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DATE News (chronologically)
07/18/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Is Bernie indispensible?
    Ecclestone bosses to 'monitor' bribery case
  • Banned Mercedes to receive Silverstone test data
  • Webber's seat the main act in 2014 'silly season'
  • Pirelli boss sentenced for espionage
  • Van der Garde 'busy enough' without Kovalainen rumors
  • Whiting inspects Sochi track
  • Raikkonen drops out of Silverstone test

Ecclestone bosses to 'monitor' bribery case
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone's bosses have admitted they will "monitor developments" in the German corruption affair.

On Wednesday, it emerged that the F1 chief executive has finally been served with bribery charges relating to the 82-year-old's $44 million payment to jailed banker Gerhard Gribkowsky years ago.

The next step is for Ecclestone's lawyers to formally respond to the indictment, before the court decides whether to push the case to trial.

"The board will continue to monitor developments in this situation accordingly," the Formula One Group said in a statement.

It is obvious that the affair could end the diminutive Briton's long reign over the sport, with Osterreich newspaper reporting that Ecclestone could be jailed for up to ten years.

But even the charges threaten Ecclestone's job.

Asked, however, if he is thinking about voluntarily stepping down, he answered: "I don't see why I should do that.

"I will do what I have always done: keep working and do my job," Ecclestone told Bild newspaper.

"I won't be doing anything else because of this."

Typically unmoved even when besieged, Ecclestone said he would have no problem agreeing to appear at trial.

"If I need to be, sure, I'll be there.  Why not?" he insisted.

Ecclestone added that Wednesday's developments had "not really affected" him.

But that doesn't mean there is not pressure.  Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo said late last year that even formal charges should move the F1 supremo to "step back".

And a spokesperson for Mercedes parent Daimler said on Wednesday: "Compliance is of central importance for Daimler."

The spokesperson added that the company will discuss the Ecclestone case with F1's owners, teams and the governing FIA.

For now, F1's owners CVC are supporting Ecclestone, according to a report in City A.M.

A source told Formula Money editor Christian Sylt that CVC "could have asked Bernie to leave any time in the past three years but haven't because we support him".

Banned Mercedes to receive Silverstone test data
(GMM)  Pirelli will share tire data from this week's Silverstone test with Mercedes, even though the Brackley based team is banned from running.

Lotus poked fun at Mercedes' absence as the Silverstone session kicked off on Wednesday, showing a 'WhereIsRoscoe' Twitter hashtag on the livery of its F1 car.

Roscoe is Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton's bulldog, who accompanies the 2008 world champion to European tests and races.

But even though Mercedes is banned as a result of the 'test-gate' scandal, Pirelli has revealed it still must share information about the new Hungary-spec tires with the team.

"Our policy requires that we give all teams the same feedback," motor sport boss Paul Hembery is quoted by Germany's T-Online.

"Everyone gets the same information," he added.

The impact of Mercedes' absence has also been lessened by a clarification from the FIA and Pirelli about what race drivers can test this week at Silverstone.

As a result, Red Bull dropped Mark Webber from its driver lineup at the last minute, and Lotus sidelined Kimi Raikkonen.

Lotus said the clarification had made clear that "race drivers would be unable to test anything other than tires".

Hembery is quoted by Speed Week: "We have a clear program, and the teams have to do what we tell them.

"Mercedes already has a lot of data in terms of the shape of the 2012 tire, and they - like all the teams - will receive an analysis of the test, as is normal."

Webber's seat the main act in 2014 'silly season'
(GMM)  The vacant race seat at Red Bull for 2014 is the headline act in this year's driver 'silly season'.

The world champions are giving Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo a trial at the Silverstone test this week, and the other candidate to replace the Le Mans-bound Mark Webber is Kimi Raikkonen.

Finn Raikkonen said his negotiations about money are not the clincher.

"It is an important aspect, but not everything," he told France's Auto Hebdo.

"Whatever I decide, the money side is quite similar to my current situation anyway," the Lotus driver added.

He admitted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that a major consideration is the radical new V6 rules, where the current pecking order could be shaken up for 2014.

