Latest F1 news in brief

  • No deal yet after Canada GP meeting
  • 'Witness X' sealed ousted Briatore's fate
  • Italian press slams conspiracy, revenge
  • Briatore was invited to crash-gate hearing – FIA
  • Ecclestone doubts Briatore can revive 'breakaway'
  • Singapore confirms track changes for 2010
  • New teams Campos, Manor, join FOTA

No deal yet after Canada GP meeting
(GMM) A meeting in Bernie Ecclestone's London office on Tuesday moved Canada closer to returning to the formula one calendar in 2010.

The Montreal race has been allocated a provisional date on next year's schedule, but F1 chief executive Ecclestone said after the meeting that all the documents still have not been "signed properly".

"The issues that we had were minor, but I think we've managed get around them," he is quoted as saying by

The Briton met with Michael Fortier, representing the Canadian levels of government central to the return of the event to be held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

"Negotiations continue," he said.

'Witness X' sealed ousted Briatore's fate
(GMM) A mystery Renault F1 employee, described by the World Motor Sport Council as 'witness X' and by the French team as 'the whistle blower', sealed the outcome of the crash-gate scandal.

The person, whose identity was protected in order to encourage the cooperation of whistleblowers in future, told Renault and the FIA that he was present at a meeting in Singapore last year when Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore mentioned the plan for Nelson Piquet Jr to crash deliberately.

The meeting took place supposedly before Piquet knew about the conspiracy, in the hours after qualifying. However, both Symonds and 'witness x' contend that the conspiracy was actually the Brazilian driver's idea.

Witness X, whose existence was revealed in the publication by the FIA of the World Motor Sport Council documentation, said Piquet "suggested the idea of a deliberate crash to atone for his poor performance in qualifying".

"(Witness X) objected to the idea (of the deliberate crash)," Renault said in its written submissions to Monday's hearing in Paris.

Witness X also told the FIA during interview that "Mr. (Flavio) Briatore was involved in the conspiracy".

Departed engineering director Symonds, who had declined the FIA's offer of immunity and also the invitation to appear in Paris, did submit a letter to the Council, in which he sadly acknowledged "my role in this incident".

In recordings of the hearing also released by the FIA, Renault's lawyer Ali Malek QC confirmed that the team – but not Briatore – has withdrawn its French criminal proceedings against Piquet.

Malek also admitted that Renault had given "very serious consideration" about its commitment to F1, but ultimately decided to stay in the sport.

In answer to a question by Bernie Ecclestone, he also confirmed that Briatore and Symonds would have been sacked if they had not voluntarily resigned.

It also emerged that Sir Frank Williams, who has historical links with the French carmaker and may also be coveting an engine supply for 2010, wrote a letter to the Council in support of Renault.

Italian press slams conspiracy, revenge
(GMM) While the British media slammed the leniency of Renault's crash-gate penalty, in Italy the press corps hit out at an alleged conspiracy and act of vengeance against Flavio Briatore.

La Gazzetta dello Sport also lashed out at Renault's lack of loyalty to the 59-year-old Briton, who has been banned for life from either entering a paddock or managing a driver.

"Renault did not hesitate to throw away the man who gave the team four world championship titles, only in the hope of getting off with a mild sanction," said the Italian sports daily.

Corriere dello Sport added: "The (FIA) judgment stinks; that was revenge. In order to save Renault, he took the responsibility for this whole affair. Nelson Piquet escapes with his dirty work accomplished and his revenge achieved."

The major Italian broadsheet La Repubblica charged: "Briatore pays for everything, Renault saves itself."

Said Tuttosport, another Italian sports newspaper: "In the Piquet case, only Briatore pays. He is the victim of a conspiracy.

"The latest black chapter in F1's history has the flavor of revenge against Briatore," added the publication, referring to the former Renault boss' leading stance against Max Mosley amid the recent breakaway threats.

The Milan-based daily Corriere della Sera said: "Mosley got his revenge at the Place de la Concorde, where during the French revolution the guillotine stood."

Briatore was invited to crash-gate hearing – FIA
(GMM) If Flavio Briatore attempts to sue the FIA for ending his career in motor racing, his case may be doomed by his failure to attend Monday's World Motor Sport Council hearing.

