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Speculation continues to swirl in Singapore

21 September 2013

The F1 paddock at the Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore continues to be awash with rumours leading into this weekend's Grand Prix. Here's a quick pick of the best of them...

Brawn has no plans for Williams move

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has denied speculation that started two weeks ago at Monza that he is planning on buying Mercedes director of motorsports Toto Wolff's remaining shares in Williams F1.

"I'm definitely not buying shares in Williams," Brawn emphatically told Sky Sports F1 this week, insisting that he was staying at Brackley. "I'm planning to be here next year so there's nothing else happening, I can guarantee it."

Further rumours surfaced this week after Ferrari race engineer Rob Smedley's name was also connected with a move to Williams for 2014, after Smedley's long working relationship with Felipe Massa comes to an end with the Brazilian's departure from Maranello. The speculation inexorably led on to suggestions that Massa himself might be Grove-bound at the end of the year in what would amount to a mini-Ferrari takeover at Williams in the unlikely event that all the pieces ever came together.

Perez quiet on management shake-up

Sergio Perez may be about to shake-up his personal management team, with reports suggesting that he may be about to split from long-time manager Adrian Fernandez.

Despite Perez' future being at the centre of separate speculation about whether McLaren may be eyeing up Fernando Alonso to replace the young Mexican in the squad in 2014, Fernandez is not present in Singapore and Perez would not answer questions about his management, simply responding that "I will announce these things soon."

It's all simply added further grist to the mill churning out a seemingly unstoppable flow of rumours about McLaren pursuing Alonso this weekend and that Perez' tenure at Woking might not yet be as secure as previously thought.

New Jersey back in the picture

Sky Sports reports that the New Jersey Grand Prix may be happening after all, with reporter Ted Kravitz learning from Bernie Ecclestone that a key payment has now been made and a series of procedural deadlines met that allow the race to go forward.

"We have a contract with New Jersey and I hope they can honour the contract." Ecclestone told reporters in Singapore.

If the race does get added to the 2014 line-up it would be back-to-back with the Canadian Grand Prix. However, it also would raise the number of races tentatively scheduled for next season to 23, which team principals have already ruled out as being unrealistic.

Pirelli extension imminent?

Another long-running on/off item of speculation has been the status of the contract negotiation with Pirelli as F1's sole tyre supplier. Although nothing formal has been confirmed with regards to the Grand Prix side, this week's announcement of a 'multi-year' extension to Pirelli's current deal to continue suppling compounds to the teams competing in the GP2 and GP3 feeder series suggests that the pieces are now falling into place.

"Part of our philosophy at Pirelli has always been to cultivate the champions of the future, which is why our participation in GP2 and GP3 is so important to us," said Pirelli director of motorsports Paul Hembery this week. "We're delighted to continue supplying our tyres to both the GP2 and GP3 championships, which have proved to be an effective ladder of opportunity for those wishing to compete at the top levels of motorsport."


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