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Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Texas F1 track named 'Circuit of the Americas'
  • Hulkenberg eyes 2012 Force India race seat
  • Montezemolo wants Alonso for PM, no job for Massa
  • Horner vows to get Webber back into 2011 fight
  • Razia and Valsecchi to drive Lotus cars on Friday
  • Virgin must speed up to stay ahead of HRT - Glock
  • Sepang 'fascinating' not confusing - Coulthard
  • Interlagos run-off to be ready for 2011 race

Texas F1 track named 'Circuit of the Americas'
(GMM)  The venue for next year's inaugural US grand prix in Texas has been officially named 'Circuit of the Americas'.

The news was announced at the same time as a MotoGP event for 2013 was added to the new Austin track's calendar.

"We are building a destination for entertainment and business, not simply a race track, and this brand reflects that entire idea," said promoter Tavo Hellmund in a press conference.

The $250 million facility is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in mid-2012.

Hulkenberg eyes 2012 Force India race seat
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg this week reiterated his hope of returning to the F1 grid next year with Force India.

The 23-year-old German and 2010 Interlagos polesitter had a promising debut last season but was replaced by Williams for 2011 with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.

In Bangalore on Tuesday for the launch of the Silverstone based team's new Indian driver academy, Hulkenberg told DNA India that he wants to turn the disappointment of losing his Williams drive into a Force India race seat in 2012.

This year, the German appears in the VJM04 cockpit for the initial Friday morning practice session at every grand prix.

"I want to race," he said.  "On the other side, I am happy that Force India have picked me up.  It has given me a chance to prove my talent and deliver.

"Hopefully, they can give me a chance to drive (race) next year," said Hulkenberg.

He said he was disappointed to lose his seat at Williams but understands the British team's need to raise its budget with "a pay-driver".

"They had always mentioned that they see me as a long term driver with the team and they never mentioned that they were unhappy with my performance," said Hulkenberg.

"At the end of the year, the story developed that they were losing sponsors and needed money, and they needed a pay-driver.  Then came Pastor Maldonado," he added.

Montezemolo wants Alonso for PM, no job for Massa
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo has responded mischievously to speculation about his future in politics.

It has been rumored the Italian might hang up his hat as Ferrari president for a new calling, to which he told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Me in politics?  Yes, with Alonso as prime minister.

"I would have him because he has the strongest character and is optimistic but also a realist."

Montezemolo then named a cabinet of senior ministers to support his Spanish prime minister.

"Vettel, who is smart and fast, Rosberg for being able to hold off Schumacher, Perez for his talent and Hamilton, a great champion," he said.

Notably missing from Montezemolo's cabinet was Felipe Massa, whose Ferrari contract runs out at the end of the season.

He did however refer to three F1 legends: "Lauda, who was able to never pay for anything, not even a drink, Schumacher never gave up, and before he died Senna told me that his dream was to win a world championship with Ferrari."

Back to reality, Montezemolo admitted that after a tough start to the 2011 world championship for Ferrari, it is unrealistic to expect the 150 Italia car to win in China this weekend.

"I expect some improvement, but it will be difficult to reverse the situation in one week," he said.

The Italian continued to rail against modern F1, including its reliance on aerodynamics, "Because we are building cars, not planes or satellites".

He admitted he wants private track testing to return "To help young guys develop and for safety", and criticized FIA officials' decision last Sunday to penalize Alonso and Lewis Hamilton after a duel at Sepang.

"Let's not overreact, it was a great fight between them," said Montezemolo.

Horner vows to get Webber back into 2011 fight
(GMM)  A priority for Red Bull is getting Mark Webber into the championship fight, insists team boss Christian Horner.

Australian Webber's 2011 campaign had a horror opening salvo in Melbourne, but he looked more competitive at Sepang until suffering a KERS failure at the start of the race.

In the sister RB7, teammate Sebastian Vettel is now enjoying a clear championship lead after back-to-back wins from pole.

Horner told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera: "The only problem is how to get Mark Webber back in the picture.

"He is one of the strongest drivers and I know he will get back," added the Briton, who praised Webber's recovery drive to fourth with a four-stop strategy in Malaysia.

