TMR Team | Jun 18, 2012
  • Webber insists no contact with Ferrari
  • FIA reveals cost-cutting talks with F1 teams
  • Thailand eyes 2014 grand prix debut
  • Ecclestone delighted with 'historic' 2012 season
  • High demand for US GP tickets
  • New F1 owner ups stake by $500m
 

Webber insists no contact with Ferrari

Mark Webber has denied he has had any contact with Ferrari about filling Felipe Massa's seat next year.

Nevertheless, F1's rumour mill continues to find fuel.

"Every man and his dog has been linked, from Sebastian (Vettel) to Lewis (Hamilton) to myself - all sorts of drivers," he told the Melbourne tabloid Herald Sun.

The 35-year-old Australian has had only single-year contracts at Red Bull for the past few seasons, and another one for 2013 appears on the cards.

"I think we've done a lot together," Webber said.

But with some better recent form in his pocket, including a second win on the streets of prestigious Monaco, the veteran of approaching 200 grands prix admits to feeling "really relaxed".

"It's a good problem to have if there's some other people interested," said Webber.

"Ferrari, I haven't heard from them myself, but people want to speculate."

He said Massa has had a "rough run" so far in 2012, and does not deny that the seat opposite Fernando Alonso at F1's most famous team is an attractive one.

"It's not just another team," said Webber of Ferrari. "Everyone knows that."

But he warned the rumour-mongers to keep calm.

"I spoke to McLaren years ago. Didn't happen," said Webber. "I'm very happy at Red Bull.

"This is part of F1 - there's always going to be rumours and speculation. But, at the end of the day, I think I've driven for two teams in the past seven years. I've been pretty stable."

Webber denied the fact he is reportedly 'good mates' with Alonso could increase his chances of a Ferrari deal.

"I haven't had one dinner with Fernando, socially. I don't know what 'good mates' relates to," he said.

"We get on well, we talk to each other. Most drivers don't even do that, so I suppose they think we get along like a house on fire," he smiled.

One of his bosses, Dr Helmut Marko, hinted this week that Red Bull is not inclined to break up a winning team, even if Webber's relationship with Vettel has not always been roses.

"Obviously, Sebastian and I have been settled now for a long time," Webber agreed. "We know each other well."

(GMM)

 

FIA reveals cost-cutting talks with F1 teams

F1's governing body on Friday confirmed it is in talks with the teams about cutting costs.

The vast majority of the teams - even big-spender Ferrari - recently wrote to FIA president Jean Todt to ask that the Paris federation get involved in officially policing the reduction of costs.

Reigning world champion Red Bull, and its satellite Toro Rosso, are the odd ones out, but the momentum for a new radical cost-cutting push is building, amid talk a simple budget cap - Max Mosley's once highly-controversial proposal - could be the answer.

"At their request, the FIA is having active discussions with teams regarding cost control," the governing body said after a meeting on Friday of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

The FIA added that "any amendments to the technical regulations resulting from a further limit on expenditure on the chassis will be submitted to the (council) via a fax vote before 30 June".

"The intention is to help all teams participate in the championship in a fair and equal manner," the statement added.

The FIA also revealed that it is having "constructive" talks with Bernie Ecclestone over the new Concorde Agreement, with a deal on the cards "in the coming weeks".

(GMM)

 

Thailand eyes 2014 Grand Prix debut

Thailand is on track to secure a round of the 2014 world championship.

The southeast Asian country made its intentions clear recently by successfully bidding to host this year's end-of-season Race of Champions in December, which will be attended by reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Talks have also been taking place about bringing F1 to Thailand.

"Our discussions with Bernie Ecclestone have gone smoothly. We expect to get rights to host a grand prix from 2014 onwards," Kanokphand Chulakasem, governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand, is quoted by the Phuket News.

The Thai daily The Nation said 51 percent Red Bull energy drink owner and co-founder Chalerm Yoovidhya is playing a role in the logistics of the Thai GP.

(GMM)

 

Ecclestone delighted with 'historic' 2012 season

Bernie Ecclestone has declared himself delighted with the 2012 season so far.

So far, the unpredictable races - with an unprecedented seven different drivers winning the opening seven grands prix of the year - have split the paddock.

Some hail the enthralling 'show' caused by the closeness of the grid and the difficult-to-understand Pirelli tyres, whilst the purists worry that the 'lottery' will eventually turn off the fans.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone counts himself among the former.

"In all my years in this business I've never known anything like it," said the 81-year-old. "It's historic.

"Every Grand Prix has given us something extra special to applaud and be excited about," Ecclestone told the Gulf News over lunch in London.

"The whole show, evidenced by the massive TV audiences right across the world, as well as the sellout circuit attendances, proves that we are on a winner of a championship right now.

"I wonder how many more surprises we are in for before the end of the season. I hope my old heart can stand it," he added.

"We are not even at the halfway mark yet," Ecclestone continued, "and the lead in the drivers' championship is swapping all the time.

"There's a lot more fun and drama to come before the end of the season. That's a guarantee."

(GMM)

 

High demand for US GP tickets

Tickets for the first US grand prix in Austin later this year appear to be selling exceedingly well.

The local American Statesman newspaper is reporting that the Circuit of the Americas organisation is considering adding more grandstands due to the unexpectedly high demand.

"We have experienced incredible demand for reserved grandstand seating tickets, and customers have quickly purchased our available inventory," public relations vice-president Julie Loignon confirmed.

She said most of the tickets that went on sale a week ago have been sold.

The first US grand prix since 2007 is scheduled for mid November.

(GMM)

 

New F1 owner ups stake by $500m

One of F1's new owners has bought even more of the sport, it has emerged.

Amid expectations last month that the Singapore floatation was going ahead, the US based asset managers Waddell and Reed, and others, bought a $1.6 billion stake in the Formula One business from existing owners CVC.

Reuters and Sky News are now reporting that Waddell and Reed has lifted its new stake by $500 million, to almost 21 percent.

CVC, having cut its stake from 63 percent to 42 percent, confirmed the news.

The news follows F1's plans to delay its stock market floatation due to market turmoil.

(GMM)

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