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DATE News (chronologically)
07/17/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday (Bernie indicted) UPDATE Updates shown in red below

07/17/13
  • Sergey Sirotkin
    'Stupid' to turn down F1 due to young age - Sirotkin
  • 'Not a cent' in Sauber's pockets yet - report
  • Rookie disappointed Alonso sitting out Silverstone
  • Senna hints next move could be to America
  • Caterham focusing on 2014 season - van der Garde
  • Mercedes will receive Pirelli test data New
  • Ecclestone Indicted New
  • Young Driver Test Day 1 lineup New
  • Webber no longer taking part in test New

'Stupid' to turn down F1 due to young age - Sirotkin
(GMM)  Sergey Sirotkin, Sauber's next race driver, insists he must jump at the chance to enter formula one next year, despite his young age.

Not yet 18, news that struggling Swiss team Sauber's new Russian partners will result in Sirotkin being groomed for a 2014 seat has been met with skepticism in the motor racing world.

That's because, if he debuts in March next year, he will smash Jaime Alguersuari's current record as the youngest ever grand prix rookie.

"Nobody is arguing that it (his grand prix debut) is not coming early," he told Russia's Championat, "but it's not a chance you get every day.

"Very many would agree that when the opportunity comes, you are stupid not to use it.

"I do not deny that I would be better prepared by spending another season in the (Renault) World Series, but I have this chance and it should be used because it may be my last," added Sirotkin.

His manager, Nikolay Vetrov, admitted the task to prepare Sirotkin will be "very difficult", but it will begin almost immediately.

"The plan will likely begin with testing in August," he said.

"Of course it's impossible to test with the new car, but you can with an old one.  So we want to do a lot of tests."

Asked if he means Sirotkin will test privately in a 2011-spec Sauber, Vetrov confirmed: "Yes, tests with the car that is allowed by the rules of formula one."

It has also been reported that the teenager could appear on some Friday mornings for Sauber this season, to which Vetrov admitted: "I can't say anything about that, but we have set the task to carry out a lot of testing.

"Maybe one of them will be practicing on Friday, but I just can't speak of this yet."

Vetrov said there was simply no time to arrange for Sirotkin to test at Silverstone this week.

He also admitted that F1's new Russian group explored the same opportunities with other teams, before settling on the Sauber deal.

"I admit that I did have contact with several teams in formula one," said Vetrov.

"But knowing this team and the legendary Peter Sauber, we immediately found a positive way in our dealings, and common ground on almost all of the issues."

'Not a cent' in Sauber's pockets yet - report
(GMM)  The extent of Sauber's Russian rescue deal, and the emergence of future team driver Sergey Sirotkin, caught the world of formula one by surprise.

Russian F1 commentator Alexei Popov is quoted by Basler Zeitung newspaper: "I had to read the (press release) several times before I could believe it."

Some of the sport's skeptics are still not sure.

There are reports of links to the KGB, but in truth very little is known about the entities listed in the Sauber release.

The likely debut of a 17-year-old Russian driver next year is also highly unusual.

"First of all I want to wish Sergey (Sirotkin) and his associates good luck," said Oksana Kosachenko, the former manager of ex-F1 driver Vitaly Petrov.

"But so far, he is not a formula one driver.  This is about certain arrangements which, undoubtedly, will be implemented."

Germany's Bild newspaper, however, claims that "not a cent" has yet flowed from Russia to Hinwil.

But a team boss who has worked with Sirotkin and his Russian partners before, Andreas Jenzer, told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that his dealings were all positive.

"When I first came into contact with his Russian supporters in 2008, I also had a little bit of concern initially.

"But I've never had a bad experience in all of the years," Jenzer said.

It seems that much will depend on whether Sirotkin makes his race debut next year, based on a series of track tests that could include appearances on Friday mornings in 2013.

But German broadcaster Christian Danner warned: "Unfortunately he is light years from the levels of a current formula one driver."

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko knows more about the pecking order in Sirotkin's current race series, Formula Renault 3.5.

"Sergey is currently in the midfield, and he has struck me as not bad.  Better than (2013 Sauber driver Esteban) Gutierrez.

