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DATE News (chronologically)
01/18/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Buemi's icy Montreal drive cancelled
  • Brawn to decide Mercedes driver hierarchy - Zetsche
  • Ralf Schumacher meets with Stefan GP boss
  • Rosberg to debut 2010 Mercedes car - boss
  • Brawn doubts Schu can win first race back
  • Rosberg agreed team switch before Merc, Schu deals
  • Alonso not concerned by Schu's GP2 test
  • Briatore to sue for damage to driver management business
  • Button won't be 'blown away' by Hamilton - Trulli
  • No Arctic Rally outing for Kovalainen
  • Ferrari works on fuel efficiency weakness

Buemi's icy Montreal drive cancelled
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi's icy drive in a formula one car on Sunday was called off.

At the wheel of a Red Bull car, the Swiss driver was scheduled to negotiate a special 4km layout on the frozen waters of the Olympic Basin, located at Parc Jean-Drapeau behind the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The event was to celebrate the return of formula one to the Canadian city of Montreal.

But Red Bull said on Sunday that the event was cancelled "due to unstable ice conditions created by warm weather patterns".

"A new date has not been set, but we are looking into the possibility of rescheduling," the energy drinks company said in a media statement.

Brawn to decide Mercedes driver hierarchy - Zetsche
(GMM)  Dieter Zetsche has not ruled out Michael Schumacher being the 'number 1' driver at Mercedes GP.

On the other hand, Nico Rosberg, the famous 41-year-old's 2010 teammate, insists there will be equality.

"It is natural that the interest is different for someone who is a seven time world champion.  But everyone is making an effort to put us on a footing of equality," he told the French newspaper La Tribune.

"Obviously the closeness of Ross Brawn to Michael made me dubious but I have spoken with Ross and now I'm sure there will be no difference between us.  That is the philosophy of Mercedes and something that is very important," Rosberg added.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, however, Daimler and Mercedes-Benz chairman Zetsche seems to not necessarily agree.

"For these decisions, we have a team boss, Ross Brawn, who is one of the best," he told the Italian sports newspaper.

"He will decide what is best in terms of the drivers," Zetsche added at the Detroit Motor Show.

Ralf Schumacher meets with Stefan GP boss
(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher is still looking to re-start his formula one career, according to the news magazine Focus.

The German weekly said that as his famous older brother Michael prepares to return after a three-year absence, 34-year-old Ralf is also keen to resume his own grand prix career that ended in 2007.

Focus reveals that Schumacher met late last week with Zoran Stefanovic, the Serbian businessman who is hoping to launch his F1 team either this year or in 2011.

Stefan GP has taken over the departed Toyota's 2010 car, engine and gearbox, re-naming the package the S-01 and passing FIA-standard crash tests.

Schumacher, who earlier won 6 grands prix with Williams, lost his seat after three seasons with Toyota.

Rosberg to debut 2010 Mercedes car - boss
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg will give the 2010 Mercedes GP car its maiden outing at Valencia on 1 February, team boss Ross Brawn has confirmed.

"Nico will drive the new car first," Brawn told the German newspaper Bild.

"That is the way we planned it from the outset, even before Michael (Schumacher) came to the team," the Briton added.

Schumacher, 41, will also drive at the first test of the pre-season.

Brawn doubts Schu can win first race back
(GMM)  A lack of pre-season testing might prevent Michael Schumacher from immediately winning races in 2010, according to Mercedes GP team boss Ross Brawn.

Briton Brawn, who also worked alongside Schumacher as technical director during title-winning tenures at Benetton and Ferrari, said "time is short" for the 41-year-old to reacclimatize to F1 following a three-year retirement.

"I don't think Michael can win the first race," he told the German newspaper Bild, ahead of just four winter tests with the new car.

"He will need a few races to become accustomed to these cars and the many new drivers.  But then I hope to see the famous Schumi.  That was always his strength: to adapt and learn incredibly quickly," Brawn added.

He said he senses a "more relaxed" Schumacher to the one that hung up his helmet at the end of his final championship attempt in 2006.

"Formula one was a burden for him in late '06," Brawn said.  "Not the driving, but everything else.  He felt stressed, but that feeling is gone now."

Rosberg agreed team switch before Merc, Schu deals
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg says he agreed to switch to the Brackley based team in 2010 long before he knew Mercedes GP and Michael Schumacher would headline the project.

"I was in contact with several other teams.  With Ross Brawn, it (the talks) started long ago, in the summer of 2009," he told the French newspaper La Tribune.

"At the time, the team was still Brawn GP.  I signed with them in the hope that Mercedes would come, and I was not disappointed," said the 24-year-old German, who spent the first four seasons of his F1 career with Williams.

Asked to point out some of the differences between the two teams he has worked with, Rosberg explained: "There are lots of similarities between the two.

"It's just in some areas at Mercedes they're a notch above.  They push more boundaries (than Williams)," he added.

While he was aware of the likelihood of a Mercedes deal, meanwhile, Rosberg admits he was surprised when it became clear he would likely be Schumacher's teammate for the seven time world champion's F1 return.

"I knew there were negotiations, but I knew it was happening for sure only just before it was official.  And then it was something so incredible that, until the actual signing, you still weren't sure!"

