Latest F1 news in brief
- Massa nearly 2.5s quicker than Rossi in Spain
- Rosberg expected to be Button's teammate
- EUR8m spent on failed Flins foray
- Barrichello denies saying title 'closer than ever'
- Toro Rosso owns Alguersuari contract for five years
- Coulthard to test Mercedes DTM car
- New Force India heading for February 12 debut
- Ecclestone says USF1 and Campos 'have problems'
- Three channels to broadcast Mercedes livery launch
- BMW, Williams engineers join Campos
Massa nearly 2.5s quicker than Rossi in Spain
(GMM) Felipe Massa has put a dampener on reports that Valentino Rossi would be ready to make an immediate switch to formula one.
The reigning and multiple MotoGP champion tested for two days in a 2008 Ferrari last week in Barcelona, setting a best time quicker even than the fastest lap of the 2009 Spanish grand prix.
But team regular and 2008 title contender Massa, 28, put the performance into context a day later when he took a turn at the wheel of the car fitted with GP2 slicks.
It is rumored the Brazilian's best lap was a 1.19.5, which is nearly 2.5 seconds quicker than Rossi's 1.21.9.
Rosberg expected to be Button's teammate
(GMM) Nico Rosberg has revealed that he expected to be reigning world champion Jenson Button's teammate in 2010.
When the 24-year-old German signed his contract to switch from Williams, the Brackley based team had yet to be sold to Mercedes-Benz.
Rosberg insists he will share equal billing with Michael Schumacher this season, but admits he did not expect Briton Button to make room for the most successful driver in F1 history by moving to McLaren.
"Frankly, I expected to be in the same team as Jenson Button," he said in an interview with France's L'Equipe. "At the time there was no talk about Michael.
"It surprised me when he (Button) moved. Now my teammate is Schumacher, but I have nothing to lose against him. I'm in a team with the best driver."
EUR8m spent on failed Flins foray
(GMM) Almost EUR8 million was spent on the abandoned bid to host future French grands prix at Flins-Les-Mureaux.
Following the demise of the Magny Cours event, and also the alternative Disneyland Paris project, the Yvelines region last month scrapped the Flins foray.
France's Auto Hebdo reveals that Yvelines' Conseil General spent EUR7.9m on the failed project.
Barrichello denies saying title 'closer than ever'
(GMM) Rubens Barrichello has denied reports that he expects to fight for the world championship with Williams in 2010.
"The dream to become world champion is closer than ever," the F1 veteran said on a recent visit to Cosworth's Northampton headquarters.
But when the soundbite was published, 37-year-old wrote a clarification on his Twitter page.
"To be clear: I was asked if I thought that 2009 was my last chance to be champion. I said no, that I always believe that tomorrow is going to be better.
"Hence, the statement 'The title is closer than ever', but I didn't say that," the Brazilian added.
Toro Rosso owns Alguersuari contract for five years
(GMM) Jaime Alguersuari's contract is in the hands of Toro Rosso for a five-year period, it has emerged.
Following confirmation of the Spaniard's renewed tenure with the Italian team for 2010, his management said Toro Rosso is the "owner" of Alguersuari's Red Bull contract for five years.
"They (Red Bull) ask me to dispute the world championship in 2010 and it is the best news I have received in my life," said the 19-year-old.
Alguersuari made his debut in Hungary last year following the ousting of Sebastien Bourdais, but by the end of the season his teammate Sebastien Buemi was regarded as the more impressive rookie.
"Now I have a few more kilometers in F1," Alguersuari said, "and the race in Bahrain will be very different from Hungary. The best Jaime will come this year."
Coulthard to test Mercedes DTM car
(GMM) David Coulthard has lined up a day of testing at the wheel of a DTM car with Mercedes-Benz.
Sebastian Vettel took over Scottish veteran's Red Bull race seat last season, but he stayed with the energy drink outfit as a consultant and reserve driver.
Coulthard, 38, has also renewed his TV commentary deal with the BBC for 2010, but recent rumors have linked him with a return to racing in the German touring car series.
"The guys at Mercedes, with whom I have long been friends, have organized for me a day of (DTM) testing," he said from the world cup ski races at Kitzbuhel in Austria.
Coulthard spent nine seasons with works Mercedes power at McLaren between 1996 and 2004.
New Force India heading for February 12 debut
(GMM) Force India's 2010 car is expected to run for the first time in mid February.
It emerged recently that the Silverstone based team's Mercedes powered VJM03 would not be ready for next week's opening Valencia test.
The second group test is a four-day schedule running from February 10-13 at Jerez.
Word from inside Force India is that the car should be ready to test on February 12.
German driver Adrian Sutil told Auto Bild that he is confident about the 2010 season.
"Our team is currently one of the few without any problems," said the 27-year-old. "There have been takeovers at Renault and Sauber, which is to our benefit."
This season is Sutil's fourth with the same team, which was called Spyker in 2007. Rumors indicated that a switch to McLaren might have been on the cards for 2010.
"In the end there was no alternative," Sutil said. "But I am sure that in 2010 we will begin where we left off in 2009."
Chief race engineer Dominic Harlow agrees that Force India should this year be able to build on its often impressive 2009 form.
"And unlike some other teams, we're not scratching around trying to put together a car at the last minute," he said.
Ecclestone says USF1 and Campos 'have problems'
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has finally named the two teams he suspects will struggle to make it to March's 2010 season opener.
Several times in recent interviews, the F1 chief executive has indicated that one or two of the sport's new teams may fold prior to the beginning of the world championship in Bahrain.
On a visit to the world cup ski races at Kitzbuhel in Austria, he told Salzburger Nachrichten: "Campos and the American team (USF1) have problems -- financial, not technical.
"But I hope they will be ok," the 79-year-old added.
Ecclestone said recently that F1 will be in good shape for this season so long as 10 strong teams are on the grid.
"I think formula one is looking much stronger than it has for a long time," he insisted. "It's a shame to lose some manufacturers, but let's be honest: we all knew that their time in F1 was limited."
Timo Glock, to this year drive for Virgin, believes the rumors about struggling new teams will soon be muted.
"I'm not worried. We are fully on schedule and have our budget," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"The rumors may be because there is not much happening in formula one at the moment, but I think that will change quickly from now on," Glock added.
Three channels to broadcast Mercedes livery launch
(GMM) The unveiling of Mercedes GP's 2010 car livery on Monday will be big news in Germany.
It has emerged that the event at the marque's museum in Stuttgart will be broadcasted live by the German sports channel DSF, as well as n-TV and the news channel N24.
The event, featuring the unveiling of the title winning Brawn car in the silver livery for 2010, begins at 11am local time.
Alongside Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and prominent team figures, it is also expected that Mercedes-powered McLaren's team boss Martin Whitmarsh has travelled to Stuttgart for the event.
Mercedes' 2010 will be seen for the first time when it tests at Valencia next Monday.
BMW, Williams engineers join Campos
(GMM) Two well-known F1 engineers will be in the Campos garage when the 2010 world championship kicks off in March.
Spain's El Mundo newspaper reports that Valencia-born Toni Cuquerella, and the Catalan Xavi Pujolar, switched at the end of last season to be with the new Spanish outfit.
Cuquerella was formerly Robert Kubica's race engineer at BMW-Sauber, while Pujolar comes from Williams.
El Mundo Deportivo also reported that Mutua Madrilena, the Spanish insurance company that has recently sponsored the Renault and McLaren teams, turned down Campos' efforts to secure backing.