Monthly Archives: April 2013

Ecclestone Limits Prize Money To Top Ten Teams

Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has set into law a new rule which will see only the top ten constructors receive prize money once the season ends.

Last year, all twelve constructors (including the now dead Hispania) got a share of the prize money, important especially for the three back-markers of Caterham, Marussia and HRT who operate on much smaller budgets than the front-running outfits.

With HRT now gone, the new rule means that one team will be left out once the prize money is allocated.

“For three years we did something different because we had an agreement with Max [Mosley] but from now on we will pay the top 10 and that’s it.” Ecclestone told the Daily Telegraph.

F1’s Concorde Agreement expired at the end of 2012 and it’s replacement is yet to be signed by all teams. In the mean-time, Bernie has arranged commercial contracts with each team individually – all except for Marussia who have finished 11th every year since 2010 and would finish outside the money this year, should they fail to beat rivals Caterham.

The Russian outfit is currently leading Caterham, much thanks to impressive rookie Jules Bianchi who has quickly made a name for himself in the first four races of this season.

Ecclestone’s plan could prove fatal to the team who finishes 11th, as the smaller teams rely on the prize money in place of the big advertising the big names get.


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Briatore Claims Innocence In Crashgate Scandal

Former Renault chief, Flavio Briatore maintains he is innocent of the crash-gate scandal which engulfed his team five years ago.

The Italian was found guilty of ordering Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash during the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix to benefit team-mate Fernando Alonso who then won the race.

As a result, Briatore was handed a lifetime ban before the ban was rejected by the Tribunal de Grand Instance in Paris in 2010.

Speaking to Maurice Hamilton, Briatore highlighted the Tribunal’s findings as proof.

“The court in Paris was very clear; I was not involved at all. That is what the letter said,” he said.

When asked if it was put in writing, he said “Yes, it’s official.

“There was no proof that I was involved in Singapore. Which is the reason I won in court. I’ve nothing more to say; I say it already at the time. If what people claimed about Singapore was true, then why did I fire Piquet in the middle of the next season?

Why take that risk? Why not renew the contract because it would be 30 or 40 per cent less money and there would be no trouble if all this was true. I had Fernando back and, for me, the second driver was not important.

“I respect what was said in the court. After that, I have an agreement with Jean Todt that the FIA will not appeal. I stay away with no problem at all. I had the moral responsibility because I was in charge of the team. But now it is gone.”

However, he rubbished any rumours that he could make a return with to the pit wall in the future.

“Now I have a son, three years old; I’m working 20 hours a day for different businesses, different investments, different situations, both here and over in America; I’m very happy. This restaurant, for example, is the most popular in Monte Carlo.

“I was in Formula 1 for 20 years, won seven championships with two different teams, discovered the two big stars after Ayrton Senna: Schumi and Fernando.

“I know everything that’s going on and I know to have a team at this moment makes no sense financially. So, there is no reason for me to come back to F1.”

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Kubica Confirms Simulator Test With Mercedes

Robert Kubica has confirmed that he drove in Mercedes’ F1 race simulator.

The Pole suffered what were thought to be career-ending injuries when he crashed during the Ronde di Andora rally on February 6th 2011, but he has since beaten that injury aswell as a broken leg resulting from a slip on ice, to take a place in the European Rally Championship.

Speaking to Autosport this weekend at the Rally Azores, Kubica admitted that he had piloted the simulator but did not go into specifics.

“I can say yes, I was there.” he said. “But I cannot say how many times or how many laps I did. But there is this rumour to which I say, yes, I was in the Mercedes F1 simulator in the past.”

He was then asked if he would drive with Mercedes again, to which the 28-year-old replied, “Maybe. I don’t know.”

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Hamilton Not Expecting Vettel Dominance

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is not expecting Sebastian Vettel to dominate the 2013 season, like he did in 2011 to win the Championship with four races remaining.

Vettel, who is leading the Championship in his battle for a fourth consecutive world championship, is the only winner to have won two races this season with Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen winning the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso winning in Shanghai.

However, 2008 World Champion Hamilton believes that Vettel wont be able to dominate while Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus snap at his heels.

“Seb always seems to win in Bahrain, so that was no real surprise for us.” He told The Sun. “I don’t think it will be the same for Seb in all the races plus Red Bull have seemed to struggle in some qualifying sessions. 

“The Bahrain GP could turn out to be one of the worst Grand Prix for us because we had a lot of problems with the car. We were on the back foot all weekend, so to come away with a fifth place when I started in ninth, was really pleasing.  I turned a negative into a positive and now had two thirds and two fifths. When I was joining a new team, I thought it would be a lot worse than that.”

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Formula One Keeping Telemetry Supplier Despite Issues

Formula One is not ditching the company which supplies its on-track electronic marshalling system, despite a string of problems in the opening four races this season.

The system, run by Riedel, controls important functions such as the track-side electronic flags and in-car flag indicators. Each car is equipped with equipment which alerts the driver, via lights on his dashboard, to the current track status – flashing yellow in yellow flag zones, blue when a driver must move over to be lapped etc.

The technology, supplied by EM last year, played a vital part in clearing Sebastian Vettel’s name when speculation arose that he could be disqualified for overtaking under yellow flags at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. While it appeared that the German, who narrowly secured his third consecutive world championship at the same race, had overtaken in a yellow flag zone, the green lights flashing on his dashboard helped clear his name as his move was made in, at least, what he thought was a green flag zone.

This year, big issues have arisen – particularly earlier this month in China when eight drivers were investigated for using DRS in the yellow flag zone caused by Esteban Gutierrez’s crash with Adrian Sutil.

The eight men were finally cleared when it was found that the dodgy system only informed the drivers that they were in a yellow flag zone a full minute after Race Control declared it to be one. Also, the same issue stopped the FIA from blocking the use of DRS in the zone, something they could do last year when EM managed the system.

With similar problems in Bahrain, some suggested EM could be asked to step in. However, the FIA told Autosport this week that they were satisfied with Riedel’s progress in developing the technology and that they would allow time before debating returning to EM.

There is three weeks between the last Grand Prix, in Bahrain, and the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix which should allow Riedel time to get up to scratch, but the FIA has not commented as to how long it will give Riedel to iron out its issues before they begin to consider alternatives.

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VIDEO: 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix Highlights

Highlights to the 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

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April 27, 2013 · 8:25 pm

Steps Towards Thai GP Move Up A Gear

Preparation for a possible Thai Grand Prix is now in full swing with local authorities granting permission for the design of the track.  The race is scheduled to hold it’s inaugural running in 2015, at the track which is based in Bangkok.

SAT (the Sports Authority of Thailand) met yesterday, Thursday, and finalised plans for the 5.995 kilometre length circuit, which would be based beside the Royal Thai Naval Dockyard in Bangkok. The approved layout for the race will see the cars speed past tourist hot spots such as the the Grand Palace and Victory Monument.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber ran a demo in the city in 2010 – an event which attracted 100,000 people. Since then, Red Bull have been very supportive of the race, a race they hope will be a night time show – like the current Singapore Grand Prix.

The final hurdle for the race is official government permission which should be given in the coming months.

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