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DATE News (chronologically)
06/28/12
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

06/28/12
  • If Ecclestone goes down, will F1 survive?
    Ecclestone calm as bribery scandal closes in
  • Ecclestone offers to pay for London grand prix
  • Spa alternation plans 'no longer on agenda'
  • Pirelli hopes Alguersuari makes 2013 return
  • Glock expects Silverstone return New
  • Mayor flags 'air and noise' hurdles for London GP New
  • London Mayor  'broadly positive' over London Grand Prix plan  New

Ecclestone calm as bribery scandal closes in
(GMM)  The judge who sentenced corrupt F1 banker Gerhard Gribkowsky on Wednesday described Bernie Ecclestone as the "driving force" of the $44 million bribery.

Condemning Gribkowsky to eight and a half years in jail, presiding judge Peter Noll said in the Munich state court: "In this process we assume the driving force was Mr. Ecclestone".

The F1 chief executive "brought the accused into breaking the law and not the other way around", Noll added, according to the Financial Times.

It is a strong indication that Ecclestone, 81, could himself be charged.

The diminutive Briton sounded open to returning to Germany in relation to the scandal.

"If I was asked, yes, of course," he said on Wednesday.  "They asked me before and I went."

It is not known if this will happen.

Daniel Amelung, one of Gribkowsky's lawyers, told the court the prosecutors are "scared of Mr. Ecclestone, his position and his wealth".

Ecclestone maintains he was effectively the victim of Gribkowsky's extortion, telling the Daily Mail: "I think (he) told them what he thought he had to tell them."

As for whether he will face charges, he answered: "I don't think I should but you don't know, do you?"

Ecclestone is already facing investigations in the UK, with the Times newspaper reporting that the tax and serious fraud offices have been in contact with German authorities.

"I suppose you'd expect that," said Ecclestone.

Ecclestone offers to pay for London grand prix
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone is gearing up on Thursday to launch a bid for a grand prix on the streets of London.

The plans are reportedly separate to a McLaren sponsor event that imagines a fictitious layout in the British capital, as well as suggestions a London race could be run in and around the Olympic stadium.

The Times reports that 81-year-old Ecclestone is prepared to put up almost $55 million to organize a street race around famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and Nelson's Column.

Other British media reports say the plans will be unveiled later on Thursday.

"Think what it would do for tourism," Ecclestone said.  "It would be fantastic, good for London, good for England -- a lot better than the Olympics."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson's office did not immediately comment.

Ecclestone continued: "With the way things are, maybe we would front it and put the money up for it.

"If we got the okay and everything was fine, I think we could do that."

Spa alternation plans 'no longer on agenda'
(GMM)  Spa-Francorchamps is no longer part of the proposal to revive the French grand prix.

Prior to ex president Nicolas Sarkozy losing the general election, plans to alternate a single annual race between Paul Ricard and Belgium's fabled Spa were well advanced.

But with Francois Hollande in power and his sports minister Valerie Fourneyron in the driving seat of the grand prix project, the situation is now very different.

French reports this week say Fourneyron has told France's motor racing sanctioning body, the FFSA, that Paul Ricard and Magny Cours are competing to secure the rights to a grand prix that the state will not contribute to financially.

And according to the Belgian news agency Belga, the formerly proposed race alternation between France and Spa will remain merely an "unconfirmed possibility".

"Alternating with Belgium is no longer on the agenda," a report by the French language news agency Agence France-Presse added.

Pirelli hopes Alguersuari makes 2013 return
(GMM)  Pirelli's Paul Hembery is confident Jaime Alguersuari will be back on the grid soon.

After losing Red Bull's backing and his Toro Rosso seat at the end of last season, the now 22-year-old Spaniard kept his F1 dream alive by accepting the role as official tire supplier Pirelli's main test driver.

This week, he is in action at Belgium's fabled Spa Francorchamps.

"These days there are few opportunities for drivers to drive formula one cars," Hembery told El Confidencial.

"Right now Jaime is doing almost 700 kilometers a day, the equivalent of two grands prix.  This year he will do six tests which is basically 12 grands prix.

"For him it's a fantastic opportunity to get back in.  And I hope he can, because he has the talent for it.

"Sometimes you have to step back to step forwards, like (Romain) Grosjean, who had a hard time at first but is now able to show his maturity and preparedness.

"I hope it's the same for Jaime," added Hembery.

Glock expects Silverstone return
(GMM)  Timo Glock on Thursday said he expects to be "totally fit" for next weekend's British grand prix.

The German had to sit out last weekend's Valencia race with an intestinal infection.

But in a media statement issued on Thursday, his employer Marussia said Glock, 30, is "back on the road to recovery"

"Generally I am feeling much better," he said.  "I still feel a little weak in the legs, but otherwise I am okay.

"I am now on my way to a full recovery, although it will be a few more days before I am allowed to train again."

Glock said that by Silverstone next weekend "I should be totally fit again".

* In a ceremony attended by his boss Eric Boullier on Wednesday, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean married French TF1 presenter Marion Jolles in Chamonix, France.

Mayor flags 'air and noise' hurdles for London GP
(GMM)  London mayor Boris Johnson on Thursday could not guarantee the British capital will be able to host Bernie Ecclestone's race.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone has said he is prepared to put up the money and promote a London street race.

Some immediately wrote off the plans as either a classic Ecclestone diversion or a publicity stunt.

But London mayor Johnson told the UK newspaper Express he is "broadly positive" about the plans.

"I am always interested in projects that attract jobs and bring growth," he said, insisting it will be important to find out if there is "a really good economic case" for the event.

Johnson added: "The question of air quality and noise impact will have to be looked at.  I am broadly positive providing we can satisfy the air quality and noise issues."

London Mayor 'broadly positive' over London Grand Prix plan
London Mayor Boris Johnson gave qualified support today to bold plans by Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone for a London Grand Prix.

The proposal, to be announced tonight, includes a route which would pass some of London's most famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.

Mr Johnson said he was "broadly positive" about the plan as long as air quality and noise issues were addressed.

Speaking as he launched a new cable car system across the River Thames in London today, the Mayor said: "I am always interested in projects that attract jobs and bring growth."

He said it was important to see if there was "a really good economic case" for a London Grand Prix.

Mr Johnson went on: "The question of air quality and noise impact will have to be looked at. I am broadly positive providing we can satisfy the air quality and noise issues.

According to The Times, Mr Ecclestone has wanted a race in London for years and that it would cost around £35 million to stage it.

The race would start in The Mall and cars would reach speeds of 180mph on the 3.2-mile circuit, with drivers racing past Buckingham Palace.

The Times said marketing experts predict that the race could generate at least £100 million for the London economy from spectators and tourists.

Mr Ecclestone told the paper: "With the way things are, maybe we would front it and put the money up for it. If we got the OK and everything was fine, I think we could do that... It would be fantastic, good for London, good for England - a lot better than the Olympics."

Londoners seemed fairly relaxed at the idea of ultra-fast cars whizzing through the capital.

"I think it's very exciting. I am 100% in favor of it," said Maurice Bennett, 79, from Hampstead, north west London.

But Bernard Boreham, 68, from Croydon, south London, was less happy.

He said: "I am not so sure about this. I would rather see cars going around a racing track outside London." The Independent

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