F1: China To Stay On F1 Calendar, Massa Says No In-Race Team Orders At Ferrari Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Apr, 16 2010 | 0 Comments

BERNIE Ecclestone on Friday said China is staying on the F1 calendar beyond this weekend's event.

The huge Shanghai facility has been criticised due to its low spectator numbers and lack of atmosphere.

One section of vast grandstands this weekend is spelling out a local 'Made With China' branding message, due to the low chance they will need to accommodate actual people.

"The contract is ongoing here," Ecclestone said. "We renew every five years. It will go on," F1 chief executive Ecclestone told reporters in the vast concrete paddock on Friday afternoon.

The Briton said it is a "shame" that at an impressive venue built for 200,000 spectators looks almost completely empty.

"They've not promoted it properly, it's as simple as that. If you were in Shanghai, you wouldn't even know there was a race here," said Ecclestone.

He insisted, however, that the government is "fully supportive" of formula one.

Meanwhile, with India scheduled to join the calendar next year, and Ecclestone wanting new races in New York and Russia, the 79-year-old said he is not about to axe a raft of established events.

"We're not dropping anything," Ecclestone said, laughing that the F1 fraternity should be "getting ready for 25" races in the future.



Massa Says No In-Race Team Orders At Ferrari

FELIPE MASSA has denied that standing team orders are in place at Ferrari.

It is rumoured that when Red Bull's drivers are running first and second this season, they are not to attack one another, while the leading driver is given first call on the timing of his pitstop.

But when asked if the same arrangement exists between himself and Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, Massa said in China: "No.

"Neither of us will do something stupid, that's obvious, but we are fighting against each other, just like everyone else on the track," he is quoted as saying in the Spanish media.

"But we respect each other, for sure."

Massa also indicated that Ferrari is deciding on a "race by race" basis about the drivers' pit strategies.



Friday News Briefs From China

AS HE returned to his practice driving duties on Friday morning in China, Paul di Resta was presented with a special pair of racing boots.

The rookie reserve driver turns 24 on Friday, and Force India marked the occasion with custom boots bearing the Scottish saltire and a leaping tiger.

Sir Frank Williams turns 68 on Friday.


On the way to the start of the Rally of Turkey, Kimi Raikkonen drove past the F1 circuit in Istanbul, but insists he does not miss the sport he conquered in 2007.

"If I missed it I wouldn't be here, I'd be there," said the Finn, amid rumours he could replace Mark Webber at Red Bull in 2011.


McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is sporting a short beard on his chin this weekend in Shanghai.


Friday's weather in Shanghai is better than it was on Wednesday and Thursday, but it is still uncharacteristically cold in China's largest city. There is 20 per cent chance of rain on Sunday.


Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has welcomed the settlement reached between the FIA and Flavio Briatore, who was previously banned for life over the crashgate scandal.

"I am pleased for Briatore," the Italian is quoted as saying by La Stampa. "Jean Todt's decision is wise and timely."


Robert Kubica is wearing a black armband in China this weekend, while a picture of a Polish flag is on the headrest of his Renault car, to mark the recent death of the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski's wife and 94 others in a plane crash last Saturday.


A big bump in the braking zone of turn 1 was causing headaches during first practice in China on Friday. The bump broke a front wing on a Virgin car, while something also broke off a Lotus. Virgin said on Twitter that "lots of people" had similar problems.


Felipe Massa in China reiterated that he is not overly worried about the rumours linking Robert Kubica with his Ferrari seat for 2011.

"First it was Valentino (Rossi) coming, then it was Alonso and Vettel. With Fernando they were saying it three years ago, and what changed for me? Nothing," the Brazilian is quoted as saying in the French press.

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