Latest F1 news in brief

  • Political tension no threat to Korea GP – organizers
  • Sauber hope for better car for 2011
  • Sauber's Ferrari engine problems 'strange' – Marc Gene
  • Tester Bottas must win races for Williams future
  • No concrete talks for 2011 return yet – Villeneuve

Political tension no threat to Korea GP – organizers
(GMM) Organizers of the inaugural Korean grand prix, scheduled to be held in October, have played down renewed fears the event might be called off.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone recently checked on construction progress of the Yeongam circuit and dismissed rumors it will not be finished on time.

But political tensions between South Korea and the rogue North have since ramped up, after the South blamed the North for the sinking of a naval vessel and the North retaliated by threatening all-out war.

"If there is (war), we won't be there obviously," Ecclestone told reporters in Turkey.

The latest development on Wednesday was a news conference given by the North Korean ambassador to the UN, threatening military action if the UN condemns the sinking.

"Our people and army will smash our aggressors with merciless counter reaction if they dare to provoke us despite our repeated demands and warnings," said ambassador Sin Son Ho.

Sources recently indicated that the tension is slowing down construction of the 5.62 kilometer track, while teams are currently reluctant to charter equipment to Korea or book airline seats or hotel rooms. xxxx

But in a media statement, the race promoter Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) dismissed the speculation.

"We are extremely pleased with the progress of the circuit, facilities, and preparations for the grand prix," said chief executive Yung Cho Chung.

"Construction is on schedule for completion this summer, and we have encountered no obstacles whatsoever, either logistical or political," he added.

Sauber hope for better car for 2011
(GMM) Sauber must now turn its attention to designing a much better car for next season.

That was the assessment of team owner and boss Peter Sauber in the wake of last weekend's Canadian grand prix.

After an uncompetitive and unreliable start to the post-BMW period this year, there had been signs of a recovery until Montreal, where the C29 was faster only than the three new teams.

"We are only able to tinker with this car," Sauber, 66, is quoted as saying by the veteran Blick correspondent Roger Benoit.

"It was an unpleasant parting gift from BMW and Willy Rampf," he added. "All our hopes rest now with the C30 for next year."

Pedro de la Rosa has already confirmed he is on the market for a job for 2011, while the Japanese rookie Kamui Kobayashi has also been unconvincing.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport gave the 23-year-old a "1 out of 10" for the Canada weekend, after almost being outqualified by a Lotus and then crashing on the first lap.

"Kamui came into my office and apologized immediately," Sauber revealed. "Okay, that is the price one pays if one goes to the line with a rookie."

Sauber's Ferrari engine problems 'strange' – Marc Gene
(GMM) After a dismal Montreal weekend for the Swiss team, boss Peter Sauber admitted the C29 car is not a good one.

But the 66-year-old has also been quoted indicating that he is not happy with the ongoing poor reliability of the customer Ferrari engine.

"Five problems with the Ferrari engine in eight races is unacceptable. At this rate we will need more than eight engines per driver for the season.

"We need better reliability," he is quoted by the Swiss newspaper Blick.

In Canada, Pedro de la Rosa's race ended with an unspecified engine failure.

Earlier in 2010, both Sauber and the works team were struggling with poor reliability, but Maranello based Ferrari were given FIA clearance to implement a fix.

"Ferrari has solved its problems with the engines but Sauber has again had a failure," Ferrari test driver Marc Gene wrote in his post-Canada column for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

"It is an issue that will be analyzed thoroughly by the team," he added.

"Two months ago there was a basic reason, but now … it is very strange," wrote Gene. "They will need to work to analyze it with Ferrari."

The Spaniard seemed to indicate that Sauber's ongoing engine problems are probably related to the C29 car.

"It is surprising that (Ferrari powered) Toro Rosso have never had a problem," said Gene.

Tester Bottas must win races for Williams future
(GMM) Williams' new test driver must start winning races if he is to progress further in formula one.

That is the admission of the Grove based team's technical director Sam Michael, referring to Williams' 2010 test and reserve driver Valtteri Bottas.

The 20-year-old Finn is also contesting this year's F3 Euroseries, and he drove in the same series last year as well as British F3, but has won no races so far.

Earlier this month, however, Bottas did win the F3 Masters event at Zandvoort, as he also did in 2009.

"Of course, it was a brilliant performance," Michael is quoted by the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.

"Valtteri is the first person to have won the event twice and the Masters has always meant a lot to Williams.

"But he knows what he needs to do. We all expect him to win the Euroseries and hopefully he will do it soon," added Sam Michael.

"Valterri is a clever guy and he knows that he has to start winning races in F3, and only then will we look together at the next stage."

No concrete talks for 2011 return yet – Villeneuve
(GMM) Jacques Villeneuve has admitted he is not yet in talks with any teams about making a return to formula one.

The French Canadian, who came close to driving for the hopeful Serbian outfit Stefan GP this season, said last weekend he will make a final effort to find a seat for 2011.

"I am working on it more than ever, and for that reason I have postponed a participation in the NASCAR circuit," 1997 world champion Villeneuve, who turns 40 early next year, said in an interview with Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten.

Stefan GP, however, seems unlikely to be on the grid any time soon, and Renault team boss Eric Boullier said recently that he is not interested in signing Villeneuve.

Asked if there are already "concrete negotiations" with any teams, he answered: "No, nothing concrete, because it's too early in the season.

"There are some positive contacts. If the Stefan project had worked out, I would be driving in F1 already this year."

Villeneuve acknowledged that a place with a top team is not initially likely.

"I have a longer term plan," he said. "The most important thing is to get inside, and then you can look around and find the right place."

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