"But he will have to show what he can do under pressure."

A major hurdle for Sirotkin will be getting his mandatory FIA super license, as Marko insisted: "You can't just get your sponsors to buy it for you!"

Some suspect the Russian deal was one done out of desperation by the financially-dying Sauber.

A Swiss supplier to the struggling F1 team told Aargauer Zeitung newspaper that his company has not been paid a cent by Sauber since December of last year.

A Swiss media source told us: "Unfortunately, Sauber has to play the game (with the Russians), but it's better than shutting up shop."

Speed Week also thinks the Russian deal is a good one, because it's "only a matter of time before normal sponsorships flow from Russia, with Gazprom in pole position".

Bernie Ecclestone, meanwhile, hailed the Sauber deal, and also Tuesday's news that the backmarker Marussia has inked a long-term engine deal with Ferrari.

"I'm glad that Sauber and Marussia are continuing," the F1 chief executive told Blick newspaper.

"But how serious the situation really was with these teams, I don't know."

Ecclestone added that Russian president Vladimir Putin is supportive of the Sauber deal.

"I was with him in Moscow three times," said the 82-year-old.  "He is very enthusiastic and helpful, which will benefit the whole of F1."

Rookie disappointed Alonso sitting out Silverstone
(GMM)  Rising Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr has expressed disappointment he will not share a F1 circuit with his hero Fernando Alonso this week.

Sainz, the 18-year-old son of the world rally legend and namesake, has been called up to test at Silverstone not only by Toro Rosso, but also the senior Red Bull team.

Ferrari's Alonso, however, has turned down the opportunity to test, because race drivers will be limited to testing only Pirelli's new Hungary-spec tire.

"I'm not testing, because I'm not allowed to test (car developments)!" he is quoted by Italy's La Repubblica.

"Instead, I have important work to do on the simulator."

The Brazilian correspondent for O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, Livio Oricchio, said Alonso has "shown who is boss" at the Maranello based team.

Indeed, Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa will be in action this week, as will championship leader Sebastian Vettel, Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen and others.

McLaren, on the other hand, will not field race drivers Jenson Button or Sergio Perez.

Nonetheless, Sainz Jr is disappointed Alonso will not be at the British grand prix venue.

"Yeah, I would have loved that," he told EFE news agency.  "So instead of being 110 per cent happy, now it's just 100," he joked.

Sainz Jr played down suggestions his tests for both of Red Bull's F1 teams is a clear sign he will be on the grid next year.

Indeed, it is thought that if Red Bull calls up one of Toro Rosso's current race drivers to replace Mark Webber, the other will stay put at Faenza next year and be joined by Antonio Felix da Costa.

Sainz Jr agreed: "Being here (at Silverstone) doesn't guarantee anything.

"I want to make clear that my goal is to do well in GP3, then try to be in the (Renault) World Series.  I think there are still a few years until the time (for F1) comes."

Senna hints next move could be to America
(GMM)  Bruno Senna's next move in the world of motor racing could be to America.

After stints in F1 with HRT, Renault and Williams between 2010 and last year, the nephew of grand prix legend Ayrton Senna switched to Le Mans with Aston Martin for 2013.

But the 29-year-old has now told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper that his options for 2014 are open.

"Continuing with Aston Martin is one of the best options I have," said Senna.

"But I also want to see if I can test in Nascar.  It was already supposed to happen at the beginning of the year.

"I am going to have some meetings to see what is the best way forward.  I also have options for Indy, Stock and Nascar.

"What is not lacking is open doors," he added.

Senna said he has enjoyed sports cars this year, revealing the "atmosphere is much more relaxed and friendly.  In F1 everyone wants to kill everyone else".

But he admitted to having some safety concerns, particularly after his teammate Allan Simonsen crashed and died in the recent Le Mans 24 hours.

"The category is dangerous," said Senna, "but we all know the risks we are taking."

He said Le Mans is particularly dangerous.

"The track is very quick," said Senna, "because of the characteristics, like the run-off.

"Racing there is one of the biggest risks you can take."

Caterham focusing on 2014 season - van der Garde
(GMM)  Caterham is already focusing on 2014, current race driver Giedo van der Garde has revealed.

