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

  • Deep skepticism greets London GP idea
  • McLaren considers Ferrari pull-rod for 2013 car
  • Team dithering means F1 cost-cutting at risk - report
  • Politics making life 'difficult' for Red Bull - Marko
  • Peter Sauber rethinking retirement plans
  • Montezemolo: I am worried because we’ve seen Red Bull is very strong New

Deep skepticism greets London GP idea
(GMM)  Deep skepticism has greeted Bernie Ecclestone's claim he is prepared to promote and pay for a London street race.

The F1 chief executive's comments were made on the eve of a media event that took place on Thursday in the British capital organized by Santander, the sponsor of the British grand prix at Silverstone.

That the Spanish bank's imaginary F1 layout for London was being suddenly touted as potentially real was "fantastic news" for the organizer and PR agency Sidhu and Simon, according to a report on the BBC.

The Daily Mail agreed: "Dreamland was exactly where Santander's publicity machine was residing last night."

"Of course it's not going to happen," a senior figure is quoted as saying.  "You know that, and so do I.  But it makes a great story, doesn't it?"

Some are questioning the timing of Ecclestone's comments, insisting the big news is an ideal smokescreen amid the more serious story about former F1 banker Gerhard Gribkowsky's jailing for bribery.

"Great idea," a reader of the Telegraph commented when contemplating a London grand prix.  "Bernie will make sure it goes via Wandsworth Prison so he can watch the race for himself."

Writing in The National, Gary Meenaghan agreed the timing of the news "appears a convenient diversion from a less positive tale."

British F1 legend Sir Stirling Moss also doubts the race will happen.

"I hate saying it but I think it would be (unrealistic)," he said.  "I'd love to see it but they have been talking about it since I was racing in the 60s."

The National's Meenaghan continued: "Let's get one thing straight -- London will not be hosting a formula one grand prix.

"Not next year, not the year after, possibly not ever.

"Why?  Because there are more obstacles in its way than there are speed bumps on the city's streets."

CNN reported that British motoring association AA is already condemning the event on the basis of London's famous traffic congestion.

"We've seen the huge fuss that has been created by road closures during the Olympics and that is just once in a lifetime -- a London GP would be every year," said a spokesman.

And the Independent newspaper said the Westminster Council has "not been consulted".

Even the soberly objective news wires are deeply skeptical.

"It's nothing more than hypothetical for now," said the Associated Press, adding that the project "is yet to move beyond just an idea and has no official backing from the city".

And Reuters said there are "plenty of reasons to doubt it (the London GP idea) would ever pick up speed and become real".

Jenson Button, who was otherwise on-message for the Santander stunt, had to admit: "I'm not sure you would be able to close down London for a grand prix".

Major UK bookmaker William Hill is offering odds of 1/33 that London will not be hosting a grand prix any time soon.

"We cannot see it happening," a spokesman confirmed.

The foreign media was also not fooled, Autosprint wondering if the idea of a London grand prix is "Verita (the truth) o folklore?"

And even The Times, who had published Ecclestone's original quotes exclusively, admitted there are big hurdles that are yet to be cleared.

"Neither Santander ... nor Mr. Ecclestone intend to submit formal proposals", the London newspaper conceded.

McLaren considers Ferrari pull-rod for 2013 car
(GMM)  McLaren is considering following Ferrari's lead and introducing innovative pull-rod front suspension for its 2013 car.

That is the claim of the Spanish sports daily Marca, citing the information of multiple Italian specialist sources.

Ferrari raised eyebrows early this year when the aggressive F2012 was launched with pull-rod suspension: a configuration not seen since Fernando Alonso raced a Minardi more than a decade ago.

The Italian team's early struggles sparked rumors Ferrari could scrap the experiment, but the subsequent giant strides of progress have now reportedly attracted McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe's attention.

Marca said Lowe "is paying close attention to the front of the Ferrari in his preliminary studies for the MP4-28".

"He understands it could be a good solution in allowing more air to the diffuser".

Ferrari test driver Marc Gene has been driving the F2012 for aerodynamic straight-line tests this week at the Idiada facility in Spain.

Team president Luca di Montezemolo said this week Ferrari cannot relax even though Alonso, the only multiple race winner in 2012, is comfortably leading the world championship.

"Yes, I am worried, because I expect three very tough races at Silverstone, Hockenheim and Budapest and because we have seen (at Valencia) that Red Bull is very strong," he said.

"If we want to achieve our goals then we must make a step forward."

Team dithering means F1 cost-cutting at risk - report
(GMM)  The prospect of radical cost-cutting in formula one is hanging in the balance, as Jean Todt's end-of-June deadline looms and formula one teams dither.

That is the claim of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, reporting the risk that June 30 could come and go without significant reforms being put to the World Motor Sport Council.

After Saturday, the 2013 rules can only be influenced by the teams in the unlikely event that they can completely agree.

There were heated discussions - even involving FIA president Todt and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone - at Valencia recently, but large areas of common ground are yet to be trodden.

"At least seven of the 12 teams are on a fine line if for example they lose a sponsor," journalist Michael Schmidt said.

"In this environment, it's a mystery why the teams are still arguing about the introduction of cost control in the FIA sporting regulations."

Toto Wolff, a shareholder who is gaining increasing influence at Williams, urged the need to police breaches of the cost rules, citing rumors some teams are simply ignoring the current resource restriction agreement.

"We need clear penalties as deterrents," said the Austrian.

But his boss Sir Frank Williams said in an interview this week that he is "against any kind of interference".

"I don't want any third-party interference with one's business, to have people sneaking around wanting to check this and that," he said.  "It's just like waiting for the taxman every day."

