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GP Week : Issue 169
w BRIEFLY » It is looking increasingly likely that the current season will be Vitaly Petrov’s last in Formula One, with his manager admitting that she was no longer talking to any F1 teams about a drive for her young charge. “We’ve taken a timeout now,” Oksana Kosachenko said. “I need time to consolidate all our financial possibilities and understand if there’s sense in continuing any talks. If there’s no money, then there’s no driver. I’m not prepared to hold talks all winter like last time.” Rumours of funding trouble for the Russian racer first began to emerge over the summer, with Kosachenko admitting that she was struggling to find additional backing for Petrov. » The prospect of a French Grand Prix has diminished somewhat with this week’s confirmation from the French sports ministry that a race would not be supported by any state funding. According to a statement published by the Fédération Française du Sport Automobile, “Madam minister Valerie Fourneyron confirmed that the state would not grant any financial help to the French Grand Prix.” Despite this, both Magny- Cours and Paul Ricard are keen to secure a French Grand Prix alternation deal – albeit not with each other – and have vowed to pursue regional and private funding to achieve their goal. FFSA president Nicolas Deschaux confirmed that he would investigate the viability of the race with the two circuits. “I will put a question to the two bidders in the coming days to contemplate with them the conditions in which they could carry on with their candidacies,” he said. F1 >>> NEWS While Austin is preparing itself to host its first grand prix, the New Jersey race organisers are finding themselves subject to the same contract-shredding treatment from Bernie Ecclestone that the Texans experienced last year. With bills not being paid as quickly as Ecclestone would like, the F1 supremo this week said that he had torn up the New Jersey race contract, and that the grand prix was in trouble. Ecclestone was quoted in the Guardian as saying that the New Jersey race organisers “have not complied with the terms and conditions of the contract which is now gone anyway. They don't have a contract.” It is a familiar refrain to fans of Formula One, who have seen the F1 boss threaten an end to contract after contract as a means of prompting recalcitrant race organisers to pay their debts. Ecclestone is too wily a negotiator ever to close the door entirely. Instead, he piles on the public pressure as a view to achieving his ends, this week reminding the New Jersey race organisers that last week’s meeting of the World Motor Sport Council could see the event struck off the calendar completely. “We are pretty close to the final deadline,” Ecclestone told the Guardian. “We have a world council meeting coming up. I think if somebody got behind them it could happen in 2013 because they have come a long way with the circuit.” Ecclestone appears to be rather nonchalant about the prospect of losing the race which will provide him with the longed-for backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, and his attitude has led to all manner of rumours in the paddock, the latest of which sees Formula One setting up camp in Long Beach under a long-term contract to be announced in the not-too-distant future. The current list of incoming races is a long one, with Russia set to join the calendar in 2014, and Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, Thailand and France all reportedly under consideration. BERNIE TEARS UP NEW JERSEY CONTRACT 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: