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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Red Bull rivals increase off-track title pressure
  • Footage shows Vettel almost jumping Suzuka start
  • Rossi admits switch to F1 'superpower' now unlikely
  • Whiting confirms Korean track approved for race

Red Bull rivals increase off-track title pressure
(GMM)  With just under two weeks until the action resumes in Korea, F1's title contenders have reverted to the media to step up their sparring.

Lewis Hamilton said recently that "mind games" towards the end of a championship battle is entirely "normal" in formula one.

But it is his own McLaren teammate Jenson Button who fired the first salvo, with help from most major British newspapers who faithfully reproduced his comments.

Most columnists see the Briton's prediction of a win for Sebastian Vettel over his Red Bull teammate and championship leader Mark Webber as an obvious piling of pressure on the pair.

"Vettel has to beat Mark twice more to be on the same points," he said.  "And going into the last race with equal points, I'd say Vettel has the legs (on Webber) in qualifying," said Button.

In the Spanish tongue, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso - who like Vettel is 14 points behind Webber - is also deviating from his usual style of defensive media management to fire a few quotes in Red Bull's direction.

"They are the favorite for all the remaining circuits and all the ones beforehand," he is quoted by El Pais newspaper.

"But in 16 races they have only managed three doubles (one-twos), so I doubt they can do three more," added the Spaniard.

Alonso, a two-time world champion already, is therefore stacking the odds in his favor.

"The most important thing is that the points situation has been coming my way.  Now it has to continue.

"There are still three races to go and I know I can do it," he said.

Italy's La Stampa quotes him as adding: "Three more podiums should be enough."

The Ferrari-loving Italian press at large is also in on the action, sensing a tension at Red Bull and noticing that Webber was only present for Vettel's team victory photo in the form of a cardboard cut-out.

Corriere dello Sport said their apparent reluctance to fight one another at the head of the Suzuka field revealed a 'gentleman's agreement' had been reached.

Spain's EFE news agency quotes boss Stefano Domenicali as talking up Ferrari's title chances.

"If we do a better job than them in qualifying, we can beat them on race pace.  We knew Suzuka was a difficult circuit for us so it was good to see the result," he insisted.

"Now the world championship is very, very open.  We have three races left in which anything is possible," added the Italian.

Footage shows Vettel almost jumping Suzuka start
(GMM)  A spectator's video depicts pole sitter and Suzuka winner Sebastian Vettel almost jumping the start of Sunday's Japanese grand prix.

The footage, shot from the main grandstand opposite the pit buildings, shows the German's Red Bull making a slight forwards movement just before the five red lights went out.

The footage, with the incident located at 4:28 at the internet URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pifm8fE40Yo, also depicts Vettel's engine note dipping slightly as his RB6 lurched forwards.

It is likely he was not penalized for the brief clutch release because Vettel's car was apparently once again stationary by the time the lights did go out.

The 23-year-old admitted his "good start" from pole at Suzuka "was the key" to victory over his teammate and championship leader Mark Webber on Sunday.

Rossi admits switch to F1 'superpower' now unlikely
(GMM)  Valentino Rossi has admitted it is unlikely he will switch to formula one in the future.

Now 31, the multiple champion of MotoGP has in the past flirted with a move to F1 after several test drives.

After badly breaking his leg earlier this season, Rossi has been beaten to the 2010 title and it had been said his move from Yamaha to the Italian marque Ducati could be a precursor to a future move to Ferrari.

But while in Malaysia last weekend for the latest MotoGP race, he told Italian media: "Now, I really don't think it (moving to F1) will happen."

Rossi was also scathing whilst criticizing the motorcycle racing series' governing body for deciding to delay the Sepang race to avoid a television clash with F1 in Japan.

He said the move compromised riders' safety because the threat of rain in Malaysia is greater later in the day.

"We always bend over backwards to the formula one superpower," said the Italian.

Whiting confirms Korean track approved for race
(GMM)  Charlie Whiting has confirmed reports he has given the thumbs-up to Korea's new formula one circuit.

Wire agencies reported the news earlier on Tuesday, after the FIA official's two-day inspection of the Yeongam site.

Doubts had remained, however, after overnight rain fell on the curing top layer of asphalt, amid emerging reports of an incomplete bridge over the circuit and an unpaved main access road.

But Briton Whiting said on Tuesday: "It is satisfactory, and I will issue the license through KARA (Korea Automobile Racing Association)."

KARA chairman Chung Yung-cho welcomed the news.

"We are delighted that all works are now finished to the complete satisfaction of the FIA, and we join the whole of Korea in welcoming the formula one fraternity to the Korea International Circuit for the first time," he said.

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