Nurburgring likely to stage 2013 GP
The short-term future of the Nurburgring and next year's German Grand Prix appears to be secure.
Just over a fortnight ago it was revealed the circuit faced the threat of insolvency, with track operators Nurburgring GmbH in debt to the tune of £235million following redevelopment in 2009.
The state government of Rheinland-Palatinate, who own 90% of the track's holding company, have now stepped in to bail them out.
It has been agreed £200million worth of funds is to be released to guarantee the £259million loan that was initially required for the redevelopment.
It should be enough for the Nurburgring to stage the 2013 German Grand Prix, a race alternated on an annual basis with Hockenheim.
Speaking to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, track boss Jorg Linder said: "I am very optimistic that Formula One will be going to the Nurburgring next year."
"Schumacher should know the rules"
FIA race director Charlie Whiting stated that Michael Schumacher caused the delay in the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix and advised him to learn the latest rules.
The Mercedes driver lined up on the wrong grid slot at the Hungaroring and then stopped the engine expecting that the car needed to be manually pushed to the correct position.
However, in 2005, the rules have been amended for such a scenario requiring a new formation lap to be carried out by all the racers in the circuit. On the day of the Hungarian Grand Prix, the race marshals had to push the Mercedes car into the pit lane and the race needed to be reduced to 69 laps as the extra formation lap was counted as part of the race distance.
Whiting criticised Schumacher's unwillingness to stay updated with the latest rules as he told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag: "Michael should know the rules."
Drivers are not required to pass a rules test in order get a licence to participate in the F1 circuit but Whiting believes that it is the responsibility of the drivers and their respective teams to ensure that they are fully informed ahead of the race.
"We assume that a team competing in Formula One knows the rules. It is the responsibility of the teams to ensure that its drivers - its employees - know the rules."
Schumacher will take part in his 300th race when he takes part in the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix on September 2. The former World Champion had to bow out in the 62nd lap in Hungary making it the seventh time that he made an early exit from a race in the 2012 season.
Last edited by sandeep_guy : 6th August 2012 at 08:47 PM.
Lotus plan to keep Grosjean, Raikkonen
Lotus chief Eric Boullier stated that the team plans to keep drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean for the long haul.
Raikkonen came close to winning his first race since returning to the circuit at the Hungarian Grand Prix, pushing race leader Lewis Hamilton till the very final lap. His team-mate Grosjean was equally impressive and ended in third position.
The Finn's impressive performances have led to rumours that Ferrari could pave the way for a return for the driver who joined them back in 2007 for a two-year spell. But Boullier dismissed such reports, expressing his determination to keep the talented duo with the Enstone-based team.
He also went on to state that Raikkonen was not too happy with his time with the Italian marquee team and may not be keen to play second fiddle to current championship leader Fernando Alonso if he joins them next season.
"It's nice that Ferrari [and Raikkonen] is in the newspapers but to my knowledge Kimi has no intention of going back to Ferrari," Boullier told Auto Motor und Sport.
"There is no reason why either of them should leave us.
"There are always a lot of rumours.
"We have a two-year contract with Kimi but, as in every agreement, there are always options.
"I believe Kimi is happy here and I do not believe that his experience with Ferrari was the best one.
"Being with (team-mate Romain) Grosjean is certainly easier than Alonso.
"I can't see why Kimi would want to be the second driver at Ferrari when he has the chance to be the number one here."
And Red Bull chief Christian Horner also paid tribute to Raikkonen's driving skills in the aftermath of his second-place finish at the Hungaroring circuit. Horner believes that the 2007 world champion is still a force to be reckoned with, even though he remains 48 points behind Ferrari's Alonso.
"Their car has been quick all year, and they have two good drivers, so Kimi is a factor in the drivers' championship," Horner agreed.
Raikkonen has also been tipped to present an equally strong showing at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, the venue of the Belgian Grand Prix.
"Spa has always agreed with Kimi," former Finnish driver Mika Salo told MTV3
"And if the [Lotus] updates improve what is already the best car, he will be looking very good if he is able to start from the first two rows."
Formula 1 takes a month-long break and is set to return with the Belgian Grand Prix on September 2.
