Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • Police visit Sutil's Force India team in Germany
  • Financial worries for Swiss team Sauber
  • Suzuka, Ecclestone, say no nuclear risk for Japan GP
  • Cold and wet on Nurburgring race day
  • Mercedes has 'good relationship' with Vettel – Zetsche
  • Glock hopes to 'stand out' at Virgin in 2012
  • Soucek hints at F1 team 'negotiations'
  • Webber can fight for Nurburgring win – Horner
  • Renault to test new exhaust again in Hungary
  • Williams leave KERS off Barrichello's car
  • Glock signs new three-year Virgin contract

Police visit Sutil's Force India team in Germany
(GMM) German police visited the Force India team in the Nurburgring paddock on Saturday.

Bild am Sonntag and Express newspapers report that the visit was not connected to the criminal assault charges laid against the team's German driver Adrian Sutil by Renault co-owner Eric Lux.

Rather, a German supplier is pressing the Vijay Mallya-led team for an unpaid EUR 50,000 bill.

"After a brief interrogation, the officers left the paddock," said Bild.

Express cited team manager Otmar Szafnauer as reporting that the debt dates back to the pre-Force India days, when the Silverstone based team was known as Jordan, Midland or Spyker.

Another piece of intrigue on Saturday was Sebastien Buemi's exclusion from the qualifying results when his Toro Rosso was found running illegal fuel.

However, the Red Bull junior team had not cheated. Rather, a chemical inside a new fuel system installed in his STR6 on Friday contaminated the car's fuel.

Swiss Buemi must now start the race from the back. "What can I do if there is something wrong with the fuel?" he is quoted as frustratingly telling Blick newspaper.

Meanwhile, Renault F1 PR representative Andy Stobart was struck by a car whilst cycling in Germany prior to this weekend's Nurburgring race.

Now walking wounded in the paddock, he is sporting cuts to his eyebrow, chin, cheeks and torso after being knocked unconscious and hospitalized.

Financial worries for Swiss team Sauber
(GMM) The weak euro and US dollar is reportedly hurting Swiss formula one team Sauber's 2011 budget.

Blick newspaper reports that many of the team's 280 employees are paid in the comparatively strong Swiss Franc, whilst the official F1 income and sponsor payments are mainly in dollars and euros.

"It's a disaster," said team boss Peter Sauber, "because it's not only wages but also some suppliers that we pay in the Franc."

Another worry is the financial situation of team backer Money Service Group, after it emerged that Niki Lauda has already ended his cap sponsorship with the struggling Liechtenstein company.

"I can't say anything about that yet. Let's wait," said Sauber managing director Monisha Kaltenborn.

Former F1 driver Alex Wurz, meanwhile, joked that the cold weather at the Nurburgring this weekend could be connected to the European economy.

"I'm wondering if the German government sold the summer to finance the Greece deficit," he said on Twitter.

Suzuka, Ecclestone, say no nuclear risk for Japan GP
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday allayed fears that the nuclear crisis will affect October's Japanese grand prix.

Leading MotoGP riders Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo have announced that they will boycott October's MotoGP race at Motegi, which is just 100km from the damaged Fukushima power plant.

"I will not go and most riders have the same opinion," said Australian Stoner.

Also in October, Japan will host a F1 race, but the Suzuka circuit is much further away from Fukushima.

Suzuka spokesperson Masaru Unno said on Saturday that the distance is so great that there is no health risk to F1's travelers.

And F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone also said at the Nurburgring that the Japanese GP "will go on as usual".

"I don't think people would ask everyone to go there if it wasn't safe," added the Briton, who said he has seen a dossier on newly recorded radiation levels at Suzuka.

Cold and wet on Nurburgring race day
(GMM) Sunday morning has dawned grey and very wet at the Nurburgring.

After steady rain fell through the night, weather reports are also predicting a rainy Sunday with a top of just 13 degrees for the German grand prix.

"German Summer beats English one fair and square," joked Ferrari on its official Twitter channel, referring to the Silverstone race two weeks ago.

Agreed an official Renault tweet early on Sunday: "Das wetter ist nicht so gut."

"Get your snorkel ready," added Pirelli motor sport director Paul Hembery from the glisteningly-wet Nurburgring paddock.

Mercedes has 'good relationship' with Vettel – Zetsche
(GMM) Michael Schumacher remains a top driver but Mercedes also has an eye on Sebastian Vettel.

The German marque's top brass Dieter Zetsche is at the Nurburgring this weekend where he was asked by Bild am Sonntag newspaper if Red Bull's Vettel would be a better bet for Mercedes' works team.

"If the cars are very competitive, it is the driver who determines the success," Zetsche is quoted as saying.

"Michael Schumacher has shown that he still has considerable qualities. As for Sebastian Vettel we have a good relationship. Privately he drives a SLS."

Alongside Schumacher in 2011 is the highly competitive Nico Rosberg, and team boss Ross Brawn on Saturday confirmed the pair both have a contract for next year.

