F1 News: Teams ban testing during promotional shoots

By Gareth Llewellyn
Jacques VilleneuveJacques Villeneuve (Photo: Freewheeling Daredevil)

Jacques Villeneuve

The Sport Review rounds up all of the latest news from the world of Formula 1.

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve has submitted an entry to become the 13th team on the grid for 2011 with his team Villeneuve Racing. So far it is unclear where Villeneuve’s funding is coming from, but he has fulfilled the FIA criteria. It is also unclear whether he will race for his own team. The FIA are believed to be revealing the winning entry by the end of this month.

Teams will now not be able to test new parts during promotional shoots at circuits after potential ambiguity was removed from the regulations. The loophole, relating to promotional running, has been closed with immediate effect after Ferrari were caught testing their new blown diffuser on Fernando Alonso’s car during a shoot at their Fiorano test track last month. Mercedes had also used the loophole to test a new engine cover.

GP2 driver Sergio Pérez has been linked with a move to F1 for 2011 after it emerged Virgin Racing and other teams are interested in signing the Mexican driver backed by Telmex billionaire Carlos Slim, who was at Silversone last weekend. Pérez is also supported by former McLaren team co-ordinator Jo Ramírez.

Bruno Senna was dropped by Hispania for the British Grand Prix after accidentally sending a critical e-mail to team boss Colin Kolles. Rumours surfaced that Senna was dropped because of a sponsorship payment issue, but it has emerged that Senna’s insubordination was the reason for his omission. Senna will return to the team from the next race at Hockeinheim. Ironically, it appears that the financial problems are actually with Senna’s team mate Karun Chandhok.

Argentine driver José María López could still be in line for an F1 drive after reports suggested he spoke to a number of teams at Silverstone. López had been signed to drive for the failed and now disqualified USF1 team in 2010. The TC2000 driver is understood to have held preliminary talks with Hispania, Virgin Racing, Lotus, Sauber, Williams and Renault with a view to a pay drive for next year.

Virgin Racing are looking to hold another experience weekend at Stowe School for the 2011 British Grand Prix after the success of this year’s event. Stowe, a stone’s throw from the circuit, is the team’s race weekend base, and allows fans to camp for the weekend in the school’s grounds, while providing entertainment, BBQs with the drivers, and off-road transfers to the circuit. Team bosses are hopeful of attracting up to 20,000 fans in 2011.

Two former team bosses were spotted at Silverstone sporting VIP paddock passes issued by Bernie Ecclestone. FIA-banned former Renault boss Flavio Briatore and McLaren President Ron Dennis were both out in force at the weekend. Briatore could be allowed to return to the sport in 2013, with rumours of a deal with friend Ecclestone in the area of sponsorship. Dennis reiterated his stance that he will not be returning to the sport as he concentrates on other business interests relating to the McLaren brand.

BBC pundit David Coulthard revealed at the weekend that he turned down the opportunity to drive for Ferrari because he did not want to be a wing man to Michael Schumacher. Coulthard started his F1 career at Williams following the tragic death of Ayrton Senna, before nine years at Ferrari rivals McLaren, and then moving to new team Red Bull in 2005 to help develop the team.

Renault are continuing to develop their 2010 car, despite not being in the chase for the championship title. Their version of McLaren’s F-duct should be ready for Spa, while special aero packages are already being created for Monza, Budapest, and Singapore as the team look to increase their points total and chase more podiums with lead driver Robert Kubica.

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