F1: Ecclestone Deal Could Save Nurburgring Race

TMR Team | Jul 19, 2012
  • Ecclestone deal could save F1's Nurburgring race
  • Marussia undecided over engine and drivers for future
  • Hamilton admits guarding emotions in 2012
  • New boss says 2014 Russian GP plans on track
  • Vettel insists Webber not Red Bull favourite
  • Haug plays down Vettel-to-Mercedes likelihood
  • Kovalainen, Alguersuari eye 2013 Sauber seat

Ecclestone deal could save F1's Nurburgring race

Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly offered to waive F1's usual race sanctioning fee in 2013 amid the Nurburgring's deepening financial crisis.

State governor Kurt Beck on Wednesday announced that the circuit, scheduled to return to the calendar next year, is launching "orderly insolvency proceedings" because the European Commission is to reject a government bailout.

That sounds disastrous for the future of the F1 race, which in recent years has annually alternated the German grand prix with Hockenheim.

But German reports by the news agencies DPA and DAPD, and by the Abendblatt newspaper, said that despite the news, "there could still be Formula One races at the Nurburgring in the future".

The reports revealed that the German race organisers have agreed with F1 chief executive Ecclestone that the sanctioning fee in 2013 will not be paid, with the 81-year-old agreeing in return to "bear all costs but also claim all revenues".

(GMM)

Marussia undecided over engine and drivers for future

Marussia has not decided which engine to use for F1's new turbo regulations in 2014.

The back-of-the-grid team is currently powered by Cosworth, but there is speculation the independent British engine supplier is set to pull out of the sport.

When asked about Marussia's engine plans for 2014, chief executive Andy Webb said: "It's a difficult decision, because a lot will depend on the financial side."

There is great consternation among F1's 'customer engine' teams at present about the likely high cost of buying the new V6 engines.

"They're going to cost somewhere between EUR 10 and 25 million," Webb is quoted by the Russian website Championat.

"A team like ours will need some help in order to afford something like that."

Webb also revealed that, starting next year, Marussia has decided to use KERS for the first time.

"The only question is whose system we will have," he said. "It depends on what engine we choose for the future."

The team is also yet to decide whether or not to keep French rookie Charles Pic on board for 2013.

Since the team's inception as Virgin in 2010, Timo Glock's teammate has been constantly changing.

In 2010 the German was paired with Lucas di Grassi, last year it was Jerome d'Ambrosio, and this year the second cockpit is occupied by 22-year-old Pic.

Pic told Ria Novosti news agency: "I think I have to stay focused on this year and make a good job, and if I do a good job it (a new contract) will come naturally for next year."

Team chief executive Andy Webb admitted a decision has not been taken.

"Usually those decisions are made at the end of the season.

"We are constantly studying the situation with the drivers, but I will say that we are happy with Charles Pic," he told Championat.

(GMM)

Hamilton admits guarding emotions in 2012

Lewis Hamilton has admitted he has deliberately kept his emotions in check in 2012.

Last year, amid his tumultuous 2011 campaign on and off the circuit, the Briton often let his high emotions show publicly - such as when he opined that his run-ins with the FIA could be "because I'm black".

But so far in 2012, coinciding with a return to form for the 2008 world champion, the McLaren driver seems much more serene, both on and off the circuit.

"I think I made some conclusions from situations that have happened in previous years," Hamilton is quoted by the Russian website Championat.

"I race just as passionately as ever, but I understand that not everyone in our business wants to see displays of emotion like that.

"I speak naturally from the heart, but not everyone can understand that. Yes, this year my approach has been slightly different.

"I speak through my performances on the track," he added.

(GMM)

New boss says 2014 Russian GP plans on track

The new boss of Sochi's 2014 Russian GP project insists the race plans are on track.

There has been speculation the event could be delayed until 2015 because the resort city's hosting of the 2014 winter Olympics is the priority.

