- F1 seeking twelfth team for 2015
- Van der Garde very confident of 2014 seat
- Force India to announce Hulkenberg's teammate
- Vettel, Alonso to sit out Bahrain test
- German bank to sue embattled Ecclestone for $400m
- Williams best place for Massa – Maldonado
F1 seeking twelfth team for 2015
(GMM) F1 is seeking a twelfth team.
With the Spanish stragglers HRT having pulled out at the end of the 2012 season, the FIA on Thursday launched a "selection process" to find a new team "to participate at a competitive level" in time for 2015 or 2016.
In a media statement, the FIA said expressions of interest will close on 3 January. An accompanying document said the full application fee will be $130,000.
"The overall long-term interests of the championship will determine which candidates are selected," it added.
The FIA said it will consider the applicants' "technical ability and resources", and the ability "to raise and maintain sufficient funding".
"A decision (will be made) on 28 February 2014," the FIA added in its document entitled 'call for expressions of interest'.
"In the event that no applicant is considered suitable by both the FIA and the commercial rights holder, no additional team will be selected," the letter read.
Van der Garde very confident of 2014 seat
(GMM) Giedo van der Garde sounds very confident he will be on the formula one grid next March.
The Dutchman has emerged as a strong player at the tail-end of the 2014 'silly season', with his wealthy backer Marcel Boekhoorn last week insisting things "will work out" for the 28-year-old.
Van der Garde made his F1 debut for Caterham this year, but he has also been linked with Force India, where the Dutch businessman Michiel Mol is a shareholder.
And Dutch television RTL7 now reports that Sauber is also an option.
Asked about the Swiss team, van der Garde answered: "We are working on three teams: them (Sauber), Force India and Caterham.
"I hope we have good news within the next two or three weeks," he added.
Asked about the progress of the negotiations, van der Garde answered: "Good. Very good."
Force India to announce Hulkenberg's teammate
(GMM) Force India looks set to announce the identity of Nico Hulkenberg's teammate for 2014.
The Silverstone based team told its 165,000 followers on Twitter that supremo Vijay Mallya will take part "in a very special media event in London" on Thursday.
The Times' authoritative correspondent Kevin Eason thinks he knows what Force India has in mind.
"(Paul) di Resta expected to hear that his Force India career is over," he said on Twitter. "(Sergio) Perez favorite for his seat."
It is believed 2013 Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde is another candidate.
But the news comes at an awkward time for the flamboyant Mallya, after an Indian court accepted an order to wind up his grounded airline Kingfisher over unpaid debts.
And the very latest development is that the Dutch brewer Heineken has upped its stake in Mallya's drinks empire, United Breweries.
It means Mallya is no longer the biggest shareholder. "It is yet another sign that Mallya's empire is crumbling one company at a time," a report in the Financial Times said.
Another worrying sign was Force India's last-minute cancellation of its participation in the Pirelli test in Bahrain next week.
But a team spokesperson told Brazil's Agencia Estado that the reason for the cancellation is that "time is just too short to get there, unfortunately".
And 2014 team driver Hulkenberg also seemed to contradict claims of financial trouble for Force India.
Explaining why he chose to return to the team after a season with struggling Sauber, he said: "Force India was able to give me the answers and the information I needed and wanted, different to other teams.
"I also really felt that they wanted me back," he told F1's official website, "and that they were pushing for that, so coming back was an easy decision to make."
Vettel, Alonso to sit out Bahrain test
(GMM) World champion Sebastian Vettel, and 2013 runner-up Fernando Alonso, will not be testing tires for Pirelli next week in Bahrain.
"Sebastian is currently on vacation," Red Bull driver Vettel's spokeswoman Britta Roeske told the Welt newspaper.
Four teams – Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Ferrari and Mercedes – are travelling to Bahrain with their 2013 cars to help Pirelli develop next year's tires.
Roeske continued: "Sebastian has a difficult season behind him, and with all the new difficulties – the new technical regulations, for example – the time to the next season is not so great.
"Sebastian will reflect on the past season and prepare for the new one, but that is nothing different than what he has done in previous years.
"He will only reappear in public if there is an official Red Bull appointment, or at the first (official) tests" in late January, she added.
Similarly, Ferrari's Alonso will also not be in Bahrain, with the Italian team confirming that Pedro de la Rosa and Jules Bianchi will do the tire work instead.
And a report by Speed Week said that while Mercedes' Bahrain lineup is unclear, 2014 racers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat will be in action for Toro Rosso.
German bank to sue embattled Ecclestone for $400m
(GMM) Another front has opened up amid Bernie Ecclestone's legal woes, as it emerges the state Munich bank BayernLB plans to sue the embattled F1 chief executive.
The 83-year-old Briton is already the subject of criminal proceedings in Germany, while the German media company Constantin pursues him for over $100 million in London's high court.
The cases all relate to Ecclestone's alleged paying of a bribe to the now-jailed banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, as the sport's commercial rights were sold to CVC some years ago.
BayernLB, having originally held the allegedly undersold shares, is now the latest to file a lawsuit, with the bank confirming to DPA news agency its intention to go to the London high court, probably in January.
The Reuters news agency said BayernLB will seek a staggering $400 million in damages.
DPA quoted a bank spokesperson as saying: "It is true that BayernLB is working at high speed on a lawsuit against Mr. Ecclestone.
"We expected to submit it to the London high court in January."
However, Ecclestone's hopes appear to have been boosted by the judge in the Constantin case, according to the leading F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.
In the Guardian newspaper, he quoted Mr. Justice Newey as saying: "I have to say I find the idea of a bribe being paid to get rid of the banks more plausible than the idea of a bribe being paid to undertake an arrangement under which shares were sold at an undervalue."
Williams best place for Massa – Maldonado
(GMM) Despite his own eagerness to leave the famous British team, Pastor Maldonado thinks moving to Williams is the best step for Felipe Massa.
Venezuelan Maldonado, who is moving his lucrative PDVSA backing to Lotus for 2014, ended his three-year stint at Williams in a bad mood, bemoaning the uncompetitive car and accusing the team of sabotage.
But the 28-year-old, who won the Spanish grand prix from pole last year, thinks Williams is the right place for Massa, who lost his Ferrari seat to Kimi Raikkonen for 2014.
"I spoke with Felipe and I think he made the right decision," Maldonado told Brazil's Totalrace.
"First, just for the change," he said, "as he was not achieving success with Ferrari in the last years.
"It is also true that Williams has gone many years without major success, but I think the team can start to regain its position of the past.
"I'm not saying to win, but to be constantly in the points and performing at the level of Sauber and the other middle teams.
"Felipe is a good driver, and Williams is a good team. I see no reason why they shouldn't do a good season," added Maldonado.