The story appears on

Page B16

September 26, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Motor Racing

Crashes mar Singapore GP practice

AUSTRALIA'S Mark Webber became the second driver to halt practice for the Singapore Grand Prix yesterday, the Red Bull driver crashing into the wall after setting the fastest time in the latter of two sessions.

In the first floodlit session for the night race, French rookie Romain Grosjean slammed his Renault into the barriers at the same place where Nelson Piquet deliberately smashed into the wall a year ago.

Webber lost control of his car on turn 23 of the Marina Bay Street Circuit after setting the quickest time of the night when he lapped the 5.067km layout in the Southeast Asian city-state in 1:49.317.

Red flags were waved to allow the debris to be removed before practice could resume with Webber's teammate Sebastian Vettel clocking the second fastest time -- 0.304 seconds slower than the Australian.

Brawn's Rubens Barrichello topped the timesheets in the first session with the Brazilian clocking 1:50.179 following an amazing flashback to the inaugural 2008 race, when Grosjean lost control on turn 17 and slammed into the opposite wall.

Renault was handed a suspended permanent ban for race-fixing earlier this week after Piquet confessed to crashing on purpose last year in a plot to help teammate Fernando Alonso win after the safety car was deployed.

Grosjean, who replaced Brazilian Piquet in August and was passed fit only yesterday morning after feeling unwell on Thursday, had completed nine laps when he crashed. He has not previously raced at the track.

Both drivers walked away from their crashes.

Meanwhile, new F1 team Manor GP could be prepared to throw Piquet a lifeline.

"I've not spoken to him at the moment, but he's a smashing little driver," Manor team boss John Booth told the Yorkshire Post yesterday when asked about the 24-year-old former Renault driver.

"I've no personal problems with him, but it is unclear what his current position is with regards sponsorship."

Piquet was granted immunity from punishment for giving evidence in the race-fixing controversy.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone told the Daily Express newspaper that Piquet had not written off his Formula One chances.

"Piquet will get another drive. He's a driver who does as he's told," said the Briton. "That's what any team boss would want. And they don't all do that."

New team

Sheffield-based Manor is one of four new teams due to enter Formula One next season. World champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen both drove for Manor in a junior series on their way to the top.

The team is widely expected to announce a sponsorship deal with Virgin, currently backing championship leaders Brawn, in November. The deal could see the team renamed Virgin F1.

Booth said other drivers in the frame were BMW-Sauber's Austrian reserve Christian Klien, Britain's Anthony Davidson and Ireland's Adam Carroll. He expected to finalise the line-up by mid-November.

"Adam is a driver we rate very highly and we have held talks with him," said the team boss. "We have spoken to Christian but nothing more. I've had a chat with Anthony Davidson and he's a very quick driver.

"It's amazing the amount of quality drivers that are out there."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend