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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ecclestone claims teams threatened boycott

A report in The Times claims Flavio Briatore and Ron Dennis got so upset with Bernie Ecclestone over money owed they threatened to organize a FOTA boycott of the season opener.

Ecclestone confirmed a leaked report the newspaper obtained from the meeting, reportedly about money promised in exchange for signing an new Concorde Agreement.

F1 Mar 2009

“Flavio said, ‘we’re not going to put our cars on the plane, we’re not going to Melbourne,’ ” Ecclestone is quoted. “He — Flavio — started it, aided and abetted by Ron Dennis.” The apparent threat to wreck the start of the Formula One season was countered by a classic Ecclestone ploy. “I picked up the phone to our people that handle all the freight to ask them to cancel the aeroplanes,” the billionaire said. “They were saying, ‘all the Fota-schmota are not going — nobody’s going to go.’ So I said what I’d better do is cancel the aircraft obviously. It costs a fortune to charter those things and almost as much to cancel them.”

Read the full story.

Massa says Brawn fastest

Felipe Massa believes Brawn GP, with a car Frank Williams has called “absurdly superior,” will be the team to beat in Melbourne.

But the Brazilian is confident Ferrari will see him through.

“I'm going to Australia with great confidence and optimism, but also with some caution: the test results are not always repeated during the race weekends,” he says on Ferrari’s Web site. “We'll see in Melbourne; but I think they've (Brawn GP) got a good car and they did their tests with the right weight.”

Last year’s runner up thinks Ferrari will deliver the goods, however.

“I'm 100% ready, perfectly in shape and I think that this also applies to the team,” he said. “My goal is very simple: I want a season like in 2008 and to reach that goal I have to stay concentrated and work very hard.”

Read the full interview.

Senna to race for Oreca

Bruno Senna is making up for losing out on an F1 ride by joining the Oreca Le Mans Series team for selected events, including Le Mans, during the 2009 season. He will team up with Stephane Ortelli, Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Panis.

Schumacher will be with Ferrari at Melbourne

Michael Schumacher will attend the Australian Grand Prix in an advisory capacity this week.

“It wasn't so important to have him in the pits for the last two years, but with the new rule changes, Michael can help the engineers understand the car better,” Setanta reports Willi Weber told German tabloid Bild. “That is his task, it will be crucial to communicate with the engineers. They evaluate the data and Michael's experience will be very important for that.'”
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