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DATE News (chronologically)
11/12/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday (UPDATED) UPDATE See updated noted in red below.

11/12/10
  • Vettel, not Webber, to do Pirelli tire test
  • Bianchi to take over from Fisichella as Ferrari reserve
  • FIA under fire for appointing Pirro as Abu Dhabi steward
  • Massa, Barrichello, approve of Red Bull position swapping
  • Title rivals poke fun at Alonso's waxed legs
  • Kovalainen not sure what 'Lotus' to be called in 2011
  • Klien admits 2010 races 'positive' for future
  • Heidfeld eyes Renault while Sutil set to stay at Force India
  • Test 'gap' shows fear of F1 tire espionage - report
  • F1 track wet in Abu Dhabi desert!
  • CAMS insists Aus GP dispute about 'safety' not fees New
  • Booth gives two years to deliver for Marussia New

Vettel, not Webber, to do Pirelli tire test
(GMM)  Mark Webber will not be testing Pirelli's 2011 tires in Abu Dhabi late next week.

But Red Bull boss Christian Horner denied the news is a sign the Australian's disparaging comments in Brazil, and ensuing rumors that Webber will be leaving the team, had motivated the decision.

Instead, the fact that only Sebastian Vettel will be testing the new tires for Red Bull next week was taken "six weeks ago", Horner insisted.

It emerged on Thursday that neither of McLaren's race drivers will be doing the Pirelli test.

But at Mercedes, Nico Rosberg will be equally sharing track time on the new tires with his teammate Michael Schumacher.

"It is an important test because there is a lot to learn in a short time," Rosberg is quoted in Abu Dhabi by Turun Sanomat.

"The new tires will have a different behavior that must be learned, like braking points and perhaps a different driving style," added the German.

Bianchi to take over from Fisichella as Ferrari reserve
(GMM)  Jules Bianchi is set to take over the role at Ferrari currently occupied by Giancarlo Fisichella.

The Italian team announced on Thursday that Frenchman Bianchi, a frontrunner in the GP2 series this year, will be a Ferrari "test driver" in 2011.

But Ferrari has not yet clarified if this means Bianchi will be taking over from Fisichella as the third/reserve driver.

Italian publication Autosprint believes he will.

The report said Fisichella will instead "be concentrating on racing touring cars" in 2011.

FIA under fire for appointing Pirro as Abu Dhabi steward
(GMM)  The appointment as steward of an Italian driver with close ties to Ferrari has raised some eyebrows within the F1 paddock in Abu Dhabi.

Emanuele Pirro, who contested grands prix in the early 90s for the Scuderia Italia team, is making his first appearance as an FIA official this weekend for the 2010 world championship showdown.

48-year-old Pirro now races vintage Ferrari cars, and on his website is a picture of a 1971 Ferrari 512M with the caption 'All Italian boys love Ferraris'.

The news has led to claims he should not be adjudicating at a grand prix where a Ferrari driver - Fernando Alonso - stands to win the title.

An FIA spokeswoman told the Daily Mail: "We selected the stewards some while ago."

Bild correspondent Tobias Holtkamp wrote: "Imagine it's the World Cup final, with Italy playing Germany.  And the referee is from Rome.

"It's unthinkable.  Only in formula one is it possible."

Race director Charlie Whiting responded: "I have no problem with it.

"A few years ago Max Mosley as FIA president ordered that only stewards not associated with a team or driver can be appointed.

"In practice, this was unfortunately not sustainable.  There simply are not enough to choose from."

Massa, Barrichello, approve of Red Bull position swapping
(GMM)  Felipe Massa thinks Red Bull's drivers are open about swapping positions during the Abu Dhabi grand prix on Sunday.

The Ferrari driver, who was controversially ordered aside for his teammate Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim, was commenting on the main topic of conversation at the 2010 finale -- whether Sebastian Vettel will move over for Mark Webber in order to prevent Fernando Alonso from winning the drivers' title.

"My personal opinion is that the Red Bull drivers will fight to the end, because they both have a chance to become champion," the Brazilian is quoted in Italian by Tuttosport.

"But if at the end Sebastian is first and Mark is second, I'm sure they will swap places.  If not, they would give the title to another team.

"But you should ask them, not me."

Even Rubens Barrichello, who like Massa was also the victim of Ferrari's blatant imposition of team orders, agrees.

