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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Lewis Hamilton
    Pirelli to use different colors on 2011 tires
  • Hamilton to debut new McLaren on February 10
  • Le Mans more likely than F1 for Porsche - boss
  • Rome cools GP bid and eyes 2020 Olympics instead
  • Willi Weber wants to be Vettel's manager

Pirelli to use different colors on 2011 tires
(GMM)  Pirelli will use a colorful method to visibly differentiate its tire compounds at grands prix this year.

A few years ago, the FIA said sole supplier Bridgestone must differentiate the appearance of the 'hard' and 'soft' options at races.

With the grooved tires, the Japanese marque painted a line in a middle groove of the soft options, and when slicks returned in 2009 the soft Bridgestones featured a green circle on the sidewall.

According to Italian sources, F1's new sole supplier Pirelli has come up with a different approach to conform with the same rule in 2011.

A report in the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat claims that each compound with have the words 'Pirelli P Zero' painted in different colors on the sidewall.

The super-soft wording will reportedly be in red, the soft will be in white, the medium in blue and the hard in yellow.

Meanwhile, the sidewall colorings of the full wet tire will be yellow, and the intermediates red.

After four floodlit nights in Abu Dhabi that concluded this week, Pirelli said it is now ready for the forthcoming group tests and the season.

But the marque's research and development boss Maurizio Boiocci admitted that one unknown factor is how the tires will be affected by the additional speed delivered by KERS and adjustable rear wings.

"If the speed came on gradually, for sure there would be no problems," he said.  "But it remains to be seen what happens when all the power comes on suddenly."

Pirelli test driver Pedro de la Rosa told Spain's Marca newspaper that he thinks Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton will adapt best to the new tires in 2011.

"Changes like this always benefit the best ones, and the best ones are Hamilton and Alonso," he said.

"But I don't think the changing of tires brands will be a big problem for anyone."

Meanwhile, it has emerged that - so that no drivers or teams are favored - the FIA will distribute Pirelli's tires to the teams after randomly shuffling the code numbers at grands prix.

Hamilton to debut new McLaren on February 10
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton will be the first McLaren driver to test the 2011-specification MP4-26 next month.

The British team said Jenson Button is then scheduled to drive on day two of the second group test at Jerez, according to Reuters journalist Alan Baldwin on Twitter.

McLaren will not reveal the 2011 car until after the first pre-season test at Valencia, where test driver Gary Paffett will kick off the winter program in a modified 2010-spec MP4-25.

2008 world champion Hamilton was at McLaren's Woking headquarters on Wednesday to drive in the simulator.

"(2011) car feels good, never know how others will be but I'm happy with where we are," the 26-year-old said on his IAmLewis4Real Twitter account.

The Sun newspaper said Hamilton, with a new personal trainer this year in Finn Antti Vierula, has returned from a training holiday in Colorado to attend a team training camp with Button.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh revealed that, ahead of the grueling 20-race calendar this year, Hamilton and Button were given a long period of vacation.

"I told my colleagues last year, Let's give our drivers six weeks in which I am not going to ring them -- and I don't want anyone else to ring them either," he said.

Le Mans more likely than F1 for Porsche - boss
(GMM)  Porsche has continued to step away from its earlier hints about entering formula one in the near future.

Late last year, CEO Matthias Mueller said there are some "drawbacks" about entering F1 that are not present in other prominent series.

But then the FIA green-lighted the much anticipated new engine rules for 2013, causing Volkswagen representative Hans-Joachim Stuck to say the "conditions for a possible (F1) entrance of the ... group have been created".

However, Mueller insists that although VW brands including Porsche and Audi might often mention F1, the more realistic forays are elsewhere.

"There are undoubtedly some attractive aspects (of F1)," he told the Swiss car newspaper Automobil Revue.

"But there are other sides to it as well.  Formula one is very expensive, while success is far less predictable (than in other series)," added Mueller.

He said a Le Mans foray for Porsche, in the premier LMP1 category, is a more likely target.

"We would not necessarily have to line up against Audi, but we would do it if we need to and it would mean there are two of the (VW) group's brands fighting in the races.

"The likelihood that the group wins would therefore obviously be increased," added Mueller.

He urged all the VW brands to get together to "agree on a motor sport strategy for the coming years".

Rome cools GP bid and eyes 2020 Olympics instead
(GMM)  Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno has announced the city is taking "a step back" with its plans for a formula one race on the streets of the EUR district.

Although formerly supportive of the plans, Bernie Ecclestone last week wrote to Alemanno warning that with Monza already on the calendar, F1 had no room for two Italian rounds per season.

That was interpreted as the start of negotiations to annually alternate Rome and Monza, but Alemanno has announced that Rome should now turn most of its focus towards bidding for the 2020 Olympics.

"The road has not been completely closed, but the interests of our city must be compatible with the national ones," La Repubblica newspaper quotes him as saying.

Regarding F1, Rome will "take a step back", Alemanno added, revealing that there "will be a press conference in the coming days".

He called on the government to now make a "stronger commitment regarding the 2020 Olympics", insisting that the event "as a target for Rome is not just ambitious but achievable".

Alemanno suggested that talks about a cooperation between Rome and Monza regarding F1 did not bear fruit.

"We have always maintained contact with the mayor of Monza, with the ministers of the north and all those of the Lombardy region.

"I have to say that we never found a great dialogue, even when we stressed that if it was a choice between Monza and Rome then we would pull back," he said.

Willi Weber wants to be Vettel's manager
(GMM)  F1's most famous driver manager has admitted he would like to add new world champion Sebastian Vettel to his stable.

Although now only handling some of Michael Schumacher's merchandising and sponsors, Willi Weber became famous for taking 20 per cent of the lucrative earnings throughout the seven time world champion's meteoric first career.

Multi millionaire Weber, 68, now handles young German Nico Hulkenberg, but in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport he singled out Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel as the best current drivers in F1.

Asked if he would like to manage one of the trio, he answered: "Vettel, of course."

German Vettel, who won the 2010 title at the age of just 23, has never employed a full-time manager, relying instead on a lawyer to review contracts and some help from his father Norbert.

But Weber insists: "Now he needs a manager more than ever, because he needs to sell his success.

"It's all about the money he can make outside of the cockpit now," he added.

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