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DATE News (chronologically)
11/23/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

11/23/11
  • Pedro de la Rosa
    HRT convinced de la Rosa to leave McLaren contract
  • Brawn to consider 2013 with Schumacher mid next year
  • No eyes for Vettel as Ferrari happy with Alonso
  • More police after attack as Button returns to Brazil
  • Massa urges Barrichello to announce retirement
  • Mentor denies Vergne made 'better than Webber' comments
  • Kubica comeback delayed New
  • F1 'not the right place' for Volkswagen New

HRT convinced de la Rosa to leave McLaren contract
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa had to be convinced to break his multiyear McLaren contract in order to join back-of-the-grid Spanish team HRT in 2012.

The Spaniard told reporters in Madrid that he began talking to former F1 driver Luis Perez-Sala, now an advisor for the team's new owners Thesan Capital, in July.

"To begin with, I didn't contemplate joining," said the 40-year-old, who explained that he was eventually convinced by the "serious and realistic approach" taken by Sala and team chief executive Saul Ruiz de Marcos.

Interestingly, team boss Colin Kolles was not present at the news conference.

"It's no secret that I had a contract with McLaren for the next few years so this was only possible because of them," said de la Rosa, who has been the main test driver for the famous British team for many years.

El Pais quotes him saying: "There were months of negotiations."

Added de Marcos: "From day one we got straight down to work to try and convince him and after four months of negotiations I am very proud to have achieved it."

Sala agreed: "It wasn't easy as he was very happy at McLaren but, in the end, he decided to join us and I'm very proud to have him on our team for the next two years."

According to El Mundo newspaper, de la Rosa arrives with a few personal sponsors but is hoping to attract even more backing.

"I come to stay but I need the support of the media and national companies," he said.

He is quoted by Marca: "I must make it clear that McLaren agreed to end my contract and I thank them.

"Another reason for coming (to HRT) is because a test driver cannot test any more.  F1 is now the only sport that doesn't let you practice and it's a shame also for young drivers who are not getting the opportunity.

"At Singapore (in September) I remember looking in the mirror and saying 'I can't take another year of sitting on the pitwall watching the other drivers pass by'.

"I think at McLaren they understand me well, that I want to race and their response was spectacular.

"Martin (Whitmarsh) was surprised but he told me he was proud to have a reserve driver who has the passion to keep racing.

"It's a very mature decision and I am so happy because I would have had qualms leaving a team in a bad way."

De la Rosa clarified that he will remain with McLaren in Brazil this weekend and then throughout the month of December.

Brawn to consider 2013 with Schumacher mid next year
(GMM)  Ross Brawn will turn his attention to Michael Schumacher's expiring contract in the middle of next season.

Mercedes' other driver Nico Rosberg has already inked a new deal beyond next year, but there have been questions about Schumacher's desire to keep racing and also speculation linking Kimi Raikkonen to the seat in 2013.

"We have a contract (with Schumacher) for next year and if he is happy then I see no reason why we cannot continue with an agreement in 2013 as well," team boss Brawn told Italy's Autosprint magazine.

The Brackley based team has finished 2011 fourth in the constructors' standings, but the W02 car was below the German marque's expectations.

Asked what went wrong, Brawn answered: "We thought it was important to have a rather short wheelbase but the reality with the exhaust systems showed that we were not right.

"So we did not start with the right basis."

Schumacher's former boss at Ferrari Luca di Montezemolo is not sure the 42-year-old German is the right man for Mercedes.

"This last two seasons has not been about a driver (Schumacher) representing modern motoring," he told the La Politica nel Pallone program.

"He made the choice to come back, and I don't think he had a competitive car, but to me it's a shame that a champion like him is not even on the podium.

"I would wish to see him close the second phase of his sporting life with a much greater satisfaction," added Montezemolo.

No eyes for Vettel as Ferrari happy with Alonso
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo insists Ferrari can live without F1's new back to back world champion.

Asked about the young German - who has dominated the 2011 season - during the La Politica nel Pallone radio program, president Montezemolo insisted Fernando Alonso is better than the Red Bull driver.

"We have Fernando with a long and stable contract as we did with Michael Schumacher and, with all due respect to all the other drivers, Alonso is the best in the world," he said.

Notwithstanding his affection for the Spaniard, Montezemolo acknowledged that Felipe Massa's contract runs out at the end of next season.

"We expect a big season from him next year and then we will evaluate what to do.  Let's say he is playing for reappointment," said the Italian, amid rumors Ferrari has eyes for the recovering Pole Robert Kubica.

More police after attack as Button returns to Brazil
(GMM)  Jenson Button is relieved that, a year after being threatened by Brazilian bandits with machine guns, he is glad he will have a police escort in Sao Paulo this weekend.

