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GP Week : Issue 154
EDITOR: Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT EDITORS: Naoise Holohan, Kate Walker F1 ANALYST: Peter Windsor MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott email@example.com RALLY EDITOR: Martin Holmes firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION ARTIST: Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHY: Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton email@example.com: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Emily Davenport PUBLISHER: Chris Lambden firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHED BY: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge email@example.com Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org n Gaye Grinsted (WRC/MotoGP) email@example.com Ph: +44 (0) 207 254 8796 Mob: +44 (0) 7921 283 070 n Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org n SE Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) email@example.com .com WEEK Michael Schumacher’s recent criticisms of the 2012 Pirelli rubber have sparked off something of a tyre debate in the paddock, with the vast majority of drivers and team figures supporting the Italian tyre supplier. Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen this week joined the list of drivers who have come out in defence of Pirelli thanks to comments he made in an interview with Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper. “It's because of the amount of the fuel on board,” the Finnish racer said. “I don't think there would be that much problem with these tyres, if we would race with 50 or 60 kilos, when we start. “Previously the pit-stops were made usually after every 20 laps, while we had less fuel. I think it would have been the same situation with Michelins and Bridgestones if we would have this much fuel as we have now. “These tyres are good in qualifying – they have a good grip and all in all they are good tyres,” Raikkonen concluded. Schumacher’s Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, has been effusive in his praise of the tyres. “It's so on a knife's edge with the tyres that it's good and it's great for racing,” the younger German said. “It's great, it's mixed everything up, lots of overtaking, lots of things happening, fantastic for everybody.” Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel acknowledged that degradation levels were high, but thought they added to the spectacle. “The tyres do see more degradation,” the Red Bull driver admitted. “It means we start to slide and then one guy slides more than the other because he puts his tires on two laps earlier. It creates a different type of racing, more overtaking. Which I imagine is seen as better quality from the outside, simply because things happen.” While Pirelli have shown themselves to be responsive to criticism over the past two seasons, there are no plans to change the rubber compounds in reaction to the ongoing debate. “There has been one particular comment made in the last few races,” conceded Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery. “But at the end of last season the number of people who came to see us and say they were unhappy was zero. And the number of people who have come to see us this season is one. So you have to be reasonably pragmatic.” rolls on (and on, and on) TYRE debate Circuit of the Americas seals legal documents The Austin-American Statesman newspaper this week filed a plea in the Texas state District Court in an attempt to access legal documents sealed by the Circuit of the Americas. The US Grand Prix project hit the headlines in March when it emerged that project founder Tavo Hellmund was involved in a legal battle with some of the project’s investors. In the suit, Hellmund claimed that terms for his buyout had not been fulfilled, as he had been due to earn $500,000 a year for a decade in his role of chairman of the US Grand Prix. It is the documents relating to that case which the newspaper has attempted to access. “We want to find out what it is about this lawsuit that has to be kept secret,” Jim George, who filed the action and represents the Statesman told the paper. “I've been doing this 20 years, and I've never seen anything like this. Secrecy from the public is never in the best interest of anybody.” According to COTA spokesman Julie Loignon, the circuit wants the documents sealed in order to safeguard confidential business practices. But the Statesman argues that keeping the records open is a matter of public interest. “Court records are open for a reason,” said Statesman managing editor John Bridges. “The public's right to access the records in this case is particularly important because the F1 project relies so heavily upon taxpayer money. Taxpayers deserve to know what's happening in a civil suit that could affect that public investment.” While the bulk of the Austin race is being paid for through private investment, the state of Texas has contributed a sizeable sum in the form of road and sewage expansion projects in the area surrounding the track. The improved infrastructure surrounding the Circuit of the Americas will be of long-term benefit to the community, but the government spend has been unpopular in an era of budget cuts. Should the grand prix qualify for Texas’ Major Events Trust Fund, the state will pay out up to $250 million in race hosting fees over the duration of the contract if enough money is recouped from sales tax income. A final hearing on the matter will take place on 11 June. F1 >>> NEWS 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: