Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Ousted Korea GP chief to sue
  • No F1 for Prodrive in 2012 – Richards
  • Bahar thinks Lotus dispute to be solved soon
  • Williams confirms PDVSA sponsor deal
  • Crashgate's Symonds eyes F1 return
  • Ferrari duo bemoans modern driving task
  • How Boullier shook off 'ghost' of Briatore
  • Massa hoping to save Ferrari career with Pirelli
  • Alonso reveals new press secretary
  • Boullier 'working hard' on Grosjean's F1 return

Ousted Korea GP chief to sue
(GMM) Korean grand prix chief Yung Cho Chung is preparing to challenge the decision to oust him.

Barely a month after collecting the FIA prize for the best promoter of 2010, Chung was accused of lax management during a board meeting of organizers Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) last week and dismissed.

South Korea's race contract extends for at least six more years and it was believed that Chung and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone had a strong relationship.

A source close to Chung told the Korea Herald that he is now preparing to sue KAVO.

"He said he couldn't accept the decision because there was something wrong in the procedure," KAVO spokesman Jung Ji-hyun confirmed.

"He is now in discussion with his advisers as how to file a lawsuit," he added.

The delay in construction of the Yeongam circuit aside, Chung was accused of mishandling expenditures and going over budget.

No F1 for Prodrive in 2012 – Richards
(GMM) After this year ruling out a bid to launch a team in 2011, Prodrive chief David Richards has confirmed that the Oxfordshire based group will also not be in formula one next season.

Richards, the former Benetton and BAR boss, has made efforts to bring Prodrive into F1 in the past, but last year he said the marque is for now focused on rallying and sports car racing.

Indeed, Prodrive is re-entering the world rally championship in 2011 with Mini and BMW.

As for F1, he said at the Autosport International in Birmingham: "We always keep a close eye on everything, but my priority today is to get the Mini up and running and to get Aston Martin competitive in time for Le Mans.

"The obvious next point to look at formula one is 2013 with the massive change in regulations that come along at that point in time, and if you were to consider an entry that would be the time to go," added Richards.

Bahar thinks Lotus dispute to be solved soon
(GMM) Dany Bahar is still sure the Lotus branding debacle in formula one will not see the inside of the London High Court.

After his outfit's official Lotus Racing license was revoked, Tony Fernandes bought the 'Team Lotus' name just as Group Lotus was launching plans to enter F1 in 2011.

The parties failed to agree a solution, meaning that at present there will be two Renault-powered Lotus teams on the grid this year pending the outcome of a court ruling.

The situation revved up over the weekend when the black and gold livery for next year's Lotus Renault GP was launched, just as Team Lotus revealed a video showing the re-branding of its Hingham factory with the famous CACB logo.

"I don't think it will be a matter solved by English courts," Group Lotus chief executive Bahar told the BBC. "I think it will be solved before that.

"But if we have to go the legal way, we will — and our shareholders will support that," he added, referring to the Malaysian carmaker Proton.

The situation was triggered by Bahar arriving at Lotus with his own plans for F1 long after the Lotus Racing naming license had been issued for Fernandes.

"When I arrived … we had our own ideas and plans and that's nobody's fault, not the shareholders' and not Mr. Fernandes' fault," he said.

"I think with any business relationship, you start on good terms and if it turns out to be beneficial for both parties, you continue.

"If not, you just stop — it's like in a marriage. And this one turned out to be an unsuccessful relationship," explained Bahar.

The famous marque's motor sport boss Claudio Berro hinted that it will not be Group Lotus that is backing down.

"We build cars and we are shareholders of Renault F1, so we have the right to put our name on the team. Fernandes does not, because we have revoked his license," Italiaracing quoted Berro as saying.

Williams confirms PDVSA sponsor deal
(GMM) Williams has finally confirmed the new sponsorship deal with state-owned Venezuelan oil company PDVSA.

Actually, the country's president Hugo Chavez announced the backing of the British team more than a month ago, because the new GP2 champion needed "a lot of money" to enter formula one.

Williams' official announcement of the "long term" partnership with Petroleos de Venezuala last Friday took place in the capital Caracas, where Maldonado demonstrated the 2010 car in the presence of Chavez and team chairman Adam Parr.

The Cosworth-powered FW32 car featured its usual blue livery but not many other sponsors, while 25-year-old Maldonado wore team overalls with yellow trim.

"They are a substantial partner and can make a meaningful difference to our fighting ability," said the team's boss Sir Frank Williams.

The Swiss newspaper Blick said the value of the deal is $43 million.

Crashgate's Symonds eyes F1 return
(GMM) Pat Symonds has revealed he still wants to return to formula one.

Alongside Flavio Briatore, the Briton was the other crashgate conspirator and banned from having another "operational role" until 2013.