"I have always been against team orders," he is quoted by Globo.

"But if someone has no more mathematical chances in the last moment but the other one (the teammate) does, then it is definitely better for the team.

"So I see nothing wrong if that happens in the last lap."

Officially at Red Bull, the position is that team orders will not be imposed, but team management is hoping Vettel will be "magnanimous" should he find himself able to deliver the drivers' title to Webber rather than Alonso.

"Logic tells me that Sebastian will do it (give up the win) if Alonso is right behind them," Niki Lauda told RTL television.

"For me it would be a great gesture from Vettel; gentlemanly and fair," said the triple world champion.

Even from Vettel's perspective, that scenario appears a no-brainer.

"It would not take a genius to know what to do," the 23-year-old is quoted by the Spanish media.

Helmut Marko, however, admitted that not seeing Vettel crowned world champion on Sunday would have a bitter taste.

"Without the technical problems this year, Sebastian would already be champion," Red Bull's motor sport consultant is quoted by Bild newspaper.

Title rivals poke fun at Alonso's waxed legs
(GMM)  In a bit of good humor or championship finale-needle, or both, Fernando Alonso's title rivals could not hide their grins in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis Hamilton admitted that he and Mark Webber noticed on Thursday that the Ferrari driver was sporting smooth and shiny legs in the Yas Marina paddock.

"I'm surprised how Fernando was able to take the pain of having his legs waxed," smiled Hamilton, who at McLaren in 2007 clashed memorably with his former teammate.

"Mark pointed it out and was asking how far it goes up," he added.

"I was like, 'Wow, they're shiny'," said Hamilton.

He admitted that Alonso, who is a keen cyclist, took the jibes in good humor.

"He has shown over the years how solid he is mentally.  He just doesn't care.  You ask him questions about (the team orders in) Germany and he isn't bothered," said Hamilton.

Indeed, Alonso confirmed that he is not bothered that some colleagues and commentators are suggesting that he needs to win the title by more than 7 points if the achievement is not to be tarnished by his controversial victory at Hockenheim.

"I think winning by 7, or one or 25 points is the least important thing in my mind right now," the Spaniard said on Thursday.

"Our only picture at the moment is winning the race or finishing second, that is the target and I think that is what we can achieve," added Alonso.

And the Ferrari driver also insisted he is not worrying about whether Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will be swapping places on the last lap to prevent him from winning the title.

"I don't think I will lose even one second of my energy thinking about what is going to happen on Sunday afternoon," he insisted.

Kovalainen not sure what 'Lotus' to be called in 2011
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has admitted he is not sure what his F1 team for the 2011 season will be called.

That's not because the Finn is set to leave his current Malaysian employer, but because 'Lotus Racing' is locked in a bitter naming dispute with Group Lotus.

The Turun Sanomat newspaper insists that Kovalainen's new contract for the 2011 season is secure.

But as for what 'Lotus' will be called next year, he answered: "I can't really say.

"I can't worry about it.  Let's see what will happen," added the 29-year-old.

No matter the name of the team, Kovalainen said he is feeling upbeat about 2011.

"The Renault engines and Red Bull gearboxes will certainly increase our reliability and give more ability for the designers to build better aerodynamics around them," he said.

Klien admits 2010 races 'positive' for future
(GMM)  Christian Klien admits he is hopeful of returning to the F1 grid next year with HRT.

Although the struggling Spanish team's driver-swapping has been much derided within the paddock this season, Austrian Klien says his appointment is a good sign for the future.

"At the end they've relied more on experienced drivers," the Jaguar and Red Bull veteran said in an interview with APA news agency.  "It shows that the team is performance-oriented.

"For me I think it's a positive sign that for next year things will go in the right direction," said Klien.

He said he is confident he will be back at the wheel next March.

"These two races at the end of the season are definitely a positive signal.  After this race we will have some further discussions," explained Klien.

Asked if he will be disappointed if he is not selected by HRT to race in 2011, he admitted: "Yes, you could say that.

"At Virgin there is a place available there and possibly two seats at HRT."

Klien admitted his chances will be boosted significantly if he can find some significant sponsorship.

"Today in the private teams, it is almost a must to bring money."

Heidfeld eyes Renault while Sutil set to stay at Force India
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil has revealed he is still likely to remain with the Force India team for 2011.

