Latest F1 news in brief

  • Schu agreed F1 return without manager Weber
  • Europe's extreme winter could affect F1 testing
  • Ecclestone hints at F1 future for Saab
  • USF1 not asking to sit out early 2010 races
  • Spokesman confirms Hamilton/Scherzinger split
  • Barrichello, Burti, complete Disney half-marathon

Schu agreed F1 return without manager Weber
(GMM) Michael Schumacher reportedly saved about EUR700,000 by negotiating his return to formula one in 2010 without the involvement of long-time manager Willi Weber.

Germany's Bild newspaper said that although the 41-year-old's career with Weber, 66, dates back to the 80s, the seven time world champion did not seek any help throughout his talks with his new team boss Ross Brawn.

"I am now old enough to take care of a few things for myself," Schumacher is quoted as saying.

The result is that the winner of a record 91 grands prix did not have to pay his usual 10 per cent commission to Weber, therefore saving about EUR700,000 this year alone.

In late December, Weber denied that he is no longer Schumacher's manager.

Schumacher confirms: "Willi Weber is and remains my manager and my friend. We cooperate as well as ever."

Bild said Weber will work on attracting more sponsors for Schumacher, whose existing commercial deals are reported to have already nearly quadrupled his EUR7 million Mercedes retainer for 2010.

Europe's extreme winter could affect F1 testing
(GMM) There is a chance bad weather will affect the forthcoming 15 scheduled days of pre-season formula one testing.

Europe is in the grip of an extreme winter, which is affecting even the usually more temperate Spain, where heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures are being recorded.

The country is scheduled to host four winter tests beginning early next month in Valencia, Jerez and Barcelona.

Bahrain has already emerged as a possible alternate venue, should the Spanish testing be affected by poor weather.

The Cologne newspaper Express reports that the French Moto2 team Tech 3 had to cancel a test at Valencia last week due to snow, bitterly cold conditions and rain.

F1's first group test of the winter is scheduled to take place at the same Ricardo Tormo circuit near Cheste beginning 1 February.

Ecclestone hints at F1 future for Saab
(GMM) Should the group involving Bernie Ecclestone succeed in buying Saab, the embattled Swedish carmaker could have a future on the formula one grid.

Since the F1 chief executive's joint bid with new Renault team owner Genii Capital emerged last week, the Times has quoted him as saying Saab "ought to be a big name in motor sport".

However, the chances that any of the three separate bidding groups will succeed appears low, after current owner General Motors decided to press ahead with winding down Saab.

After the offers were filed late last week, GM announced that AlixPartners had been appointed to supervise the winding down process.

"I honestly don't know what happens next," former Swedish deputy prime minister Jan Nygren, who is involved with one of the Saab bidders, told Bloomberg.

USF1 not asking to sit out early 2010 races
(GMM) Team sources have denied suggestions that USF1 has asked to be excused from the opening races of the 2010 season.

According to Italy's Gazzetta Sportiva, the American team has requested dispensation to sit out the flyaway rounds Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia and China in March and April, and instead make its formula one debut the following month in Barcelona.

But late on Sunday, sources close to USF1 denied the reports, instead echoing Peter Windsor's comments of last week.

The USF1 sporting director had told F1's official website: "I can't say any more than that we will definitely be on the Bahrain grid."

Two more news developments also indicate that USF1's intention to travel to Bahrain remains on track.

The team has signed Australian John Anderson, well known in American open wheel racing and most recently working with Gil de Ferran's American Le Mans team, to be its team manager.

Secondly, the team said the nose section of its 2010 car "performed well" when it was crash-tested in England last week.

Spokesman confirms Hamilton/Scherzinger split
(GMM) A spokesman representing Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger has confirmed the pair's relationship split.

He told the Sun newspaper in Britain that McLaren driver Hamilton, 25, and 31-year-old Pussycat Dolls lead singer Scherzinger had decided to focus on their careers.

"They have decided to go their separate ways," read the statement. "They want to focus fully on their careers and will remain close friends."

In mid September, Hamilton denied reports that he and Scherzinger's two-year relationship had ended.

They met in November 2007.

Barrichello, Burti, complete Disney half-marathon
(GMM) In snow and rain, Rubens Barrichello finished the Disney half-marathon in Florida at the weekend in 1668th position.

The 2010 Williams driver and formula one veteran, who finished the 2009 season in third place, is currently holidaying in the United States with his family.

He contested the Disney half-marathon, which winds through all four Walt Disney World theme parks, along with his friend, Brazilian countryman and former grand prix driver Luciano Burti.

Barrichello completed the course, finished by more than 17,000 runners, in 1h55m9s. Burti, who contested 15 GPs in 2000 and 2001 and is now a commentator for Brazilian TV, finished 1380th in 1h52m40s.

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