Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • The Wheldon crash investigation should conclude that driver canopies and wheel covers be added to the new IndyCar

    F1 governing body to help Wheldon crash probe

  • Wait for India race seat 'agonizing' – Chandhok
  • Germans think Vettel to beat F1 title record
  • Construction still to begin at US GP site
  • Webber reveals 'amazing' interest from rival teams
  • 'No chance' teams to buy F1 – team boss
  • Vergne and Ricciardo in running for 2012 – Tost
  • Teams' title worth millions to Red Bull
  • Ferrari development back on track for 2012
  • Bad form leaves Senna exposed for 2012 seat

F1 governing body to help Wheldon crash probe
(GMM) F1's governing body will assist in the investigation of Dan Wheldon's death.

Briton Wheldon, 33, was killed in a 15-car crash last Sunday on lap 12 of the 2011 IndyCar finale in Las Vegas.

According to the Associated Press, the Paris based FIA as well as the US sanctioning body ACCUS "will assist in a full investigation" of the fatal crash.

IndyCar confirmed the news whilst saying "the safety of our drivers, their crews … staff, racetrack staff and spectators is always our paramount concern". [Editor's Note: We at can also confirm this as we have already been asked by ACCUS to supply the detailed injury records we have kept since the IRL/IndyCar was started in 1996.]

Wait for India race seat 'agonizing' – Chandhok
(GMM) Just over a week before the F1 circus is scheduled to congregate in India, Karun Chandhok is still waiting to hear if he will be lining up on the grid.

The Indian is Team Lotus' reserve driver but boss Tony Fernandes has warned that he will not necessarily decide to replace one of the team's regulars Jarno Trulli or Heikki Kovalainen so that Chandhok, 27, can contest his country's inaugural F1 race.

"This is the most asked question to me right now," Chandhok told the Times of India.

"Honesty speaking I don't know what the team's plans are. They haven't made a decision yet and there are several factors that will govern the team's decision which I can't comment on."

It is believed the hold-up is due to contractual negotiations, with Trulli, who sat out the Nurburgring for Chandhok in July, and Kovalainen signed up to contest every race on the 2011 calendar.

Sponsorship may be another issue.

Chandhok, who admitted the current waiting period is "agonizing", has practiced on Friday mornings ahead of the recent Japan/Korea double-header.

"As far as I am concerned, I have done the duties which the team has entrusted me with so far in the best possible way and have proven my abilities," he said.

Germans think Vettel to beat F1 title record
(GMM) Most Germans think Sebastian Vettel will break his countryman Michael Schumacher's record of seven world titles.

At 24, Vettel is already F1's youngest ever double world champion, and he is signed up with the dominant Red Bull team for at least the next three seasons.

SID news agency commissioned the German market research company Promit to carry out a survey as to whether respondents think Vettel will one day be a record eight-time title winner.

59.5 per cent answered yes, with 24.6pc believing 42-year-old Schumacher's now seven-year record will forever remain unbroken.

Construction still to begin at US GP site
(GMM) Contrary to recent reports, vertical construction at the 2012 US grand prix venue in Texas is still yet to commence.

It was reported earlier this month that, just over a year before the Circuit of the Americas is due to host its inaugural race, work at the Austin site had finally recommenced after lengthy a delay.

But the local Austin American Statesman newspaper reports this week that permits to construct buildings and grandstands on top of foundations have not even been granted.

The news was confirmed by a Travis County official, who reportedly said the authorities have "been working with circuit organizers to issue the next round of permits", which should be happen "soon".

Circuit officials were unavailable for comment.

Webber reveals 'amazing' interest from rival teams
(GMM) Mark Webber has contradicted recent reports that said he re-signed with Red Bull for 2012 because he had no other options.

The Australian revealed that, in fact, the interest expressed by rival teams when he was still on the market was "amazing".

Webber, 34, has had a difficult season alongside Sebastian Vettel, failing to win a grand prix compared with his dominant teammate's ten so far.

"What was amazing this year was the amount of response I had from other teams when I was about to sign with Red Bull," he is quoted as saying by the Sydney newspaper Daily Telegraph.

"They were very, very interested in having a chat to me, which was another little reminder to me that things were going pretty well."

Webber therefore leaves the door open to switching teams after next season, saying he considers retirement to be "incredibly overrated".

"I'll go again next year, (but) to say where I'll head in 2013 and 2014, we need to another six months and see how we go," he said.

As for 2012, he insists that F1's youngest ever back-to-back reigning world champion Vettel is beatable.

"Yes, it's possible, absolutely. I've seen enough, and knowing how close it is, it's possible," said Webber.

