Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
- Mallya defends F1 spending amid airline crisis
- Police detonate suspected bomb in F1 paddock
- Mercedes moves towards Concorde deal
- Schumacher must convince Mercedes to 'want him'
- Button says Lotus car to beat in Monaco
- Nurburgring hopes for new ten-year F1 deal
- Mansell in a sling after cycling smash
- Raikkonen wears James Hunt helmet in Monaco
- Force India wants to keep di Resta in 2013
- Ferrari signs new aero boss Bigois - report
- Lotus says no to Raikkonen's rally request
Mallya defends F1 spending amid airline crisis
(GMM) Vijay Mallya has defended his continuing spending on his formula one team, while his airline Kingfisher struggles for mere survival.
"I don't quite understand the correlation between sporting interests, which are personal in nature, and my business interests," the Force India boss told reporters in Monaco while on an increasingly rare visit to the F1 paddock.
The Indian businessman denied that his airline's problems means Force India is also in danger of succumbing to financial pressure.
"Sahara Force India is extremely well taken care of and set," Mallya insisted.
Still, rumors persist that employees of the Silverstone based team are sometimes waiting weeks to be paid.
Nonetheless, Mallya pressed ahead late on Thursday with his traditional and lavish pre-Monaco grand prix party on his luxury yacht.
Asked how he can justify that, he answered: "Justify what, and to whom?
"If one business, for whatever reason, is not doing well, it doesn't mean that every other business has to shut down."
Police detonate suspected bomb in F1 paddock
(GMM) Monaco's party atmosphere late on Thursday was broken by the sound of an explosion.
Bomb police cordoned off an area of the formula one paddock near the media centre after someone noticed a suspicious plastic package.
Experts detonated it with a controlled explosion just before 10pm, the Press Associated reported.
It also emerges that some spectators suffered minor injuries on Thursday when part of a grandstand collapsed.
Mercedes moves towards Concorde deal
(GMM) Mercedes appears on the verge of signing up to formula one's future.
The German carmaker had been locked in dispute with the sport's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, after rival top teams were offered better deals for the post-2012 Concorde Agreement.
But Ecclestone told CNN on Thursday that "all the current teams" have signed up "until 2020".
"Everybody has agreed with it," the 81-year-old insisted.
Asked if Mercedes is counted among that number, Ecclestone added: "You'll have to wait to see but I'm confident everything with Mercedes will be fine."
Asked if he is no longer worried the Brackley based team, that currently fields Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, might pull out of F1, the diminutive Briton insisted: "Absolutely."
On Thursday in Monaco, however, Mercedes was not confirming a done deal.
"On this matter, I can confirm we are having constructive discussions that are heading in the right direction," said vice-president Norbert Haug.
Earlier in the Principality, team boss Ross Brawn described the talks as "delicate".
Schumacher must convince Mercedes to 'want him'
(GMM) If Michael Schumacher wants to keep racing beyond 2012, he will need to convince Mercedes.
That is the claim of former German F1 driver Christian Danner, referring to rumors the seven time world champion's future beyond this year is uncertain.
Schumacher, 43, has said he is yet to sit down for talks with Mercedes, who have named former DTM protege Paul di Resta as an ideal successor.
"Personally I would be very happy if he goes on and he is able to go on at a good level, because at the moment he is starting to look a bit old," Danner said on German television RTL.
Danner said he believes Schumacher wants to continue in 2013, but the issue of a new contract "is not just up to him".
"He also has to have the team to want him," he explained.
Earlier this week, Mercedes' F1 chief executive Nick Fry suggested that the great German might choose to retire if he does not achieve better results by the end of the season.
Boss Ross Brawn reacted by insisting the team had let Schumacher down so far in 2012, and then clarified his remarks on Thursday in Monaco.
"When I talk about the team, I talk about the drivers as well, the drivers aren't outside the team, so when I say 'the team hasn't done a good enough job with Michael', I mean collectively.
"We - and that includes Michael - have not done a good enough job collectively in the first five races," said Brawn.
Button says Lotus car to beat in Monaco
(GMM) McLaren's Jenson Button has named Lotus as the team to beat in Monaco.
After Romain Grosjean was second fastest in both practice sessions on Thursday, Button's teammate Lewis Hamilton concurred that the "Lotus looks pretty good".
"Normally, there are seven tenths between the two tire compounds," said the 2008 world champion. "Jenson was only four tenths ahead of Grosjean."
Button agreed: "Whenever they are going out, they are at the front. So I think that at the moment the Lotus is the car to beat," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"That lap time of 1.16.1 is very quick on the hard tire."
The Briton is quoted by Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper: "It'll be tough to beat them."
In light of Lotus' apparent strength this weekend, Pirelli's Paul Hembery mocked those purists who think the constantly-changing race winners in 2012 are damaging the sport.
