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Latest F1 news in brief
  • 2010 Mercedes car to be launched in Stuttgart
  • Schumacher's return not universally popular
  • Todt's FIA to tackle Schu favoritism claims
  • Todt says F1 still too expensive
  • Vettel agrees new points system not radical
  • Schu not bookmakers' favorite for 2010 title
  • Ralf Schumacher 'ready' for F1 return
  • Around the 'net: F1 on Monday Dec. 28th

2010 Mercedes car to be launched in Stuttgart
(GMM)  After the collapse of plans for a common 2010 car launch event, the newly rebranded Mercedes GP team looks set to reveal its new single seater in Stuttgart late in January.

The German Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag said the event will probably take place at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Unterturkheim.

Both Michael Schumacher and his countryman and teammate Nico Rosberg will be present.

Bild am Sonntag also said Schumacher, to turn 41 this coming Sunday, is not scheduled to test the car until 10 February at Jerez.

The first group test of the winter pre-season period will take place more than one week earlier than that at Valencia.

Schumacher's return not universally popular
(GMM)  Even among those representing Mercedes-Benz, Michael Schumacher's return to formula one is not universally popular.

Uwe Werner, a member of parent company Daimler's supervisory board, said the decision to pay the seven time world champion 7 million euros a year is "hard to justify".

"For many colleagues, it is unimaginable," he told the Frankfurter Rundschau daily, referring to the car sales crisis and Mercedes' decision to move some of its operations abroad.

"The staff would have better understood if Mercedes had left the F1 altogether," Werner added.

Reports quoted Mercedes' competition boss Norbert Haug as responding by saying Schumacher's signing will improve Mercedes' image and contribute to the sale of many road cars.

"We believe we know how to invest our money," he told ZDF television.

News of Schumacher's return has also been unpopular in parts of Italy, home of Schumacher's F1 team for the past 14 years.

The German has distributed an open letter of explanation and affection to the Ferrari 'tifosi', after some Italian dailies said Schumacher had moved from being an idol to a traitor.

Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni told the ANSA news agency: "I say (about Schumacher) the same as president Montezemolo.  All the best.  From now on he is an opponent, and we try to beat our opponents."

Todt's FIA to tackle Schu favoritism claims
(GMM)  F1's governing body will be "on their toes" in 2010 to scupper renewed suggestions of bias towards Michael Schumacher.

Damon Hill, the German driver's fierce championship opponent of the mid 90s, told the BBC: "The suspicion was always that Michael got a little bit of favoritism from the FIA."

Schumacher, to turn 41 on Sunday, retired from the grid at the end of 2006, and his then Ferrari boss Jean Todt is now the president of the FIA.

Todt has described his relationship with Schumacher as almost akin to father and son.

"I think the FIA are going to have to be on their toes to make sure that there is no suspicion of that (favoritism) in the coming season," 1996 world champion Hill added.

Frenchman Todt, 63, was asked about Schumacher's decision to return to F1 with Mercedes in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.

"He is part of my family, but it would be inappropriate for me to discuss his decisions," he said.  "I leave it to him to comment."

Todt says F1 still too expensive
(GMM)  Jean Todt has vowed to continue Max Mosley's efforts to reduce costs in formula one.

"F1 is too expensive," the new FIA president said in an interview with France's Le Figaro daily.

"I am sad that Honda, BMW and Toyota have left, but when one spends enormous amounts of money without the desired results, it is inevitable.

"On the other hand, it is great that new teams are coming in," said the 63-year-old, who until a few years ago was in charge of the Ferrari team.

Big-spending Ferrari, however, was locked in a bitter row and political battle with Mosley this year, over the former FIA president's push for budget caps.

Todt agrees with the Briton that the cost measures subsequently introduced "are not sufficient" and blames the political conflict, but clarifies that he is opposed to the "strict limitations of budgets".

"But if we want to sustain F1, we need a true awakening and fundamental decisions," said Todt.  "Automobile sport must adapt to its time."

He also said it is regrettable that, due to an unanimous agreement of the FOTA alliance, KERS will not be seen in formula one in 2010.

"I have therefore decided to create a working group," said Todt, explaining that former Ferrari engine boss Gilles Simon will lead the work on F1's exploration of new technologies and the environment.

Vettel agrees new points system not radical
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel agrees with Norbert Haug that the changes to F1's scoring system for 2010 are not as radical as was interpreted by some.

Mercedes' competition boss Haug said earlier this month that the new points system actually does not involve a greater reward for winning.

"As before, second place receives 80 per cent of the points of the winner, and third place gets 60 per cent (of the winner's points)," he said.

Speaking to Austria's Servus TV, Red Bull driver Vettel agrees.

"The points system is not changing too much," said the 22-year-old German.  "If you look at the last three or four years, the old system and the new system would have always given the same world champion."

Instead of awarding 10, 8 and 6 points to the podium-getters, the top three will receive 25, 20 and 15 points respectively in 2010.

Meanwhile, points will now be awarded to the top ten finishers, rather than only to the top eight under the previous system.

Schu not bookmakers' favorite for 2010 title
(GMM)  Bookmaker Victor Chandler is offering odds of 13/2 that Michael Schumacher will secure a record-expanding eighth world championship in 2010.

After the legendary German's return to the sport after a three-year absence was announced just prior to Christmas, fans have been racing to place bets on how the soon-to-be 41-year-old will fare.

Major UK bookie William Hill's odds for an eighth drivers' crown have already come in from an initial 8/1 to 6/1, while Blue Square are offering 4/7 for Schumacher's ninety-second career race win, in from an initial 6/4.

Like Victor Chandler, the Austrian bookmaker Bwin has Schumacher at 13/2 for the title.

"If he's given the wheels, it would take a brave man to bet against the Teutonic totem," correspondent Tom Cary wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

William Hill, however, tips Lewis Hamilton as the 9/4 favorite for the 2010 championship, with reigning champion Jenson Button at 11/2.

Ladbrokes has Hamilton at 5/2 for the title, ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso (3/1) and then Schumacher (5/1).  Button is the fifth favorite at 6/1, and Schumacher's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg seventh at 10/1.

Ralf Schumacher 'ready' for F1 return
(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher has confirmed reports that he would like to return to the formula one grid.

An unnamed source close to the 34-year-old German has told Bild newspaper that Schumacher, the younger brother of seven time world champion Michael, turned down an offer from one of F1's new teams for 2010.

But Ralf confirms that if a more attractive offer was to materialize, he is ready to give up his Mercedes seat in the German touring car series DTM.

"I have noticed that the formula one fire is once again burning within me," he told the newspaper.

"I can understand Michael's decision 100 per cent and I would not have hesitated for a second.  You can't stop the passion: racing was and is our life and we have always looked for challenges."

Schumacher was asked why he turned down the reported offer for 2010.

"The challenge must be the right one," answered the winner of 6 grands prix, who admits his reputation was damaged by his stint with Toyota that ended two years ago.

"There is no point signing a second-best contract, and it's not about the money but whether together we would be able to achieve something," Ralf added.

Bild mentioned Sauber, Renault and Toro Rosso as potential options for Ralf Schumacher that have been discussed internally by those teams.

"For me the Toyota years are in the past.  I know what I can do and I feel good and ready," he said.

Around the 'net: F1 on Monday Dec. 28th
(GMM)  Stylish glasses for Marc Gene as he turns laps in Ferrari's new driver simulator:


Michael Schumacher confirms new Mercedes deal is for three years:


Nico Rosberg drives the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG in Abu Dhabi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySxoN0k4PhA


Adrian Campos denies his new F1 team will not make it to the 2010 grid:

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