Kingfisher Airlines’ licence suspended

The Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended the flying licence of Kingfisher Airlines for failing to come up with a viable financial revival plan reports the website of news channel New Delhi Television (NDTV).

The airline’s trouble has recently caused much grief to its owner, Sahara Force India chairman and team principal as well as its employees who have reportedly not been paid for weeks.

NDTV reports that Kingfisher Airlines has not operated a single flight since October 1.

Only recently, a non-bailable arrest warrant had been issued against Mallya and other Kingfisher Airlines executives by a Hyderabad court after cheques intended to pay user’s fee to the company that runs the city’s airports bounced. The warrant was later withdrawn when a financial settlement was agreed to.

As far as motorsport is concerned, it remains to be seen whether the troubles faced by the airlines will have an effect on the running of Mallya’s Formula 1 team, 42.5 percent of which belongs to Sahara after a deal was struck between the two parties ahead of last year’s Indian Grand Prix.

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New Jersey F1 race reportedly set for 2014 debut

America’s Speed channel has reported on its website that the planned Grand Prix of America to be held at the Port Imperial street circuit in New Jersey is set to be taken off the 2013 Formula 1 world championship calendar.

The channel cites sources that state that F1’s commerical rights holder Bernie Ecclestone will make the announcement shortly.

The race had been scheduled for June 16, 2013 but track organizers have requested more time to complete the necessary permitting process to complete the 3.2 mile course that lies along the Hudson River (see vid).

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A lot of talk in Thailand…

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No more for Schumacher too

Following news of David Coulthard’s retirement from all forms of motorsport, his one-time rival Michael Schumacher has stated that he won’t try his hand at any other form of racing after his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the 2012 season.

The seven-time world champion was quoted by Italian publication Gazzeta dello Sport as saying, “Formula One offers the maximum as far as emotions, speed and work completeness are concerned. Another type of car wouldn’t give me the same feelings. I’m stopping here completely.”

What may be of interest here is that he only referred to car racing. Could he try his hand at motorcycle racing again (unlikely though it may seem)? Schumacher watched from the Ducati pits as his MotoGP counterpart Valentino Rossi took second place at the French GP at Le Mans this May. Purely a sponsorship exercise or picking up some tips?

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David Coulthard retires from motor racing

Former Formula 1 world championship runner-up David Coulthard announced today that he will retire from all forms of competitive motor sport after the conclusion of the German touring car championship (DTM) this weekend.

The Scotsman, best known for his partnership with Mika Hakkinen at McLaren, was quoted on motorsport website Autosport as saying he was retiring to “concentrate on developing my off-track businesses and, of course, spending more time with my family.”

Coulthard raced made his F1 debut in 1994 with Williams F1 when he was drafted to partner 1996 world champion Damon Hill following the death of Ayrton Senna.

He moved to McLaren in 1996 and had his most competitive seasons in F1 in 2000 and 2001 when he scored 21 podiums over 34 races, winning five and finishing runner-up to Michael Schumacher in 2001.

Following the end of his stint with McLaren in 2004 ‘DC’, as he was referred to, raced for four seasons with Red Bull, who made their F1 debut in 2005 and served as test driver for the current world champions in 2009.

At his peak, Coulthard was regarded as a highly skilled development driver who, on his day could go wheel to wheel with the very best. As was evidenced by his duels (and other altercations) with Schumacher during the latter’s Ferrari days (see vids below and enjoy).

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Relief for Mallya as GMR withdraws cheque bounce case

The Press Trust of India (PTI) has reported that GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) on Wednesday withdrew a cheque bounce case filed against Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) in a court in Hyderabad after the airline agreed to pay the outstanding amount due to it.

A Hyderabad court had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Mallya, KFA and four other executives last Friday after the Sahara Force India owner and team principal failed to appear in court to settle the matter of dishonouring cheques worth 10.5 crore rupees (approx. 1.9 million dollars).

Getting a court to issue a warrant seems like one hell of a way to get the attention of someone who owes you money.

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Respect for Vettel with ‘strings attatched’

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel is four races away winning his third straight Formula 1 drivers’ title. The feat will allow him to join an elite club of two F1 drivers who have won a hat-trick of titles and six who have won at least three crowns.

However, former three-time champion Sir Jackie Stewart told BBC Sport that Vettel can’t be considered an all-time great until he distances himself from cars designed by Adrian Newey.

Newey has designed title-winning cars at Williams, McLaren and Red Bull Racing that have won seven drivers’ titles.

On the face of it you could say that Stewart has a point considering Fernando Alonso has been in contention for this year’s title all year despite driving a car that is far inferior to the Red Bull RB8.

However, it seems a little like saying that Jim Clark can’t be considered the all-time great that he is because he only drove cars designed by the late great Colin Chapman. Or that Stewart’s own achievements would be diminished due to Ken Tyrell being the constant in his three titles.

The same goes for the Michael Schumacher-Ross Brawn partnership and the fact that Ayrton Senna won titles only in Gordon Murray designed cars.

Stewart is quick to add that Vettel can still attain all-time great status should he succeed despite adversity, but it’s hardly the young German’s fault that he drives for a team so well funded and well staffed.

It should also be noted that Red Bull never won a race until Vettel joined in 2009 and were beaten to a win by Toro Rosso when Vettel drove for them in 2008.

All in all the benefit of the doubt lies with Stewart I guess. When a man who beats the best car on the grid by four minutes in the rain at F1’s most fearsome venue ever (see vid), you at least listen to what he has to say.

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Kimi Raikkonen’s contract ‘talks’

Not much to elaborate on here if you see the video. On his 33rd birthday, the 2007 Formula 1 world champion appears in a video that shows the ‘true story’ of how he signed up with Finnish clothing company Makia.

Wonder what the Iceman will do for his expected contract extension with Lotus F1.

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Cosworth goes on sale

British newspaper The Telegraph has reported that Formula 1 engine supplier Cosworth has been put up for sale by its current owners Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven.

Cosworth is the second most successful engine supplier in F1 history with 176 wins, second only to Ferrari that has 220.

Cosworth’s involvement in F1 dates back to 1967 when its DFV engine first powered the Lotus 49s of Jim Clark and Graham Hill at the Dutch Grand Prix.

The success of the DFV engine was such that from 1969 to 1973, every F1 world championship race was won by a car powered by it.

Martin Brundle was the last driver to win a race with a DFV engine in 1985 and the last Cosworth powered win came at the 2003 Brazilian GP won by Jordan’s Giancarlo Fisichella.

Cosworth currently powers Marussia F1 and HRT F1.

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Volgswagen sign Latvala for 2013

With Ford quitting the World Rally Championship, the wildly erratic Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg looked to be out of a job.

The former has himself a new ride, however, as teammate to Sebastien Ogier at Volkswagen’s factory WRC team.

The 27-year-old Finn has spent the majority of his 10-year WRC career behind the wheel of a Ford and came to prominence in 2007 as an extremely fast driver.

However, his career has been punctuated by many untimely crashes and wild driving that has kept him from ever becoming a championship contender. 

Partnering Ogier should be no walk in the park for the Finn as the Frenchman proved himself more than worthy of taking on reigning WRC king Sebastien Loeb while the two were teammates at Citroen’s WRC team in 2011. 

Ogier won five rallies that year – same as Loeb – and fell just 26 points shy of winning the title before departing for Volkswagen. 

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