Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Me friends with Bernie?

    Montezemolo, Ecclestone 'will be friends again' – Briatore

  • Van der Garde waiting for Caterham's decision
  • Valencia hoping for F1 return in 2014
  • Marko on Austria GP return – 'never say never'
  • Pirelli wants 'medium-term' F1 stay
  • F1 Makes Money From Collapsed Theme Park Project In Dubai
  • Silverstone moves deal with weather better New

Montezemolo, Ecclestone 'will be friends again' – Briatore
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has kept a war of words with Luca di Montezemolo running.

Earlier, after the F1 chief executive slammed Ferrari's pursuit of the yellow flag saga as "a joke", Montezemolo suggested Ecclestone's "old age is … incompatible with certain roles and responsibilities".

Ecclestone, who is 17 years older than 65-year-old Italian Montezemolo, has now hit back, claiming the Ferrari president often "doesn't remember what he says".

"I'm sure in his case it is nothing to do with his age because he's always been the same. At least he's consistent. God knows what's going to happen when he's 82," the Briton told BBC Sport.

Actually, Ecclestone insisted he is a "big supporter" of Montezemolo's, but thinks the yellow flag saga should have been handled "behind closed doors".

"I think there was so much pressure from probably the driver (Fernando Alonso)," he said.

"You must remember he's been saying nearly every race this year the car is rubbish and it's a bit difficult for them not to look as if they're trying to do something to help him."

Ecclestone also dismissed Montezemolo's complaints about the F1 regulations.

"The rules are there for everyone to use in the best way they can. They're the same for everyone," he insisted.

However, one of Ecclestone's staunchest allies insists Montezemolo only reacted to a "clear provocation" by the 82-year-old.

"Sometimes when Bernie tries to be funny he is not, Luca was disappointed because no one would have liked that statement, and he answered him.

"Within ten days they'll be friends again," former Renault boss Flavio Briatore told Italian radio Rai.

Indeed, Briatore thinks Montezemolo is "right" to complain that formula one has been "put back in the hands of engineers".

Meanwhile, Spaniard Alonso contradicted reports he played a leading role in Ferrari's push for Sebastian Vettel to be stripped of the 2012 title over the yellow flag affair.

"I was on vacation and didn't even have an internet connection good enough to watch videos," he is quoted by La Stampa newspaper.

"But the situation needed clarification out of respect for the fans. Ferrari was right to turn to the federation," added Alonso.

Van der Garde waiting for Caterham's decision
(GMM) Giedo van der Garde is waiting to hear if he will be Charles Pic's teammate at Caterham in 2013.

The Dutch GP2 driver completed the 2012 season as the Tony Fernandes-owned team's regular Friday and reserve driver, and is reportedly now in the running to replace either Heikki Kovalainen or Vitaly Petrov.

But, although earlier tipped to run an all-pay-driver lineup for 2013, Caterham's financial situation has changed since the Interlagos finale, after Russian Petrov's eleventh place returned the team to the lucrative tenth spot in the constructors' championship.

Petrov's performance may be rewarded with a new deal, or Caterham could use the extra money to keep its highly rated salaried driver, Finn Kovalainen.

The other option remains the well-funded Dutchman, van der Garde.

"We had hoped for clarification last week, but Caterham has moved the decision forwards," the 27-year-old told Dutch magazine Formule 1.

"The decision is theirs and we can do nothing but wait and see," added van der Garde.

"If all goes well, we will know in two weeks."

Valencia hoping for F1 return in 2014
(GMM) Valencia is hoping to return to the F1 calendar in 2014.

The Spanish street race – recently the regular host of the European grand prix – has dropped off the sport's schedule for next season.

But it has been suggested that Spain's two F1 hosts, Valencia and Barcelona, will alternate the Spanish grand prix from now on.

Barcelona will as usual host the race next year, leaving open the possibility of a return for Valencia in 2014.

Lola Johnson, the Valencia tourism minister, said the government has "been working" on a possible alternation with Barcelona.

"It is a situation that is on the table," she is quoted by El Pais newspaper.

"It's a three-way scenario, with the bosses of formula one and the two organizers of the grands prix.

