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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Fernando Alonso
    Klien travels to Abu Dhabi but not sure of race seat
  • 'Red Bull gives Alonso wings' - press
  • Richer team might 'grab' Hulkenberg - Stewart
  • Raikkonen has no regrets as rally foray enters second year
  • Gascoyne questions Group Lotus' F1 strategy
  • No plans to leave F1 'for a while' - Newey
  • Abu Dhabi to stay dry for F1 finale
  • Barrichello confident but 'contract not signed' yet

Klien travels to Abu Dhabi but not sure of race seat
(GMM)  Christian Klien has travelled to Abu Dhabi this week hoping to get another race outing with the Spanish team.

Without an official reason being given, the team's Austrian reserve driver replaced Japanese regular Sakon Yamamoto in Brazil and significantly outqualified team regular Bruno Senna.

His race was then ruined after his car stopped on the way to the grid, but team boss Colin Kolles praised his ability to "easily keep up with the other new teams' pace".

But Klien is not sure he will be back in the driving seat for the 2010 finale this weekend.

"I hope so, but I haven't even asked," he is quoted by Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

Klien is already thinking further ahead, and welcomes the news that HRT, to use a Williams gearbox in 2011, has a new financial investor.  It is also believed that the basis of the team's next car will be the 2010 Toyota.

"In any case, the team will be an attractive employer for 2011," said Klien.

'Red Bull gives Alonso wings' - press
(GMM)  Sections of the international media have questioned Red Bull's strategic approach to the 2010 drivers' world championship.

After Sebastian Vettel won the Brazilian grand prix from the team's points leader Mark Webber at Interlagos, Der Spiegel noted: "Red Bull gives (Fernando) Alonso wings".

Not switching the places means that Spaniard Alonso can take his Ferrari to just second place this weekend in Abu Dhabi and be champion, whereas the alternative strategy would have set up Webber for a straight fight.

"It is not easy for Webber to drive in a team that considers him a burden to be up against Vettel," said La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Tuttosport noted that it seems "the Austrian team would be happier to lose than to see Webber beat Vettel".

"No team orders at Red Bull.  Another own goal," headlined La Repubblica.

Joan Villadelprat wrote in his El Pais column: "Had Red Bull opted for Webber a few races ago, the Australian would probably now be champion."

Red Bull, however, is unrepentant.  Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper that "second under proper conditions can often be more valuable than a first".

But there is a feeling that the team is not simply giving up the fight for the drivers' title.

One columnist in Brazil's Globo wondered if Vettel's radio message in Abu Dhabi might sound something like 'So ... Mark is faster than you'.

"I'm always in favor of leaving the fight on the track with equal chances for both sides," said Rubens Barrichello.  "But I wonder if they would do that if the situation was in reverse."

The Brazilian obviously suspects that, if Vettel was the points leader, Webber would unquestionably be playing a subordinate role by now.

"Mark has done a great job this year and he has been told by his team what position he is in," said Lewis Hamilton.  "Against adversity he has kept at it.  I want to see Mark win."

Webber believes that, if a strategy is deployed, it will only be on the "last lap" of the season this weekend.

"Sebastian is part of a team," said Niki Lauda, who believes Webber should be backed fully by Red Bull.  "If he does anything it should be helping Webber and not just on the last lap."

Webber is quoted by Bild newspaper: "It makes sense.  Otherwise it would mean that Ferrari's team orders would have paid off for Fernando."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hints that sense will ultimately prevail.

"We have already given too many presents to Fernando this year," he is quoted by Autosprint.

Nico Hulkenberg
Richer team might 'grab' Hulkenberg - Stewart
(GMM)  Sir Jackie Stewart thinks the only uncertainty surrounding Nico Hulkenberg's future is that Williams could lose him to a richer team.

Despite the 23-year-old achieving his maiden pole position in Brazil, the British team is reportedly considering replacing the German rookie for 2011 with Venezuelan pay-driver Pastor Maldonado.

But triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, who was in the Williams garage when Hulkenberg captured pole at Interlagos in his role with sponsor RBS, doesn't think so.

Rather, the Scot thinks Hulkenberg will now be in the sights of the bigger teams.

"I would be very surprised if he is not taken.  The biggest chance he has now is of being grabbed by a more affluent team, not the risk of not having a drive," Stewart is quoted by gpweek.com.

"He is never going to be without a job."

Indeed, there are signs now that Williams intends to keep Hulkenberg.  In an official press release, technical boss Sam Michael described his performance in Brazil as "exceptional".

