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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Colin Kolles
    Customer cars wrong for F1 insists HRT's Kolles
  • Virgin staying with team after 2012 name change
  • Maldonado runs out of Cosworth engines for 2011
  • Toro Rosso to select Red Bull talent for 2012 seats
  • Renault open to supplying fifth team in F1
  • Whitmarsh says Button contract for three years
  • Ecclestone tips Hamilton to bounce back
  • Cost-saving decision cost Sauber millions - report
  • Italians think title record possible for Vettel
  • Jordan fumbles while meeting new Force India owner
  • Vettel must devise new helmet livery for Abu Dhabi
  • Safety car rule tweak likely for 2012
  • F1 leaders gather for talks in Geneva

Customer cars wrong for F1 insists HRT's Kolles
(GMM)  Colin Kolles has revealed he does not support moves to legalize 'customer cars' in formula one.

On Thursday in Geneva, the F1 Commission will debate a proposal to liberalize the next Concorde Agreement so that the sharing of intellectual property is not so tightly controlled.

HRT boss Kolles, however, said he would have no interest in buying a complete car for the small Spanish team.

"Formula one is what it is today because of the obligation of each team to own the intellectual property of its own project," he is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

"It would be a mistake to allow the use of other teams' projects," he added.

Kolles said the current system works well for small teams.

"Currently, we engage on the market several enterprises to build the pieces that we ask for, so we do not need to maintain autoclaves or wind tunnels and it (running a team) is not as expensive as before," he explained.

Jenson Button said allowing customer cars would make it very difficult for those small teams who want to continue to build their own chassis.

"They (would) put all the effort into designing a car over a winter to suddenly be racing against a 'Red Bull rebadged' or a 'McLaren rebadged' or something," said the McLaren driver.

Virgin staying with team after 2012 name change
(GMM)  Richard Branson's Virgin brand is staying with the team even after a name change in 2012.

It has emerged that, just as Team Lotus and Renault have applied to be called Caterham and Lotus respectively next season, Virgin wants to become 'Marussia'.

But even though it suggests a further move away from Virgin to the team's new Russian supercar partner, reports insist Branson's famous brand is staying put.

Virgin "will remain involved in future projects and Virgin logos will still be seen on the cars", The Sun correspondent Chris Hockley writes.

Agrees France's L'Equipe: "Richard Branson's company remains one of its main partners".

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, however, does not think teams should so easily be able to change their names.

"It's bad for identity and it's bad for formula one when a team changes its name," he is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

Maldonado runs out of Cosworth engines for 2011
(GMM)  Pastor Maldonado will move ten places down the Abu Dhabi grid next weekend.

The Venezuelan's last allocated Cosworth engine for the season, his eighth, was damaged when he retired from the race in India.

"Pastor will use a ninth engine in Abu Dhabi," confirmed technical boss Mark Gillan.

Before the Delhi race, Williams chairman Adam Parr urged engine partner Cosworth to up its game.

"We have had some reliability issues in the last three weekends, which our partner is working very hard to fix as soon as possible and, obviously, that's critically important for us," he said.

After the Interlagos finale late this month, the team is switching to Renault power for 2012.

"We are supplying engines to them because we think they have much greater potential than they are delivering today," said the French marque's chairman Carlos Ghosn, according to The Sun.

Toro Rosso to select Red Bull talent for 2012 seats
(GMM)  Toro Rosso will not select from outside of Red Bull's own talent pool for its 2012 driver lineup, team boss Franz Tost has confirmed.

It is believed Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, and young Red Bull hopefuls Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, are all in the running for the Faenza based team's two race seats next year.

"It is 100 per cent certain that next year we will have two Red Bull drivers," Austrian Tost told the Sportwoche publication.

"That is the meaning and the purpose of why Red Bull bought the team," he added.

"Our job is to allow young drivers from the Red Bull pool to enter formula one in training for (the move to) Red Bull Racing," said Tost.

Since the Minardi takeover in 2006, however, the only driver to successfully move from Toro Rosso to the premier team is Sebastian Vettel.

"The reasons for that are simple," said Tost.  "First, he is more talented than the others.

"He is also more disciplined, brings more passion for the sport, is more innovative, open and more flexible in accepting suggestions to make himself better.  And that's why he's the world champion," he added.

"In their development too many drivers get to formula one and think 'Now I have made it'.  Actually, the hard work has only just begun.  Everything before is kindergarten.

"In formula one you have to live formula one, 100 per cent, yet only a few do that completely," said Tost.

Renault open to supplying fifth team in F1
(GMM)  Renault is open to supplying one more team in formula one.

That is the claim of Carlos Tavares, who became the French carmaker's new chief operating officer earlier this year.

For 2012, Renault is adding Williams to its customer roster, in addition to the existing engine deals with Red Bull, Lotus-Renault GP, and Team Lotus.

"Four teams, that's fine," Tavares told France's Auto Hebdo in an exclusive interview.  "Five?  Why not?  But no more than that."

Whitmarsh says Button contract for three years
(GMM)  Jenson Button's new contract at McLaren is for three years, Martin Whitmarsh let slip last weekend.

Previously, the team and driver were willing only to divulge that they recently inked a new "multi year" agreement.

But, perhaps inadvertently, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said in India that the contract will see the 2009 world champion in a silver car through 2014.

During a television interview after Sunday's race, he was asked about Button's current run of good form.

"Let's hope it continues like that as we have another three exciting years with him to go," Whitmarsh is quoted as saying in German-language reports.

Ecclestone tips Hamilton to bounce back
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has tipped Lewis Hamilton to bounce back from his current trough.