But new chief Alexander Bogdanov said: "There is only one objective. There is a contract signed with FOM, with Bernie Ecclestone, and my goal is to fulfil the obligations.

"There have been rumours, and one reason is that there was a kind of information vacuum," he admitted to the Russian website Championat.

"There will be no more problems like that.

"Right now is a very active phase of construction - the pits, the team buildings, the medical centre.

"They should be ready for the 2014 Olympics, because they will be used.

"The project is most ambitious, but it is doable and the two sides (F1 and Olympics) will help each other."

Bogdanov said Sochi is still in regular contact with Ecclestone.

"Yes, the last one was during the British GP. We discussed the progress of construction and the preparation for the (Russian) Grand Prix.

"We invited him to visit, and he confirmed his willingness to come to Sochi."

(GMM)

Vettel insists Webber not Red Bull favourite

Sebastian Vettel insists his bid for a third consecutive drivers' title remains on track.

But with his teammate 16 points ahead and now fully signed up for 2013, while rumours of a Ferrari switch continue to swirl around Vettel, one theory is that Red Bull could be set to throw its full weight behind Mark Webber's campaign.

Vettel doesn't think so.

"Both Mark and myself can go for the title; the team supports us equally," the 25-year-old told Bild newspaper.

"He (Webber) is doing very well, but I firmly believe that the championship is absolutely possible for myself.

"With victory at Hockenheim, the situation would immediately look very different," insisted Vettel.

(GMM)

Haug plays down Vettel-to-Mercedes likelihood

Norbert Haug has indicated that Mercedes is not currently in the running to secure Sebastian Vettel's services.

Although the extension of Michael Schumacher's contract appears likely, the cockpit alongside Nico Rosberg is theoretically open for 2013.

"We will sit down with Michael and make a decision together," Mercedes' motor racing director Haug told DPA news agency. "There is no rush."

Scottish racer Paul di Resta has been named as a possible successor to Schumacher, with Haug confirming that Mercedes will "not necessarily" look to pair Rosberg with another German.

"We are always looking for the best drivers available. That was the case even with Nico and Michael," he insisted.

But what about Vettel, who is under contract to Red Bull for 2013 but possibly not 2014?

Again and again, Ferrari is mentioned as a possible next employer for the reigning double world champion, but what about Germany's unofficial national team?

When asked how big Mercedes' interest is in the 25-year-old German, Haug answered: "Not so big that we need to talk about it in the media."

(GMM)

Kovalainen, Alguersuari eye 2013 Sauber seat

Heikki Kovalainen and Jaime Alguersuari have emerged as possible candidates to move to Sauber next year.

Rumours indicate that one of the duo could replace Japanese Kamui Kobayashi in 2013.

Finland's Turun Sanomat claims that Peter Sauber regards Kovalainen, who is on the market after three seasons with the 2010 startup Caterham, as a potential Sauber driver.

The 30-year-old driver is quoted as saying: "Personally, my goal is to return to the top positions, but I don't know where. I haven't talked to anyone.

"It is clear that I want at least to be in the points battle again.

"I feel comfortable with this team (Caterham), I have established my position, and I think what we have built is in the right direction.

"If the momentum is enough, it makes no sense to throw away all the work. But I am no longer a boy," he insisted.

Another candidate is Spaniard Alguersuari, the former Toro Rosso driver who this year is testing tyres for Pirelli.

"Next year I will be again racing, 100 per cent," he is quoted by EFE news agency.

And Marca newspaper also quotes Alguersuari as saying: "There are a lot of possibilities and offers.

"I am sure that next year, whether or not there are many (driver) movements, I will be in Formula One again.

"Obviously I'm not asking for a car to win, only a team that gives me the ability to be among the top ten consistently.

"This year, (it would be) teams like Williams, Sauber and Force India. A team with these characteristics," he said.

(GMM)

Filed under: f1, Racing, bernie ecclestone, nurburgring, News, motorsport, enthusiast, german f1 gp

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