And in a news report posted on the Williams website on Monday, team founder and principal Sir Frank Williams used the same word to describe Hulkenberg's latest performances.

Meanwhile, Maldonado has been scheduled for three days of post-season testing with HRT, the back-of-the-grid team that recently became a buyer of Williams' gearbox for 2011.

Raikkonen has no regrets as rally foray enters second year
(GMM)  As he prepares to commit for another year to world rallying, Kimi Raikkonen insists he does not regret his decision to leave formula one.

A year after leaving Ferrari to join Citroen in the world rally championship, the 2007 world champion was linked with a return to F1 with Renault.

With that move ruled out, however, reports suggest Raikkonen is recommitting to rallying for 2011, despite some critics suggesting he has crashed too much and not been fast enough.

"Rally is like a national sport in Finland," he is quoted by L'Equipe.

"I grew up following all the great drivers.  I have always wanted to try this sport; it was not a rash decision.

"At the end of last year," Raikkonen explained, "I had an opportunity and seized it, and I have really enjoyed it.

"Few people have the chance to do rallying at this level and I want to put into practice everything I learned this year," he added.

Gascoyne questions Group Lotus' F1 strategy
(GMM)  Mike Gascoyne has questioned Group Lotus' apparent intention to enter formula one next year in collaboration with the Renault team.

Gascoyne is the technical boss at the team currently known as Lotus Racing, but the official naming license has been revoked by Group Lotus for 2011 and beyond.

This year's Lotus Racing cars have also run with branding of the Group Lotus owner Proton, but Gascoyne's boss Tony Fernandes is reportedly dismayed the sports car maker did not embrace the opportunity to tie up with his team.

And Gascoyne is now confused about the reports linking Group Lotus with a three-year EUR 60 million title sponsorship of Renault F1.

"If they want to advertise their road cars, why spend so much money on it?" the Briton is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

"With us, they could do it free of charge."

The German report said Group Lotus is currently running at a loss, meaning it is essentially subsidized by Malaysian tax-payers due to its Proton ownership.

"The cynic might say they are going to blow away taxpayer money in formula one," said Auto Motor und Sport.

No plans to leave F1 'for a while' - Newey
(GMM)  Adrian Newey has revealed he has no immediate plans to step down as the designer of Red Bull's F1 cars.

Already with titles in the bag from his Williams and McLaren days, the highly respected British engineer last Sunday celebrated another win as his RB6 secured the 2010 constructors' crown.

And he told reporters at Interlagos that he's going nowhere for now.

"I'll be at Red Bull for a while to come," said Red Bull Racing's highest paid employee.

"Red Bull are a great company and they're interested in many different areas.

"Maybe in the future we can do something different, but in the near future it's formula one still," added the 51-year-old aerodynamicist.

Abu Dhabi to stay dry for F1 finale
(GMM)  After rain affected the last three grand prix weekends, it is almost certain that the F1 world can expect a dry finale in Abu Dhabi.

Indeed, it almost never rains in the United Arab Emirate capital, where outside the cosmopolitan city lies endless miles of sandy desert.

Media reports say it hasn't rained in Abu Dhabi for more than 120 days running, but - interestingly - a light shower is forecast for when the F1 fraternity congregates at Yas Marina on Thursday.

Beyond that, a dry and sunny weekend in the 20s is expected.

The F1 cars arrive in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, after a mad rush on Sunday to pack up the equipment in Brazil amid perhaps the tightest turnaround between races in the sport's history.

At Interlagos on Sunday, Red Bull team members celebrated their constructors' title win with loud music while they packed up just minutes after the checkered flag.

"We divided the team into three shifts to get everything done on time," confirmed McLaren's chief operating officer Simon Roberts.

Barrichello confident but 'contract not signed' yet
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello is sitting tight in the hope that Williams will call him back for another season in 2011.

The Brazilian veteran has had a solid first season with the British team, but confirmation of the 2011 driver lineup is on hold while Williams tests Venezuelan pay-driver Pastor Maldonado next week in Abu Dhabi.

"My future depends on Williams," 38-year-old Barrichello is quoted by Globo Esporte in Portuguese.

"I want to stay and we are working on the car for next year, and after Abu Dhabi we will test with the new (Pirelli) tires."

He said he will be disappointed if his tenure at Williams ends after just one season.

"My project with Williams was not for one year only," Barrichello said on SporTV.

"I've been talking about my contract for a long time.  I cannot announce anything, because it is not signed.

"But I am working on the car for next year already.  I don't see myself leaving," he added.

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