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GP Week : Issue 131
n Good news from Robert Kubica’s doctors. His final scheduled surgery in Italy, to recover the full mobility of his right elbow, has been pronounced “a total success”. On waking up, a Renault press release stated he immediately asked for the results to the Belgian Grand Prix. He will now rest in hospital for a few days before resuming his rehabilitation and training program. n Toro Rosso’s grand prix weekend started with a literal bang, when one of the team’s transporters was involved in an accident en route to Spa-Francorchamps. The crash took place near Duren, in Germany, and saw the transporter hit from behind by another lorry not associated with the team. The transporter in question was carrying the team minibuses from Toro Rosso’s Faenza base to the circuit. The driver of the lorry at fault is thought to have sustained minor injuries in the incident, which caused £105,000 worth of damage and led to a road closure while debris was cleared. Or, in F1 speak, the track was red-flagged while the marshals swept the circuit. n Michael Schumacher celebrated the 20th anniversary of his Formula One debut in the Spa paddock, and the highlight of the festivities was a German-themed keg party in the Mercedes motorhome on Saturday night. The great and the good of the paddock turned out in droves to pass on their good wishes to the seven-time world champion, and within half an hour of the party starting the hospitality suite was so full that the team had to enforce a strict one-in, one-out policy. Short Straights WORK at the future site of the United States Grand Prix has ground to a halt, according to Austin newspaper the American Statesman. The Statesman last week published a blog post that read: “We here at the American- Statesman have received several anonymous phone calls in recent days from people who asserted that work had ceased at Circuit of the Americas, the new purpose-built Formula One track being constructed southeast of Austin. “One of the callers even said that the project’s general contractor, Austin Commercial, had called a meeting of subcontractors last week and instructed them to go home for a couple of weeks; there was no money to pay them.” The post goes on to quote circuit spokesman Jeff Hahn as saying that the shutdown was planned, and had only taken place because work on the track was progressing so well that they needed to wait for their bank to catch up with payments. According to Hahn, the construction and payment schedules were out of sync, with the construction work moving ahead more quickly than the payment plans allowed. But the Texas rumour mill started spinning with Chinese whispers, and one local added fuel to the fire with his comment on the Statesman’s post: ”My neighbour is a concrete contractor and was told by a friend who is a foreman on the project that it is most definitely broke and that several of the current contractors are preparing to sue COTA for non-payment over several months,” Mozy Along wrote. “Apparently, and this is all second hand information, [Red] McCombs is getting skittish about the coming economy and wants to pull out to preserve his personal assets for wiser investments overseas, so they’re scrounging at the last second for new investors. That’s the rumour from the construction world at any rate Work stops on Austin track Vergne to get Toro Rosso Friday chance 10