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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday UPDATE Updates shown in Red below.

  • Sochi Olympic Stadium
    F1 fans without tickets as agency folds
  • Sochi eyes Olympic stadium for Russian GP
  • Rosberg says Mercedes 'fastest car' in 2012
  • Williams KERS won Le Mans with Audi
  • New minister admits French GP desirable
  • F1 teams could fold if costs not reduced - Todt
  • Caterham Group Announces Graham Macdonald As New CEO Of Caterham Cars New
  • Ferrari vow no development let-up New
  • F1 continues to expand its pay-TV reach New

F1 fans without tickets as agency folds
(GMM)  Some F1 fans are enduring a very unhappy buildup to the forthcoming grands prix at Valencia and Silverstone.

The well-known British broadcaster James Allen revealed on his blog that an agency called 'Simply The Ticket' has closed down without delivering paid tickets to hopeful F1 spectators.

The business' official website and Twitter account are not working.

"Looks like Simply The Ticket has absconded with F1 ticket holders' money for Valencia this weekend," someone Tweeted.

Another wondered: "Was (Simply The Ticket) a relatively new site or had it been around a while?  If the former, sounds like a massive scam."

A bio at a third party website reads: "Simply The Ticket sells F1 grand prix tickets as well as tickets to theatre, sport, music, concerts and other events.

"We also supply corporate hospitality packages to all sporting events."

The company did not respond to an email or answer a phone call.

Sochi eyes Olympic stadium for Russian GP
(GMM)  Organizers of the first Russian grand prix are tipped to incorporate the 2014 Winter Olympics stadium into the formula one circuit.

The coastal city Sochi is scheduled to host not only the Olympics but also a grand prix in 2014, with a 5.5km circuit to be situated in and around the Olympic village.

There have, however, been suggestions the race could be delayed to 2015, as the priority is the Olympics.

The respected Olympics website Around The Rings now reports that organizers could use the actual Olympic stadium, which is currently under construction, as part of the formula one circuit.

Known as Fisht Olympic Stadium and uniquely shaped like a shell, the 40,000-capacity and $63 million facility is within walking distance of the Olympic village.

The stadium is also touted to stage matches during Russia's hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2018.

Around The Rings said the stadium is being designed so that structures in place for the Olympics can be removed to allow for the incorporation of the F1 circuit.

"This is something that has emerged as a possibility," a source in Sochi is quoted as saying.  "It is an exciting possibility for formula one."

Rosberg says Mercedes 'fastest car' in 2012
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg sounds very confident ahead of this weekend's European grand prix on the streets of Valencia.

The breakthrough Shanghai winner, who also finished second recently at Monaco, is quoted by Germany's Sport1 as insisting the Mercedes is "absolutely the fastest car" at present.

At the same time, Pirelli's Paul Hembery is reported as having tipped Rosberg's teammate and Monaco polesitter Michael Schumacher for pole and victory this weekend.

Rosberg added: "I have the feeling that we could win every race."

As for the world championship, Rosberg is 21 points adrift leader Lewis Hamilton at present, but the 26-year-old insists: "It (the title) is possible."

"Yes, Canada was a small step backwards," he said, referring to his fifth on the grid and sixth place finish in Montreal recently.

And some have predicted a similar struggle in Valencia, where the high temperatures are tipped to be a problem for Mercedes' 2012 car, the W03.

Does Norbert Haug agree: "No," the German marque's motor sport director insisted.

"Nico's pace in Canada with track temperatures of 40 degrees showed that the car can do well in extreme conditions."

Rosberg concurred: "We have made huge progress in this regard."

Team boss Ross Brawn also sounded confident, setting a high goal if the Brackley based outfit can cut out reliability and team mistakes.

"The opportunities available if we can give both drivers a reliable car and a clean weekend are clear," he said.

Haug, meanwhile, pointed out that if the championship had begun in Shanghai in April, Rosberg would now be leading the drivers' world championship.

