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DATE News (chronologically)
09/25/12
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

09/25/12
  • Valsecchi eyes move to F1
    Webber said Monza ban was 'harsh' - Grosjean
  • McLaren ups money offer in bid to keep Hamilton
  • GP2 champion Valsecchi eyes move to F1
  • No Changi move for F1's Singapore night race
  • Germany slams 'clumsy Schumi' as contract expires
  • Points help quest to keep F1 seat - Ricciardo
  • Bank wants Ecclestone's bribe millions back - report
  • Whiting in Austin to inspect new US GP venue
  • Rosberg: More time needed on upgrade
  • Petrov's manager withdraws from 2013 F1 talks New
  • Mercedes' Lauda says Hamilton staying at McLaren New

Webber said Monza ban was 'harsh' - Grosjean
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean said Mark Webber was "not very fair" at the start of Sunday's Singapore grand prix.

But after his successful return to F1 following a one-race ban, rookie Frenchman Grosjean also praised his Australian rival.

"Webber was not very fair as he completely cut the first corner," he is quoted by RMC Sport.

"But I have to say that at Monza he was the first to come and see me to say it (the ban) was a little harsh.  I get on well with him," added Grosjean.

The Lotus driver revealed that he has made some tweaks to his race preparation, so that he is now "better" prepared for the start of the races.

"There are six races left and I want to go on the podium," said Grosjean.

McLaren ups money offer in bid to keep Hamilton
(GMM)  McLaren has slightly upped its monetary offer in a late bid to secure Lewis Hamilton's services for 2013, according to multiple British newspapers.

The Daily Mail said McLaren has increased its offer by EUR 2.5 million to 15 million, which is still less than his current retainer of about 19 million.

In the Times, correspondent Kevin Eason wrote that some in the paddock now expect an announcement to be made "in the next few days".

But Eason also quoted an observer as saying: "For a guy who is so fast in a formula one car, he is taking his time making a decision."

Asked if an announcement is imminent, boss Martin Whitmarsh answered: "We will see what we can do.  I think we are a good team together."

German reports claim that Mercedes, Hamilton's possible destination for 2013, are meeting in Stuttgart on Tuesday for a board meeting.

While Hamilton's retainer at Mercedes would be about the same or even slightly lower as is on offer by McLaren, the German manufacturer is reportedly open to allowing Hamilton and his management to negotiate lucrative personal endorsement deals.

"These last couple or three races he (Hamilton) has been doing very well," the Guardian quotes F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone as having said on Monday.

"Before that, why he was upset I don't know but he was definitely going to move no matter what.  He had made up his mind that he was going.

"Whether he has changed now I don't know."

The Telegraph reports that triple world champion Niki Lauda has been working in the background to convince Hamilton to join Mercedes.

And the great Austrian would be "offered a senior role at Mercedes" if Hamilton does sign up, correspondent Tom Cary revealed.

GP2 champion Valsecchi eyes move to F1
(GMM)  New GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi is hoping his crown is the ticket to formula one.

Every single past GP2 champion - Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Timo Glock, Giorgio Pantano, Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean - has raced in F1.

25-year-old Italian Valsecchi, who secured the title by 25 points over Luiz Razia at the Singapore season finale last weekend, hopes the trend continues.

He said his immediate goal is to find a seat for F1's final young drivers test for 2012, in Abu Dhabi in November.

And asked what the next target will be, Valsecchi answered: "I don't know, but in Italy they always say there is no Italian driver in formula one, but before now who deserved it?

"I really hope to have the chance, because at the moment we are strong enough to use it, so I really hope I will have a chance, and that I can show that I deserve to be there.

"I would sign right now," he laughed.  "Next week, if you were going to Japan, I would come with you."

No Changi move for F1's Singapore night race
(GMM)  F1 is staying on Singapore's streets, with a touted move to a bespoke circuit near the city-state's Changhi airport now off the table, according to Speed Week.

Last weekend, just ahead of the fifth highly popular grand prix under Singapore's dark skies, it was announced that F1 is staying put at least until 2017.

"Less well known," reported the German-language Speed Week, "is that the plans for a new facility at Changhi airport are now off the table."

