Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday
Perez not afraid of pairing Alonso in 2013
|Peter Sauber and Perez|
- Domenicali 'nervous' as 2012 wing debuts in Korea
- Newey could be late with 2012 car debut - Marko
- Eyebrows raise after Vettel's rude salute
- Boss tells Button to curb Le Mans fever
- Red Bull and Infiniti increase partnership
- Petrov demoted five places for Schumacher incident
Perez not afraid of pairing Alonso in 2013
(GMM) Sergio Perez has targeted Felipe Massa's race seat at Ferrari for 2013.
The Telmex-backed Mexican rookie will stay at Ferrari powered Sauber next season while Brazilian Massa's current Ferrari contract is fulfilled.
But Perez, 21, is a Ferrari driver 'academy' member and recently tested the famous team's 2009 single seater.
Speculation suggests he is the favorite to replace Massa beyond 2012.
"Right now I have a contract with Sauber for next year and I have to do a very good job to get to go to a team like Ferrari," Perez told Spain's AS newspaper.
"It is my goal to become world champion and to be with a team that allows me to work for that, like Ferrari," he admitted.
Perez said he would not be afraid to join Ferrari alongside a formidable teammate like Fernando Alonso.
"No, I'm motivated, not afraid. For me Fernando is the best driver on the grid and to race next to him in my third year in formula one would be very good for me.
"I could learn a lot from him and improve a lot as a driver," he added.
Alonso said in Korea that, even though he would be happy to have a new teammate in 2013, he is also happy with Massa.
"I am extremely happy with any teammate I have alongside me. I think we have a very strong team at the moment. In the future, nobody knows," he said.
Team boss Stefano Domenicali told El Pais newspaper: "Felipe knows that we would like him to be closer to Alonso.
"As a team, we have an obligation to offer everything in our power for him to do that. Anyway, don't forget that Alonso is the fastest of all and to reach his performance is not easy," he said in Korea.
Domenicali 'nervous' as 2012 wing debuts in Korea
(GMM) Ferrari and Fernando Alonso are playing their cards close to their chests as they speed up their preparations for 2012.
Alonso - and not his teammate Felipe Massa - has been running a radically different development front wing all weekend in Korea.
After he qualified a tenth behind Massa on Saturday, Alonso was asked by reporters if the debut of the wing, destined for next year's reportedly "aggressive" single seater, was a success.
"The engineers' room is one floor above, you should go and ask them," La Stampa newspaper quotes the Spaniard as responding. "I have nothing to say."
Ferrari drew attention to Alonso's new wing in Friday practice when a wall of mechanics stood in front of it to sully the photographers' view.
"All that did was draw more attention to it," said the correspondent for the Marca sports daily.
Team boss Stefano Domenicali admitted he is feeling "a little nervous" as Ferrari gambles on a radical approach to aerodynamics for 2012.
"The project is completely different to what we've done before," he told El Pais newspaper. "By February we will know if our bid has been successful."
Newey could be late with 2012 car debut - Marko
(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko, team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's right-hand man on F1 matters, is not sure if the 2012 car project is on schedule.
Adrian Newey, the fabled designer of the winning Red Bull single seaters, has often been late to draw a line under a new car before its debut test.
The dominant 2011 car, however, was on time and present for the opening test of the pre-season.
"The basic concept is done by Adrian and I have not asked how far it is along or how it looks in detail," Marko told the Austrian Kleine Zeitung newspaper.
"That is for him and his technicians. Of course we want to be there at the first test but if he says there is still half a second to go then we will listen to him.
"That is what we did quite well in 2009 and 2010," added Marko, referring to Marko's RB5 and RB6 cars that were launched late but went on to record a combined 15 grand prix wins.
After Sebastian Vettel's title win in Japan a week ago, Red Bull is likely to wrap up the 2011 constructors' world championship in Korea on Sunday.
"The constructors' world title is also very important, as the premium payments are based solely on this," said Marko.
"For the title it is significantly more money than second place, and much more than a linear increase."
Eyebrows raise after Vettel's rude salute
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel had a few eyebrows raised in his honor on Saturday morning after an on-track incident with a slower car.
