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Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Raikkonen in his Rally car
    After F1 switch, co-driver hopes Raikkonen keeps rallying
  • Williams reveals Bottas could race in 2012
  • Barrichello also tips Raikkonen to struggle
  • Trulli has 2012 Caterham contract 'currently' - boss
  • Fernandes no admirer of F1's KERS technology
  • Glock eager to prove speed alongside Vettel
  • Red Bull commitment depends on success, marketing
  • High praise for Sutil amid Force India exit rumors

After F1 switch, co-driver hopes Raikkonen keeps rallying

(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen's co-driver for the past two years hopes the Finn will continue his passion for rallying.

After leaving F1 at the end of 2009, the 2007 world champion has now decided to return to formula one for at least the next two seasons with Lotus Renault.

"I hope that Kimi will keep rallying as a hobby sometimes," his co-driver Kaj Lindstrom is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper.

"Driving on the track of course is more of Kimi's own environment but I must say that he fared very well in rallying in such a short experience.

"His work is his priority, and F1 is his work now, but I hope the rally stays a hobby."

Raikkonen's predecessor at Lotus Renault, Robert Kubica, is still recovering from horror injuries sustained in a minor rally last February.

Williams reveals Bottas could race in 2012
(GMM)  Valtteri Bottas could make his grand prix debut at some point in 2011, the Williams team has hinted.

The famous British team raised the prospect in a media statement issued late on Thursday to confirm that Pastor Maldonado has retained his race seat for 2012.

Williams did not say who will be the PDVSA-sponsored Venezuelan's teammate, but the Oxfordshire based team did say that Finnish rookie Bottas is stepping up to the role of "reserve driver".

"We anticipate that Valtteri will participate in a Friday practice session at 15 grands prix next year, most likely with a more experienced driver taking over for the remainder of the race weekend," said Sir Frank Williams.

"We will announce the identity of that driver in due course."

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport presumes it will be either Adrian Sutil or Rubens Barrichello.

Bottas, 22, was already Williams' test driver in 2011.

"The opportunity now to continue this unique development with the position of reserve driver will enable me to gain essential experience as part of the race team in 2012," he said.

Barrichello also tips Raikkonen to struggle
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello agrees with Sebastian Vettel that Kimi Raikkonen might struggle to re-adapt to formula one.

World champion Vettel said this week he can imagine "it would be very difficult to return straight away to the same level as before" after a two-year absence from F1.

Brazilian Barrichello, who was an outside contender for the Lotus Renault race seat now occupied by the 2007 world champion and Finn, agrees.

"We only have the example of Schumacher," said the 39-year-old, referring to Michael Schumacher who struggled last year when he returned to F1 after a three-year retirement.

"If there was someone who we could be sure would walk back in and be there (on the pace), it was him.

"They (Raikkonen and Schumacher) are different so you can't say whether it will be easier or harder (for Raikkonen)," Barrichello is quoted by Brazil's Globo.

"But I have no doubt that after two years off, he will feel the difference in terms of how the category has changed, and of course the tires."

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said Raikkonen's return is good news.

"I am really happy to see Kimi again where he belongs, in formula one," the 81-year-old is quoted by German news agency DPA.

"I am convinced that he will be looking forward to seeing his fans again."

Trulli has 2012 Caterham contract 'currently' - boss
(GMM)  When musing the certainty of his 2012 driver lineup, Caterham chief Tony Fernandes gives very different answers about Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli.

Both have contracts for next season, but a very real question-mark is lingering over the one in the possession of Italian veteran Trulli.

Finn Kovalainen has been linked with a return to the Lotus Renault team, but Fernandes insists: "Heikki is not for sale.

"He wants to grow with our team and create something unique."

That answer is in stark contrast to the one given when Fernandes is asked about Trulli, 37: "We have registered Trulli with the FIA as our driver as currently he has a contract with us," the Malaysian businessman is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Strongly linked to Trulli's seat is Daniel Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne, who would come with the backing of their employer Red Bull.

