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Latest F1 news in brief

  • Rossi plays down latest F1 switch reports
  • Rosberg happy to be Schu's teammate - Haug
  • Petrov paying EUR15m for 2010 F1 debut
  • Raikkonen to decide F1 future in mid-2010 - manager
  • Kovalainen says reputation damaged at McLaren
  • Two teens get boost on road to F1
  • Virgin car to have black livery - di Grassi

Rossi tested an F1 car again.  It's just a PR stunt for Ferrari and another 'toy' to play with for the rich MotoGP star
Rossi plays down latest F1 switch reports
(GMM)  Valentino Rossi insists he is not set to switch to formula one.

The multiple and reigning MotoGP champion, whose Yamaha contract ends this year, is back in the F1 headlines after a two day test in a 2008-spec Ferrari.

On Thursday at the Circuit de Catalunya, with his father and Felipe Massa in the garage, 30-year-old Rossi lapped even quicker than the fastest time during the 2009 Spanish grand prix, despite being fitted with GP2 slicks.

But he told the El Periodico newspaper: "When I could come to F1, I will be too old.  There are wonderful drivers there.  I'm fine in my world, which is bikes.

"This is just a diversion, some fun, and I am grateful to everybody for the opportunity," said Rossi.

After reports that Ferrari would like to field a third car in F1 for Rossi, the Italian told Spain's AS newspaper that the proposal "is fun, but not feasible".

"Tomorrow I am a MotoGP rider again," he insisted.

Rosberg happy to get his clock cleaned by Schumacher
Rosberg happy to be Schu's teammate - Haug
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg is happy to be Michael Schumacher's teammate, Mercedes competition director Norbert Haug insists.

As the seven time world champion this week took Rosberg's designated race number (3) for the 2010 season, it has been suggested that the 24-year-old German may have slotted into the subservient role performed by Schumacher's previous teammates.

Johnny Herbert, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello, and the like, were clearly seen to be number 2 teammates, and it is feared that by joining Mercedes before Schumacher, Rosberg may have joined the club unwittingly.

Haug, however, told the German news agency DPA: "Nico has found his desired configuration.

"He has always wanted to drive the Silver Arrows in formula one, and have Michael Schumacher as his teammate.  That may sound like a fabulous PR statement, but it is precisely the truth," the 57-year-old insisted.

Haug believes some of Schumacher's past teammates were seen as number twos not because they were contractually obliged.

"To be a team's number one is done only through extraordinary effort, and I trust that both of our drivers will give this, especially if we give them a very good car."

The Belgian former F1 winner Jacky Ickx, however, believes Rosberg will be Schumacher's first target as he mounts his return this season.

"Rosberg is absolutely a strong teammate," he said in an interview with the German newspaper BZ.

"If Schumacher wants to win, he must destroy Rosberg because he's his biggest enemy," added the 65-year-old.

"Schumacher always beat his teammates, like Herbert, Irvine, Barrichello, and everyone always thought they could be world champion."

Petrov paid $20M to be the latest F1 ride buyer
Petrov paying EUR15m for 2010 F1 debut
(GMM)  Vitaly Petrov is offering EUR15 million to a formula one employer for 2010.

The 25-year-old Russian, who finished second in last year's GP2 championship behind Nico Hulkenberg, has been linked with moves to Renault or Campos.

Germany's Bild newspaper said his sponsorship purse adds up to an incredible 15m, which equates to nearly EUR800,000 per grand prix this season.

Bild said Petrov's main backers are the Moscow-based bank Sberbank, and Russia's biggest company Gazprom.

Michael Schumacher and Hulkenberg's manager Willi Weber said pay-drivers are nothing new in F1.

"Only six or seven top drivers earn real money, the rest bring it to their teams.  And whoever starts doing it, needs to keep doing it for his entire career, unless he is an exceptional talent," he said.

Schumacher, for example, famously paid Eddie Jordan about $200,000 for his grand prix debut at Spa in 1991.

Kimi Raikkonen can kiss his F1 career goodbye.  Have insomnia?  Just listen to Kimi speak.
Raikkonen to decide F1 future in mid-2010 - manager
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson has confirmed reports the 2007 world champion will decide in the middle of this year whether to return to F1 in 2011.

"Kimi has made it clear that he only wants to go back to formula one if he can drive a car that fights for wins and the championship," the Briton told Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper.

"The best places in the driver market are allocated in the mid-season," Robertson added.

30-year-old Raikkonen agreed to vacate his Ferrari for Fernando Alonso this year and subsequently turned down an offer from McLaren in order to make his full time debut in the 2010 World Rally Championship.

Said Robertson: "At this stage it is impossible to know which direction Kimi will go in (for 2011).  It is clear that at the moment he is focused on his rally career."

It is rumored that Red Bull, who are paying for Raikkonen's Citroen seat this year, could offer the Finn a seat alongside Sebastian Vettel in 2011.

The winner of 18 grands prix told Italy's Autosprint magazine: "I spent nine years of my life in F1 and I have excellent memories.

"I will take a decision regarding my future in the mid-season -- whether I stay with the rallies or switch back to F1."

Kovalainen says reputation damaged at McLaren
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has hit back at critics who believe his F1 career is fading after just three seasons.

"I don't really care what people think," the 28-year-old, hailed as a future superstar in 2004 when he famously beat Michael Schumacher to the Race of Champions title, is quoted as saying by the British newspaper The Sun.

After two years alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, and an earlier campaign with Renault, the Finn has moved for 2010 to the new team Lotus.

At McLaren, he won a single race compared with Hamilton's seven, but suggests that his reputation as a poor racer is not a true reflection of his talents.

Kovalainen admits he "didn't get the best out of McLaren", adding: "I don't think there are any areas I particularly need to improve.

"Some people think I'm a good qualifier and not such a good racer, but that has only been while I was at McLaren.

"If you look at my time at Renault in 2007, the race performances were actually very strong," he said.

Two teens get boost on road to F1
(GMM)  Two promising teenagers have stepped up a gear in their drive to reach formula one.

Brazilian Felipe Nasr, 17, has been signed by Robertson Management, the company run by father and son Dave and Steve Robertson who moved eventual champions Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen onto the grid.

Nasr, the new European Formula BMW champion, will also drive for the Raikkonen-Robertson team in British F3 this year.

"We've always been very particular regarding the drivers we get involved with," said Steve Robertson, referring to the fact that Nasr is only the third driver to be managed by his outfit.

"I see a lot of the qualities (in Nasr) that I saw in Kimi.  We don't just want a driver who's going to get to F1 -- that's not good enough for us.  We want a driver who's got the potential to be world champion," he added.

Meanwhile, 14-year-old Dutch karter Nyck de Vries will be managed by Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony, after signing on to McLaren's driver development program.

Virgin car to have black livery - di Grassi
(GMM)  New British team Virgin's formula one car for 2010 will be mainly black, Brazilian race driver Lucas di Grassi has revealed.

It emerged a month ago that the single seater would be black and red, with the now departed team boss Alex Tai saying: "We're the new red car on the block."

Team figures wore black leather jackets with a white and red logo at the recent driver launch, and 25-year-old di Grassi has now revealed his helmet design for his rookie season.

"At the bottom (of the helmet) there are silver and black colors to match the car, which is all black, beautiful and a very nice design," he is quoted as saying by Brazil's Globo website.

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