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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday UPDATE #2 2nd Updates shown blue below.

02/10/11 Updates shown in Red below.

  • Ferrari thinks its F1 car is a Ford truck
    Chandhok still waiting on Team Lotus deal for 2011
  • Ford sues Ferrari over F150 name
  • Haug happy to see Heidfeld push for race seat
  • Founders to pocket EUR 70m in Williams float
  • Kubica feared he was paralyzed in crash - manager
  • Pirelli takes all Slick compounds to Jerez
  • F1 world salutes injured Kubica at Jerez New
  • 2011 Ferrari now called 'F150th Italia' New
  • McLaren testing forward exhausts at Jerez New
  • Hulkenberg denies Mercedes contact over 2011 New

Chandhok still waiting on Team Lotus deal for 2011
(GMM) Ahead of his test in Team Lotus' newly launched T128 at Jerez this week, Karun Chandhok insists he is still yet to sign a deal for 2011.
It is expected that the Indian driver, who made his F1 debut with the HRT team last year, will be signed up by Team Lotus as a reserve driver.

It has also been reported that Chandhok needs to bring a specified amount of sponsorship to the Tony Fernandes-led squad and that he might get the chance to race at his inaugural home grand prix in Delhi this October.

"There are lot of 'ifs' in it," confirmed the 27-year-old at the Spanish test circuit. zzzz

"Right now I am here to do a test drive in one of the next three days. The deal is later and the rest comes way later," Chandhok told the Times of India.

It is believed Chandhok will drive on either Thursday or Friday. The Jerez test also runs over the weekend.

"It has been months since I last drove an F1 car and I am very excited to be back in the elite club," he added.

"I am sure I can add value to the team and its development program. Tony (Fernandes) and Mike Gascoyne understand the value I can bring to the team as a test driver.

"The final deal is yet to be finalized but things look bright at this point," said Chandhok.

Ford sues Ferrari over F150 name
(GMM) Ford is suing Ferrari after the famous Italian formula one team decided to call its 2011 car F150.

Ferrari had said the single seater is named in tribute of the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.

But F150 is a model of Ford's famous series of full-size pickup trucks.

Ford Motor Co. owns the trademark to F150 and is suing Ferrari in Detroit Federal Court.

The Ford lawsuit filed on Wednesday, claiming damage to the brand and unspecified damages, also refers to Ferrari's creation of the ferrari150.com website. zzzz

Reports said Ferrari's F150 logo, which can be seen at the aforementioned website, is similar to the Ford F-150 logo.

$100,000 in damages are therefore being claimed pursuant to the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, relating to internet domains that confuse the public.

Ford said it is seeking to prevent Ferrari from using the trademark in the US.

"Ferrari has misappropriated the F-150 trademark ... in order to capitalize on and profit from the substantial goodwill that Ford has developed," Ford said in its lawsuit.

Maranello based Ferrari is yet to comment.

"This is an important trademark for us and we've spent many years and lots of advertising resources on establishing this name and getting the trademark," Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari is quoted by the Detroit News.

"It's one we take very very seriously. It's one of our flagship vehicles."

Norbert Haug
Haug happy to see Heidfeld push for race seat
(GMM)  Mercedes is happy to see Nick Heidfeld return to F1 with a rival team in 2011.

After losing his BMW seat, the German kicked off last season as Mercedes' reserve driver, later becoming the Pirelli test driver before returning to the grid with Sauber.

Once again for 2011, the 33-year-old was facing the prospect of a season on the sidelines, but he was believed close to agreeing to return to his reserve role with Mercedes.

Now, however, Heidfeld will be testing the new Renault at Jerez this weekend, in contention to replace his injured former BMW teammate Robert Kubica.

Mercedes' motor racing boss Norbert Haug told Auto Motor und Sport that, due to the German marque not having a race seat to offer, he will not stand in Heidfeld's way.

"If Nick has the opportunity to race somewhere, we are the last ones to throw stones in his path," he said.

Founders to pocket EUR 70m in Williams float
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head will pocket the proceeds of Williams' Frankfurt float rather than invest it back into their famous British team.

The Oxfordshire based outfit announced on Wednesday that the pricing of the shares being offered to the public values Williams at about EUR 265 million.