That interview has now disappeared from F1's official website.

And Auto Motor und Sport reports that Lotus and Force India - teams that arguably should welcome cost cutting - are opposed to the further culling of allowed wind tunnel testing time.

It seems the middle-ranking teams are most worried about the cost of buying a V6 engine and KERS package.

"I will ensure that it remains affordable," Todt is quoted as saying, but the prices being quoted behind closed doors by F1's engine suppliers tell a different story.

Politics making life 'difficult' for Red Bull - Marko
(GMM)  Dr Helmut Marko insists life in the F1 paddock for Red Bull has become "really difficult" in recent times.

The energy drink owned team has dominated the sport recent and is the reigning double champion, and according to owner Dietrich Mateschitz's right-hand man, that is the source of the negative rumblings.

There have been suggestions of cost-agreement cheating, regular technical infringements, and at Valencia recently both Marko and Sebastian Vettel suggested that the safety car was deployed chiefly to spoil Vettel's big lead.

Marko even intimated a double-standard had been applied when comparing Vettel's drive-through penalty for using DRS in Barcelona to Michael Schumacher's stewards escape last weekend.

"When you think about the course of a race weekend, it all sounds so nice and so simple, but it's very different in reality," said the Austrian.

"There is so much politics involved," Marko told motorline.cc.  "If Martin Whitmarsh wishes me a pleasant day, I get really nervous and wonder what is up."

He insisted that Red Bull's place in the F1 paddock is a difficult one.

"The first reason is that we are not a car maker or a traditional racing car constructor.  What hurts even more is that along with Ferrari we have reached a super deal with Bernie Ecclestone, and not just in the budget but also in the prestige.

"That's why our life is really difficult at the moment," said Marko.

Peter Sauber rethinking retirement plans
(GMM)  Peter Sauber has backtracked slightly, having set the scene for his retirement.

The Swiss team's founder and boss has said numerous times over the last couple of years that "I don't want to be sitting on the pitwall with my headphones on at 70".

Before the 2012 season is out, he will turn 69.

He has now laid the foundation for Sauber's future beyond him, handing over a third of the team to future team boss Monisha Kaltenborn, and installing his son Alex as a prominent director.

"I'm going to stay at least until we are able to stabilize the team in a financial sense," Peter Sauber said last year.

"I want to lead the team back into a secure position and establish it at a good level.  If I succeed, my mission is fulfilled."

In the wake of BMW's shock departure, that time has arguably now arrived, with Sergio Perez bringing solid backing from Mexico and now regularly standing on the podium with the competitive C31 car.

But Peter Sauber could be backtracking.

When told about his age-of-70 retirement deadline, Sauber said on Austrian television Servus TV: "The exact date is still unclear."

He indicated he has thought about the rigors of retirement, and might prefer life in the fast lane after all.

"To watch the races only on television is the worst thing of all," Sauber smiled.

Montezemolo: I am worried because we’ve seen Red Bull is very strong
“I am worried and all of us should be.” With this realistic if somewhat raw statement, Luca di Montezemolo began his usual address to all the personnel at Scuderia Ferrari, gathered together in the logistics building for the meeting that takes place after every victory.

“Yes, I am worried, because I expect three very tough races at Silverstone, Hockenheim and Budapest and because we have seen that Red Bull is very strong, having had four tenths in hand over everyone in qualifying and in the race it was flying away, at least until the Safety Car. If we want to achieve our goals then we must make a step forward.”

The President’s sober words implied that, even on this occasion, the final time the team found itself together to enjoy the sweet taste of Alonso’s win in Valencia, everyone should still have their feet on the ground. The focus is now on the triplet of races coming up in July and beyond and it’s right to underline that there is still a lot of work to do if the team is really to win the World Championship.

“It’s thanks to your work, to an extraordinary driver who, not by chance, drives for Ferrari, to the strategy, the pit stops and the efforts of everyone at the track and back home, that we find ourselves leading the championship, even if we don’t have the best car,” continued Montezemolo.

“Now we must ensure we do everything as well as possible because winning depends solely and exclusively on us. It would be a big mistake to think the win in Valencia means we have done enough: today we have a competitive car, but to win, we must do even more.”

Montezemolo expressed his satisfaction with the victory at the European Grand Prix, recognizing the worth of what was achieved last Sunday in a marvelous race, but he does not deny that external circumstances, such as the Safety Car and the retirement of a handful of adversaries, leant a hand. “I don’t want outsiders to think that one win is enough for us to put on a fireworks display. I know how much you are working, how many sacrifices have been made, but I am the first to know that that all of us, without exception, must still give something more.”

The end of Montezemolo’s brief address was more in line with the occasion. “Let’s remember for a few more minutes that we are leading the world championship, then let’s get back to work. First of all however, I would ask you to applaud a few people. Starting with Fernando, because after a race like that, it’s the least we can do: rarely have I seen him make so many overtaking moves and show such extraordinary determination from the start to the checkered flag.”

“Secondly, Felipe, this time, not in order to encourage him as was the case earlier in the season, but as a sign of faith because he knows we are counting on him: we must give him a better and more,” added Montezemolo. “The third applause is for the pit stop guys, who have worked so much this year and have improved to the point that they are the benchmark for all the teams in a season in which the pit stops are usually decisive: they are our pride and joy.”

“The final round of applause and I am the first to put my hands together, is for your boss. Stefano Domenicali has never shirked his responsibilities, even acting as a lightning conductor for all the criticism, protecting his people, while at the same time knowing how to demand the maximum effort, how to build a team and look to the future in a positive way and with the right sense of realism. He deserves it,” concluded the Ferrari boss.

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