The German's plans had become once again clouded in recent days, when Renault team boss Eric Boullier mentioned both Sutil and Nick Heidfeld as potential replacements for Vitaly Petrov.

Speaking with reporters in Abu Dhabi, the 27-year-old said: "I can probably see my future here with this team (Force India).  It's all going in this direction."

On the other hand, countryman Heidfeld is set to lose his current Sauber seat after Sunday's race, so he welcomed Boullier's nomination of him as a candidate for 2011.

"Obviously there are many seats already gone already.  I'm still in talks with various teams -- also with Renault, as Boullier confirmed," said the 33-year-old.

Heidfeld acknowledged, however, that his lack of sponsorship dollars is a disadvantage.

"Renault is the best opportunity for me but I must say that talent is not the only thing they seek," said the German.

"They have Vitaly in the car, who has strong arguments.  Looking at his performance on the track this year, we know what those arguments are," Heidfeld is quoted by Auto Hebdo.

Test 'gap' shows fear of F1 tire espionage - report
(GMM)  The schedule for next week's post-season testing in Abu Dhabi shows a fear of technological espionage, according to a report.

Auto Hebdo claims it is no mistake that a full day has been left between next week's two days of young driver testing (Tuesday-Wednesday) and the first running on Pirelli tires on Friday and Saturday.

According to the French report, Thursday has been excluded from the on-track schedule so that F1's departing tire supplier Bridgestone can pack up and leave no trace of its technological secrets for the incoming Pirelli.

The initial young driver running will take place with Bridgestone tires, before the F1 teams get their first taste of next year's Pirelli products later next week.

Auto Hebdo concluded that any "collaboration between Bridgestone and Pirelli, mentioned a few months ago, is decidedly not on the agenda" now.

"It's been a great time with Bridgestone," said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone in Abu Dhabi.

"After so many years with them here, they will be missed, but I thing that Pirelli are able to take over completely."

F1 track wet in Abu Dhabi desert!
(GMM)  Shortly before the initial Friday practice session in warm and humid Abu Dhabi, it rained quite heavily.

To the surprise of many in the paddock, within sight of the huge and sandy Abu Dhabi desert, spray was streaming from the rear of the cars during the Porsche support race at Yas Marina.

"Is it my sleepy eyes or is it raining?" quipped Karun Chandhok on Twitter.

The shower, which began with light rain, eventually passed but the track is likely to still be damp for the beginning of the 90-minute practice session at 1pm local.

Local reports say more scattered showers are possible over the next 48 hours, and the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology confirmed the cloudy forecast for Saturday and Sunday.

CAMS insists Aus GP dispute about 'safety' not fees
(GMM)  A dispute that threatens the 2011 running of the Australian grand prix appeared to escalate on Friday.

24 hours ago, event promoter Ron Walker said he had travelled to Abu Dhabi for talks with Bernie Ecclestone because the national sanctioning body CAMS was threatening to pull next March's race.

Walker said CAMS is a monopoly whose annual fees - $500,000 - are too high, and said an external organizer, like the organizers of the British grand prix, could be bought in to oversee the 2011 race at Albert Park.

But CAMS hit back on Friday by saying "only" it "has the experience, people and processes to safely organize" the race in Australia.

"This is an issue about safety and not fees and we do not believe the Australian formula one grand prix can be run safely without the high degree of professional and safety expertise that CAMS can deliver," read a statement.

A deadline for the dispute is next Friday, when the World Motor Sport Council could be asked to remove Melbourne from the 2011 calendar.

Booth gives two years to deliver for Marussia
(GMM)  Team boss John Booth has been given two more years to deliver success to Virgin Racing.

The ultimatum for Booth, whose F3 organization Manor was the basis of Virgin's 2010 debut, comes after Russian supercar maker Marussia bought into the team.

"It's not a plot to get rid of me," he told the Yorkshire Post.  "The team principal is like a football manager -- he has to get results.

"There's no managerial changes for two years at least, so we get a good crack at it," he said from Abu Dhabi.

Booth said he actually warmly welcomes the news of the Russian investment and sponsorship, with the team to be called Marussia Virgin Racing in 2011 and beyond.

"We need financial support like this to help us go forward.  Without funding we cannot compete," he said.

"This is excellent news for the team and has given everyone a lift."

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