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DATE News (chronologically)
11/11/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

11/11/11
  • Hamilton tells Massa to grow up
    Hamilton tells nemesis Massa to 'be a man'
  • Rosberg happy to stay patient with Mercedes
  • Crucial FOTA meeting called off in Abu Dhabi
  • Texas quiet but F1 'nervous' as corruption saga deepens
  • Webber reveals Renault interest for 2012 season
  • Blown exhaust saga set to heat up again
  • Alonso says 2011 season 'best in my life'
  • Buemi can ease rumors with 'super race' - Tost
  • Ecclestone discovered daughter’s £12 million wedding bill much later
  • Schumacher not looking for 2013 team switch - Haug New
  • Troubled times for Force India chief's airline New
  • Michael attends first race in new McLaren role New

Hamilton tells nemesis Massa to 'be a man'
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has urged Felipe Massa to "be a man" and meet him halfway in ending their on and off-track feud.

The 2008 championship rivals have clashed so many times in 2011 that one betting agency is offering 5-1 odds on another coming-together this weekend in Abu Dhabi.

Asked by reporters if he likes those odds, Brazilian Massa said on Thursday: "I don't think so, and anyway I will do everything right, which is what I've done all the time."

Briton Hamilton, however, admitting he hasn't "particularly enjoyed" Massa's attitude of late, said the blame game needs to stop.

"We've had our collisions on the track, but I really don't have any problems with him," the McLaren driver said.

"I would like to clear the air, but we have to meet in the middle, it can't just come from one side.

"If you want to be a man about it, then be a man about it and sort it out.  I'm a reasonable person so I'm happy to squash things," added Hamilton.

At the same time, and oddly, Hamilton's relationship with his 2007 nemesis Fernando Alonso has never been better.

The Spaniard, who is Massa's Ferrari teammate, recently admitted he thinks Hamilton is one of very few F1 drivers who can win races even without the best car.

"I am honored that Fernando is so positive about my qualities, despite this season and the differences that we had," Hamilton is quoted by F1's official website.

"Our relationship has got a lot stronger and the respect that we have for each other is much stronger."

Rosberg happy to stay patient with Mercedes
(GMM)  Mercedes aims to give Nico Rosberg a winning car soon, but the German is also learning to be patient.

Now with more than 100 grands prix behind him, the 26-year-old is yet to record a single race victory and he has now re-signed with Mercedes for at least the next two or three seasons.

Then called Brawn, the Brackley based team won the world championship with Jenson Button in 2009, but that was on the coat-tails of the hundreds of millions invested by Honda.

Today is different, Mercedes-Benz's Norbert Haug warns.

"He needs to understand that the team is still young," the German is quoted as saying by Turun Sanomat newspaper.

"Brawn won the championship in 2009 but now the team has a completely different structure.

"Mercedes makes the engines but the rest of the budget comes from sponsors and the income from FOM."

Haug likens Rosberg to Mika Hakkinen, who after years of toiling without tasting a win finally broke through at the end of 1997 with Mercedes power.

"After that he couldn't be stopped," he said.

With his new contract in his pocket, Rosberg revealed in Abu Dhabi that he is prepared to wait a little longer for his breakthrough.

"I would say that right now it will be a lot of patience (needed)," he told F1's official website.  "But there is no doubt in my mind that it is absolutely worth it."

The German is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport as revealing that amid the recent interest of some other teams, he was buoyed by Mercedes' obvious determination to succeed.

"The decisive thing for my decision was the commitment of the management, underlined by the signing of Geoff Willis and Aldo Costa.

"It is quite clear that Mercedes wants to be the best team on the grid."

Finally, Rosberg - who doesn't have a manger - thanked his famous father Keke for his help in organizing the new Mercedes deal.

"He took care of the paperwork and I am grateful for that," he said.

Crucial FOTA meeting called off in Abu Dhabi
(GMM)  Formula one bosses have called off a crucial meeting in the paddock of the Abu Dhabi grand prix.

Ahead of the tricky Concorde Agreement negotiations, and amid the unknown future of the cost-cutting agreement and the entire FOTA alliance, the bosses had planned to get together at the Yas Marina venue.

"The crucial meeting was cancelled at the last minute and moved to Brazil," reported Auto Motor und Sport.

The German report said the decision was made by FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh because Red Bull, suspected by some rivals of breaching the existing resource restriction agreement, made a last-minute proposal for the next cost-limiting deal.

"One has to wonder whether Red Bull filed its proposal very late so as to cause the postponement," the article reads.

Texas quiet but F1 'nervous' as corruption saga deepens
(GMM)  Texas officials would not comment when asked if Bernie Ecclestone's implication in the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption scandal might endanger the 2012 US grand prix.

It is feared that, with the F1 chief executive admitting in a German court this week to paying millions to hush the beleaguered banker, the Texas government might rethink contributing to the Circuit of the Americas project.

The Austin American Statesman newspaper posed the question to the Texas comptroller's office.

