Latest F1 news in brief

  • Sauber to know about 2010 entry 'next week'
  • Raikkonen frustrated by halted Ferrari development
  • Villeneuve still pushing for 2010 F1 return
  • Fisi disappointed with Ferrari struggle
  • Ecclestone says F1 owner CVC supports him

Sauber to know about 2010 entry 'next week'
(GMM) BMW-Sauber will soon discover if its place on the 2010 grid is guaranteed.

The FIA recently granted the 13th and final guaranteed team spot to Lotus, because fellow applicant BMW-Sauber had still not secured its funding following the announced withdrawal of its German carmaker owner.

However, later that very same day, the Hinwil based team announced it had been sold to the mysterious Qadbak group, even though it is only on standby to race next year if a confirmed team pulls out or the grid is expanded to accommodate 28 cars.

When asked when BMW-Sauber will definitely know about its 2010 entry, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone answered in Singapore: "Next week probably. They need to know."

Raikkonen frustrated by halted Ferrari development
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen in Singapore expressed frustration about the reasons for his low qualifying position for Sunday's floodlit race.

The Finn qualified just 13th on the Marina Bay street circuit, while his new teammate Giancarlo Fisichella continued to struggle to adapt to the F60 and is a lowly 18th on the grid.

"We have decided to stop the development of the car and we are paying for it more race by race," Raikkonen is quoted as saying by the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

"I don't know if it was the right decision or not, you should ask the team," he added. "But we are fighting for third in the championship, not the first place."

Raikkonen predicted that the F60 will also suffer in the sweeping curves of the Suzuka circuit next weekend, but perform better at Interlagos next month.

Villeneuve still pushing for 2010 F1 return
(GMM) Jacques Villeneuve this weekend is making yet another visit to a formula one paddock, and he told the French daily Le Parisien that he is "reasonably optimistic" of securing a return to the grid in 2010.

Now 38, the French Canadian left the sport in 2006, following a disappointing run with the BMW/Sauber, Renault, BAR and Williams teams dating back to his season as reigning champion in 1998.

Villeneuve is now pushing for one of the potentially 28 seats in next year's championship, and admitted he hopes to know if he has been successful "before Christmas".

"F1 is like a love affair; something always interests you more when it is taken away."

Villeneuve said his goal is to "be competitive" and a "hero" to his children, "just as my father was to me".

He insisted that his objective for the Singapore weekend was not to have "negotiations" but rather to socialize with the important figures of the F1 world.

"I am not yet at the point of negotiations, but there is some interest," Villeneuve added.

He believes he would fit in with the trend of the F1 regulations, with slick tires, reducing budgets and the 2010 ban on refueling.

"With the new rules, the work will resemble much more what was going on in the 90s," said Villeneuve. "The work with your engineers will be more important for developing the car.

"I always used less fuel and tires than my teammates. It is an era that would suit me."

He said he is hoping to be able to finalize his plans by Christmas.

"I do not want to wait a long time, because I am also working on opportunities in the United States. A time will come when I will probably have to make a choice.

"You can't sign a contract a week before the first grand prix. It is necessary to prepare," Villeneuve explained.

Fisi disappointed with Ferrari struggle
(GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella was bitterly and visibly disappointed after qualifying a lowly 18th for his second grand prix at the wheel of a Ferrari.

The Roman veteran had an uncompetitive weekend at Monza two weeks ago after replacing the hapless Luca Badoer, but had expected a step forward on the Singapore streets.

"Unfortunately the improvement has not come," Fisichella is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.

"The track is very bumpy, the walls are extremely close and I am missing the confidence when I am braking," he explained.

Fisichella said he is losing most of the lap time compared with his teammate Kimi Raikkonen under braking.

"Every time I come to a braking point I think, 'This is a Ferrari, not a Force India'. You have to brake differently and change down the gears later.

"The field is so close together and (the cars) look alike but they are completely different," he continued. "The best thing for me would be a full test day so I can get some more confidence."

Fisichella said the problem is not Ferrari's engine, with many commentators believing the Mercedes he has raced for most of 2009 is clearly the best in the field.

"The power (of the two engines) is about the same but the drivability of the Ferrari is better," said the 36-year-old.

Fisichella's former teammate Adrian Sutil sympathizes with the Italian.

"I don't know what I would have done in the same situation (of being offered a Ferrari seat)," the German said. "It would be a difficult decision.

"I am glad that I sat in the Force India at Monza and got my points," he added.

Ecclestone says F1 owner CVC supports him
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has played down the danger to his role in charge of formula one posed by Sir Martin Sorrell, an outspoken director of F1's commercial rights owner CVC.

Ecclestone is the chief executive of CVC's F1-related companies, and has twice this year been harshly criticized by Sorrell; first for the now-infamous Hitler remarks, and now for urging Flavio Briatore to fight his lifelong ban for cheating.

But even though Sorrell is an outspoken critic, Ecclestone denied that his views carry much weight with the real decision-makers at CVC.

"CVC are supportive of me," the Briton is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph. "They always have been. Martin is a non-executive director. Nothing more than that.

"But if he does not like the way things work I've got an idea: why doesn't he come in to run it? How long would it last then?" the 78-year-old charged.

Ecclestone is also critical of Sorrell's musings about the CVC business from afar, arguing that he has no right to publicly debate the sport's affairs.

"I am on the World Motor Sport Council. I was in Paris while he was probably back in London. How can he know all the evidence? I don't want to say what Martin is. I'm sure I would get a writ," he added.

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