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DATE News (chronologically)
11/26/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Heikki Kovalainen
    Porsche boss plays down F1 foray likelihood
  • Kovalainen confirms staying at Lotus in 2011
  • Vergne has future in F1 - Marko
  • Hulkenberg's manager confirms Force India talks
  • Raikkonen not closing door on F1 - manager
  • Kubica needs rally permission in F1 deals - manager

Porsche boss plays down F1 foray likelihood
(GMM)  Porsche's new boss has played down speculation the marque might soon enter formula one.

In October, Matthias Mueller sparked the rumors by saying Volkswagen brands including Audi and Porsche would have a "round-table" to contemplate a F1 foray.

Porsche's research and development boss Wolfgang Durheimer then said Porsche "can afford" to enter formula one "with its own team".

But in a new interview with Germany's Westfalen Blatt newspaper, chief executive Mueller is now playing down that possibility.

"Formula one is a drivers' world championship, with the focus on the sponsors and the manufacturers only secondary," he said.

"For us, this is a clear drawback.

"The second drawback for such a long-term investment is the unclear rules for the future.

"But if the VW Group was interested, then Porsche would surely be the brand that would work best for this," added Mueller.

After forays in the 50s and 60s, German marque Porsche supplied engines to McLaren in the 80s.  Its most recent F1 project was the failed collaboration in 1991 with Arrows.

Kovalainen confirms staying at Lotus in 2011
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has given the strongest sign yet that he is staying at Lotus for 2011.

The Malaysian team is yet to confirm its driver lineup for next year, but it is expected that Finn Kovalainen and fellow grand prix winner Jarno Trulli are staying put.

Kovalainen told Finland's Turun Sanomat that he is expecting the new outfit to take a major step forward in 2011: "That's why I chose this team," said the former Renault and McLaren driver.

"It was a risk at the time to go with an entirely new team, but I'm happy with the choice that I made and what we achieved this season," added the 29-year-old.

Lotus Racing, likely to field an entirely new name for 2011, will be powered by a Renault engine fitted to a Red Bull gearbox next season.

"Expectations are high," admitted Kovalainen.  "It would be a disappointment if we did not make a step forward."

The team's technical boss Mike Gascoyne confirmed that Lotus is happy with Kovalainen.

"We always had confidence in Heikki and he delivered for us what we expected from him," he said.

"He performed well and he's also a nice guy, making it very enjoyable for the team to work with him," added Gascoyne.

Vergne has future in F1 - Marko
(GMM)  Jean-Eric Vergne has a future in formula one, Red Bull's driver development chief Dr Helmut Marko insists.

The spotlight at present is on Daniel Ricciardo, the young Australian who is at the pinnacle of Red Bull's junior driver program and tipped to enter F1 next year with Toro Rosso.

But Frenchman Verge, 20, is also high in the Red Bull program and tipped to replace Ricciardo as the F1 reserve driver in 2011.

He comfortably won this year's British F3 championship, and finished eighth in the Renault World Series despite only replacing the ousted Brendon Hartley in July.

Marko told France's Auto Hebdo that the success of new world champion Sebastian Vettel "justifies all of our efforts" to develop young drivers for F1.

"What we want now is another driver into F1 who can win," the Austrian added.  "Jean-Eric might be the one!" said Marko, referring to Vergne who recently tested the Toro Rosso in Abu Dhabi.

"He has a completely different character to Seb, but that's ok so long as his performance is there," he added.

Hulkenberg's manager confirms Force India talks
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg's manager has confirmed talks about a 2011 race seat with Force India.

With the 23-year-old German ousted by Williams, and Renault now set to re-sign Vitaly Petrov for 2011, reports had named Silverstone based Force India as Hulkenberg's best chance to stay on the grid next season.

Sport1.de quotes his manager Willi Weber as saying: "There are still options, but not too many."

Referring to Force India, he admitted: "There are currently some talks."

Weber ruled out compiling enough sponsorship for Hulkenberg to buy a cockpit elsewhere.  "If you bring money to a F1 team, then that's what you do for the rest of your life."

He also said he would be "happy" if Mercedes expressed interest in signing up Hulkenberg as reserve driver.

But the German marque's Norbert Haug said: "It is a disadvantage for your career if you spend a year sitting in a simulator rather than collecting practical experience."

Weber admitted: "That would be a plan B, with the assurance of sitting in the car in 2012."

Raikkonen not closing door on F1 - manager
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen's plans for 2011 are still not secure, but the Finn appears unlikely to be returning to formula one any time soon.

The 2007 world champion looks set to either stay with Red Bull-sponsored Citroen next year or switch to another world rally championship team, despite earlier speculation suggesting he might go back to F1.

"Of course you always want to decide your next plans sooner rather than later, but sometimes it's just not possible," Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson told Turun Sanomat newspaper.

"I hope we will know what direction we are going by the end of November," he added.

Robertson said the 31-year-old driver is likely to stay in rallying for now.

"We have not talked with anyone in F1," he insisted.  "Kimi hasn't closed the door on it; you never say never in case the right offer comes along."

He said Raikkonen, who cleared the way at Ferrari last year for the arrival of sponsor Santander and Fernando Alonso, would have done well this year at the wheel of the F10.

"I think he would have done pretty much the same as Fernando did," said Robertson.  "Fernando drove a great season and I don't want to take anything away from him.

"I don't want to be misunderstood, but I think Kimi would have done a good job in that car," he insisted.

Kubica needs rally permission in F1 deals - manager
(GMM)  Permission to contest rallies is crucial at this stage of Robert Kubica's formula one career, his manager has confirmed.

Following the contractual restrictions during his time with BMW-Sauber, the Pole has enjoyed contesting a range of formative rallies since switching to Renault in 2010.

His latest outing in his Renault Clio is this weekend's Rallye du Var in France.

"Kimi (Raikkonen) is Kimi," said Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli, according to Turun Sanomat newspaper, "but maybe it has been easier for Robert to learn with the smaller car.

"Robert is only 25 and he has at least 7 or 8 years more time to drive at the top in F1.  What is certain is that if Robert does rallying (full-time) one day, he wants to do it properly," he added.

The key to his preparation, said Morelli, is permission within Kubica's F1 contract to take part in rallies.

"With BMW it was impossible.  Williams will let you do rallies, but McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes wouldn't allow it," he revealed.

Said Kubica: "I hope to be around in F1 for quite a few years yet.  But when that stops I'd like to indulge my passion for rallying -- just for fun, in the same spirit that I approach it now."

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