"We need to do our homework with the cars," continued Zetsche. "We are certainly quite competitive already, but not as much as we had hoped for. We're working on it."

Glock hopes to 'stand out' at Virgin in 2012
(GMM) Timo Glock hopes Virgin will be a better shop window for his talents next year.

The German was earlier critical of the struggling team's direction but Virgin recently split with its designer Nick Wirth and inked a technical and wind tunnel deal with McLaren.

Even so, the 29-year-old confirmed he would jump ship to Red Bull if offered a seat.

"Every driver would answer the same," the former Toyota driver told Die Welt. "But that's a dream. I have to do it the hard way, fighting to go towards the front with my team."

Glock is set to stay with Virgin in 2012, when he hopes the next red and black car can move into the midfield.

The deal is expected to be announced before Sunday's German grand prix.

"I have to show that what I can do with a car like the Virgin is deliver quality services," he continued.

"I will probably not be winning races or getting podiums very soon, but technically we have to try to move ahead and that will make me more visible as a driver.

"This is extremely difficult. If we cut the gap by half a second from five seconds, hardly anyone notices. But on a drivers' track like Monaco for example, if we have a better car in 2012, then you can really stand out," added Glock.

Soucek hints at F1 team 'negotiations'
(GMM) Andy Soucek has revealed he could be on the verge of breaking back into formula one.

The Spaniard was Virgin's test and reserve driver last year but he left the role complaining that "You don't even get in the car".

But now Spanish sports newspaper Marca quotes the 26-year-old as revealing he is "in negotiations" to return to F1 "and not just as a commentator".

"I will say no more," Soucek said in Spanish on his Twitter channel.

Soucek's countryman Javier Villa has been linked with HRT, amid the team's desire to become more Spanish with its new owners Thesan.

"We have not spoken with HRT yet. We will see how it evolves. You know how complex it is," added the former F2 champion Soucek, who subsequently moved to the Superleague series.

Webber can fight for Nurburgring win – Horner
(GMM) Christian Horner has rubbished suggestions Mark Webber might receive a team order a few laps before the checkered flag in Sunday's German grand prix.

"Of course Mark can win here, he's on pole," the Red Bull team boss told newspaper Bild am Sonntag ahead of a probably wet race at the Nurburgring.

"Both of our drivers get the same chance."

And Dr Helmut Marko said two days ago: "It is nonsense that we do everything for Vettel and nothing for Mark."

Two weeks ago at Silverstone, Australian Webber was told on the radio by Horner to maintain his second position behind championship leading teammate Sebastian Vettel.

If Vettel – third on Sunday's grid – receives a similar order at the Nurburgring, he will probably also ignore it.

"I will fight everyone, that's what happens when you race in formula one," said the German.

Also in the fight will be McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who was surprised to almost capture pole on Saturday, and Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari.

Neither have completely ruled out their championship chances.

"Both him (Hamilton) and me have nothing to lose and so we have to go for it," Alonso told Spanish newspaper AS.

Renault to test new exhaust again in Hungary
(GMM) Renault will try again with its Red Bull-style rear exhaust exits in Hungary next week, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

While Vitaly Petrov continued to use the front-exiting solution that has been on the R31 all season, teammate Nick Heidfeld tested the new layout on Friday at the Nurburgring.

But the German's car was reverted to Silverstone specification for Saturday.

"It's too early to consider running the rearward exhaust in anger because it isn't competitive with the forward-facing yet, but it's certainly something we are going to keep exploring and considering," said technical director James Allison.

Added Heidfeld: "The new system definitely has potential but it's very complicated. It's hard to get something like that up and running so quickly.

"We didn't expect it to just work straight away."

Williams leave KERS off Barrichello's car
(GMM) Williams is experimenting with a no-KERS configuration aboard Rubens Barrichello's car this weekend at the Nurburgring.

Before the recent Silverstone race, we reported that Force India was toying with not using the energy recovery technology to see if the differences in weight-ballast and brake-balance had a positive effect.

The Silverstone based team ultimately decided to keep KERS aboard.

It has now emerged that Williams is experimenting with a no-KERS setup on Barrichello's car this weekend, in conjunction with a new diffuser.

Technical director Sam Michael said the decision to leave the system off the Brazilian veteran's car is to "give us more information going forward".

"On Rubens' car we chose not to race with KERS here in order to get some more data for comparison," he added.

Barrichello ultimately qualified 14th behind his teammate Pastor Maldonado.

Glock signs new three-year Virgin contract
(GMM) Virgin on Sunday morning said Timo Glock has signed a new long-term contract.

A media statement quoted the German driver as saying the deal is for "the next few years", while journalists reporting from the media breakfast event in the team's motor home said it covers 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Glock, 29, also confirmed the duration of his new three year deal on Twitter.

"I can't wait to be with the team when we start to enjoy the good times. And I know they are coming," he said at the Nurburgring.

Virgin, yet to score a single point since its inception in 2010, confirmed it has an "ambitious plan" to be "at the front of the field by 2014".

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