Latest F1 news in brief

  • Todt hits back at Vatanen in war of words
  • Alguersuari to keep racing in World Series
  • Palmer defends Williams after F2 fatality
  • Webber, Trulli, to stay with same F1 teams
  • Alonso to Ferrari move 'logical' – Weber

Todt hits back at Vatanen in war of words
(GMM) The battle to succeed Max Mosley is hotting up, after Ari Vatanen on Monday accused fellow presidential candidate Jean Todt of receiving favoritism in the form of FIA funding.

Independent contender Vatanen, who is taking on incumbent Mosley's preferred heir Todt in the late October election, said the Frenchman flies around the world "with his girlfriend" in a "private plane".

"In fact, he is doing a campaign totally supported and paid (for by the) FIA," the Finn added.

A spokesman for Todt, the former Ferrari boss, told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper that the 63-year-old did not want to get involved in a war of words.

But he did move to clarify former European Parliamentarian Vatanen's assertion that Todt and his partner Michelle Yeoh's work as global ambassadors for FIA campaigns are anything other than above board.

"As (Vatanen) is a trustee of the (FIA) foundation, it's unclear why Ari has misrepresented the campaign's achievements and Michelle's participation in this way," the spokesman said.

The spokesman also denied that the couple's recent trip to Africa was "at the expense of the FIA".

Alguersuari to keep racing in World Series
(GMM) Jaime Alguersuari's boss has confirmed reports the 19-year-old plans to split his time between formula one and an existing race commitment for the rest of the 2009 season.

The young Spaniard currently races in the World Series by Renault, most recently at Le Mans last weekend where he finished the two events in fourth and third positions respectively.

On Monday Toro Rosso announced he has been selected to replace the ousted Sebastien Bourdais as of this weekend's Hungarian grand prix.

"Jaime intends to continue racing with us in World Series this year, but obviously his F1 commitments will take priority," Carlin Motorsport chief Trevor Carlin confirmed.

The next World Series outing is in Portugal during F1's August summer break, and the final two rounds of the single seater category also do not clash with the grand prix calendar.

Alguersuari also raced with Carlin in 2008, becoming the youngest ever British F3 champion.

Palmer defends Williams after F2 fatality
(GMM) A devastated Jonathan Palmer has moved to defend Williams and the safety of the relaunched series amid rumors the standards of the British team's formula two car design contributed to the death of Henry Surtees.

The F2 single seaters driven by the 18-year-old Briton and the entire field this season were penned and built at Williams' Grove headquarters.

Reports suggested that it was the lack of F1-style tethers that led to the flying wheel fatally striking Surtees on the helmet at Brands Hatch, but in fact the F2 cars confirm with all F1 safety standards of the 2005 world championship.

"As with F1 … wheel tethers cannot provide an absolute guarantee that a wheel will not come off in an accident," said Palmer, whose company Motorsport Vision runs the FIA series.

The FIA also confirmed that Patrick Head's design conformed to F1 standards including impact tests, head protection and wheel tethers.

Palmer said a detailed investigation will now take place, but expert opinions already suspect that it was the freak nature of the 200kph accident, rather than the low-cost nature of the relaunched series, that led to Surtees' death.

He noted: "In a single seater race car the front of the head is inevitably exposed to the risk, however small, of being hit by another car or component."

Palmer revealed that those involved at Williams, which was the last team involved in a fatality in F1 dating back to Ayrton Senna's death in 1994, is "enormously saddened, shocked and stunned" by the Surtees tragedy.

Webber, Trulli, to stay with same F1 teams
(GMM) Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli look set to remain with their respective formula one employers beyond November's 2009 season finale.

Earlier this month, we reported that even though detailed negotiations had not yet begun, Australian Webber, who joined Red Bull in 2007, was likely to stay put for a fourth consecutive season.

Team boss Christian Horner said at the time that in with Webber and Sebastian Vettel "we have the strongest driver pairing in the field".

It is also believed that despite reports the Nurburgring pole sitter and winner may be offered only a one-year extension for 2010, it is actually more likely the renewed deal will cover both next year as well as 2011.

It is also being reported that Jarno Trulli, who turned 35 last Monday, is preparing to sign for a sixth consecutive season with Toyota.

The Italian has 211 grand prix appearances under his belt, making him one of the oldest and most experienced drivers on the grid.

Elsewhere, Ross Brawn has said it is too early to talk about whether Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will still be with his Brackley based team in 2010, citing the first priority as sorting out F1's political situation.

2010 rookie hopeful Bruno Senna said in the pages of the online magazine GP Week: "I'm in Miami, having some time off and waiting for the mess in formula one to resolve itself so that I can manage to have some productive chats with people."

Alonso to Ferrari move 'logical' – Weber
(GMM) If Fernando Alonso is available, it would be "logical" for the famous Italian team Ferrari to sign him as soon as possible.

That is the claim of Willi Weber, who as Michael Schumacher's manager oversaw the now retired seven time world champion's ultra-successful eleven year tenure at Maranello.

The 67-year-old, who now handles the burgeoning career of Williams test driver Nico Hulkenberg, was speaking to Germany's Sport Bild magazine amid persistent and ever-intensifying rumors that Spaniard Alonso is set to switch to Ferrari despite the 2010 contracts in the possession of the team's existing drivers.

"I don't know it for sure, but it would be the logical change for both sides," Weber said.

"Fernando Alonso is the best driver in the world currently. If I had any input with Ferrari I would put him under contract immediately, and I suspect they see it exactly the same way," the German added.

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