Friday, November 5, 2010

Vettel & Webber fastest in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel
Vettel is seeking a third successive pole

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport in Sao Paulo

Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber emphasised they are still title contenders by dominating first practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Vettel - who is 25 points behind the championship leader, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso - set the fastest time, 0.482 seconds quicker than Webber.

Australian Webber, 11 points behind Alonso, was just 0.035secs ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button was fourth, with Alonso only 13th.

The Spaniard's car stopped out on the track towards the end of the session. Ferrari said the engine in the car was at the end of its life and the failure happened two laps earlier than expected.


The team had anyway been planning to change Alonso's engine between first and second practice, which starts at 1600 GMT.

Vettel's lap of one minute 12.328 seconds may appear ominous for the rest, but is not necessarily an accurate indication of form for qualifying and the race.

The teams spent the sessions evaluating set-up and various new parts on their cars.

As is normal, the top drivers waited in their garages for more than half the session so as not to waste their tyres on a dirty track and to limit mileage on their engines.

1 ALONSO 231pts
2 WEBBER 220pts
3 HAMILTON 210pts
4 VETTEL 206pts
5 BUTTON 189pts
If Alonso wins in Brazil, he will be champion unless Webber is higher than fourth
If Alonso is second, he will be champion unless Webber is higher than eighth, Hamilton higher than fourth or Vettel wins
If Alonso is third, he will be champion unless Webber finishes in the top 10, Hamilton in the top four and Vettel in the top three
If Alonso does not finish on the podium, it will go to Abu Dhabi
Button can only stay in contention if he finishes first or second but is out if Alonso finishes in the top six or if Webber is in the top two
Vettel must beat Alonso on track to stay in contention

Renault's Robert Kubica was the first serious contender to show his hand, setting a lap of one minute 13.462 seconds after 50 minutes of the 90-minute session.

But the Pole soon lost top spot when the title contenders emerged on to the track.

Webber was the first to beat Kubica, with a 1:13.168, before Hamilton dipped underneath that with a 1:13.138.

Vettel then dipped below the 73-second barrier with a 1:12.946, Hamilton beat that with a 1:12.845 before the German knocked half a second off that with a 1:12.351.

Kubica ended up fifth, ahead of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, whose team-mate Michael Schumacher was eighth behind the Williams driver Rubens Barrichello.

Force India's Adrian Sutil was ninth, ahead of the Sauber of Nick Heidfeld.

Renault's Vitaly Petrov suffered a crash when he lost control going into Turn Seven, a quick uphill right-hander known as Ferra Dura.

Heidfeld's team-mate Kamui Kobayashi also crashed at Ferra Dura, a couple of minutes after Petrov and just before the end of the session.

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Lotus confirm Renault engine deal

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport in Sao Paulo

Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen's 12th place in Japan is the team's best 2010 finish

The Lotus team have finally confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets in Formula 1 - that they will use Renault engines next season.

The deal was agreed, and reported by BBC Sport, in September but an announcement was made only on Friday.

But it is widely believed in F1 that the team will not be called Lotus in 2011 after a naming rights dispute.

Also on Friday, Red Bull announced they would continue with Renault engines for the next two years.

Lotus Racing team principal Tony Fernandes agreed a deal to use the Lotus name in F1 this year with the owner of Lotus Cars, the Proton car company.


He has since - as exclusively revealed by BBC Sport in September - bought the rights to the historic name of the outfit in F1 - Team Lotus.

But Proton have challenged Fernandes' rights to use the name, and the dispute has reached into high levels in Malaysian politics. The country's former prime minister, Dr Mahatir Bin Mohamad, has stepped in to try to resolve it.

Both Lotus Racing and Proton have said they will make no further comment on the issue until it is resolved.

It is being strongly rumoured in F1 that Fernandes will be forced to abandon the Lotus name, and that Proton will buy into the Renault team, which may be renamed Lotus-Renault.

Lotus Racing's media release announcing the Renault deal did not mention the word Lotus, other than in the official team branding, and Renault's referred to their "new client" as the "1Malaysia Racing Team".

