Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
Team harmony still on rocks after FOTA meeting
|Barrichello wonders about future|
- Veterans say Barrichello deserves to know 2012 plans
- Chance of Vettel hat-trick in 2012 'very high'
- Fittipaldi slams F1 after finding door closed
- Massa gives 2011 performance 'very low score'
- Massa to obey team orders during home race
- Sponsor deal doubts not worrying Maldonado
Team harmony still on rocks after FOTA meeting
(GMM) The F1 teams' cost-limiting resource restriction agreement (RRA) has sped closer to its death in Brazil.
A FOTA meeting at Interlagos on Friday had in the F1 paddock been referred to as "make or break", with the teams at odds over the details.
"Judging by the faces of the team bosses," reported Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, "it was not a success."
Red Bull's Christian Horner confirmed: "We met and it has been decided that the RRA has effectively been taken out of FOTA for the time being, to try and achieve a solution."
That decision might spare the formula one teams association (FOTA) collapse amid the dispute, but it is believed some of Horner's rivals reacted with surprise to his announcement in the FIA press conference.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that a definite outcome of the Friday meeting was the scheduling of another, with only the big four teams - Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes - to be involved.
The report said Red Bull - accused behind the scenes of breaching the RRA cost limits - is under pressure, with one proposal on the table the transformation of the current agreement from a voluntary one to an actual regulation, punishable in sporting terms.
But Red Bull is not the only team under pressure, with Companies House in London showing that McLaren has 646 team employees; a number more than double the allowed limit for staff directly involved in the actual construction of the car.
Veterans say Barrichello deserves to know 2012 plans
(GMM) Two F1 veterans think the sport's longest-serving race driver deserves to know his plans for 2012 this weekend in Brazil.
The 2011 Brazilian grand prix, not far from Rubens Barrichello's birthplace and home, could pass this weekend without the 39-year-old knowing if it was his last in the sport.
After smashing the all-time record for the most grands prix contested by a single driver, that's not fair on the grand prix winner and Williams driver, according to his friend Mark Webber.
Earlier this week, Australian Webber visited Barrichello at his Sao Paulo home.
"Unfortunately he is in a bit of a bizarre situation in that (this weekend) could be his last race in F1 but no one actually knows whether it will be," he wrote in his BBC column.
Former McLaren driver David Coulthard agrees it is "sad" that uncertainty shrouds what could be Barrichello's last of an unprecedented 322 races.
"If this is to be the last we see of (Barrichello) in a cockpit it would be nice to be able to give him the respectful send-off he deserves," he wrote in the Telegraph.
Barrichello's countryman Felipe Massa said earlier this week that he should stop trying to find sponsorship to keep his Williams seat and just quit now.
"Should he?" wondered Coulthard. "Take the decision out of Williams' hands and soak up the plaudits?
"I know what I would do - especially with the season Williams have just had - but then I'm not Rubens.
"If he honestly feels he still has something to offer then he should stay. I just wish we knew one way or another," said the Scot.
Chance of Vettel hat-trick in 2012 'very high'
(GMM) What is the chance Sebastian Vettel will continue his run of dominance and achieve an ultra-rare championship 'hat-trick' in 2012?
"Very high," answered his German compatriot Timo Glock. "Red Bull has everything in place to win the title again."
DPA news agency said only Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio have ever managed the triple-feat.
"We will be motivated, but you'd better ask me about it after the first tests" in February, 24-year-old Vettel said.
Added Peter Sauber: "If next year's Red Bull is like this one, there is nothing to stop him from doing it.
"It depends mainly on the car," added the Swiss team owner and boss.
Adrian Sutil commented: "Red Bull will be the team to beat" in 2012.
The rivals, however, are pushing hard, with Mercedes compiling no fewer than five technical bosses to take on Adrian Newey, and Ferrari spending every resource since July on its 2012 car.
And McLaren, runner-up to Red Bull this season, is determined to avoid the sort of calamitous winter pre-season it endured nine months ago.
"We will be ready for the first race and won't just turn up and bolt on a new exhaust," Jenson Button told the Sun, referring to early 2011.
"But Red Bull and Sebastian have done a great job this year and it would have been very difficult to beat them."
Fittipaldi slams F1 after finding door closed
(GMM) Emerson Fittipaldi railed against the organizers of the Brazilian grand prix on Friday.
The double world champion and legendary Brazilian revealed that, whilst visiting the Interlagos paddock, he "tried to see Bernie" Ecclestone "but was blocked by a lady named Roseli".
"(I was) better received last weekend at NASCAR," the 64-year-old charged.
According to Globo, the race organizers reacted "with surprise" to Fittipaldi's complaint about not being allowed into Ecclestone's office building.
A spokesperson explained that a receptionist had simply asked Fittipaldi to enter and exit through the correct door so that his electronic credential was not invalidated.
"This everyday episode at a big event does not justify the emotional tone (of Fittipaldi), especially from someone who is known for his education and respect for the rules," the official reportedly added.
Massa gives 2011 performance 'very low score'
(GMM) Felipe Massa has given his 2011 season a "very low score" and vowed to fare better next season, when his Ferrari career will be on the line.
Brazil's Globo quotes him as saying at Interlagos, his home race: "For me, the score is low. You can come up with any number, maybe a little more than five.
"But it is very low," said the Brazilian.
Massa, 30, is an Interlagos specialist and two-time winner, but he seemed to acknowledge only an outside chance he will end this weekend with a mere podium finish.
"If the podium is possible, great, it would be an excellent result. In 2012 everything will change. It is a completely different car."
Massa to obey team orders during home race
(GMM) Felipe Massa has admitted that, if instructed, he will move over to let his teammate Fernando Alonso pass him at Interlagos.
The 2011 season finale is the 30-year-old Brazilian's home race, and he is also a crowd favorite and two-time winner (2006/2008).
But he has not had a good season alongside Ferrari teammate Alonso, who retains an outside chance of beating Jenson Button to the runner-up spot in the drivers' championship.
"If the situation like that happens, I will be professional and obey," Massa, who controversially moved over for Alonso at Hockenheim last year, told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper.
But unlike in 2010, when Massa was told cryptically that "Fernando is faster than you", team orders are now completely legal in F1.
"For my part, it was the most professional way to deal with the situation. As is the case in any business, when you get an order you have to do it.
"I think any professional driver would do the same, even if at the same time it is not easy," added Massa.
Sponsor deal doubts not worrying Maldonado
(GMM) Pastor Maldonado insists he is not worried he might be pushed out of formula one due to politics in his native Venezuela.
It is reported the country's parliament is looking into the lucrative deal between Maldonado's backer PDVSA, the state-owned oil company, and the famous British team Williams.
"I don't know exactly what is happening, but I'm not worrying about it," the Mirror quotes the 26-year-old as saying at Interlagos.
"I am really happy to be here and I would like to continue."
Maldonado said he doubts his backer would have breached the regulations by inking a lucrative sponsorship deal without the parliament's consent.
"It is a responsible company, very serious, and I believe they do everything the correct way," he insisted.