That would make the 27 per cent stake on offer worth more than EUR 70 million.

A report in the Daily Mail said potential investors "may be concerned at the majority of the proceeds from the float going to Head rather than being ploughed into the company".

At a London press event on Wednesday, it emerged that Head is selling 17.7 per cent of his current stake, while team boss Sir Frank Williams' share is dwindling from 56.7 per cent to 50.3.

"I've never taken any money out before," confirmed Williams, 68.

Rather than raise money for the team, then, investors who buy more than 1 per cent of Williams might be attracted by the formation of a team "owners' club", including invitations to grands prix.

"So you'd need EUR 2.65 million, roughly, to buy 1 per cent, which I appreciate is a lot of money for most of us.

"But there are many people out there for whom that would be an interesting proposition," said team chairman Adam Parr.

"We have two dominant shareholders who are in their mid to late 60s, both in very fine condition but both looking to exit the business at some point," he continued.

"The flotation creates liquidity for them and, more importantly, for the team it creates stability -- we don't end up being owned by a Russian oligarch or a car company who might one day pull the pin," he added.

Parr also explained that Williams is floating in Germany because the London Stock Exchange would have seen the team fall foul of F1's strict commercial confidentiality rules.

Kubica feared he was paralyzed in crash - manager
(GMM)  Robert Kubica feared his horror rally crash had left him paralyzed, the Polish driver's manager has revealed.

After arriving at the Italian hospital in a critical condition last Sunday and having seven hours of surgery, the 26-year-old Renault driver was put in a coma.

He woke up this week and has been seeing visitors, and according to O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper he feared his badly damaged hand and other fractures and trauma were not his worst injuries.

"Robert asked me if his accident had left him paralyzed, and he asked me to be honest," manager Daniele Morelli revealed.

"I told him no, that he had nothing that could not be healed with time," he added.

Autosprint claims that Kubica does not yet know all the details of his injuries, including that his right hand had been almost severed.

The Italian report also said he remembers nothing about the crash.

Morelli also revealed that Kubica asked for a photograph of the late Pope John Paul II, a fellow Pole, to be at his bedside.

"Robert is under the effect of sedatives to take away the pain, but I have seen him smiling, he's okay.  The war is over," smiled Morelli.

"He is strong and tenacious and he will recover and be stronger than before."

Meanwhile, in addition to his other injuries that are publicly known, it has emerged that Kubica has a damaged heel.

And elbow surgery is currently not possible because it would require the driver to be rolled onto his stomach, and he is also nursing a punctured lung.

It is understood that Kubica will not require further surgery to his hand.

His next visitor will reportedly be Giancarlo Fisichella, after Jean Alesi visited him on Wednesday.

"He is particularly pleased to know that he will be able to regain his physical abilities," the Frenchman is quoted by autohebdo.fr.

Lotus-Renault team owner Gerard Lopez also visited Kubica on Wednesday.

"The important news is that Robert is alright.  We hope he can return soon, because we built this team around him," he told La Stampa.

Pirelli takes all Slick compounds to Jerez
New Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli has travelled to Jerez with all four types of Slick tires this week, with the Andalusian circuit allowing for a variety of different tests in comparison to Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo Track. Retaining the same names as Bridgestone’s types, the compounds are Super Soft, Soft, Medium and Hard.

As well as the Slick compounds, Pirelli has also arrived in the south of Spain with its Intermediate and Wet tires in the event of the weather turning, as it did last year.

“The feedback from all the drivers and teams after Valencia was very positive, but it is still early days and there's a lot of work to go through - particularly with all the new cars,” comments Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director.

“The four days at Jerez will allow the teams to get used to our tires on a circuit with different characteristics, in order to explore other aspects of their performance.

“The changes we have made to the medium compounds are not big, but they constitute another small step in the evolution of our PZero rubber which, as we have already seen, should help improve the spectacle during the coming season.

“Obviously the Formula 1 news this week has been dominated by Robert Kubica's accident in Italy and I know that I speak for everyone at Pirelli in wishing him an extremely speedy recovery.”

