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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Ricciardo Red Bull bound?
    Webber stays in 2012, Ricciardo coming in 2013 - Marko
  • Pirelli wants post-grand prix tire testing
  • Pirelli not bowing to pressure in tire selection
  • Kubica crash dimmed Kovalainen's rally hobby
  • Red Bull's rivals to keep on improving - Brawn

Webber stays in 2012, Ricciardo coming in 2013 - Marko
(GMM)  As Mark Webber prepares to commit to Red Bull for 2012, team consultant Dr Helmut Marko has given the strongest sign yet that his successor will be another Australian.

Marko reinvigorated the speculation about Webber's future in Hungary by saying that the 34-year-old is likely to retire after racing one more season.

"Mark Webber will continue with us for another year, and then he will decide what to do in his career," the outspoken Austrian is quoted by Italian publications including Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport.

Marko reportedly added that "Red Bull will decide who takes his place, although it is likely it will be (Daniel) Ricciardo".

He is referring to the 22-year-old Australian who recently made his grand prix debut at HRT with Red Bull backing.

"I thank the guys at Red Bull for the nice words, but it's still too early to talk about the future," said Ricciardo.

"I hope there is a chance to race with them, but first I need to beat my teammate Liuzzi, who is a few tenths ahead of me."

As for Webber's 2012 deal, he said he is on the verge of making his decision.

"I'll decide about my future at Spa," said Webber, referring to the forthcoming Belgian grand prix.

Asked if it is his decision alone, Webber simply answered "yes", adding that the only thing he is weighing up is "purely my own motivation for racing".

And as for Ricciardo, Webber told Austria's laola1: "I think he has a great future ahead of him."

Pirelli wants post-grand prix tire testing
(GMM)  Pirelli would like some tire tests to take place with the teams' involvement, Paul Hembery has confirmed.

This week, the Italian marque's official tester Lucas di Grassi is conducting Pirelli's latest private tire test at Monza.

But motor sport director Hembery admitted to Spain's AS sports newspaper that Pirelli would also like some more relevant data for its future development from the current crop of cars.

"We're working on it, but at the moment there's nothing to say.  We're asking for help, because the Toyota 2009 car is different from those in the (current) world championship.

"It would also be good to do some testing immediately after a grand prix.  We don't know yet on what date or at what circuit."

Asked if Monza is the most likely venue, Hembery insisted: "Really, nothing is clear yet."

Pirelli not bowing to pressure in tire selection
(GMM)  Paul Hembery has played down any lingering suspicions that the teams can influence the selection of tire compounds for grands prix.

Although Ferrari was disappointed with the selection of the hard tire at Silverstone, Pirelli has selected softer compounds to take to all of the forthcoming Belgian, Italian and Singapore grands prix.

Brazilian journalist Livio Oricchio said the selection is a "surprise" given the high speed nature of Spa and Monza.  "It's good news for Ferrari," he added.

Asked however if Pirelli feels pressure from teams like Ferrari, motor sport director Hembery insisted: "No.  I read what is in the press at the end of the work day, but nothing more than that.

"There are some compounds that suit some people better in general, in other cases it depends on the track or the weather.  It's very difficult to generalize," he told Spanish sports newspaper AS.

As for Pirelli's contribution to the 'show' in 2011, Hembery said the fact there has been more overtaking this season is "70 per cent (due to) the tires and 30pc the DRS".

He confirmed that the Italian tire supplier accepted Bernie Ecclestone's challenge of deliberately producing heavily-degrading tires for this year.

Told that F1 is the only corner of the tire industry where high degradation is a positive, he laughed: "Very good!

"You could say that, but only to some extent.  We need to tread carefully and show our tires and contribute to the show, but not by taking too many (safety) risks."

Kubica crash dimmed Kovalainen's rally hobby
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has admitted he is no longer so keen on rallying.

Before signing with Team Lotus last year after two seasons with McLaren, the Finn insisted he would "make sure that as well as formula one I am allowed to drive rallies".

The 29-year-old has contested several minor rallies in the past, but he told motorline.cc that F1 rival Robert Kubica's horror crash in February had dimmed his enthusiasm.

"I like to watch the rallies on TV," he said, "but right now I definitely don't have the time to pursue it actively myself.

"We all saw what happened to Robert, and for this reason the rally driving is not in my plans at the moment," added Kovalainen.

Red Bull's rivals to keep on improving - Brawn
(GMM)  After McLaren and Ferrari fielded cars with winning pace in July, Red Bull could be challenged even more once this month's summer break ends.

That is the view of Mercedes' Ross Brawn, who thinks the championship is likely to heat up at Spa-Francorchamps and beyond.

"It's impossible to predict what will happen from Spa," he is quoted by Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo, "but I think that as we saw Ferrari and McLaren managing to make their cars faster over the last three races, they are likely to improve even more."

Agreed Renault's sporting director Steve Nielsen: "Because Ferrari and McLaren are developing the aerodynamic exhaust later than Red Bull, they have more potential to improve it."

Toro Rosso's veteran technical chief Giorgio Ascanelli, however, disagrees, and HRT's Geoff Willis explains: "I know Adrian (Newey) well from Williams and how he works when the opposition gets tougher.

"I predict they (Red Bull) will come back to dominating the races, although not like early in the season because the competitors have come to understand some of their solutions."

While McLaren's drivers won the last two grands prix, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso would have won the championship by three points over Sebastian Vettel if the season consisted only of Valencia, Silverstone, the Nurburgring and Hungary.

Red Bull, meanwhile, might struggle on the high speed sections at Spa and then Monza.

"That's right, those two tracks are not exactly our best ones," Mark Webber told laola1.at in Austria this week.

"So we need to limit the damage and then attack again when we can," added the Australian.

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