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DATE News (chronologically)
09/24/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday (Update)  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

09/24/13
  • FIA will brief drivers how not to be idiots and almost get yourself killed
    Alonso's bid to buy cycling team collapses
  • Vettel booing 'explainable' - Marko
  • Van der Garde not excluded for 2014 stay - Fernandes
  • FIA to brief drivers after Webber-Alonso mischief
  • Ecclestone 'working' to help Massa stay in F1
  • Ferrari set to re-open its windtunnel New
  • Webber denies ignoring Singapore Marshals New
  • The Max and Bernie show.....again New
  • Alonso not giving up on cycling team plans New

Alonso's bid to buy cycling team collapses
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso's bid to take over a top professional cycling team has collapsed.

Early this month, the Ferrari driver announced advanced negotiations to buy the world tour license of the struggling Spanish team Euskaltel-Euskadi.

But late on Monday, Alonso - a keen amateur cyclist - confirmed that the talks have broken down.

"We've tried it until the end but it's just been impossible to have a cycling team in 2014," he confirmed in a photo statement posted on Twitter.

However, the double world champion said he remains committed to setting up a cycling team, "if need be from scratch", for 2015.

"My passion for this sport, my will to cooperate and do my bit remains intact, so this is only the beginning of the future," Alonso added.

Vettel booing 'explainable' - Marko
(GMM)  Dr Helmut Marko thinks Mark Webber's fans were also booing Sebastian Vettel on the podium in Singapore.

As the reigning triple world champion's dominance continues, so too has the apparent disapproval of formula one fans.

It has raised interesting questions.  Vettel thinks the ardent Ferrari fans are simply "emotional" that Fernando Alonso is being beaten.

Others think the German's dominance but also his personality are starting to bite hard.

"The booing is increasingly annoying," Red Bull's Marko told the German newspaper Bild, "but explainable."

"In Singapore, Alonso and Webber have many fans who do not like Seb," he insisted.

Webber's fans feel betrayed by Vettel's actions in Malaysia, which became known as the 'multi 21' affair.

"Forget the track stuff," Webber told the Guardian newspaper this week.

"We've had some private discussions and we weren't super-happy with how they went and how we felt about each other.  It's tested the relationship to the maximum," he revealed.

But according to some, the aversion to Vettel's personality is not just limited to Australians and the 'tifosi'.

Indeed, Marko was asked about Vettel's controversial statement after the Singapore grand prix, whilst considering his and Red Bull's domination of F1.

"Whilst there's a lot of people hanging their balls in the pool very early on Fridays, we're still here working very hard and pushing very hard," Vettel had said.

But Marko insisted: "I find what he said great and pithy and anyway it's true.

"Seb wants to keep the workload just as high in the team as it has been.  That's why we are bringing in Daniel Ricciardo, a young, hungry driver who will continue to push.  Not Kimi Raikkonen," he added.

Marko has yet another theory.

"Sebastian is not as transparent as a Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton," he said, "who tweet their thoughts all around the world.

"Sebastian sacredly protects his private life wherever it is possible," added Marko.

Van der Garde not excluded for 2014 stay - Fernandes
(GMM)  Giedo van der Garde has not been ruled out of the running to stay at Caterham beyond 2013.

That is the claim of team 'supremo' Tony Fernandes, who is keen to bring Heikki Kovalainen back into a race seat next season.

"I do not want to start another season with two 'pay drivers'," the Malaysian entrepreneur told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

"Kovalainen has a good chance of getting one of the two seats," Fernandes revealed.

Currently, Caterham's drivers are van der Garde, who has struggled at times in 2013, and Frenchman Charles Pic, whose 2014 seat was considered safe due to his strong backing and existing contract.

But Fernandes said van der Garde is also in the running.

"He's come back well after a difficult start.  Canada was the low point, when I was thinking I had made a big mistake.

"But he's had a good recovery; the two times he got through to Q2 were the highlights.  And with his sixteenth place in Singapore he performed optimally again.

"We'll have to see how the situation evolves," added Fernandes.

FIA to brief drivers after Webber-Alonso mischief
(GMM)  The FIA is set to clamp down on the sort of shenanigans seen on the slowing-down lap after Sunday's Singapore grand prix.

Fernando Alonso was reprimanded, and Mark Webber pushed ten places down the Korea grid, after the stricken Australian hitched a ride back to the pits on the sidepod of Alonso's Ferrari.

It triggered great memories of 1991, when legend Ayrton Senna rode on the Williams sidepod of rival Nigel Mansell at Silverstone.

