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DATE News (chronologically)
05/02/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  
  • Jenson Button would be a fool to leave McLaren
    McLaren to keep Button for 'years' - Whitmarsh
  • Webber not ruling out team switch for 2012
  • Drivers ask for DRS ban in Monaco
  • Hospital seeks EUR 100,000 for Kubica stay
  • Drug find to put heat on F1 transporters
  • Sauber 'best place in F1' for rookies
  • Ecclestone says no takeover talks with Ferrari
  • Rosberg unsure about Turn 8 impact for tires
  • Monaco upgrades for Toro Rosso
  • Schumacher: Mercedes should be fast again
  • Vettel only talks Ferrari when asked

McLaren to keep Button for 'years' - Whitmarsh
(GMM)  McLaren is poised to agree a new multi-year contract with Jenson Button.

The 2009 world champion moved to the famous Woking based squad from Brawn at the end of his title-winning season, reportedly signing a three-year deal.

The French news agency AFP quotes Button, 31, as saying he is happy at McLaren.

"I can't see any reason to be anywhere else.  I'm driving for one of the best teams in the world," he said.

"It's a position that most drivers would love to be in and I've worked very hard for it.  I might be around for three years, five years ... I don't know."

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said: "If Jenson says he is totally committed and wants to do 'x' more years, then I suspect that we could quickly come to an agreement.

"He's a tremendous asset to the team and when we get around to that, I hope that it will be a quick and easy conversation," he added.

Webber not ruling out team switch for 2012
(GMM)  Mark Webber has contradicted Christian Horner's claim that he will retire if he leaves Red Bull.

Team boss Horner said recently that Australian Webber has "no desire" to switch to a rival camp as his current contract is set to expire at the end of 2011.

The 34-year-old has had a difficult start to the new season but told La Stampa in Turin that he is confident of a surge in form.

"When this championship ends my contract with Red Bull does as well," Webber told the Italian newspaper.  "But I don't think it depends on the results; I want to win for me.

"We'll see," added Webber.  "If the team doesn't want me any more, I will have to ask myself a question -- hang up my helmet or change teams?"

He admitted he has "flaws" but said his teammate and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel does too.

"I'm determined.  Last year I fought for the title and I want to do it again."

As for Vettel, Webber answered: "Sebastian is very fast and he now has a good amount of experience.  But he's not unbeatable.

"I prefer not to talk about his weaknesses, but we all have them," he insisted.

Drivers ask for DRS ban in Monaco
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen agrees that the moveable rear wing 'DRS' systems should be banned in Monaco later this month.

His Team Lotus teammate Jarno Trulli said the overtaking aid could be "dangerous" and also ineffective on the famously tight barrier-lined streets.

"It's a safety issue," the Italian is quoted by Autosprint, "and also the straights are too short to get any advantage."

Finn Kovalainen told ITV he agreed with the 2004 Monaco winner.

"(With) all the potential consequences that there could be in Monaco, you don't want it to fail (and) you don't want to have any attention going anywhere else but at the track," he said.

"I think it (a ban) makes sense," added Kovalainen.

The Finn admitted, however, that of all the rule changes in recent years, the DRS has been arguably the best one.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg agrees, telling reporters at the DTM season opener in Hockenheim that the system was "maybe the best ever idea to make the sport more interesting".

As for the purists' objections, the German driver insisted: "It's the same for everyone; everyone has the same opportunity."

It must be noted that Rosberg's attitude about DRS could be colored by the fact that, when not malfunctioning, the adjustable wing aboard Mercedes' W02 car is arguably the best in F1.

"When it works, as it did in China, our system is very good," admitted Norbert Haug.

Hospital seeks EUR 100,000 for Kubica stay
(GMM)  The Italian hospital that nursed Robert Kubica back to health is set to file an insurance claim to recover the hefty bill.

Italian reports including La Gazzetta dello Sport, La Stampa and ANSA say the Pole's 76-day stay in Pietra Ligure's Santa Corona hospital cost about EUR 100,000.

The reports said the hospital will make the claim, amounting to more than EUR 1300 per day for the duration of the lengthy stay, to the 26-year-old Renault driver's insurers.

It also emerges that Kubica was personally invited to Sunday's beatification of his late countryman John Paul II.

His manager Daniele Morelli however said the driver did not travel to Rome because he is getting a few days of complete rest before commencing his rehabilitation in Italy.

Drug find to put heat on F1 transporters
(GMM)  Motor sport transporters are facing the prospect of more police checks following an incident in the UK last month.

The Telegraph reports that huge amounts of drugs and a gun was found in trucks belonging to the World Superbike series team Kawasaki whilst travelling by road and ferry from Italy.

A source at the UK Border Agency said: "Our intelligence analysts will be looking much more closely at motor sport vehicles from now on, including Superbikes and even formula one.

"They have been pulled over very rarely and that will now change," added the source.

Sauber 'best place in F1' for rookies
(GMM)  Sauber's 2011 pairing shows that the Swiss team is the best place for formula one rookies.

That is the claim of team boss and owner Peter Sauber, who wrote in his latest column for Sonntagsblick that he is "absolutely" happy with drivers Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi.

"I am particularly pleased that once more it has paid off to work with young drivers," he said, after signing rookie Mexican Perez this year and giving the exciting Kobayashi his break in 2010 following Toyota's withdrawal from F1.

Sauber has also introduced names including Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, and even Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel, to the F1 racing grid.

"To go with a rookie is always a risk," said Sauber, "but it has worked for us again this time.

"It's not just about making the right choice, but just as much important to give them an environment where they can develop," he told the Swiss newspaper.

