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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Schu's doctor present for Valencia test
  • Ferrari's new car impresses on first test day
  • De la Rosa ends F1 test return with sore neck
  • Sauber numbers decided, points tweak approved
  • Failed Schu comeback would be 'disaster' - Briatore
  • Barrichello's advice to Rosberg: 'Get out of there'
  • Roadblock for 2011 Indian GP
  • Force India to announce di Resta deal
  • Toyota engineer joins Kovalainen at Lotus

Michael Schumacher and his wife Corinne
Schu's doctor present for Valencia test
(GMM)  While the seven time world champion circulated at Valencia on Monday, the jury was still out as to whether his neck injury is now fully healed.

The German, who had to call off his return for Ferrari last summer, travelled to the Spanish circuit for the first test of the winter with his personal doctor Johannes Peil.

Also present, and staying with the 41-year-old in his paddock motor home this week, is his physiotherapist Kai Schnapka.

Some reports referred to "secret tests" on his neck after 40 laps in the new Mercedes W01, while Dr Peil said when asked about the injury: "I'm superstitious, so we wait and see."

Schumacher's pace was unaffected, as he lapped six tenths quicker than Nico Rosberg, although his teammate was struggling with too low a driving position.

Germany's Bild newspaper said there had been no problems with Schumacher's neck.

Schumacher's absence from the cockpit on Tuesday is planned, and he will return to action for the final day on Wednesday.

Massa in new Ferrari
Ferrari's new car impresses on first test day
(GMM)  The Michael Schumacher media frenzy aside, the performance of Ferrari's new car was a major point of interest as official testing kicked off on Monday at Valencia.

With an unique-looking double diffuser, the F10 in the hands of Felipe Massa sparred throughout the day for the quickest times with Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa.

Massa, insisting he is completely recovered from his Hungary crash last year and feeling "zero fear" to be back on a track with his rivals, ended up with the quickest time.

"The first impression of the car is really positive: it is easier to drive compared to the F60, we can work better on the set up and last but not least there's much more grip, which makes it much more pleasant to drive," said the Brazilian.

It is believed Massa's best time at the end of the day was set on lower fuel, with his pace over longer runs arguably even more impressive.

Said Ross Brawn, boss of Mercedes GP: "Ferrari have clearly got a good car, but it's too early to say (what is the pecking order)."

Rubens Barrichello, sixth quickest at the wheel of the new Williams, agreed: "You can't predict anything from the times today; and probably won't be able to for the remainder of the tests because of the fuel loads people will run with such big tanks.

"It probably won't be until Bahrain qualifying that we will see where everyone is," the Brazilian added.

De la Rosa ends F1 test return with sore neck
(GMM)  After a seven year hiatus as a fully-fledged race driver, Pedro de la Rosa ended Monday at Valencia with a sore neck.

Since 2003, the nearly 39-year-old Spaniard has been McLaren's test and reserve driver, which in recent times has not involved very much actual driving.

He returns in 2010 as Sauber's race driver, but some were relating his quick times in the new C29 car to the Swiss team's livery devoid of sponsorship.

"I am tired, the neck hurts more than usual on the first day, but no one should forget that I have not been in a (F1) car for a year," de la Rosa is quoted as saying by Spain's Diario Sport.

It was not a great day for Toro Rosso, whose Sebastien Buemi enjoyed very little running in the newly launched STR5 due to a gearbox problem.

Robert Kubica, meanwhile, was clearly the slowest runner in the Renault, which has been criticized since its Sunday launch for too closely resembling its uncompetitive 2009 predecessor.

The Polish driver did, however, manage a healthy 69 laps, and observed afterwards that he has seldom "ever driven such a (fuel) heavy car".

Team boss Eric Boullier is quoted as saying by France's Auto Hebdo: "The purpose of this Valencia test is really to validate the concept of the R30, not to search for performance.

"That will come later," the Frenchman added.

Sauber numbers decided, points tweak approved
(GMM)  Sauber's drivers will wear the numbers 26 and 27 in 2010.

Despite sticking with an unchanged official team name BMW Sauber F1 Team, resulting in the awkward FIA designation 'BMW Sauber-Ferrari', it was decided on Monday that the Hinwil based team should not receive the numbers 9 and 10.

Given Toyota's withdrawal and the fact that BMW-Sauber finished 2009 in sixth place, those numbers should in theory have been awarded to Sauber this year.

But at the end of November, prior to Peter Sauber's takeover, the FIA issued an entry list that did not feature the Swiss team.

