Latest F1 news in brief

  • Ecclestone 'disappointed' Liuzzi to replace Fisi
  • Ferrari calls press to Santander announcement
  • New drivers to get in-season test in 2010
  • Fisichella could still race in 2010
  • Schu back in saddle of motorbike racer
  • Berger pulled out because Toro Rosso not winning team
  • Haug plays down Mercedes engine superiority

Ecclestone 'disappointed' Liuzzi to replace Fisi
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone thinks Force India should have replaced the Ferrari-bound Giancarlo Fisichella with an Indian national.

The F1 chief executive admitted recently he had hoped India, one of the world's burgeoning economies, would have become more involved with his sport.

Ecclestone, 78, clearly attributes India's lack of corporate interest partly due to the fact Force India has so far fielded foreign drivers.

And with Fisichella departing to Ferrari for the last five races of 2009, boss Mallya has decided to replace him with another Italian, the team's reserve driver Vitantonio Liuzzi.

"I was hoping Vijay would give Karun a chance," Ecclestone told Hindustan Times.

The Briton is referring to the Indian Karun Chandhok, a 25-year-old who races in the support series GP2 and has tested with Red Bull Racing.

Ecclestone said of Force India's billionaire boss Mallya: "I'm a little disappointed that he has put the Italian guy (Liuzzi) in. Whether he has to do this by contract I don't know, but I would have liked to see Karun in the car."

He hopes India can stage its inaugural grand prix in 2011, and believes having Chandhok in the Force India would have boosted that prospect.

"We need to get Karun in the formula one car quickly," said Ecclestone. "And he has got the talent and the ability, so it's a case of somebody just getting on and doing it now."

Ferrari calls press to Santander announcement
(GMM) International media have been invited to a press conference at which the Spanish bank Santander will almost certainly be confirmed as a major new multi-year sponsor of the Ferrari team beginning in 2010.

The Italian team, also expected to have signed with Fernando Alonso for 2010, said both Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and Santander's Emilio Botin will be present for the announcement at Monza.

Santander is currently a McLaren sponsor, in a deal dating back to Alonso's move to the British team two years ago.

Despite Santander's new Ferrari alliance being announced at Monza, however, it is not expected that Alonso's move from Renault to the famous Maranello squad will be announced until later this year.

New drivers to get in-season test in 2010
(GMM) F1's testing agreement will be slightly modified for 2010 so that new or returning drivers can get some experience of their cars prior to racing.

According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, if a team wants or needs to alter its race line-up during the 2010 season, a one-day test for the replacement will be excluded from the total ban on proper in-season circuit testing.

Drivers eligible for the measure this year would have been Michael Schumacher, Luca Badoer, Vitantonio Liuzzi and rookies Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean.

To prevent abuse of the measure, in situations like that of Schumacher – who ultimately did not return to race – his test day would have been deleted from Ferrari's allocation of testing for the subsequent season.

Fisichella could still race in 2010
(GMM) Despite already signing to be Ferrari's reserve driver in 2010, Giancarlo Fisichella has not withdrawn from the market to remain on next year's grand prix grid.

The Roman's move to replace the injured Felipe Massa, as well as his ongoing contract with the famous Italian team, has been interpreted in the media as a sign Fisichella's long race career is shortly to end.

But the 36-year-old told Italy's La Stampa newspaper: "For the moment I am focused on scoring points in order to defend Ferrari's third place in the constructors' championship.

"And then, if Ferrari is in agreement, in 2010 I could race with another team," Fisichella added.

It also emerges that Fisichella will work alongside Felipe Massa's regular race engineer Rob Smedley during his five-race Ferrari stint. Fisichella worked with Briton Smedley at Jordan in 2002-3.

Schu back in saddle of motorbike racer
(GMM) Despite calling off his formula one comeback due to lingering neck injuries after a motorcycle testing fall, Michael Schumacher has returned to the saddle of a two-wheeled racer.

Bild newspaper said the seven time world champion tested on Monday with the German Superbike team Holzhauer at the Circuit de Bresse in France.

"It was purely a private motorcycle test with friends," 40-year-old Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said. "And it was not his first ride since the accident (in February).

"Michael has a lot of fun driving motorcycles and that is not going to change," she added.

Berger pulled out because Toro Rosso not winning team
(GMM) Gerhard Berger has revealed that he pulled out of formula one at the end of last year because it was clear he would not be returning to the podium as a winning constructor.

At the end of the 2008 season, the former grand prix winner sold back his 50 per cent share in Faenza based Toro Rosso to Dietrich Mateschitz, despite only a few months prior sharing the top step of the podium with the team's debut winner Sebastian Vettel at Monza.

Asked by Germany's Sport Bild if he regrets the decision to pull out, 50-year-old Berger answered: "No, because while Toro Rosso was planned as Red Bull's junior team, I absolutely wanted to win races.

"With Sebastian Vettel we did that. But then all the concentration was going to be on Red Bull with Toro Rosso going back into the junior role.

"That is not my philosophy," said Berger.

Toro Rosso is currently busily preparing for the 2010 season, in which for the first time the outfit must design and build its own car rather than receiving the design and components from Red Bull Technology in Milton-Keynes (UK).

"Red Bull was financing us and unfortunately I was not in the situation to find sponsors with whom I could bring Toro Rosso to the level of a top team. So it made no sense for me to continue," Berger explained.

"I never want to play second fiddle. If there is no chance for success it's no longer fun for me. Now Christian Horner is having that fun with Red Bull," he added.

Haug plays down Mercedes engine superiority
(GMM) Norbert Haug has played down the apparent superiority of Mercedes-Benz's formula one engine.

Between the Brawn and McLaren teams, the Brixworth (UK)-built V8 units – also fitted to the Force India car – have won eight of the twelve grands prix so far in 2009, and speculation indicates both Red Bull and Williams may also want to use the engines next year.

But Haug, the German manufacturer's motor racing director, told Auto Motor und Sport that it is simplistic to say therefore that Mercedes' is clearly F1's best engine.

"It is a fairytale if anyone says we have 30 horse power, or three tenths more, in our engine.

"Of course we wouldn't mind if that was true, but actually there are not such big differences (between the different engines)," said Haug.

Amid the current freeze in engine development, the FIA keeps a close eye on differences in performance, having for example allowed Renault to catch up with its rivals at the end of last season.

Haug confirmed the FIA's interest in this area and said the governing body uses tools including "sound analysis" to gauge precisely the ongoing state of affairs.

The German also played down the rumblings about fuel consumption, after Giancarlo Fisichella and Kimi Raikkonen suggested after their Belgian GP battle that the Mercedes uses less fuel per lap than its rival engines.

Haug suggests there are different reasons for Raikkonen's Ferrari using apparently much more fuel than Fisichella's Mercedes at Spa.

"At the start Raikkonen was using his tires more aggressively than Fisichella. That costs you a lot of fuel," he said.

"Additionally you don't know how much fuel was still in his (Raikkonen's) tank (at the pitstop). Maybe the Force India was empty and the Ferrari had some left. You also don't know if all the cars are exactly on the (605kg) weight limit."

Leave a Reply