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Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday
  • Jerome d'Ambrosio
    D'Ambrosio could switch teams for 2012 - Boullier
  • Hamilton says contract demands to 'shock' McLaren
  • Heidfeld eyes Kubica, Petrov's race seat for 2012
  • Red Bull chiefs threatened walkout over exhaust saga
  • Mateschitz confirms Webber staying in 2012
  • Mallya wants to keep 'star' di Resta in 2012
  • Kobayashi eyes 'space' at top F1 teams

D'Ambrosio could switch teams for 2012 - Boullier
(GMM)  Jerome d'Ambrosio can relax about his future in formula one, his manager Eric Boullier insists.

Belgian d'Ambrosio is contesting his rookie season for the Virgin team in 2012 but has regularly been outpaced by experienced teammate Timo Glock.

But according to Renault team boss Boullier, who also heads the driver management outfit Gravity, d'Ambrosio can either choose to stay at Virgin in 2012 or switch his package to another interested team.

"I have an option -- or, rather, I will talk with Jerome and another team at the Nurburgring," the Frenchman told the Belgian daily La Derniere Heure.

D'Ambrosio, 25, believes his first season in F1 this year is not going badly.

"Right now I would say that things are not too bad for a newcomer," he told L'Equipe sports daily at Silverstone.

"I feel more at ease now, even if technically I still have a lot to learn.  Gradually I'm getting used to it and I'm feeling good."

He admitted however that he is struggling to adjust to his place near the very back of the field.

"From the outside, I can understand what it seems to see someone lapped two, three times per race.  But I'm still in F1!  Ok, I'm far from the fastest but compared to all the other race cars in the world, it's the very best.

"I would probably have more fun in a McLaren or a Red Bull, but I am extremely lucky to be one of the only 24 drivers in the world to have a F1 car," added d'Ambrosio.

Hamilton says contract demands to 'shock' McLaren
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has revealed he will demand a less arduous off-track schedule when he negotiates a new contract with McLaren.

The 2008 world champion's current deal includes 2012, but it emerged last week that a success-related break clause could open the door for a switch to Red Bull.

However, Christian Horner on Saturday estimated the chance of a Sebastian Vettel/Hamilton lineup next year as "slim to nil", at the same time as a frustrated Hamilton was publicly laying out his demands for a new deal at McLaren.

"When I re-sign the contract with McLaren they are going to be shocked at how many days they are not going to be able to make me do," Hamilton told reporters after qualifying tenth near the end of a demanding pre-Silverstone media and sponsor schedule.

"I will be doing a lot less work.  There is definitely a danger of burn-out," said the Briton.

Hamilton, who has had a poor run of results and been the subject of intense speculation as well as criticism recently, admitted he is looking forward to F1's August break.

"It is nice to know I have got that coming up," said the 26-year-old, admitting he feels "older" than 30.  "Am I tired?  Um, maybe.  Have I trained?  No, never trained for the past two weeks.

"But what's important is that the sponsors are happy," he quipped.

The comments mean McLaren's PR machine might need to roll out again in the wake of the British grand prix, particularly as Hamilton has reverted to pessimism about his chances of success.

"I think we might have run out of miracles," said the Briton.  "I think I drove the car as well as I could.  It's going to be a long, long season."

Even his McLaren crew did not escape criticism.

"It was a poor performance," said Hamilton after qualifying tenth.  "I can't see the weather forecast from inside my car but I kept asking my guy 'What's the weather doing?'

"Everyone else went out on new tires, while I was out on old ones."

But even team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted that the championship is no longer the main focus.

"To say we are concentrating on winning championships would be the wrong focus.  We have to concentrate on winning races again," he said.

Heidfeld eyes Kubica, Petrov's race seat for 2012
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld has revealed he wants to stay at Renault next year, in either Robert Kubica or Vitaly Petrov's place.

The 34-year-old German was drafted in for 2011 in the wake of Polish regular Kubica's horror rally crash in February.

Kubica's management insist the 26-year-old might return late in 2011, but Heidfeld has admitted he wants to stay at Renault beyond that.

Asked at Silverstone if he is thinking about 2012, he replied: "Yes I am and I am doing that by focusing entirely on this season.

"Nothing is more convincing than good results," Heidfeld told F1's official website.

"I would like to stay at Lotus Renault very much but I don't know what the exact situation is with Vitaly, and even less so with Robert."