Fernandes said the Renault deal was an indication of his ambitions to succeed in F1.

He said: "2010 has been all about building up our team from scratch and in just one year we have laid the foundations for many exciting seasons to come and the partnership with Renault will dramatically accelerate our development plans, both on and off track.

"That is an important point - we have started a partnership with Renault and, much like taking on experienced drivers in our first year, we will be working with people who know how to win and who will help push us even further forward towards the front of the grid.

"We are realistic - we know what needs to be done to be challenging for ultimate honours in F1 and this partnership will play a very important role in helping us push ahead."

Lotus have signed a deal to combine their Renault engines with Red Bull's gearbox and hydraulics.

Lotus, who were new to F1 this year, have had to negotiate a release from their three-year contract with Cosworth to secure the Renault deal.

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Australia crash to seventh defeat

Second one-day international, Sydney: Sri Lanka 213-3 (41.1 ovs) beat Australia 210 (37.4 overs) by 29 runs (D/L method)
Match scorecard

By Oliver Brett

Kumar Sangakkara celebrates as Shane Watson is trapped lbw
Kumar Sangakkara celebrates as Shane Watson is trapped lbw

Australia went down to their seventh successive defeat as Sri Lanka celebrated their first series win down under with a 29-run victory in Sydney.

In a rain-hit one-day international, Sri Lanka scored 213-3 in 41.1 overs leaving Australia a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted target of 244 from 39 overs.

That became 240 from 38 after yet another brief stoppage, but they never threatened and were all out for 210.

Australia have just one more ODI before the Ashes begin on 25 November.

The losing run began in a Test match at Headingley in July against Pakistan; they have since lost two further Tests in India, a Twenty20 international and three one-dayers.

Sri Lanka can sweep this series 3-0 with a win in Brisbane on Sunday, but the Aussies will be desperate to stop the rot at the Gabba, where the Ashes series starts in 20 days.

With Australia's side on Friday featuring seven players thought to be certainties to take on England in the Test matches, it was another very dispiriting display from the hosts.

Their bowling was particularly poor, with a number of wayward deliveries sent down. Left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson took 0-43 in seven overs, struggling for line and length.

Upul Tharanga anchored Sri Lanka's innings with an unbeaten 86, beginning shakily but playing some fine shots later on. Tillakaratne Dilshan (47) and Kumar Sangakkara (45) played supportive roles and only Shane Watson (2-34) had much joy among Australia's bowlers.


Tharanga was poised for a century until the rain came, and it never really left the SCG as the players carried on through squally showers.

The Australians' batting was scarcely better than their bowling, though the floodlights and early movement for Sri Lanka's seamers made life tough. Brad Haddin was bowled by a lovely Nuwan Kulasekara inswinger and Ricky Ponting top-edged a pull off Thisara Perera to leave the score on 32-2 in the seventh over.

Watson and Michael Clarke put on 46 before Muttiah Muralitharan got in on the act. The veteran off-spinner trapped Watson lbw before completing a diving catch at third man to help Perera grab a second wicket and end Clarke's involvement.

Neither Mike Hussey nor Cameron White were able to play a match-winning innings as Sri Lanka remained dominant with some unerringly accurate bowling.

Australia, with six wickets down, needed 61 from the last four overs. Johnson hit off-spinner Suraj Randiv for a four and a six to give them a glimmer of hope, but was run out following terrific work from Mahela Jayawardene at extra cover.

There was no way back now. Randiv picked up two wickets and Lasith Malinga delivered the final blow with a yorker to last man Clint McKay in the final over.

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Live - Brazilian GP practice


To get involved use 606, Twitter or text us on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with FORMULA 1 before your message. (Not all contributions can be used. Messages will be charged at your standard operator rate.)

By Mark Orlovac

seanbhoy87 on Twitter: "Morning Orlo. Is this the weekend Hamilton throws a spanner in the works & we go to the final race? I can't wait, bring it on!"

RichArrowsmith on 606: "Red Bull are just gonna be too good this weekend. It'll be decided in Abu Dhabi!"