However, there is no doubt that the men of the moment at Red Bull are Vettel and car designer Adrian Newey, but Horner did not want to say which of them is most important to the team.

"There is no answer to that.  We need them both," said Horner.

As for the goal of more wins and titles, he explained: "We want to do it in our own way and create a legacy for Red Bull.

"Lewis Hamilton was quite right when he said that we're only a drinks manufacturer.  So far so good.

"It's great to win, just like Benetton, which was only a jumper maker," he smiled.

Razia and Valsecchi to drive Lotus cars on Friday
(GMM)  Both Team Lotus regulars will sit out initial practice on Friday morning.

The Tony Fernandes-led team has announced that reserve drivers Luiz Razia and Davide Valsecchi will take over the T128s for the first official session in Shanghai.

Italian Valsecchi drove Heikki Kovalainen's green car early at Sepang last Friday, two weeks after Karun Chandhok stood in for Jarno Trulli in Melbourne but crashed.

"It's a great opportunity," Brazilian Razia told the Agencia Estado.  "I will do the first practice with two sets of tires and one or two new items brought straight from the factory."

Virgin must speed up to stay ahead of HRT - Glock
(GMM)  Virgin needs to step up in order to avoid falling to the very back of the grid, Timo Glock has warned.

Already frustrated with the pace of the MVR02, the German driver said he hopes a major new package designed by Nick Wirth for May's Turkish grand prix delivers two seconds per lap.

"That's what we need," said Glock, referring to the gap to the next-best team, Lotus.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the Istanbul package includes a higher nose, a new floor and Red Bull-like exhaust, modified rear suspension and new wings.

"If we don't go forward, soon HRT will get us," warned Glock.

He said the situation at present is lonely, given the big gap to Lotus and an advantage over the Hispania cars.

And it is expected that Lotus could speed even further ahead in Turkey when an all-new power steering system is added to the T128.

"At the beginning I am able to keep up with Lotus but after a few laps I can't hold them.  We are simply two seconds too slow," said Glock.

Sepang 'fascinating' not confusing - Coulthard
(GMM)  David Coulthard has scoffed at suggestions the Malaysian grand prix was too confusing a spectacle.

Journalists but also some teams and drivers said after Sepang that it was difficult to understand the race as its 59 pitstops unfolded.

"Honestly, you cannot win with some people," former grand prix winner and now British television commentator Coulthard wrote in his Telegraph column.

"First F1 is too boring, now it is too hectic.  Personally, I found it fascinating watching the evolving strategies out there," said the Scot.

His commentary box sidekick Martin Brundle agreed, revealing that F1's "Fleet Street boys" denounced the race as "totally confusing".

"I told them DC and me were on top of it no problem," he wrote on Twitter.

But it wasn't just the media concerned about the spectacle after Malaysia, with Felipe Massa admitting to Agencia Estado that "All the pitstops made it difficult for us to understand where the others are and what they are doing".

Pirelli's Paul Hembery thinks the situation will settle down as the season progresses.

"I think the teams will get used to it and learn more about how to use the tires," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

"The teams have a lot of engineering ability and they will find the right setups and balance and adapt in terms of tire life.  The drivers will adapt their driving style.

"We need to see in the middle of the season if the races are still the same," added motor sport director Hembery.

Interlagos run-off to be ready for 2011 race
(GMM)  Brazilian authorities have confirmed reports that a decision has been made to alter the Curva do Cafe corner ahead of this year's grand prix at Interlagos.

Stock car driver Gustavo Sondermann's death after bouncing off the wall back onto the racing line was the third fatality at the high speed left-hand bend in four years.

Agencia Estado reports that the decision to demolish a section of grandstand and install an inclined run-off area was taken jointly by the Brazilian federation CBA, the administrators of the circuit and the city of Sao Paulo.

The proposal will now be sent to the FIA, after which an inspector will visit the circuit to approve the works.

It is expected that the change will be completed by August, in time for a stock car race and well in advance of the F1 season finale.

"The issue has been treated very seriously by everyone," said motor racing federation CBA board member Paulo Gomes.  "I want to thank mayor Gilberto Kassab and (Sao Paulo tourism president) Caio Luiz de Carvalho for their efforts."

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