"It is ten times harder than usual to predict who will be good next year," said Raikkonen.

"Luckily I have the same (Renault) engine for both options."

Red Bull is also leaving its options open, having not ruled out its home-grown talents Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

"They have recognized," said Dr Helmut Marko, "that the best self-promotion is stepping on the throttle."

Indeed, Red Bull bought Minardi - and re-christened it Toro Rosso - in order to develop drivers to move up to the main team.

But, so far, Toro Rosso drivers have failed to live up to the Sebastian Vettel model.

Marko doesn't quite agree.

"When Vettel came to Red Bull," he said, "everyone said that it was too early for him.  But I think he grew into the job."

Pirelli boss sentenced for espionage
(GMM)  Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera has been sentenced to jail for twenty months.

The Financial Times reports that a Milan court found him guilty, but suspended his jail sentence, in an industrial espionage case involving Telecom Italia.

Provera, who denies the charges, was also ordered to pay EUR 900,000.

"I will appeal, convinced that the truth will emerge," he said in a statement.

Van der Garde 'busy enough' without Kovalainen rumors
(GMM)  Giedo van der Garde has repeated his denial that Heikki Kovalainen is stalking his race seat at Caterham.

After a mediocre first half-season in F1, the Dutchman recently dismissed rumors former Caterham racer Kovalainen was set to replace him later in 2013.

"I know where they (the rumors) are coming from, but I also know that I have a watertight contract for the rest of this season," said van der Garde.

The rumors, however, did not go away, and so the Dutch driver told De Telegraaf newspaper on Wednesday: "I will finish the season."

Further dismissing the rumors, he added: "I am busy enough with everything that I am doing and learning."

Van der Garde said qualifying 15th at Monaco was a high point of his career.

"I didn't expect to reach the second qualifying segment.  That was great," he said.

But the low point quickly followed, in Canada, where collisions and a penalty earned a harsh 'pay driver' rebuke from Mark Webber.

But van der Garde insisted: "Webber and I already settled everything after the race.  He is respectful to everyone, even the rookies."

Whiting inspects Sochi track
(GMM)  F1 race director Charlie Whiting has this week inspected progress at the site of the inaugural 2014 Russian grand prix.

Organizers of the race confirmed the FIA safety delegate was happy after visiting the site of the circuit in Sochi, where the city will also host the winter Olympics.

"I am impressed with the configuration of the track," Whiting is quoted as saying.

"The scale of the project is also very impressive."

Raikkonen drops out of Silverstone test 
Kimi Raikkonen will miss out on his planned running at this week's Silverstone test, with Lotus holding the belief that the Finn would be "underutilized" amid further clarification from the FIA about the work race drivers can complete.

Development driver Nicolas Prost, who began the outfit's testing program on Wednesday, will now receive an extra day behind the wheel of the E21 on Friday.

"Once details of what race drivers were allowed to do here became apparent, we would have only been able to conduct a very limited program with Kimi," said Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane. "If we were to run him, it would compromise the other development work we want to do with the car here."

Permane added: "By running Nicolas again we’ll be able to build on the work already carried out and hopefully be in the best position to develop the E21 ahead of Budapest, whilst also conducting the necessary tire testing for Pirelli."

Lotus' third driver, Davide Valsecchi, will complete mileage on Thursday.

Kimi Raikkonen will miss out on his planned running at this week's Silverstone test, with Lotus holding the belief that the Finn would be "underutilized" amid further clarification from the FIA about the work race drivers can complete.

Development driver Nicolas Prost, who began the outfit's testing program on Wednesday, will now receive an extra day behind the wheel of the E21 on Friday.

"Once details of what race drivers were allowed to do here became apparent, we would have only been able to conduct a very limited program with Kimi," said Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane. "If we were to run him, it would compromise the other development work we want to do with the car here."

Permane added: "By running Nicolas again we’ll be able to build on the work already carried out and hopefully be in the best position to develop the E21 ahead of Budapest, whilst also conducting the necessary tire testing for Pirelli."

Lotus' third driver, Davide Valsecchi, will complete mileage on Thursday.

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