Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Kolles denies HRT suspended by F1 teams body
  • McLaren insists late car launch 'optimal'
  • Petrov confirms move to UK
  • Renault to race with British license in 2011
  • Engineers to ensure F1 sounds 'sexy' in 2013
  • Anti-bribery laws to deter F1 sponsors – team lawyer

Kolles denies HRT suspended by F1 teams body
(GMM) Colin Kolles has categorically denied FOTA's claim that HRT was suspended from the teams association due to not paying its membership fee.

After a spokeswoman for the Spanish outfit said HRT had simply decided FOTA is a body for the big teams, FOTA general secretary Simone Perillo clarified that in fact part or all of the annual EUR 100,000 fee had not been paid.

"I can strictly deny it," boss Kolles told the Hindustan Times. "FOTA has spread a misleading message which will be rectified in the coming days, however, for the moment I don't want to say anything else."

He also referred to the political power FOTA is readying to wield ahead of negotiations for a new Concorde Agreement beyond 2012.

"It is true that FOTA will be trying to be the only counterpart to CVC and Mr. Ecclestone, but we feel this is an attempt by FOTA to punch above its weight," said Kolles.

He explained that HRT therefore "didn't want to delegate our independent power of negotiation on such a sensitive matter like the Concorde Agreement."

There is also the matter of the annual 100,000 fee.

"We left because FOTA defends mainly the interests of the big teams. We see no benefit in paying money for being part of it. We prefer investing our money in the car instead of paying membership fees that don't benefit to us," said Kolles.

McLaren insists late car launch 'optimal'
(GMM) McLaren has rejected any claims it has fallen behind in the development of its 2011 car.

It had emerged that that the Mercedes powered MP4-26 would not get its maiden run until after an interim 2010 car contests the opening group test at Valencia.

But Paddy Lowe, the British team's engineering director, said during a teleconference on Thursday that McLaren sees its plans as "optimal".

"It's always been in our plans to launch it after the first test," he said.

"One of the reasons was we wanted to make use of the first test to work with the car as a stable and known platform while we understood the new (Pirelli) tires," added Lowe.

"It also gave us a bit more time in the program for the new car."

One theory about McLaren's approach is that the 2011 car features some key innovations that the team either wants to spend more time perfecting or shield from its rivals for as long as possible.

McLaren pioneered the so-called F-duct last year that was ultimately copied by almost every team.

"Yes, there will be some new elements," team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted to F1's official website, "but as you can imagine I'm not prepared to add more detail at the moment!"

Petrov confirms move to UK
(GMM) Vitaly Petrov on Thursday confirmed he is relocating from Spain to England.

Before the Russian secured a new contract with Renault for 2011, team owner Gerard Lopez insisted the 26-year-old needed to "move to the UK" to be "close to the factory" and in an "English speaking environment".

At the Autosport International show in Birmingham, Petrov confirmed he has moved.

"First of all I'm now closer to the factory, and if I need to I can go any time," Petrov, whose new residence is reportedly near Renault's Enstone headquarters in Oxfordshire, is quoted by the Press Association.

Petrov, who previously lived in Valencia, admitted he was worried recently that he would not be retained by Renault after his rookie season.

"I was a little bit nervous. It was my rookie year and I knew I had made mistakes, but I also had some good races, so it was 50-50," he said.

Renault to race with British license in 2011
(GMM) Renault will race in formula one this year with a British license.

It means that if Robert Kubica or Vitaly Petrov win a race, it will be God Save The Queen rather than La Marseillaise that is played on the podium.

Boulogne-Billancourt headquartered Renault SA's ownership of the Oxfordshire based team was one of France's last remaining links to F1.

But the team, previously operating under a French racing license, is now co-owned by Luxembourg investment firm Genii Capital and the Malaysian-owned British sports car marque Group Lotus.

There is also no French grand prix or active race driver in F1.

"Lotus is an English manufacturer," Renault team boss Eric Boullier explained at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, referring to the outfit's new title sponsor and partner.

He insisted that the change of identity for Lotus Renault GP is "important for everybody inside the team"

"We are rebranding everything inside the company now," added Frenchman Boullier.

Renault SA's official involvement in F1 this year will be limited to engine supply, with Renault Sport F1 providing V8s to customers Lotus Renault GP, Team Lotus and Red Bull.

Engineers to ensure F1 sounds 'sexy' in 2013
(GMM) F1 engineers will work with the sport's new engine formula for 2013 to create a "sexy" sound.

That is the claim of Fernando Alonso, amid fears F1's formidable engine note is not reduced to a feeble buzz after the normally-aspirated V8s roar for the last time next year.

Asked about the likely sound of the 4-cylinder turbo engines in 2013, Ferrari driver Alonso said on Thursday: "For the driver, the change will not be a big one.

"From the cockpit, we hear only 5 or 10 per cent of the ambient noise anyway," the Spaniard said at Ferrari's media event in the Italian Dolomites.

"For the fans, of course, it is important, but I am sure the engineers will work for example with the exhaust to ensure that the sound is sexy enough," added Alonso.

Anti-bribery laws to deter F1 sponsors – team lawyer
(GMM) A lawyer for Tony Fernandes' F1 outfit Team Lotus said he is worried new anti-corruption laws in the UK could put off potential sponsors.

The Bribery Act, set to come into effect in April, includes new laws that might affect formula one's culture of corporate hospitality, the Evening Standard quoted lawyer Jeremy Courtenay-Stamp as saying.

The report said Team Lotus and at least two other UK-based teams are examining the impact of the laws which carry a maximum jail term of 10 years.

Team Lotus' Courtenay-Stamp said one possible infraction relevant to F1 is the bribery of a foreign public official, while another is the failure of a company to prevent the payment of bribes.

The provision to sponsors by teams of tickets and entertainment packages could therefore be seen as a "currency of bribery".

"The sponsor may feel a little bit nervous about what they are doing in this area and cut back to the extent that they do not want to take people to races because it is deemed inappropriate," said Courtenay-Stamp.

"It will mean that much larger corporations will enter these kinds of agreements with a lot more thought and caution, and that will affect teams with a UK sponsor base," he added.

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