However, publishing video footage of the moment Webber ran across the track to climb onto the Ferrari, after Alonso stopped on the racing line after a blind corner in front of following cars, Blick correspondent said the pair had been clearly "reckless".

Referring to Webber's harsh penalty, Swiss steward Paul Gutjahr insisted: "We could not do otherwise."

Another Singapore steward, former F1 driver Derek Warwick, agreed: "It is not health and safety gone mad.

"I hope we're not seen as killjoys.  I want formula one to be entertaining.  I want it to be a spectacle," he told the Telegraph.

"(But) a driver could easily have been hurt."

According to the Spanish sports newspaper AS, the FIA could now tighten the rules to make clearer what is expected of the drivers.

It is expected the drivers will be briefed in detail ahead of next weekend's Korean grand prix.

"We have become a bit sterile in many ways in formula one," Warwick continued.  "But we cannot put drivers at risk.

"If it had been done in a safer manner then it might have been viewed differently, but this was potentially very dangerous."

Ecclestone 'working' to help Massa stay in F1
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he is working hard to ensure the last Brazilian driver does not drop out of F1.

Currently, Felipe Massa is the only Brazilian on the grid, but he has lost his Ferrari seat.

Manager Nicolas Todt is working hard to tap into the Brazilian sponsor market to ensure Massa is in contention for the rides at Lotus, Williams, Force India and Sauber.

It is rumored the Brazilian broadcaster Globo could also play a vital role.

Brazil and South America are important markets for F1, and so the sport's chief executive Ecclestone told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper: "I am trying to help; it's not easy, but we're working on it."

The 82-year-old Briton admitted Massa's career could depend on his ability to take an attractive sponsorship package to his next F1 team.

"If Felipe gets some sponsors, everything will change and Brazil should have a driver on the grid in 2014," Ecclestone said.

"A strong economy like the one in Brazil is in a good position to invest in a driver," he added.

Also in the running to tap into that support is the GP2 frontrunner Felipe Nasr, but Toro Rosso recently quelled speculation he might replace the Red Bull-bound Daniel Ricciardo.

"It will be difficult to sign as a race driver in 2014," Nasr, who is managed by Kimi Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson, said in Singapore.

"So I see it (the opportunity) more as third driver, driving the car in practice on Fridays and some of the private testing," he added.

Ferrari set to re-open its windtunnel
Ferrari's windtunnel will be ready to re-open at the end of October, a move the team believes will wipe out a significant part of its disadvantage to Red Bull.

The windtunnel was shut down for a comprehensive upgrade after Ferrari discovered correlation problems, meaning it has been using Toyota's ex-Formula 1 facility in Cologne in the interim.

While the tunnel is coming online too late to have any influence on Ferrari's 2013 car and work on next year's machine is already well-advanced, team principal Stefano Domenicali believes it will remove a major weakness relative to Red Bull.

"Yes," Domenicali said when asked by AUTOSPORT if this will wipe out part of its disadvantage to Red Bull.

"It is like playing basketball with one hand behind your back. You can do that for training, but when you have to play it's better to use two hands.

"We should be back with two hands [when the windtunnel is back in use].

"It is crucial for us. We have been suffering for two years, because we had problems with correlation [before the tunnel was closed].

"So we are looking forward to open it up again because it will be a massive tool to use."

While not having its own on-site windtunnel in operation over the past 18 months has hindered Ferrari's progress, deputy chief designer Simone Resta believes the decision to shut it down for upgrading was vital.

"Under Stefano Domenicali's direction, the team has invested a lot in upgrades of the tunnel and operation," he said.

"In our world, everything moves so quickly without any breaks and you need to take a long time to make a major upgrade.

"If not, you are just doing incremental upgrades.

"Toyota's is a good facility and is being used not only by us but also other teams.

"This has given us the opportunity to be ready at the end of October with our facility, which will be much better than before." Yahoo Eurosport UK

Webber denies ignoring Singapore Marshals
Red Bull driver Mark Webber has denied that he was told to not walk on the track by race marshals during last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

The Australian retired on the last lap and was stranded at Turn Seven but went on to the track to accept a lift back to the pits from Fernando Alonso.

Governing body the FIA said marshals had told Webber not to go on the track.

But he tweeted on Tuesday:  "There was no interaction at all with any track officials after we put the fire out."

Webber retired after his car ran out of water and the engine caught fire. He ran onto the track to flag down drivers as they completed their slowing-down laps after the race had ended.