Brawn: No rush over Schumacher decision
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn is adamant neither he nor Michael Schumacher will be rushed on making a decision on the future of the seven-times Formula One world champion.
Approaching the end of a three-season contract with Mercedes, it is expected the 43-year-old will remain with the German manufacturing giant for one more campaign.
That is despite enduring another difficult year beset with bad luck, as Schumacher has retired in six of the 11 races, amassing just 29 points.
Although they have time on their side at present to get a new deal done, given the sport is in the middle of a month-long summer break, Brawn maintains there is no hurry.
Brawn said: "This is a very important decision for all the people involved.
"We won't be rushed on the decision. When the time is appropriate we will announce what we are going to do.
"I don't want to increase speculation by commenting on where we are."
Outlining what Schumacher and team-mate Nico Rosberg bring to the Brackley-based team, Brawn added: "(They are) very professional, very committed, good attitude, speed.
"They work very well in the team, work well together as a pairing, which is not always easy with drivers.
"I believe both are more than capable of winning races if we provide the equipment. That is all that you can ask from a driver."
After Rosberg's victory in China and second place in Monaco, along with Schumacher's third place in Valencia - his first podium since stepping out of retirement - Mercedes went off the boil in the three races before the break.
Brawn, however, is adamant his team's season is far from over, even though they are fifth in the constructors' championship, 140 points behind leaders Red Bull and 83 adrift of fourth-placed Ferrari.
Speaking to formula1.com, Brawn said: "We haven't got the car quite as we wanted right now.
"But we have a very good team, very good people, so I am optimistic we are going to have a stronger second half to the season than the first half.
"I want to do better. P5 is not our ambition and we will do anything possible to end better.
"There are still a lot of races to come with many more points to be won."
Massa: Pressure is nothing new
Felipe Massa is refusing to let talk of his pending sacking get to him, saying while he's with Ferrari he will give the team his all.
Massa has struggled in recent times as he has failed to find the form that took him to runner-up in the 2008 drivers' championship.
Last season he became the first Ferrari driver since 1992 to finish a season without a top-three result and this year he has again yet to reach the podium with his best resulting being a P4.
With new rumours almost every week naming Massa's possible replacement, the 31-year-old's days at Ferrari appear to be numbered especially after reports emerged last month claiming that the Italian stable had let their option on him for next season lapse.
But despite all the rumours and reports, Ferrari continue to back their driver with team boss Stefano Domenicali coming out last week saying Massa knows what he needs to do to secure a future with the team.
"I think Felipe knows (what he has to do)," the Italian team boss told Autosport. "He needs to maximise the performance that he can because we need his capabilities behind the wheel.
"We need points to try to attack first place in the Constructors' Championship, and also to take away points from the other drivers in the Drivers' Championship."
So the pressure is on for Massa, however, it's nothing new for the 11-time grand prix winner.
"For many people it seems like this is the first time this has happened to me, but it is not," Massa told TotalRace.
"This has happened many times even before I entered Formula 1 where if I didn't win the race there was no money for the next."
It has, however, also happened in Formula One most notably when reports claimed Massa would be dropped at the end of 2006 to make way for Kimi Raikkonen. Instead it was Michael Schumacher who departed.
"Back then everyone was sure I would not continue with the team, that Kimi would be signed to partner Schumacher. (They even said) Valentino Rossi was going to take my place.
"Every year there is something we have to deal with and get over. And this year I'm preparing and concentrating as much as possible to have a better second half of the Championship.
"I will continue to drive for Ferrari, representing the flag of Brazil."
New Jersey GP chief steps down
The president of the Grand Prix of America has resigned from his position.
Tom Cotter was only appointed to the role in January, with the inaugural race around the streets of New Jersey pencilled in for a June slot on the 2013 F1 calendar.
The city agreed a 10-year deal with Bernie Ecclestone towards the end of 2011, but the F1 supremo has voiced his concerns that the venue may not be ready in time.
Cotter's departure is a further blow to the organisation, but in a statement released to the New York Times he insisted he is confident the race will be a success.
He said: "I have full faith in the Grand Prix of America team and look forward to sitting in the grandstands at a world-class race in 2013."