"I think that without exaggeration I can say that for a F1 rookie there is no better place than Sauber," he insisted.

Ecclestone says no takeover talks with Ferrari
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has denied speaking with officials of the Fiat/Ferrari group about a potential takeover of formula one.

Amid the reports of News Corporation and Carlos Slim's interest in buying the commercial rights from CVC, it was speculated that Ferrari and its Italian carmaker parent might also be involved in the takeover consortium.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone was asked about the rumors, including Ferrari's rumored involvement, by the German newspaper Die Welt.

"I can assure you that none of those you have referred to as allegedly interested have spoken on this matter with CVC or with me," answered the 80-year-old.

"CVC has no intention of selling formula one," added Ecclestone.

He said the private equity company is completely happy with its investment.

"We haven't had races as exciting as this for a long time," he insisted.  "We have contracts for grands prix in twenty countries and six other countries who want a race.

"Formula one is stronger, more stable and successful than ever before," said Ecclestone.

He also rubbished rumors he is preparing to retire.

"I don't know where that came from but it's true that I don't work for the money.  In the past few decades with all the people who have supported me we have achieved a lot and it still gives me a lot of joy.  It's my life," added Ecclestone.

Rosberg unsure about Turn 8 impact for tires
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has admitted he is travelling to Istanbul this week with an eye on the Turkey track's famous Turn 8.

The high speed corner is a multiple-apex left hander that concerned F1's new tire supplier Pirelli so much that it recently tested at Istanbul Park and considered introducing new super-hard tires to cope with its demands.

Ultimately, drivers will have to cope this weekend with the now-commonplace soft and hard tire compound selection.

Asked about Turn 8, Mercedes driver Rosberg is quoted by sport1.de: "It's a very, very long corner and who knows what's going to happen with the tires.

"It's going to be extremely stressful for the right front in particular," he added, after the first three races of 2010 saw the same Pirelli tires degrade quite dramatically.

Monaco upgrades for Toro Rosso
Toro Rosso's chief engineer Laurent Mekies told the team's official website that there were plans for two major update packages – the first of which would be in Monte Carlo.

"We have planned major steps for car development during the year that have been established since before the start of the season," he said. "At some point pre-season, you have to sign off the car to go into production to be built and maybe you have a good idea for a component the next day, so these are the building blocks for your next development update.

"This has indeed been the case with us and we will see a significant step introduced in Monaco and another one later in the season. These two steps are planned and will hopefully provide good performance improvements, however, it is also true that with minimal testing allowed, we have been trying different set-ups at the races and these can lead you down different paths in terms of ride height, or the type of springs to use, or in terms of the aero balance on the car and these elements can also impact on the development strategy for the car."

"From a Toro Rosso point of view, we discovered more or less what we had expected after the winter testing when the car proved to be well born," he said.

"At the first race, we found we had a reasonable race pace and our direct competition came, as expected from Williams, Force India and Sauber and we found ourselves fighting these guys throughout the opening three races of the championship.

"Our STR6 appeared to have the potential to fight them, which was good news. Qualifying went well in all three races, converting that into points in Melbourne, but not in the next two rounds, but I think that from a performance level, we were right there at all three races. However, it is part of the game that in some races you manage to put everything together properly and in others you do not: this happened to us, it can also happen to our opponents and this explains our position, just trailing a few points behind Sauber in the table.

"We are going to have an interesting fight with these three or four teams all season long – if you like, this is our championship battle within the championship."

Schumacher: Mercedes should be fast again
Michael Schumacher feels that the Mercedes team's speed shown in China will repeat this coming weekend in Turkey.

"I know that the team have been working very hard to continue the progress that we made during the last race weekend in China and, with the help of some developments planned for Istanbul, I am confident that we can enjoy an equally positive weekend," said Schumacher.

Teammate Nico Rosberg agreed with Schumacher.

"We had a more difficult start to 2011 than we had expected, and the first three races felt a little like a rollercoaster of emotions," he said.

"We were all disappointed in Melbourne and Malaysia but, after leading the race in Shanghai, we have confirmed the potential of our car. The team did a very good job to take a step forward and we learned a lot from the weekend."

Team principal Ross Brawn added: "The team and drivers have worked extremely hard in the short break before the European season begins to ensure that we continue to move forward.

"We have a fundamentally good car and we need to achieve its full potential in the races to come. The Chinese Grand Prix reminded everyone at the team what it is like to fight for a race. We didn't succeed on that occasion but it's a feeling that we would like to experience more often.

"When the car is working properly, we can be more competitive and the solutions we are bringing to Turkey will help us achieve this level more consistently. However, we also know that we need to push for more performance if we want to fight regularly at the front. The first three races have been a challenge but we have pulled together and will continue working hard to make progress."

Vettel only talks Ferrari when asked
Sebastian Vettel admits that his name has been closely linked with a Ferrari drive over recent months, but insists that this is only because he was quizzed on a regular basis over the possibility of joining the Italian team. However, all rumors were quashed when a fresh Red Bull deal was signed in mid-March.

“If I bring it up so often it’s because they ask me often,” the German explained in an interview with Italy’s Autosprint.

“Indeed, there are two reasons. The first is that Ferrari is something special, as I have said many times. The second is that I have to answer who asks me…so it’s a matter which fuels itself.

“For me, the Ferrari name is a legend and one day it would be an honor for me to put my name on its list of drivers; but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go there now - I'm happy where I am and that's why I renewed the contract with Red Bull.”

On 14 March it was confirmed by Red Bull that Vettel, who stepped up from sister team Toro Rosso for 2009, will be staying on-board under the end of 2014.

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