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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Coulthard testing Mercedes DTM car in Spain
  • Hill slams Silverstone's new 'Arena' layout
  • No regrets as Heidfeld begins idle year as reserve
  • Schumacher expects to fight for 2010 title
  • More bad weather likely for Friday at Jerez
  • Williams to buy more of own hybrid power company
  • Cosworth 'better' than Toyota's F1 engine - Hulkenberg
  • Newey doubts Virgin's no wind tunnel route
  • Button, Brawn, nominated for Laureus awards
  • Alonso calm amid Massa's Spanish media spat

Coulthard testing Mercedes DTM car in Spain
(GMM)  David Coulthard has this week been gearing up for his debut test at the wheel of a DTM car.

The Scot, who is contemplating returning to the race cockpit with the German touring car series, has been at Spain's Circuito Monteblanco.

His mount is the Mercedes C-Class of the Mucke team, according to Speedweek.

The test was reportedly scheduled to run for four days between Tuesday and Friday.

Hill slams Silverstone's new 'Arena' layout
(GMM)  Silverstone's new 'Arena' layout is not exciting enough, according to the president of the circuit-owning British Racing Drivers' Club.

It was announced on Thursday that the new 760m loop, featuring effectively two new infield straights in the place of the famous 'Bridge' corner section, will be used for July's British grand prix.

But 1996 world champion Hill said the addition, designed for the arrival of the MotoGP race, is a "frustrating compromise" that risks "destroying the essence of what brought fans to formula one in the first place".

"If you are asking me to say it's fantastic, I'm afraid I am not going to do that," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"I am not satisfied that we will be providing the best facility we could," the Briton added.

Hill said the Arena layout is a compromise due to the Northamptonshire facility's financial position.

"It is fast, exciting corners that drivers love.  It is what fans love.  So, it's illogical not to concentrate on developing the sporting challenge," he continued.

"I have the idea of my perfect, fantasy track and that's not what we are building," said Hill.

No regrets as Heidfeld begins idle year as reserve
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld says he will use the experience of his new reserve driver role in order to mount a later return to the formula one grid.

The 32-year-old German, who contested every grand prix last decade, has had to settle for the new role in the wake of Michael Schumacher's decision to return to the sport with Mercedes GP.

Asked on his visit to the Jerez test on Thursday if teaming up with Schumacher might benefit him, he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "Absolutely.

"I do not want to be reserve driver for ever, so I can learn something by working with a seven time world champion and Ross Brawn.  That was one reason why I signed with the team," Heidfeld said.

"Recently, many test drivers have gone back to their racing jobs.  Without wanting to sound presumptuous, I think I am in a good position (to do the same)," he added, admitting that he is not likely to drive even "one meter" in 2010.

Contrary to speculation, Heidfeld said he did not contemplate splitting his new role with a DTM race seat.

"That's not my goal.  These cars are just too different," he insisted.

"I don't want to water down my driving style as long as there is a chance to once again return to F1."

It is believed Heidfeld was on Lotus' short list for 2010, but missed the opportunity to sign with the new team because he was hoping for the Mercedes race seat.

"I could have signed with some teams, but my priority was simply to be with a top team," said the German.  "I would do it the same way again."

Also rumored was the possibility of a race seat at McLaren, prior to Jenson Button's falling out with Brawn.

"I'm not upset about it," Heidfeld said.  "I chose this route because I saw a good chance for myself.  Things happened about which I had no control."

Schumacher expects to fight for 2010 title
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has now given a more optimistic view of Mercedes GP's likely form in 2010.

After the initial Valencia test, when the Brackley based team seemed off the pace, Mercedes figures including Schumacher confessed that they were perhaps not the favorites for the forthcoming season.

But after a mammoth 124 laps of the Jerez circuit on Thursday, despite going just sixth quickest, Schumacher was quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "I assume that we have a package with which we can fight for the championship throughout the year."

The 41-year-old German's car was faster than Fernando Alonso's Ferrari at Jerez, but the Spaniard managed a similarly impressive tally of 129 laps on Thursday.

"This is a very reliable car and potentially quite good," a cautious Alonso told Spain's AS newspaper.

"But McLaren has also been doing some good times, Mercedes are there and Red Bull as well.

"(The pecking order) remains to be seen," said the 28-year-old.

More bad weather likely for Friday at Jerez
(GMM)  After a better day of weather in Spain on Thursday, day three of the Jerez test is likely to be affected by rain.

The opening day of the winter's second group test on Wednesday was badly affected by rain, but the tarmac was essentially dry throughout Thursday.

"For Friday the weather forecast is not really promising, but we will cope with what we get," said Sauber's engineering boss Giampaolo Dall'Ara.

The forecast is bad news for Sebastian Vettel, who is scheduled to finally get his first taste of Red Bull's RB6 on Friday.

He stood trackside on Thursday, and as the close of play approached, told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that he had heard mixed weather forecasts for Friday.

"The English say rain, the Germans say dry!" said the German.

Very early on Friday morning, there were spots of rain at Jerez.