Even though backmarkers are not obliged to make way for the grandee runners in free practice, the world champion took his hands off the wheel in a rare loss of temper to give Jaime Alguersuari a two-finger salute.
"You can't just pull aside for the other drivers all the time," the Toro Rosso driver told Spanish reporters. "I also have a job to do."
Earlier this weekend in Korea, German Vettel admitted that even with the 2011 title wrapped up, he is "addicted" to winning.
"I am annoyed when I am not in the winning team when we play football," he said.
"You cannot describe it," the Red Bull driver told DPA news agency. "You know how much it takes on a race weekend to have everything come together so that you just get the chance to race from the front."
Then, with a win, "Sometimes you can't soak up the full moment. That's why you want to do it over and over again, to take away a piece of it every time."
Boss tells Button to curb Le Mans fever
(GMM) Jenson Button can for now put aside his plans to contest the Le Mans 24 hour race.
Earlier this month, after signing a new contract with McLaren, the 2009 world champion expressed interest in the company's rumored plans to enter its MP4-12C sports car in the fabled French endurance race.
"Not sure if I would be allowed but yes I am very interested," Button, 31, said at Suzuka.
But even though the 2012 Le Mans is scheduled for the weekend between Canada and Valencia, team boss Martin Whitmarsh has bad news for the Briton.
"Next year? Probably not," Whitmarsh is quoted by the Press Association in Korea.
"He hasn't asked me. We don't plan to have a McLaren (at Le Mans) next year, but we'll go back there one day because we have happy memories and one day in the future he (Button) might be doing that.
"But over the next few years I think he'll be concentrating on F1 and not Le Mans, but I'm sure we can accommodate it in the future," he added.
Red Bull and Infiniti increase partnership
Red Bull has increased its partnership with luxury car brand Infiniti, signing what the team calls "an increased multi-year agreement".
Infiniti and Red Bull's partnership began at the start of 2011, with the Renault-Nissan owned manufacturer joining as a commercial and technical partner for the next two seasons at the time. Now the deal has been increased, with the Infiniti branding going to be featuring more heavily on the RB8 next season, along with being displayed on team equipment and in new places on drivers' overalls.
Red Bull is looking to work more closely with Infiniti in future, with a press release saying "works streams are already in place to develop the partnership into a technical collaboration", and Christian Horner says the success of 2011 so far shows that an increased partnership made sense.
"In the short time we have been involved with Infiniti it has become clear that the closer we work together the more performance advantages can be gained by both sides," Horner said. "It has been a phenomenally successful first season to date, and deepening our partnership further provides us even more scope to share knowledge and expertise, leading to mutual benefits on the track and the road."
Andy Palmer, executive vice president of the Nissan Motor Company said that Infiniti's global awareness has been heavily increased thanks to Red Bull's successes.
"When we announced the partnership back in March, our single objective was to boost global brand awareness for Infiniti. In just seven months, the results have exceeded even our most ambitious targets, leading to us to becoming the most highly-exposed automotive brand in Formula One this season. As we look ahead to the second year of our partnership with Red Bull Racing, we are now extending into exciting new areas of technical and product collaboration."
Petrov demoted five places for Schumacher incident
Vitaly Petrov was handed a five-place grid penalty for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix following his collision with Michael Schumacher in Korea. After passing Fernando Alonso with the help of DRS, both cars missed their braking points at Turn 4, with the Renault piling into the back of the seven-time World Champion.
“I apologize to Michael, it was my fault and not his,” said the Russian, who also crashed out of the Yeongam race last year. “I tried to focus on Alonso to gain and defend one position, then I tried to out-brake and was on the dirty side – even Fernando was on the outside and also missed the corner.”
Schumacher was gracious following the incident, having previously made contact with Petrov this year at both Turn 12 in Turkey and the pit exit in Valencia.
“Well I was certainly facing the wrong direction and saw my wing come flying down and pass by,” the German Mercedes man recalled. “That’s racing, it happens occasionally – I was focused on what was in front and not behind, but there you go.
“I have to say that we have had some great racing together this year, so to have a couple of get-togethers…the first two were my fault and maybe this time it’s his, but that’s racing.”