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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • NJ Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner announcing an annual Formula 1 Grand Prix of America beginning in June 2013
    New Jersey governor says 'no problem' with 2013 race
  • Prost could be first to test Renault's V6
  • Button to take Suzuka grid penalty
  • Force India stay 'not certain' for Hulkenberg
  • Road back to F1 'not so long now' - Kubica
  • Willi Weber 'can't imagine' Schumacher at Sauber
  • Greek gov't to subsidize F1 track
  • Lauda denies becoming Mercedes' new 'strong man'
  • Ferrari to close wind tunnel for winter fix

New Jersey governor says 'no problem' with 2013 race
(GMM)  New Jersey governor Chris Christie is not worried plans for a formula one street race next June are set to collapse.

Bernie Ecclestone triggered the uncertainty by revealing that the race organizers currently do not have a contract, despite the fact a June 16 date for the 'grand prix of Jersey' was ratified by the FIA at the end of last week.

The New York race, however, was listed with an asterisk denoting 'TBC' (to be confirmed).

Governor Christie said he phoned chief organizer Leo Hindery after reading about the reported uncertainty.

"He (Hindery) told me that it's absolutely happening," Christie told reporters.

"I called and reached out and he told me there's not a problem.  It's on the schedule."

A spokesman for Hindery insisted there would be no comment "on financial arrangements with formula one".

Indeed, Christie admitted he didn't know why the FIA listed the New Jersey race with an asterisk.

"No one can explain it to me," he said.  "But I called the guy (Hindery) who's in charge of the group that's running the race and he told me it's definitely happening, no problem."

F1 chief executive Ecclestone told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that some provisions of the original New Jersey contract "went unfulfilled".

But he added: "If they get together with all the provisions, everything will be ok."

Hindery said: "We expect to fully satisfy all of F1's requirements in the weeks ahead."

Prost could be first to test Renault's V6
(GMM)  F1 legend Alain Prost could be the first to sample the sport's new V6 power.

In his first F1 test since McLaren in 1996, the quadruple world champion drove a modern Red Bull at the Renault World Series event at Paul Ricard last weekend.

Already contracted to the team's French V8 engine supplier Renault as an ambassador, the 57-year-old could now be first in line to test the new 1.6 liter turbo V6 for 2014.

"It was really helpful to take the wheel of a modern formula one car," the Frenchman is quoted by the French-language F1i.

"And maybe I'll have another opportunity with the new engine in the next two months.  It would be a good experience," added Prost.

"I am interested in these new engines coming to formula one.  I will work very hard with Renault on this side, it's our new goal."

Button to take Suzuka grid penalty
(GMM)  Jenson Button's Japanese grand prix aspirations have already taken a dent, with news the McLaren driver will move five places down the Suzuka grid.

Writing in the Daily Mail, journalist Simon Cass said the British team has had to change the 2009 world champion's damaged gearbox.

The report said the problem identified was the same one that caused teammate Lewis Hamilton to retire from the lead in Singapore.

Button's bad news comes mere days after the 32-year-old called on McLaren to improve the reliability of its MP4-27 car, after two mechanical retirements in as many races.

"It is such a shame because the team in every other area are doing such a good job," he told Press Association Sport.

Force India stay 'not certain' for Hulkenberg
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg's manager has admitted it is "not certain" the German will be staying with Force India in 2013.

The 25-year-old, who finally got his F1 career back on track this season after being dumped by Williams, has been linked by Blick newspaper (Switzerland) with a move to Sauber.

And the BBC reports that Hulkenberg might already have agreed a switch to Ferrari to replace Felipe Massa.

But his advisor Timo Gans told Germany's Sport1: "There's a pretty good chance that Nico is staying with Force India.

"This is not certain yet," he added.  "We are not yet in a position to announce something."

Gans said there is no deadline for a decision.

Should Hulkenberg move to Sauber, it would be bad news for Jaime Alguersuari, who had been regarded as the favorite to replace the McLaren-bound Sergio Perez.

Indeed, after saying recently he is "100 per cent sure" he is returning to the grid in 2013, Pirelli tester Alguersuari now sounds less certain.

"There has been contact and there is a bright future in formula one," he told the Spanish website caranddriverthef1.com.

"Obviously, I have nothing on the table signed as I am waiting to see what happens with the latest moves," added Alguersuari.

Italiaracing said there has been some contact between the young Spaniard and Force India, whose Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta have both been linked with moves elsewhere.

Switzerland's Blick said Red Bull reserve driver Sebastien Buemi could be another Force India candidate.

Road back to F1 'not so long now' - Kubica
(GMM)  Robert Kubica has taken yet another step on his long road back to formula one, by winning the Citta di Bassano rally in northern Italy.

"I still have a long road in front of me," the former BMW and Renault driver said afterwards.

