F1 chief says India ready for first GP
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has played down doubts over preparations for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix next month.
Ecclestone told The Associated Press on Saturday that ”we’re very happy, they’re doing a good job.” He spoke after reports this week of slow progress on construction of the Buddh circuit outside New Delhi.
The World Motor Sports Council met on Friday – ahead of Sunday’s Singapore GP – and said it received a ”positive” briefing from Indian race officials without elaborating.
Last year’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi were subject to severe delays and allegations of corruption but Ecclestone said ”we aren’t being corrupt and we are not trying to corrupt anybody, so no problems.”
The India GP is on Oct. 30.
WAITING FOR KUBICA: – Renault is considering its 2012 lineup and waiting to see if its star Robert Kubica can come back from career-threatening injuries.
Kubica has missed the entire 2011 season after serious injuries in a preseason rally crash and team chairman Gerard Lopez said Renault will need to make a call on his comeback before taking decisions on the lineup.
”Right now we have a commitment to Robert,” Lopez said at the Singapore Grand Prix. ”He has done amazing things for the team. We know what he is capable of and any team would take him if he is capable of delivering the same thing.
”Our commitment is to try and see if he can come back and we will wonder about anything else afterwards.”
Aside from Kubica, other candidates are current pairing Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna plus newly crowned GP2 champion Romain Grosjean.
”And more,” Lopez said. ”There’s people that are interested just in case.”
Lopez was irritated by suggestions that Petrov and Senna’s significant personal sponsorships – from Russia and Brazil respectively – would help in their bids to retain their current drives.
”Whenever they get called pay driver I actually feel bad for them,” Lopez said. ”I find it disrespectful to those guys.”
SCHUMACHER TO SHINE: While many are wondering when Michael Schumacher will end his so far underwhelming F1 comeback, Mercedes boss Norbert Haug is not among them. Haug said the team is right behind its driver pairing of Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.
”We are very satisfied with the drivers we have,” Haug said. ”We want to climb up the ladder with the combination that we have.”
Seven-time world champion Schumacher has yet to finish on the podium in his two seasons back in the sport, but Haug believes he will surprise those who doubted the wisdom of a comeback.
”It is a little strange to say Michael will create surprises because he won everything, he won more than anybody else, but believe me the better our car goes the more he will deliver and he is fully committed,” Haug said.
”He is an excellent starter, still a fantastic racer and the more we improve our technical package, the more he will deliver.”
SINGAPORE LIMBO: The Singapore Grand Prix may be one of the most praised and best attended on the F1 calendar, but its future remains in limbo during contract negotiations between local organizers and F1 management.
Next year’s race is the last under the current contract, and Singapore’s trade and industry minister Teo Ser Luck said several factors have to be considered before committing to a new deal.
”It has brought value to Singapore, especially in the motor sports scene,” the minister was quoted as saying by the Singapore daily Today. ”But the considerations have to be more than that.
”So whether it is economic or social, we have to examine each of the factors, which is the stage where we are at now.”