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GP Week : Issue 144
10 n Ex-McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan spent the Brazilian weekend working for Renault in an advisory capacity, although it is not yet certain whether his efforts will lead to a full-time role with the team. Ryan worked for McLaren from 1973 to 2009, when he left the Woking racers after the Melbourne Grand Prix ‘Liegate’ scandal. According to Renault team principal Eric Boullier, Ryan spent the weekend with the team on behalf of Genii; both parties were using it to assess their suitability for a future working relationship. n One of the highlights of the weekend for fans attending the Brazilian Grand Prix was a special tribute to local hero Nelson Piquet, who won his first World Championship 30 years ago. Piquet’s championship-winning Brabham BT49C was on display outside the paddock entrance all weekend, and the three-time champion treated race fans to a display of its prowess when he completed exhibition laps on Sunday morning. n The last race of the season is always a weekend filled with gossip, rumour, and intrigue. The big story doing the rounds of the paddock this weekend was the news that negotiations between Kimi Raikkonen and the Williams F1 team have fallen apart, and that the Finn is no longer under consideration by the Grove- based racers. Representatives of the team refused to confirm or deny the rumour, which was in full force during Thursday ’s paddock parties. n Formula One has long done its bit for charity, and one of the most popular causes of the 2011 season – Movember aside – has been the UBS- sponsored Run That Track campaign. F1 journalists, photographers, and team employees have spent the year running and walking the calendar, raising $100 per timed lap. UBS have donated over $200,000 to the Make- A-Wish Foundation thanks to the paddock’s combined athletic efforts, and the final race of the season saw the rate per lap increase to $300. Short Straights Sky/BBC announce 2012 UK plans ... THERE was a new twist to the Austin Grand Prix saga this week when it emerged that COTA had agreed to pay Bernie Ecclestone the monies owed, but had refused to sign the contract supplied by FOM. “Circuit of the Americas has responded to Formula One Management’s contract requirements by agreeing to an immediate cash payment of the sanctioning fee for the 2012 United States Grand Prix (US GP),” the race organisers said in a statement. “In addition, Circuit of The Americas has offered to establish an advance payment schedule for US GP races beyond 2012. The offer comes after several weeks of talks, and once accepted, will secure the US GP on the Formula One race calendar.” According to COTA boss Bobby Epstein, the contract to hold the race included terms that he and his colleagues could not commit to, so the organisation took the unusual step of returning a signed contract to Ecclestone containing only those clauses which they agreed to. “ We have been ready to send Mr. Ecclestone a sanctioning fee check for some time now,” Epstein said of COTA’s struggles. “He hasn’t received it yet because the new contract presented to us two weeks ago contained unrealistic and unfeasible demands. We have signed and returned a contract similar to what we anticipated receiving. “ This race should be a reality, but if we are going to make the 2012 race date, we must receive a countersignature in the coming few days. We believe the teams, fans, sponsors and local business share our enthusiasm and hope that their voices will be heard.” When Ecclestone was informed of Epstein’s comments in the Interlagos paddock, the F1 supremo responded in his own inimical style. “Yeah, well they shouldn’t sign [the contract],” Ecclestone said. “My advice to them is don’t sign it. And they probably won’t get the opportunity.” US GP promoters take “original” approach to contract Brundle to Sky – DC stays with the Beeb to access a HUGE global audience ADVERTISE in GPWEEK