The report, however, said a tweaked street layout could be on the cards for the future.

By far the least popular feature of the existing track among the drivers is the notorious turn 10 chicane.

"I think we've discussed it many times, every year actually, to find a better solution," said world champion and 2012 Singapore winner Sebastian Vettel.

"In terms of safety, I think that's one of the worst corners we have on the calendar and I think (it's) something we need to work on.

"It probably requires to take a little bit of land from the cricket club for those couple of days or maybe remove the pavement for three or four days," he said.

"I don't know, but if you consider the costs for this whole event, I think taking a pavement away and putting it back on shouldn't be a big problem."

Germany slams 'clumsy Schumi' as contract expires
(GMM)  Just as the Mercedes board is set to meet on Tuesday, Michael Schumacher is the unhappy subject of an intense round of bad press in his native Germany.

Some publications have nicknamed the seven time world champion 'Schussel-(clumsy) Schumi' after his latest mistake in Singapore; the crash with Jean-Eric Vergne that has cost him ten places on the Suzuka grid.

And that's not all.  The German media is making a meal of the 43-year-old's entire Singapore weekend, deriding him for incorrectly calling Frenchman Vergne "Jean-Marc" in an interview.

And Schumacher also reportedly told German journalists ahead of the race weekend that there are 20 points for finishing a grand prix second (there are actually 18), and he also got the time zone difference between Singapore and Europe fundamentally wrong.

"What on earth is going on with Michael Schumacher?" wondered the Hamburger Abendblatt, noting that the great German's Singapore crash was his third under the floodlights in as many years.

Der Spiegel magazine pointed out that, with Schumacher's contract expiring, the Mercedes board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday.

"The timing is certainly not beneficial," admitted Swiss commentator Marc Surer.

Another Schumacher gaffe in Singapore was his admission to being in the toilet when the rest of the F1 world was paying silent tribute to Prof. Sid Watkins on the grid.

"The whole formula one is there with great respect," said commentator Christian Danner on RTL television.  "Drivers, team managers, even the prime minister of Singapore."

Danner said Schumacher's absence was "embarrassing".

Points help quest to keep F1 seat - Ricciardo
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo is confident he will stay in formula one if he keeps good results coming in 2012.

The rookie 23-year-old's ninth place in Singapore was his third such foray into the points since debuting for Toro Rosso in his native Australia in March.

The Red Bull-owned team ousted its race drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari at the end of last season.

Asked if scoring points in Singapore helps his chances of staying on the grid for 2013, Ricciardo answered: "Yeah, it doesn't hurt.

"Put it this way," he told the Melbourne Age newspaper.  "If I can keep a few more of these results coming, I think so.  It's definitely on the right path to secure a seat."

Bank wants Ecclestone's bribe millions back - report
(GMM)  Jailed Gerhard Gribkowsky may not have made headlines for some time, but the F1 corruption scandal is still making trouble for Bernie Ecclestone.

The Suddeutsche newspaper reports that German bank and former F1 shareholder BayernLB is looking into whether it can recover millions from the sport's chief executive.

The push for damages could follow Gribkowsky's claim that Ecclestone only received millions in the form of a BayernLB commission as the direct result of bribery.

"We have requested access to the files," a spokesman for the bank is quoted as saying, referring to the prosecution's case.

Suddeutsche said the damages could amount to EUR 41 million.

Briton Ecclestone's lawyers have reportedly filed an application to block the request, leaving it to a Munich court to decide.

Whiting in Austin to inspect new US GP venue
(GMM)  Two months before the venue's inaugural US grand prix, Charlie Whiting is in Austin to inspect the brand new Circuit of the Americas.

The Austin American Statesman newspaper reports that F1's race director, safety delegate and technical development chief must give Austin the nod "or there will be no" grand prix in mid November.

Whiting's first inspection of the bespoke circuit was in June, and he said afterwards: "It is clear that the significant resources Circuit of the Americas has committed to completing this facility on time and to FIA specifications is making a difference."

Rosberg: More time needed on upgrade
Nico Rosberg believes it will take Mercedes a little longer before they see the full performance benefit of the new exhaust package introduced onto the W03 at the Singapore GP.

