Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Lotus Future Secured and More
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As the dust settled on yet another dominant Grand Prix weekend for the all-conquering Red Bull team, other teams in the paddock continue to have worries beyond the track.
Amongst today’s latest F1 rumours and gossip, we reveal that a deal to save the future of Lotus has all but been confirmed, and that Williams could be looking at securing the services of one of the sport’s most successful team leaders.
Williams Plans to Contact Brawn
It was revealed on BBC Sport last week that Ross Brawn is set to leave his post at Mercedes at the end of the year.
The news means that Brawn may well be looking for a new role within F1, and it has alerted a number of teams to his possible availability.
One such suitor is the struggling Williams outfit, with team boss Frank Williams revealing to Sky Sports that he may open talks.
Naively, perhaps, I am unaware that Ross is available. When he was with us he was really extraordinarily clever in terms of engineering - he is very gifted - and I am sure he has accumulated infinitely more knowledge, just as much about what not to do as much as what he should be doing. So if he was to come he would be a great addition. I wasn't aware he was available. I may now have to contact him and I can say no more.
The reason I am being hesitant is that I do employ people already and it is very unlikely that we could afford Ross, or that he would want to come to us etc, etc and all I would be doing if we didn't get Ross would be offending everyone at the team already.
Quantum Confirms Lotus Deal Done
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The long-term future of Lotus is set to be secured after investment group Quantum Motorsports confirmed on Sunday night that a deal to buy into the team has been finalised.
It had been doubted during the week if the deal would be pushed through. However, Mansoor Ijaz, the head of the consortium, confirmed to Autosport that an agreement to buy a major stake in the team had been completed.
There is no question that the deal is definitely happening. I will even go out as far as to say that it has now been completed from our side in terms of what has to be done. We have options - I won't go into the details of those options - but the options do allow us in a fixed amount of time to take control of the team later on. We will do that in a way that is very co-ordinated with our partners at Genii.
The deal means that Lotus will finally be able to pay driver Kimi Raikkonen for his services this season, and the Finn has now lifted his threat to boycott the final two races.
We have apologised to Kimi. We intend to not only make sure that they are made whole, and then some, but we are intending also to compensate our employees and management team for having taken it on the chin from you guys [the media] in recent weeks.
It also means that Lotus is in a strong position to fill Raikkonen’s spot at the team with their preferred option, thought to be Nico Hulkenberg.
I wish the transition had been smoother between Kimi and the next driver, who we believe will be Nico Hulkenberg, but sometimes in life things don't happen so clearly and as nicely as you would like them to. I know Nico is excited about doing this and I think it is a matter of a very short period before that is all finalised.
Alonso Set to Be Fit for Austin
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Fernando Alonso has been passed fit to race in the Austin Grand Prix after his high-speed shunt in Abu Dhabi.
Alonso’s Ferrari clattered over kerbing before crashing down at over 150 mph after running wide to pass Jean-Eric Vergne off the track. It caused a medical alarm in the car to be triggered because the car exceeded a vertical G-Force of 18.
"I still have all my teeth,” Alonso is quoted saying on BBC Sport. “The back is obviously a little bit painful because it was a big hit. We have the alarm on the chassis after a minimum of G-forces, this alarm for the medical car etc. Hopefully I am OK for Austin."
Ecclestone Raises New Jersey and Mexico Doubts
Whilst Austin prepares to host the U.S. Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time, there are new concerns that it may be the only race in America in 2014.
Both New Jersey and Mexico were included on the 2014 calendar released by the FIA in September, but were marked down as provisional.
Ecclestone is quoted on ESPNF1 doubting that one or both will actually go ahead.
"What's in the calendar? Twenty two. That's what's in the current calendar. Until the calendar is really finalised, I don't [expect that]. I have personal doubts, they're personal."