F1: Nurburgring Management Eyes F1 Rescue, Ecclestone Could Buy Photo:
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2012 German F1 Grand Prix Photo:
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TMR Team | Jul, 27 2012 | 0 Comments
  • Nurburgring management eyes F1 rescue plan
  • Ecclestone could buy embattled Nurburgring
  • Marussia to conclude de Villota crash caused by 'mistakes'
  • De Villota leaves hospital in Spain
  • Marko criticises rule-changing and Red Bull's rivals
  • Teams make winter test plans for mid-March 2013 opener
  • Red Bull drivers play down rule tweak effect
  • Vettel denies calling Hamilton 'stupid'

Nurburgring management eyes F1 rescue plan

The operators of the Nurburgring are considering buying the embattled circuit.

The development comes after the German GP host last week commenced an insolvency process, which has endangered the future of the venue's biennial F1 race.

One solution could be for the circuit's existing management to propose a buyout, amid reports the Nurburgring's current debts actually outweigh its overall value.

"If it is on the table, we would think about whether and how we would participate in the tender," Nurburgring Automotive GmbH chief Jorg Lindner is quoted by the German news agency SID.

He also revealed: "We have developed a concept for the Formula One race at the Nurburgring that does not require a cash grant from the state."



Ecclestone could buy embattled Nurburgring

Further to news of a possible management buyout, Bernie Ecclestone is also looking into buying the embattled Nurburgring, Die Rheinpfalz newspaper reported on Thursday.

Citing an interview with F1's chief executive, the report said Ecclestone would not talk about the price he is willing to pay for the German GP venue, whose future is in the air after entering an insolvency process last week.

Rheinpfalz did however say the 81-year-old is not willing to organise the race at his own expense, nor forego the sanctioning fee for 2013, as was previously reported in the German media.

Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that a management buyout was being considered, although its current debts far outweighing the value of the famous track.

Nurburgring Automotive GmbH chief Jorg Lindner said: "We have developed a concept for the Formula One race at the Nurburgring that does not require a cash grant from the state."



Marussia to conclude de Villota crash caused by 'mistakes'

Marussia is tipped to reveal in the coming days that Maria de Villota's test crash was the result of a "chain of unfortunate circumstances and mistakes".

The team recently insisted that, following an internal investigation, a failure of the 2012 car had been ruled out as the cause of the incident.

Spaniard de Villota, 32, is recovering from severe head and facial injuries that required the amputation of an eye.

"We're now 100 percent confident that the car was not to blame in the slightest," team boss John Booth said at Hockenheim last weekend.

An external investigation is now underway, but Booth warned that it will be a "very long process".

In the meantime, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Marussia is planning to release "within the next ten days" a further report about the circumstances leading up to de Villota's impact with a stationary truck.

The report said the finding will depict a "chain of unfortunate circumstances and mistakes" that led to the front of her helmet striking the truck loading ramp.

Auto Motor und Sport said de Villota's trajectory from the Duxford runway to the temporary pits included a curve, resulting in her struggling to find the clutch lever as the steering wheel was not in the normal 9 and 3 o'clock position.

Spaniard de Villota had reportedly already forgotten to push the neutral button, and with cold tyres and brakes then struggled to stop the car as the 750hp engine powered it forwards in a low gear.

A role may also have been played by "panic", or "doing the wrong thing at the wrong moment", the German publication added.



De Villota leaves hospital in Spain

Maria de Villota has checked out of a Madrid hospital.

Last week, Marussia's 32-year-old test driver was transferred from a Cambridge hospital to her native Madrid, 17 days after suffering horror injuries in a straightline aerodynamic test.

After a six-day stay, she then finally went home on Tuesday, La Paz hospital confirmed.

The media statement said de Villota has not incurred brain damage.

"The patient is in good general condition, so she was discharged from hospital yesterday," said the Spanish hospital.

La Paz added that the hospital's plastic, neurology and eye departments will follow up their treatments.



