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GP Week : Issue 203
F1 >>> nEWs A plan that has been devised to save money by Formula 1's larger teams, which comprise much of the sport’s strategy Group, has failed to win the support of some of the teams it was designed to help. A number of team principals in the second half of the grid have criticised the idea, which was based around a reduction in running in Friday Practice sessions. “From Force India’s perspective,” said the team’s Andy Green, “we don’t see this as cost-saving at all.” Green pointed out that the revenue gained from Test drivers bringing sponsors to the team to pay for Friday sessions – which could be more that US$5 million – was vital to the survival of some teams. “If we lose that, that’s going to be a relatively severe blow,” he said. The plan is also thought to include an end of the traditional Thursday media conferences. “That was the concept,” said Mercedes-Benz’s Paddy Lowe. “It’s still to be finalised, by the way, so there’s a whole month in order to determine the small print and to finally approve it but the concept was to save money. “If teams are feeling it isn’t going to save money, then of course it could be reviewed.” Sauber’s Giampaolo Dall’ara explained any such change would actually force the smaller teams to spend more money. “Obviously we are more limited than other teams in simulation as a broad concept so time on track is extremely important for us,” he said. SMALLER TEAMS OPPOSE FRIDAY CHANGES Haas Formula will not be on the grid in 2015 but there may be another new team in Formula 1 – Forza Rossa. There are reports that the Romanian-backed team will be granted a licence by the FIA, subject to it making the necessary US$20 million bond payment. According to PA Sport, there is a deadline of June 23 to pay the amount. Italiaracing reports that the team is being put together by Ion Bazak, a Romanian politician and the chairman of the Romanian Ferrari importer, which is also called Forza Rossa There are reports that the team may be based in the southern German town of Greding, at Colin Kolles’s Koweda factory. Kolles, formerly team principal at Midland/Spyker/Force India and Hispania Racing, has a facility that is currently preparing a Lotus- branded LMP1 car for the second half of this season’s World Endurance Championship. Koweda’s design office is expected to be expanded, but aerodynamics and manufacturing are likely to be outsourced to other companies. Reports in Italy suggest that staff is already being recruited for the program. One complicating factor could be the source of the team’s power units. The ownership group has obvious links with Ferrari, but Gene Haas’s appearance in the Ferrari pit in Canada suggest that he is, at least, discussing a technical partnership with the Italian team. Apart from its own team, Ferrari currently supplies Sauber and Marussia on a customer basis, and taking on two new customer deals may contravene F1’s engine supply guidelines. ROMANIAN RuMOuRS The FIA will investigate a test allegedly conducted between the final pre-season test in Bahrain and the Australian Grand Prix. Letters circulated last week to the FIA and F1 teams allege that a six-day test was conducted on a rolling road facility owned by automotive company AVL in Graz, Austria. Red Bull Racing has denied participating in the test, but there are suggestions that Scuderia Toro Rosso was in Graz, with a car and test driver Antonio Felix da Costa. Renault, engine supplier to both of Red Bull’s team, has confirmed that it has worked with AVL. But the company’s Head of Track Operations. Rémi Taffin told the APA news agency: “We just had to work with our partner AVL, because our own facilities were at full capacity.” An FIA spokesperson said: “We will look into the matter carefully and then answer any questions.” FIA INVESTIGATES 'TEST' 13 GPWEEK.com // 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: