F1: Mosley Confirms Opposition To News Corp Interest Photo:
Mike Stevens | May, 10 2011 | 0 Comments

Bernie Ecclestone reverted to his typical humour when asked in Turkey if he fears Formula One slipping from his grasp.

Asked by Bild am Sonntag if he is worried he may soon have to relinquish his role as the most powerful figure in the paddock, he answered simply: "Yes."

Asked why, the 80-year-old Briton told the German Sunday newspaper: "Because I can't do my job when I'm dead."

He suggested to Bloomberg in another interview that he cannot understand the interest of News Corp and Ferrari-linked Exor when the sport's current owners CVC are not interested in selling.

And he revealed: "There's been other interest for quite some time", adding that CVC might only be swayed with a "bloody enormous" offer.

FIA President Jean Todt confirmed on Sunday that the governing body has the right to veto a sale.

Ecclestone commented: "I don't, but I could just walk out."

Curiously, another spanner in the works could be Todt's predecessor Max Mosley, who called the FIA veto the 'Don King clause' because the flamboyant boxing promoter would not be an appropriate owner for the sport.

It's about "having a suitable, proper person" owning F1, Mosley told Bloomberg. "From a personal point of view, I don't think they'd be the right person," he said, referring to News Corp.

Mosley's main gripe with Rupert Murdoch is his UK tabloid News of the World, responsible not only for the infamous 'Nazi hookers' story but also for hacking the phones of celebrities.

"There has been clear illegality," said Mosley.

A News Corp spokeswoman declined to comment on Ecclestone or Mosley's comments.



Acclaimed Shanghai Drive 'Not Rewarding': Webber

Mark Webber has admitted that scything from the back of the grid through the Shanghai field for a podium finish was "not very rewarding".

Commentators hailed the Australian's drive in China three weeks ago as perhaps the best of his career, but the 34-year-old doesn't agree.

He said many of his overtaking moves were artificially boosted by the 'DRS' adjustable rear wing as well as the cache of fresh tyres he had been able to preserve by bowing out of Q1.

"A lot more people probably enjoyed my China drive than I did, to be honest," he said after finishing second in Turkey on Sunday.

"When you come up against drivers like Fernando and Jenson and Felipe and Nico, these guys, and you catch them at 2.5 seconds a lap, it's nice but it's not very rewarding in terms of how you pass them.

"These guys have absolutely nothing to fight back with, so it was a podium which of course I took," he said.

Asked more generally how he feels about F1's exciting new formula in 2011, Webber added: "It's best I stop there."

Jean Todt was in Turkey on Sunday and he said 2011 has been very exciting so far, agreeing that Webber's Shanghai drive was a perfect example.

But as for the DRS overtaking wing, the FIA President admitted: "I think it's too artificial."



FIA Refuses To Ban DRS For Monaco

The FIA has refused to ban the adjustable rear wing overtaking system 'DRS' for the Monaco Grand Prix later in May.

Some teams and drivers pushed for the ban on safety grounds for the uniquely narrow and twisty street layout.

According to L'Equipe, another argument used by teams opposed to DRS for Monaco was that they would have to redesign the system to fit the bespoke high-downforce rear wings used in the Principality.

But Charlie Whiting ruled out a regulation change for Monaco, informing the teams in Turkey on Sunday according to Spanish news agency EFE.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed that "intensive discussions" took place but declined to say which side of the argument he is on.



No Turkish Champagne For Underage Vettel

Sebastian Vettel was banned from drinking champagne on the podium as he celebrated winning Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix.

British newspapers The Sun and the Sunday Mirror report that the championship leader was told he must resist drinking the champagne due to Turkey's new alcohol age limit of 24.

"It had been said in the drivers' briefing. The law is 24 and he is 23," confirmed Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

The alcohol advertising ban in Turkey also meant teams had to remove some logos from their cars, such as Sauber's usual Tequila sponsor.



Red Bull Wary But Vettel 'Top Of His Game'

Red Bull insists it is wary of other F1 teams after Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix but those competitors are not quite as bullish.

"Ferrari are back," team boss Christian Horner is quoted as saying by Tuttosport at Istanbul Park, where Fernando Alonso finally achieved the Italian squad's first podium of 2011.

Runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel and his teammate Mark Webber, however, had only seemed to reinforce Red Bull's superiority, with McLaren and Mercedes struggling in Turkey.

"McLaren were very strong in the last two races even if today we were better," continued Horner.

"And we don't forget that Mercedes looked very quick in qualifying. I think there's still a long way to go in this championship and it's important to capitalise on days like these."

Some pundits believe the energy drink-owned team is playing down its position of clear dominance, such as Niki Lauda who thinks Vettel is "definitely" and "without question" on course for his second drivers' crown.

"He needs now to proceed in a clever way at races that he does not necessarily have to win," the Austrian told ORF, referring to Vettel's 34 point lead.

But Lauda said the 2011 contest is still interesting.

"McLaren with Hamilton won the last race but today they were 40 seconds behind, while Ferrari was nowhere and here they're the third party.

"But it's always about number two or three, while Red Bull and Vettel first and foremost is always in front," he added.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said in Turkey that a problem at the Woking factory had delayed some scheduled new components.

"For Barcelona we have to make sure we get back in the mix because, at the moment, you have to say we are behind the Ferraris and battling with the Mercedes," said Jenson Button.

Nico Rosberg had eyed a real podium challenge after starting third but after the race acknowledged that the W02 car is not there yet.

"Today proved that we are stronger in qualifying but in the race still missing a lot to Red Bull," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

Ferrari, meanwhile, is also expecting to improve again, with Stefano Domenicali hoping the upgrades will be complete for a victory challenge in Canada next month.

"This third place should not delude us; the road ahead is still long," the team boss is quoted by Tuttosport. "At least we have shown that our path of development is now the right one."

For the moment, on top of the F1 world is Vettel, with even Webber in the sister RB7 forced to acknowledge that.

"Yeah, Seb is on top of his game," said the Australian after Sunday's race.



Ecclestone Says Austria GP Return 'Possible'

Bernie Ecclestone has indicated he would be happy for F1 to return to Austria.

Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz has rebuilt the A1-Ring - now known as the Red Bull Ring - at Zeltweg and Michael Schumacher said in Turkey he sees "no reason" why the Austrian grand prix should not return to the venue.

Billionaire Mateschitz himself rates the chances of a F1 contract at "more than minor", but the new circuit has received formula one-standard homologation.

The new circuit, with essentially the same layout as hosted the last grand prix there in 2003, is set to re-open this week and F1 chief executive Ecclestone - the architect of the annual race calendar - said it is good news.

"It is good that the circuit is ready to go again," the 80-year-old Briton is quoted by APA news agency.

"We have always gone down there very happily. We have always loved Austria," added Ecclestone.

As for whether formula one will return to the country, he answered: "Everything is possible."

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali at the weekend said one of the changes F1 teams want for the next Concorde Agreement is "the return of some European circuits".


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