Latest F1 news in brief

  • Shamed Ecclestone goes on 'sorry' offensive
  • FOTA missing almost 40pc of 2010 grid
  • Vatanen confirms interest in FIA presidency
  • Buemi predicts difficult time for new teams
  • F1's 13 teams to meet on Wednesday

Shamed Ecclestone goes on 'sorry' offensive
(GMM) After describing the outrage sparked by his Hitler comments as a "big misunderstanding" in the German press, Bernie Ecclestone has now turned to the English-speaking media to apologize for the affair.

Jewish groups called for the F1 chief executive's resignation following his controversial Times interview, while a German state premier cancelled a meeting this weekend to discuss the future of the F1 race at Hockenheim.

"First, an apology," the 78-year-old wrote in a column in the same British newspaper on Tuesday.

Ecclestone insisted he does not "support Hitler's atrocities" and admits he was "unwise … to articulate my points so badly".

In another interview, with the Jewish Chronicle, the Briton said he is "just sorry that I was an idiot", revealing that he actually cried when he once visited the Yad Yashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

"What I regret is people who have taken this the wrong way and have been offended, I'm really, really sad about because I have done an awful lot for the Jewish community, charities and whatever," Ecclestone said.

But in a third interview, for the American news agency Associated Press, he hit back at World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder and others for calling on him to quit.

"I think the people who are saying that haven't got the power to say these things," Ecclestone said, going on to criticize the Council for failing to "sort the banks out" amid the global financial crisis.

FOTA missing almost 40pc of 2010 grid
(GMM) For the time being, the car manufacturer-dominated Formula One Teams Association will not represent nearly 40 per cent of the 2010 grid.

John Booth, boss of the new Manor Grand Prix outfit, revealed that his Yorkshire-based team currently has "no relationship with FOTA".

"There's certainly no antagonism or hostility there, that's for sure. But eventually we would like to be part of it. But certainly I think we need to earn our place and are not just given it," he told the online magazine GP Week.

The same is true of other new outfits US F1 and Campos, while a FOTA spokesperson confirmed last week that existing teams Williams and Force India remain suspended after breaking ranks amid the FIA conflict.

At the Bologna press conference late last month, FOTA vice-chairman John Howett did not refer to the two suspended teams but flagged some forthcoming "dialogue" with the three new teams.

"FOTA is open to talk; we believe dialogue is constructive and positive," the Toyota team president said.

"Our door is open and I guess in the next two to three weeks, as the total situation is stabilized, we will enter into discussion with them should they wish to meet," Howett added.

When the FIA agreed to rip up plans for budget caps in June, a statement said "manufacturer teams" will instead "assist the new entries for 2010 by providing technical assistance".

But while this would require a close collaboration between the parties, the current rumor is that FOTA, amid reports of political misgivings, is considering requesting an investigation into how the new entries were selected by the FIA.

Vatanen confirms interest in FIA presidency
(GMM) 1981 world rally champion Ari Vatanen has confirmed his potential candidacy to succeed Max Mosley as FIA president.

The 57-year-old Finn, who in 1999 was first elected to the European Parliament, has been mentioned several times amid speculation Mosley might either step down ahead of the forthcoming elections, or be challenged by alternative candidates.

"At the moment I am consulting the member clubs and am already seeing positive feedback," Vatanen, whose co-driver in his championship year was David Richards, is quoted as saying by Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"I am considering standing. I think the time has come for a change. I would go for it, even if not sure of winning," he added.

Vatanen was re-elected for the 2004 European Parliament, but lost his seat last month.

Buemi predicts difficult time for new teams
(GMM) As a new pair of eyes to formula one, Sebastien Buemi predicts a "very difficult" leap for the sport's three new entrants.

US F1, a start-up operation, as well as lower-formula outfits Campos and Manor, have all been granted spots on the 2010 entry list.

20-year-old Buemi is the only rookie driver in F1 this year, having stepped up from the GP2 support series to one of the smallest grand prix outfits Toro Rosso.

But the Swiss believes the step for a team is even more daunting.

"For the new teams it will be very difficult, because the leap into formula one is so big," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport. "It's a different world.

"If it was simple, there would already be more teams," Buemi added.

F1's 13 teams to meet on Wednesday
(GMM) F1's three new teams have been invited to join their ten 2010 rivals for a meeting of the Technical Working Group.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday at the Nurburgring, ahead of this weekend's formula one race at the German circuit.

Cosworth-powered Manor, Campos and US F1 were selected by the FIA late last month to join Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Renault, Toyota, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Williams, Brawn and Force India on next year's grid.

Although they initially signed up for the now-discarded budget cap regulations, if the new teams do go on to debut next year, F1 will boast a full grid of 26 cars.

Representing Yorkshire-based Manor Grand Prix at the Nurburgring meeting will be its technical director Nick Wirth, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports.

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