Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
Boullier flags test in 2009 car for Kubica
|Vergne may gets his chance|
- Senna 'better for the team' than Heidfeld - Boullier
- Ecclestone in Rome for daughter's $2m wedding
- Senna admits 'commercial potential' of new race seat
- Vergne to get Friday chance with Toro Rosso
- Ricciardo 'must deliver' for Red Bull future
- Ferrari plans to run first V6 prototype next year
- Red Bull 'can only defeat themselves' - Frentzen
- Marko in 'no hurry' over Webber's birthday present
- Barrichello admits 2012 Williams exit possible
- Team Lotus name and logo stays same for now
Boullier flags test in 2009 car for Kubica
(GMM) Eric Boullier has admitted it is unlikely Robert Kubica will be able to return to his Renault race cockpit this season.
Injured Pole Kubica is preparing to undergo a final operation in the next few days to restore mobility to his elbow.
"I know this is the last one and then he will be starting, finally, the full rehabilitation," Renault team boss Boullier is quoted by Reuters at Spa-Francorchamps.
There have been suggestions Kubica might be fit enough to return later this season, but Boullier played down that possibility.
"To be honest I don't know. I don't believe so," said the Frenchman.
Boullier explained that Kubica, 26, not only has to recover but also "get back his feeling" for a formula one car.
Therefore, before a race comeback can be planned, simulator and track tests will be necessary.
"When he is ready," Boullier is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, "we are still planning to have him in the next season.
"First, we will have to organize a 2009 car for him to test."
With Nick Heidfeld definitely out of the picture for 2012, Boullier admitted that Renault has other options should Kubica not be ready.
"We have to consider many scenarios," he told F1's official website. "Robert obviously is our number one scenario; Romain Grosjean is doing a good job; and let's wait and see what Bruno (Senna) is doing and delivering for the next eight races."
Senna 'better for the team' than Heidfeld - Boullier
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld lacked speed and therefore the ability to lead the Renault team as its top driver in 2011.
That was the claim of boss Eric Boullier at Spa-Francorchamps as he explained the decision to replace the veteran German with Bruno Senna.
Heidfeld, 34, is suing the team for breach of contract, and has been in the Belgian paddock this weekend in order to show the High Court judge that he is still ready to race the black R31.
"We did not bring him into this situation," argued Boullier to Auto Motor und Sport, "but as long as he is doing promotion for the team, that's ok."
Boullier said Heidfeld was signed to replace the injured Robert Kubica as the team's quickest driver with the most leadership skills alongside the less experienced Vitaly Petrov.
"He didn't get the car fast enough, so it didn't work for us," he told F1's official website.
Reuters quotes him as adding: "I was not very happy with the pure speed of Nick and his global performance as an experienced driver. That's it."
Boullier bristled when a reporter put to him that Heidfeld was only ousted because appointing Bruno Senna opened up lucrative sponsorship opportunities within Brazil.
"Bruno is a third driver and I guess it's logical that if we want to change our driver lineup that we promote our third driver. Full stop," he said.
Auto Motor und Sport quotes him as adding: "I think he (Senna) is better for the team and I expect that he can go at the speed of Vitaly in some time, maybe by Singapore.
"It's a risky decision, but if it's the chance to get back to the front, so be it. Of course, I get the blame if it does not work. But it's my job to make decisions."
Ecclestone in Rome for daughter's $2m wedding
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has not been at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend because he is in Rome preparing for the wedding of his daughter Petra.
22-year-old Ecclestone, the youngest of the F1 chief executive's two daughters, will marry British entrepreneur James Stunt at the 15th century Odescalchi castle, the lavish scene of Tom Cruise's wedding in 2006.
80-year-old Briton Ecclestone is reportedly footing the more than $2 million bill, with Eric Clapton touted to play the first song before the Black Eyed Peas take over.
Senna admits 'commercial potential' of new race seat
(GMM) Bruno Senna has denied he is paying for his half-season of racing with the Renault team.
