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Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Van der Garde wins $1.9m in Force India ruling
  • Hakkinen did not write 'tragic hero' Schumacher column
  • Vettel testing new Pirelli tires on Friday
  • Ricciardo still unsure of 2011 role
  • McLaren has 'creative ideas' for 2011 car - boss
  • New F1 tracks must allow overtaking - Todt
  • Team orders to be 'regulated' not banned - Todt
  • Vettel signs first sponsor after 2010 title
  • Maldonado quiet on 2011 Williams deal reports
  • Lotus name dispute escalates with IndyCar deal
  • Alonso gestures showed 'bad education' - Petrov

Van der Garde wins $1.9m in Force India ruling
(GMM)  Giedo van der Garde has won a long legal battle with Force India.

The Dutch driver had pressed for a $2 million refund because, when the team was known as Spyker in 2007, he did only 2270 of the 6000 kilometers of testing that he was contractually promised.

Media reports reveal that a court has agreed that Force India must pay van der Garde $1.865 million.

Fascinatingly, van der Garde's manager Jeroen Schothorst said the ruling could help in his talks with Force India about a race seat in 2011.

"A few years ago this topic was a disadvantage, now it could be beneficial to us," he said.

Hakkinen did not write 'tragic hero' Schumacher column
(GMM)  The author of a newspaper column erroneously attributed to Mika Hakkinen has been dismissed.

This week, the Finn was quoted by Munich newspaper TZ as describing Michael Schumacher as a "tragic ex-hero" who made "a ridiculous mistake" at the start of the recent Abu Dhabi grand prix.

"In my view, he is dismantling his own legacy bit by bit," Hakkinen - who also called the German "too arrogant" - reportedly wrote.

But TZ has now issued an apology and correction, admitting that the column had not been authorized by double world champion Hakkinen.

"The statements attributed to Mr. Hakkinen, particularly in relation to Michael Schumacher, were not true and were not authorized.

"We regret this and apologize to our readers, to Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher, and as a consequence we are no longer working with the staff member concerned," added TZ.

Vettel testing new Pirelli tires on Friday
(GMM)  Not even a week after securing the 2010 world championship, Sebastian Vettel is back at the wheel of his Red Bull in Abu Dhabi on Friday morning.

The German is among a multitude of his race driver colleagues testing Pirelli's development 2011 tires at the Yas Marina circuit.

Also running on Friday for their respective teams are Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica, Rubens Barrichello and others.

"We will begin to understand the characteristics of the new tires and what they mean for the suspension and the aerodynamic design," Red Bull's technical boss Adrian Newey told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

"In short, this data will be used to finalize the 2011 cars," added the Briton.  "There will be surprises."

Each team has been supplied eight sets of medium and soft compound tires in Abu Dhabi - four for Friday and four for Saturday - and a dedicated Pirelli engineer.

After Abu Dhabi, Pirelli will move to Bahrain in early December for more private testing.

Ricciardo still unsure of 2011 role
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he still does not know what he will be doing in 2011.

The Australian, who was Red Bull's reserve driver in 2010, this week stunned the F1 world with record-setting pace in the Abu Dhabi young driver test at the wheel of the championship winning RB6.

The energy drink company's four F1 race seats are already occupied for 2011, but it has been rumored a drive at Lotus - to use Red Bull gearboxes next year - is a possibility.

"I called Dr (Helmut) Marko to keep him informed of the developments in testing.

"I asked him if he had any news for next season, but he said nothing has been decided yet," 21-year-old Ricciardo told Auto Hebdo.

"I am a member of the Red Bull junior team so my future is in their hands.  I have every confidence in them and I know they will decide what is best for me."

McLaren has 'creative ideas' for 2011 car - boss
(GMM)  McLaren's 2011 car will feature "quite a few" technical innovations, team boss Martin Whitmarsh has promised.

This season, the British team pioneered the F-duct innovation, but it - as well as double diffusers - has been banned for 2011.

Talking about next year, Whitmarsh told Auto Motor und Sport: ""We will definitely see new and surprising concepts such as the F-duct and double diffuser.

"We've got quite a few creative ideas already.  I hope it pays off."

New F1 tracks must allow overtaking - Todt
(GMM)  Jean Todt has vowed to push hard to improve the spectacle of overtaking in formula one.

"We need to encourage more overtaking," the FIA president said in an interview with La Stampa.  "In Abu Dhabi it was impossible."

Pundits were critical after the 2010 finale at the spectacular Yas Marina circuit, because Fernando Alonso was unable to pass Vitaly Petrov, while another title contender - Lewis Hamilton - could not overtake Robert Kubica.

"I'm speaking as the president of the FIA," said Frenchman Todt.  "Hamilton had fresh tires and was 2 seconds faster than Kubica and yet he failed to pass.

"From now on, before a new circuit is approved, we will evaluate the potential for the spectacle as well as the safety," he revealed.

And Autosprint quotes Todt as adding: "In this way we have already convened a meeting with technical experts such as Patrick Head and Rory Byrne."

Team orders to be 'regulated' not banned - Todt
(GMM)  Team orders will be "regulated" rather than allowed in formula one, FIA president Jean Todt has revealed.