"But this shows the road is not as long as we thought," added Kubica, referring to his extended recovery from an horror rally crash in early 2011.

The main problem for the 27-year-old now is the mobility of his right arm.

Turning a steering wheel inside the narrow confines of a single seater is currently not possible for Kubica.

But his arm surgeon Igor Rossello is confident.

"Currently, we estimate his recovery at 50 per cent," he told the Polish source Gwizdek24.

"I assume that we will make it back to 75 to 80 per cent, which would be quite sufficient to drive a formula one car," added Rossello.

"I have spoken with his manager Daniele Morelli, who is as excited about his progress as I am," he said.

"I am convinced that it (returning to F1) is possible, although the recovery can often take many months and years."

Willi Weber 'can't imagine' Schumacher at Sauber
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's famous former manager has advised the seven time world champion to finally quit formula one for good.

Having recently negotiated the great German's latest personal sponsorship deal, Willi Weber made headlines by announcing that - if he was still in charge - he would travel to Maranello for a chat with Luca di Montezemolo.

In the wake of Mercedes' decision to overlook Schumacher for a 2013 seat, that triggered real speculation that the 43-year-old could return to Ferrari next year to replace Felipe Massa.

Weber, however, hopes it doesn't happen.

"Michael doesn't have to prove one more thing," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

"He was the best driver in the world.  As a manager I would maybe try to get him in there (Ferrari), but I cannot imagine that it would be considered seriously.

"With all respect for Michael and his legend, now is the time for the younger ones," added Weber.

And he said Schumacher should absolutely not court a move to Sauber.

"What is this?  Continue with Sauber?  With a private team?  I can't imagine Michael doing that.

"Nothing against Peter Sauber, as what he has done this year is better than what Mercedes has done.  But someone like Michael belongs with a global company or a famous racing team.

"And at Sauber he cannot fight for the title," added Weber.

The Sauber link, however, will continue for as long as Schumacher and his new manager Sabine Kehm do not rule out otherwise.

Kehm told CNN: "The answer is that we will carefully think about any options we have.  We are not in a hurry to do this.

"In the meantime though we will not give out any reports and discuss the different steps."

Niki Lauda was instrumental in Mercedes' decision to replace Schumacher with Lewis Hamilton, but the great Austrian hopes the former Benetton and Ferrari driver does not retire altogether.

"Naturally, his withdrawal would leave a big hole in formula one," he is quoted by Der Spiegel.

Greek gov't to subsidize F1 track
(GMM)  Greece has set aside almost EUR 30 million to subsidize the construction of a formula one circuit, the country's development ministry said.

Bloomberg reports that, despite Greece's deep economic woes, the track will be built near the western port city of Patras at a total cost of just under EUR 95 million.

Private investment company Racetrack Patras SA will oversee the project, journalist Paul Tugwell wrote.

Lauda denies becoming Mercedes' new 'strong man'
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has vowed "no compromise" amid speculation he is the new strong man at Mercedes.

Some insiders have drawn a parallel between the triple world champion's new arrival as non-executive chairman at Mercedes and his role at Jaguar early last decade.

Ten years ago, Lauda joined Jaguar and tension between him and team boss Bobby Rahal led to the great Austrian's ascension to the throne.

So should Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug be worried now?

"I certainly will not compromise," 63-year-old Lauda told Osterreich in an interview.

"Together, we must ensure that Mercedes is able to compete next season.

"I'm not an engineer, so I will see that the right people are working with the right priorities and figure out why it did not work out this year," said Lauda.

He baulked at reports he is set to take over from Briton Brawn as the real 'strong man' of Mercedes.

"That's still (going to be) the team principal Ross Brawn, who is responsible for the development of the car and the team," Lauda insisted to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

"I'm something like the link between the racing headquarters in the UK and the company headquarters in Germany," he explained.

Indeed, Lauda will have little to do with the operation of the team at grands prix, as he is continuing as a television pundit for the German broadcaster RTL.

Ferrari to close wind tunnel for winter fix
(GMM)  Ferrari will close its wind tunnel for a period this forthcoming winter in order to ensure the Maranello facility is working properly.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport said the move follows the famous team's concerns that the data produced by the tunnel has not been totally reliable in recent years.

"Stefano Domenicali has decided to close the tunnel for a while in order to do verifications and calibrations," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is quoted by the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

The reports said the wind tunnel closure will occur in December or January.

The Spanish sports newspaper Marca said Ferrari will "look elsewhere" for its wind tunnel testing during this time.

The great team has in the recent past used former F1 team Toyota's state of the art facility in Cologne.

The recalibration of the Maranello tunnel follows Ferrari's signing this year of renowned F1 aerodynamicists Ben Agathangelou and Loic Bigois, Marca added.

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