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GP Week : Issue 215
F1 >>> nEWs Caterham fell short of its crowdfunding target and only made it to Abu Dhabi with the help of some heavy hitters – including Bernie ecclestone. The Formula One boss is believed to have waived the travel costs involved in getting the team to the Gulf, and Renault is believed to have overlooked long-standing debts incurred by the team’s previous management to assist in the final race of the season. “We are overwhelmed by the level of support we have received,” Caterham’s acting boss Finbarr O’Connell told speed Week. “I have to thank primarily partners such as Renault, Red Bull Technology, Pirelli, Dell and Total.” O’Connell, who had never before attended a Formula 1 Grand Prix, said that he was optimistic that there would be a buyer for the team. “If it is to be bought and to continue to run in exactly the way it is being run now, I think the next few weeks are absolutely key because the employees will all be beginning to drift away and there will no longer be a cohesive team like there is now,” he told the British broadcaster sky. “I’m meeting two families who are based in the Middle east who I think, because we’re here, are particularly interested to come and see me, and also one large corporation who I think would be a really good fit if they do acquire it.” Caterham's Abu Dhabi entry allowed former Renault 3.5 series driver Will stevens to make his F1 debut. stevens has tested for the team before, but not followed the traditional GP3, GP2 pathway. wiTH a liTTle Help from THeir friends BiBendum Back? Could Michelin return to Formula 1? The door appears to be open, after positive comments from the brand’s motorsport chief Pascal Couasnon. “They (the F1 rules) must respect the tyre,” Couasnon told French website toilef1.com. “We need the tyre not to be an object of show, but an object of technology.” Couasnon is believed to be referring to open tyre competition. The company departed the sport at the end of 2006, displeased with the FIA’s move to a single-tyre formula. since the French exited, the whole grid has been supplied by first Bridgestone and then Pirelli. However, Michelin’s position appears to be mellowing. It is currently developing MotoGP tyres prior to a return to the sport in 2016, at which point it will take on a single- supply deal, replacing Bridgestone. “If they are open to having several manufacturers, great!” Couasnon said. “But we are also ready to go alone, but with something (regulations) that make sense, otherwise we would not be Michelin.” It is also believed that Michelin might be tempted by a moved to bigger rims. earlier this year tests were conducted with an 18-inch wheel, a much more modern diameter than the 13-inch rims that have been a vogue for decades. “We have some ideas to make a great show,” he continued. “We are just saying that technology does not prevent a show. “We have been very clear: (tyre) dimensions that resemble something that we can learn from and so that the money we spend on F1 can help us with the technology for both your car and mine. “We also want regulations so that tyres don’t have to be changed every few laps, but if they want to make pitstops then why not? “Why not reuse the tyre that started the race also to finish it, and then we can make long-lasting tyres that are stable and fast -- it’s very complicated and we like that.” 14 GPWEEK.com // 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: