Sauber given no choice, Mallya share scandal revealed, Who is Caterham’s new F1 boss? Austin – 1 year ago, Ecclestone cocks up the calendar

Sauber have no choice: If Sauber’s biggest sponsor has its way, Esteban Gutierrez will next year line up on the Formula One grid alongside confirmed 2013 driver Nico Hulkenberg. Gutierrez’s fellow Mexican Sergio Perez, who is heading to McLaren, was until now the cream of Sauber backer Telmex’s Formula 1 programme for the last two years.

But waiting in the wings all the time has been the one year younger Mexican reserve driver Gutierrez, who is this week testing Sauber’s C31 in Abu Dhabi, as is another 2013 candidate, the highly rated dutchman Robin Frijns.

Telmex chief and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, however, could have a substantial influence on the final decision.

“We are talking with Sauber for next season,” he told the Mexican newspaper Reforma, “and we intend to continue together. “Obviously that will be with the participation of a Mexican driver, which is Esteban Gutierrez,” Slim Domit insisted.

Gutierrez, 21, got his first taste of Formula 1 action recently in India, when Perez was suffering from a heavy cold and sat out a practice session. “It would not be that the team gives him a practice event in Formula One if they have no long term plan for him,” Slim continued.

“And for us, we would not have our participation in Formula One without a Mexican driver, so I think it is quite sure that for the first time next year, we will have two Mexican drivers in Formula One for a full season,” he added.

Well Monisha, now you’ve been promoted to the team principal, how’s the pressure feel on all the decision making you have to do?

Brazil ruins Senna S’s: Check out this picture, they have replaced the grass around the outside of turn 1 and 2 at Interlagos and made it a modern Ikea car park. OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (pic)

French GP: As thejudge13 pointed out yesterday, Ecclestone’s comments yesterday about Magney Cours and the French GP on the 23rd June need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Not only is it most likely that if there is to be a race in France it will be at the Paul Ricard circuit, but it appears Bernie’s calendar is not synchronised with other major world sporting events.

There are 2 weekends free between Canada and Silverstone and F1 never does a race in Europe the weekend following North American excursion. So the date Ecclestone plumped for is the second of those weekends, but for France this is highly problematic. Their biggest motor sport event by far is Le Mans, and Le Mans is scheduled for the week before Silverstone.

Someone send Bernie a fax huh!

FIA on bad language: As the judge13 heard and reported yesterday, the BBC have confirmed that today the FIA have sent a letter to the teams warning them to remind their drivers about the use of bad language at all public events.

Interesting the FIA’s website still carry’s the words verbatum from Kimi and Vettel with the S$%t word and F$&k word in there (FIA)

F1 begins Texas arrival: The first of Formula 1’s six cargo 747s has touched down in Austin, Texas, ahead of the Circuit of the Americas’ first US Grand Prix next weekend. Local broadcaster KVUE said the ‘Cargolux’ flight touched down at Austin-Bergstrom international airport on Wednesday afternoon. “A lot of that (flight’s cargo) is supplies for the paddock area,” track president Steve Sexton said.

The Circuit of the Americas is an all new facility, and Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali told La Stampa his team’s analysis is that it is a “copy and paste” of other well known Grand Prix layouts. Sounds a bit unfair from Stefano, the Austin design has simulated some of the best corners in F1 history and combined them in a completely new and hopefully exciting fashion.

I watched this last night and having seen the pictures this week from Austin – it makes you realise what can be done in a year.

Caterham F1 new boss: Reuters announced this morning that Frenchman Cyril Abiteboul became the youngest team principal in Formula One on Thursday with Caterham naming the 35-year-old as successor to Malaysian entrepreneur and co-owner Tony Fernandes. Abiteboul was already the chief executive of the British-based team, who have yet to score a point in three years, and will now combine both roles.

“Cyril is going to be an excellent team principal. He has extensive experience in F1, he is extremely well respected and he shares our vision for what we want our team to achieve,” said Fernandes in a statement.

“He takes over during a season when we have not yet fulfilled our potential, but at a time when we have everything in place to help us do so. One day we will earn our seat at the top table of Formula One and he is the right person to take us there.”

Who is Cyril Abiteboul? He is a young high flyer, educated at the prestigious Lycée Carnot and Lycée Chaptal high schools in Paris, both well known for preparing the best and brightest youngsters for France’s Grandes Ecoles. To put that into perspective it should be noted that the Lycée Carnot was where Jacques Chirac, the former French President, studied while his successor Nicolas Sarkozy attended the Lycée Chaptal. He went on to study at the Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Informatique Mathématiques Appliquées, graduating in 2001 when he joined Renault at Boulogne-Billancourt.

At the start of 2007 he was appointed the Business Development Manager of Renault F1 Team, for a two-year period. He then returned to Renault mainstream until March 2010 when he was named executive director of Renault Sport F1 in the Spring of 2010 and was promoted to Deputy Managing Director a year ago (Seward).

Mallya and Kingfisher: I have to say I’m starting to feel a little sympathy for Vijay. the old saying, ‘it never just rains, but pours down’ couldn’t be more true. Mallya’s main asset, united Spirits has sold some shares in the group to shore up the Kingfisher empire and provide some cash to restart the airline (Economic Times)

Yet, there is now an investigation into whether these share transactions were used to manipulate the market price of the company. Either Vijay is actually very dodgy or he’s had some sort of ‘Indian sign’ put upon him. 😉

Further, the State Bank of India (SBI), country’s biggest lender and the lead bank to ailing Kingfisher Airlines, today warned the carrier that it “will not fly” if it fails to fetch fresh capital by November 30.

Pratip Chaudhuri, SBI chairman said, “Banks’ consortium has done everything possible to make the company (Kingfisher) work. Only the company is not working… The management has to get capital. We have given time till November 30 that they should get capital otherwise the company will not fly….”

On this day in F1, Nov 8th 1992: Funny how things pan out, November 7th was Prost’s final race and today was Mansell’s (first one even though he did 6 ill-fated races in 1994-95).

Again it was the Australian GP, which of course was back then the last day of the season not the first, where Mansell collided with Ayrton Senna while contesting the lead. He walked across the track to avoid a confrontation with Senna, and then slammed stewards for not taking action and his own Williams team for not backing his cause.

“I’m glad I’m out of it,” fumed Mansell, who was heading to the IndyCar series. “He just rammed me at 40mph faster than I was going. I ran across the track [otherwise] there would have been a big fight and I don’t think that’s the way to leave F1. Certain people can get away with what they want.”

Senna, whose McLaren team-mate Gerhard Berger won the race, was far calmer. “I have no bad feelings about it,” he said. “I think he has been complaining but that’s normal for him. He always complains.” You forget things sometimes as time goes by and I do remember now Mansell was indeed regularly quite grumpy.

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