Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • Female lawyer to help Ecclestone run F1
  • Dennis hits back at Horner's stance on Fallows
  • F1 set for cost-cutting summit on 1 May
  • Rivals expect another Mercedes win in China

Female lawyer to help Ecclestone run F1
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone will lean heavily on the help of a 44-year-old woman when his corruption trial begins next week in Germany.

The F1 chief executive has already admitted he will need extra help when he is tied up in court for two days of every week in a bid to stay out of jail.

Britain's Daily Mail newspaper revealed that the person to whom the 83-year-old Briton's load will fall is Australian Sacha Woodward-Hill, already F1's chief legal officer.

"She has been involved in every major deal of recent years and holds 17 directorships in formula one-connected businesses," said correspondent Jonathan McEvoy.

An insider confirmed: "He (Ecclestone) will rely on her more than ever while the court stuff is going on. She'll be Bernie's rock."

Ecclestone, whose trial begins next Thursday, is not in China this weekend.

Dennis hits back at Horner's stance on Fallows
(GMM) Ron Dennis is keeping the pressure on Red Bull, after an employee reneged on a deal to switch teams.

On Saturday, the McLaren supremo vowed to take F1's reigning world champions all the way to the High Court, after Dan Fallows decided at the last minute to return to Red Bull rather than start work at Woking.

"He'd got no lawful right to change his mind in that way," Dennis told us from Shanghai.

Dennis said Fallows did not answer phone calls, texts or emails, but when asked about the legal battle on Saturday, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hit back: "Perhaps Ron would have been better giving me a call."

Dennis has now described Horner's attitude as "a bit rich".

"We formally emailed Christian Horner more than two weeks ago, asking him about Dan Fallows' whereabouts, so it's a bit rich for him to say 'Why didn't Ron call me?' now," said the 66-year-old.

"The point is that Fallows has a legally binding contract with McLaren yet Red Bull chose to ignore that and instead convince him to return to Red Bull," Dennis told us on Sunday before the Chinese grand prix.

F1 set for cost-cutting summit on 1 May
(GMM) F1 will move to put cost-cutting efforts back on the agenda during a May 1 meeting.

Earlier, it was reported FIA president Jean Todt was considering new measures including reviving 'active suspension', after the new top team-dominated Strategy Group blocked his move to impose budget caps in 2015.

A meeting for 1 May has now been called.

"Time is running out," Monisha Kaltenborn, whose Sauber team ran into high-profile financial strife last year, is quoted by the German news agency DPA.

"Actually, the time for this decision is long gone, but it's never too late," the Swiss team's boss added.

F1's smaller teams are angry that their more powerful rivals are thwarting moves to reduce spiraling costs, and reportedly threatening to challenge the Strategy Group against European competition laws.

"It's not about small or big teams," insisted Force India chief Bob Fernley, "it's about the future of formula one."

World champion team Red Bull's Christian Horner, however, insists the biggest teams are not opposed to reducing costs.

"We need to identify the cost drivers and equalize the playing field for everyone," he said.

Horner argues, however, that a budget cap was not the right solution.

"How would a budget limit of $200 million help Sauber? They wouldn't save a single dollar," he claimed.

A key meeting, to be presided over by Todt and Bernie Ecclestone, will now take place on May 1, between the Chinese and Spanish grand prix.

"Hopefully we will find some solutions, and it's not another of those meetings where we do not make a lot of progress," Kaltenborn concluded.

Rivals expect another Mercedes win in China
(GMM) Dominant Mercedes' main rivals are not confident the silver-clad team can be beaten in China.

Although buoyed by obvious progress since Bahrain, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso almost wrote off a bid for victory after qualifying fifth on Saturday.

"Nothing is impossible, because this is sport," he told the Spanish press.

"But it would be a strange thing tomorrow if we went out and won the race," he added. "The first thing I would do is rub my eyes."

Even Red Bull, whose two drivers managed to split the Mercedes cars in Saturday's Chinese rain, is not very hopeful.

Asked if his Red Bull can compete with the powerful Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel answered: "Well, I think if we put two chicanes in all the straights, then yes."

More than a second slower than pole-sitter teammate Lewis Hamilton on Saturday, Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg blamed his fourth place on his faulty dashboard display.

"I was half a second quicker going into the last corner," said the German, "but my time delta on my steering wheel display said that I was two tenths slower. So I just took a big risk and spun."

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff, however, said Hamilton's six-tenths advantage over second place showed that the 2008 world champion "was in a league of his own" on Saturday.

Indeed, Hamilton drove past F1 legends Jim Clark and Alain Prost's career pole tallies in China, and on Sunday the Briton could complete a rare hat-trick of race wins.

"What is most striking is the gap between him and the others," former driver Patrick Tambay told France's RMC.

"It shows that it is probably the man, the driver, that is making the difference," he added.

Leave a Reply