Mike Stevens | Aug 12, 2011

Organisers of the 2012 US grand prix have admitted that the proposed race date change will affect the timing of the approval of state funding.

After Bernie Ecclestone said the inaugural Austin event will move from June to November on next year's calendar, promoter Tavo Hellmund confirmed it was the date "I have been hoping for".

But a side-effect of the change is that, due to the wording of the Texas legislation, the $25 million state funding for the project can only be released one year before the event takes place.

The Circuit of the Americas however has already applied for the funding on the basis of the June date.

"While we have not fully analysed the implications of a potential change in race dates, we believe that any such change, if implemented by FIA, will not affect the eligibility of the formula one event for the Major Event Trust Fund, but would merely affect the timing," said circuit organising committee board member Wayne Hollingsworth in a statement.

"And if the event date does in fact change, per the statutory requirements, we will update our application based on the new date and look forward to receiving approval later this year," he added.

(GMM)

 

Team Lotus' Trulli and Gascoyne eye 2012

Jarno Trulli has indicated that "an announcement" about his future will be made in the coming weeks.

After the Italian veteran struggled with Team Lotus' 2011 car, he was much happier with the new power steering system that debuted in Hungary.

The 37-year-old sat out the previous German grand prix in deference to Karun Chandhok, but team boss Tony Fernandes at the time hinted that Trulli is in line for a new contract.

"I'm not worried about my future," the 2004 Monaco grand prix winner is quoted by France's autohebdo.fr. "I just want to improve myself.

"The announcement will likely be made in the coming weeks. For now, I am satisfied with my situation and concentrating on my work with the team," said Trulli.

He said his goal for the rest of the year is to enjoy the races.

"I want to enjoy what I do because it was not fun before (Hungary)," said Trulli. "Silverstone was the most difficult; I was completely lost and I wondered if it was me."

Meanwhile, according to Brazil's globoesporte.com, technical boss Mike Gascoyne said he is confident Team Lotus will drive into the midfield in 2012.

"Unlike this year's car, which was almost all new compared to 2010, next year will be an evolution of this year. Same gearbox, same team, same engine.

"We can focus on the parts that really make you go faster instead of doing it all again," he said.

(GMM)

 

No 2013 talks yet but Massa not worried

Felipe Massa insists he is not worried despite admitting that talks with Ferrari about 2013 have not yet begun.

With 30-year-old Brazilian's contract running out at the end of next year, team boss Stefano Domenicali hinted that Massa's eventual successor will be an up-and-coming youngster.

But Massa insists he is used to the constant speculation about his seat.

"Did you not follow my first year at Ferrari? It was always like this, so nothing has changed, but it doesn't worry me," he told Programa do Jo television.

Domenicali also said that Massa needs to up his race consistency, but the driver insists it is too early to start looking beyond his current contract.

"We have not talked as there is still a season and a half in front. What I have to do now is concentrate and try to do a better job," said Massa.

(GMM)

 

Spa admits GP alternation talks underway

Organisers of the Belgian grand prix have admitted it is possible Spa-Francorchamps will in future only host a single F1 race every two years.

It has been rumoured that the famous and much-loved Belgian venue might have to alternatively share a single annual calendar slot as the French grand prix vies to return.

Belgian promoter Etienne Davignon told the Belga news agency that a solution along those lines is indeed "under discussion" between Spa, Bernie Ecclestone and French officials.

"The competition among countries who are willing to hold grands prix on their territory is becoming stronger," he said.

"The alternating solution would be to perpetuate the Belgian grand prix on the championship calendar."

He suggested that Spa could use its 'off' year to organise activities that help to economically sustain the F1 race.

"The organisation of the grand prix requires the Spa-Francorchamps circuit to close for three weeks. This period could be utilised for other activities," said Davignon.

He also said privatising the circuit is "not an option", after Renault team owner Gerard Lopez reportedly said on Tuesday that it could be a way to make the track a source of profit.

Meanwhile, another Spa official indicated that Belgian driver Jerome d'Ambrosio's presence in F1 has led to slightly higher ticket sales ahead of the 2011 edition next month.

"The (d'Ambrosio) effect has been noticeable for some months," Andre Maes is quoted by the Flemish newspaper De Morgen, "and it will be even more in 2012, when Jerome is better known."

(GMM)

 

Tyre-saving rule tweak likely in 2012

According to two authoritative figures, a tweak or two to the tyre rules is likely for 2012.

Bernie Ecclestone told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport that new supplier Pirelli has done "an incredible job" in providing tyres that degrade quickly in order to spice up the show.

But the interviewer told the F1 chief executive that qualifying is often "uninteresting" because drivers choose to save fresh tyres for the crucial race.

"The solution for that is very simple: to provide more sets of tyres to the drivers," said Ecclestone.

The tyre-saving practice sometimes involves a driver graduating to the next phase of qualifying, but then refusing to waste another set of tyres in bidding for a higher grid spot.

"It's true," Pirelli motor sport director Paul Hembery told the Spanish sports daily AS, "we need to stop that little trick."

(GMM)

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