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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • McLaren return 'difficult' admits de la Rosa
  • Renault stuns F1 with 'invisible' exhausts
  • Ecclestone no longer talking about bribe affair
  • Minor spat emerges between Kubica and Petrov
  • No tobacco link with new Renault livery - Lopez
  • Three more 2011 cars break cover as testing starts

McLaren return 'difficult' admits de la Rosa
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa has played down recent reports that he is close to returning to McLaren in 2011 as reserve driver.

The 39-year-old held the post at the famous British team for many years before securing his return to the grid with Sauber in 2010.

He was ousted mid-season, however, and his subsequent contract as Pirelli's main tire tester has just expired -- even though it is believed possible he could nonetheless stay with the Italian marque in 2011.

But reports in Spain recently said de la Rosa is on the verge of returning to McLaren for this season.

According to the EFE news agency, he said on Monday that while he is "hoping" to have a role in F1 this year, it will be "very difficult" to put a deal in place to be on the grid in March.

And de la Rosa added: "To be with McLaren looks difficult, but there are other alternatives.

"Today I have my mobile phone, because I need to know what I will be doing this year, but I'm going to have to wait a little longer," he said.

Renault stuns F1 with 'invisible' exhausts
(GMM)  According to widespread speculation at Valencia, Renault's claim that its 2011 car is "aggressive" and innovative is not just standard pre-season rhetoric.

Many insiders were left impressed and scratching their heads after the new black and gold R31 was unveiled in the Ricardo Tormo circuit pitlane on Monday.

Even the closer inspection of close-up photographs did not solve a mystery about the whereabouts of the car's engine exhaust exits -- amid rumors the outlets could even be near the front of the car for aerodynamic purposes.

Team owner Gerard Lopez told reporters the 2011 car is "quite revolutionary in a number of areas", and technical boss James Allison is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport as saying the R31 is a "very bold design".

France's Auto Hebdo quoted Allison as saying: "It is right to say this car is ambitious and differs in its entire concept not only from last year but from all the cars previously made by this team."

Auto Motor und Sport also said the purpose of two channels alongside the airbox and engine cover is "not yet apparent", adding that an element of the rear wing is "also unusual".

Also exciting the technically-minded observers is the Red Bull-like pull-rod rear suspension, but Polish driver Robert Kubica told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he is not setting his heart on race wins.

"I don't want to say too much because the last time we spoke about winning races, I was with BMW and half the season was a disaster," he said.

Ecclestone no longer talking about bribe affair
(GMM)  During an interview with a German newspaper on Monday, Bernie Ecclestone did not want to talk about accusations of bribery and corruption.

Other publications in the country claim it was the F1 chief executive who paid under-fire banker Gerhard Gribkowsky a $50m kickback amid the sale of the sport's commercial rights five years ago.

"On the advice of my lawyers I don't want to say anything more on this issue," said the 80-year-old, who has previously denied any connection with the bribe.

Ecclestone was slightly more forthcoming on the topic of the 2011 formula one season, but unlike last year - when he correctly predicted that Sebastian Vettel would win the title - he is not yet naming a favorite.

"There is the Spaniard (Fernando Alonso) in the red car who this year will not so easily accept defeat as in the last.  Sebastian of course will be strong, and I trust Mercedes and Michael Schumacher to make a leap.

"Any more than that, I want to wait until after the first tests," he insisted.

Ecclestone, however, is rarely uncontroversial in interviews, so he threw some more fuel on the fire of a spat with authorities in Melbourne.

"20 races is enough," he answered when asked about the future of F1.

"If we have some new races, some others will fall out -- we don't need Australia, for instance."

Minor spat emerges between Kubica and Petrov
(GMM)  A minor spat has broken out between Renault teammates Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov.

Last month, F1's Russian newcomer Petrov criticized Pole Kubica for giving him a cold welcome to the sport in 2010.

"You can't learn anything from him because he's a closed person," alleged Petrov.

The teammates came together on Monday as their car for the 2011 season, the black and gold R31, was unveiled in the Valencia pitlane ahead of this week's testing.

"I don't want to get too much into the details," Kubica answered when asked about Petrov's comments about him.

He then fired a barb at Petrov by joking that he learned something from the Russian last year.

"(I learned) how not to go off the track.  I'm joking," Kubica quipped.

Team boss Eric Boullier also refused to endorse Petrov's comments, arguing that it is not Kubica's responsibility to mentor a rookie.

"That is one of the many subjects that we have discussed with him (Petrov), that if he wants to deliver he has to find it by himself," Boullier, who procrastinated before signing Petrov's new two-year deal, is quoted by Reuters.

No tobacco link with new Renault livery - Lopez
(GMM)  Renault has hit back at reports that its new livery runs too close to laws against tobacco advertising.

The R31's black and gold colors are a tribute to the famous Lotus cars of the 70s and 80s, which were sponsored by the Imperial Tobacco label John Player Special.

A Health Canada spokesperson said last month that inspectors will look into whether the livery will violate the Tobacco Act when the F1 circus arrives in Montreal this year.

And an Imperial Tobacco spokesperson confirmed: "It is categorically against the law to present any likeness to a cigarette pack."

But Renault team owner Gerard Lopez hit back by saying the new black and gold livery has no connection with tobacco.

"Number one, we have no relationship with a tobacco company," he is quoted by The Independent newspaper.

"Even if we had, there is another famous team racing around in a color that is very close to a cigarette manufacturer," added Lopez, clearly referring to the openly Marlboro-sponsored Ferrari.

"For sure there is no interest in promoting anybody's brand.  If someone has a problem with that, they essentially have a problem with a non-issue," he said.

Three more 2011 cars break cover as testing starts (See Home Page)
(GMM)  Three more new cars broke cover on Tuesday ahead of the opening day of pre-season testing at Valencia.

Williams' FW33, featuring a KERS system designed by the famous team, is painted in interim navy-blue colors ahead of a livery launch at a later date.

It was debuted by Rubens Barrichello shortly after the pitlane opened at 10am.  Pastor Maldonado, whose sponsor PDVSA is one of only a few decals on the pre-launch car, will follow on Wednesday.

"We're optimistic.  We think this is a good car," said technical director Sam Michael.

Also launched early on Tuesday was the new Mercedes W02, painted in a striking new shinier silver and visibly very different to last year's car.

"The new Silver Arrow has little in common with its immediate predecessor," confirmed Norbert Haug, referring to the 2011 machine that will be debuted by Nico Rosberg.

Another car launched on Tuesday was Toro Rosso's STR6, but it was Fernando Alonso in Ferrari's new F150 with the fastest installation lap so far.

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