"The target is to continue that trend," said the German.

Williams KERS won Le Mans with Audi
(GMM)  Ferrari was a Le Mans winner at the weekend, but so too was Williams.

In the top GT category of the fabled 24 hour race, former grand prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella was one of the drivers of the winning Ferrari 458 Italia.

But British F1 team Williams has also pointed out that it was a part of Audi's overall victory in the top prototype class, LMP1.

The winning Audi R18, which also finished second in the hands of ex F1 driver Allan McNish, was fitted with Grove based F1 constructor Williams' unique flywheel KERS system.

It was the "first hybrid powered vehicle to finish on the podium", Williams noted in a media statement.

The F1 team had worked "closely with Audi engineers to fully integrate the (KERS) system into the car", Williams added.

Williams Hybrid Power's managing director Ian Foley said: "Because of Audi's pedigree at Le Mans there was pressure to get this project right, and to see our technology play a role in this historic triumph is immensely satisfying."

New minister admits French GP desirable
(GMM)  France's new sports minister sounds keen to see the country return to the F1 calendar.

The previous administration, led by ex president Nicolas Sarkozy, pushed hard to line up Paul Ricard as the venue for a French grand prix in 2013, thereafter alternating annually with Belgium's Spa Francorchamps.

But Sarkozy lost office just before the final contracts could be signed and sealed, and new president Francois Hollande and his sports deputy Valerie Fourneyron quickly put the brakes on the deal's momentum.

Fourneyron did, however, recently meet with a Paul Ricard delegation, as well as representatives of the Nievre region, who would like to see the French grand prix return to the scene of the last race in 2008, at Magny Cours.

A source close to the governing Conseil General de la Nievre indicated that a meeting next Monday could see a decision made to instigate a public interest group for the revival of Magny Cours' formula one race.

"When you see what Romain Grosjean is doing and the popularity of the races, we have to admit that we would like to have a formula one grand prix," minister Fourneyron is quoted by RMC Sport.

F1 teams could fold if costs not reduced - Todt
(GMM)  Jean Todt has admitted he is worried formula one teams could collapse if costs are not reduced.

After the FIA's meeting of its World Motor Sport Council last Friday, a media statement revealed that the governing body is "having active discussions with teams regarding cost control".

The FIA added that the Council will have to vote on any amendments to the chassis rules for 2013 prior to the end of this month.

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

FIA president Todt is quoted by the German language Speed Week: "For me, formula one is too expensive.

"If we do nothing, we could get into a situation where we have less than twelve teams on the grid."

Last week, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo insisted F1 cannot ignore the impact of Europe's worsening economic crisis.

"Ferrari is in agreement with the FIA's position that drastic intervention is required," he said.

"This is no longer the moment for getting bogged down in sterile discussions or the meanderings of engineers, usually only concerned in defending the interests of someone or other.

"The question (of costs) has to be tackled at the highest level without further delay," added Montezemolo.

Caterham Group Announces Graham Macdonald As New CEO Of Caterham Cars
Caterham Group, the parent company of Caterham Cars, Caterham F1 Team, Caterham Composites and CTI (Caterham Technology & Innovation) has today confirmed that Graham Macdonald, previously CFO of Caterham Cars will step up to the role of CEO after current Chief Executive Officer Ansar Ali leaves the business by mutual consent.

Graham has played an active role with Ansar in helping create Caterham Cars into its modern-day guise as a core element of the Caterham Group and will now lead Caterham Cars as CEO.

Ansar will leave his post as CEO after leading Caterham Cars following a management buy-in which assumed control of the business in 2005 from the Nearn family who originally founded Caterham Cars. Ansar oversaw a program which initiated a fundamental shift in the engineering focus of the business, a move which revitalized the legendary Seven range. He also oversaw the long-term stability of Caterham Cars, building on its historic spirit of innovation, entrepreneurial Endeavour with a core motorsport base and dedicated to the notion of serving the ‘unserved’, making racecar performance accessible to everyone.