The issue came back onto the agenda in 2010, when Felipe Massa was ordered aside for Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim by a Ferrari engineer telling the Brazilian: "Fernando is faster than you".

"Personally, I'm not against team orders, but I am against lying," the Frenchman is quoted as saying in interviews this week.

He said covert team orders "deceive the audience and the media" and subsequently require teams and drivers to lie afterwards.

"Team orders have been banned since 2002, but I ask myself how many have been issued in a 'soft' way.  The difference with that and what Ferrari did (at Hockenheim) is that it was anything but soft.

"It was a provocation against the regulations," Todt told Italy's La Stampa.

But when asked if the FIA will react to the latest affair by simply abolishing the rule, he answered: "It will be regulated.

"F1 is a team sport and each team will have responsibility for their behavior.  We will not tolerate lies or coded messages like 'Save fuel'."

Fascinatingly, former Ferrari team boss Todt blamed Rubens Barrichello for the original team orders controversy of 2002, when the Brazilian was explicitly ordered on the radio to 'Let Michael (Schumacher) pass for the championship'.

"I shouldn't have had to say anything," Todt said this week.

"We had agreed beforehand that if he (Barrichello) is in front after the pitstop, he was to let Schumacher pass without making a fuss.

"It was agreed, and drivers are paid to accept certain decisions.

"But he made me call him 50 times and he moved at the last corner -- the audience booed, Schumacher gave him first place on the podium and Ferrari was fined $500,000 for violating protocol," he explained.

Asked if he regrets the affair, he admitted: "Yes, because with hindsight it could have been avoided.  Schumacher would have won the championship anyway.

"But I would have regretted even more if we had lost the title by a couple of points," added Todt.

And in an interview with France's L'Equipe, Todt said he thought the works Renault drivers "helped" Renault-powered Red Bull to win the 2010 championship by holding up key rivals in Abu Dhabi.

"They (Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov) helped Red Bull, even though this team often complain about the lack of competitiveness of the Renault engine," he said.

Vettel signs first sponsor after 2010 title
(GMM)  Not yet a week after winning the 2010 world championship, Sebastian Vettel has already scooped his first financial benefit.

German reports say the 23-year-old has signed a multi-million dollar sponsorship contract with American multinational Procter + Gamble to promote the 'Head + Shoulders' shampoo.

Bild newspaper said Vettel, who manages his own affairs, is being "advised by a lawyer and a financial expert" and is "in negotiations with other brands".

On Friday, he is testing Pirelli tires in Abu Dhabi, and on Sunday he will return for celebrations to Heppenheim, where "tens of thousands" are expected to welcome him back to his German hometown.

Maldonado quiet on 2011 Williams deal reports
(GMM)  Pastor Maldonado has refused to confirm speculation he has already signed to make his F1 debut with the Williams team in 2011.

In Abu Dhabi this week, the new GP2 champion has been testing both with Williams as well as HRT, the Spanish team that will use a gearbox supplied by Oxfordshire based Williams next year.

Williams has cleared a 2011 race seat alongside Rubens Barrichello by ousting Nico Hulkenberg, whose manager Willi Weber said on Monday that the team has "probably already done a deal with Pastor Maldonado".

It is assumed that Williams has signed Maldonado because it needs his financial backing provided by the Venezuelan government and the petroleum company PDVSA.

But Maldonado is quoted by F1's official website: "At the moment, no comment on that."

Lotus name dispute escalates with IndyCar deal
(GMM)  The identity of the F1 team currently known as Lotus Racing moved further under a cloud on Thursday.

The team's official naming license has been withdrawn by the Proton-owned Group Lotus, and Tony Fernandes' alternative plan to be called Team Lotus by buying that separate name is now subject to court proceedings.

Meanwhile, Group Lotus is expected to enter F1 in collaboration with the Enstone based Renault team in 2011, and the sports car marque has now announced a project to supply engines and bodywork in the IndyCar series from 2012.

"We want to compete with the big buys," said CEO Dany Bahar.

A GP2 project for 2011 has already been put in place by Group Lotus, all of which leaves Fernandes with little option than to adopt an alternative identity for his privately-owned UK based Malaysian team.

"I do not want to comment on Proton's move to enter F1 but their action certainly will have some bearing on the team name," admitted Lotus Racing chief executive Riad Asmat.

"For now, we are preparing our team and we want to be ready for any eventualities.  We are definitely going to be there when the (2011) season starts," he is quoted by the Malaysian newspaper The Star.

Alonso gestures showed 'bad education' - Petrov
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso's reaction to losing the 2010 world championship demonstrated his lack of education.

That is the claim of Vitaly Petrov, the driver whose Renault car proved impossible for Alonso to pass last Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

After the cars crossed the checkered flag, Spaniard Alonso pulled his Ferrari alongside Petrov and gesticulated angrily at the Russian.

"The gesturing only showed his bad education," Petrov said in an interview with Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

"I always follow the rule that if you are sad or disappointed, keep it to yourself.  I did my race and he did his.  This is a job and I want to do my best," he explained.

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