Interestingly, after shuffling Vitaly Petrov out of the Renault cockpit on Thursday so that Robert Kubica could test in the dry weather, the Russian rookie has now been scheduled to drive the R30 on rainy Friday.

Kamui Kobayashi pipped Sebastien Buemi to the best time on dry Thursday, but in fact the Japanese set the time three minutes after the official test day had concluded.

The Sauber's fast time was also achieved "with a lighter car", the Swiss team admitted.

Williams to buy more of own hybrid power company
(GMM)  Williams intends to buy more of the company that has developed its flywheel KERS system.

It emerged on Thursday that, following FOTA's 2010 KERS ban, the energy recovery unit will instead be fitted to Porsche's new 911 GT3 R Hybrid road car, and raced by the marque at the Nurburgring.

Williams, already developing the system for Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover, said the technology will also be available to buses, trains, ships and wind power generation.

The Grove based team bought a 40 per cent share in the British company Automotive Hybrid Power in 2008, relocating it to the team's factory and renaming it Williams Hybrid Power.

Team chief executive Adam Parr told the financial news service Bloomberg that Williams is now buying a majority stake in the company.

"We are very hopeful it will turn into a great business," he said, adding that it could provide "a significant contribution" to the F1 team's budget.

Cosworth 'better' than Toyota's F1 engine - Hulkenberg
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg has admitted that returning engine supplier Cosworth's V8 unit feels "better" and "stronger" than the Toyota power plant.

The German rookie was Williams' test driver in 2009, meaning that the last two formula one cars he drove were respectively Toyota and Cosworth powered.

Williams has this year switched to Cosworth, the independent British supplier supported by the FIA to also power F1's new teams Virgin, Lotus, Campos and USF1.

Asked about the Cosworth engine by reporters at Jerez, 22-year-old Hulkenberg said: "It is good; I'm positively surprised about it."

Asked to compare it with Toyota's engine, he added: "It feels better, it feels stronger."

Thursday was otherwise not a great day for Williams, after a hydraulic leak preceded a driveshaft problem aboard the new FW32 car.

Newey doubts Virgin's no wind tunnel route
(GMM)  Adrian Newey has waded into the debate about Virgin's decision to design its 2010 car without using a wind tunnel.

Virgin rival Lotus' team boss Tony Fernandes recently doubted Nick Wirth's wisdom in deciding to pen the VR-01 with only the aid of computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

"I am from the aviation business, mate.  You can't.  You've got to have a wind tunnel," Fernandes said.

Virgin, whose designer also penned the 1994 Simtek car, had to stop testing at Jerez on Thursday when the car's front wing broke off.

When Timo Glock returned to the pits, he confided that he had run over a curb prior to the failure.

Red Bull's Newey, regarded as arguably the best car designer in F1, admitted that CFD-only design has "pitfalls" when compared with combining the tool with wind tunnels.

"How well it (the Virgin car) turns out, we shall see," said the Briton.

"It is a different route, and my personal belief is that you still need to combine the two at the moment.  But maybe their car will go very well and I will have to revise my opinion," added Newey.

Button, Brawn, nominated for Laureus awards
(GMM)  Jenson Button, and the former Brawn (now Mercedes GP) team, have been nominated for prestigious Laureus World Sports awards.

30-year-old Button, who having previously won just a single grand prix, is nominated in the Breakthrough of the Year category after winning the 2009 drivers' championship.

He is up against fellow Britons Mark Cavendish (cycling) and Tom Daley (diving), as well as Juan Martin del Potro (tennis), golfer Ji Yai Shin, and Germany's VFL Wolfsburg football team.

Brackley based Brawn, formed in the wake of a management buyout after Honda's withdrawal from F1, is nominated for the Team of the Year prize.

Also nominated are the football teams FC Barcelona and Germany's female team, the LA Lakers, New York Yankees and South Africa's rugby team.

No F1 names are nominated for the main World Sportsman of the Year prize, but motor racing is represented by Valentino Rossi.

The nominations, announced by sportsmen including Laureus member Mika Hakkinen this week, follow a ballot involving the world's media.

The winners, to be named during a ceremony in Abu Dhabi next month, will be selected by a jury of 46 of the world's greatest ever sports men and women.

Alonso calm amid Massa's Spanish media spat
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso pleaded ignorance on Thursday when asked about an erupting controversy between Felipe Massa and the Spanish press.

Brazilian Massa, who is Ferrari newcomer Alonso's 2010 teammate, was quoted in an interview this week as saying the Spaniard should work to better integrate with the Maranello based team.

The 28-year-old was also quoted as saying that Alonso is no longer F1's best driver, due to the return of Michael Schumacher.

In response, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo hit back at Massa in a headline: "Por que no te callas?" (Why don't you shut up?").

The newspaper said Massa is pushing hard against Alonso because he "does not want to go back to being a number two".

"I don't even know what we're talking about," Alonso said at Thursday's Jerez testing.

"Imagine how much we worry about these things here in our team!  I felt immediately at ease here in Ferrari and I've been warmly welcomed by everyone.  It's like being at home," he insisted.

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