F1 world salutes injured Kubica at Jerez
(GMM)  The ultra-competitive world of formula one pulled together on Thursday as one of the sport's best drivers lay in hospital.

Pole Robert Kubica would have returned to the track this week at Jerez, but an horror rally crash in Italy has left him in hospital with serious injuries and facing the prospect of a year on the sidelines.

The message 'Szybkiego powrotu do zdrowia Robert' - meaning in Polish 'get well quickly Robert' - was first posted on the website of the F1 teams association FOTA.

Then, as the cars began to filter out of the pits on Thursday morning, it emerged that every runner was carrying the same message somewhere on his car, including the new McLaren that was given its proper test debut by Lewis Hamilton.

"Very touching," said The Times' correspondent Kevin Eason on Twitter when he heard about the Kubica tributes.

Kubica, 26, is facing more surgery later this week, but for now he has moved out of the intensive care unit.

"We are sure he will get out of this and we can't wait to see him back on track," said Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali.

2011 Ferrari now called 'F150th Italia'
(GMM)  Ferrari has changed the name of its 2011 formula one car.

It emerged on Thursday that Ford is suing the famous Italian marque after Ferrari called this year's single seater F150.

The name was a tribute to the 150th anniversary of Italian unification, but Ford owns the trademark to F-150 for its famous pickup truck model.

Subsequent to the reports of legal action, Ferrari has twice on Thursday already referred to its 2011 car as the "Ferrari F150th Italia", as testing resumes at Jerez.

"Before the lunch break, Fernando Alonso completed just over two hundred kilometers at the wheel of the Ferrari F150th Italia," said the team in one bulletin.

And in a separate official report, Ferrari said there had been "two million hits from 149 countries for the Ferrari F150th Italia on the Ferrari (web)site".

Referring to the recent launch of the car, the team also reminded readers that "web surfers were able to follow the presentation of the Ferrari F150th Italia" live.

McLaren testing forward exhausts at Jerez
(GMM)  McLaren was testing a Renault-like forward-exiting exhaust concept on its newly launched MP4-26 car at Jerez on Thursday.

The car debuted by Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish circuit therefore differed fundamentally from the version launched in Berlin recently, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

There had been speculation that the 2011 McLaren was set to race with an unique exhaust layout this season, after Robert Kubica drove the similarly innovative Renault R31 to the fastest time in Valencia last week before injuring himself in a rally crash.

Auto Motor und Sport's Jerez correspondent said McLaren's rear-exiting conventional exhaust layout had mysteriously vanished when Hamilton exited the pits at Jerez on Thursday morning.

Instead, the exhausts are now exiting at the front of the sidepods, with the innovation only spotted by reporters when mechanics had to pause on one occasion whilst pushing Hamilton back into the garage after a run on Thursday.

"As with the Renault the detail is very difficult to photograph," confirmed the German report.

Hulkenberg denies Mercedes contact over 2011
(GMM)  Although he will not be on the Bahrain grid, Nico Hulkenberg will not be sitting idle in 2011.

The ousted Williams driver is set to drive Force India's new car on every Friday morning practice this year, and according to Auto Motor und Sport he will also have other duties.

The German publication said the 23-year-old might contest a few rounds of the European Le Mans sports car series, as well as commentating on F1 with the German pay-broadcaster Sky.

Replaced at Williams by pay-driver Pastor Maldonado, Hulkenberg ended his disappointing winter by sampling Force India's 2010 car at Valencia last week.

But he then had to revert to a spectator's role that he must now get used to.

"Watching hurts," confirmed the German.  "But the main thing is that I am still here, and hope dies last."

Hulkenberg's manager thinks the Force India role was a case of damage limitation.

"It was the best solution possible, after waiting for Williams for so long," he said.

There had been rumors of a similar reserve driver role with Mercedes.

"There was no contact between Mercedes and me," clarifies Hulkenberg.  "If I'd gone there it would have been harder for me to draw attention to myself as Mercedes already has two very good drivers."

Auto Motor und Sport said there had been some contact with McLaren, but for now Hulkenberg is satisfied with hopefully following in Paul di Resta's footsteps by preceding a full race seat with a season of Friday driving with Force India.

"This is my chance and I have to use it," he insisted.

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