F1: 2013 Engine Rules Delay 'Almost Certain' - Report Photo:

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Mike Stevens | Jun, 22 2011 | 0 Comments

A postponement of the proposed 2013 engine rules is "almost certain", according to the authoritative Italian magazine Autosprint.

With engine makers including Ferrari, Mercedes and Cosworth no longer supporting the four-cylinder turbo regulations, FIA president Jean Todt has agreed to consider a delayed introduction date.

Following consultation with the suppliers, including Renault who have threatened to quit F1 if the 2013 rules do not debut as scheduled, Todt will make his decision at the end of this month.

"I personally feel we've got to seek a compromise," McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, also chairman of the teams association FOTA, is quoted by the magazine Motorsport.

"If it were my call I'd probably go for a turbocharged V6," he said.

McLaren - like Mercedes GP and Force India - is powered by Mercedes-Benz, whose motor racing vice-president Norbert Haug said: "I think establishing rules and then have only two, three manufacturers who are committed is just a problematic situation that needs to be solved together."

Meanwhile, Autosprint reported that the full blown diffuser ban for 2012 will be policed by mandating that the exhausts exit at the top of the rear of the engine cover.

"It seems to have been Ferrari, represented at the (technical working group) meeting for the first time by Pat Fry, who proposed this solution," Autosprint reported.



Ecclestone admits BBC 'facing problems'

The BBC warned Bernie Ecclestone that they were "facing problems" with free-to-air live television coverage of Formula One, the F1 chief executive has conceded.

His comments follow reports this week that the British broadcaster's highly-respected free-to-air coverage might be dropped for 2013.

It has been feared that the only option for F1 in the BBC's absence would be Rupert Murdoch's pay network Sky, but the Daily Mail newspaper said ITV - the F1 broadcaster between 1997 to 2008 - might also be interested.

"We want Formula One to stay free to viewers," Ecclestone said. "That is 100 per cent.

"They (the BBC) did warn me that they were facing problems but, so far, nothing more has been said. I hope they want to keep us because it is such a success and I will do my best," the 80-year-old added.

It has been suggested the reports might indicate the BBC's desire to continue to broadcast F1 with improved contractual terms.



'Put some money' on Hamilton title - father

Lewis Hamilton is still in the fight for the 2011 world championship.

That is the insistence of his father Anthony Hamilton, who after splitting with the McLaren driver as manager now handles the career of Force India rookie Paul di Resta.

Even before crashing out of the recent Canadian Grand Prix, 26-year-old Hamilton said of Sebastian Vettel's runaway points lead: "He's gone, he's on his way."

Then, in the Montreal race, Hamilton's retirement dropped him behind his teammate Jenson Button and also Mark Webber in the drivers' standings, a full 76 points shy of Vettel's lead.

"For me, Valencia will be a weekend of consolidation after two disappointing results in Monaco and Canada," said the Briton.

But Hamilton's father thinks a merely solid result is an underestimation of his son's true potential, tipping him to take the chequered flag by the time of the season finale in late November.

"If I were a gambling man, I'd put some money on Lewis winning the championship this year," Hamilton snr told the Daily Mail. "You'll get some great odds. He can do it."

At present, 2008 world champion Hamilton is about 14/1 to win his second title in 2011, while Red Bull's Vettel is the overwhelming odds-on favourite.

Said Lewis Hamilton: "We've arguably had the fastest race car in the last three races, and that's really encouraging because I know that, when it's put to best use, I should be able to finish at the front."



Red Bull drops NASCAR, eyes US GP title sponsorship

F1 team owner Red Bull looks set to pull the plug on its NASCAR project.

The failure of the project compared with the energy drink company's meteoric success in Formula One is being blamed for the decision.

Reports in the American media early this week say staff at the Red Bull Racing Sprint Cup team are being told the operation will close at the end of the season.

"We are not at liberty to comment on details while negotiations (with investors) are under way," said the team.

NASCAR insiders say North Carolina based Red Bull Racing, headed technically by ex-F1 figure Gunther Steiner, has struggled since its debut in 2007.

A report in the Toronto Sun said it is "well known" that Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz has been "unhappy" with the NASCAR effort.

"They never really had the level of success (in NASCAR) that I'm sure they were hoping for," said F1 marketing guru Zak Brown, according to USA Today.

"And on the flip side, you have enormous success around Formula One. I'd probably say it's a combination of both, and I'm not sure there was ever the same level of excitement and passion (for NASCAR).

"Dietrich is a winner, and he's not going to go on forever if he doesn't get the results," added Just Marketing's Brown.

He said it is likely Red Bull will chose instead to spend its North American dollars on title sponsoring next year's US Grand Prix in Austin.

"Not that the US GP will ever be the size and magnitude of NASCAR," admitted Brown, "but I'm sure they're not going to just drop the NASCAR team and not fill the void in another sport or with a title sponsorship. The US is too big a market for them."



Ferrari says Button rumours 'twaddle'

Ferrari has rubbished suggestions Jenson Button could be set to switch from McLaren.

A source at the famous Italian team reportedly told the News of the World this week that Button, 31, was being sounded out as a replacement for Felipe Massa.

"The Brazilian is now well used to this ritual, as it began almost before he set foot in the Scuderia," said Ferrari's anonymous website columnist The Horse Whisperer, referring to near-constant speculation about Massa's future.

The latest names linked to his race cockpit have been Nico Rosberg and now Briton Button.

"It goes without saying that, yet again, this is just a load of twaddle, to use a polite word for what I really mean to say," added the Ferrari columnist.

Indeed, widespread media reports are now saying Button is in fact set to extend his deal with McLaren for 2012 and beyond.

The Daily Mirror is the latest publication to reveal that the 2009 world champion is set to agree a new two-year contract with a $3 million per season pay rise.

"The deal has to be finalised before the end of July, but may be announced at the British Grand Prix," said writer Byron Young.

The Mirror report added that German Rosberg, 25, "approached McLaren" about Button's seat but is now expected to stay at Mercedes.



FIA clamps down tighter on 'hot' exhaust blowing

The FIA has moved further to clamp down immediately against aggressive exhaust blowing.

It was already known that so-called "hot blowing", involving the aggressive blowing of engine exhaust through rear diffusers when the driver is not on the throttle, will be effectively banned as of Silverstone next month.

But Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reported on Tuesday that another element of exhaust blowing will be banned immediately.

From Valencia this weekend, teams will no longer be able to use extremely aggressive hot-blowing in qualifying, and then switch to a more engine-friendly setting for the Grand Prix.

McLaren said recently it suspected precisely that practice was giving Red Bull's RB7 its qualifying advantage.

Jenson Button told Blick: "They (Red Bull) use the exhaust gases into the diffuser non-stop on a qualifying lap, but not in the race."

And Auto Motor und Sport quotes team boss Martin Whitmarsh as adding: "With Red Bull's aggressive qualifying mode, they are gaining a good half a second."

Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko said on Austrian television Servus TV: "If the others cannot copy it, they can try at least to have it banned."

But the Austrian said he suspects Ferrari will benefit the most from the FIA's clampdown.

"I think McLaren will be affected less, or similar to us as they have a very good copy (of the Red Bull exhaust)," said Marko.


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