Cotter will leave his position at the end of the month, with chief operations officer Dennis Robinson and Richard Goldschmidt, special assistant to race promoter Leo Hindery Jr, taking over his duties.
Hindery Jr said: "We're all thankful for Tom's leadership in bringing Formula One to Port Imperial.
"During his stewardship we've made great progress and are less than a year away from the sport's top racers speeding around a street course with New York City in the background.
"We wish our friend Tom the best as he returns home to North Carolina."
Cotter is to focus on his motorsport promotions company once he leaves his role.
Alonso unsure of Kubica return
Fernando Alonso has admitted that it's still difficult to say whether Robert Kubica will be able to return to competitive racing.
The Pole - still rated as one of motor-racing's finest protagonists - has been out of action since February 2011 when he suffered a horrendous accident whilst rallying.
Since then, Kubica has undergone countless operations to repair the damage inflicted, with the full extent of his recovery surrounded by uncertainty.
Although recent reports indicated that Kubica has tested in a race simulator, Alonso, a close friend of the former BMW and Renault driver, has admitted that Kubica's comeback still cannot be guaranteed.
"It's very hard to say whether Robert will return to 100 per cent fitness and be able to race again in Formula 1," Fernando told September's edition of F1 Racing Magazine.
"Now and again we speak and I know how much it hurts him to be so far away from what has always been his world. He has to keep calm and think first and foremost about recovering total functionality of his body, then he can think again about racing."
Whitmarsh opposes two-tier F1
Martin Whitmarsh says he would be against a two-tier formula when Formula 1 introduces new turbo engines in 2014.
Concerns have been raised over the number of engine manufacturers there will be, with some reports suggesting only Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault will produce the new 1.6-litre V6.
There is concern among the teams and engine builders over the cost of the new power units. PURE have already stopped work on their programme, whilst Cosworth look likely to drop off the grid having lost Williams and Caterham as customers in recent seasons.
Tentative talks took place over allowing the current 2.4-litre V8s to compete alongside the new engines, but, Whitmarsh says that is something he would be against.
"It's feasible," he told Autosport. "I don't think it's an attractive thing to do, personally.
"Equivalence formulas, we have had it before, we had it in '88, we had turbos and normally aspirateds when we were coming the other way.
"It wasn't such a bad memory for McLaren, but it wasn't an attractive formula."
The Team Principal added that if the proposal went ahead, the rules would have to ensure that the turbo engines had an advantage.
"I think you'd have to arrange, if you did it, such that the new turbo engines have advantage over normally aspirated, so you're creating a two-tier championship, which is I think not an attractive thing to have," he said.
Formula E to kick off in 2014
It would have been inconceivable just a few years ago, but this week the FIA opened the door to a new era of motor racing by introducing a competition for electric cars.
Given the leaps and bounds made in modern technology, from 2014 the Formula E championship will be up and running, with the E in this particular case referring to electric energy.
It could be the first step on what will obviously be a very long road towards the potential dissolution of Formula One as we know it.
After all, in a world where natural energy resources such as oil, coal and gas are slowly becoming exhausted, how much longer can a sport that consumes 200 litres of fuel for a 300-mile race be sustainable?
The teams do all they can to offset their carbon footprint via a variety of means, but by their own definition, the FIA have made clear Formula E "represents a vision for the future of the motor industry over the coming decades".
We already have electric cars on our roads, so if motor sport's world governing body and Formula E can accelerate more quickly the necessary technology that will assist in such cars becoming more dominant than their petrol or diesel-powered equivalents, so much the better it would seem.
What that would mean for F1 is anybody's guess. Could it be the likes of Ferrari and McLaren in 20 to 30 years' time will be the main protagonists in an electric showdown on four wheels?
Could electric power replicate the speeds we will see throughout the coming weekend at arguably the greatest circuit in the world - Spa-Francorchamps?
One guarantee is electric cars will be devoid of the sounds and vibrancy we see today in F1, that unmistakable whiney roar of the current V8 engines that is part of the attraction of the sport.
Formula E may be the future, but you are unlikely to hear it coming.
The one draw, however, in reaching an agreement to licence the commercial rights with a consortium of international investors, is that the championship would "ideally", according to the FIA, be staged in the heart of the world's leading cities, around their main landmarks.
