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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Mexican Sergio Perez has Telmex backing
    Telmex denies buying partial control of Sauber
  • No Williams vacancy for 2011 says reserve Bottas
  • Force India admits 'seat available' for 2011
  • Whitmarsh thinks FIA tests have slowed Red Bull
  • Korea to complete track day before FIA inspection
  • Former boss Bob Bell leaves Renault
  • Massa denies supporting role to be permanent

Telmex denies buying partial control of Sauber
(GMM)  Sauber's new major sponsor insists it has not bought partial control of the Swiss formula one team.

Telmex, headed by the world's richest man Carlos Slim, will have significant signage on next year's C30 car, as well as the Mexican rookie Sergio Perez at the wheel.

But team boss Peter Sauber this week denied he is considering selling the team to Telmex, and Slim's son Carlos Slim Domit - the chairman of the Mexico City-based company - also insists the deal is for sponsorship only.

Speculation about Telmex's new influence was triggered by suggestions Sauber would have preferred to pair Kamui Kobayashi with Nick Heidfeld next year.

"We are only an ally," Slim is quoted by Mexican media.  "The structure and decisions of the team is their business."

"This is a commercial alliance," he added.

Slim Domit also denied suggestions the signing of Perez was a condition of Telmex's Sauber sponsorship.

He said the Hinwil based team had signed the contract with Perez before Telmex decided to sponsor Sauber.

Sauber's 2011 test and reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez, the first GP3 champion, is also Mexican and sponsored by Telmex.

No Williams vacancy for 2011 says reserve Bottas
(GMM)  Williams reserve driver Valtteri Bottas has put his hopes of stepping into the team's race cockpit on hold until 2012.

The 21-year-old Finn, third in the F3 Euroseries standings, admitted recently that British team Williams was "not likely to change" its current driver lineup for 2011.

"The next step would be GP2," Bottas, who is managed by Mika Hakkinen, said in July.

He has now told Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper that Rubens Barrichello does indeed look set to have his Williams deal extended.

"He is still fast," Bottas is quoted as saying.

"He has been really useful to the team and it's true to say a big part of the development of the car is due to him," he added.

Meanwhile, Williams' Austrian minority co-owner Toto Wolff has told the Kleine Zeitung newspaper that Barrichello's rookie teammate Nico Hulkenberg is also likely to keep his seat.

"Of all the young drivers he is probably the best at the moment," he said.  "He is actually remarkable; only the experience is missing.

"I feel quite comfortable with this driver combination.  My word has at least as much weight as the others on the board, and this applies to the drivers as well," added Wolff.

Force India admits 'seat available' for 2011
(GMM)  Vitantonio Liuzzi has played down rumors Force India is planning to replace him at the end of the season.

Speculation swirled in the Singapore paddock two weeks ago that the Silverstone based team's rookie 'Friday' driver Paul di Resta has secured a deal to move into a race cockpit in 2011.

On paper, Italian Liuzzi, 29, looks the most likely to make way for the Scot, having scored 34 fewer points so far in 2010 than his teammate Adrian Sutil.

But he wrote in his column for ESPNF1.com that if di Resta has in fact signed a deal to race in 2011, "that would mean that Adrian is out because I have a contract".

"In a few weeks more information will come out, but I'm not worried by the speculation in the press in the meantime," Liuzzi insisted.

German Sutil, 27, is highly regarded by Force India but has been linked with moves to Renault or Mercedes for 2011.

"We haven't made any decisions yet on where we go," the team's operating officer Otmar Szafnauer, revealing that a decision is due in about a month, told the website of British magazine Autosport.

"I think we have got the luxury of being able to assess the situation and make a decision.  But there is a seat available," he admitted.

Whitmarsh thinks FIA tests have slowed Red Bull
(GMM)  Martin Whitmarsh insists it would be a strange coincidence if Red Bull's weakened dominance is not connected with the flexible bodywork saga.

Just two months ago in Hungary, the RB6 was utterly dominant, but at the subsequent Belgian, Italian and Singaporean rounds, it was Red Bull's rivals that took the checkered flag first.

Lewis Hamilton said last week that Adrian Newey's car was slowed by the FIA's more stringent front wing and floor flexibility tests -- a claim denied by Red Bull.

"It (the end of Red Bull's dominance) may be a coincidence, but that would be quite strange," McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh told Germany's Auto Bild Motorsport.