"All of these questions would require us to speculate," the office replied by email.

It is a similarly difficult time for many involved in F1.  The Telegraph's Tom Cary, who has been reporting from Munich, said the sport's owner CVC "is understandably nervous about its name being dragged through the mud".

And "the whole of formula one will be watching with interest to see how this case unravels," he added.

Webber reveals Renault interest for 2012 season
(GMM)  Mark Webber has admitted that the Renault team expressed interest in signing him before he agreed to stay at Red Bull in 2012.

"Not only them, I was approached by several teams," the Australian, who has had a difficult season alongside new back to back world champion Sebastian Vettel, told O Estado de S.Paulo in an interview.

"They (Renault) asked about my situation at Red Bull," revealed Webber.

"I have experience, they need experience, but I told them I was going to stay at Red Bull," said the 35-year-old.

The news is surely a sign that Renault believes it needs to sign a team leader for 2012, with continuing uncertainty about Robert Kubica's return from injury.

It also raises the question as to whether the leading role would be better for Webber than staying at Red Bull, where in the last two years there have been signs of him being a de-facto number two.

Will he get a fair deal alongside Vettel in 2012?

"I believe so," answered Webber, with interviewer Livio Oricchio noting that the answer came only after "a deep breath and some time to reflect".

On the other hand, he is optimistic.

"By the time I understand how to use these tires better it was too late for this year, but I think it will be possible to start next season at a high level, which makes all the difference," said Webber.

And if it doesn't work out, F1 might have to say goodbye to one of its most honest and straightforward characters, who calls himself 'Aussie Grit' on Twitter.

"Someone like me who has come through from teams without many resources, like Minardi and Williams and then come to a championship structure like we have at Red Bull, there is no going backwards.

"From here I will go home, not to a small team again.  So when I leave here I will do something else rather than race in formula one," added Webber.

Blown exhaust saga set to heat up again
(GMM)  F1's blown exhaust saga is not over quite yet.

The controversy over aggressively using engine gases for an aerodynamic effect came to a spectacular head at Silverstone in July, but it was ultimately resolved that the practice should be banned for 2012.

Then, recently, it emerged that the FIA was clamping down even more vigorously in next year's regulations to guarantee that the exhausts cannot be used to increase downforce.

But when asked by O Estado de S.Paulo in Abu Dhabi if Red Bull will still dominate in 2012 even without a blown diffuser, Mark Webber answered: "Maybe we can still enjoy this concept."

What?  "There are rumors that it (exhaust blowing) will continue," the Australian explained.

Indeed, it is the FIA's latest clampdown that has reinvigorated the saga, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Reportedly, with an unlikely ally in the form of McLaren, Red Bull is pushing back, arguing that the designs of their 2012 cars were too far advanced when the latest FIA clampdown was issued.

On the other side of the debate is Ferrari, Sauber and HRT, vehement that the 2012 rules should not permit any 'blown exhaust' loopholes of any kind.

The new problem has arisen because Red Bull and McLaren refused to approve the revised clampdown rules ahead of the recent F1 Commission, with those rules needing to be agreed before they can be ratified by the FIA in December.

HRT is the joker in the pack, with rumors in the paddock that the non-FOTA Spanish team might break the current peace by protesting the legality of the current exhaust layouts.

The Colin Kolles-led team would presumably justify the action by claiming their rivals have broken their Silverstone promise to agree to a total blown exhaust ban in 2012.

Alonso says 2011 season 'best in my life'
(GMM)  At the scene of his 2010 championship failure, Fernando Alonso has refused to acknowledge in Abu Dhabi that this season has also been a bad one.

"This season is the best I've ever done in my life," he is quoted as answering emphatically to the Spanish sports daily AS.

Alonso was asked if he finds offensive the suggestions his Ferrari career has been a failure so far.

"I don't care about that," said the former back-to-back Renault world champion, "but I think it's strange to be asked about it because, without a doubt, 2010 and especially 2011 have been the best.

"It has been something difficult to repeat; finishing most of the races, doing incredible lap times, fantastic starts, great pitstops, successful strategies, podiums, a grand prix win.

"Of course we all want to fight for the title, but when you cannot you have to accept where the others have been better."

By that rationale, Alonso thinks that if he had a Red Bull, he would have won the titles just as Sebastian Vettel has.

So would he swap places with the German?

"No, no, no," started Alonso, "I am in my dream team even though it is true that we are now in a dead heat, with two titles each.

"But if I look into the future for the next five years, I would rather be where I am than where he is."

Alonso visibly rankled when it was suggested that he failed to beat Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2007, but he also praised Jenson Button for emphatically doing so in 2011.

"We know about his talent and how fast he is and he has done a fantastic championship," said Alonso.  "Perhaps we have had a Hamilton less brilliant than in the other years and that combination has the result (in 2011)."

Finally, he disagrees with his manager Flavio Briatore that 2012 will be another walkover for Red Bull.