In a late-season bid to improve their flagging fortunes, the Brackley-based team trialed the revised side-exiting layout - known as the Coanda exhaust - with positive results at the Magny-Cours young driver test and duly gave the new design the green light to race last weekend.

However, the upgrade made little immediate difference to Mercedes' relative competitiveness with the team struggling for single-lap pace through practice and then only squeezing into the top ten of the grid in qualifying - although Rosberg drove a strong race to fifth on Sunday.

The German driver was encouraged by the initial improvements the team were able to derive, however, and is expecting further benefits in the forthcoming races as Mercedes gain further data on how best to exploit the concept.

"It was an exciting weekend for us as a team because we had quite a lot of new parts on the car," he said in his regular post-race video blog on Mercedes' website.

"It's a very complicated development that we're doing there on the aerodynamics with the exhaust gasses, pointing them in a certain direction so you get hot air on the back of the car which creates downforce so you can go faster through the corners.
"It's very difficult to direct that air in the right direction and everything so we found out it's going to take a while to really optimize it. Of course it really benefitted us, it already gave us a benefit this weekend, but it's going to take some day in the next days and weeks to really get the most out of it.


"So I'm quite optimistic that we can extract a lot of potential out of that. The others are a bit advanced on that already so maybe we can catch up a bit which would be good."

Rosberg's fifth-place finished marked his best race result since finishing second in Monaco four months ago while the 10-point haul also helped Mercedes consolidate their lead over Sauber in the Constructors' Championship.

The German, who had unusually scored only eight points in the previous five races, was relieved to have finally enjoyed a trouble-free Sunday.

"First time in a long time that everything really worked out for me, it was great," he added.

"I had a good start with the new tires, good strategy with the first stint. The tire management perfect...that's what I'm quite pleased with fifth place in the end because it's a lot of points." Sky Sports

Petrov's manager withdraws from 2013 F1 talks
(GMM)  Vitaly Petrov's formula one career is in crisis, after his manager called off talks with prospective teams over a 2013 race seat.

Oksana Kosachenko told the Russian news agency Ria Novosti that the former Renault and now Caterham driver's sponsorship funds have dried up.

She said recently she was in talks about 2013 with three or four teams.

"We've taken a timeout now," Kosachenko said on Tuesday.

"I need time to consolidate all our financial possibilities and understand if there's sense in continuing any talks.

"If there's no money, then there's no driver."

Kosachenko said last month that the Russian government had pulled its backing of Petrov, which was in the form of sponsorships from state-controlled Russian Helicopters and chemicals manufacturer Sibur.

Petrov, 28, ousted Caterham's Jarno Trulli at the last minute ahead of the 2012 season, but Kosachenko said she would not spend the winter in similarly urgent talks.

She said she would instead look at the possibility of "other projects" for Petrov.

As for Petrov's relationship with Caterham, that appears to be at an end.

In the team's post-race media statement after Singapore, boss Tony Fernandes hinted there would soon be positive news about Heikki Kovalainen's future.

"We're very pleased for Tony that he has positive news," said Kosachenko on Tuesday.

"But we'd like it if this news had some sort of connection to the car's development and not just to Heikki."

Mercedes' Lauda says Hamilton staying at McLaren
(GMM)  Niki Lauda dropped a big hint on Tuesday about Lewis Hamilton's future.

24 hours ago, the Telegraph reported that the Austrian great is working for Mercedes to convince the 2008 world champion to leave McLaren.

The report said the 63-year-old triple world champion Lauda would be "offered a senior role at Mercedes" if he is able to lure Hamilton to the German carmaker's Brackley based squad.

But other British newspapers are reporting that McLaren has finally upped its monetary offer to match or better Mercedes' deal.

And on Tuesday, Lauda told F1's official website: "Hamilton will stay with McLaren."

As for Mercedes, "I have no idea what they are up to", Lauda added.

The former Ferrari and McLaren champion also admitted he thinks Felipe Massa is set to stay alongside Fernando Alonso in 2013.

"I don't see any mouth-watering switch being made," Lauda said.

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