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F1: Abu Dhabi Confirms Talks, Denies Buying Toro Rosso Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | Jun, 03 2011 | 0 Comments

Abu Dhabi has confirmed talks with Red Bull but denied it is looking to buy the energy drink company's second Formula One team Toro Rosso.

A Spanish newspaper reported this week that Aabar, already part-owners of the Mercedes team, was looking to buy a second team through its International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and Spanish oil brand CEPSA.

IPIC chief Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi was at the most recent Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Abu Dhabi state-owned Aabar admitted it is "currently evaluating options of a potential project based cooperation with Austrian based Red Bull".

"These (talks) comprise possible joint activities between Red Bull's corporate projects and Abu Dhabi -- they neither include Red Bull's formula one teams nor Red Bull's beverage business," Aabar insisted.

The statement also said Aabar has a "firm and lasting commitment as a 40 per cent stakeholder in ... Mercedes GP".

(GMM)

 

Alonso not getting better equipment than Massa - Gene

Ferrari test driver Marc Gene has denied the team supplies superior equipment to Fernando Alonso.

Spaniard Alonso, with a new long-term contract, is widely regarded as the famous Italian team's number 1 driver, particularly with Felipe Massa struggling to keep up over the past two seasons.

But Gene, also a Spaniard, told El Mundo newspaper: "I can confirm 100 percent that both Felipe and Fernando have the same materials at their disposal.

"If the results of Fernando have been superior it is because of his very high level.

"I cannot judge what he did in his time at Renault and McLaren but I have worked with world champions Schumacher, Villeneuve and Raikkonen and Fernando is the one who impresses me the most," said Gene.

"Before he arrived at Ferrari I had great expectations, and now that I've seen and studied and worked with him, I can say he has exceeded all of the expectations."

Gene, meanwhile, said he does not believe it would be the right move for Ferrari to abandon work on the 150 Italia car in order to ensure a more competitive start to 2012.

"It is true that the gap to Red Bull is significant, even if there are many races left. But no gap is unbridgeable, especially for a team like Ferrari.

"Also, if it is right that the regulations for next year do not change much, it is still useful to develop the current car because these improvements can also apply to the next one.

"Ferrari's philosophy is to not give up while the maths do not prove otherwise," concluded Gene.

 

No peace in Bahrain as FIA decision looms

On the eve of the decisive World Motor Sport Council meeting, Bahrain looked unlikely to return to the 2011 Formula One calendar.

Martial law in the troubled island Kingdom ended on Wednesday, just two days before F1's governing body sits in Barcelona to consider a new race date for the postponed season opener.

Bahrain officials insist they are now ready to host a grand prix, but F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone had warned in Monaco that the event will only take place "If there's peace".

As the state of emergency ended on Wednesday, reports suggested there is still turmoil on the streets of Bahrain.

Al Jazeera television said police used tear gas against continuing protesters, arresting and injuring several of them.

"With the end of the emergency situation, the security should not be here but they still are," said an eyewitness.

Reuters said the interior ministry denied the reports, while the Bahrain Shura Council's deputy president Jamal Fakhro insisted Formula One can return.

"The end of the national security law and announcement of dialogue are both positive. It will be a shame if anyone is negative about it," he said.

"Bahrain will welcome Formula One, and any other event. There's nothing wrong with that because life is back to normal now and it will be excellent to have it back."

(GMM)

 

Raikkonen refused entry to Briatore club in Monaco

Flavio Briatore addressed the media, proudly strolled the paddock and grid and appeared for the popular British motoring show 'Top Gear' as F1's most prestigious Grand Prix took place last weekend in Monaco.

But also in the Principality, another former member of the F1 circus was making a much lower profile visit.

Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion and now rally and NASCAR driver, rushed from a Nationwide race in the US late on Saturday to be harbourside in his yacht in time for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

In his entourage were 'The Dudesons', a ramshackle group of friends known on Finnish television for their highly popular and extreme Jackass-style show.

Raikkonen, 31, was seen with the group as they relaxed in his yacht's open spa, and they also ventured to Briatore's 'Billionaire' nightclub -- but were refused entry.

The bouncers, apparently, failed to recognise the winner of 18 Grands Prix, and - enjoying his anonymity - Raikkonen failed to rebuke them and the party moved elsewhere.

(GMM)

 

Virgin confirms Wirth split

Virgin on Thursday confirmed reports Nick Wirth has left the struggling team.

Chief executive Andy Webb told us in a statement that the decision followed a "comprehensive review" in the wake of Russian carmaker Marussia's arrival as title sponsor and investor.

The statement said "it is readily apparent that the team must take major steps in order to accelerate its rate of improvement".

"Consequently, the decision has been taken that the team will take greater control of its own destiny," added Webb, revealing Virgin has therefore been "obliged to terminate our relationship" with Wirth and his company Wirth Research.

"Looking ahead, we will now be pursuing an alternative technical path and look forward to announcing our plans in more detail over the coming weeks," he said.

Webb however denied suggestions the split with Wirth means the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach has proved a failure, but left the door open to new options.

"At this stage I would like to underline our continued commitment to a cost-efficient commercial model," he said.

"We maintain our absolute belief in CFD as a technology, especially since it continues to become more cost-effective with every year.

"Naturally, we will continue to use every means at our disposal to improve the aerodynamics of our car with immediate effect."

(GMM)

 
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