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DATE News (chronologically)
01/04/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • Force India news not confirmed yet - Weber
  • Raikkonen considers career after father's death
  • Money now too important for F1 careers - Trulli
  • Sleepless Domenicali considered quitting Ferrari

Force India news not confirmed yet - Weber
(GMM)  It may be two more weeks before an announcement about Nico Hulkenberg's role for the 2011 season is made, his manager Willi Weber has clarified.

On Monday, the newspaper Blick reported that the German 23-year-old will be the Friday driver at Force India in 2011, working alongside racers Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil.

However, that report has now been deleted from the Swiss publication's website.

In the report, Weber was quoted as saying that Hulkenberg had also been a contender for the third seat at McLaren but "Martin Whitmarsh was worried that it would be seen as a threat to Button".

Weber has now told the German news agency SID that Hulkenberg's future will actually only be decided in mid-January.

"I am negotiating with several teams," he insisted.

Another member of Hulkenberg's management team, Timo Gans, did not deny that Blick's story of Monday was false.

According to motorsport-magazin.com, he insisted that "the official statement is made usually by the team".

"So we don't want to make any official statements before the team does," added Gans.

Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann was also cautious when asked about the Blick story.

"I don't know where it comes from -- probably from Willi Weber because it says Nico Hulkenberg will be test driver," he said.

"I can only speak for us.  We are basically in agreement with Force India, the contract is being drafted but it is not signed."

Zimmermann added that confirmation could take between 10 and 14 days.

Silverstone based Force India did not comment.

Raikkonen considers career after father's death
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has ceased talks about his plans for the 2011 season following the death of his father Matti.

The major Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reports that the grief-stricken 31-year-old, who was reportedly considering switching teams for the next world rally championship, may even call time on his racing career.

Raikkonen was reportedly very close with his father, a road builder, who supported his sons' careers from an early age and died suddenly at the age of 56 two days before Christmas.

"Since the death of Matti Raikkonen, all the plans (of Kimi Raikkonen) are on ice," confirmed the Finn's rally co-driver Kaj Lindstrom.

He added: "Let's hope he stays in rallying.  The chances of success are much better in the second year than the first, because you don't have to be learning all sorts of things all of the time."

Money now too important for F1 careers - Trulli
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli believes wealth is becoming too important as the remaining spaces on the F1 grid fill up for 2011.

For the coming season, the likes of Nico Hulkenberg and Nick Heidfeld are facing the prospect of sitting on the sidelines, as respected teams including Williams and Sauber opt instead for race drivers with significant financial backing.

Trulli, one of the oldest and most experienced drivers on the grid, thinks the situation could have knock-on effects for the next generation.

"Today it is so difficult for young drivers," the Italian told Auto Motor und Sport during an interview.

"Money is playing too big a role and the lower series like Formula 3 are too expensive.  I couldn't repeat my own career these days," added Trulli, who made his F1 debut in 1997 with Minardi.

The 36-year-old has also raced for major teams including Renault and Toyota, but in 2010 he returned to the back of the grid with Lotus.

"It was not a good season," said Trulli.

In an interview published in Italian by italiaracing, he was more strident.

"I think I deserved a medal for being the unluckiest driver of the year," said Trulli, whose car regularly broke down last season.  "There's no need to say it was the worse season in all my life."

To the German publication, he continued: "It was a bit frustrating but it's part of the business.  I have accepted it as a transitional season."

Worse still, Trulli insists that the green T127 was not a car to his liking.

"I didn't have what I needed for my driving style," he explained, "so it made the task doubly difficult.

"I need a stiff car that gives me good feedback, but from the first test it was clear that I wouldn't have that."

He knows Lotus is pushing hard to catch up, but can understand some of the criticism of the new teams from established names including Ferrari.

"In the end we are all in the same race and the incumbents should respect those who are just beginning.  On the other hand it is true that four seconds behind is too much.

"Now we are a year further ahead and we need a big aero step and a lighter and stiffer car.  There is an awful lot to do and if we can do it, then we can fight with the back of the midfield."

But even that is not his goal.

"I must still have the skills that make some people keep believing in me, but just being here is not what I want, which is winning races and the title."

Trulli said he knows first-hand how difficult is Team Lotus' task.

"I raced for Toyota, with great resources and unlimited possibilities, but they never achieved what they wanted to," he noted.

Sleepless Domenicali considered quitting Ferrari
(GMM)  Stefano Domenicali has admitted he considered quitting after Ferrari dramatically lost the 2010 title with a bungled race strategy in Abu Dhabi.

The Italian said during an interview with La Repubblica newspaper that if F1 was football, he would probably now be looking for a new job.

"I know that people see me as the coach of Ferrari," he said.  "But a team principal is something different.  This is a business and I have to manage all the different aspects, not just the sporting ones.

"I take care of everything, so I delegate a lot, but saying that, you have to be ready for anything especially if there have not been the results you want for two years.

"But thank god it's not football!" said the 45-year-old.

"To rebuild in F1 is takes months and years and from that point of view I have always felt a great support from the president and the shareholders," continued Domenicali.

Although he did not fear Ferrari's wrath after the ill-fated Abu Dhabi finale, the Italian admits he didn't sleep for two days and spent that time contemplating resigning.

"After Abu Dhabi I raised the issue personally.  I wondered if it was the right thing or not to stay.

"I take it as a duty and I am not attached to my chair.  But I came to the conclusion that stopping would be a mistake.  I know the team and I think I'm the right person to capitalize on all that we have sown in recent months.

"From a methodological point of view, we have changed almost everything at Maranello and I am sure we will soon see the results of our hard work."

And he denied that severing other heads for the strategy mistake would be an appropriate response.

"The mistake had a devastating effect," said Domenicali.  "But in a normal race it was a normal error.  So you can't jettison everything - even the good things - because of it."

It is rumored that one major change for 2011 is a more prominent role for former McLaren designer Pat Fry.

"We will officially announce something in the coming hours and make sure that those who are making decisions in the crucial moments have all the tools to do not repeat the mistakes," said Domenicali.

He also denied that Felipe Massa's poor season was due to the Brazilian's serious head injuries sustained in 2009.

"We made all the checks; as a driver and a man Felipe is perfectly intact," he insisted, arguing that as well as the technical explanations, Massa struggled psychologically at times in 2010.

"I am sure we will see a great Massa in 2011.  He knows that he can't afford another season like that," added Domenicali.

And as for the car at Massa and teammate Fernando Alonso's disposal, he explained: "The car of 2010 we had to start from scratch (after 2009).

"Now we have a good starting point and a regulation change, so we have to make maximum use of our imagination for extreme solutions," said the Italian.

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