1138: Championship battles cry out for championship messages and I'm going to need your input this weekend. You can get in touch via the normal methods, 606, Twitter or text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with FORMULA 1 before your message. At the moment the top message in the inbox is from someone requesting a Skatman song. Don't think it's for me.

1133: Hello gang. Hope you are well. Yep, I'm pretty pumped for this weekend I can tell you. Imagine how I felt earlier this week upon hearing the news that the Backstreet Boys and New Kids On The Block are to tour next year, and then multiply that by 10. One word. Buzzing.

1130: Given its place in the F1 calendar, it's hardly surprising that the last five world titles have been settled at Interlagos. Championship leader Fernando Alonso has won three of the last four races, and four of the last seven, and is the only challenger who can keep that run going this weekend. Excited?

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Friday's F1 gossip column

BBC Sport brings you a regular round-up of the gossip in newspapers and on specialist websites around the world.

Lotus announce an engine partnership with Renault, starting from 2011.
Full story:

Adrian Sutil says he is close to signing a deal to stay with the Force India team for 2011.
Full story:

Mercedes GP driver Nico Rosberg says Red Bull's Mark Webber apologised to him after Webber took Rosberg out of the Korean Grand Prix. Webber spoke to the German on arriving in Sao Paulo for this weekend's race.
Full story: (in French)

Red Bull's Mark Webber would make the best Formula One champion but Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is more likely to win this year's title, according to former champion Jackie Stewart.
Full story: Reuters

Pedro de la Rosa is keeping a close eye on HRT's plans for next year, reinforcing speculation that he is close to securing a drive with the team in 2011.

This story will be updated throughout the day

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India increase pressure on Kiwis

First Test, Ahmedabad (day two, close): India 487 v New Zealand 69-2

Mahendra Dhoni dismisses Tim McIntosh
Tim McIntosh is caught behind by India skipper Mahendra Dhoni

India continued their dominance of the first Test in Ahmedabad as New Zealand closed day two 418 runs behind at 69-2.

After opening-day centuries from Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, seeking his 50th Test hundred, was caught and bowled for 40.

Harbhajan Singh struck five fours and three sixes in a Test-best eighth fifty, before India were 487 all out.

New Zealand lost Tim McIntosh for a duck in the third over but Brendon McCullum hit seven fours in 38 not out.

The Kiwis had made a mini-revival after India resumed on a formidable 329-3, with Tendulkar and Laxman at the crease.

They shared 66 and with the country celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights, it looked as though the milestone century would arrive at the perfect moment.

But Tendulkar never found any real fluency and gave a simple return catch to spinner Jeetan Patel.

Debutant Kane Williamson claimed his first Test wicket when Suresh Raina was smartly taken at extra cover by McCullum, and Patel trapped Laxman lbw in the final over before lunch.

New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori, playing in his 100th Test, then took three wickets after lunch as a total of five fell for 29.


Vettori had the ignominy of being hit for four and six in successive balls by Harbhajan, but ended the innings when the India spinner, in his 88th Test, got a bottom edge and was caught behind.

The tourists made a dreadful start to their reply when McIntosh tried to avoid a short one from Zaheer Khan that barely bounced over the stumps.

The ball flicked McIntosh's gloves and gave Mahendra Dhoni a routine catch behind the stumps.

Pragyan Ojha's left-arm spin was introduced in the eighth over and he struck with the first ball of his second over.

BJ Watling pushed tentatively inside a delivery which held its line and knocked back the top of the off-stump.

McCullum showed good footwork to hit Ojha for two fours in an over, sharing an unbroken 42 with Ross Taylor, who hit three fours in his 18, but the first target for the Kiwis is to reach 219 and save the follow-on.

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Rooney heads to US for rehab work

Wayne Rooney
Rooney speaks to England manager Fabio Capello at United's last home match

Injured Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will spend a week in the United States undergoing intensive conditioning work on an ankle problem.

The 25-year-old will miss Wednesday's Manchester derby, and is not expected to play for another three weeks.

Rooney is to train at the Nike Town centre in Oregon.