The Brazilian has been confirmed only for Spa and Monza, with a judge this week ordering the compromise before a full High Court hearing is held at dumped Nick Heidfeld's request in a few weeks.
But the intention is that Senna - not GP2 title favorite Romain Grosjean - will complete all of the rest of the grands prix this year alongside Vitaly Petrov.
Renault has said it was unhappy with Heidfeld's speed and leadership qualities, but paddock speculation has linked the Senna deal with the new Brazilian tie-up between team owner Genii and WWI.
While team boss Eric Boullier denied the Brazilian link, Senna admitted that his presence in the black Renault cockpit could have a commercial benefit for Renault.
He denied, however, that his sponsors are simply paying for the seat.
"If you look at the team then there are no new logos on the car or on myself," Senna insisted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"That is definitely not the reason why I'm sitting in the car. I'm there because the team has faith that I can do a good job.
"Of course there is a large commercial potential for the team with me as a driver and hopefully we can exploit that. But I'm pretty sure I was not selected by the team because of that," he added.
Vergne to get Friday chance with Toro Rosso
(GMM) Red Bull's next young charger is set to enter the scene at the energy drink company's second formula one team.
The BBC is reporting that 21-year-old Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne is slated to drive the Toro Rosso on Friday mornings once his Renault World Series campaign finishes in October.
The current cream of the Red Bull program, Daniel Ricciardo, has been slotted in at HRT for the second half of the 2011 season and hotly tipped to replace either Jaime Alguersuari or Sebastien Buemi in 2012.
Toro Rosso's 2012 lineup will apparently then feel the pressure from Vergne, who currently runs second in the Renault World Series between leader Robert Wickens and Ricciardo.
Ricciardo 'must deliver' for Red Bull future
(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo admits he has been earmarked as a potential future replacement for his countryman Mark Webber.
But the young Australian, who with his Red Bull backing replaced Narain Karthikeyan at HRT earlier this season, acknowledged that he first must prove he is up to the task.
"It's all just a bit of talk and speculation, as there always is," Ricciardo, 22, told the West Australian newspaper from Spa-Francorchamps.
"But the reality is I am under a Red Bull contract, so the future, their target, would be to get me in the seat, provided I'm good enough for it.
"I think that's what they'd probably like in the future, so I've got to deliver."
Ferrari plans to run first V6 prototype next year
(GMM) Ferrari is planning to have the first prototype of its 2014 V6 turbo engine up and running sometime next year.
F1's engine manufacturers are already making plans for the forthcoming end of the current V8 engine era, with new regulations for 2014 now in place.
The current rules have been effectively frozen for some time, but Ferrari's engine chief Luca Marmorini revealed at Spa-Francorchamps that his department has been busy in 2011 with the blown exhaust developments.
"We are going to go on developing this year and preparing for next year as well," he said.
"Concerning 2014, already a group of people has started to work to develop this (V6) engine. Time seems long but definitely it is such a big change in the regulations that this requires a long time. We have started to work intensively on this.
"We will see some prototype engine run during next year," the Italian added.
Red Bull 'can only defeat themselves' - Frentzen
(GMM) Former F1 winner Heinz-Harald Frentzen has said it will be difficult for Sebastian Vettel's rivals to chase down his championship advantage in 2011.
"At the moment they (Red Bull) can only defeat themselves," he told the Austrian portal laola1.
"They have the best car even if their best innovations are now elsewhere (also on rival cars)," said the 44-year-old German, who is now an occasional third steward at grands prix.
To beat Vettel and Red Bull to the titles, he said, "Ferrari and McLaren need a big leap in development, and even then, Sebastian only has to score points regularly (to win)".
Frentzen, who won races with Williams and Jordan and most recently drove for Sauber in 2003, also commented on suggestions F1 has become too complicated in the new era with the DRS system and heavily degrading tires.
"No matter how it is in F1, there is always criticism," he said.
"In the past people always complained that there is not enough overtaking, now there is much more and yet still everybody is unable to agree."