"Both of them need racing experience," Dr Helmut Marko is quoted as saying.

Fernandes no admirer of F1's KERS technology
(GMM)  Tony Fernandes has admitted he is no admirer of formula one's kinetic energy recovery systems, otherwise known as KERS.

Since 2009, the systems have re-used heating energy collected under braking in the form of a power 'boost' controlled via a button in the drivers' cockpit.

From 2012, the Caterham drivers will enjoy the boost for the first time, with the system supplied by the team's gearbox and hydraulics supplier Red Bull.

But team boss Fernandes is no admirer.

Referring to the high costs involved in running a F1 team, the Malaysian said: "There is still too much money spent, and above all too much in the wrong places.

"We used to talk about a million euros rent for using KERS, but now we are talking about three to five million," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"For what?  Our (F1's) KERS contributes nothing to the environment."

Glock eager to prove speed alongside Vettel
(GMM)  Timo Glock insists he is as good as his countryman and F1 rival Sebastian Vettel -- and now he has a chance to prove it.

The Germans will be among the stars at the Race of Champions event this weekend in Dusseldorf, facing off at the wheel of identical cars.

Ahead of the event, Virgin/Marussia driver Glock was asked how determined he is to beat back-to-back world champion Vettel.

"Very," he smiled to the Kolner Express newspaper.

"I know I'm just as good as Sepp.  If we were both sitting in a Red Bull, only the form of the day would make the difference.

"So I'm very curious to see how the comparison pans out."

Glock might be forgiven for feeling frustrated after the last two seasons, where after fighting for podiums with Toyota he was forced to move right to the back of the grid with the struggling Virgin team.

With the change of name to Marussia, he is staying on board for 2012 and beyond.

"Yes, it's quite funny," Glock, 29, said.

"I recently sat with an old Toyota mechanic and he asked me how I can stay motivated because we were fighting for the podium and now I'm fighting for 20th place.

"It's simply this," he explained.  "When I get into the car, I'm always motivated.  Even when it's for the wooden spoon, I just fight until the last meter."

Red Bull commitment depends on success, marketing
(GMM)  Red Bull's long-term commitment to formula one depends on track success and the marketing value, Dr Helmut Marko has admitted.

The UK-based, Austrian team has embarrassed dedicated carmakers and legendary motor racing teams including Ferrari and McLaren in the past few seasons by dominating the sport.

"What is really funny is that over the last few decades McLaren and Ferrari have been arch rivals, but since our arrival - and success - they have moved much closer together," laughed Marko, who is team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's right-hand man on F1 matters.

Nonetheless, there remain questions about Red Bull's long-term commitment.

"That's not entirely true," the Austrian insisted to F1's official website.

"There have been comments from Dietrich Mateschitz that should the framework requirements not apply, then there could be second thoughts.

"Formula one is a marketing tool for Red Bull, which means that we permanently evaluate our input and the output of our commitment," said Marko.  "This equation has to be positive.

"If long-term success is there, then there is definitely no question at all."

High praise for Sutil amid Force India exit rumors
(GMM)  If Adrian Sutil departs, Force India will have parted ways with a driver the team regards very highly.

It is rumored strongly that, despite his experience and sponsorship by the Medion company, German Sutil will be replaced for 2012 by the team's 2011 reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg.

But according to Force India's official noises of late, Sutil is still highly regarded by the Silverstone based team.

Asked to summarize drivers Sutil and Paul di Resta's contribution to helping the team to finish sixth in the constructors' championship, deputy team boss Robert Fernley said: "I think they both did a fabulous job.

"I think Adrian's pass of Nico Rosberg in Brazil was excellent, and it just showed how he's matured through the year."

And throughout the Interlagos weekend, the plaudits were also flowing, with 28-year-old Sutil's qualifying described as "excellent", and his race "brilliant".

Should he be shown the door, his best chance of staying in formula one appears to be a switch to Williams.

"I am 100 per cent sure that I'm going to be in formula one next year," the German newsmagazine Focus quoted Sutil as saying.

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