Marko criticises rule-changing and Red Bull's rivals

Dr Helmut Marko is critical not only of the moves to change the engine mapping rules mid-season, but also of rival teams who lobbied the FIA and then refused to own up at a meeting earlier this week.

In the wake of the Hockenheim controversy about Red Bull's reportedly legal traction control and engine exhaust blowing settings, F1's governing body on Wednesday issued a rule clarification that means the team must revert to a more conventional setup in Hungary this weekend and beyond.

The move follows the FIA revealing its concern about the Red Bull solution at Hockenheim, but admitting the wording of the existing rules made it powerless to stop it.

Wednesday's clarification closes the loophole.

"We were not cleared (at Hockenheim) because we falsified the evidence, but because we were within the regulations," Austrian Marko, Red Bull's motor racing consultant, told Servus TV.

He railed against overnight rule changes.

"If something is green, you can't then make it blue," said Marko.

"Nowhere does it say that we can't use the regulations in our favour."

He also criticised the behaviour of Red Bull's rivals, who according to speculation lobbied the FIA for the change but were then silent in Monday's technical meeting in London.

"Again and again, there are people who do such a thing. I'm talking of the other teams," said Marko.

"Then on Monday, when we could have addressed it professionally and objectively, it is not even addressed."

Red Bull is also still annoyed about Sebastian Vettel's demotion from second to fifth at Hockenheim for his illegal pass on Jenson Button.

Marko has already referred to a "double standard" sometimes employed by the FIA when it comes to penalties, and now team boss Christian Horner says he has reviewed footage of Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso's pole lap at Hockenheim.

"On the last corner he was off the circuit with all four wheels," the Briton is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport, intimating that the Spaniard also broke the rules for advantage but was not penalised.



Teams make winter test plans for mid-March 2013 opener

F1 teams are already making plans for winter testing.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that provisional plans are already being made for the teams to reveal and test their 2013 cars for the first time from February 5 next year.

The date of the first test, set for Jerez, is based on the fact that - according to the Melbourne organiser - Australia is provisionally scheduled to host the 2013 season opener on March 17 "subject to FOM confirmation".

The teams are therefore already setting dates for the 12 days of pre-season winter testing, which will be divided into three four-day tests.

The German report said the teams have agreed to simply scrap a mid-season test.

Auto Motor und Sport revealed that teams will after Jerez then move to Barcelona in mid-February, and then stay at the Circuit de Catalunya for a third and final test until 3 March.

"There is a contingency plan," said McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, "in the event that we race in Melbourne on 10 March."

In that case, the February testing plans will be moved forward by a week.

That could, however, create a problem for the opening Jerez test, because Auto Motor und Sport says the Spanish venue is already booked for other activities prior to 5 February.



Red Bull drivers play down rule tweak effect

Red Bull's drivers on Thursday played down the impact of the 'engine mapping' rule clarification.

Following the 'legal traction control' and exhaust engine blowing controversy at Hockenheim, the team has for Hungary been forced to revert to a conventional software setting as the result of the FIA rules tweak.

World champion Sebastian Vettel played down the change.

"It's not as if the car doesn't work any more. I'm quite confident nothing will change," he said.

When also asked what effect the clarification will have on Red Bull's pace, teammate Mark Webber added: "Very, very small I would say.

"The guys haven't really even spoken to me much about it. It seems pretty tame on our side, so we'll just get on with it."



Vettel denies calling Hamilton 'stupid'

Sebastian Vettel has denied calling Lewis Hamilton stupid.

After last weekend's German GP, the Red Bull driver hit out at McLaren driver Hamilton's decision to overtake him despite being a lap down.

"It's a bit stupid to disturb the leaders," the official FIA transcript of the post-race press conference quotes Vettel as saying at Hockenheim.

But world champion Vettel insisted in Budapest on Thursday: "I didn't say it was a stupid decision.

"If I say after the race that I think it was unnecessary and then it gets quoted that I said he is stupid, it is quite disappointing."


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