But both Renault and Heidfeld have been struggling for form recently, with team boss Eric Boullier criticizing the veteran after Monaco for not delivering in qualifying.

"I can truly say that in the last couple of races I've performed almost to maximum," he insists.

As for the car, added Heidfeld: "I think it is fair to say that we've fallen a bit behind compared to the beginning of the season, but I am convinced that we will move forward again and it would be nice to see this trend before we head into the summer break."

Red Bull chiefs threatened walkout over exhaust saga
(GMM)  Red Bull chiefs threatened to boycott the British grand prix over the blown exhaust scandal, according to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

When it emerged that the team's 50 per cent throttle concession was withdrawn before qualifying at Silverstone, Christian Horner was reportedly furious as he hopped between emergency meetings with FIA president Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone.

"Ecclestone persuaded Horner to stay," said the newspaper.

For now, Red Bull has accepted the current situation ahead of more talks on Sunday morning, where all the teams have been asked by the FIA to agree to dropping the clampdown altogether.

"It would be the fairest solution for everyone but experience tells me that self-interest in such a dispute always plays a role," McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Agreed Mercedes' Ross Brawn, to SID news agency: "The issue is so complex that it will be difficult to find a way.  But I hope we do."

It is believed that Williams is yet to sign the letter confirming the teams' unanimous position on reversing the clampdown.

"I need to discuss our position with Cosworth," Williams' technical director Sam Michael is quoted by autohebdo.fr.

And Ferrari, whose Fernando Alonso leapt into race-winning contention with a strong qualifying on Saturday, is reportedly staying out of the debate but its customer team Sauber is yet to sign the unanimity letter.

"We are thinking too small in our small and dedicated world," Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali told the Guardian.

"People outside do not care about hot gases or cold gases.  We need to take the level of discussion to another platform.  This is the big challenge that we face for the future of formula one," he said.

Mateschitz confirms Webber staying in 2012
(GMM)  Dietrich Mateschitz has all but confirmed that Mark Webber is staying with the Red Bull team in 2012.

There has been intense speculation about next year's occupant of the seat alongside Sebastian Vettel, but team owner Mateschitz hinted strongly that the nominated driver will be a 34-year-old Australian.

"In theory it's still open, but it (Webber being re-signed) is probable.  It's just not confirmed yet," the Austrian billionaire told Kronen Zeitung.

Mateschitz said the speculation began because Webber was not sure if he wanted to stay.

"But in the early summer, he (Webber) said 'Definitely, I feel good, fast and strong.  I will hang around for another year.'"

Webber is believed to have confirmed the news on Australian television after winning pole position for Sunday's British grand prix.

Mallya wants to keep 'star' di Resta in 2012
(GMM)  Vijay Mallya has revealed he will try to keep Paul di Resta at Force India in 2012.

Scot di Resta, the reigning DTM champion, has had a stellar debut F1 season so far and at Silverstone qualified an impressive sixth.

But he retains strong links with Mercedes-Benz, amid speculation the German marque could be hoping to slot the 25-year-old alongside Nico Rosberg at its works team.

Force India owner and boss Mallya, however, insists he has di Resta under contract.

"I haven't put Paul in the car without having clear options going forward, and he is also very, very happy in this environment and in this team," said the Indian billionaire.

"I would be foolish to let go of a star, so we'll talk later in the year, but I feel the odds are more in favor of Paul remaining with Force India.

"When I first signed him up I told him we wanted a commitment which he was happy to give, and so I was happy to give him a break," added Mallya.

Kobayashi eyes 'space' at top F1 teams
(GMM)  Reports about a new contract for 2012 were "too early", Kamui Kobayashi has insisted at Silverstone.

A few days ago, the Swiss newspaper Blick - with close links to Hinwil based Sauber - said confirmation of a new deal for the exciting Japanese is due "soon".

The report said the 24-year-old is almost certainly staying at Sauber, but he is earning increasing respect within the F1 paddock, with British pundit Martin Brundle on Saturday describing Kobayashi as a 'world class driver'.

"Sauber is a good place to learn F1 -- it's a private team and if something is not going well then Peter Sauber talks to me and I have to improve," Kobayashi is quoted as saying by AFP.

"It's a good experience.  But I still have more than nine races (to go) and it is too early to say (what will happen).  Red Bull and McLaren are top teams, but I don't think they have any space," he added.

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