He said that while the wings on the Red Bull and also the Ferrari cars were visibly bending, those two teams "had some very strong races while we were at a loss".

Whitmarsh confirmed he was involved in the push to clamp down on the visible flexibility of Red Bull's car.

"I asked (the FIA) whether we could design wing endplates that touch the ground, and the clear answer was no.

"So if we can't do it, then the others can't as well, because endplates that are 20 to 30 millimeters lower to the track equates to about one second per lap," insisted the Briton.

He thinks that, without the latest flexible bodywork saga, McLaren's championship situation might be very different with just four races now to run.

"Maybe we weren't clever or bold enough," said Whitmarsh.  "But if a system is not legal, then nobody should be allowed to use it."

Korea to complete track day before FIA inspection
(GMM)  Korea's new formula one circuit is almost complete, an official of the Yeongam venue has revealed.

Speculation has dogged the inaugural event due to construction delays and an unusually late FIA inspection scheduled for the day after Sunday's Japanese grand prix -- just 11 days prior to opening practice in Korea.

But race organizer KAVO's communication boss Kim Jae-ho has revealed to the Korea Times newspaper that construction "is now 98 to 99 per cent complete".

The last crucial element is the top layer of surface asphalt, with other less important things likely to go unfinished.

"The inspection team may put first priority on safety and appropriateness of the race track ahead of other factors such as cleanliness and makeshift stands," Kim admitted.

Work on the final surface layer began on Tuesday and will take six days -- exactly the time available until Charlie Whiting arrives at the venue direct from Suzuka.

"Before the inspection the only thing left to do is working on the surface of the track," Kim confirmed.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said two weeks ago that allowing Korea to miss its original inspection date is "quite dangerous", but the newspaper report said some other circuits have been in the same situation.

"We also tried to keep the date," Kim explained.

"For us, the toughest factor was weather.  It rained too much.  It was totally different from past seasons.

"Frankly speaking, we (Korea) have little experience in building race tracks.  However, despite the postponed construction, the track and venue will provide the perfect circumstances for the race," he promised.

Former boss Bob Bell leaves Renault
(GMM)  Former team principal Bob Bell has left Renault, the formula one team announced on Wednesday.

Bell's role as managing director, assumed after Flavio Briatore was ousted and banned last year in the crashgate scandal, will be taken over by current team boss Eric Boullier.

"We would like to thank Bob Bell for his contribution to the performance of the team and for helping see us through a period of transition since Genii Capital became a shareholder in the team," said majority team owner and chairman Gerard Lopez.

Ulsterman Bell, 52, joined McLaren as an aerodynamicist in the 80s before switching to Enstone based Benetton in 1997.

He moved to Jordan in 1999 and returned to Benetton – now Renault – in 2001 as deputy technical director, becoming technical director to replace Mike Gascoyne in 2003.

Massa denies supporting role to be permanent
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has hit back at suggestions his new supporting role at Ferrari will be permanent.

Although kicking off 2010 on equal footing with Fernando Alonso, the Brazilian was moved out of the race lead at Hockenheim and is now openly aiding his Spanish teammate's title charge.

But he told Germany's Sport Bild magazine that "for sure I am not Ferrari's second Rubens Barrichello".

"If that happens, I will stop driving," said Massa, 29.

"I'm not going to go racing to be eligible for second place," he insisted.

He said his problem in 2010 has been the tires.

"Fernando is very good, definitely," Massa admitted.  "But he is not better than my other teammates," said the Brazilian, who since 2006 has shared Ferrari with Michael Schumacher and then Kimi Raikkonen.

"It's just myself not being as good as usual," added the 2008 runner-up, who mid last year almost died after an horror crash in Hungary.

"I have had big problems with the tires," he explained.  "For my driving style, even the soft tires are too hard.  And I'm sure many other drivers have had the same problem.

"I don't think Michael has forgotten how to drive," said Massa.

He refused to comment at length about Hockenheim, where he was leading until Ferrari controversially intimated he should give way to Alonso.

"For sure I was extremely disappointed," said Massa.

And for the remaining races of 2010, his role is obvious.

"If I am in front of the other drivers, but behind Fernando so that I can take away points from his rivals, that is of course positive for Fernando," said Massa.

"That's what I'll try to do," he revealed.

He denied he has agreed to play second fiddle because of the rumors about Ferrari ousting him at the end of the season.

"No.  I have enough experience with these rumors to be relaxed," said Massa.

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