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DATE News (chronologically)
02/23/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Sauber missing from latest FIA entry list
  • Former PM doubted Lotus would get car running
  • Button worried about 'happy Alonso'
  • Soucek to test Virgin this week
  • No regrets as Klien settles for Le Mans reserve role
  • F1 hopes for 'good' weather at final test
  • Alonso says McLaren debacle was 'good for my career'
  • Petrov insists he's not 'number two' driver
  • No 2010 return for Ralf Schumacher

Sauber missing from latest FIA entry list
(GMM)  Sauber is not yet showing on the FIA's latest 2010 entry list.

The governing body said in December that the Swiss team's application to race this year in the place of the departed Toyota had been "successful".

But in the official season guide, Sauber's name - and those of drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa - are missing.

The apparent anomaly has raised speculation that the reason for the delay is the uncertainty about F1's new (and hopeful) entrants.

By omitting Sauber for now, the entry list features just 12 teams, with the FIA rules allowing a maximum of 13 entrants.

With USF1 admitting that it is not ready to contest as many as the first four races of 2010, the situation could result in the American team dropping out of the sport before a wheel has even turned.

A report in Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the FIA has confirmed talks about the situation are taking place with USF1.

If USF1 does drop out, Sauber - as another existing team with FIA approval - could take USF1's place and its race numbers 22 and 23.

This would leave a new entry slot open for Stefan GP, the Serbian entrant that is pushing hard for approval after taking over the departed Toyota's 2010 package.

Team owner Zoran Stefanovich told Autosport on Monday that the scheduled test debut of the red S-01 at Portimao this week has had to be called off because Bridgestone will only release tires to confirmed entrants.

"We are expecting that the situation will be clarified soon," he said.

"Everybody knows that some teams are facing certain problems, and we are looking to clarify this situation."

Former PM doubted Lotus would get car running
(GMM)  Malaysia's former prime minister on Monday said he agreed to launch Lotus' Norfolk headquarters because he initially did not believe the team would get up and running in 2010.

The Malaysian backed team said in a press release that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also sat at the wheel of the new T127 car while the Cosworth engine was fired up.

Asked by reporters about his visit, he said: "I challenged them, 'you get the car ready and I will come and sit in it'.

"They actually got the car running.  Well, I lost my bet but fortunately, no money is involved," Dr Mahathir laughed.

He is now an advisor to Lotus Cars' owner Proton, and credited as the 'father' of Malaysian motor racing and the Malaysian grand prix at Sepang.

Button worried about 'happy Alonso'
(GMM)  Jenson Button has admitted to worrying about the noises of optimism from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

With the Spaniard having switched from Renault where he was not in the running for the past two titles, some believe Alonso is now testing at the wheel of the championship-favorite car.

In part of an interview with El Mundo, the 28-year-old admitted that the new Maranello built car is currently "showing even better than we expected".

2009 world champion Button told Spain's Marca: "I see a happy Alonso, and that's not good because it means he's fast."

Button, 30, will be at the wheel of the 2010 McLaren at Barcelona on Thursday and Saturday, while Alonso will be testing the Ferrari on the opening two days of the final pre-season test.

Spaniard Marc Gene remains a Ferrari test driver in 2010 and he said he is cautious about the F10's apparent form.

"The car is very reliable and the drivers are very happy, but we must be cautious," he told Diario Sport.

"After the fiasco of 2009 we have no illusions, even though the F10 looks like a good car," Gene added.

Soucek to test Virgin this week
(GMM)  Andy Soucek, to shortly be confirmed as Virgin's new 2010 reserve driver, is expected to test the VR-01 this week at Barcelona.

Reports said the Spaniard and reigning F2 champion will replace Alvaro Parente as Virgin's reserve, after the Portuguese driver's funding fell through.

Spanish media sources said Soucek, 24, will test for one day at Barcelona, the scene of the final pre-season test between Thursday and Sunday.

No regrets as Klien settles for Le Mans reserve role
(GMM)  Christian Klien struggled to smile on Monday, as he was presented as Peugeot's Le Mans reserve driver for 2010.

The Austrian had held off signing a race deal with the French carmaker because he was hoping to this year end his stint as a formula one reserve driver.

Signing for Le Mans would have made him unavailable for June's Canadian grand prix.

But when race seat opportunities with Sauber, Renault, USF1 and Campos were all exhausted, all that was left at Peugeot for Klien was the reserve role.

Asked if he regretted gambling his 2010 season on F1, he is quoted as saying by Speed Week: "No, the chances (of a seat) were greater than ever, with the new teams and the many driver changes.

"I was very close with Sauber and Renault, but it was not meant to be.  Under the circumstances, I would do it the same way again," said Klien.

