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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • HRT 'surprised' as Toyota calls off F1 deal
  • Red Bull's 'Olympic' spirit was right choice for title
  • Petrov considered letting Alonso overtake
  • Webber to 'come back stronger' with Red Bull - Coulthard

HRT 'surprised' as Toyota calls off F1 deal
(GMM)  Toyota has called off a technical collaboration with the struggling Spanish F1 team HRT.

We reported at the weekend that an announcement about HRT and Cologne based Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) would be made on Monday.

The news that was expected was a technical and support tie-up for the 2011 season, including use of the car that was designed and built by Toyota late in 2009 but never raced.

But in fact, Toyota confirmed that the collaboration "has been terminated and will not resume".

"TMG regrets that HRT has not met its contractual payment obligations and will pursue all available options to reach a satisfactory conclusion to this matter," read a statement.

HRT, having recently concluded a deal with Williams to use the British team's gearbox next year, responded: "Hispania Racing is very surprised about Toyota's press statement ... and this matter will be a subject of further clarification."

The team's technical boss Geoff Willis told the BBC: "There will be no comment until (there are) explanations from (boss) Dr (Colin) Kolles and the (team owners) Carabantes."

Red Bull's 'Olympic' spirit was right choice for title
(GMM)  Red Bull's policy of driver equality ultimately helped Sebastian Vettel to win the 2010 drivers' world championship.

In the days and weeks leading into the Abu Dhabi finale, numerous commentators chided the team's reluctance to make points leader Mark Webber the de facto number 1, including by switching the finishing order in Brazil.

It would have meant Red Bull went into battle last weekend "with only one driver with a chance instead of two -- and probably the wrong driver," said Dr Helmut Marko.

And "It is always better to have two strings to one's bow instead of one", added the energy drink company's motor sport consultant.

It has been suggested that the equality policy confused Ferrari when Red Bull split its two drivers' race strategies after the early safety car in Abu Dhabi.

"Our policy of allowing the drivers to compete got us into the position where they (Ferrari) had to worry about two of our drivers and not just one," said Adrian Newey, the designer of the RB6.

"It depended on whether they wanted to cover Mark for the championship or Sebastian for the championship," he added.  "In the end they chose to cover the wrong one."

Niki Lauda, who was one of the strongest voices in favor of the use of team orders before Abu Dhabi, conceded on Monday that Red Bull actually made the right call -- and an honorable one.

"'Didi' (Dietrich Mateschitz) said he would do it like the Olympic Games, but F1 is not the Olympics.

"It's incredible how this team won in the end in the most correct way," the triple world champion is quoted by Kleine Zeitung newspaper in Austria.

"For me, it's unique in the 60 year history of the sport," added Lauda.

"If there were only two, three politicians who acted like Mr. Mateschitz, we would be in a better place," he said.

Petrov considered letting Alonso overtake
(GMM)  Vitaly Petrov has revealed he considered voluntarily relinquished track position to Fernando Alonso last Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

Ferrari's bungled race strategy left a furious Alonso trapped behind the Russian's Renault during the championship finale.

Petrov admitted after the race that he would have avoided crashing into the Spaniard "if he had tried a move".

And speaking to the Russian sports daily Super Express, he added: "It went through my mind to let Alonso pass me.

"But I remembered 2008 when Vettel almost took the championship from Hamilton by not letting him go."

Alonso gesticulated angrily at Petrov on the slowing-down lap in Abu Dhabi and told reporters he thought the rookie had been too aggressive.

But Petrov insists: "I was not aggressive.  It was a normal race.

"I would also be angry if I was in his situation, but with myself or my team for doing the wrong strategy."

Alonso was later quoted by Blick newspaper: "Everything (with Petrov) was clean and fair.

"Technically we had only the third best car in 2010.  But if you're the leader before the final race, it is hard to lose the title in the last minute."

Webber to 'come back stronger' with Red Bull - Coulthard
(GMM)  David Coulthard says he is convinced Mark Webber will be staying at Red Bull in 2011.

After his failed push for number 1 status this year, and now the loss of the drivers' championship to Sebastian Vettel, speculation was once again rife that the Australian might not honor his new one-year contract.

But Coulthard, Webber's former teammate at the energy drink-owned team and now a consultant, insists "there is no doubt in my mind" the 34-year-old will wear the number 2 on next year's RB7.

"There are 119 days before the next season kicks off and he will go away and reflect on what worked and what didn't.  He will come back stronger," the Scot wrote in his latest column for the Telegraph.

There are also signs that Webber has been patching up his strained relationship with his young teammate.

They rode on the same plane from Abu Dhabi for the Red Bull title celebrations in Salzburg, and Coulthard was there to witness it.

And the Scot added: "I know they spent a whole hour after the race in the drivers' room talking it all over".

Coulthard said that on the plane "Sebastian and Mark sat next to each other and dozed and talked."

But before Webber bounces back next year, his father expects him to enjoy a rare holiday and even a few indulgences, after working hard in 2010 to keep his 6 foot frame below 75 kilograms.

"He'll recover and he might actually have a bit of a holiday," his father Alan told the Canberra Times.

"He'll maybe put a little bit of weight on and have to work hard in February to get it off again.

"He's not getting any younger but if he relaxes and has a great off-season he'll come back very strong," added Alan Webber.

There is, however, some speculation that it was Webber's call not to be involved with the first testing of the Pirelli tires late this week.

And he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "This was perhaps not my last chance to be world champion, but surely it was my best."

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