Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.
Aus GP boss to retire if Ecclestone steps down
|Aussie GP boss Ron Walker to retire if Ecclestone forced to resign|
- Kobayashi raises over EUR 600,000 for 2013 seat
- Nurburgring 2013 not dead yet - chief
- Horner predicts 'weaker' McLaren without Hamilton
- Another video shows Vettel DID NOT make illegal pass in Brazil
- New Sao Paulo mayor wants to keep Brazil GP
- Drunk, sacked HRT mechanics brawl at factory
- Red Bull to pay Vettel EUR 3m title bonus
- Pirelli wants early decision over 2014 contract
- 2015 could be last Malaysian GP - boss
- Senna 'in race with Bottas' for Williams seat
- Ecclestone Optimistic NBC Deal Will Increase U.S. Interest In Sport
- Red Bull denies report of 2016 deal for Vettel New
- Senna not angry about Bottas news New
Aus GP boss to retire if Ecclestone steps down
(GMM) Australian grand prix boss Ron Walker has promised to step down if Bernie Ecclestone is no longer in charge of formula one.
Embroiled in the ever-deepening Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption scandal, Ecclestone warned last week that his demise could cost the sport several key races.
"A few (race promoters) said to me, 'if you're not there, we're not there'," F1 chief executive Ecclestone said. "That's what the danger is."
Walker, the chief of the Melbourne race promoter Australian Grand Prix Corporation and a long-time Ecclestone ally, is the first to put his hand up.
"When Bernie retires, then I will retire as well; and a number of other longstanding promoters that have been friends of Bernie's will do also," he told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt, published in Autoweek.
Walker clarified that the promoter exodus would not mean those countries necessarily lose their grands prix.
But he added: "When Bernie goes, formula one will change. You won't recognize the sport after Bernie goes because he has done it in his own way as unique as he can."
Kobayashi raises over EUR 600,000 for 2013 seat
(GMM) Kamui Kobayashi has already raised more than EUR 600,000 as he bids to pay for a formula one seat in 2013.
Having lost his Sauber seat, the Japanese set up a website asking for donations from his fans.
He wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that, in the first few days of the kamui-support.com website being live, he has already raised much more than half a million euros.
"Thanks so kindly for the support," Kobayashi wrote in Japanese.
Nurburgring 2013 not dead yet - chief
(GMM) There is still a chance the Nurburgring will host the German grand prix as scheduled next year.
With the famous circuit now in an insolvency process, an official said recently there is little chance a formula one race will be held there in 2013.
But SID news agency reports that the Nurburgring has in fact been empowered to negotiate with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
"Now we have to make progress in the talks with Bernie Ecclestone and make a contract," said managing director Thomas Schmidt.
Horner predicts 'weaker' McLaren without Hamilton
(GMM) Christian Horner, the boss of the triple constructors' champions Red Bull, thinks he will be facing a "weaker" rival in the form of McLaren next year.
"McLaren are a weaker team without Lewis (Hamilton)," he is quoted by British newspapers this week. "I think they would admit that."
By the same token, he said the 2008 world champion and Briton will undoubtedly strengthen Hamilton's new team, Mercedes.
Many, however, believe the balance of power will not shift dramatically in 2013, due to the essentially stable regulations and the fact many teams will be arguably more focused on the dramatic changes for the year after.
"I fear that Red Bull has already won the 2013 title to a factor of 49 per cent," Jaime Alguersuari, a former Toro Rosso driver and 2012 Pirelli tester, told the Spanish newspaper AS.
But while Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel won the 2012 titles ahead of Ferrari, McLaren is also strong already.
"We'll be starting (2013) with this car," Interlagos winner Jenson Button said, "and there are no regulation changes, so it is a great way to end the season."
As for Horner's comments about Hamilton weakening McLaren, Button is quoted by the Independent: "Mercedes are getting a very quick driver.
"He is going to help them, but they have a big job on their hands."