Ansar has now decided to move on to new challenges and Caterham Group thanks him for the integral role he played in building Caterham Cars into a globally respected automotive brand and helping form Caterham Group in its present-day guise. Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group Chairman, said: “I want to take this chance to thank Ansar for everything he has done for the Caterham brand over many years. Without his leadership Caterham Cars would not be the world renowned, profitable business it is today and we would almost certainly not be working under the Caterham name if he had not initiated the discussions with us that led to the enviable position Caterham finds itself in today.

“Now we move on to the next phase of the expansion of Caterham Group and Caterham Cars. Graham is the perfect person to take over and lead the company and his experience and dedication will help us make a smooth transition into the next chapter of the Caterham Cars story.”

Ferrari vow no development let-up
Ferrari have promised no let-up in the 'intense' development work they have undertaken in recent months which has propelled them into genuine championship contenders. 
The Maranello outfit have steadily transformed the competitiveness of the F2012 since the first race of the season in Australia, when both of their cars failed to make it into the top-10 Qualifying run-off.

With the aid of a new exhaust configuration last time out in Canada, Fernando Alonso qualified a strong third and then challenged for Ferrari's first dry-weather victory since 2010 until the team's bold one-stop strategy unraveled in the closing stages.

Speaking ahead of Alonso's second home race of the season in Valencia this weekend, Ferrari's Chief Designer Nikolas Tombazis said that while the team could be pleased with the progress made since the dark early days of the season, they hadn't reached their ultimate goal yet and therefore it was essential they maintained a fast rate of development all the way to Brazil in November.

"At the moment, we are reasonably satisfied with the point we are at now, given where we started from, however, we cannot be totally happy, as we are not in a position to dominate races, or indeed to win all of them, which is always one's objective," he said.

"We have very strong competitors who are also continuing to develop their cars and we feel this technology race will continue to the end of the season.

"Our work is continuing at the same intensity and, our plan is to introduce developments at every race, starting with Valencia: this weekend we will be experimenting with the front wing and the floor, while having further evolutions of the exhausts.

"We already have other updates in the pipeline for subsequent races and I believe this will continue right through to the very last race."

Tombazis admitted it had been "intense over the past few months" for the team as they strived to turn around the F2012's fortunes. He added that the subsequent improvements had served to boost the morale at Maranello and reaffirm the team's belief in their abilities.

"Rightly or wrongly there is an expectation that, as Ferrari, we must be winning every race and always be competitive," he added.

"At the start of the season we were in an uncompetitive situation, which was a big shock for me personally and for my colleagues. It has been a hard few months, but we put our heads down and tackled the problem calmly and I think the last few races have been a morale boost for all of us: it has made us believe we can get the job done."

F1 continues to expand its pay-TV reach
The Formula One group continues to expand in pay TV. Following the example of the International Olympic Committee, the commercial-rights holder of Formula One racing has begun actively selling rights to Grand Prix events to pay-TV companies alongside free-to-air broadcasters on a national basis.

For this season, in the United Kingdom, Sky secured a seven-year deal to cover 11 races live while sharing the other nine with the BBC, the nation's public-service broadcaster. Now Formula One has concluded a similar arrangement in Italy involving Sky Italia and RAI.

Formula One does not comment on its commercial contracts, but unconfirmed reports suggest that Sky Italia is paying approximately $100 million (U.S.) annually for the new contract. If so, this is almost double the fee that has been paid hitherto by RAI, the national broadcaster, whose costs will now be reduced in line with its reduced coverage.

Formula One has had to get specific agreement on these deals from all the teams because, to ensure viewing figures that satisfy their sponsors, it has long been enshrined in the Concorde Agreement that free-to-air takes priority over pay TV. It is understood that the relevant clauses will be revised in the new Concorde Agreement, which is due on Jan. 1, 2013. AutoWeek

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