Also missing from the Montreal paddock in June will be the BBC radio commentator Anthony Davidson, who has signed to race at Le Mans with Peugeot.

F1 hopes for 'good' weather at final test
(GMM)  Already setting up their garages at the Circuit de Catalunya, F1 teams are hoping for a good week of weather.

All confirmed 2010 teams with the exception of Campos and USF1 will test for four days between Thursday and Sunday, in what is the final official pre-season track outing prior to the Bahrain opener in less than three weeks.

The recent winter outing at Jerez was badly affected by rain, but the Spanish sports newspaper Diario Sport said the weather forecasts for Barcelona this week are "good".

Indeed, the skies above the Catalan capital on Monday are blue and clear, despite another weather forecast predicting some rain on Thursday and Saturday.

Alonso says McLaren debacle was 'good for my career'
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso says he looks back on his ill-fated season with McLaren in 2007 as an experience that was "good for my career".

The Spaniard clashed memorably with departed boss Ron Dennis and rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton and negotiated a premature split at the end of the year.

"2007 was very difficult but I learnt a lot personally," the 28-year-old, now regarded as a favorite for the title with Ferrari in 2010, said in an interview with Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"It was good for my career to take that step of joining McLaren and growing up.  I learned how to work with a team and also to withstand the media pressure.

"Now I am much more prepared for everything in formula one -- and in life as well," he said, insisting that his only role in the Spygate scandal was being "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

Alonso said it is possible that Jenson Button, who has similarly joined McLaren as the reigning world champion to be Hamilton's teammate, will encounter similar problems.

"Obviously I don't know how McLaren is now but if Jenson arrived in my time then, for sure, it would be very tough for him," he said.

"But, hopefully, it's now better for Jenson because I learned a lot from that season and McLaren did as well."

Alonso also played down reports that his relationship with new Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa is strained.

"After so many years of course I have battled with Felipe," he said.  "It's the way it is -- and we'll keep having these fights.

"But Michael Schumacher and Rosberg will have fights at Mercedes.  I am sure Lewis and Jenson Button will have fights at McLaren.

"Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel will have fights at Red Bull -- in fact they were fighting last year already.  But no one talks about this.  They talk about it with Ferrari because we are in a good position," he added.

Alonso has also given a wide-ranging interview to Spain's El Mundo newspaper, in which he confirmed that he still talks with his manager Flavio Briatore "every 15 days".

He also said he is not ready to follow Massa into fatherhood.

"No, because I am dedicated to my work 100 per cent," said Alonso.  "I look forward to it one day, obviously, but my priority right now is something else."

Alonso tackled suggestions he is loved by his fans but also disliked by many other legions of F1 followers.

"Those who criticize me are people who have never met me," he said.

"In most cases it's online, that's where the anti-Alonsistas are.  They're anti-everything.

"The Alonsistas are at the Valencia circuit, where there were 36,000 at a test to follow my Ferrari debut.  36,000 there, and the others on an internet forum.  It doesn't worry me," Alonso insisted.

He said those who meet him often remark that he is "nicer than I seem, (nicer) than my image.  I like to hear that".

Alonso also confirmed that his past experiences at McLaren and Renault have prepared him well for his arrival at Ferrari.

"I'm calmer, more mature and at peace with myself.  I'm ready for any challenge," said the 2005 and 2006 world champion.

Petrov insists he's not 'number two' driver
(GMM)  Vitaly Petrov insists he has not been signed by Renault to be "number two" driver in deference to Robert Kubica.

The Russian rookie is taking a reported EUR15 million to the Enstone based team.

"The races have not yet begun, so maybe he (Kubica) will be the number two," Petrov, 25, told the state owned Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

He also said he is not expecting to be given an easy time by his highly rated Polish teammate.

"Every driver is responsible for himself," 2009 GP2 runner-up Petrov explained.

The report said Petrov must contractually achieve at least 25 per cent of Kubica's points tally in 2010.

He is also yet to obtain the entire EUR15m promised to Renault.

The Russian daily sports newspaper Sovetsky Sport says a petition signed by some of Petrov's athlete colleagues has been sent to Russian president Vladimir Putin, in the hope of getting help to raise the missing EUR7.5m.

No 2010 return for Ralf Schumacher
(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher is not returning to formula one in 2010.

Although he was linked with a race seat at the hopeful Serbian outfit Stefan GP, the Cologne newspaper Express says the German will be a mere commentator when his brother is competing in Bahrain next month.

34-year-old Schumacher's DTM employer Mercedes has scheduled the former 6-time GP winner for an event in Berlin in mid-March, when he will give expert race commentary for a gathering of the marque's guests and clients.

The report was confirmed by official Walter Muller.

"It is true, Ralf Schumacher will be our star guest," he said.

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