The 2008 world champion has been somber in the paddock and out of shape on the track this season, with Eddie Jordan saying the Briton has "lost his mojo".

"In life you go through ups and downs," F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is quoted by Germany's Sport1.

"I think he is just going through a rough phase in his life in general, but Lewis will come back because he is great."

Tuttosport quotes the 81-year-old adding: "When life is going well, it's going well, but when things start to go wrong the problems start to accumulate more and more.

"He will get out of it.  I spoke with him in India and he's fine," said Ecclestone.

Cost-saving decision cost Sauber millions - report
(GMM)  Sauber is ruing a cost-cutting decision that ultimately will cost the Swiss team millions.

In July, amid the blown diffuser rules debacle, the Hinwil based team decided to scrap the technology that ultimately will disappear from F1 for 2012.

Other midfield teams, however, pressed ahead and Sauber now stands to drop behind the charging Toro Rosso team to finish probably eighth in the constructors' championship.

Referring to the Concorde Agreement income distribution tables, Blick newspaper said the decision has effectively cost Sauber many millions.

"We believed in July that the FIA would go ahead with the prohibition and therefore we stopped a complex development.  For cost reasons!" Peter Sauber exclaimed.

Italians think title record possible for Vettel
(GMM)  Most Italians do not believe Sebastian Vettel will ever trouble Michael Schumacher's record of seven world championships.

But a significant 45.4 per cent of respondents answered 'yes' when asked by La Gazzetta dello Sport if the Red Bull driver, the youngest ever back to back world champion, will smash Schumacher's record eventually.

54.6 per cent of the almost 9000 survey respondents answered 'no'.

In India last weekend, Vettel beat Nigel Mansell's old record for the number of laps led in a single season.

"I love what I do," said the German when told about the record.  "I think we all do so it is great and in a way we don't want this (season) to end."

Jordan fumbles while meeting new Force India owner
(GMM)  Force India has a new billionaire as a co-owner, but the team's founder had no idea.

Eddie Jordan, now an expert pundit for British television BBC, walked up to Sahara's Subrata Roy in the Buddh paddock last Sunday and asked: "You're a guest of (team boss) Vijay's (Mallya)?"

Roy answered: "I'm his brother."

Jordan: "You're a brother?  Well then I know your mother, and we go to the same Indian restaurant in London, how cool is that?"

Mallya chimed in: "Actually, Eddie, this is Mr. Subrata Roy Sahara, our new partner."

Jordan added: "Oh, indeed, it's a great pleasure, because new sponsors are not that easy to find these days, are they?"

Mallya hit back: "He's more than just a sponsor, he's an equity partner."

Auto Motor und Sport reports that billionaire Roy gifted each member of the 60-strong Force India race team a EUR 4000 present in India, including a Tag Heuer watch and Montblanc wallet.

Vettel must devise new helmet livery for Abu Dhabi
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has a crucial task to complete before next weekend's Abu Dhabi grand prix.

After every race victory, the Red Bull driver retires his helmet design, adding it to a growing personal collection.

But ahead of Abu Dhabi, where he could win his eleventh grand prix of the season, the back to world champion must come up with a brand new design.

"I have no others now," the 24-year-old smiled to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport after winning in New Delhi.  "I need a new one urgently because I don't wear them again after a win."

Safety car rule tweak likely for 2012
(GMM)  Formula one is likely to tweak the safety car rules for the 2012 season.

The team bosses got together in India last weekend to discuss forcing lapped drivers to pull ahead of the safety car and join the back of the queue.

When that rule was last in place, there were complaints that 'cleaning up' the string of cars behind the safety car took too long, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

But when the race finally resumed, there was no danger the slower cars could affect the contests at the head of the field.

"Both ways have their advantages and their disadvantages," said Sauber team manager Beat Zehnder.

F1 leaders gather for talks in Geneva
All of Formula 1’s key figures are meeting in Switzerland on Thursday in order to discuss the current significant issues of the sport; these include several requested team name changes for 2012, concerns over the Bahrain and Korean Grands Prix plus an obligation for drivers to run in qualifyings' top ten shootout.

The modification of team names is a major talking point. The scene for today’s gathering is Geneva, home of FOTA (Formula One Teams’ Association), with Team Principals plus FIA President Jean Todt, FOM’s Bernie Ecclestone and representatives for Pirelli and engine manufacturers taking a step-by-step process of dealing with the sport’s current noteworthy topics.

The aforementioned name changes involve Lotus Renault GP becoming ‘Lotus’, Virgin Racing adapting only ‘Marussia’ branding and Tony Fernandes’ Team Lotus switching to a ‘Caterham’ guise for the 2012 campaign. The future of HRT – currently controlled by the Spanish Thesan Group – also remains unknown and is likely to be brought up.

Fears remain over the safety in Bahrain after this year’s race was called off due to civil unrest; the future of Korea’s event is also still uncertain. With regards to qualifying, fans have been disappointed this season as some teams elect not to run in Q3 in a bid to save tires; rules demanding drivers to run, or introducing special sets of Pirelli tires only for qualifying, are both ideas which could help to avoid this.

Technical partnerships could become a thing of the past.  Another highly notable point which has been raised, not least in the paddock at last weekend’s Indian Grand Prix, is that of several teams collaborating with each other; for instance, Red Bull is in a technical partnership with Team Lotus whereas McLaren works closely with both Virgin Racing and Force India. Depending on overall opinions, such affiliations could be outlawed for the future.

A new Concorde Agreement – the document which binds teams, governing body the FIA and commercial rights holder FOM to form the basis by which F1 runs – will ultimately be written up for 2013. GPUpdate

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