Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
McLaren's Vodafone backing in doubt - report
|Vodafone reviewing support of McLaren|
- Hamilton to negotiate with McLaren over trophies
- F1 'not corrupt', defiant Ecclestone insists
- FIA tells Vettel to mind his manners - report
- Unlucky Button aims to end Silverstone 'jinx'
- Promoter confirms Spa race alternation idea off
- FIA extends 2013 cost rules deadline to July - reports
- Boss Sala hints HRT to keep Cosworth for 2013
- 'Serious differences' in tire quality in 2012 - Marko
McLaren's Vodafone backing in doubt - report
(GMM) McLaren's lucrative title sponsorship could be in doubt.
The Financial Times reports that Vodafone, the British telecommunications national, "is reviewing" its major sponsorship deals.
Vodafone is Woking based McLaren's naming sponsor and the review "will probably raise questions about its continued involvement", wrote telecoms journalist Daniel Thomas.
The current contract, which according to one source is worth "tens of millions of pounds" a year to McLaren, runs out at the end of next season.
The source added that mobile phone businesses throughout Europe are struggling in the current economy.
Vodafone did not comment, while another source said the review is "informal" and no conclusions have been made yet.
Hamilton to negotiate with McLaren over trophies
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton is heading into his team's home grand prix this weekend refusing to rule out leaving McLaren at the end of the season.
The 2008 world champion's existing lucrative contract runs out this year, and as boss Ron Dennis hinted recently, the sides are set to clash over Hamilton's salary demands going forwards.
And there are also other matters to negotiate, the 27-year-old British driver has revealed.
"I haven't sat down and forged all the criteria I am looking for, but probably 95 per cent is ticked off within McLaren," Hamilton is quoted by the Daily Mail.
"There could be small things, like I'd like to keep my trophies I win. But Ron's never going to want to give them up. That's alright, I'll get him on the money side!"
And the trophy issue was also mentioned by Hamilton in the Telegraph.
Referring to his British grand prix win in 2008, the driver is quoted as saying: "It's the best trophy I have ever seen.
"But Ron keeps every trophy, which isn't good and definitely won't be happening in the future."
Insiders and experts are tipping Hamilton to ultimately stay put, having been groomed by McLaren since childhood and in light of the team's continuing status as a winning grandee.
But Hamilton insisted: "Professional sportsmen do move teams. Footballers do, so do racing drivers.
"Jenson (Button) has been with a lot of teams, for instance. It's different when you are in one of the top teams already, though. It (moving) would be tough to do," he said.
Teammate Button commented: "It's unusual for a driver to spend all his career with the same team, but Lewis is racing for a team that has belief in him and will do everything they can to make sure he has a quick car."
F1 'not corrupt', defiant Ecclestone insists
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has issued his strongest defense yet amid continuing suggestions the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery affair could also claim the F1 supremo's scalp.
81-year-old F1 chief executive Ecclestone said in no uncertain terms that the convicted former banker's bribery claims are "wrong".
"It's false," Ecclestone is quoted by the German news magazine Focus.
"The court did what it needed to do ... but the man is lying," he insisted.
Ecclestone has said consistently he paid Gribkowsky the millions because he was being "shaken down" relating to his British tax affairs.
"I am a businessman," said the Briton. "I am always weighing up between opportunity, risk and hassle."
Although there are rumors some in the sport are nervous about the potential association with corruption, Ecclestone said his removal as F1's chief executive would be counterproductive.
"For over 40 years," said Ecclestone, his partners have "trusted my handshake".
"There are no corrupt practices in formula one," he insisted.
Ecclestone also denied the link between the scandal and F1's delayed floatation, even if he admits the Gribkowsky situation has been "not very helpful".
FIA tells Vettel to mind his manners - report
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has been warned to watch his manners, according to Germany's Kolner Express newspaper.
After Valencia, where following his retirement the Red Bull driver admitted he suspected a conspiracy, German motor sport association president Hans-Joachim Stuck said Vettel needed to be careful about being cited for "unsportsmanlike conduct".
Vettel had suggested the safety car was called onto the Spanish circuit chiefly to cut his huge lead.
"Sebastian Vettel should learn to be a good loser," said Stuck.
The Cologne tabloid Express said Vettel's theory did not escape the attention of the governing FIA, who have placed the reigning world champion on a sort of unofficial 'probation'.
Already in 2012, Vettel is said to have caught Jean Todt's attention with his "cucumber" insults against backmarker Narain Karthikeyan.
"We know that, quite often, Vettel speaks roughly after disappointments, which is not a good example," an unnamed FIA official is quoted as saying.
Manners or not, Jenson Button described Vettel's qualifying and race pace until his retirement with a failed alternator in Valencia as "scary".
McLaren's Button had been asked about the widespread praise of Fernando Alonso following the Spaniard's Valencia win, including Lewis Hamilton's description of the Ferrari driver as "phenomenal".
"There's been a lot of arse-kissing going on lately," Button told British newspapers. "I don't know what's happening. It's quite strange."
The Briton said Vettel, not Alonso, is the really "scary one".
"The pace that Sebastian had (in Valencia) was amazing. He was on fire. He had such a massive difference in pace to the rest of the field and we haven't seen that for a while," said Button.
Unlucky Button aims to end Silverstone 'jinx'
(GMM) In his 13th consecutive season and stranded on 13 race wins, Jenson Button is hoping to finally end his Silverstone "jinx" this weekend.
