Mike Stevens | Jul 20, 2010

Dietrich Mateschitz has dismissed the Silverstone front wing affair as "much too dramatised", declaring that Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel still have equal chances to win the 2010 World Championship.

The energy drink company Red Bull's owner, an Austrian billionaire, insisted to Kleine Zeitung newspaper that German 23-year-old Vettel is not the team's preferred winner this year.

"Once again I say: we do not have a number one and a number two. Both drivers have cars with exactly the same specification. The problem with the new wing at Silverstone was the first exception," he said.

"Of course, the situation was not pleasant for Mark, but this was a little problem made into a large one.

"Our management was not diplomatic and perhaps not correct," he admitted, albeit insisting that Webber's 'number 2' comment after winning at Silverstone was also "unnecessary".

"But, on the other side, Mark did nothing wrong.

"We will not make them be quiet. Everyone can tell the truth; that is one of the highest virtues of Red Bull.

"There are no factions, although it is obvious that the two sides have their own driver firstly at heart.

"We have two drivers going for the world championship. Actually, it's a luxurious problem that many teams would like to have."

Mateschitz, 66, is confident about Red Bull's chances of winning in 2010.

"If you ask me today who will be champion, I would say 'one of our drivers'. But the pits must not interfere, because then the problems really begin."

He said appointing a number one is not in accordance with his "philosophy of racing". "Our drivers know that they first have to beat the other," said Mateschitz.

"I have no preference; as champion each of the two would be equally great to me."

And Mateschitz admitted that letting the drivers fight down to the wire could backfire and hand the title to an opponent.

"I think that is unlikely but I would not rule it out. And if it should happen, my God, we are talking about racing. The image of blood, sweat and tears is not by accident."

(GMM)

 

F1 Can Do Without Monaco: Ecclestone

According to Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One could survive "without Monaco".

With India making its debut next year and the US returning to the 2012 calendar, the F1 Chief Executive is also desperate to tap into the Russian market.

But he is believed to be confined to a new agreement with team bosses to cap the annual calendar at 20 races.

With eight of the 19 current races, F1's traditional heartland of Europe is the most represented on the schedule, but those venues pay the lowest promotional fees.

The Independent newspaper claims the average race fee is now $31.2m, but it is believed that historic Monaco pays nothing.

"The Europeans are going to have to pay more money or we will have to go somewhere else," said Briton Ecclestone, 79.

"We can do without Monaco," he added, admitting that axing the famous street venue is not likely but "they don't pay enough".

In 2007, Ecclestone admitted that Monaco is the best Grand Prix of the year. "Monaco always comes close to the top, doesn't it, because it is Monaco," he said then.

(GMM)

 

Moscow Takes 'Major Step' Towards F1 Calendar

f1 bernie ecclestone

Moscow has raced back into the running to host a Russian Grand Prix.

A few days ago, F1 Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone said Russia "has got to go on the calendar. We will do it the year after next in Sochi," the Briton told the Independent.

Ecclestone said earlier this year that up to three Russian venues are under consideration but that there is a "big push" from the resort city Sochi.

But as reigning world champion Jenson Button and Russian driver Vitaly Petrov demonstrated F1 cars in the Russian capital at the weekend, reports emerged from Moscow that the government has decided to stage a Grand Prix in 2012.

Moscow official Vladimir Makarov said Hermann Tilke will devise an ultra-fast street circuit with the Kremlin in the background.

"A city like Moscow deserves its own Grand Prix," Derk Sauer, an official with the F1 demonstration organisers Bavaria City Racing, said.

"The contracts have not been signed yet, but a major step has been taken."

Follow Mike Stevens on Google+