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DATE News (chronologically)
05/31/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Jean Todt backs Bernie
    Todt backs Ecclestone amid corruption charge
  • FIA asks Pirelli for secret test 'dossier'
  • Lauda accepts Pirelli's tire tweak debut delay
  • Massa, Maldonado to be fit for Canada
  • 2014 McLaren-Mercedes deal 'not pleasant' - Wolff
  • Trulli to sue Caterham's Fernandes
  • Grosjean is 'an idiot' - Ricciardo
  • Pirelli says Mercedes has not tested Canada tweak New

Todt backs Ecclestone amid corruption charge
(GMM)  FIA president Jean Todt has backed Bernie Ecclestone, as German prosecutors prepare to charge the F1 chief executive for corruption.

It has been suggested Ecclestone will be stepped down by the sport's owners CVC if he is charged or convicted.

But FIA president Todt is quoted by DPA news agency: "He has every right to his job and he does it very well.

"He is also employed by CVC, so it is their decision," the Frenchman added.

Todt might be standing firm with Ecclestone due to the turmoil the 82-year-old's departure would create.

Paul Stoddart, the former Minardi owner, told Bloomberg it could take years for Ecclestone's successor to "get up to speed".

"CVC is between a rock and a hard place," he said.  "If Bernie Ecclestone was forced to stand down, the Concorde Agreement would be throw into complete turmoil."

For the moment, Ecclestone's legal troubles in Germany are believed to be holding up CVC's plans to float F1 on the stock market.

"Although the IPO market is better than it was a year ago, the company still has a few issues to sort out," CVC's Donald Mackenzie admitted to PA Sport news agency.

"So it may happen this year, it may be next year, but we're not in a big rush."

FIA asks Pirelli for secret test 'dossier'
(GMM)  The FIA has asked Pirelli to compile a thorough "dossier" ahead of an international tribunal hearing regarding the secret Mercedes test, according to Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

Team boss Ross Brawn is quoted as saying Mercedes could not have benefited from the three-day test in Barcelona just after the Spanish grand prix, because Pirelli only supplied engineers with "codes" of the tires being run.

"So we couldn't get any usable information," he said.

Kleine Zeitung said Ferrari, who along with Red Bull officially filed the FIA protest, used a similar argument when Ferrari recently conducted a Pirelli tire test "with an old car".

Nonetheless, new information about the secret nature of Mercedes' test continue to emerge, such as La Stampa newspaper's claim that Lewis Hamilton tweeted a photo apparently from Florida, when actually he was testing in Spain.

Mercedes' Niki Lauda, however, said Red Bull is simply angry that it didn't snap up the opportunity of a three-day test before Mercedes.

Asked by Osterreich newspaper if he understands Dr Helmut Marko's anger, Lauda answered: "Of course.

"We took the opportunity to test, and I believe Red Bull was quite simply too slow to react.  So I would also be annoyed.

"After the protest, the tribunal will decide whether the sporting regulations or the rules that Pirelli has negotiated with the FIA should stand over this.

"We have acted properly, and now an independent tribunal will decide," added Lauda.

Lauda accepts Pirelli's tire tweak debut delay
(GMM)  Niki Lauda says Mercedes accepts Pirelli's decision to delay changes to the 2013 tires until after they are tested in Canada next Friday.

Teams like Mercedes and Red Bull had pushed hard for the changes, but some teams - notably Lotus, Ferrari and Force India - insisted the tire supplier follow the rules about needing unanimous agreement.

Pirelli says it hopes all teams agree to the new tires once they have tried them in Montreal next Friday.

"It's a decision we accept, of course," Mercedes chairman Lauda told Osterreich newspaper.

"It's so everyone gets the opportunity to test the new tires in practice, and then it is decided if they are used at the next race at Silverstone or not."

While Red Bull and Mercedes wanted Pirelli to make fundamental changes to the new Canada tire, it is believed the final product is simply a tweaked rear tire that features a Kevlar internal belt rather than a steel one.

"We are confident the problems of delamination will be completely solved," a Pirelli source is quoted by Spain's Marca newspaper.

Motor sport director Paul Hembery admitted the change has been a difficult balance.

"You can imagine that some teams are complaining for us to change, and some complaining about the change," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.

"We have to try to change as little as possible, because everyone had the same information before we started the season and so it would be unfair to penalize those teams who have understood how to use the tires," added Hembery.

Meanwhile, a source close to Pirelli has dismissed reports that the secret of using this year's tires is to swap the tires from the intended left side of the car to the right.

"Since 2010, everybody has known that the Pirellis are interchangeable," the source told the Spanish sports daily Marca.

"The construction allows it, contrary to the Bridgestones.

The source said that if there is a benefit, it is for "a couple of laps" at the most.

Massa, Maldonado to be fit for Canada
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has reassured his fans that he will be back in action next weekend in Canada.

Before going to hospital for checks, the Brazilian sat trackside with a neck-collar in the wake of his two high-speed crashes at Monaco's first corner last weekend.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said earlier this week: "Felipe is fine.

"All he has to show for (the crashes) is a bit of muscle pain."

Indeed, on Thursday Massa tweeted a photo of himself training at home with the caption: "Working hard, 100pc confident for the race".

