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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Liuz Razia
    Vettel holidays on Ecclestone's yacht
  • Renault owner Lopez 'expected more' from Heidfeld
  • Razia in talks for Team Lotus race debut at Interlagos
  • 'Sad' to see 'superman' Schumacher struggle - Ecclestone
  • Alonso has fond memories of Hamilton pairing
  • Ecclestone watches female driver de Villota test F1 car
  • Chandhok denies ruling out Indian GP race seat
  • Former F1 owners sue Ecclestone for $100m
  • Austin calls off Red Bull/Coulthard F1 demo
  • Kolles: HRT better off than many

Vettel holidays on Ecclestone's yacht
(GMM)  Reigning champion and 2011 title leader Sebastian Vettel has this week been holidaying with Bernie Ecclestone.

Bild newspaper published a photograph of the 24-year-old Red Bull driver waterskiing off the coast of Croatia, near F1 chief executive Ecclestone's yacht 'Petara'.

The amateur photographer said: "I had no idea who I was photographing -- I was just trying out a new lens."

Vettel will return to work on Monday, when he drives in Red Bull's F1 simulator in Milton Keynes (UK).

Renault owner Lopez 'expected more' from Heidfeld
(GMM)  Renault team owner Gerard Lopez has admitted he is disappointed with Nick Heidfeld.

"We expected more from him," the Genii Capital chief is quoted as saying by Brazil's Globo Esporte.

German veteran Heidfeld, 34, was signed by the Enstone based team at short notice this year to replace injured regular Robert Kubica.

There is now speculation that Renault is considering replacing him with Bruno Senna or Romain Grosjean.

"I have mixed feelings about Nick," Lopez explained.  "We have to recognize the great contribution he made at the beginning of the season.

"He helped us to develop the new exhaust system which was not easy to understand.  It gave us a clear direction in the development of the car.

"Now, in terms of results, there is no doubt that we expected more from him and (we) are disappointed."

Globo Esporte reported that the Renault team, whose owner Genii is collaborating on a $10 billion investment with Brazilian company WWI, is considering running Senna in November's season finale at Interlagos.

Razia in talks for Team Lotus race debut at Interlagos
(GMM)  Liuz Razia has admitted he is looking for sponsors in order to make his formula one race debut with Team Lotus in 2012.

The 22-year-old Brazilian is a reserve and occasional Friday driver this season, and races with Team Lotus boss and owner Tony Fernandes' GP2 team.

Globo Esporte reports that Razia will be back at the wheel of the T128 in free practice at Interlagos, and the driver revealed that there is an outside chance he will stay in the cockpit for the entire weekend.

"It is very difficult for me, no one knows who is Luiz Razia," he is quoted as saying.  "There are 20 Brazilian drivers out there and I think not everyone has a sponsor.

"If we can change that, a few Brazilians are going to be racing in the future."

He said he is targeting a race seat for 2012.

"There is a possibility," revealed Razia.  "We are working to get sponsors for next year and it's a situation that also involves other factors.

"The initial conversation has been going since June.  We are working for 2012, but why not start in Brazil?  We are in negotiations," he added.

Globo Esporte said Razia is also in talks to drive on Friday in Abu Dhabi, two weeks before the Interlagos finale.

'Sad' to see 'superman' Schumacher struggle - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has admitted it is "sad" to see F1 great Michael Schumacher battling for minor points at grands prix.

The F1 chief executive was a great supporter of 42-year-old Schumacher's return to the sport last year, but he has now told La Gazzetta dello Sport that the seven time world champion as well as Mercedes can do more.

"Michael is a true superman so it's sad to see him have to fight for such low places," Ecclestone said.

"He is still a competitive guy and when he has so much experience, he should lead Mercedes more in the right direction.

"(And) Mercedes should build a car more to Schumacher's driving style," Finland's Turun Sanomat quotes 80-year-old Ecclestone as adding.

Schumacher told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that his biggest problem at present is qualifying.

"You're right, the race always looks better for me than qualifying," said the seven time world champion.

"There are many reasons that would be very complicated to explain, also some technical problems, but Nico (Rosberg) is really one of the best qualifiers in the field, his performance is really impressive," he added.

Schumacher denied that another problem is his new relaxed attitude, which has surprised some observers of the German's first career that spanned a record 91 wins.

He said the fact he is often smiling after a difficult qualifying session is "just a snapshot, with nothing to do with the whole".

"It doesn't mean I am not disappointed with setbacks and failures and it doesn't stop me continuing to work for our goal.

"I am firmly convinced that Mercedes will be once again a victory and world championship contender," said Schumacher.

Alonso has fond memories of Hamilton pairing
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has some fond memories of his single season alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

The duo's championship scrap at McLaren was billed as a highly tumultuous one, but Spaniard Alonso - now at Ferrari - insists that his only argument was with the British team's then management led by Ron Dennis.

