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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday (UPDATED) UPDATE See updates below as noted.

Jaime Alguersuari
  • Alguersuari admits Buemi seat not secure
  • Theissen retires as BMW's racing boss
  • Red Bull teams played 'games' in Abu Dhabi - Costa
  • Petrov reveals Alonso fans defaced website
  • Glock says chance of 2011 Virgin seat '99.9 pc' New
  • European drivers struggling for F1 seats - Klien New
  • Ricciardo hoping Marko finds space for 2011 debut New

Alguersuari admits Buemi seat not secure
(GMM)  Jaime Alguersuari has backed his Toro Rosso teammate but acknowledged that Sebastien Buemi's race seat might be in doubt for the 2011 season.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo is Red Bull's leading junior driver, and he impressed the F1 world with his pace in the title-winning RB6 during the recent Abu Dhabi test.

At the same time, Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost - whilst praising young Spaniard Alguersuari - admitted that Swiss racer Buemi "struggled" at times this year.

Alguersuari, 20, was asked if he thinks Ricciardo might replace Buemi as his teammate in 2011 at Toro Rosso, Red Bull's junior team.

"I don't know what will happen," he is quoted by Diario AS newspaper at an event to unveil the Red Bull prototype car for the Gran Turismo 5 video game.

Alguersuari added: "What I can say is that if my teammate (Buemi) had driven a Red Bull, he would do better than Ricciardo.  Without a doubt."

Meanwhile, Tost has issued fulsome praise for Alguersuari's progress this year, indicating that his place for 2011 is secure.

"Jaime has this year learned to set up and develop and drive the car.  Now I'm looking forward to next season, when we will have a much more mature driver who is constantly improving," the Austrian is quoted by El Mundo Deportivo.

Alguersuari replied: "I'm very proud of what he said because I think I have improved this year and I intend to keep going that way."

Theissen retires as BMW's racing boss
(GMM)  BMW's long-time motor racing and formula one boss Dr Mario Theissen is retiring.

The 58-year-old has held the post as BMW motorsport director for 12 years, preceding the German carmaker's decision to enter F1 initially as an engine supplier to Williams in 2000.

Before that, he joined BMW as a development engineer in 1977.

Next year, he will hand on the baton to Jens Marquardt, a prominent manager at Cologne based Toyota Motorsport, formerly the Japanese marque's formula one team.

43-year-old Marquardt will therefore lead BMW into the German touring car series DTM in 2012.

Red Bull teams played 'games' in Abu Dhabi - Costa
(GMM)  Ferrari was the victim of "team games" during the recent 2010 championship decider in Abu Dhabi.

That is the claim of the Italian team's technical director Aldo Costa, who suspects Red Bull's two teams Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso cooperated during the race to influence Ferrari's race strategy for Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari has admitted it was wrong to pit Alonso early in Abu Dhabi to 'cover' Red Bull's Mark Webber, who then sat behind Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari for a time before passing the young Spaniard.

Costa was asked by La Repubblica newspaper in Italy if Ferrari's strategists took too much notice of the Red Bull-sponsored 'overtaking'.

"We were crucified by team games; what we saw in Abu Dhabi was team games," he said, perhaps suggesting that Ferrari was duped into thinking Alonso might also be able to make progress through the field.

"Anyway, we made some impulsive assessments and got it wrong," admitted Costa.

Not surprisingly, Adrian Newey has a different view of the Webber-Alguersuari antics, believing that the Toro Rosso actually held up the Australian rather than let him pass.

"It is only because Mark got held up that they (Ferrari) were able to go for the cover, so actually Toro Rosso did us a real favor -- rather unwittingly I suspect," said the Red Bull technical chief.

Petrov reveals Alonso fans defaced website
(GMM)  Vitaly Petrov has revealed that fans of Ferrari and Fernando Alonso littered his official Facebook page with insults and abuse.

"Many people cursed me, saying I had blocked Alonso," admitted the Russian driver.

Renault's Petrov played a pivotal role in the outcome of the 2010 world championship when points leader Alonso could not pass him during the Abu Dhabi finale earlier this month.

After the race, Alonso waved angrily at the 26-year-old rookie, and he now tells Germany's Bild newspaper that many of the Spaniard's supporters were similarly abusive.

But he insisted: "It's nonsense, I did nothing wrong.  For 39 laps I was in front of him but no one told me on the radio that I was helping Sebastian be world champion.

"Even if he had (passed), he also had to pass Rosberg.  I drove my own race and Ferrari made a tactical error," added Petrov, who dismissed Alonso's post-race gesticulations as "bad manners".