Rosberg insists he welcomes Schumacher's return, despite numerous commentators debating whether the German is right to resume his record-setting career.

"His passion is driving, he's coming back to his passion -- who cares about the rest?" he said.  "He is doing what he wants, and the most important thing in life is to have fun."

He also clarified his recent comments about preferring Mika Hakkinen over Schumacher.

Asked by La Tribune to name F1's best ever driver, Rosberg answered: "Schumacher is number 1.  Then I think you can put Ayrton Senna and Fangio.

"Of those three, my favorite is Senna.  I often talk about Mika Hakkinen, but he is not one of the all time best.  He's just someone I like very much."

Alonso not concerned by Schu's GP2 test
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso does not agree with commentators who believe Michael Schumacher's GP2 test gave the returning champion an unfair advantage for 2010.

Amid the current winter testing ban, Schumacher ran for three days at Jerez at the wheel of a GP2 car, in a session billed as a development test for the feeder series.

But at Ferrari's winter media event last week, Spaniard Alonso denied that the German's GP2 mileage has put Schumacher ahead of the game for 2010 despite his three-year F1 absence.

"The GP2 car is very different from F1; not at all a good point of reference," the 28-year-old is quoted as saying in an interview with La Stampa.

"But for him it would have been good in order to regain his confidence on the track.  If it's allowed, I think it's fine," Alonso added.

Briatore to sue for damage to driver management business
(GMM)  After having his motor racing ban overturned, Flavio Briatore has vowed to sue F1's governing body for loss of income.

Even though the FIA recently said Briatore-managed drivers will be granted Superlicenses for 2010, the former Renault boss revealed that Heikki Kovalainen and Lucas di Grassi ended their ties with the Italian after the crashgate scandal.

"We lost Alonso, we lost Kovalainen, we lost several drivers," Briatore, who was initially banned by the FIA from having any involvement in motor racing, told the Daily Telegraph.

"We will sue the FIA for the money we lost," said the 59-year-old.

At Ferrari's winter media event last week, Spaniard Alonso refused to confirm that he has left Briatore's management stable.

"I don't want to answer," Italy's La Stampa quotes him as saying.  "Flavio is a friend and I wish him all the best for the birth of his son."

AS newspaper in Spain, meanwhile, quotes Alonso as saying Briatore remains "a very important person for me".

Briatore, closely involved with the London football club Queens Park Rangers, said in an interview with the Daily Mirror that his F1 career is over.

"I will never manage another team in formula one in my life, this is sure, but I have got my dignity back which is important after 20 years in the sport," he said after winning the French legal action against his ban.

Button won't be 'blown away' by Hamilton - Trulli
(GMM)  Jenson Button will not be "blown away" by his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton in 2010, Italian veteran Jarno Trulli insists.

2009 world champion Button's switch to the British team was blasted by experts who believe he will struggle to thrive on countryman Hamilton's home turf.

But Trulli, who will race at Lotus this year, told BBC Sport: "I've been reading stuff left and right saying he will be blown away by Lewis but at the end of the day only the track will tell.

"Jenson deserves to be world champion and it will be a nice battle at McLaren," he predicted.

During Ferrari's winter media event in the Italian Dolomites last week, Fernando Alonso was also asked about Button's departure from Brawn.

"Jenson decided for a new challenge," he said.  "He was not absolutely happy with the new contract for Brawn and he is going to a very competitive team.

"Definitely he is happy, and for sure it is not a mistake," said Alonso, who fell out with McLaren spectacularly in 2007.

Trulli also commented on Ferrari's driver lineup, amid suggestions the Latin combination of Alonso alongside Felipe Massa will be fiery.

Trulli, 35, was Alonso's teammate at Renault in 2003 and 2004, but he does not think the Spaniard will have trouble working with Massa, despite their public row after the 2007 race at the Nurburgring.

"Fernando is not necessarily the nicest person in the paddock to handle but he should do a good job because he's a good driver," he said.

No Arctic Rally outing for Kovalainen
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen will not contest the Finnish Arctic Lapland Rally next week.

After emerging from his restrictive McLaren contract at the end of 2009, the 28-year-old hinted he would take advantage by contesting a rally this winter.

The Finn fuelled the rumors recently by sitting in a Proton Satria Neo S2000 rally car while in Malaysia for the announcement of his 2010 Lotus deal.

But according to the French publication Auto Hebdo, Kovalainen "does not have time to prepare seriously for the Arctic Rally".

Ferrari works on fuel efficiency weakness
(GMM)  Ferrari is working hard ahead of the 2010 season in the area of fuel consumption, team boss Stefano Domenicali has revealed.

The Italian team's V8 reportedly uses more fuel per lap than its key rivals Mercedes and (particularly) Renault, and the fact will take on a greater importance this year with cars no longer allowed to make refuelling pit stops.

"Before Bahrain we will be ready," Domenicali is quoted as saying by the Spanish sports newspaper Marca on the topic of fuel efficiency.

"I believe this year (fuel) consumption will be fundamental.  We are working very hard with (fuel supplier) Shell on this.  We have relative expectations but we are going in the right direction," he added.

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