Moreover, giving 9 and 10 at short notice to Sauber would have also resulted in altered race numbers for Renault, Force India, Toro Rosso and all four of F1's new teams.

Rubens Barrichello's Williams FW32 at Valencia on Monday was already sporting the number 9.

The issue was discussed at Monday's Paris meeting of the F1 Commission.

The Swiss newspaper Blick reported afterwards that Kamui Kobayashi will wear the number 26 in 2010, with Pedro de la Rosa to use the highest number in the field (27).

Blick also said the tweaked points system, with winners receiving 25 points in 2010 compared to 18 points for second place, was approved.

"Great F1 commission meeting," wrote Lotus team boss Tony Fernandes on Twitter.  "Lots of great ideas.  Will be a great season.  Lots of excitement."

Failed Schu comeback would be 'disaster' - Briatore
(GMM)  F1 has turned to Michael Schumacher for additional motivation in 2010, according to exiled former team boss Flavio Briatore.

Despite overturning his FIA ban in the wake of the crashgate scandal, the 59-year-old Italian has said he is unlikely to ever return to the pitwall.

"Michael will have to work hard," said Briatore on Monday, as huge scrums of reporters and photographers chased the 41-year-old German around the Valencia test circuit.

"His comeback has given formula one a new motivation," he told Rai Radio 1.

"If Schumacher is not competitive, it will be a disaster," Briatore added.

Briatore, who ran the Benetton team in the mid 90s where Schumacher won his first two titles, said he is not so sure the German will be able to resume where he left his last championship contest in 2006.

"It's not his 41 years, but the three years he was away from formula one.  And you don't race faster if you color your hair," said the Italian, referring to Schumacher's frank admission in a German newspaper this week.

Briatore also seemed to agree with a hostile Italian media contingent that has branded Schumacher's switch from Ferrari to Mercedes as an act of betrayal.

"Schumacher wanted to return with Ferrari but did not have the chance.  It then came to this inelegant betrayal.

"He is like any other: he talks, but when it comes to actions it is according to his personal interest."

Briatore predicted Red Bull-Ferrari-McLaren-Mercedes as the likely pecking order in 2010, and slammed the typical grand prix as "boring".

Barrichello's advice to Rosberg: 'Get out of there'
(GMM)  With tongue planted firmly in cheek but with approaching two decades of experience behind him, Rubens Barrichello knew his comment would make headlines.

Asked by reporters at Valencia if he had any advise for Nico Rosberg, the Brazilian smiled: "Yeah.  Get out of there.  That is the only thing I can tell him."

Barrichello, 37, spent six seasons as Michael Schumacher's subordinate teammate at Ferrari, and sympathizes with young German Rosberg, who will drive the sister Mercedes W01 in 2010.

"I am not being bad (negative) about it," the veteran of a record 288 grands prix said on Monday, after testing the new Williams FW32 at the same Spanish circuit as Schumacher and Rosberg.

"Knowing what I know, and seeing how fast Michael went today, it is going to be a tough job (for Rosberg).  I wish him all the best because I think he is a talented boy who can be world champion," Barrichello added.

Despite debuting in Schumacher's last season in 2006, Rosberg, 24, was quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport at being taken aback by the media on Monday.

"In the morning at the launch, 100 cameras were on Michael and only one on me," said the former Williams driver.

"I will get used to it and I understand it, and I am a racing driver.  How many cameras there are for me is not important," added Rosberg.

Roadblock for 2011 Indian GP
(GMM)  A roadblock in the form of a cemetery is holding up preparations for India's debut formula one race.

Organizers have selected a site 40km from the capital Delhi for the 2011 grand prix, but in the proposed vicinity is a cremation ground.

According to the Times of India, three villages are refusing to agree to the relocation of the site, despite the circuit construction company being willing to bear the costs.

The matter has now been referred to the state government.

"According to rules, cremation grounds can only be removed from their position after gaining the consent of locals," an official confirmed.

Toyota engineer joins Kovalainen at Lotus
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen's race engineer for 2010 worked alongside Timo Glock at Toyota in 2010.

Finland's Turun Sanomat said Juan Pablo Ramirez, Glock's engineer last season, will head the engineering on Kovalainen's car at Lotus in 2010.

"Mike Gascoyne has hired a group from Toyota, Red Bull, Renault and Force India," Kovalainen said in an interview with the newspaper.

"A few of the faces around me are familiar," added the former McLaren driver.

It is also believed Kovalainen, 28, will take his McLaren trainer, Petri Lehikoinen, with him to Lotus this year.

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