Another video shows Vettel DID NOT make illegal pass in Brazil
A video has emerged that clearly depicts Sebastian Vettel not overtaking under yellow flag conditions during Sunday's Brazilian grand prix.
It is a separate incident to the 2012 world champion's pass on Kamui Kobayashi at Interlagos, which turned out to have actually taken place under yellow and orange caution flags.
The new video, showing Vettel passing a Toro Rosso with green lights flashing beside the track and also in the cockpit of his Red Bull, can be seen below (watch the lights carefully, they are initially yellow and Vettel waits, he then sees a green light ahead and makes the pass. You can see the light on the left has turned green just after he makes the pass, but it turned green before he made the pass, you just cannot tell on the video because of the conditions):
Only after the lights turn to green does Vettel complete the move.
"It shows that Vettel should have been penalized," said the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, which of course is a biased statement and wrong.
A penalty might have made the difference between title victory and defeat for Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
El Mundo added: "Now the Scuderia (Ferrari) has until November 30 to appeal."
Alonso late on Tuesday alluded to the controversy by saying in Spanish on Twitter that there are "no miracles", only "rules".
Italy's Corriere dello Sport, however - citing Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni - said the Italian team is not planning to lodge a protest.
New Sao Paulo mayor wants to keep Brazil GP
(GMM) The incoming mayor of Sao Paulo wants to keep formula one at Interlagos.
Bernie Ecclestone has warned that, without substantial upgrades to the ageing Brazilian grand prix venue, he might not extend the city's race contract.
But the German-language Speed Week reports that the demolition equipment will soon arrive at Interlagos to raze the old buildings, with new ones to be built at an estimated cost of EUR 60 million.
"The future mayor, Fernando Haddad, is confident that (Ecclestone's) conditions will be fulfilled for an early renewal of the Brazilian grand prix contract," read the report.
Haddad is quoted as saying: "I will do everything so that the grand prix stays in our city.
"In the coming weeks we want to sign the new contract until 2022."
Drunk, sacked HRT mechanics brawl at factory
(GMM) A brawl broke out at ailing F1 team HRT's Madrid headquarters after staff returned from Sao Paulo, El Mundo newspaper reports.
The report said the fight involved drunk mechanics who had gone straight from the airport to the team's factory to collect compensation for their redundancies.
"The atmosphere heated up and police had to be called to intervene," said the report.
A member of the failing team's management confirmed: "They began to threaten, push, hit; and because there was a violent situation we did call the police."
Red Bull to pay Vettel EUR 3m title bonus
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel will scoop an extra EUR 3 million in bonus money for winning the 2012 title, Germany's Bild newspaper reports.
The news follows reports each member of Red Bull Racing's 657-strong workforce will be paid a EUR 12,000 world championship bonus.
That alone will cost the energy drink-owned team over 8 million.
Vettel told Bild: "If you do a good job, you get a bonus. Everyone is working for the same goal, whether you're a mechanic or the postman."
Pirelli wants early decision over 2014 contract
(GMM) Pirelli is pushing for an early decision as to whether it will remain F1's official tire supplier beyond 2013.
The Italian marque's initial three-year tenure finishes at the end of next season.
"The deadline is June next year," motor sport director Paul Hembery is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace, "but we want to know the decision as soon as possible.
"If we need to find a different job for 300, 400 people, we need to know this in advance."
2015 could be last Malaysian GP - boss
(GMM) Razlan Razali, the boss of the Malaysian grand prix, has admitted that 2015 could be the Sepang circuit's last formula one race.
He told Isportconnect it is "too early to even think" about whether the existing contract will be extended.
"I think for the event to be successful and to even consider the event going beyond 2015, and paying lots of money to formula one, FOM must help the circuit to try and allow us to do as much as possible to get spectators to come to the circuit," said Razali.
He said another issue is the race's late start time.
"Put it this way," said Razali, "in the event that we decide to go beyond 2015, there are various key points that we insist upon changing before we even talk about (it), including the starting time."
