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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Massa on Pirelli tires
    Massa, Schumacher happy after Pirelli test
  • Mallya's son eyes future in F1 management
  • Maldonado flags 'important news' this week
  • Vettel can break new contract if Red Bull stops winning
  • Red Bull pays Vettel EUR 3m title bonus

Massa, Schumacher happy after Pirelli test
(GMM)  A month before Christmas, F1 teams and drivers have retired to consider the impact of the sport's new sole tire supplier.

The 2010 grid got its first taste of new partner Pirelli's recent development efforts with a two-day test in Abu Dhabi.

Paying particular attention were drivers like Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher, who notably struggled with departed Bridgestone's tires this year.

Schumacher's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg raised alarm bells when, asked to compare Pirelli with Bridgestone after his running on Friday, he used words like "worse", "weaker" and "slower".

Massa, however, set Friday's best time and said he was happy, while Schumacher was cautious.

"We were using the 2010 car," he said on Saturday after almost matching pacesetter Fernando Alonso's best time, "and it will be all about how these tires suit our 2011 car."

But Brazil's Agencia Estado quoted him as sounding more positive.

"These are not the final tires but the ones I used today seemed to suit my style a bit more, especially the fronts," said Schumacher.

Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi also noticed some key differences compared with Bridgestone.

"We did our best start of the year!" the Swiss enthused to Auto Hebdo when talking about his first impression of the Pirellis.

"You can also brake very hard and very late.  On acceleration, the traction is poor and you lose a lot of grip, and the wear also seems higher.

"And on a long run the soft tires wore much less than the hard tires.  In my opinion, they (Pirelli) made a mistake and they've already said they'll change it.

"The front tires are good.  They respond well," added Buemi.

To Agencia Estado, Williams' Rubens Barrichello concurred: "The front of the car grips a little more than the rear."

Said Pirelli's Paul Hembery: "According to what we have learned in Abu Dhabi, we will change the compounds, but not the construction."

And he added: "The drivers especially enjoyed the performance of our front tire, which is an area that we have worked on considerably."

Mallya's son eyes future in F1 management
(GMM)  Vijay Mallya's son has admitted he will venture into the world of formula one team management in the future.

23-year-old Sidhartha Mallya, with a business degree obtained in London, is already a company director of his billionaire father's United Breweries, and he runs the Indian cricket team Royal Challengers.

But his 54-year-old father owns and heads the F1 team Force India, sparking speculation Sidhartha Mallya's future is on the pitwall.

He told the Deccan Chronicle: "It's easier to manage a cricket team than F1.  (Cricket series) IPL is a short season, but the F1 calendar is spread across nine months.

"To get the team in shape is a lot of hard work and energy.  Due to my commitments within the UB group, I am unable to dedicate 100 per cent to racing at present," said Sidhartha Mallya.

"The transition into F1 will happen in the future," he conceded, while indicating that motor racing is not his foremost passion.

Said Mallya: "After seeing the big-hitting and thrill-a-minute twenty20 (cricket) matches, watching a car go around the circuit for about 65 laps is hopelessly boring."

Pastor Maldonado
Maldonado flags 'important news' this week
(GMM)  Pastor Maldonado has hinted that "important news" about his future could be forthcoming this week.

Last week, after testing with both the Williams and HRT teams, the new GP2 champion refused to confirm speculation he has already signed to make his F1 race debut in 2011.

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

25-year-old Maldonado wrote on Twitter: "This week could be very important and I hope to have news about the future."

Maldonado, who is backed by the Venezuelan government and state-owned petroleum company PDVSA, told F1's official website last week: "If you win the GP2 championship you definitely hope that formula one is the next logical step."

Vettel can break new contract if Red Bull stops winning
(GMM)  Dietrich Mateschitz has invited Sebastian Vettel to sign a long-term contract guaranteeing him a competitive car each season.

New world champion Vettel remains under contract only to the end of next year, and last week he nominated Ferrari and Mercedes as "the past, present and certainly the future of formula one".

"But this (move) is still a long way away," he wrote in a column for Bild newspaper.

Red Bull mogul Mateschitz thinks Red Bull is safe so long as it continues to deliver the young German a top car.

"If not, we would let him go even if he had a contract," he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

And Mateschitz told the Cologne tabloid Express: "Seb wants to drive for Ferrari some day.  We will make it as difficult a decision for him as possible."

Dr Helmut Marko stood on the podium with Vettel in Abu Dhabi, and even he admits that the lure of Ferrari for a F1 driver is strong.

But the Austrian does not think the Italian team will want to "hurt" Fernando Alonso by pitting the Spaniard against Vettel any time soon.

"We all know the political sensitivities at Ferrari.  And he (Vettel) has seen with us that he has a comfort factor.

"He needs a team that doesn't throw a knife in your back at the sign of trouble," said Marko, Red Bull's motor racing consultant.

"Let's be clear: there is not going to be a ten-year contract, because we are not able to guarantee we will have a competitive car for that long.  And Sebastian cannot guarantee that he will always be comfortable with us.

"But in the medium term, the next three or four years, we are firmly planning to be with him," he revealed.


You know why Sebastian Vettel is smiling
Red Bull pays Vettel EUR 3m title bonus
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel's championship bonus tallies a cool EUR 3 million, according to the German newspaper Bild.

It emerged after Red Bull won the 2010 constructors' championship that the team is paying its entire staff - more than 500 people - a healthy monetary bonus.

Reports said the bonus is 10,000 British pounds each.

But Bild claims that only basic employees are receiving the EUR 12,000, with higher-paid engineers all getting up to 50,000.

The newspaper said the bonuses are costing Red Bull millions, "and champion Vettel is getting three of them".

Bild said Red Bull Racing's total championship windfall under the prize-money clauses of the Concorde Agreement is a whopping EUR 73 million, payable in four installments.

Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz told Die Welt newspaper that formula one team budgets currently range between "probably 100 and 500 million euros".

"Our budget is roughly in the lower mid-range," said the billionaire.

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