Williams' Pastor Maldonado also crashed heavily during the Monaco grand prix, his clash with Max Chilton bringing out the red flags when it dislodged the soft barriers.

"My body still hurts," he told The Racer's Edge, "but it's not a problem.

"As soon as I knew I was ok I was thinking already of Montreal."

2014 McLaren-Mercedes deal 'not pleasant' - Wolff
(GMM)  Toto Wolff has admitted continuing to supply McLaren with Mercedes engines next year is "not a pleasant situation".

McLaren has already announced its intention to unite for a works collaboration with Honda in 2015, raising fears Mercedes' IP could leak into the Japanese carmaker's turbo V6 design.

"Supplying McLaren for one more year is indeed not a pleasant situation," Mercedes motor sport chief Wolff is quoted by Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

"But I'm confident that McLaren will abide by the rules of the contract and not share any data (with Honda)."

Wolff also played down reports the new V6 rules have dangerously ramped up the prices of formula one engines for the suppliers' customer teams.

"With the longer running life and low consumption, they will be cheaper over time," he insisted.

Indeed, the turbo V6 rules are already making sense for Toro Rosso, having switched from Ferrari to Renault power for 2014.

Renault's V6 engine is reportedly the most expensive of all, but the deal means Toro Rosso can now use the same gearbox as sister team Red Bull next year.

"This synergy with Red Bull is important," said team boss Franz Tost.

Trulli to sue Caterham's Fernandes
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli has announced plans to sue Caterham team owner Tony Fernandes.

At the end of 2011, with a firm contract for 2012, the Italian reportedly agreed to vacate his race seat to make room for the well-funded Russian Vitaly Petrov.

But Trulli, now 38, says Fernandes promised to pay him in full for 2012.

Italy's Autosprint says Trulli is angry with Fernandes for not paying him, since the Malaysian entrepreneur has not only increased Caterham's budget, but also that of his English football club Queens Park Rangers.

"I'm going to sue Fernandes," he is quoted as saying, "because he owes me a lot of money.

"My career in formula one ended because I agreed to give up my place, because I was assured that the team would fulfill its contractual obligations.

"To date, this has not occurred," added Trulli, a veteran of over 250 grands prix.

Grosjean is 'an idiot' - Ricciardo
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo has added to Romain Grosjean's woes by admitting he called the beleaguered Lotus driver "an idiot" in Monaco.

Frenchman Grosjean, last year branded the 'first lap nutcase' by Mark Webber after a spate of incidents culminating in a race ban, ended Ricciardo's Monaco race with a rear-end collision last Sunday.

The crash has cost him ten places on the Montreal grid, and renewed reports his place in F1 might be in doubt.

Australian Ricciardo admits the incident angered him.

"You want to blow off steam," he said, "but by that point I really couldn't be bothered shouting and screaming at Grosjean.

"It was a disappointing end to a deeply unsatisfying weekend and I didn't want to waste the energy yelling 'screw you, what the hell were you thinking?'

"I just said 'you're an idiot', and that was it," said Ricciardo, 23.

When contemplating Ricciardo, many think first of the Perth-born driver's always-present smile, but 1980 world champion Alan Jones recently said the grin belies a killer instinct.

"Every person has two sides," Ricciardo told Russia's f1news.ru.  "I smile most of the time, but when I put on my helmet, no one sees it anymore."

Should Red Bull not renew Mark Webber's contract, and Kimi Raikkonen decides to stay at Lotus, it is believed Ricciardo is first in line for the seat alongside Sebastian Vettel net year.

"To be honest, I find this topic a little boring now," Ricciardo said.  "I've heard it a lot over the years.

"When I first became Red Bull's reserve in 2010, people were saying 'maybe Mark will finish this year and you'll replace him'.

"It's not like me to say nothing, but honestly I don't know what to say," Ricciardo continued.  "I have no idea what his (Webber's) plans are.  And what the team's plans are.

"It doesn't affect me: I have to try to perform, no matter who I'm trying to impress.  Everything else is just talk."

Pirelli says Mercedes has not tested Canada tweak
(GMM)  Pirelli on Friday categorically denied Mercedes has already tried the new tire that other teams will only test for the first time next Friday.

Amid the controversy about Mercedes' exclusive 'secret' tire test at Barcelona after the Spanish grand prix, F1's tire supplier released a comprehensive media statement.

The biggest piece of new information is Pirelli's denial that Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have already run the design tweaks that will be supplied to the rest of the field only next Friday in Canada, ahead of a possible race debut at Silverstone.

"The tires used (by Mercedes) were not from the current championship but belonged to a range of products still being developed in view of an eventual renewal of the supply contract (beyond 2013)," read part of the Pirelli statement.

It reiterated that the tires tested by Mercedes are "not in use in the current season and not destined to be used later during the 2013 season".

Pirelli also said Mercedes' controversial use of its 2013 car was "the subject of discussions between the team and (the) FIA" prior to the Barcelona test.

"Pirelli made no requests and had no way of knowing if rules were being violated," the statement added.

Pirelli also confirmed that the changes to be tested in Canada will not affect "the duration of the tires" and "the number of pitstops", due to the "lack of unanimity on the part of the teams".

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