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F1: Button 'Near Miss' Amid Monaco Paddock Chaos Photo:
Mike Stevens | May, 27 2011 | 1 Comment

Jenson Button was a near-victim of the chaos in the Monaco paddock as teams struggle to be ready for action just a few days after travelling from Barcelona.

Adding to the chaos, members of the public were roaming the paddock because security turnstiles were not up and running. In what was apparently a very near miss, the 2009 world champion revealed he was almost run over by a forklift while workers were racing to get motor-homes up and running.

"I was looking but he wasn't as he was reversing," said the McLaren driver on Wednesday afternoon.

"It makes it a bit dangerous. Maybe we should be wearing hard hats," he added.

It is believed preparations were affected by a truck fire at Ste-Devote, but Button thinks F1's blue-riband event should not be in such a rush.

"It is very busy out there and we are running through a lot of fans and walking through areas not built yet. I would prefer it not to be back-to-back," he said.

"Because it is such a special event we should have a good space beforehand."

Some teams, however, were not complaining as loudly, such as Williams whose motor-home was further advanced than most after the team had packed up and left Barcelona within mere hours of the chequered flag.

And Red Bull is also in good shape, having taken a smaller motor-home to Spain while its 'Energy Station' was floated into the Principality's harbour.

"It is very tight but we planned ahead," he said.

Also amid the chaos, the FIA announced that Alain Prost would be the driver steward this weekend. In fact, the official on duty will be former Toyota driver Allan McNish.



Drivers to keep eye on repaired Monaco surface

F1 drivers will be keeping an eye on the repaired track surface at Ste-Devote when they tackle the first corner at Monaco early on Thursday.

A major truck fire earlier this week burned the asphalt in the braking and turn-in zone for the famous corner, and circuit organisers have laid a new patch of track in record time.

"I walked the circuit and it looked ok. It looked like they did a good job," said Nick Heidfeld.

Nico Rosberg thinks the only issue will be the seeping of oil because the asphalt is not fully cured.

"We have to see if it rains," added Rubens Barrichello, "but I don't think there's any prediction of that."

Paul di Resta, who witnessed the fire as he recorded a circuit guide with British broadcasters BBC, also admitted he is slightly concerned.

"With the heat we have now, with temperatures not going much below 20 degrees and with track temperature at 45 during the day, you have to wonder at how that's going to cure," said the Force India driver.



F1 should consider new qualifying format - Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello believes F1 should consider reviving the one-lap qualifying system for 2012.

The veteran Brazilian says the popular 'knockout' sessions are no longer as interesting this year because drivers are conserving the Pirelli tyres for the race.

"The tyres are so different to last year so it's worth having a look (at a format change), although I think qualifying is very good," he said in Monaco.

Barrichello argues that F1 might as well revert to one-at-a-time qualifying, a format used in 2003 and 2004, because most drivers are already doing only one run in each of the knockout segments.

"I think qualifying has been quite good for the past years but we only have one run right now so it's worth having a look to see if there's anything different for next year," he said.



Ecclestone plots to buy back F1: Report

Bernie Ecclestone could be plotting his next move to retain control of his F1 circus.

The 80-year-old, who has bought and sold the commercial rights several times since revolutionising the sport decades ago, is rumoured to be considering buying back full control from F1's current owners CVC.

The move follows Ecclestone's rejection of the interest shown by News Corp and Ferrari shareholder Exor, after it emerged the other major teams might be interested in adding weight to that consortium.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that CVC's managing partner Donald MacKenzie made a rare visit to the Barcelona paddock last weekend.

The report said he was in Spain amid rumours Ecclestone could be heading a new consortium intending to bid for F1.

Part of the consortium could be Paddy McNally, the recently retired head of trackside advertising company Allsport, who like Ecclestone is among the richest men in Britain.

Another powerful player potentially in the mix is Aabar, the Abu Dhabi state-owned investment vehicle that already owns part of Mercedes-Benz and its Brackley based F1 team.

Aabar stepped up its F1 involvement in recent days by sponsoring the Toro Rosso team through its Swiss bank Falcon Private.


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