"The alternation is on the basis of the reorganization of the contracts. The details are being worked on," Johnson said at the weekend, as Ferrari celebrated its end-of-season event at the Spanish port city's permanent circuit.

Marko on Austria GP return – 'never say never'
(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has answered "never say never" when asked if his native Austria could return to the F1 calendar.

As he celebrated his latest championship with Austrian energy drink Red Bull's main F1 team in Graz, Sebastian Vettel said he can imagine a grand prix being staged at the former A1-Ring.

The track in Spielberg, refurbished by Red Bull and now called the Red Bull Ring, last hosted a formula one race in 2003.

When asked about Vettel's comments, Red Bull's leading motor racing official Marko said: "At the moment, the world economy is quite simply booming in Asia and South America.

"There are (F1) sanctioning fees in the order of $20 to $30 million to pay, so one simply has to ask the question of where does this come from.

"But with (Dietrich) Mateschitz, you can never say never. Let's see how it develops," added Marko.

He suggested there might be room on F1's apparently cluttered annual schedule.

"There are places like Korea, where the track is not great, there is only one hotel and it's difficult to travel in and out.

"Places like that are not going to stay," predicted Marko.

Pirelli wants 'medium-term' F1 stay
(GMM) Pirelli is keen to stay in formula one well beyond next season, according to motor sport director Paul Hembery.

He has already made clear that, depending on the sport's desire to keep racing with the Italian-made tires, Pirelli wants to extend its tenure as the official F1 supplier beyond its expiring 2013 contract.

"Maximizing the investments in terms of profitability will require a medium-term commitment," Hembery is quoted by journalist Peter Hesseler in the German-language Speed Week.

He answered "eight to ten years" when asked what his definition of medium-term is.

F1 Makes Money From Collapsed Theme Park Project In Dubai
Only F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "could make money from a project, which never saw the light of day," according to PITPASS.

In '05 plans were unveiled "to open an F1 theme park in Dubai," UAE. Concept art of the project was released, ground was broken and "construction work began."

It was part of the £40B Dubailand development, "which was expected to span 107 square miles — twice the size of Disney World in Florida, which is currently the world's largest theme park resort."

It soon became clear that "some of the only people likely to benefit were Ecclestone and his business partners in the Delta Topco company, which runs F1." Others "were suckered in regardless."

The brakes "were put on the theme park project soon after the Dubai property market crashed during the recession a few years ago." In '10, Ecclestone revealed that the F1 theme park "is not happening," but he added that "Delta Topco had nevertheless been paid by Dubai-based developer Union Properties."

An indication of how much it received has now come to light in recently-produced F1 company documents, which state that revenues from the Middle East in '10 "increased by $21M to $142M." It was a 17.3% boost on the $121.1M revenue from the region in '09 and, according to the documents, "was primarily due to escalators in television and race promotion contracts, new fees for standalone GP2 and support races in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain and 'fees received for an aborted theme park deal in Dubai.'"

Ecclestone "could not have predicted that the property market would crash after he signed the agreement for the theme park, but he made sure that F1 would not lose out if it did" PITPASS

Silverstone moves deal with weather better
Silverstone is planning further improve its infrastructure ahead of next year's British Grand Prix, with adverse weather conditions affecting the accessibility of the circuit in 2012. Fans were turned away from the venue on qualifying day after torrential rain, with tickets later being refunded at a cost of one million pounds.

Event organizers have now outlined plans to implement a greater choice of travel options, add to the number of tarmacked car parks and increase the size of the official Silverstone Woodlands campsite by 70 acres in time for the 2013 event.

"For more than 10 years now, fans have had little or no issue getting in and out of the circuit for the British Grand Prix, so it’s important to keep the problems of this year in perspective," explained Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited. "That said, the traffic issues on the Friday of this year’s event, and having to ask a number of fans to stay away on the Saturday, were far from ideal.

"We have learned from this year’s experience and are taking steps to ensure we’re better equipped to deal with whatever the weather may throw at us in future."

Despite the unprecedented levels of rainfall throughout the week of this year's British Grand Prix, a record total of 127,000 fans flocked through the gates on race day.

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