Saturday, July 11, 2009

Week-end Formula 1 News

The Australian Grand Prix will likely be scrapped if leading teams form a breakaway Formula 1 series next year, Australian F1 race chief Ron Walker said on Friday.
Uncertainty continues to surround the future direction of the sport after the eight-member Formula One Teams Association (Fota), including Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes, walked out of a meeting with motor racing's governing body in Paris this week and revived their threat to form a breakaway series.
Walker said he would advise the Victorian state government, which backs the race, to cancel the event should F1's leading teams carry out their threat."The Grand Prix board would probably say to the (Victorian) Premier it's too hard," Walker told a radio station on Friday. "
You can just imagine if the likes of (Roger) Federer and other major tennis players didn't turn up to the Australian Open in January or if some of the best horses didn't come to the Melbourne Cup."
Melbourne has an agreement to run the event until 2015 under a five-year licence extension signed last year

On another note, defending drivers' world champion Lewis Hamilton clocked the fastest time in Friday afternoon's second free practice session ahead of Sunday's German Grand Prix.It was the third time in this disappointing season - for him - that the 24-year-old had been quickest on the opening day in his McLaren Mercedes, having been fastest previously on Friday in Bahrain and China.Cynics, however, may suggest that with his McLaren team-mate Finn Heikki Kovalainen struggling in 17th place on a cool, wet day, Hamilton was running very light on fuel to please the fans sitting in the Mercedes-Benz grandstand.
The Briton clocked a best time of 1min 32.149sec with 6 minutes of the 90 remaining to ease clear of nearest rival German Sebastian Vettel, in his Red Bull, by 0.2sec.Championship leader Jenson Button of Britain was third for Brawn GP, ahead of Australian Mark Webber, in the second Red Bull, with Italian Jarno Trulli fifth for Toyota and German Adrian Sutil sixth for Force India. Button's Brawn team-mate Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello was seventh ahead of two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Renault.

Alonso trades Renault in for Ferrari, say press reports

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso is planning to switch from Renault to Ferrari next season, Spanish sports newspapers Marca and AS reported yesterday.Negotiations about the Spanish driver's transfer are close to completion and could become official at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza from Sept 11-13, according to the reports which were echoed by Italian media.
The 27-year-old Spaniard won the driver's championships in 2005 and 2006 for Renault and is under contract with the French manufacturer until the end of next year, but with a get-out clause which he can activate earlier.
Alonso, currently ninth in the driver's championship table, has expressed dissatisfaction with Renault's under-performing R29 model, even though engineers say radical improvements are on the way.
Ferrari are believed to be less than happy with Kimi Raikkonen, currently 10th in the table, and could be keen on the idea of Alonso partnering Felipe Massa. But the Italian firm would find it very expensive to buy the Finn out of his cast-iron contract.
According to the Spanish reports, Alonso has secured the backing of Spanish financial giant Banco de Santander to get a five-year deal with Ferrari.

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