Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday Part 2

  • Symonds has 'sympathy' for Lotus' troubles
  • Brawn 'fishing', not preparing for McLaren top job
  • Schumacher 'blinked' as doctors move to end coma
  • Marussia's day begins just as Red Bull's ends
  • Ecclestone rules out paying to avoid German jail

Symonds has 'sympathy' for Lotus' troubles
(GMM) Pat Symonds, a former long-time personality at the Enstone team, says he has "sympathy" for struggling Lotus.

The Briton, now in charge of technical matters at Williams after serving his 'crash-gate' ban, dismissed suggestions Lotus might have made a wise move in sitting out the Jerez test and learning from their rivals' tribulations.

"No, absolutely not," said Symonds, who worked at Enstone throughout its Toleman, Benetton and works Renault guises from the early 80s to late last decade.

"I don't think Lotus have done it out of choice," he told Sky Sports HD at Jerez.

"I think the whole pitlane has some sympathy for their situation," said Symonds, undoubtedly referring to speculation Lotus' financial troubles of 2013 are now affecting preparations for the new season.

Symonds also said he thinks Lotus' new novel 'twin-pronged' nose solution for its unlaunched E22 is legal.

"Lotus have been hemorrhaging employees from all departments over the last few months, so I think all of the teams had an idea of where they were going," he added.

Also speaking at Jerez, Ferrari refugee Felipe Massa hinted he opted to go to Williams for 2014 because his other main option, Lotus, was "losing people".

"Lotus … are losing many engineers, and that shows that the situation is not so easy," the Brazilian, who made his debut in the Mercedes-powered FW36 on Thursday, told F1's official website.

"Williams is investing — the other team is not investing."

Brawn 'fishing', not preparing for McLaren top job
(GMM) Ross Brawn on Thursday denied speculation he is set to join McLaren as its new chief executive.

The great British team announced this week that Eric Boullier is switching from Lotus to be the new 'racing director', but the Frenchman will report to an as-yet unappointed chief executive.

Brawn, having stepped down at Mercedes, has been mentioned as the obvious candidate.

But when asked by Britain's Sky on Thursday about the McLaren speculation, the Briton responded: "I'm focused on my fishing at the moment — no discussions, no comments.

"Come the summer I may take stock and things may change – never say never – but it's not my plan. Any approaches I've had I have replied with a polite rebuff.

"I am very flattered but simply I don't want to get involved or engaged," Brawn insisted.

Schumacher 'blinked' as doctors move to end coma
(GMM) Michael Schumacher has "blinked" and is "responding to simple instructions".

Those are the latest unofficial developments to emerge from the Grenoble hospital, after the F1 legend's manager confirmed reports doctors are attempting to ease Schumacher out of his month-long coma.

France's L'Equipe, having broken the news about the awakening process, now reports on Thursday that the great German has "blinked" his eyes as Dr Emmanuel Gay performed neurological reflex tests.

And Britain's Sky News quoted unnamed sources as saying the former Mercedes and Ferrari driver was now "responding to simple instructions".

Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm, however, told the German news agency DPA that she would not "give information about intermediate steps", having confirmed officially that doctors were trying to wake the 45-year-old.

And Grenoble neurosurgeon Stephan Chabardes, who on Wednesday confirmed the awakening reports before they were officially confirmed, also was not commenting on Thursday's latest developments.

"Please note that I will not comment for reasons of medical confidentiality," he is quoted by the German newsmagazine Focus.

Marussia's day begins just as Red Bull's ends
(GMM) Hours after Marussia's expected debut, the team's 2014 car finally emerged from the Jerez pitlane late on Thursday afternoon.

Max Chilton was at the wheel of the mainly unsponsored, red and black liveried and Ferrari-powered MR03, which featured a tidy nose solution reminiscent of the front of the 2014 Red Bull.

A photo of the rollout can be seen on our Home page

And just as Marussia's test day began on Thursday, world champions Red Bull's ended.

At precisely 3pm in southern Spain, the garage shutters were definitively pulled down, and chiefs Christian Horner and Adrian Newey left the circuit after a miserable three days of running with the troublesome RB10.

In those three days of running, two with Sebastian Vettel and one with Daniel Ricciardo, the car has clocked up a disastrous haul of just 13 laps.

Ecclestone rules out paying to avoid German jail
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday ruled out paying millions to end his legal troubles in Germany and avoid ten years in jail.

Earlier, it was reported the F1 chief executive could take advantage of an unique German law in being able to negotiate a huge settlement and avoid the criminal trial for bribery.

But Ecclestone told the Daily Mail: "There's absolutely no way I'll do that.

"That is not how it works, anyway. We could possibly have come to some sort of arrangement when all this started but we decided not to do that.

"It's not an option now and we wouldn't go with it even if it was," the 83-year-old insisted. "We will go to court and present our case. We have nothing at all to hide."

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