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Latest F1 news in brief - Friday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Grosjean to be Renault 'third driver' in 2011 - TF1
  • Red Bull confirms February 1st launch for RB7
  • Manager not sure Liuzzi will race in 2011
  • Lauda's famous cap to be blue in 2011
  • Rosberg to drive new Mercedes on first test day
  • Berger 'can't afford' F1 team owner return
  • Ricciardo vows to work for F1 debut in 2012
  • Williams moves towards public floatation New
  • Virgin to launch 2011 car after first test New 

Grosjean to be Renault 'third driver' in 2011 - TF1
(GMM)  Notwithstanding Fairuz Fauzy's appointment as reserve driver, Romain Grosjean is still expected to take up a similar role with Renault in 2011.

A French commentator said last week that Swiss-born Grosjean will be with the Enstone based team this year, with boss Eric Boullier admitting he is "working very hard" to find a place for the 24-year-old.

After Malaysian Fauzy was revealed as a reserve driver for the Lotus-sponsored team in 2011, France's F1 broadcaster TF1 this week said Grosjean will be the subject of the next announcement.

The report said the announcement about Frenchman Grosjean becoming Renault's "third driver" will take place at Valencia on January 31, when the R31 car is unveiled ahead of the group test at the Ricardo Tormo track.

Red Bull confirms February 1st launch for RB7
(GMM)  Red Bull has confirmed that its 2011 car, the RB7, will be revealed on 1 February.

The low-key unveiling will take place on the morning of the first day of pre-season group testing at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit in Spain.

"Please note 1 February will be a normal test day," the championship winning team announced in an advisory to the press.

The RB7 will be among seven other 2011-specification cars to be running for the first time on 1 February, including the new Ferrari, Mercedes, Sauber, Renault, Toro Rosso, Williams and Lotus.

McLaren, Force India, Virgin and HRT will be testing at Valencia with their 2010 cars.

Manager not sure Liuzzi will race in 2011
(GMM)  Vitantonio Liuzzi's manager has admitted he is not sure if the Italian will be on the 2011 grid.

Amid strong rumors that Force India has signed Paul di Resta to race alongside Adrian Sutil this year, 29-year-old Liuzzi has been staunchly insisting that he has a watertight contract for the 2011 season.

But the di Resta/Sutil stories have stepped up even more this week, after team boss Vijay Mallya said an imminent announcement is pending only "some legal loose ends".

Liuzzi's manager Peter Collins also hinted that negotiations about the contract are taking place with Force India.

Collins told BBC Sport: "Tonio will be in F1 this year.  Will he be racing?  I don't know."

A spokesperson for Force India declined to comment, and di Resta and his manager Anthony Hamilton were not available.

Collins continued: "I've no (further) comment to make at this stage and it would be wrong for me to do so.

"The position has been very clear for some time and it is best to let the team make any announcement," Liuzzi's manager added.

Lauda's famous cap to be blue in 2011
(GMM)  Niki Lauda will not be wearing his famous red cap in the formula one paddock this year.

The iconic Austrian racer, businessman and German TV commentator has worn the red cap - and sold the space on the front to a sponsor - ever since a near-fatal shunt in 1976 left him with head and facial scars.

A four year deal with Swiss machinery maker Oerlikon has now ended, and triple world champion Lauda has inked a new deal with Liechtenstein finance company Money Service Group.

Lauda's new cap is dark blue, a company spokesperson confirmed, providing a photo of the 61-year-old wearing his new colors.

"We are very pleased to have Niki Lauda as an ambassador," said founder and owner Michael Seidl, whose company Money Service Group also sponsors Toro Rosso.

Rosberg to drive new Mercedes on first test day
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg is scheduled to give Mercedes' new 2011 car, the W02, its debut outing on the first day of the Valencia test next month.

"I am going first," said the 25-year-old German, who last year scored 70 points more than his famous teammate Michael Schumacher.

Speaking at the Fashion Week in Berlin, Rosberg added that the pre-season test schedule has been devised to be "fair" to both him and Schumacher, even though getting the first run is "something special".

"It will be interesting to see how it (the W02) feels," the German is quoted by DPA agency.

"You know pretty quickly how good it is going to be," added Rosberg.

Schumacher, 42, will drive on day two.

Rosberg continued: "It is probably unrealistic to go into the season saying we will win the championship, but we will succeed sooner or later.  We are on the right track."

In Mercedes GP's first season after the re-branding of 2009 champions Brawn GP, the Brackley based team finished fourth overall.

Berger 'can't afford' F1 team owner return
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger has for now ruled out returning to the F1 pitlane as a team owner.

After retiring as a veteran driver and winner of ten grands prix in 1997, the Austrian served as BMW's joint motor sport director until 2003.

He came back to the pitwall once again in 2006, having bought half of Toro Rosso from his friend Dietrich Mateschitz, but he sold the share back to Red Bull at the end of 2008.

Asked if he is considering a return to team ownership any time soon, 51-year-old said: "With the conditions in formula one today, there is not the opportunity.

"I can't afford it," Berger told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"The sport has become too expensive and you can't find the money that you need to do a good job on the open market."

Ricciardo vows to work for F1 debut in 2012
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo is not getting excited despite his boss Helmut Marko saying the Australian is scheduled to make his F1 debut by 2012 "at the latest".

The 21-year-old is the cream of Red Bull's current junior development program, and will drive on the Friday morning of grands prix this year with Toro Rosso as well as racing in the Renault World Series.

And whether he is drafted in to replace the Red Bull-owned team's regulars Sebastien Buemi or Jaime Alguersuari before the 2011 season is out, Marko told Motorsport-Total.com that it "depends on the parties involved".

Ricciardo, in Perth with his family this week, told the West Australian newspaper that he had not read Red Bull advisor Dr Marko's comments.

But he insisted: "I can't really rest on that, that I'll be in (F1) next year.  If I have a bad year this year, I'm sure he'll change his mind."

Ricciardo confirmed that he will be driving on the Friday in Bahrain, and at three of the forthcoming pre-season tests.

"I'm not sure (exactly) what testing I'll be doing," he said.

"The Toro Rosso guys have told me that I'll be in the car for testing before Bahrain," added Ricciardo.

Williams moves towards public floatation
(GMM)  Williams is considering a stock market floatation, the famous British team announced on Friday.

Sir Frank Williams said in a media statement that he has decided it is "prudent and necessary" to devise a new ownership structure so that the Grove based team can remain an "independent constructor".

He said the option of selling shares to the public is therefore being examined "closely".

"Regardless of whatever steps we take, I shall remain the majority and controlling shareholder and the team principal", announced Williams.

The team's chairman Adam Parr said the move would be "the best way to secure the future of the team" and its 450 employees.

He denied that Sir Frank is either retiring or in poor health.

"No.  Frank's health is absolutely fine," insisted Parr.

Virgin to launch 2011 car after first test
(GMM)  Virgin on Friday confirmed reports that its 2011 car will not be in action at the first pre-season test at Valencia.

The British team said the new single seater, the MVR-02 - with the 'M' standing for new Russian partner Marussia - will be revealed on February 7.

That London launch will take place a few days before the second of the four pre-season tests at Jerez in Spain.

"Further details will be provided very soon," Virgin Racing told the media.

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