Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
Grand prix circuits create union to influence F1 rules
|In the past Bernie Ecclestone would play one circuit against another in order to extract as much from the local government or race promoter's pockets as he could when negotiating a race deal. Now unionized, the circuits will be able to compare notes and tell Ecclestone to go pound sand if the deal put forward is thought to be too high.|
- F1's American future speeding ahead
- Red Bull floor ruling 'is what it is' - Vettel
- New minister says 'no agreement' for French GP return
- More surgery as Kubica's F1 return bid continues
- Ferrari denies Alonso paid EUR 30m
Grand prix circuits create union to influence F1 rules
(GMM) Formula one's circuits have created a union designed to give them a greater say on the future of the sport, according to business journalist Christian Sylt.
He revealed in the Independent newspaper that the Formula One Promoters Association, created in May, is chaired by Australian grand prix chief Ron Walker.
Last year, it emerged that - led by Walker - F1's race promoters were threatening to switch to IndyCar because the new six cylinder engines in 2014 will not be loud enough.
Now, Silverstone chairman Neil England has confirmed the founding of the F1 circuits' union.
"We have historically lacked a coordinated voice and the formula one promoters association gives us the opportunity to have that.
"There are a number of matters of common interest and I think it is important that those are voiced," he said.
The formation of the circuits' union coincides with the negotiations over the next Concorde Agreement.
"The circuits' desire to have a say in (the technical regulations) is the driving force behind their decision to unite," said journalist Sylt.
Union chairman Ron Walker confirmed: "The circuits are concerned by the constant changing of rules by the FIA which is confusing the fans and affecting ticket sales."
He revealed that a survey in March showed that 92 per cent of the spectators at Albert Park this year did not understand F1's latest rules.
F1's American future speeding ahead
(GMM) F1's new future in America moved up a gear this week.
We reported on Tuesday that reigning and back-to-back world champion Sebastian Vettel will appear on David Letterman's iconic New York talk show next week.
It now emerges that, while in the famous city, the Red Bull driver will race around the street layout of the 2013 grand prix of America amid the Manhattan skyline, in a road car supplied by team sponsor Infiniti.
Vettel will then attend a press conference with race promoter Leo Hindery, after organizers were forced to deny Bernie Ecclestone's claims the New Jersey race is in doubt.
There have also been developments this week in Austin, Texas, the scene of November's scheduled return of the US grand prix on a bespoke circuit.
Organizers on Tuesday revealed ticket prices and said they will go on sale this Sunday, the day of North America's other formula one race in Canada.
"In the final analysis," said a spokesman, "we wanted to make this event affordable to F1 fans around the country."
Also on Tuesday, a local county judge finally issued a 'mass gathering permit' for the US grand prix.
Red Bull floor ruling 'is what it is' - Vettel
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has played down suggestions Red Bull's title hopes have been struck a blow.
Following the reported complaints of rival top teams Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes, the FIA clarified in the wake of the recent Monaco grand prix that the holes in the floor of Red Bull's race-winning RB8 are not legal.
Vettel reportedly won last month's Bahrain grand prix with the offending floor design, as did his teammate Mark Webber last time out in Monaco.
When asked about the floor ruling, German Vettel said: "It is what it is.
"I don't feel it is a big disadvantage," he told Bild newspaper.
The German news agency DAPD also quotes the 24-year-old as saying: "We are developing very quickly and so in Canada, as always, we are using a new aerodynamics package."
New minister says 'no agreement' for French GP return
(GMM) New French sports minister Valerie Fourneyron declared on Tuesday "no formal agreement" exists that will see the country host a grand prix next year.
Before former president Nicolas Sarkozy lost the recent general election, Bernie Ecclestone was confirming that Paul Ricard would annually alternate a formula one race with Belgium's Spa Francorchamps.
Everything changed, however, when new president Francois Hollande appointed Fourneyron as sports minister.
She met with a Paul Ricard delegation on Tuesday, and will reportedly meet with representatives of the former grand prix host Magny Cours on Friday.
She said on Tuesday: "There is still much to do regarding the feasibility" of a French grand prix.
"I knew that this issue had been a little rushed in the election period, so I wanted to meet with everyone involved," Fourneyron told Tuesday's L'Equipe sports daily.
The Paul Ricard delegation, including the mayor of Le Castellet, admitted their concern after the meeting with Fourneyron.
"The delegation is not convinced of the new government's desire to maintain the commitments of the state to organize a grand prix de France at Paul Ricard," a spokesman said.
"The new sports minister said she did not believe the financial estimates and that the communities had not been well informed of the reality of the state of negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone."
More surgery as Kubica's F1 return bid continues
(GMM) Robert Kubica underwent surgery on Tuesday as the former BMW and Renault driver continues his bid to return to formula one.
Reports recently suggested the 27-year-old Pole, who was seriously injured in a rally crash early last year, would almost certainly never return to F1.
But reports in Italy on Tuesday said Kubica has been testing in a formula one driving simulator.
On the basis of those tests, he underwent orthopedic surgery in a Verona hospital in an operation performed by Ruggero Testoni.
ANSA news agency said the surgery, which was completed successfully, involved the insertion of prostheses in order to restore mobility to Kubica's right elbow.
"Now he can turn the steering wheel completely. Before, he was unable to turn his palm down and was forced to take a hand off the wheel to perform left hand curves," Dr Testoni said.
"The operation was preceded by a series of simulator tests for a formula one car," he added.
Kubica, who lives in Tuscany, will reportedly return to Verona frequently for hand function physiotherapy.
Ferrari denies Alonso paid EUR 30m
(GMM) Ferrari has denied claims it pays Fernando Alonso a cool EUR 30 million per season.
A French publication called Business Book GP 2012 had claimed the Spaniard is easily F1's highest paid driver, with earnings almost equal to McLaren's drivers put together.
"A shame then that it's another case of utter balderdash," Ferrari's anonymous website reporter known as The Horse Whisperer said.
The columnist said Ferrari is "always put on top" in money matters, but "the reality is very different".
The famous Italian team has also rejected the latest round of speculation about the identity of Alonso's 2013 teammate.
When asked if the struggling Felipe Massa will be replaced, president Luca di Montezemolo told CNN: "In this moment my concentration is everywhere except the drivers.
"It's too early in the season and we will see after that."
Montezemolo said he was pleased to see the Brazilian perform strongly in Monaco recently, but also indicated Massa's place in the Ferrari hierarchy is clear.
"I count on him to take off points for Fernando's competitors," he said.