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GP Week : Issue 30
Short Straights n The Singapore Grand Prix was the 800th Grande Epreuve in Formula 1 history … that is, the 800th race counted as being part of the Formula 1 World Championship. There have been 789 Grands Prix since the championship began in 1950, with 11 Indy 500s also counting towards the championship between 1950 and 1960. n Toyota’s Richard Cregan has been unveiled as the new Team Manager of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit. He will work alongside former Paul Ricard HTTT supremo Philippe Gurdjian, who has left his role in France to become CEO of the future F1 project in Abu Dhabi. n BMW Motorsport boss Mario Thiessen has dismissed the notion that Formula 1 should consider thawing the freeze on engine development. Budgets have been reduced dramatically under the engine freeze and Thiessen believes any reversal of policy would be unhealthy for the sport. In the meantime, Renault is believed to be in favour of F1 switching to a one-make engine supplier to further cut costs. n Bernie Ecclestone insinuated over the weekend that the India Grand Prix would now not come onto the calendar until 2011 rather than 2010 as expected. Force India owner Vijay Mallya retorted that India’s circuit would be ready for 2010, leading to suggestions that Ecclestone may be struggling to find a suitable solution to the need for an expanded calendar. Williams stands firm on cu THE political fall-out from Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Italian Grand Prix victory came to the fore in Singapore, as Williams expressed its absolute insistence that customer cars have no place in modern Formula 1. Although customer cars are not permitted under the strictest of definitions of F1 regulation, an agreement was reached to permit their use until the conclusion of the 2009 season. Williams CEO Adam Parr told reporters in Singapore that Williams, as an independent team, was still fervently against the very notion of customer cars, and that the team would not change its position. “We take our hats off to Gerhard [Berger – Toro Rosso co-owner] and his team for what they did over that weekend and we had an opportunity to beat them, let’s face it, and we didn’t and so that’s our problem. In the longer term, we believe that customer cars have no place in Formula One. It’s ultimately a design and engineering challenge as well as a racing challenge. “There are 53 teams since 1970 that have tried to design a chassis and compete in Formula 1 and have failed, which is nine out of every 10 teams that have tried. I think that what we are doing here this weekend is built on a lot of history and we passionately believe that that is the way forward for Formula One. Because of our respect for Gerhard and Red Bull and what they put into the sport we’ve agreed an arrangement for this period which is temporary but in the longer term we must go back to being a sport of constructors, that’s our view.” Berger, for his part, repeated his belief that in the current global economic climate, the sport needed to consider change. “I fully respect the position of Williams, but I have to say that times are changing; time is also changing in the normal automobile industry where today there is co-operation between companies trying to use synergies, because otherwise they have no chance to survive in the market. “Here in Formula 1, we have 10 teams, nobody is waiting to come in. I think we have a bigger