No obvious noise pollution for local residents to object to then, as has often been the case when F1 has attempted to pitch up in a major metropolis.
It could be Formula E gets to race around the streets of London before Mr E, a certain Bernie Ecclestone, realises his dream of F1 flashing past such sights as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.
Demonstration runs are planned for next year, followed in 2014 by the championship itself, with an objective of 10 teams and 20 drivers participating.
Looking ahead to the series, FIA president Jean Todt said: "This new competition, at the heart of major cities, is certain to attract a new audience.
"It will offer both entertainment and a new opportunity to share the FIA values and objectives of clean energy, mobility and sustainability with a wider and younger audience."
It could be suggested Todt is poking an accusing finger at F1 as its attraction to that "younger audience" has waned over time, a fact the sport is aware of, yet seems unable to halt the slide.
It appears fanciful, though, to suggest if the glitz, glamour and power of F1 are unable to draw in youngsters in this computer-dominated age, then electric motor racing will ultimately do so.
Trumpeting its prospects, Alejandro Agag, the CEO of commercial rights holders Formula E Holdings Ltd, said: "We see this as a great opportunity to create a new and exciting spectacle mixing racing, clean energy and sustainability, looking to the future.
"We expect this championship to become the framework for research and development around the electric car, a key element for the future of our cities."
There can be no doubt that with Formula E, the FIA are determined to play their part in making the planet a greener, cleaner one.
As professor Burkhard Goeschel, president of the FIA Electric and New Energies Championships Commission, said: "Formula E will be a milestone for the future of motorsports, driven by the FIA.
"It follows the global megatrends of our world like sustainability, the growth of the megacities and the digital world of connectivity."
Connectivity? Oh yeah, where's the nearest powerpoint?
Button keen to join "300 club"
Jenson Button sees no reason why he will not become the third member of Formula One's exclusive '300 club' in the future.
This weekend in Belgium Michael Schumacher will chalk up his 300th grands prix, a feat only previously achieved by Rubens Barrichello, who holds the record for races entered at 326.
With 221 grands prix to his name, Button is seventh on the all-time list and if desired could easily surpass Barrichello's milestone.
At the age of 32, and with 20 grands prix per year these days, Button only needs to see out this season and compete for four more years beyond to set a new record.
At present the spirit is certainly willing to continue as he said: "It's four and a half years of racing.
"I really don't know how I'm going to feel in a couple of years' time, but now, of course, the hunger is there.
"If I lose that, that's when I'll stop. If I'm in a position where I get the choice to retire it's the best position to be in.
"But it's a long time before I need to start thinking of that."
In respect of his achievement, Schumacher has been declared an honorary citizen of Spa, his second such award after Maranello, the home of Ferrari for whom he won five drivers' titles.
Schumacher readily concedes he never dreamed of 300 grands prix, certainly not upon his retirement at the end of 2006.
"At one point there was talk about whether somebody would be able to beat Riccardo Patrese's record of 250-whatever (256)," said the seven-times world champion.
"I said 'forget that, it isn't interesting for me', but now here we are and I'm counting the 300.
"It's certainly an interesting, beautiful and nice number to be around."
En route into the Spa-Francorchamps circuit there is a banner which reads 'Michael, make it 400'.
That, however, is definitely not on the cards as the 43-year-old added: "It's obviously nice the fans are with me and encourage me to go on.
"I had a beautiful welcome yesterday [Wednesday], becoming an honorary citizen of Spa, and that is something very special to me.
"That's why the 300 becomes special - because it's in Spa.
"It has all happened to me here in Spa - first race, first victory, some beautiful victories, in 2004 the seventh title, last year the 20th anniversary, and now with number 300 being honoured. So it's a full package.
"But for 400? We say no to that one."
Whether there is another season beyond this that will see him initially overtake Barrichello's record remains up in the air.
Speculation has suggested Schumacher will re-sign with Mercedes for one more season, but for now doubts remain.
"How many races will it be in the end? We will have to find out. I don't know yet, but certainly I go to the end of the season," said Schumacher.
"Beyond that, we made a very clear statement some time ago that by October we will be able to give an indication and nothing has changed since then, so no news I'm afraid."
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