But the long-time Renault engineering director's company Neutrino Dynamics was engaged for F1 consultancy work last year, and he wrote a technical column in a specialist magazine.

And Symonds said at the Autosport International show in Birmingham that he hopes to expand his return to F1 in the near future.

"There are still lots of things I want to do," he said. "I still have a love of F1 because of the engineering. I absolutely have a passion for racing — you cannot keep me away."

Ferrari duo bemoans modern driving task
(GMM) Ferrari's racing duo has bemoaned the increasingly complex task of driving a formula one car.

With cockpits already featuring numerous buttons, displays, lights, switches and levers, the drivers' task will be further complicated in 2011.

Among the new regulations is the return of KERS, requiring drivers to prepare and deploy the energy boost, and an adjustable rear wing that can be triggered for overtaking when a cockpit light shines.

"Without realizing it, we're losing the focus on driving," said Fernando Alonso last week at the Italian team's media getaway.

Also in the Italian Dolomites, his teammate Felipe Massa agreed: "We have so many things to do on the steering wheel but we still need to drive the car.

"We can do it, but from a driver's point of view it's not fantastic."

How Boullier shook off 'ghost' of Briatore
(GMM) Eric Boullier has admitted that one of his tasks last year was to shake off the "ghost" of Flavio Briatore.

With Renault F1 in tatters after the crashgate affair, Frenchman Boullier was appointed boss by new owners Genii and he has retained the post after the arrival of Group Lotus.

Recalling his arrival a year ago, he said: "I had the ghost of my predecessor in mind. I took away everything that had to do with him (Briatore)," Boullier is quoted by France's

"I changed my office, the style of management. The only way was to erase everything or make it different, but not myself. I had nothing to lose," he added.

Today, Boullier said he is happy to still be heading the Enstone based team and told L'Equipe that he hopes the black and gold Lotus Renault GP car wins races.

"I want people to see this team as a great one like Ferrari or McLaren," he said.

"Now I feel like I belong and it's much easier," added Boullier, looking back on his arrival in January 2010.

"I'm happy to be intact after the first year. To earn respect for the team is no small victory and it was my main challenge.

"If it had not worked, I'd have gone back to what I can do but it's been a year and I'm still here!"

Massa hoping to save Ferrari career with Pirelli
(GMM) Felipe Massa is hoping Pirelli is the key to returning to the front in formula one.

The Brazilian had a poor season in 2010 and a repeat this year would almost certainly be his last gasp at Ferrari.

2008 championship runner-up Massa insists his main problem was the Bridgestone tire, and when he tried the Pirellis for the first time last November he was immediately back on the pace.

"My first contact (with Pirelli) was very positive," the 29-year-old confirmed last week, according to Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo.

"I found the car easier to drive with the front tires having more grip; I could go into the corners in the way I like to drive," added Massa, referring to the test in Abu Dhabi.

His teammate Fernando Alonso also said the Pirellis are different to the tires on which he almost won the drivers' championship last year.

According to Italy's Autosprint, the Spaniard said: "We will know more at the next test in Valencia, which will be very interesting.

"My style of driving will definitely have a little change (for 2011)," added Alonso.

Alonso reveals new press secretary
(GMM) Fernando Alonso now has his own press secretary.

The lovely Roberta Vallorosi, who has recently been working in Ferrari's press office, came to the specialist media's attention as the 'Wrooom' event in the Italian Dolomites came to an end.

On stage after the farewell dinner, Alonso took the microphone and announced he would be performing a magic card trick.

He called upon the help of Roberta Vallorosi. "She worked with Valentino Rossi and now she is my press secretary," said Alonso in fluent Italian, according to O Estado de S.Paulo.

Alonso then also called MotoGP great Rossi onto the stage to be his second assistant, and performed an elaborate card trick using props including a condom and a teddy bear.

"How was that possible?" Rossi marveled after the Ferrari driver retrieved the missing card.

Boullier 'working hard' on Grosjean's F1 return
(GMM) Renault team boss Eric Boullier has admitted he is working hard to bring Romain Grosjean back to formula one.

French broadcaster TF1's commentator Christophe Malbranque announced last week that 24-year-old Grosjean is set to be the team's third driver in 2011.

Renault has retained Vitaly Petrov alongside Robert Kubica for 2011, but Frenchman Boullier admitted to that he would like to see a countryman back on the grid.

As well as running the Enstone based team, Boullier also still heads Gravity Sport, the driver management arm of Renault F1 shareholder Genii Capital.

"I would like to see a Frenchman on the podium, or at least with a good team," he said.

"We talk about it at Enstone or Genii Capital very often and we are trying everything to reach a solution quickly," added Boullier.

"But nothing is simple," he continued. "We need a no.1 at a very high level and we need Petrov and what he brings.

"We are working very hard to get Romain Grosjean a seat and also to bring along other young people. France needs to have a good driver in F1," said Boullier.

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