"That's what was believed when it seemed that Hamilton would win ten years in a row, and the same with Button and Brawn who apparently found the magic formula.

"Now Red Bull has won in two years and everyone thinks they will win 20 more, but it will not happen," said Alonso confidently.

Buemi can ease rumors with 'super race' - Tost
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi is not far away from easing all the speculation about his future in formula one, according to his boss Franz Tost.

It is well known that with Jaime Alguersuari ahead in the points standings and Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne knocking hard on the door at Toro Rosso, a big question-mark hangs above Swiss Buemi's head regarding 2012.

"I will push until the last meter, no matter what is going to happen," the 23-year-old told Blick newspaper.

"The people in charge know my situation very well," said Buemi.  "If wheels are not attached properly or the engine fails, is that Buemi's fault?

"Of course it is true then that I am missing important points," he added.

Buemi is responding to recent doses of foul on-track luck, but in the end it is rumored that Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko told both him and Alguersuari that the driver with the lower points score will be ousted at the end of 2011, full stop.

It is therefore possible that Abu Dhabi is Buemi's 54th and penultimate grand prix?

"For Buemi, it is not the speed, for he is definitely as quick as Alguersuari.  He is just usually at the front (of the queue) for the problems," said team boss Tost.

"But I am convinced that Sebastien can still deliver a super race, and then all the talk about his future will be over," he added.

If worse comes to worse, however, what will Buemi do?

"I am a racing driver and I have no plan B," he insists.

Ecclestone discovered daughter’s £12 million wedding bill much later
Bernie Ecclestone found out his daughter Petra’s wedding had cost him more than £12 million only after it was over, as his ex-wife settled the bill without his knowledge.

The Formula One boss was under the impression that his daughter’s nuptials had cost £5 million but he discovered the gigantic bill in a German court hearing on Nov 10.

Ecclestone, 81, is one of the witnesses in the fraud trial of German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, who is accused of corruption and tax evasion, and who had blackmailed the racing mogul for £27 million in 2006.

While giving evidence for a second day at the court, Ecclestone made the revelation about his daughter’s extravagant wedding.

“Let me tell you something. When my youngest daughter said she was getting married I thought as father of the bride I should pay for the wedding,” the Daily Mail quoted the racing mogul as saying.

“When it was suggested how much they would be spending on drinks I thought it was absurd. So I managed to upset my daughter and my wife.

“Only later did I learn that it cost in excess of £12 million which I did not find out about until later, paid by my wife, and I did not find out from her,” he added.

Schumacher not looking for 2013 team switch - Haug
(GMM)  Mercedes is not rushing to re-sign Michael Schumacher beyond 2012 because the seven time world champion has no mind to switch teams.

That was the explanation of Norbert Haug on Friday, one day after the German marque extended Nico Rosberg's contract for 2013 and beyond.

Schumacher's existing deal similarly expires late next year.

But while Rosberg's name was being whispered in connection with alternative teams for 2013 and beyond, it seems Schumacher and Mercedes only need to decide whether they are going to keep the seven time world champion's new F1 career running.

Haug is quoted by the German broadcaster Sky as explaining that there is "no reason" to move early on Schumacher's next deal.

"I do not expect that Michael will switch teams anymore," said Mercedes' motor racing vice-president in Abu Dhabi.  "That's why we are in no kind of a hurry.

"He is focusing now on the end of the season and then we will come into the new year.  Then we'll see," added Haug.

He described Rosberg alongside Schumacher as a "perfectly complementary" driver lineup.

Troubled times for Force India chief's airline
(GMM)  Away from the F1 track, Force India boss Vijay Mallya is enduring tough times.

Reports on Friday are revealing an ever-worsening situation within the Indian billionaire's airline Kingfisher, which is crippled under more than $1 billion in debt.

Flights are being cancelled, unpaid suppliers are threatening to reclaim planes and the share price is crashing, and Bloomberg reports that the Indian government has been approached about a bailout.

"Unless there is an infusion of money at this point, I don't really see how it's going to survive," said an Indian aviation expert.

"That infusion of money has to come from Mallya.  I can't see anybody else who's going to put money in."

Kingfisher is a visible sponsor on this year's Force India car.

Michael attends first race in new McLaren role
(GMM)  Sam Michael is in Abu Dhabi making his first appearance with McLaren.

The Australian's last race as Williams' technical director was Korea, and it was expected that he would sit out the rest of the season on 'gardening leave' before starting his new job as McLaren's sporting director in 2012.

But Michael has been spotted in the McLaren garage on Friday, the British broadcaster BBC reports.

The report said Williams has "allowed" Michael to start work two races early, but not in official team gear.  Indeed, the 40-year-old is wearing a plain white shirt.

He will ultimately have "responsibility for the development and management of the team's trackside operations", McLaren said earlier this season.

Williams' new technical director is Mike Coughlan, the sacked McLaren 'spygate' designer.

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