Latest F1 news in brief

  • Lotus aims for driver announcement next week
  • Around the net: F1 on Wednesday Dec. 2nd
  • Carroll reveals 2010 talks with new F1 team
  • Speedy Soucek wants F1 seat in 2010
  • Virgin/Manor deal, Tai as team boss, to be revealed
  • Canada GP boss vows to help Villeneuve return
  • Plug pulled on French GP project
  • Hulkenberg admits Ferrari talks in 2009
  • Toyota quiet on Stefan GP takeover reports

Lotus aims for driver announcement next week
(GMM) An announcement about the driver lineup for the new F1 team Lotus is nearing.

The team's chief executive Riad Asmat told Malaysia's Star newspaper that the target is for an announcement next week.

"We will name two drivers and a reserve. Negotiations are still going on," he said.

Asmat also stated that the 2010 car will be tested in February at the Sepang circuit.

It is expected that Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy will be the reserve driver, and among the reported candidates for the race seats are Jarno Trulli, Kamui Kobayashi, Takuma Sato and Jacques Villeneuve.

Around the net: F1 on Wednesday Dec. 2nd
(GMM) Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg to drive Williams cars next week for promotional filming at Qatar's Losail circuit:

Photo of Jenson Button training in Lanzarote:

Photo of Ferrari team at Jerez test welcoming 'piccolo Felipe' (little Felipe) into the world, after the birth of Felipe Massa's son:

Photo of strange device attached to the front wing and nose of the Red Bull at Tuesday's Jerez test:

Murray Walker named world's best sports commentator, and Martin Brundle in the top 6:

Bob Bell remains Renault team principal for now (Dutch):

Carroll reveals 2010 talks with new F1 team
(GMM) Adam Carroll has revealed he is in talks about becoming a formula one race driver in 2010.

The Irishman and reigning A1GP champion, who has recently been linked with a pay drive at Manor/Virgin, told the Belfast Telegraph he is "in the middle of negotiations" with one of the sport's four new teams.

"I'm hopeful of winning a drive and making the final step to the top of the sport," said Carroll, who is 27.

Manor/Virgin has already signed former Toyota racer Timo Glock, and boss John Booth hinted last weekend that Brazilian Lucas di Grassi is favorite for the other race seat.

"Hopefully, we should be able to announce the second driver in a couple of weeks," he was quoted as saying.

Speedy Soucek wants F1 seat in 2010
(GMM) New F2 champion Andy Soucek has staked a claim for a 2010 formula one race debut by outpacing eleven other young hopefuls as the Jerez test began on Tuesday.

At the wheel of a Williams, the 24-year-old was quicker than likely 2010 Force India reserve driver Paul di Resta, who is currently a Mercedes driver in DTM, as well as the seasoned McLaren test driver Gary Paffett.

Among those also circulating at the Spanish circuit on Tuesday were (in order of pace) Red Bull's likely 2010 reserve driver and new British F3 champion Daniel Ricciardo, and the highly-regarded new F3 Euroseries champion Jules Bianchi, who was driving a Ferrari.

The New Zealand press, meanwhile, was hard on its 20-year-old Brendon Hartley, who after a spin and the slowest time of the day was immortalized with the headline 'Hartley bombs out'.

The Spanish Austrian Soucek, however, said after Tuesday's running: "I think I deserve a seat in formula one next year."

"I am speaking with teams," the Spanish daily AS quoted him as adding, amid suggestions he is well backed by sponsors.

Virgin/Manor deal, Tai as team boss, to be revealed
(GMM) Official confirmation of Virgin's takeover of the new formula one team Manor is expected imminently.

The FIA reinforced one of F1's worst-kept secrets this week when it was revealed that Manor would be called 'Virgin Racing' in 2010.

Another major hint about the heavy involvement of billionaire Sir Richard Branson's in the plans is that Alex Tai, a high-ranking Virgin executive, is the only name associated with the Manor team on the executive committee of the F1 teams' alliance FOTA.

It is expected that Tai, rather than Manor boss John Booth, will be Virgin Racing's team principal.

Also interesting is that, for $280 million, Virgin has sold 32 per cent of its new space program Virgin Galactic to AABAR, the new part-owner with Mercedes of the Brawn team.

Alex Tai's latest post at Virgin was in charge of the space flights arm.

Canada GP boss vows to help Villeneuve return
(GMM) The new promoter of the Canadian grand prix has vowed to try to help Jacques Villeneuve secure a return to formula one in 2010.

French Canadian Villeneuve, the now 38-year-old world champion of 1997 who left BMW-Sauber and the sport three years ago, has been linked with the new Malaysian-owned Lotus team.

Francois Dumontier, whose company Octane Racing Group is the new promoter of Montreal's Canadian grand prix held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, admitted that having Villeneuve back on the grid would be good for the event.

"I can't deny that if Jacques is back in a formula one car it will help the grand prix," he told the National Post.

"People here love him. We saw how popular he is when he raced NASCAR here. I would be fan no.1 if Jacques is back in a Lotus car and if we can help him, that's what we'll do," added Dumontier.

Plug pulled on French GP project
(GMM) Organizers of a new venue for the French grand prix have pulled the plug.

After the demise of the Magny Cours event, and also the alternative Disneyland Paris project, it was reported earlier this year that the latest Flins-Les-Mureaux foray had also struck political trouble.

"I really feel that we were not as supported as I had hoped," Alain Schmidt, president of the Conseil General of the French department Yvelines, is quoted as saying in French language reports.

Schmidt was elected last July.

"Having consulted all the stakeholders, I have decided, in agreement with the conseil, to abandon construction of a formula one circuit," he added.

The reports said a return to Magny Cours or a project called Le Pole Val de France, in the Sarcelles/Val d'Oise region, are the next best hopes for France's return to the F1 calendar.

Hulkenberg admits Ferrari talks in 2009
(GMM) Nico Hulkenberg has revealed that talks earlier this year could have led to his formula one race debut at the wheel of Ferrari's 2009 car.

In the wake of Felipe Massa's Hungary accident and the demise of his initial replacements Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer, 22-year-old Hülkenberg’s name was among the many linked with the cockpit.

The German, who is the new GP2 champion, has now told the SID news agency that the reports of talks with the famous Italian team were correct.

"There was certainly interest and enquiries," said Hulkenberg, who will make his F1 debut in 2010 with Williams and will be in action for the British team this week at Jerez.

"On one hand I was very eager to do it," he admitted, "but on the other hand it would have been two half-stories: GP2 and formula one.

"In the end I was able to focus on GP2 and win the title and now I enter F1 with the appropriate preparation. It's probably good that it did not work out," said Hulkenberg.

Toyota quiet on Stefan GP takeover reports
(GMM) A Toyota spokesman has declined to comment on recent reports the Japanese carmaker's F1 project could be taken over by a Serbian entrant.

Stefan GP boss Zoran Stefanovic, also chief of the Belgrade-based engineering company AMCO, is quoted by the German language Express publication as saying some sort of agreement has been reached.

The withdrawing Toyota can theoretically sell its outfit and therefore avoid a reported multi million euro fine for breaching the Concorde Agreement.

But Sauber is also hoping to secure the thirteenth and final spot on the 2010 grid.

"An announcement will be made regarding this entry in due course," the FIA said on Monday.

Express reports that 'spy-gate' conspirator Mike Coughlan may be involved with the Stefan GP foray, but for now Toyota is staying quiet on the takeover reports.

"So long as AMCO does not have an entry for next year, it's all speculation that we do not comment on," said Andy Fuchs, Toyota Motorsport GmbH communications boss.

Leave a Reply