Latest F1 news in brief

  • Lotus insists F1 team on track
  • FIA to decide new team successors – Todt
  • FIA makes F1 role obsolete
  • Todt to leave FIA after one presidential term
  • Briatore still guilty of race-fixing – Todt
  • F1 return idea for Raikkonen 'interesting' – Red Bull
  • Hollywood to make F1 feature documentary

Lotus insists F1 team on track
(GMM) Another new team has moved to reject speculation that a lack of funding could thwart its formula one foray.

Rumors questioning the health of the USF1 and Campos entrants have been widespread, but especially within Malaysia, the new Lotus team is also subject to those who wonder if it has the money to compete throughout 2010.

UK based Lotus, owned and financed by a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs, was hoping to secure the sponsorship of the oil company Petronas, who instead elected to back Mercedes GP.

Despite the links with the carmaker Proton and the Sepang circuit, the Malaysian government has clarified that it is not funding Lotus, and the sports car marque Lotus Cars has also distanced itself from the F1 team.

The 2010 livery is not likely to feature the sponsorship logos of third party backers, but the car is due to be debuted at Silverstone on Tuesday, before it joins the third group test at Jerez next week.

Responding to the negative speculation about Lotus, chief executive Riad Asmat said: "I think we're due a little bit more credit.

"So far, of the new teams, only Virgin and us have our cars ready and we will be on the grid in Bahrain," he told the New Straits Times.

The 2010 Lotus car will be launched publicly in London on Friday.

FIA to decide new team successors – Todt
(GMM) FIA president Jean Todt has confirmed reports that F1 teams may sit out three grands prix in 2010 without penalty.

Amid speculation that some of the sport's four new teams are struggling to get up and running ahead of next month's Bahrain season opener, Bernie Ecclestone hinted at the measure to a British newspaper last weekend.

And he is quoted as saying by France's Auto Hebdo that Campos and USF1 are "asking to miss the first three races".

"In the last World Council the opportunity for a team to not participate in three rounds of the championship, also not consecutively, was granted," Todt is quoted as saying by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

It is believed, however, that the new entrant funding promised by Ecclestone may be jeopardized if teams do skip races.

Ecclestone is pushing hard for the Serbian hopeful Stefan GP to be first in queue to race this year should one of the confirmed teams collapse.

But Todt clarified: "If a team drops out of the championship, the insertion of a new team is not automatic.

"It is always up to the FIA to decide whether someone is eligible or not," he added.

FIA makes F1 role obsolete
(GMM) The FIA has made obsolete the position of a formula one veteran.

Under the new presidency of Jean Todt, Canadian Pat Behar will no longer be the photographer's delegate for the governing body.

Finland's Turun Sanomat said the removal of the role, to instead be handled by the individual organizers of each grand prix, is due to cost cutting.

Todt to leave FIA after one presidential term
(GMM) Jean Todt says he has no intention of trying to emulate Max Mosley in retaining the FIA presidency for many years.

The Frenchman, formerly the boss of the famous F1 team Ferrari, was elected to succeed Mosley by the sport's governing body last October.

"I will stay for only one office (term), it's crazy to think Mosley was there for 16 years," the 63-year-old is quoted as saying by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I have other things I want to do and life is too short," added Todt, whose term will end in late 2013.

Todt was famous for his high anxiety when in charge of Peugeot and Ferrari, even to the point of needing to wear bandages on his fingertips when sitting on the pitwall.

"The stress is not diminished (as FIA president), just different," he admitted.

"Compared to Peugeot and Ferrari, the only difference was that I was well paid to work there! Instead, I do this for my passion and to make a contribution to the sport that I love," said Todt.

Briatore still guilty of race-fixing – Todt
(GMM) Jean Todt is convinced Flavio Briatore was guilty of fixing the 2008 Singapore grand prix.

Briatore, banned for life from motor racing by the FIA's World Motor Sport Council under the former presidency of Max Mosley, recently won a French legal bid to have the sanction declared illegal and overturned.

But now that Frenchman Todt, 63, has succeeded Mosley, the FIA new president insists that Briatore remains guilty.

"Proof? The facts were so obvious that someone (Pat Symonds) apologized," Todt told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"At the World Council, there was only one vote against the penalty," he revealed.

The loophole that allowed Briatore to overturn his ban is that senior team personnel do not actually hold FIA licenses, meaning the governing body does not have the ability to revoke them.

"We shall return to the issue, especially on the matter of licenses, so that all teams managers have to hold them," Todt confirmed.

He added that the Paris court only invalidated the Briatore verdict due to the "procedural" technicalities.

Meanwhile, Todt indicated that he is opposed to Mosley's budget caps, believing cost cutting can be better achieved "through the regulations".

"For example, there should be an unique aerodynamic package for the entire year," he said.

"It will cause grip problems in Monaco? Even better, we will see the skills of the drivers!"

F1 return idea for Raikkonen 'interesting' – Red Bull
(GMM) The idea of Kimi Raikkonen returning to formula one in 2011 with Red Bull is "interesting".

That is the admission of Dr Helmut Marko, the energy drink company's motor sport advisor to team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

Having agreed to make room at Ferrari for Fernando Alonso this year, Finn Raikkonen, the 30-year-old world champion of 2007, elected to switch to WRC in 2010 rather than accept an offer from McLaren.

He is driving a works Citroen C4, but his salary is being paid for by major sponsor Red Bull.

It is therefore rumored that, with Mark Webber's contract expiring at the end of 2010, Raikkonen could become Sebastian Vettel's teammate next season.

"He (Raikkonen) has a contract with Red Bull, let's wait and see how this develops," Austrian Marko is quoted as saying by the Dutch website

"We have a large Red Bull family so there are many options," he added. "We will have to see how he goes in rallying and what he wants to do.

"But the idea is at least interesting," added Marko.

Since deciding to switch to the WRC, Raikkonen has said he has no regrets, and is enjoying the discipline's challenge, variety, lack of murky politics and the camaraderie of his rivals.

When asked this week by the Independent newspaper if he is missing F1, the Finn shrugged: "For me it does not matter.

"I do not follow it closely — I just read it in the papers like you."

Hollywood to make F1 feature documentary
(GMM) A documentary about the world of formula one is set to hit the big screen.

Modern efforts to make a movie about the sport have famously foundered, and so a trio of producers have come together to turn out a feature documentary.

The producers – Spitfire Documentary Films, Diamond Docs and Flat-Out Films – intend their film to span the history and evolution of the sport.

Spitfire was involved with Martin Scorsese's renowned Bob Dylan documentary 'No Direction Home'.

"Our goal is to achieve a big-screen action documentary experience with all of the style and charisma of the era," said Flat-Out Films' Michael Shevloff.

Interviews for the documentary, which reportedly has the support of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, are already underway.

Said Spitfire's Nigel Sinclair: "We are truly honored to make this film, to tell this story which has never been told."

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