since then, the Espoo driver has competed in both the World Rally Championship and NASCAR, although it was confirmed to GPUpdate.net that he visited Williams’ Grove factory this year and manager Steve Robertson was with the team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“What about him?” Boullier replied when asked about Raikkonen by the official F1 website. “I have explained how we want to go about our driver line-up for next season. But yes, there has been contact - look at this call (holds up mobile phone) - this was from his manager.”
LRGP’s 2012 full driver pairing remains unknown at present. Vitaly Petrov and the recovering Robert Kubica are still contracted to the Enstone outfit, although the Pole’s condition continues to be surrounded by question marks.
“The situation with Robert is easy,” Boullier continued. “We have a moral obligation to make sure that we give him a chance. To make a decision in October or November would not change anything in this team, as the driver market is closed. I am waiting for him to tell me how he feels and I need a commitment from him.
“We also need to make a plan if it (his recovery) is not going as planned, as I don’t want the team to be blamed. It was him who got me in trouble this year and now, if he can’t come back, he has to tell us about it. He has to tell us, but we also must not be stupid. We need a plan.”
When asked if former Renault driver and new GP2 Champion Romain Grosjean remains a genuine candidate for 2012, Boullier confirmed:
“Yes, yes, and I have not been hiding this fact for weeks, months even. So if Robert doesn’t come back, he is definitely one at the top of the list.”