Latest F1 news in brief

  • Unhurt Fisi goes to hospital after crash
  • Rosberg to drive Williams in Moscow
  • Bahrain has GP contract through 2016
  • Indy not giving up on reinstating US GP
  • F1 'war' intensified in Paris – press
  • Gap to top teams too big for title – Kubica
  • Press doubts FIA's bargain numbers for F2

Unhurt Fisi goes to hospital after crash
(GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella was taken to hospital on Wednesday following a high speed crash during pre-British grand prix testing at the Silverstone circuit.

The Force India driver, testing the locally based team's upgrades for the 2008 car, ran wide in the high speed Becketts complex just before lunch in the gusting Northamptonshire winds.

His VJM01 "suffered extensive damage" in the hit against the barriers and could not be repaired in time to run again, a statement issued by the team said.

Fisichella, one of the most experienced race drivers in formula one, was not injured but he was taken to hospital for precautionary checks, Force India also confirmed.

"Unfortunately some of the new components were damaged," technical boss Mike Gascoyne said.

Fisichella added: "I wasn't hurt at all, but I did not take my hands off the wheel and they had to do some checks to make sure my wrist was ok."

The three day Silverstone test concludes on Thursday.

Rosberg to drive Williams in Moscow
(GMM) The British team Williams has signed on to the formula one car demonstration to take place in Moscow next month.

We reported recently that the prospect of a grand prix in Russia increased amid news that the demonstration would take place around the famous Red Square and in the shadow of the Kremlin.

It has now emerged that Nico Rosberg will drive his Williams for the privately-organized event to be called Moscow City Racing, on the weekend between the forthcoming British and German grands prix.

"There is clearly a massive appetite for formula one in Russia, and it is great to be contributing to spreading the sport's popularity," German born Rosberg, 22, said.

Team boss Sir Frank Williams will also attend.

"This will be our first visit as a team to Russia, a country of great interest to us," he said.

Bahrain has GP contract through 2016
(GMM) The formula one race in Bahrain is guaranteed contractually through 2016, organizers of the event confirmed this week.

It emerged early last year that the venue had signed a new long term agreement, specifying only that the contract covers "the rest of this decade and deep into the next", after Bahrain hosted its inaugural F1 race in 2004.

The first race of the new agreement will take place on 19 April next year.

Circuit chief executive Martin Whitaker said the confirmation means Bahrain can "now start to plan with F1 teams who like to test in Bahrain early in the year".

Indy not giving up on reinstating US GP
(GMM) Despite formula one looking unlikely to organize a US grand prix in 2009, officials of the Indianapolis venue are hoping the sport returns in the near future.

F1's provisional calendar for 2009, presented to the FIA World Motor Sport Council on Wednesday by Bernie Ecclestone, did not feature a date for an American round, for the second consecutive year.

"Discussions will continue," Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman Ron Green said, according to The Associated Press.

"We believe a return of formula one to our calendar, especially during our centennial era, the period between 2009-2011, would be appropriate. But it must be on terms reasonable to all the groups."

Green said of the draft 2009 calendar published by the FIA on Wednesday: "We want to stress it's just a provisional schedule.

"We continue to be interested in the return of the United States grand prix."

The US GP was held at the famous Indianapolis venue between 2000 and 2007.

F1 'war' intensified in Paris – press
(GMM) The 'war' over formula one between old friends and allies Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone intensified in Paris on Wednesday, according to the press.

While the FIA's plans to revive the Formula Two concept in 2009 is most certainly a warning shot to the separate Ecclestone-backed GP2 feeder series, a seemingly more innocuous passage of the media statement issued by the governing body also caught the attention of the specialist media.

Following the World Motor Sport Council meeting, the FIA said it would "enter into a wide-ranging consultation with the formula one teams to examine plans for improved efficiency, including new technical regulations for the championship.

"This will also involve a review of the governance of formula one."

According to The Times, the statement was the opening salvo in "Max Mosley's masterplan to wrest control of formula one and its revenues from Bernie Ecclestone".

The London newspaper also saw significance in the application deadline for team entries for the 2009 championship, which has been brought forward "without warning" to July 31.

The Times said the accelerated deadline is Mosley's "way of heading off the threat of a breakaway".

Another British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, agrees that the FIA statement was a "provocative move by (Mosley) to weaken" Ecclestone's "hold on F1".

In a typical media blank, however, Ecclestone denied that his former alliance with Mosley has now descended into all-out war.

"Nothing has ever changed between Max and I," the 77-year-old said in Paris, according to The Associated Press.

"We've been friends for 40 years. You don't lose friendship like that."

Gap to top teams too big for title – Kubica
(GMM) The gap between BMW-Sauber and F1's two leading teams is "big" and wider than at the start of the 2008 season, according to former championship leader Robert Kubica.

The German team, and the Polish 23-year-old driver, have been much praised for their consistency near the top of the formula one field this year.

Following Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen's Montreal pitlane crash, Kubica secured his and the Hinwil based team's first victory, raising the possibility that they are genuine contenders for the title.

But speaking with reporters at the Silverstone test this week, Kubica poured cold water on his chances by stating that he believes BMW-Sauber's rate of development in 2008 has not been fast enough.

"We didn't stay (with them)," he said, referring to the rival teams.

Kubica told the website of the British broadcaster ITV that BMW-Sauber was often among the pace of Ferrari and McLaren in the early races of this season.

"It looks like we didn't (improve) as much as them and the gap is pretty big — in Magny-Cours it was nearly one second," he said.

BMW-Sauber had its least competitive showing of the season at Magny-Cours last weekend, where Kubica finished fifth.

Kubica says the team took some wrong decisions in preparation for the French grand prix.

"So we should be back to normal pace (at Silverstone), which means still quite a big gap (to) Ferrari and McLaren," he added.

Kubica therefore plays down reports that he can regain his lead in the drivers' championship by the last race of the season in November.

"To be honest, with our car, even at full performance the best we can achieve (on merit) is fifth," he said.

"It's not enough," Kubica added, explaining that the current points standings is also a reflection of Ferrari and McLaren's technical problems and mistakes.

"That's why I'm still there, but if they start not having problems and not making mistakes it will be very difficult to keep up with them."

Press doubts FIA's bargain numbers for F2
(GMM) The press has questioned the feasibility of the FIA's stated intention this week to set up Formula Two as a low-cost feeder series for F1.

Following Wednesday's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris, F1's governing body said it will invite tenders for the new series, "to develop emerging driver talent" for F1", which would presumably be run in 2009 in competition with the Bernie Ecclestone-organized GP2 category.

A report published by The Press Association, however, dismissed as apparently "unworkable" the FIA's desire for an approximate per-car annual budget in the region of 200,000 euros.

"A GP2 boss has confirmed it costs 190,000 euros to run their cars without the considerable expense of engines," the news agency's report said.

The news agency Reuters, meanwhile, said GP2 budgets are actually much higher than that, "with an estimated 1.5 million euros per car per season the current going rate".

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