Alonso stopped and several drivers had to weave to avoid his Ferrari as Webber climbed on the sidepod.

Both drivers were reprimanded and because it is Webber's third of the year, it triggered an automatic 10-place grid penalty that will be imposed at the Korean Grand Prix.

Webber added: "To receive reprimands for our actions after the race is comical to say the least. Great moment, and fans loved it."

Britain's Jenson Button also felt the penalty was harsh. He tweeted:  "Disappointed to see the penalties for Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, acts of sportsmanship should not really be punished. (They) could have stopped in a slightly safer place but still think it's a bit harsh."

However, former F1 driver and British Racing Drivers' Club president Derek Warwick, who was one of the race stewards in Singapore, told the Daily Telegraph: "It is not health and safety gone mad.

"A driver could easily have been hurt. I hope we're not seen as killjoys.

"We have become a bit sterile in many ways in Formula 1. But we cannot put drivers at risk. If it had been done in a safer manner then it might have been viewed differently. You can't have cars parked in the middle of a corner."

Webber also posted a picture on Twitter  of Warwick hitching a ride on the back of Austrian Gerhard Berger's Ferrari at the 1988 Japanese Grand Prix.

He wrote: "Looks like even one of the Singapore stewards has done it...#C'estlavie."  BBC Sport

The Max and Bernie show.....again
The postponement of any sort of decision vis-a-vis the likelihood of Bernie Ecclestone facing trial in Germany may be yesterday's news, but over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend that particular point of interest was eclipsed by a story far older – the revival of the Max and Bernie show.

With any trial delayed until next year at the earliest, Ecclestone's involvement in the payment of Gerhard Gribkowsky – did he bribe, or was he blackmailed? – is still being examined by legal teams in London and Munich, with the German prosecutors and the F1 supremo's lawyers sending flurries of paperwork back and forth. For every argument there is a counter-argument, and for every submission a counter-submission.

But former FIA president Max Mosley – who was in charge of the Federation during the sale of the stake currently of interest in Germany – has taken to the media to defend the man who was both his ally and adversary for so many years. According to Mosley, Ecclestone had no need to use bribery (or any other form of influence) to ensure that the F1 stake went to a company willing to keep the billionaire at the helm.

Since 1995, the FIA – through the World Motor Sport Council – has had the right of veto over any change of ownership of the sport. The commercial rights can be rescinded by the FIA in the event of an unpermitted change, and it is for that reason that Mosley dismissed the notion that Ecclestone had bribed Gribkowsky. He had no need to do so, safe in the knowledge that his job was secure thanks to his relationships with the decision-makers on the WMSC.

“The decision would have been for the WMSC where, as everyone knows, Bernie has many friends and supporters, so he would have had strong backing quite apart from anything I might have thought. He would have been very confident he could not be removed,” Mosley told The Daily Telegraph.

Of course, while Bernie's role as F1's biggest kahuna would have been safe irrespective of the identity of the purchaser, that doesn't mean that the 82-year-old is entirely out of the woods. If the German prosecutors can find another reason why CVC Capital Partners might have been given preferred-buyer status in the sale, then Ecclestone will face trial on charges of bribery.

What Mosley hasn't done is provide an alternative explanation for the transfer of funds from Ecclestone to Gribkowsky. But given that we appear to be looking at a return to the glory days of the Max and Bernie show, when deals were made and battles fought and won using headlines in the world's newspapers in lieu of memos and emails, it won't be long before a new justification emerges. crash.net

Alonso not giving up on cycling team plans
Fernando Alonso has confirmed he has not abandoned plans to set up his own international cycling team, even if his bid to purchase the company in charge of Euskaltel-Euskadi has floundered.

“We've tried it until the end but it's just been impossible to have a cycling team in 2014,” said the Ferrari driver, according to an official statement posted on cyclingnews.com. “My passion for this sport, my will to cooperate and to do my bit remains intact, so this is only the beginning of the future.

“From tomorrow morning we are going to work on building, if needs be from scratch, a team we can be proud of. The best cycling team we can form, respecting this sport with humility. As you may have observed I'm quite tenacious, and above all, I love and value this sport a lot.

“It possesses and transmits, as I said many times, values that I share: a set of values that I would like to help promote.

“Cycling and it's fans deserve the best and now we have time on our side, time in which we'll be very attentive to any circumstance that we can learn from and, above all, that can make us better for next year.

“It wasn't to be, but it will be! This adventure has only just begun.

“Let's look for to 2015!”

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