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Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Circuit of The Americas (COTA) has first layer of asphalt complete, final layer started.
    Racing surface going down at 2012 US GP track
  • Ecclestone still in talks with Nurburgring officials
  • 6,000 fans left without tickets for Spa race
  • 'Too early' to decide 2013 drivers - Wolff
  • Magny Cours still in running for 2013 French GP
  • 2012 car 'good basis' for next Mercedes - Brawn
  • Gastronomic forays for F1's Button, Grosjean
  • Petrov not 'nervous' about 2013 Caterham seat
  • 2014 suppliers now running real V6 engines - report

Racing surface going down at 2012 US GP track
(GMM) Organizers of the 2012 US grand prix have begun to lay the crucial racing surface at the brand new Circuit of the Americas.

Watching the progress at the bespoke venue in Austin, Texas, was Alexander Rossi, Caterham's 20-year-old Californian test driver.

"I was blown away," he told local broadcaster YNN, "I was almost speechless with how impressive it is because seeing it on paper is one thing, but to be able to actually drive around it, and feel the flow of it and the rhythm of it, and to see the spectacle that is turn one."

Circuit spokeswoman Julie Loignon said work at the venue is "on schedule" for the inaugural race in mid November.

"We're beginning the process known as echelon paving."

She explained that, to ensure a uniform racing surface, three separate paver machines are making three separate laps around the 5.5 kilometer layout.

"The end result is going to be a grade one race track for formula one racing," Loignon added.

Ecclestone still in talks with Nurburgring officials
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has kept German formula one fans' hopes alive by revealing ongoing talks with Nurburgring race organizers.

With the embattled circuit facing insolvency ahead of its scheduled return to the 2013 calendar, it emerged recently that the local Rhineland-Palatinate state had decided to keep the Nurburgring afloat.

But subsequent news that the state aid will be investigated by the European Commission has renewed fears the Nurburgring will not feature on next year's schedule.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone, however, says he remains in talks with race officials.

"I am currently in negotiations with the officials at the Nurburgring," he is quoted as saying in an interview with Saturday's Rhein-Zeitung newspaper.

Ecclestone said the objective is to see the "race at the 'Ring in 2013".

He would not comment on the likely success of the talks.

6,000 fans left without tickets for Spa race
(GMM) Thousands of paying ticket customers for next weekend's Belgian grand prix appear unlikely to enjoy the fabled Spa-Francorchamps race.

The De Telegraaf (Dutch) and Het Belang Van Limburg (Belgian) newspapers report that 6,000 clients of a company called The Ticket Enterprise will not receive their tickets for the 2012 event.

The company has reportedly worked with the Belgian race organizers for several years, but has now apparently succumbed to financial problems and ceased communicating with clients.

Telegraaf said the company and its management have been "unreachable for days", therefore attracting the thousands of official complaints.

'Too early' to decide 2013 drivers - Wolff
(GMM) Williams' driver lineup will "definitely" remain in place this year, team shareholder and executive director Toto Wolff insists.

He joked that a change of policy will happen "when the sun falls from the sky," according to Speed Week.

Pastor Maldonado brings millions to the famous British team from his native Venezuela, and he won May's Spanish grand prix from pole.

But Speed Week said his carbon-crunching mistakes - the latest during a demonstration run in Caracus at the weekend - are costing Williams a substantial amount of money as well.

Brazilian Bruno Senna has also failed to shine throughout the first half of the 2012 season, while the highly regarded and Wolff-managed reserve driver Valtteri Bottas waits in the wings.

Wolff, however, said it is "too early" to say what Williams' 2013 lineup will be.

"The driver question has always been something that is very important to Frank (Williams), who has a lot of expertise," he is quoted by motorline.cc.

Wolff said it is too simplistic to say that a more experienced pair of drivers would have done a better job at the wheel of Williams' much-improved 2012 car.

