Mike Stevens | Mar 9, 2010

THE F1 CALENDAR WILL for the first time feature a grand prix in Rome and nineteen other races in 2013, Bernie Ecclestone has announced.

It has long been the ambition of the sport's chief executive to extend the annual schedule to 20 races, while it was already known that the Briton had approved a future street race in the Italian capital.

"Rome will come onto the calendar in 2013. We will have 20 races and the teams will be happy with it," the 79-year-old is quoted as saying by the German-language Speedweek.

Previously, it had been expected that the inauguration of a race in Rome would not be to the detriment of Monza's historic Italian grand prix.

But Letizia Moratti, mayor of the nearby Milan, is now worried that Monza is set to lose its race at the famous Autodromo Nazionale.

"I think competition between cities is right, but it is equally correct to respect their traditions," she is quoted as saying by the Ansa news agency.

(GMM)

 

Coulthard Joins Ferrari In Slamming F1's New Teams

DAVID COULTHARD HAS revealed he is worried about the debut in 2010 of three small new formula one teams.

The Scottish veteran, with 13 wins and almost 250 grands prix to his name, said it is the "standard" of Virgin, Lotus and HRT that is concerning him "greatly".

Coulthard, 38, wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph that he sympathises with Ferrari, who were criticised recently for their scathing dismissal of the new teams.

"Well, I have to admit, I have some sympathy with Ferrari's point of view," said the former McLaren and Red Bull driver.

"Formula one is not a finishing school," said Coulthard. "Either you come prepared, or prepare to fail. This is the pinnacle of world motor sport.

"It's no use them bleating about the fact that the goalposts moved after they joined under a budget cap. The Formula One Teams Association never signed up to that cap."

Coulthard said he has been dismayed by the "carry-on" regarding the new teams' gestation periods, including the failure of USF1, the feisty statements put out by Stefan GP and the takeover of Campos/HRT before a wheel was turned.

He said it has all been "a poor advertisement for F1".

"Has the world gone mad? F1 is a dangerous sport at the best of times but asking teams to just turn up at practice on a Friday before a race is plain irresponsible," Coulthard added.

"Even if the new teams negotiate Bahrain without a hitch - and I hope they do - they will be miles off the pace."

He said his advice to HRT's rookies Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok, who will be debuting the Spanish team's unnamed car in Bahrain on Friday, is to "drive as quickly as possible".

"One of the most dangerous things you can do in F1 is to go slowly on the racing line," Coulthard said.

(GMM)

 

New Teams To Make Practice 'More Difficult' - Button

JENSON BUTTON HAS played down fears the arrival in F1 of several struggling new teams is a safety concern.

Ferrari and Felipe Massa have expressed reservations about the fact Lotus and Virgin were several seconds off the pace at recent February tests.

The third new team HRT, meanwhile, will make its track debut on Friday with two rookie drivers at the wheel of a car that has not turned a single lap.

In an interview published by Italy's La Stampa, the reigning 2009 world champion Button was asked if the new teams are set to make the sport more dangerous.

"It's not so much a question of danger," the McLaren driver replied, "but it will make it more difficult for us to work in practice.

"It could be we're starting a fast lap with low fuel and you come across a Lotus or a Virgin with full tanks running 12 seconds slower.

"Even in qualifying, with 24 cars on the track, it will be crucial to get it right.

"In the race it will be better, because the difference between first and last will be more like 3 or 4 seconds," the Briton added.

(GMM)

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