'No chance' teams to buy F1 – team boss
(GMM) An influential boss has revealed there is "no chance" the formula one teams will buy the sport.

A consortium led by News Corporation expressed interest in buying the commercial rights from CVC earlier this year, and the teams themselves have also been linked with a possible bid.

But according to a report in the Daily Express newspaper, an unnamed but 'influential' team boss insists there is "no chance" they will buy F1 because the teams "are struggling to keep themselves afloat".

The report's journalist Christian Sylt wrote that rumors of the teams buying F1 could be a negotiating tactic to increase income under the next Concorde Agreement.

The new tactic could be because the current agreement prohibits the teams from threatening to set up a rival championship.

Vergne and Ricciardo in running for 2012 – Tost
(GMM) Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost has admitted four drivers are in the running to fill the team's two race seats in 2012.

It was already known that the second Red Bull team's current drivers, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, could lose their seats at the end of the season.

Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne kicked off his new Friday driving duties in Korea last weekend, and another Red Bull-backed hopeful is the Australian rookie Daniel Ricciardo, who currently drives for HRT.

"Jean-Eric is one of four drivers – with Buemi, Alguersuari and Ricciardo – that Red Bull is thinking about placing with Toro Rosso next year," team principal Tost told the French daily L'Equipe.

"We will take our decision in December. It's really open and Jean-Eric is a possibility for 2012," the Austrian added.

Vergne, runner-up in this year's Renault World Series, said in Korea that he expects to have a job at Toro Rosso next season.

"I like his driving style," confirmed Tost. "He has already demonstrated in the World Series his mastery of the car and his aggressiveness."

Tost revealed that another Frenchman is also in talks with Toro Rosso.

"We are negotiating with Charles Pic," said Tost, referring to the 21-year-old GP2 driver.

"There is a possibility that Charles will run a test with us during the days reserved for young drivers in Abu Dhabi."

Teams' title worth millions to Red Bull
(GMM) Red Bull's championship spoils are worth tens of millions of euros, according to a report.

Germany's Sport1 claims the 2011 constructors' champions will earn EUR 60 million for the feat, even though the detail of the sport's income distribution system is protected by the confidential Concorde Agreement.

But "The difference between first and second places is around ten million euros," the team's consultant Dr Helmut Marko is quoted as revealing.

The Spanish newspaper El Pais claims the world championship is worth as much as EUR 72 million to Red Bull in official F1 income.

The report said second place gets EUR 50 million, and third 36m, with the amounts then dropping proportionately by several million dollars for the lower placings down to tenth.

"For the small teams, a higher place in the constructors' championship is very important because it means a lot of money," said Spanish engineer Toni Cuquerella.

As for Red Bull's millions, a lot of that money is already assigned to the development of next year's single seater, demonstrated by designer Adrian Newey's absence in Korea.

"He's in the UK and focused on the RB8," revealed team boss Christian Horner last weekend.

Ferrari development back on track for 2012
(GMM) The race failed to yield even a podium place for the famous team, but Korea showed that Ferrari is getting back on track.

That is the claim of team boss Stefano Domenicali, who referred to the successful debut of a new front wing raced to fifth place by Fernando Alonso.

The part, based on the 2012 car philosophy, was not necessarily much faster than the conventional wing run to sixth place by Felipe Massa.

But according to Domenicali, the "data obtained in the wind tunnel matched the data seen throughout the (race) weekend, so it's a good sign. There is no doubt," AS newspaper quotes him as saying.

He was referring to Ferrari's earlier troubles with the correlation of information between the wind tunnel and the track.

Spaniard Alonso hopes the team can provide him with a good car for 2012.

"I do not need the best car to win the world championship, just a competitive one," he is quoted as saying.

Bad form leaves Senna exposed for 2012 seat
(GMM) Bruno Senna's stock fell in Korea, mere weeks before Renault is due to decide its driver lineup for 2012.

The Brazilian, who replaced Nick Heidfeld five races ago, had a horror weekend in Korea, qualifying seven places behind Vitaly Petrov and finishing just in front of a Lotus.

With three races to go this season, the team's fifth place in the constructors' championship is probably safe, given the 23 point advantage over Force India.

But looking ahead to 2012, with Petrov, Romain Grosjean, Rubens Barrichello and of course Robert Kubica all also in the running for the seats, Senna's Korean performance was bad news for the 28-year-old.

In his five races since replacing Heidfeld, he has scored points (2) only at Monza.

And "Bruno's 13th position (in Korea) doesn't pay justice to the pace of the car", said Renault engineer Ricardo Penteado in Korea.

An unnamed team official, meanwhile, told Germany's Speed Week publication: "We need to analyze why Bruno Senna did not come up to speed."

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