"He can go there without the attention he'd get here," said United assistant manager Mike Phelan. "He needs the conditioning. We all agree with that."

The England international caused controversy recently when he signed a new five-year contract only two days after stating that he wanted to leave Old Trafford.

Rooney said that concerns over the club's squad strength were behind his decision to seek an exit, but then made the shock U-turn after speaking to manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the club's owners who he stressed "convinced me this is where I belong".

Phelan did raise the possibility that Rooney could be back for the club's Premier League home match with Wigan on 21 November, if his conditioning work away from the glare of the British media goes well.

"We have the facilities [at Carrington]," said Phelan. "But we just thought it might be in the interests of him and the club to have a change of scenery for a little while.

"He has had a lot of attention lately and we want to give him the best opportunity he possibly can to be in good shape when he returns.

"If that goes according to plan, he will be available when he returns."

Ferguson, who handed over news conference duties to Phelan ahead of the home match against Wolves after picking up a virus, estimated on Tuesday that it would be another three weeks before Rooney is fit to return from his ankle injury.

He is likely to miss England's friendly with France on 17 November.

United are likely to be without Portuguese winger Nani and Scottish midfielder Darren Fletcher after the pair suffered injuries in the club's 3-0 Champions League victory at Bursaspor in Turkey on Tuesday.

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Schiavone upbeat ahead of final

Francesca Schiavone
Schiavone beat Oudin in her only singles win in last year's final

Francesca Schiavone has warned the USA they will face an even stronger Italy team than the one that triumphed last year in this weekend's Fed Cup final.

"It's one more year and we have more experience," said Schiavone.

"Our team is always complete with energy and confidence. That is our key and so we keep working on this."

Italy, who beat the USA 4-0 in the 2009 final, go into this year's final in San Diego with all of their players ranked higher than the top American.

The USA team is missing Serena and Venus Williams, who are both injured.

Schiavone, the reigning French Open champion, is number six in the world rankings, while Italy team-mate Flavia Pennetta is ranked 23rd.


In contrast, Bethanie Mattek-Sands is the top-ranked American, at number 58, while Liezel Huber is a doubles specialist.

They are joined in the USA team by Melanie Oudin , ranked 67, and debutant Coco Vandeweghe (114).

Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani, ranked 38 and 42 respectively, complete the Italian line-up, which is the same as the one that defeated the USA last year in Calabria.

Despite the disparity in world rankings, USA captain Mary Jo Fernandez said the final was "winnable" for her team.

"You don't just sign up and say they are ranked much higher so they are going to win," said Fernandez, a member of the USA team which defeated Spain in the 1996 Fed Cup final. "We have seen upsets in the past."

Francesca Schiavone

Impressive Schiavone claims title

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Broad on song in England warm-up

Tour match, Perth (stumps, day one of three):
Western Australia 242-8d v England 10-1

Match scorecard

Stuart Broad celebrates a wicket
Stuart Broad celebrates one of three wickets

Stuart Broad took three wickets before lunch as England began their Ashes tour with an encouraging bowling performance in their first warm-up match in Perth.

Putting out what could be their Test team against Western Australia, England fielded first in a three-day match.

Broad took two wickets in his first over, but WA recovered to reach 242-8 before declaring late in the day.

Alastair Cook was bowled by a delivery that bounced off his body onto the stumps as England reached 10-1.

Broad relished bowling with the new ball, nipping out Liam Davis and Michael Swart almost immediately for ducks, before Test batsman Marcus North (19) also departed to the tall Nottinghamshire seamer.

WA ground out their runs in the first session, reaching 45-3, before accelerating against the softer ball after lunch.


Adam Voges (72) and Wes Robinson (62) put on 87 in 22.5 overs as England proved less of a force in the afternoon heat.

But James Anderson got through 22 overs, showing he is fully recovered from his broken rib. He had Luke Pomersbach caught behind by Matt Prior, while Steven Finn, Graeme Swann and Paul Collingwood each picked up a wicket as well.

England picked the 11 players who many judges expect to contest the first Test in Brisbane on 25 November, sticking to the four-bowler plan and with Ian Bell preferred to Eoin Morgan in the top six.