Documents released by the governing body confirm that the 59-year-old Italian, who emerged with the harshest penalty in the 'crash-gate' scandal, was invited to appear in Paris before the 26-member panel decided his fate.

FIA president Max Mosley said Briatore, as well as co-conspirator Pat Symonds, have 14 days to request the decision now be referred to the International Court of Appeal.

But media speculation suggests the departed Renault boss may instead turn to ordinary courts.

"Whether he sues in Paris or in an English court, he is going to have to give an explanation for why he did not defend himself (on Monday)," leading British sports lawyer Kuldip Singh QC told The Times.

The FIA has confirmed that it was Briatore's continual denials of involvement in the saga, in the face of overwhelming evidence, that caused the Council to so harshly punish him.

The governing body said that when Briatore was invited in writing to attend on Monday, he "instead (argued) in a letter from his lawyer that he is not a license holder and is not required to account to the FIA".

Said Bernie Ecclestone, F1's chief executive, a World Motor Sport Council member and a prominent friend and business partner of Briatore: "I tell you one thing, an apology from him might have helped.

"I think it was pretty well established that he knew what was going on," the 78-year-old added.

Ecclestone doubts Briatore can revive 'breakaway'
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is a known friend and business partner of Flavio Briatore, but he doubts the disgraced Italian's next rumored move is a good one.

In the wake of 59-year-old Briatore's lifetime ban from any involvement in motor racing, the Italian press sensed a conspiracy and reported that Briatore might now commence legal action and resurrect his plans for a 'breakaway' formula one series.

Briatore, formerly a leading figure of the carmaker-dominated FOTA group, was a major engine of the push to form an alternate championship amid the rules war with FIA president Max Mosley.

But Ecclestone told The Times newspaper that if the breakaway could not be established amid the turmoil of earlier this year, Briatore's chance of success is even smaller now.

"Well, he's going to find it difficult because the FIA controls most of the circuits, the key people and everything else," the F1 chief executive said.

"When he had a following wind earlier this year, he couldn't get it done so it's going to be even harder now. He wouldn't get a following from the people that matter," Ecclestone added.

The FIA's ban would also be an obstacle for Briatore, with the Paris body saying it will never "sanction any International Event, Championship, Cup, Trophy, Challenge or Series involving Mr. Briatore in any capacity whatsoever".

Ecclestone said he feels sorry for Briatore, and revealed that he informed the flamboyant Italian of the World Motor Sport Council's decision by telephone.

"I thought the punishment was probably a bit harsh but I don't know how it can be changed. I don't think he deserved it. I think he should have had his hand slapped," the Briton said.

Singapore confirms track changes for 2010
(GMM) The organizers of the Singapore grand prix have confirmed that changes have been made to the Marina Bay street circuit since F1's inaugural night race a year ago.

Earlier this year, the organizers revealed that some corners would be slightly modified to improve overtaking, a better road surface installed in places to remove bumps, and a dedicated pit entry and exit installed in the name of safety.

In addition to other changes, the troublesome turn 10 chicane has been tweaked to make it slower, and the curbs on all three apexes redesigned.

New teams Campos, Manor, join FOTA
(GMM) Two of the new formula one teams for 2010, Campos and USF1, have confirmed that they have been accepted to join the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA).

FOTA said recently that all new teams are eligible to join. It is believed that Manor has also joined the alliance, and that the new Malaysian-owned Lotus outfit will also sign up shortly.

It is further believed that the new teams will be represented when FOTA gathers to meet at the verge of the Singapore grand prix this week.

Peter Windsor told GP Week that USF1 is now a FOTA member, and was asked about the rumors that the team is behind schedule in its preparations for 2010.

"I think some people are wondering what we're up to … Visit us in November/December and you'll see a great F1 facility working on some beautiful race cars at 100 per cent commitment level," he answered.

The Spanish news agency EFE said it will be team owner and boss Adrian Campos who will represent his new Spanish team at the Singapore FOTA meeting.

Campos also revealed that a FIA delegation visited his team's headquarters last week as the sport's governing body inspects the progress of the sport's newest entries.

He also said: "We are very content with the work that Cosworth is carrying out in the development of the engine. We are sure that we will have a great engine that will allow us to fulfill the objectives of our F1 debut."

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