And "Will Pastor or Valtteri be top drivers in the future? I believe so," he said.

"So maybe the situation at the moment fits very well with the car, even though that's something difficult to understand," said Wolff.

"We have seen the driver (Maldonado) being very good this year in Barcelona -- or was that the car? It's difficult to answer.

"At the same time do we know how good the Ferrari is today? Is it as good as Alonso or only as good as Massa? We don't know," he added.

Magny Cours still in running for 2013 French GP
(GMM) Magny Cours, France's last grand prix host, is still in the running to secure the country's return to the F1 calendar.

Le Figaro daily is reporting that the circuit in central France, having hosted the French grand prix between 1991 and 2008, is set to formally present its case to become the country's new grand prix venue from 2013.

Prior to France's general election this year, Paul Ricard looked set to host the grand prix in 2013.

But the new government is not ruling out Magny Cours, having mandated the French motor racing body FFSA to look into the options for 2013.

Citing officials, Le Figaro reports that Magny Cours' "official presentation" of its bid will take place at the circuit, located some 250 kilometers from Paris, on September 4.

Gastronomic forays for F1's Button, Grosjean
(GMM) While one door closes for Jenson Button, his formula one rival Romain Grosjean is looking to open one.

A regional UK newspaper The Northern Echo is reporting that Button's restaurant in Yorkshire - called Victus - has closed.

"Unfortunately, the business was launched in an economy which then continued to slide and just hasn't stopped, with people simply not having the disposable income needed to spend in restaurants," the McLaren driver's manager Richard Goddard said.

Earlier this year, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean admitted that he considered turning his love of amateur cooking into a professional career when his first F1 foray failed in 2009.

"It is no secret that I have gastronomic talents," the Frenchman has now told F1's official website when asked what he would do if his career ended today.

"So I would try to work in a restaurant and maybe open a restaurant one day. I know many Michelin star-rated French chefs - and luckily for me they are all formula one fans - so I am sure I would find a place to develop my talents further."

Petrov not 'nervous' about 2013 Caterham seat
(GMM) Vitaly Petrov says it is too soon to determine what he will be doing in 2013.

The Russian made his debut for Renault (now Lotus) in 2010, moving across to the back-of-the-grid Caterham team at the beginning of this season.

And his manager Oksana Kosachenko said recently she is in talks with three teams about 2013.

"Before autumn we have to be ready to take some decisions. I don't want to be in the situation which we faced last year," she said.

Kosachenko said the priority is to keep Petrov, 27, at Caterham.

So when will they be in a position to know more?

"I think after August," Petrov is quoted by the Russian website f1news.ru.

"Right now, all the talk about (drivers) moving around is just starting.

"The main thing is that the (Caterham) team is happy with me, they've said it in the press and to me personally," he revealed.

Petrov said he is not feeling "nervous" about the future.

"Maybe in another situation I would be, but because I have good results and we work well together as a team, I see no reason for that."

2014 suppliers now running real V6 engines - report
(GMM) F1's three engine manufacturers for 2014 are hard at work on their new turbo V6 designs, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reported.

The publication said Craig Pollock's new venture Pure is no longer operating, while it is now common knowledge in the F1 paddock that HRT and Marussia supplier Cosworth is unlikely to still be on the grid for the radical new rules.

That leaves just Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, with Auto Motor und Sport saying the manufacturers are now "in phase two" of the development process for 2014.

It means they are no longer working only with mere prototypes.

"We have now run a V6 and the program is more or less in line with our planning," Renault Sport's Rob White said recently.

"Our intent is to be 'race intent' in the course of 2013."

Toto Wolff, a Williams shareholder and the Grove team's new executive director, told motorline.cc the British squad will "definitely" still be powered by Renault's existing V8 engine next year.

And then into the V6 rules and beyond?

"That is what we would wish," he said. "Renault has decided to remain in formula one for the long term and talks (between Williams and Renault) are in progress," he added.

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