As reigning world champion last year, the McLaren driver and his entourage narrowly escaped an armed attack on return to his hotel from the Interlagos circuit.

He insisted on Tuesday: "I've no fears going back to Brazil.

"It had occurred so many times before with mechanics and engineers that in the end it was going to happen to a driver.

"We have more security this year and I think every driver will have a police escort, which they should do."

After the incident last year, there were calls for Brazil to lose its place on the F1 calendar.

"I don't know what else they can do really, it's a tricky one," Button conceded.

"It is a great circuit, I love that it is on the calendar and I hope that it stays."

The UK Express newspaper said there will be extra police patrolling the roads around the circuit this year.

"We're not going to cancel a great race for a few people who cause trouble," insisted F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Massa urges Barrichello to announce retirement
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has urged Rubens Barrichello to announce his immediate retirement from formula one.

Veteran Barrichello revealed this week that he has been frantically seeking sponsors in order to safeguard his Williams seat for 2012, which would be his 20th consecutive season on the grid.

"The advice I would give him is to stop," Ferrari driver Massa is quoted by Globo Esporte.

"In my opinion, Rubens has had an incredible season in formula one, driven for the best teams and won races.  Many drivers would love to have had his career."

Massa suggested countryman Barrichello, 40, should not stoop to becoming a pay-driver.

"What I would advise is to stop racing, because of his team and everything that is happening in the category," he explained.

"There are 12 teams and at least six of them ask for money from their drivers.  For the career that Rubens has had, I cannot see him ending this way, needing to pay to race in F1."

Massa is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo: "At 40 years old, he does not need it.  He should make the announcement now that he is going to stop.

"If his idea to find investors fails, what is he going to do?  Announce in February that he is leaving F1?"

Mentor denies Vergne made 'better than Webber' comments
(GMM)  A friend and mentor of 2012 hopeful Jean-Eric Vergne has denied the Frenchman claims he is a better option for Red Bull than Mark Webber.

21-year-old Vergne, the latest cream of Red Bull's driver development program, posted lap times comparable to Australian Webber's during the grand prix weekend when he tested in Abu Dhabi last week.

He was subsequently quoted in a French language column: "I think if I was put in the Red Bull, I would do no worse than Webber.  That's my impression, anyway, after these tests."

Many criticized those comments as being arrogant as well as showing a lack of respect for race winner Webber, who is already signed up as Sebastian Vettel's teammate for next season.

Vergne's mentor Renaud Derlot, who has been involved with Vergne's career for the past seven years, told commentator Jean-Louis Moncet's Auto Plus blog: "I can tell you that how the journalist quoted Jean-Eric is wrong.

"I record everything he (Vergne) says and I was the only one to do it that day because the journalist did not.

"I spoke with the journalist last night and he apologized not only to me but also to Jean-Eric," added Derlot.

Kubica comeback delayed
(GMM)  Robert Kubica will not be ready to return to formula one early in 2012, the Renault team announced on Wednesday.

Throughout 2011, the Pole has been recovering from horror injuries sustained in a rally crash in February.

The Enstone based team said Kubica is now in "an intensive training program" but has told Renault "it is still too early" to commit to racing in F1 in 2012.

"He feels that he needs more time to return to full fitness," the team said in a media statement.

Kubica, 26, is out of contract at the end of this year and has been linked with a possible 2013 return with Ferrari.

"Lotus Renault GP remains committed to helping Robert as much as possible in his recovery process.  A test car is ready and waiting for him, and a dedicated crew is on standby," the statement continued.

"Of course, Robert will remain a member of the (Renault team) family in 2012 and he is already, through his management, holding talks about renewing his contract for the following season," added Renault.

The statement quoted Kubica as saying it was a "difficult decision" to tell the team to go ahead and make its plans for 2012 without him.

"I just need more time, as I want to be 100 per cent ready before I commit to anything driving related," he said.

F1 'not the right place' for Volkswagen
(GMM)  Despite the switch to V6 turbo power in 2014, Volkswagen is still not interested in formula one.

The German giant's development boss Ulrich Hackenberg insists the sport is "too far away" from the world of normal road cars.

"There is no scope (in F1) for the Volkswagen brand, at least not at this stage," he told Germany's Auto Presse.

Hackenberg admitted, however, that the "prestige of winning" in formula one "is high" and therefore attractive for brands looking for worldwide exposure.

"But for those interested in technical expertise with a view to mass production, it is not the right place.

"This is where the core Volkswagen brand needs no help from F1," he said, arguing that world rally on the other hand is a "very good platform" for VW.

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