"(I'm) worried that Jenson said Lotus looking good in Monaco," he wrote on Twitter. "We risk a sixth winner in a different car.
"Disaster. Kimi and Romain, please do not win."
Nurburgring hopes for new ten-year F1 deal
(GMM) The Nurburgring is hoping to conclude a new ten-year contract to keep hosting formula one every two years.
An official of the German circuit, Kai Richter, is quoted as saying the new ten-year deal on the table will mean at least "five more races" are held at the Nurburgring.
Track operator Jorg Lindner confirmed to SID news agency that the deal had been reached after "difficult negotiations" over "four meetings" with F1's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
He described the outcome as "very attractive", but warned that the signatures need to be added by June.
"Otherwise, formula one could be gone (from the Nurburgring) for many, many years," said Lindner.
The Nurburgring annually alternates the German grand prix with Hockenheim.
Mansell in a sling after cycling smash
(GMM) Nigel Mansell is F1's one-handed FIA race steward this weekend at Monaco.
The 1992 world champion walked into the Monte Carlo paddock with his arm in a sling.
What happened? "Broken collarbone," the former Ferrari, Williams and McLaren driver told Swiss newspaper Blick on Thursday.
"I fell off my bike."
Mansell, 58, is an avid road cyclist.
Raikkonen wears James Hunt helmet in Monaco
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen is paying tribute to one of his heroes this weekend at Monaco.
During Thursday practice for this weekend's blue-riband event, onlookers were surprised to see the late James Hunt apparently at the wheel of a 2012 black and gold Lotus.
In fact, it was Finn Raikkonen wearing 1976 world champion Hunt's iconic black helmet livery.
In 32-year-old Raikkonen's championship year in 2007, he famously entered a snowmobile race under the name 'James Hunt'.
Raikkonen has admitted to identifying with the carefree Briton, who once said after winning a grand prix: "9 points, $20,000 and a lot of happiness -- can I grab that cigarette?"
The former BBC commentator, who died aged 45 in 1993, also wore a logo on his overalls with the words: "Sex: breakfast of champions".
Asked about the tribute on Thursday, Raikkonen insisted: "It's not for any particular reason.
"I just like him and the kind of racing there was in the past," he is quoted by the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.
"It's a nice (helmet) design. There's not any more (to it) than that."
Force India wants to keep di Resta in 2013
(GMM) Vijay Mallya on Thursday admitted he would like to keep the same driver lineup for his Force India team in 2013.
There has been speculation that Paul di Resta has caught the eye of top teams including Ferrari and Mercedes.
"Paul is a huge asset and a very valuable asset to us," insisted the team's Indian boss and co-owner Mallya, who in 2012 has paired Scot di Resta, 26, with Germany's Nico Hulkenberg.
"We have secure contracts with both him and Nico and we have an excellent relationship with both.
"Should they ever want to think of going elsewhere I am sure they will come and tell us and it will be something that we will work out very amicably.
"We'd love to continue with our current driver lineup," said Mallya, who told Reuters that di Resta and Hulkenberg are already under contract for 2013.
Ferrari signs new aero boss Bigois - report
(GMM) Ferrari has signed a well-known F1 aerodynamicist to run its Maranello wind tunnel.
That is the claim of the authoritative Italian publication Autosprint, who first reported the move as a rumor a month ago.
Autosprint's correspondent Alberto Antonini said Loic Bigois, a 52-year-old Frenchman, will now "definitely" move from Mercedes in mid-September, although an official announcement will probably not be made.
Bigois started his career with Ligier/Prost, moving to Minardi until 2003 when he was recruited by Williams as chief aerodynamicist.
In 2007, he moved to Honda, which became Brawn and subsequently Mercedes.
Lotus says no to Raikkonen's rally request
(GMM) Lotus has refused Kimi Raikkonen permission to contest this year's Rally Finland.
The Finn, who returned to formula one in 2012 after two years in world rallying, admitted this week he wanted to do the Finnish rally in August but "you'll have to ask the team if it fits in my contract".
"Contractually he cannot do it. End of story," Lotus team boss Eric Boullier told Reuters in Monaco.
Boullier admitted the fact the Enstone based team's former regular driver, Robert Kubica, was seriously injured in a rally shunt was a factor in his decision.
"Obviously there is a trauma here after 2011 ... rally, skiing, jumping is not allowed."
When pointed out that Raikkonen hurt his wrist during a snowmobile race after signing his 2012 contract, Boullier explained: "He started to race for us in 2012, not 2011, so he was (still) under contract with another brand (then)."
Raikkonen, however, admitted he still enjoys the team atmosphere at Lotus.
"Here I am able to do my own thing, to live a normal life like other people," he is quoted by DPA news agency.
"Of course they expect certain things from me, but I don't need to be working 24 hours a day. Freedom is important -- no one wants to be in prison.
"The most important thing is that what I am doing makes me happy."