F1 ‘popularity’ meeting called off (Update)

UPDATE (GMM) F1 chiefs have now cancelled until further notice a scheduled meeting of the newly-formed 'popularity working group'.

Originally scheduled for last Thursday, it was called off when Mercedes' Toto Wolff had to see a doctor after falling ill in the wake of his recent cycling crash.

Also central to the new group – tasked with spicing up the F1 'show' amid apparent dwindling popularity – is Force India's Vijay Mallya, who was summoned to an Indian court for tax evasion.

And Bernie Ecclestone has been busy negotiating his $100 million trial settlement in Munich.

It was thought the group, also involving Marco Mattiacci and the controversial Flavio Briatore, had rescheduled the meeting for Saturday.

But Germany's Auto Motor und Sport claims the group, whose Red Bull boss Christian Horner is already vacationing with former Spice Girl Geri Hallowell in Italy, has now resolved to leave it while F1 is on its 'summer break'.

"Now they want to meet again either in the week before Spa or between Spa and Monza," correspondent Michael Schmidt said.

Schmidt said the urgency of the meeting probably subsided after the Hungarian grand prix.

"One can criticize a lot," he insisted, "but not that the races are boring."

07/31/14 (GMM) A crisis meeting to plot formula one's future has been postponed or cancelled.

The meeting was set to take place in London on Thursday, involving Bernie Ecclestone, Ferrari's Marco Mattiacci, Red Bull's Christian Horner, Force India's Bob Fernley and Mercedes' Toto Wolff.

But Germany's Auto Bild reports that the meeting was called off at the last minute because Austrian Wolff, Mercedes' motor sport chief, called in sick.

Correspondents Bianca Garloff and Ralf Bach claim Wolff had to have follow-up checks on his broken bones in the wake of a bicycle crash last week.

"The meeting would have made little sense without the team boss of the dominant team," they said.

But there could be other issues at play as well. Ecclestone wanted to bring in his controversial friend Flavio Briatore to head the new 'popularity working group', but some members of the paddock were reportedly not so keen.

"Why do we need Flavio?" Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda was quoted on Thursday by the Daily Mail.

"Bernie is the man in charge, and he should stay in charge. We should think together with Bernie as he is the master of what we can improve."

Auto Bild claims the cancelled meeting was rescheduled for Saturday.

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