According to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the Dutchman is scheduled to test Pirelli's new Hungary-spec tires at the Silverstone test late this week.

But the 28-year-old rookie revealed: "The team has been focusing on next season."

Van der Garde said the focus at Silverstone, then, will be for the race drivers to try Pirelli's new tires.

"For my teammate Charles Pic and me it is important to see how the tires feel.  Probably they will have harder compounds that we can use for longer."

Caterham has had a difficult 2013 campaign, faltering initially with an overly conservative car and pushing to catch up with only rival Marussia.

"For this season," van der Garde admitted, "there is not much more to gain.

"We should focus on the fight with Marussia, as we are not going to be able to close the gap to the others."

Mercedes will receive Pirelli test data
Mercedes F1 will receive data on Pirelli's findings about its new tires at the young driver test this week, despite being banned from taking part in it for cheating.

"The teams will have a very clear tire test program," said Hembery. "They have to run what we are telling them to run. "Mercedes do have a lot of data from the tire from last year in terms of the way it will affect aero and setup. I think they would have benefited from being able to run. However, we give all the teams the same feedback [after the test]. We look at the same data, so they have all the same information."

Ecclestone receives bribery indictment
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has been formally charged by German prosecutors for bribery, it emerged on Wednesday.

It has been known since May that the Munich prosecutors decided to indict the F1 chief executive for paying millions to jailed former F1 banker Gerhard Gribkowsky amid the sale of the sport some years ago.

Bloomberg quoted a court spokesman as confirming that although the charges were filed in May, they were only served on Wednesday after being translated into English.

He said more details will be released in a court statement.

Briton Ecclestone, 82, has consistently denied wrongdoing.

He said by telephone on Wednesday: "The lawyers have accepted an indictment.

"It means they have to reply to the indictment which they are strenuously doing," Ecclestone is quoted by the Associated Press.

Ecclestone's German lawyer, and F1 owner CVC, did not comment.

The development comes as Ecclestone prepares to fight charges in the High Court on Wednesday from Constantin Medien, another former part owner of Formula One, which claims that Ecclestone and Gribkowsky conspired to undervalue the sport when it was sold to CVC for $1.7bn.

Ecclestone's future as the sport's chief executive is now likely to come under renewed scrutiny, with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo saying last December that he expected the 82 year-old to step down if formally charged.

"If Bernie is accused under process [formally charged with an offence] I think he will be the first to step back in the interests of Formula One," Montezemolo said. "This could be bad for F1."

Young Driver Test Day 1 lineup
The Young Driver Test at Silverstone gets underway on Wednesday, with all teams bar the banned Mercedes in attendance. Among the names in action are Paul di Resta, Max Chilton and Formula Renault 3.5 Champion Robin Frijns.

The Wednesday line-up is as follows:

Red Bull Racing
Antonio Felix da Costa

Scuderia Ferrari
Davide Rigon

McLaren
Kevin Magnussen

Lotus F1 Team
Nicolas Prost

Sauber F1 Team
Robin Frijns

Sahara Force India
Morning: James Calado
Afternoon: Paul di Resta

Williams F1 Team
Daniel Juncadella

Scuderia Toro Rosso
Wednesday: Johnny Cecotto Jr.

Caterham F1 Team
Wednesday: Alexander Rossi

Marussia F1 Team
Morning: Tio Ellinas
Afternoon: Max Chilton

* To be confirmed in morning

Running time:
9am – 5pm (local time, GMT +1)

Webber no longer taking part in test
Mark Webber will no longer take part in this week's Silverstone test. The move comes after Red Bull was informed by the FIA that race drivers can only complete one day at the wheel, with Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel now filling its allocation.

Formula Renault 3.5 driver Ant¢nio Félix da Costa will remain in the RB9 throughout Wednesday, before ending his program on Thursday morning. Ricciardo will then get his outing on Thursday afternoon, directly after a morning in the Toro Rosso.

Carlos Sainz Jr., who occupies ninth in the GP3 standings, and Sebastian Vettel will share the cockpit on Friday, running in the morning and afternoon respectively.

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