They lost the toss against a strong home side, but any disappointment that they were not batting first was swiftly put to one side as the second over of the morning produced two wickets.

One of the key factors in the Ashes is likely to be whether England can bowl effectively with the Kookburra balls used down under. Broad seemed to enjoy it when it was new.

He struck with only his fourth first-class ball in Australia, finding enough bounce to have Davis edging to second slip on the back foot - Swann making no mistake with a neat catch low to his left.

And Swart followed first ball, failing to avoid a short ball and looping a catch off the glove to Collingwood running in from third slip.

North kept out the hat-trick ball before England loosened their grip when Finn replaced Anderson at the Lillee-Marsh Stand end.

The Middlesex youngster struggled to find any consistency with his length. He gave both batsmen some awkward moments when he got it right but over-pitched alarmingly at times, driven straight back for four by Robinson in his first over and then serving up successive full-tosses in his next.

James Anderson
James Anderson took 1-48 and had a couple of strong appeals rejected

Anderson switched ends and was soon appealing for the wicket of Robinson, but umpire Ian Lock did not detect any edge to Prior.

Swann, famed for his knack of first-over wickets, was equally unable to part North and Robinson as England received an early lesson about the patience and hard work sure to be required this winter.

But Broad was not done with, and had North carving a back-foot edge to Swann high at second slip just before lunch.

Anderson and Swann each appealed for lbw decisions early in the afternoon session only to be rebuffed by the umpires.

And Robinson put pressure on Swann, sweeping the spinner for successive fours and hoisting him over long-on for six on the way to an otherwise painstaking half-century.

It was only when Andrew Strauss turned to Collingwood to fill in some overs that the latter's part-time medium-pace immediately brought Robinson's wicket, via a return catch.

But Voges was 54 not out at tea, and found further support from Pomersbach early in the final session.

After tea, Anderson was repaid for his discipline with the old ball when Pomersbach edged a flat-footed drive behind.

In the next over, Voges contributed to his own downfall only four runs later, taking off for an unwise single to cover and beaten to the non-striker's end by a direct hit from Collingwood.

Luke Ronchi stayed long enough to expose Finn's rustiness in a breezy 32 from 26 balls. He followed a straight-driven four with a hook for six, but got a little carried away and cut the next one straight to gully.

Swann picked up a heartening late wicket as well, Ryan Duffield edging an attempted cut behind, and a canny declaration came after just two overs with the second new ball.

Cook had cause to regret North's decision to terminate the innings as Steve Magoffin soon struck when the Essex left-hander failed to cope with a bouncy delivery.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jordaan to stand in Fifa election

Danny Jordaan
Jordaan believes he can make a contribution

Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the 2010 World Cup, is seeking a seat on the Fifa executive committee.

The all-powerful executive committee decides, among other things, where future World Cups will be played.

The 59-year-old South African has been nominated by his country for the post when elections take place next year.

"The World Cup profile is a big help," said Jordaan, who intends to start lobbying across the continent in the next few months.

He added: "It is important for me that Africa feels I can make a contribution."

Two of Africa's four positions on the Fifa executive committee come up for re-election in February.

One of them is held by Nigerian Amos Adamu, who has been provisionally suspended by the world body pending the outcome of an investigation into corruption allegations against him.

The other African berth up for re-election is held by Jacques Anouma, president of the Ivorian Football Federation, who has not yet made public whether he will seek another four-year term.

Adamu is expected to try to hold on to his post if he is not expelled by Fifa, whose ethics committee will decide on his future this month.

Nominations for the posts close on 23 November, three months before the election at the Confederation of African Football congress in Khartoum, Sudan.

Jordaan is the first to make his candidacy public.

His experience in football administration, dating back more than two decades, and the successful organising of the World Cup will be key parts of his election campaign.

Jordaan said he had had a surge of support from African football associations and says he is confident of winning a place on the Fifa executive as well as the Caf executive.

Traditionally, administrators seeking to work their way up to the Fifa committee serve time first as members of the Caf executive, but Jordaan is attempting both at the same time.

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