Alonso's failure to pass Petrov meant that Sebastian Vettel was able to close a big points margin to the Spaniard and secure the 2010 title.

"He deserves it," Petrov said, referring to Vettel.  "The newspapers said it was a miracle, but it was his hard work."

Bild asked Petrov if the new world champion had congratulated him personally for his role in the title outcome.

"He doesn't have my phone number," answered the Russian.  "But I saw that he wrote on his website to his fans that he was grateful to me."

Glock says chance of 2011 Virgin seat '99.9 pc'
(GMM)  Timo Glock has admitted there is a tiny chance he will not return to the cockpit of a Virgin car in 2011.

When the German joined Toyota in 2008, he said he wanted to be challenging for the world championship in three years.

Instead, the Japanese carmaker pulled out of F1 and Glock rescued his career by switching to Virgin, a new British team that finished its debut season in last place.

It was rumored that Glock, 28, eyed Vitaly Petrov's 2011 seat at Renault, but the Russian rookie looks set to renew his deal, while Glock already has a contract for next year with Virgin.

Therefore, staying at Virgin in 2011 "is 99.9 per cent certain", he confirmed to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

But Glock said he hasn't given up on dreaming of race wins and titles.

"If you have the opportunity to go to Red Bull or McLaren, then you'd have to go for it.  From a sporting perspective you are open to new possibilities.

"It is definitely still my goal to go for the world championship," he added.

Glock insisted that even though it has come early in his countryman's young career, he is happy for new world champion Sebastian Vettel.

"You cannot begrudge him," said the German.  "He has done a great job this year, maybe one or two errors.  But it's the same for everyone."

In contrast, Glock recorded zero points, 9 DNFs and a best finish of just 14th.

"In the winter we lost too much time because some basic things did not work," he said, "but you can't expect it all to fall into place right away for a new team with a blank sheet of paper."

European drivers struggling for F1 seats - Klien
(GMM)  F1's globalization has made it harder for drivers from the sport's traditional markets to find places on the grid.

That is the claim of Austrian Christian Klien, who raced a few times with the struggling new team HRT in 2010 and is hoping for a full season next year.

But with pay-drivers now wielding more power than in the recent past, Klien admitted the task is tough.

"Nico Hulkenberg's case shows that there are no guarantees," he is quoted by Vorarlberg Online.

"He had a great debut year with a pole position in Brazil, and he's out," said Klien.

"In my own case, I have some options," he revealed.

"The most obvious one of course is HRT, who are on the verge of establishing themselves as a serious competitor, even if there are some setbacks from time to time.

"In February there was not much of a team and I would not have believed I would contest three grands prix this year.  And there's still some time until March (2011)," added Klien.

He thinks part of his difficulty in establishing a strong full-time return to F1 is geographic.

"It is pretty hard when you are from central Europe," said Klien, 27.

"F1 has internationalized very quickly and previously as a Briton, an Italian, a Frenchman, you had a good chance," said the Austrian.

"Today there are more cockpits from before, but the driver market is being fed from many more countries; Russia, India, the southeast Asian region, and now probably Korea and China.

"And if you're the eighth German, then it is very difficult.  Look at France and Italy -- 20 years ago there were ten of each.  And today?"

The other problem is the economic climate, and the power wielded by drivers who carry substantial commercial backing.

"Even a big name like Kimi Raikkonen in the world rally championship is relying on sponsors to get his cockpit," said Klien.

"And in F1 the teams are under enormous cost pressure," he added.

Ricciardo hoping Marko finds space for 2011 debut
(GMM)  Amid intense speculation about his future, Daniel Ricciardo has returned to his native Australia unsure if he is on the cusp of his formula one debut.

After the 21-year-old so impressed during the young drivers test at the wheel of the title-winning RB6 in Abu Dhabi, reports have linked him with Sebastien Buemi's seat at the Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso for 2011.

Less likely are places at the energy drink company's main team, or Lotus -- the new Malaysian outfit set to use a Red Bull gearbox in 2011.

Ricciardo told F1's official website: "At the moment I have nothing to tell."

He says his future is in the hands of Dr Helmut Marko, the head of Red Bull's driver program who in Abu Dhabi stood on the podium with Sebastian Vettel, his proudest boast.

"I am on standby, but that feels alright with me," said Ricciardo, Red Bull's reserve driver in 2010 and second in the Renault World Series.

"It is up to Helmut.  I only can wait and hope that he finds me a place for 2011," he added.

Ricciardo said that even though the F1 world was impressed with his pace at the Abu Dhabi test, the famously stoical Marko is harder to please.

"He didn't say Wow, you were faster than Sebastian and Mark, he just said Well done," the Australian smiled.

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