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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Toro Rosso tests STR5 at Imola
  • New team 'chaos' as F1 awaits final entry list
  • Teams plead pessimism before 2010 Bahrain thriller
  • Hamilton resists calls for Sunday warm-up session
  • Sabine Kehm to be Schumacher's new manager
  • Marc Gene signs with Spanish F1 broadcaster

Toro Rosso tests STR5 at Imola
(GMM)  Toro Rosso on Tuesday gave its 2010 car one final track outing before next weekend's season opener in Bahrain.

The Ferrari-powered STR5 circulated in pleasant weather at Imola, formerly the long-time host of the San Marino grand prix.

Imola, whose full title is the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, is located just a short drive from Toro Rosso's Faenza factory in northern Italy.

In front of a few hundred spectators, both Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari took turns at the wheel of the car.

"Although the track has changed it has not lost its qualities," said Spaniard Alguersuari.  "I would like to have taken the car to its limit."

New team 'chaos' as F1 awaits final entry list
(GMM)  Christian Horner has added his voice to the behind-the-scenes drama as the F1 world awaits the composition of the final entry list for 2010.

With less than 10 days until Friday practice begins in Bahrain, it is not clear whether there will be twelve or thirteen teams on the grid.

The USF1 team will definitely not be racing this year, but team principal Ken Anderson - with Peter Windsor believed to have already departed - has asked the FIA for the Charlotte based squad's entry to be frozen until 2011.

The FIA, however, might rule that the team is insolvent due to the fact that staff are no longer being paid or working at the factory, in which case the entry can be immediately revoked.

The phone appears to have been disconnected at USF1's North Carolina headquarters.

But even if the final team spot becomes vacant now, it is not certain that the hopeful Stefan GP will be ushered onto the grid.

And even if the FIA does open the door, the eleventh-hour green-lighting of the Serbian outfit would require the (unlikely) unanimous consent of the other 2010 teams.

It emerged earlier this week that talks to merge the Stefan and USF1 outfits had broken down, meaning that the FIA is arguably now more likely to simply re-open the team selection process for next season's championship.

Whatever the outcome, the new Campos/Hispania team looks set to make its track debut in Bahrain next week, with time running out for a shakedown of the Dallara car prior to the transportation deadline.

"One or two teams will debut in a week without ever turning a steering wheel beforehand.  I don't know how that is going to go," Red Bull team boss Horner told Servus TV.

Mark Webber is quoted as saying by the Australian agency AAP: "It's embarrassing.

"It's incredible that people who haven't yet turned a wheel take part in grands prix.  It's the sort of stuff from Mickey Mouse or Tom and Jerry."

The uncertainty is also a problem for the Sauber outfit, who are yet to be named on an official 2010 entry list.

"We would very much like to know which race numbers Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi will drive with," Peter Sauber told Blick.

The same Swiss newspaper quoted Niki Lauda as describing the pre-season situation as "chaos".

Teams plead pessimism before 2010 Bahrain thriller
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has backed Jenson Button's hunch that Mercedes GP might be feigning pessimism on the eve of the 2010 world championship.

After Michael Schumacher said recently that he does not expect his W01 car to be ready to win in Bahrain, McLaren's Button admitted that "I do not completely believe him".

Team boss Ross Brawn told F1's official website on Tuesday that "we are not quite as well prepared as I would like to be", and Norbert Haug played down suggestions the top four teams are all equal favorites for the title.

"I don't think it's a tie," the German told the Austrian broadcaster Servus TV.  "Red Bull are in front of us."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner agrees: "We are in the best shape we've ever been in."

Mercedes' caution could be the result of pressure from the parent company, with Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche repeating at the Geneva Motor Show this week that the Brackley based team should deliver "all or nothing" in 2010.

Triple world champion Lauda told ORF: "The claim that Mercedes is struggling and will not be able to drive for victory is an understatement in my opinion."

But the German squad is not the only 2010 favorite calling for calm.

Ferrari's is regarded as arguably the car to beat this season, but the Italian marque's president Luca di Montezemolo on Tuesday said there is "too much enthusiasm" about the F10.

"We are not the best, we are among the best," he told Sky Sport 24 at the Geneva Motor Show.

"Last year we finished well behind the others and we are still recovering," insisted Montezemolo.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton said in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa that the art of caution is widespread in F1 at present.

"I could complain as well and say little lies as they do," said the Briton.  "The truth is that there are five or six competitive teams with similar performance, which is a situation that I have never before seen in F1."

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is quoted by the Spanish agency EFE as saying he is targeting victory in Bahrain.

"I'm sure all the teams have saved a little bit in reserve.  Everyone's trying to play it down, but within a few days we will find out.  It's going to be very close," said the 28-year-old.

Hamilton resists calls for Sunday warm-up session
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton does not believe F1 needs to reinstate a Sunday morning warm-up session.

With the top ten cars no longer having to qualify with race levels of fuel in 2010, the concept of a pre-race session - scrapped several years ago - is once again possible.

Some believe the 30 minute Sunday warm-up should be reinstated in order to give drivers a chance to adjust to the hefty levels of fuel that must be carried in races this season.

But when asked about the proposal during an interview with Italy's La Stampa, McLaren driver Hamilton answered: "Hey, we're all good enough drivers.

"Another session would always be more comfortable, but it's not needed -- just the formation laps are enough to get used to the longer braking (distances).

"Fingers crossed, it should be fun," the Briton enthused.

Sabine Kehm to be Schumacher's new manager
(GMM)  Sabine Kehm has stepped into a leading managerial role for Michael Schumacher's second career on the formula one grid.

Although handled throughout his ultra-successful career by Willi Weber, Schumacher essentially negotiated his own return to F1 this year with Mercedes GP.

And according to German language reports and Sponsor News, Schumacher's long-time media manager and spokeswoman Kehm is now going to head the seven time world champion's management from a Geneva office.

The reports said 67-year-old Weber, whose new charge Nico Hulkenberg is making his F1 debut this season, remains integral to Schumacher's management but will instead focus on the merchandising side.

Marc Gene signs with Spanish F1 broadcaster
(GMM)  Ferrari test driver Marc Gene has signed to commentate for Spanish television in 2010.

With Pedro de la Rosa returning to the grid with Sauber this year, La Sexta has replaced the Spaniard with his 35-year-old countryman Gene.

The EFE news agency said Gene, who until 2004 contested 36 grands prix with Minardi and latterly as Williams reserve, will be working as an expert pundit with the broadcaster at all 19 grands prix this season.

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