The Leafield-based marque are yet to appoint a team-mate for Charles Pic, signed in November after a debut campaign with Marussia, even though the first test in Jerez is just three weeks away. Abiteboul is understood to be in talks with Vitaly Petrov in regards to the Russian competing for a second season with the team. However, Abiteboul has also dropped a broad hint he is considering a rookie instead as he builds towards 2014, which will see engine regulations altered dramatically. "There are different options. One is someone who he (Pic) can learn from," said Abiteboul, speaking to the Eastern Daily Press. "Another, more radical, is to accept the fact 2013 is a transition year we use to continue building the team before a period of greater stability in 2014, when a lot of other things in the package will change. "Both types are out there, and we are close to making a decision.
Thailand expects to host a floodlit Formula One Grand Prix in Bangkok in 2015 after plans were pushed back a year, the governor of the national sports authority said on Friday. “An F1 race is likely to take place here in early 2015 instead of in 2014 in our initial plan,” Kanokphand Chulakasem told the Bangkok Post newspaper. The 2014 season is due to see two new races, at Sochi in Russia and at a New Jersey street circuit, on a calendar which already has a record 20 rounds, but Thailand would be a novelty for the year after. Bangkok's Rajamangala stadium recently hosted the annual Race of Champions event with Red Bull's triple world champion Sebastian Vettel teaming up with Michael Schumacher to win the team title for Germany. “It is likely to be held in Bangkok. With Thailand on the calendar, a current race is likely to be removed.” he said. The paper's website quoted Red Bull's Michael de Santiesteban, representative of the energy drink's Thai co-owner Chalerm Yoovidhya, as saying talks with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone were going well. Chulakasem met Ecclestone at this year's Singapore Grand Prix in September and said then that there was an agreement in principle for a race in 2014. Tourism and sports minister Chumpol Silpa-archa said at the same time that the government would bear 60 percent of the total cost and the rest would come from private companies. Red Bull's British-based Formula One team have won both championships for the past three years and are expected to back the Thai race. Southeast Asia already has two races, in Malaysia and the night-time Singapore Grand Prix. - Reuters
Motor sports enthusiasts are set to retrace an international Formula One circuit in Cork this summer to mark the 75th anniversary of what was one of the largest motorsports events ever staged in Ireland. The 1938 Cork Grand Prix was the last in a series which began in 1936. It was organised under international formula regulations — giving it the equivalent status of a modern day Formula One race — as part of a grand prix season of races in Crystal Palace and Brooklands, England; Pau, France; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It attracted some of Europe’s top racing teams, such as Bugatti and Maserati, and was watched by an estimated 70,000 spectators. The Munster Vintage Motor Cycle and Car Club announced plans at the weekend to mark the 75th anniversary of the event in June. Event co-ordinator Alan Cavanagh said it will consist of a three-lap parade over the original circuit, with Garda escorts and rolling road closures in place. “The circuit remains relatively unchanged from the one raced in the 1930s,” he said. “The landscape has changed but the road circuit itself is almost exactly the same as it was in the 1930s, and for a street and road circuit, that’s fairly unique. “It offers a unique opportunity for vintage car owners to cover the same lap the cars did in the 1938 race.” Mike Foy plans to drive his 1932 Smithfield Special, which competed in the ’38 grand prix, in June’s event, which will be open to pre-1950 race and sports cars. Cavanagh said organisers are hopeful that cars including Maseratis and ERAs, which competed in 1938, will also participate. They are now trying to trace the cars’ owners, including a person who owns the 4.5-litre Delahaye, which was driven to victory by Rene Dreyfus in the ’38 race, and which is now based in California. The event, which will tie in with the second Titanic vintage car run organised by Cobh Classic Car Club, will be based on the Carrigrohane Rd on Jun 22 and 23. British Pathé recorded footage from the three grand prix races. It shows spectators standing within feet of speeding cars on dangerous chicanes, and one winning driver lighting up a cigarette as his car pulls in to the pit lane. The 1936 grand prix attracted 27 top drivers from all over Europe piloting some of the most technologically advanced race cars of their time. One of the most famous drivers was Austin Dobson, of Surrey, who piloted the Alfa-Romeo, in which the Italian ace Nuvolari won the German Grand Prix in Jul 1935. But Corkonians took Prince Birabongse of Siam (present day Thailand), who took part in all three races, to their hearts. He led for most of the 1936 race in his supercharged ERA but was forced out with a broken fuel pipe. He competed against 13 other drivers in the 1937 race and set a new course record for the light car race in the 1938 event, with a speed of 93mph, again in an ERA. He competed in the 1938 heavy car race driving a Maserati but Dreyfus overtook him on the second lap and went on to win, breaking the course lap record with an average speed of 96mph. *Vintage car owners interest in taking part in the June event should register with corkgrandprix.com. Fast lane The 320km Cork Grand Prix, which was staged in 1936, 1937, and 1938, took place over a 9.6km circuit starting on the Carrigrohane Rd, where cars reached speeds of up to 160km/h. Drivers sped city-wards towards Victoria Cross and in to a tight right-hand hairpin bend which took them towards Dennehy’s Cross, and on to Model Farm Rd, before racing west. The back stretch finished at the Poulavone hairpin bend, on the eastern outskirts of Ballincollig, where a roundabout now exists. The circuit featured a notorious drop to the left, just after the Poulavone hairpin, known as Hell Hole Corner. Several drivers failed to make the turn and ended up driving through a wall, and off a steep embankment. However, there were no serious injuries.