Senna 'in race with Bottas' for Williams seat
(GMM) Bruno Senna has admitted he has a "plan B" in the event Williams decides to replace him for 2013 with Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas.
Agencia Estado quotes the Brazilian as admitting he and Bottas, the team's Toto Wolff-linked 2012 reserve driver, "are in the same battle" for a single race seat for next season.
"As soon as we saw that the battle was strong, we saw that we needed a plan B, because you can't wait until the end (of the year) to see whether or not you are somewhere," said Senna.
"Ideally, I'd like to continue at Williams, because I believe that continuity is important. But if I am not there, I'll need to be somewhere else."
Some media reports claim Bottas, 23, will surely be Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado's teammate in 2013.
Senna responded: "We are in the race with Bottas, but at the same time, I am negotiating with other places to ensure I have a spot next year."
The Agencia Estado news agency also quoted Senna as saying his mother Viviane, the sister of the late and great Ayrton Senna, had ruled out a switch to the "dangerous" oval-based IndyCar series.
Ecclestone Optimistic NBC Deal Will Increase U.S. Interest In Sport
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has lined up the series' "biggest TV partner to date in NBC, encouraged team sponsors to use drivers to promote the brand Stateside and will turn to its deep-pocketed celebrity fan base to rev up interest in the sport."
Ecclestone “sees NBC doing more for the sport than even a high-profile film playing at the megaplex."
Success in the U.S. would “pump considerable coin into F1's coffers and provide its sponsors with significant exposure to new fans with disposable income.”
However, Ecclestone is “clear that the circuit is doing just fine without a rabid U.S. fan base.” NBC has plans for a "marketing blitz" as the '13 F1 season begins in March. Variety
NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller said that the company “wants to treat the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, which will air on its broadcast network next year, with the same ‘big event’ approach it uses for the Kentucky Derby.”
SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Tripp Mickle reported Miller at the conclusion of this year's U.S. Grand Prix was “so impressed with the event he already had decided to increase the programming window for the U.S. Grand Prix to four hours so that NBC could offer an hour of pre-race, two hours of race and an hour of post-race coverage.”
Miller also met with Ecclestone about “getting more access for celebrities at the event because NBC wants to cover the lifestyle aspect of the sport the same way it does at the Derby.”
Miller said that the net will “rely on the world feed that F1 provides for most of the races but will use its own broadcast team of Leigh Diffey on play-by-play and David Hobbs and Steve Matchett as race analysts.” SportsBusiness Journal
Red Bull denies report of 2016 deal for Vettel
(GMM) Red Bull has denied reports it has signed up Sebastian Vettel for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
The 2012 world champions have only just dealt with speculation they could soon lose the three-time consecutive title winner and German to Ferrari.
But the latest reports, in the pages of the Osterreich tabloid and citing Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz, say Vettel has been convinced to extend his current deal with a huge pay rise.
The report said Vettel's current retainer of EUR 11 million per season will increase to a whopping 28 million, adding that the contracts of chiefs Christian Horner and Adrian Newey have also been extended.
"Total nonsense!" Dr Helmut Marko told Germany's Sport Bild on Wednesday.
"I don't even know the journalists who wrote it, or the news portal. Vettel's contract is to 2014, full stop."
Senna not angry about Bottas news
(GMM) Bruno Senna on Wednesday insisted he is not angry about Williams overlooking him for a race seat in 2013.
Earlier, the famous British announced that it will promote 2012 reserve and 'Friday' driver Valtteri Bottas to race alongside Pastor Maldonado next season.
Just before the announcement was made, Senna was quoted in the media as saying he was working on a 'plan B' in the event Williams opted for Bottas.
And speaking after Wednesday's official news, he said: "Since the beginning of my program with Williams I accepted that I had to share the car with Valtteri Bottas in 15 Fridays as a part of his preparation for a likely debut in 2013.
"I would like to thank the whole team and particularly Frank for giving me the chance of completing my first full season in F1," he said on his official website.
The website report concluded: "Bruno will confirm his F1 plans soon."