Latest F1 news in brief
- Alonso has tested 2009 Ferrari with new livery
- Santander confirms de la Rosa backing
- Kubica may start Renault testing without teammate
- Massa to test Rossi's F2008 on Friday
- No neck trouble as Schu takes no.3 for 2010
- Buemi drove Red Bull in icy Canada
- No F1 return for Willis with Sauber
Alonso has tested 2009 Ferrari with new livery
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has already driven a Ferrari F1 car in the team's new livery for 2010.
The famous outfit's new sponsor Santander released to the Spanish press photos of the recent test outing, which occurred at the Paul Ricard circuit in France for filming purposes.
The 2009 Ferrari, the F60, was in the livery for the 2010 season, featuring prominent white front and rear wings with Santander branding.
Spanish bank Santander’s communications boss Juan Manuel Cendoya confirmed that Ferrari approved the release of the photos.
|Fernando Alonso in his new Ferrari overalls|
Earlier this week, 28-year-old Alonso said the new car, to be launched next Thursday and codenamed 281, is "almost ready".
Santander confirms de la Rosa backing
(GMM) Pedro de la Rosa is being personally sponsored in 2010 by Santander.
In addition to sponsoring races and the F1 teams Ferrari and McLaren, the Spanish bank said on Wednesday it is supporting de la Rosa's return to the grid with Sauber.
It is believed the backing is in the form of the Santander subsidiary Universia, the network of Spanish and Portuguese speaking universities.
Santander communications boss Juan Manuel Cendoya, however, played down reports that de la Rosa's new employer Sauber is being directly sponsored.
"Pedro is a friend and a very intelligent person who impressed us very much in our three years together (at McLaren).
"We are going to support him personally, but we are not going to be at Sauber with any of our brands," Cendoya explained.
He also said Santander would have liked to sponsor Bruno Senna's debut this year, but deemed the Spanish bank's F1 involvement is already fully subscribed.
Kubica may start Renault testing without teammate
(GMM) Robert Kubica's eventual 2010 teammate at Renault may be missing from the launch of the R30 car and its opening test at Valencia.
The events are scheduled to take place at the Spanish circuit on January 31 and the following day respectively.
But team boss Eric Boullier said he might not have finalized the Enstone based team's full driver lineup by then.
"We'd love to take the decision before the test. If not, Robert will start the development alone," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
Frenchman Boullier, who is Flavio Briatore's full time replacement in the wake of the crashgate scandal and subsequent Genii Capital buyout, confirmed on Wednesday that Nick Heidfeld is in the running for the seat.
But he also indicated that the Russian pay-driver Vitaly Petrov is an option, as are drivers of Chinese (Ho-Pin Tung) and Austrian (Christian Klien) nationality.
"Today we have a situation where there are not many drivers available on the market," Boullier conceded.
Massa to test Rossi's F2008 on Friday
|Felipe Massa in his new Santander sponsored overalls|
(GMM) Felipe Massa will drive a 2008-specification Ferrari at Barcelona on Friday.
The constructors' title winning F2008 is already being run on GP2 slicks by the Italian marque's F1 Clienti department this week for the MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi.
"As the car and the track were available I thought it would be helpful to go onto the track for a day to continue gaining confidence," Brazilian Massa, who sat out the final seven races of 2009 following his Budapest crash, is quoted as saying in a Ferrari statement.
Late last year, the 28-year-old tested a 2007 Ferrari on two occasions.
"After the days in Fiorano and Mugello this will be a nice opportunity to get back driving on such an interesting and challenging track," Massa added.
After getting in some dry laps of the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday, Rossi - who spun twice early on - recorded a best time of 1.25.2, which is three seconds off last year's slowest qualifying time for the Spanish grand prix.
No neck trouble as Schu takes no.3 for 2010
(GMM) Michael Schumacher has confirmed there is no sign of the injuries that thwarted his return to F1 last year.
In the wake of Felipe Massa's Budapest crash, the 41-year-old German had to call off his agreed return for Ferrari due to the effects of a motorcycle testing crash early last year.
Schumacher, who is returning full-time with Mercedes GP in 2010, tested for three days in a GP2 car last week and announced on Wednesday that he is in perfect health.
"The after-effects of that accident are gone since long, that's why I was sure that the neck would not cause any problems," he said in an interview with his official website.
Schumacher admits that the final hurdle will be the lifting of F1's winter test ban in on 1 February, when he will get at the wheel of the 2010 car.
"Only then the old feeling will be completely back. I can't wait to be back there," he added.
A spokeswoman for the Brackley based team, meanwhile, confirmed that Schumacher's request to take the higher race number (3) from his teammate Nico Rosberg has been granted.
"Michael has a preference for odd numbers," she said, also revealing that the FIA has already approved the switch. "He asked if he could be the odd number and we were happy to accept."
"The test was super," said Schumacher in an interview for his personal website. "We have been handicapped a bit because of the weather in the first two days but on the third day we could do a lot and even simulate a race on slicks.
"It went better than I had expected. I immediately felt well in the car, it was as if I never was gone."
"The after-effects of that accident are gone since long, that's why I was sure that the neck would not cause any problems," he said. "This was one year ago, that's over.
"I have been practicing since December physically very carefully and feel extremely fresh and fit. That was one of the reasons why I felt so good in the car in Jerez.
"But then, Formula 1 is another thing, the g-forces are higher, that's not really comparable. That is why I look forward so much to testing in February. Only then the old feeling will be completely back. I can't wait to be back there."
"After my retirement at the end of 2006 I was very happy, I felt relief, just like freedom," said Schumacher.
"I enjoyed that feeling because especially in the last two years F1 had demanded a great deal from me - not the racing, that I loved during all the time, but all those things which relate to living under constant observation. It did me extremely well to be quiet for those three years.
"It really is as if my batteries were fully loaded. My energy is back completely. I really notice how the prickle is coming, how motivated I am because I so much look forward to this competition. It is about time to start this whole thing."
Buemi drove Red Bull in icy Canada
(GMM) Contrary to reports, Sebastien Buemi drove in icy conditions in Canada last weekend.
The Swiss driver's demonstration run in a Red Bull car on the frozen waters of the Olympic Basin, located behind the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, was called off due to "unstable ice conditions".
But around the snow-lined Canadian GP circuit itself, and at the Lac-a-l'Eau-Claire in Quebec, Toro Rosso's Buemi got up to speed with his set of special tungsten-studded Bridgestone tires.
"(It was) a bit cold but in the end, it is good to be back!" said the 21-year-old.
No F1 return for Willis with Sauber
(GMM) Geoff Willis is not returning to formula one with Sauber.
The Briton was one of the most well-known technical directors in the sport, but he mysteriously left Red Bull in the middle of last season.
He has also worked with Williams and McLaren, and more recently he was ousted from his position at Honda.
There was speculation late in 2009 that he could return this year with Ferrari or Sauber, but the Swiss camp earlier this month said its technical team will continue to be led by Willy Rampf.
It is believed Willis had been in talks with the new Qadbak management, but when that buyout fell through, founder Peter Sauber opted for a different route.