"If we were teammates at another team it would be a much cleaner struggle, and a real one," said Alonso, who finished the season equal with Hamilton and a single point shy of Kimi Raikkonen's title.

Recalling 2007, he explained to Spanish sports newspaper Marca: "You always learn lessons in tough times.

"That year was good overall, both Lewis and I learned many things.  When you share a team with a top driver you learn to grow together.

"You improve in terms of preparing for a race and even from his driving style, because you share telemetry, so it was a great experience," added Alonso.

As for 2011, Ferrari is now switching its focus to 2012, with Alonso admitting chasing down Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel will be almost impossible.

"Ferrari can not go to races not thinking about winning, but we are realists and know how difficult it is.  We need Vettel to have failures," he said.

The Spaniard is therefore much more confident about 2012.

"Of course we can catch them (Red Bull)," insisted Alonso.  "The rules have changed, the blown diffusers will be forbidden, so the philosophy in the development and in the wind tunnel has to change."

He said Ferrari's recent structural changes have already made a difference.

"I have noticed more desire and general optimism, more speed in decision-making, more courage in the development.  Yes, we have improved the structure and how we work."

Ecclestone watches female driver de Villota test F1 car
(GMM)  A female driver conducted a secret formula one test with Renault two weeks ago, according to international publications.

Spain's Marca and Italy's Italiaracing report that 31-year-old Spaniard Maria de Villota, the daughter of former F1 driver Emilio de Villota, was at the wheel of a two-year old Renault R29.

The test took place at the Bernie Ecclestone-linked Paul Ricard circuit, and was reportedly attended by formula one's 80-year-old chief executive.

De Villota currently races in the open wheel category Superleague, but she has also contested the Euroseries 3000, Spanish GT and F3, and World Touring Cars.

The test took place before Renault's mandatory two-week August factory shutdown commenced, and in line with F1 test ban guidelines that allow some limited running with dated F1 cars.

Italiaracing said Ecclestone was "probably the instigator of the operation", in line with his desire to "bring a woman into F1".

De Villota was early last year linked with a seat at HRT, when the Spanish team was known as Hispania and headed by Adrian Campos.

Chandhok denies ruling out Indian GP race seat
(GMM)  Karun Chandhok has denied saying he definitely will not contest India's inaugural formula one race in October.

The Team Lotus reserve driver stepped in for Jarno Trulli at the Nurburgring recently and has consistently refused to rule out getting another one-off chance to race this season in his native India.

On Twitter, however, the 27-year-old described a quote attributed to him by a website as "fake ... I didn't say that", insisted Chandhok.

It is believed he was referring to a quote that originally appeared in India's Financial Chronicle.

Chandhok reportedly said: "It is embarrassing when you don't drive for your country when your country is hosting the grand prix."

Former F1 owners sue Ecclestone for $100m
(GMM)  The Gerhard Gribkowsky saga has gone from bad to worse for F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Already under investigation by German prosecutors, the 80-year-old now faces a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by the sport's former 50 per cent shareholder Constantin Medien.

The German company, formerly known as EM.TV, has filed legal action in London's High Court, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

Also being sued is Ecclestone's holding company Bambino, business partner Stephen Mullens and the jailed Gribkowsky, who is accused of receiving millions from the F1 chief executive surrounding the sale of the rights to current owner CVC.

Constantin claims the manipulation of the sale to CVC cost it more than $100 million in missing profit proceeds.

Constantin, Ecclestone and CVC all declined to comment.

Austin calls off Red Bull/Coulthard F1 demo
(GMM)  David Coulthard will not be driving a formula one car on the streets of 2012 US grand prix host city Austin this weekend.

The 13-time F1 race winner was slated to drive the Red Bull show car pending the approval of a city filming permit.

"Due to feasibility, a formal formula one show car demonstration that is open to the public will not be executed this week," the energy drink company said in a statement.

Red Bull, whose F1 show car is already in the US, added that it is "excited about the upcoming US grand prix ... and eager to drive awareness of the race and the sport in general to a broad audience".

Kolles: HRT better off than many
HRT team principal Colin Kolles insists that his team is on strong financial footing while other teams may not be.

The financial position of the team has been the subject of much speculation since they entered the sport last year. However, with Spanish investment company Thesan Capital taking a controlling share in the team in July, this appears to have changed.

While results are of course important, Kolles reveals his primary priority is to keep the team running.

"My direction is always clear. You have to secure a team to make it financially viable; to make it safe so it survives," he told Autosport.

"This is one of the first objectives, because if you are not managing this, then you can have a lot of dreams, a lot of fantasies, but they will never come across because you won't exist.

"So the first step is always to secure the team, and then you have to build it up step by step. I think the team is quite safe.

"I think that we are in a much better position than many other teams here in the paddock, and now we have to start to improve this team at full power, as quickly as possible. I know that people are impatient sometimes, especially journalists.

"But you can't say things that are not realistic for me. You have to go step by step and to improve the team, that's all. To have a structure that's stronger and then you can add certain elements which can improve the team."

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