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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bernie: Return to North America up to the teams

Bernie Ecclestone says the future of the sport in Canada and the United States depends on whether the teams will OK more than 17 races per season.

Quoting from an interview in Motor Sport magazine, ITV-F1.com reports the F1 boss is more than willing to add dates, but not at the expense of his new races in the Middle East and Asia.

The teams are on record as frustrated with the lack of races in North America, particularly those associated with manufacturers that depend on the market to sell cars.

"The trouble is that the teams don’t want to do more than 17 races," Ecclestone told the magazine. "If they don’t want any more than that then we cannot put on a race in America or get Montreal back."


The United States Grand Prix


While Ecclestone has been in talks with Montreal, he said he thinks a return to the United States is further off, with only Indianapolis in a position to hold a race.

Ecclestone prefers a location like New York.

"It is the one place where someone could make a business out of it."

The question Bernie seems happy to ignore, however, is whether there anyone willing to put together something in New York for what is basically a niche sport in the States?

Malaysia to review start time

Following the rain and darkness-shortened race last weekend, officials in Malaysia are looking at alternatives to a "twilight" race.

Ecclestone had pushed for a later start time to accommodate European TV audiences, and has no regrets about doing it.

"I just have regrets about the rain," he said, according to the BBC. "I don't see anything wrong with the start time, we just didn't know about the rain."


Interesting, as everybody else just sort of assumed it would rain…

New Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, however, appears to favor the idea of a night race, and Mokhzani Mahathir, chairman of the Sepang International Circuit, seems more open to the idea of installing lights than he was a few months ago.

Byrne thinks diffusers are illegal

Ferrari design guru Rory Byrne believes the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams diffusers have violated a 15-year protocol in interpretation of the regulations.

An Autosport.com story points out Article 3.12.5 of F1's technical regulations states:

"Fully enclosed holes are permitted in the surfaces lying on the reference and step planes provided no part of the car is visible through them when viewed from directly below."

Key to the "diffuser gang" argument, the story reports, is the claim that breaks in the floor of their car are not holes, but gaps between the step and reference planes of the car - so thus exempt from the rule.

Byrne disagrees.

"It's a rule set at least 14-15 years ago, and that for many years everyone interpreted in the same way," he said. "If you look at the Brawn car from underneath, you can see the suspension."
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