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GP Week : Issue 162
BRIEFLY » Maria de Villota is making a remarkable recovery from her Duxford accident, Marussia reported this week. On Wednesday, the team informed the media of their driver’s improvement in a press release that read: “It is now eight days since Maria De Villota’s accident at Duxford Airfield whilst testing for the Marussia F1 Team. Despite severe injuries, Maria’s recovery during that time has been remarkable. Following two successful surgical procedures in the days following the accident, last Saturday the medical team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital began to gradually reduce the level of Maria’s sedation. By Sunday morning, Maria was awake and able to speak to her family, which provided a very important – albeit early – indication that there were positive signs for Maria’s recovery. Since that time, Maria has been making small but significant steps. She was moved out of the Neurological Critical Care Unit on Monday and is no longer receiving sedation. Her family remain by her side and she is communicating freely with them and the medical team. Medical assessments are ongoing to monitor Maria’s improving condition. The Team has provided this update with the consent and support of the De Villota family who, whilst keen to ensure Maria’s care remains the priority, are understanding and appreciative of the concern for her wellbeing.” » Romain Grosjean has been issued with a five-place grid penalty for next weekend’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. The penalty was issued following an unscheduled gearbox change after Silverstone. Despite widespread incredulity in the paddock, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone insists that plans for a London Grand Prix are underway. However, the Formula One boss omits to specify what the plans are, and where the proposed race is to be held. “We are getting on with it. It is no joke, 100 percent completely no joke,” Ecclestone told The Guardian. When Santander promoted the British Grand Prix with a fantasy CGI race around the streets of London between McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, Ecclestone put his weight behind the notion of a grand prix in London. It was generally assumed that the 81-year-old’s supportive comments were intended to create a media smokescreen to distract from the conviction of German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, which was announced on the same day. But Ecclestone insists that he is serious about the notion of a race in London, although he was not behind the Santander stunt. “They showed me their idea two or three months ago and said, ‘It looks good. It looks exciting. It's good publicity for the British Grand Prix and Santander.’ I said: ‘You're bloody right it is.’ And before I knew it I was apparently the one who was behind it,” Ecclestone revealed last week. “I didn't know about it to be honest, but I accepted the credit. I did say – not in relation to [the Santander race] – that if we could have a race in London, we would be prepared to pay £35 million to make it happen.” There is a remote possibility of a future London Grand Prix in the Olympic Park – a Formula One bid not linked to Ecclestone, but with his approval – is on a shortlist of projects, one of which will be selected as the means of reusing the Olympic Stadium. But a race in the densely-populated area is unlikely – while public transport links would be a boon to fans attending the race, noise complaints from local residents will be unavoidable. But as Bernie has so far refused to release any details of the London Grand Prix project he would support, it is entirely possible that the F1 supremo has a third option – one that is both practical and sustainable – tucked up his sleeve. LONDON GP NO JOKE, SAYS BERNIE F1 >>> NEWS Driving standards and FIA penalties have been the subject of much debate this season, with the link between offense and punishment not always as clear as might be desired. One of the most controversial decisions of the season – before their reasoning was fully explained by the stewards – was the lack of any penalty incurred by Nico Rosberg for his aggressive defending against both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso during the Bahrain Grand Prix. At the time, clarification of what constituted an acceptable defensive manoeuvre was sought by teams, media, and fans alike. And the FIA complied, both in communications with the teams and interviews for public consumption. But as is always the case when dealing with the competitive animals that make up an F1 grid, drivers always like to test the limits of what’s possible within the rulebook, prompting the need for further clarification from the FIA. Shortly before the British Grand Prix, FIA race director Charlie Whiting issued once such clarification on defensive driving. The clarification took the form of a note to the teams, which read “any driver defending his position on a straight and before any braking area may use the full width of the track during his first move provided no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his. Whilst defending in this way the driver may not leave the track without justifiable reason. “For the avoidance of doubt, if any part of the front wing of the car attempting to pass is alongside the rear wheel of the car in front this will be deemed to be a 'significant portion'.” Just how far this latest clarification will be tested at Hockenheim next weekend remains to be seen, but one thing is certain – it will not be long before an additional clarification is needed as the drivers push the boundaries further still. FIA CLARIFIES ITS POSITION ON DEFENSIVE DRIVING. AGAIN. 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: