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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Schumacher struggled without top driver simulator - Brawn
  • Alguersuari to welcome 2011 as 'DJ Squire'
  • Verstappen backs Ferrari's third car proposal
  • Maldonado no 'pay-driver' insists Williams' Parr
  • City officials approve Rome GP plans - Flammini
  • Work underway at 2012 US GP site

Schumacher struggled without top driver simulator - Brawn
(GMM)  The lack of a top driver simulator contributed to Michael Schumacher's struggle to get up to speed in 2010.

That is the view of Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn, who said a fully state-of-the-art simulator will not be available to the team's drivers until 2012.

Asked if a McLaren or Ferrari-style simulator would have helped Schumacher readjust to F1 after three years of retirement, he told Auto Motor und Sport: "Probably.

"He would have been able to work much more on the behavior of the tires.  That we do not have a top simulator was certainly not a help," added the Briton.

Brawn said a new simulator is "currently under construction" at Brackley, but "it won't be fully operational before 2012".

"We should make a big step with it over the winter.  This technology cannot be bought on the market."

Before then, Schumacher is hoping the switch from Bridgestone to Pirelli tires for 2011 will help him, even though in his first F1 career, the German was regularly able to make the most of any technical package.

"I don't know," said Brawn.  "We need a new car and the new tires and then we can make an honest judgment.  I'm optimistic," said Brawn when asked if next season will be better for Schumacher.

"They are different tires," he continued.  "When there was the change from Michelin to Bridgestone a few years ago, many drivers had problems, including top guys like Alonso.

"The change to Pirelli will be similar and whether it plays into the hands of Rosberg or Schumacher is difficult to predict."

Brawn also shot down speculation he is on the verge of quitting.

"Not yet.  I will not resign until this team is successful," he insisted.

Alguersuari to welcome 2011 as 'DJ Squire'
(GMM)  Jaime Alguersuari will ring in the new year at the controls of a DJ desk, according to the Spanish sports newspaper Diario AS.

The 20-year-old Toro Rosso driver, whose alter-ego is 'DJ Squire', will be seen performing his music live on Catalunya television at an event in Barcelona as midnight strikes.

"I am crazy for music," he said in 2010.  "I couldn't live without it.

"I love sounds and I love electronic music, that's one of my biggest passions in life," added Alguersuari, who mixes and produces his own music at a studio in Barcelona.

Verstappen backs Ferrari's third car proposal
(GMM)  Jos Verstappen has backed Ferrari's push to allow top teams to enter third cars in formula one.

"For the teams it's not expensive as the parts are already there," said Dutchman Verstappen, who usually drove for the kind of small constructors that Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is now so critical of.

But 38-year-old Verstappen wrote in his column for De Telegraaf newspaper: "A third car could be an unique opportunity for young drivers to get into F1.

"If it was up to me, I would have the maximum age of a third driver at let's say 23.  You could make it a kind of development car for a talented driver."

The current situation, with almost no track testing, is not acceptable said Verstappen, whose 14-year-old son Max is currently rising through the karting ranks.

"Let's face it, at the moment the so-called 'third driver' has little or no opportunities to drive," he said.

Verstappen said third race entries "would be a good solution that the FIA should in my opinion consider seriously".

Maldonado no 'pay-driver' insists Williams' Parr
(GMM)  Williams boss Adam Parr has hit out at claims Pastor Maldonado is little more than a "pay driver".

Despite German rookie Nico Hulkenberg's solid rookie season with the British team, including pole position in Brazil, he has been replaced for 2011 by the heavily-backed Venezuelan Maldonado.

But although Hulkenberg dominated Maldonado when they were teammates in GP2, the 25-year-old won the feeder series this year.

In an article on the Spanish language motor21.com website, Williams chairman Parr said the description of Maldonado as a pay-driver is "repulsive and irrelevant".

"We have never sat a driver in our car who we did not think was ready for F1, deserved to be in F1 and was capable of delivering," the Briton insisted.

"The guy (Maldonado) has just won the GP2 championship with a rookie team, winning more races than anyone else.  The mere fact that we have to talk about this is absurd," said Parr.

He insists that Maldonado is a "great talent" and that it is "not just our opinion".

"We work with an independent driver coach and he believes that, in terms of pure speed and talent, Pastor has as much capacity as the two Nicos (Hulkenberg and Rosberg)."

Parr also denied that Maldonado's tenure will be a short-lived one.

"We do not see it as a one-year agreement but a long-term investment," he said.  "If you have a young talented driver, it is a promise for the future, and if he also has sponsors, all the better," he said.

"Money is irrelevant," said Parr.  "Fernando Alonso's sponsor (Santander) is the biggest in F1."

As for the job-seeking Hulkenberg, Parr said he sees a bright future for the young German, even though there is no room at Williams in 2011.

But Parr said: "I would like to see him with Williams again.  He has the dedication and the passion to be a great driver and I was so impressed with his maturity and professionalism.

"I hope he finds something somewhere else and on the other hand I would like to keep up a relationship with him."

City officials approve Rome GP plans - Flammini
(GMM)  City officials are not opposed to his plans for a formula one race in Rome, promoter Maurizio Flammini insists.

Despite the opposition of Monza, Ferrari and an apparent majority of local residents, the Italian said before Christmas that authorities would begin to review the plans for a street layout in the EUR district by the end of the month.

Flammini said on Thursday, one day before New Year's Eve: "I am very pleased that the city has taken an official decision and has approved the continuation of all activities so that the GP can take place in 2013."

Work underway at 2012 US GP site
(GMM)  Actual work at the 2012 site of the US grand prix in Austin, Texas, got underway this week.

The organizers gained conditional planning permission two weeks ago, having announced earlier in 2010 that construction would begin in December.

Groundbreaking at the 970-acre site commenced this week near the future Turn 11, the local Austin American Statesman newspaper reports.

At work on Thursday was a small fleet of heavy machinery, and among the first tasks was silt fences, the drilling of holes for earth samples, and the staking out of the layout by vegetation shredders.

Organizers have said F1 authorities are advising them to have the circuit ready by June 2012, raising expectations the race will be paired on the calendar with Canada.

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