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Latest F1 news in brief - Friday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Monza
    Italian authorities probing Monza safety
  • Ecclestone approves plan to move Interlagos pits
  • Thailand eyes 2014 grand prix debut
  • Ferrari questioned Perez form after Monaco
  • FIA reveals cost-cutting talks with F1 teams New
  • Women in Motorsport announces first ambassador New

Italian authorities probing Monza safety
(GMM)  Local authorities are investigating organizers of the Italian grand prix at Monza.

Last month, the World Superbike races at the fabled circuit were cut short due to rain and ensuing crashes.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that local prosecutors are looking into whether the circuit was to blame for installing a sub-standard track surface.

It is believed rider Marco Melandri has already been interviewed by the investigators, who reportedly suspect the organizers knew the surface was not adequate.

Melandri had said after one of the May races: "There are different tarmacs on the track.  While the new tarmac doesn't allow for the water to drain away, the old asphalt is different and dries up very quickly."

The Corriere della Sera newspaper said Monza's technical boss Stefano Trembled exercised his right to remain silent.

We reported last month that Italy's finance police raided Monza amid suspicions of tax offenses, false invoicing and other discrepancies in relation to Sais SpA, the circuit operator, between 2007 and 2012.

Ecclestone approves plan to move Interlagos pits
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has approved plans to radically upgrade the Interlagos circuit, scene of the annual Brazilian grand prix in Sao Paulo.

O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper reports that the plans were presented to the London office of the sport's chief executive on Wednesday of this week.

The newspaper said Ecclestone's approval of the sweeping plans essentially guarantees the organizers will retain the event beyond the 2014 contract until at least 2020.

Briton Ecclestone reportedly agreed that the plans comply with what he requested.

Recently, the 81-year-old said: "Brazil will have the next World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.  It makes sense.

"I have long believed in Brazil -- we've been there since 1972," Ecclestone added.

"The future of formula one Brazil depends now on major improvements at Interlagos," he said.  "These events (World Cup and Olympics) are a great opportunity to look at the circuit as well.

"I can no longer be questioned by the teams about why we are racing at the worst circuit in the championship," said Ecclestone.

Ecclestone demanded a drastic improvement in the ageing and cramped pit and paddock area at Interlagos.

But because of the steep terrain beyond the current paddock area, the organizers proposed to move the pits and start-finish line to the expansive area on the long straight after the Senna-S and Curva do Sol.

Thailand eyes 2014 grand prix debut
(GMM)  Thailand is on track to secure a round of the 2014 world championship.

The southeast Asian country made its intentions clear recently by successfully bidding to host this year's end-of-season Race of Champions in December, which will be attended by reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Talks have also been taking place about bringing formula one to Thailand.

"Our discussions with Bernie Ecclestone have gone smoothly.  We expect to get rights to host a grand prix from 2014 onwards," Kanokphand Chulakasem, governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand, is quoted by the Phuket News.

The Thai daily The Nation said 51 per cent Red Bull energy drink owner and co-founder Chalerm Yoovidhya is playing a role in the logistics of the Thai grand prix.

Ferrari questioned Perez form after Monaco
Ferrari has revealed that it spoke with Sergio Perez, a member of its Driver Academy, to find out why the Mexican seemingly went off the boil between the Chinese and Monaco Grands Prix. The Sauber driver responded to this in perfect fashion in Canada, where flawless tire management saw him rise to a second F1 podium from 15th on the grid.

After finishing eighth in Melbourne and second at Sepang, the Montreal rostrum also marked the first points finish for Perez since the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“After Monaco, we had a discussion with Sergio,” says Luca Baldisserri, head of the Ferrari Driver Academy. “We wanted to find out why recent results had not lived up to expectations after the Malaysian Grand Prix. Perez is undoubtedly talented but he often lets himself down by being too aggressive which, especially in Formula 1, does not deliver results.

“Montreal was a great response; a race in which Sergio not only ran at a great pace but also managed his race very well, managing to stay on-track for 50 laps on the same set of tires.”

Perez now sits ninth in the Drivers’ Championship, just eight points behind McLaren’s Jenson Button and a comfortable 26 ahead of second Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.

FIA reveals cost-cutting talks with F1 teams
(GMM)  F1's governing body on Friday confirmed it is in talks with the teams about cutting costs.

The vast majority of the teams - even big-spender Ferrari - recently wrote to FIA president Jean Todt to ask that the Paris federation get involved in officially policing the reduction of costs.

Reigning world champion Red Bull, and its satellite Toro Rosso, are the odd ones out, but the momentum for a new radical cost-cutting push is building, amid talk a simple budget cap - Max Mosley's once highly-controversial proposal - could be the answer.

"At their request, the FIA is having active discussions with teams regarding cost control," the governing body said after a meeting on Friday of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

The FIA added that "any amendments to the technical regulations resulting from a further limit on expenditure on the chassis will be submitted to the (council) via a fax vote before 30 June".

"The intention is to help all teams participate in the championship in a fair and equal manner," the statement added.

The FIA also revealed that it is having "constructive" talks with Bernie Ecclestone over the new Concorde Agreement, with a deal on the cards "in the coming weeks".

Women in Motorsport announces first ambassador
The FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission (WMC) has named the first ambassadors, who will now represent the body in different segments of motor racing. The five women were present at a gathering at the FIA headquarters in Paris on Thursday afternoon.

The first five representatives for the WMC scheme are Michèle Mouton who is the only female driver to have won a World Championship rally, Katherine Legge who tested a Minardi F1 car in 2005, Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn, Williams F1 development driver Susie Wolff and official Marussia F1 reserve driver María de Villota.

“Women nowadays do have the competence, the self-confidence and the education to follow a professional career in any area they choose, but still they need the right opportunities to achieve their goals,” says Indian-born Sauber head Kaltenborn. “The challenge now is to develop the platforms for them, so they have equal chances to show their abilities in all business areas they are interested in, which may include motorsport.”

De Villota believes the program will help boost confidence levels for women who hope to progress to the top of the motorsport ladder.

“It is very important to let other women know that, with enough belief and application, you can overcome any hurdle,” the Spaniard comments. “If I can be an F1 test driver, I am sure a lot of women can be. It is purely a question of talent, hard work and commitment. I gave my life to motorsport and just kept the faith that my optimism would be rewarded.”

To date, the only female to have scored in a Formula 1 race was Italy’s Lella Lombardi, who notched up half a point by finishing sixth for March in the shortened 1975 Spanish Grand Prix at Montjuic Park.

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