The McLaren driver has been caught in a performance slump recently, but he refused to tell British reporters that outright victory at his home grand prix in 2012 is unlikely.
Statistically, however, Silverstone success is unlikely for the 32-year-old, given that since debuting in 2000, not a single meter of his 56,000 kilometers during grands prix have been spent in the lead on his home track.
In fact, he has never even been on the podium at the end of a British grand prix.
"It's definitely the biggest missing trophy on my shelf," said Button. "It does hurt."
He admits that, having tried and failed at the wheel of Williams, Benetton, BAR, Honda, title-winning Brawn and McLaren cars, the fact his best finish is fourth is strange.
Asked if he feels jinxed in his 13th F1 season, Button answered: "I seem to have had (a jinx) for the past four races, so I'm hoping now the British grand prix is coming up it will turn around and be the opposite for me.
"I wouldn't say it's a jinx," he added. "I think we've just been unlucky at times and not had the car at other times."
Promoter confirms Spa race alternation idea off
(GMM) The boss of the Belgian grand prix has confirmed reports the once-touted race alternation with France is now off the agenda.
It had been suggested fabled Spa-Francorchamps would share an annually-rotating single date on the F1 calendar in future with a returning French race.
But after Nicolas Sarkozy lost the recent general election, those plans appeared to lose traction.
And late last week, the Belgian and French news agencies Belga and AFP suggested the Spa/Paul Ricard alternating scheme is indeed "no longer on the agenda".
"The election of Francois Hollande to the French presidency has changed the situation," Spa promoter Andre Maes is quoted by the French language Belgian newspaper L'Echo.
He said it "became clear" that France's new administration has different plans.
"Hence, the (new) proposal we made to Mr. Ecclestone," said Maes. "But I am bound by a confidentiality clause, so I cannot tell you."
L'Echo reports that Spa has proposed that the Belgian grand prix contract simply be extended to 2016, possibly with Ecclestone to agree a slight reduction in the race sanctioning fee.
FIA extends 2013 cost rules deadline to July - reports
(GMM) The FIA has reportedly extended a deadline for radical cost-cutting in formula one.
On the eve of Saturday's June 30 deadline, we reported that the prospect of cost-cutting was hanging in the balance as F1 teams dithered over the shape of the proposals.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport had reported the high risk that June 30 would come and go without significant reforms being put to the World Motor Sport Council.
Indeed, that was the case, raising the prospect that - post June 30 - rule changes would be highly unlikely for 2013 due to the need for total unanimity.
However, citing a British source, the German news agency DPA and the Financial Times Deutschland reports that the FIA has now extended the original June 30 deadline until late this month.
It means that rules proposed by only two thirds of the teams can still be introduced for 2013, so long as the World Council can vote on the changes by July 24.
Boss Sala hints HRT to keep Cosworth for 2013
(GMM) Luis Perez-Sala has indicated HRT wants to keep its Cosworth engines for the 2013 season.
It emerged recently that, with the independent British engine supplier losing key clients Williams and Caterham recently, Cosworth might not develop a V6 engine for the all-new 2014 regulations.
Citing paddock speculation, the media reports even suggested the viability of Cosworth staying in F1 for the final V8 season next year is in doubt.
The engine maker's last remaining F1 customers are backmarkers HRT and Marussia.
HRT team boss Perez-Sala suggested the Spanish team wanted to maintain stability for 2013.
Asked by El Confidencial if the team will have a new engine supplier next year, he answered: "For next year, although it is not finalized, the idea is to keep what we have.
"As a team we have made a big change this year and what we need is to consolidate and improve on what we have. So we cannot be changing too much when in 2014 there is such an important transformation.
"We expect that the coming (2013) campaign will be a continuation," added Sala.
He also suggested that Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa is a vital player in the HRT project going forwards.
When asked if he can imagine HRT without the experienced former McLaren test driver on board, Perez-Sala answered: "So far, no ... I can not imagine it!"
'Serious differences' in tire quality in 2012 - Marko
(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko suspects there are "serious differences" in the quality of the sets of tires being supplied this year by Pirelli.
Red Bull's motor racing consultant also said the sole tire supplier's 2012 product works only within a ludicrously small performance 'window', and favors cars with simple designs.
According to the German language motorline.cc, Marko said Italian marque Pirelli "received an order to make formula one more exciting".
In 2011, for Pirelli's first season on the grid, the tires spiced up the show due to their heavily-degrading nature.
And this year, experts have explained that the tires are 'mysterious' in terms of how the engineers and drivers can make them work.
"Normally a tire degrades steadily, but with the current Pirelli compounds they are working one lap and the next they're gone," said the outspoken Austrian.
And Marko said the Pirellis are also difficult to get working in the first place.
"I think it was in Malaysia with Mark Webber, we were on the hard compound and we put in two clicks more of front wing -- a marginal different but 'Bang!' we were 1.2 seconds faster.
"We thought 'Boom! Our car is now great' but we put on the soft compound and were eight tenths slower," he said.
Marko said he suspects there are "serious differences" in the quality of the sets of tires being supplied by Pirelli this year.
"The result is that cars that are simple in design are easier to get to the windows in which the tires work best."
At Valencia recently, however, Red Bull's latest developments appeared to be a breakthrough for the RB8, as Sebastian Vettel dominated qualifying and the race until his technical breakdown.
"It hurts (rivals) terribly when you're so superior," explained Marko. "In the race we had to tell Vettel 'Go slower! Even slower! And now even slower!'
"We know too well -- if you are too far ahead you definitely lose more friends than you make."