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Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Kamui Kobayashi
    Sauber admits 2011 'difficult' for Kobayashi
  • Marussia 'made most sense' for rookie Pic - Panis
  • Rivals wanted to curb Red Bull's aero dominance - Marko
  • Austin GP deal 'looking good' for 2012 - source
  • Toro Rosso to make driver decision this month - Buemi
  • Rosberg not worried career could be winless
  • Webber unsure F1 to return to Bahrain in 2012
  • Ferrari must consider McLaren-like stability - Villadelprat
  • Teammate says Schumacher cheated in 1994

Sauber admits 2011 'difficult' for Kobayashi
(GMM)  Kamui Kobayashi has admitted he had a difficult season as 'lead driver' with Sauber in 2011.

As a rookie, the Japanese spent his first full season in F1 in 2010 alongside highly experienced teammates Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld.

But this year, the 25-year-old shared the Swiss team's garage with rookie Sergio Perez, ultimately finishing the season with double the Mexican's haul of points.

Kobayashi, however, admits that the role as the key Sauber driver "certainly wasn't easy for me".

"I needed to improve a lot in various areas.  Not only in driving, but also in making decisions with the engineers."

Sauber team boss Peter Sauber has decided to keep both Kobayashi and Perez, 21, for 2012.

"It was important to have an emotionally positive finish to the season," Sauber wrote in Blick newspaper.  "This was especially true for Kobayashi, who has a difficult year behind him."

Marussia 'made most sense' for rookie Pic - Panis
(GMM)  The French sports daily L'Equipe on Tuesday quoted Charles Pic as saying his target for next season is to "reach the level" of his experienced teammate Timo Glock "as soon as possible".

The French newcomer, speaking in Paris, has been signed by the former Virgin team Marussia for 2012 and 2013.

"I have known him since he was very young," said his manager Olivier Panis, who revealed that Pic's career has been supported by another former French F1 driver, Eric Bernard.

Pic is quoted by Le Figaro: "I'm flying to England tomorrow to be at the factory to get to know the staff and start working with the engineers and in the simulator."

1996 Monaco grand prix winner Panis said Marussia is the perfect first team for Pic.

"It means a little less pressure for him to start with.  Alonso started at Minardi, Vettel at Toro Rosso, I started at Ligier, Senna started at Toleman.

"There are only 24 F1 drivers in the whole world and so when you have the opportunity to do it, you do not pass it up.

"We had two options and, for me, Marussia made the most sense."

It is believed Panis, 45, will travel with Pic throughout the 2012 season.

Rivals wanted to curb Red Bull's aero dominance - Marko
(GMM)  Red Bull pulled out of FOTA because the other teams were trying to curb the team's dominance.

That is the inkling of the energy drink company's F1 consultant Dr Helmut Marko, referring to the failed talks over the next cost-limiting resource restriction agreement (RRA).

Red Bull had been accused of breaching some of the articles in the existing agreement, and talks finally collapsed at the Brazil season finale.

Marko is quoted by the Kleine Zeitung newspaper as claiming that Red Bull's dominance was being specifically targeted by the other teams as the cost-cutting talks went on.

"We are the best in aerodynamics and so the others only wanted to cut back the (development of) aerodynamics," he charged.

It is turbulent times politically for Red Bull, but team driver Mark Webber seemed blissfully unaware as he began his post-season wind-down this week in Tasmania.

Asked by the Daily Mail about his employer's withdrawal from the teams association, the Australian answered: "Haven't got a clue, mate -- doesn't bother me.

"Didn't know any of that had happened," added Webber.

Austin GP deal 'looking good' for 2012 - source
(GMM)  As the event's final deadline winds down on Wednesday, there is a growing feeling that organizers of the US GP in Austin have managed to rescue their 2012 race.

With the World Motor Sport Council in India set to take place imminently, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone had warned Circuit of the Americas bosses to stop dithering and sign a binding deal for 2012 and beyond.

A source close to the organization has told the Austin Chronicle that the chances the race will go ahead next November are now "looking good".

"I hope Austin goes ahead," Red Bull driver Mark Webber, in Tasmania this week for his outdoor adventure event, told the Daily Mail newspaper.

"That track looks sensational.  I've been shown the animations of the layout and it looks really, really special, so they've obviously done a good job there," he added.

Toro Rosso to make driver decision this month - Buemi
(GMM)  The signs are growing ever stronger that Toro Rosso, Red Bull's secondary formula one team, is set to stick with its existing driver lineup for 2012.

It was believed that Jaime Alguersuari or Sebastien Buemi - or both - could be replaced by the energy drink company's latest newcomers Daniel Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne.

But Ricciardo, now in the frame for Jarno Trulli's Caterham seat, told an Australian newspaper on Tuesday that he thinks Alguersuari and Buemi are safe for 2012.

"I don't know what's happening.  Nothing," Swiss Buemi is quoted by Blick newspaper.

"I do know that the decision will be in December," he revealed.

The Swiss newspaper added that Frenchman Vergne is likely to remain in the Red Bull reserve role next season.

"I'm just taking it easy for a few days," Buemi explained.  "I just have a date with my watch sponsor Audemars Piguet and after that I will be in the Red Bull simulator in Milton Keynes between the 11th and 14th of December.

"I am continuing to work as normal," added the 23-year-old.

Spain's AS newspaper cited a source close to Toro Rosso's Spanish sponsor Cepsa as believing "Alguersuari is an essential figure in the (Toro Rosso) project".

The report agreed that Buemi also looks set to be retained for 2012.

Rosberg not worried career could be winless
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg verged on losing his temper on Tuesday when asked by French sports daily L'Equipe about his alarming race-to-win ratio.

In 2011, the German scored over 50 fewer points compared to his first season with Mercedes last year, and yet he has signed on for a new multi-year term.

He was asked if he is alarmed that, more than 100 grands prix in and at the age of 26, he could be heading for a long and winless career.

L'Equipe said Rosberg's answer was angry.

"All the statistics; it's a journalist's trick," he answered.  "I'm not worried and I don't think about it.

"If (Jenson) Button had listened to you (journalists), he would have retired before being world champion.

"I have extended my contract with Mercedes because I feel that I can win with this team."

Rosberg concedes, however, that when he raced the silver W02 for the first time in Australia in March, he was "a little disappointed".

"In Melbourne we had great hopes," he admitted, "then we realized that we were not going to be able to do anything about Red Bull.

"Now, I feel pretty satisfied with the season, especially since I have finished once again ahead of my teammate (Michael Schumacher)," added Rosberg.

Webber unsure F1 to return to Bahrain in 2012
(GMM)  Time will tell whether formula one actually returns as scheduled to Bahrain early next season, according to Mark Webber.

Amid the Kingdom's civil crisis this year, the Australian was the most outspoken driver as he called for the season opener to be postponed and then cancelled completely.

F1 is scheduled to return next April, but some reports indicate that Bahrain's troubles are not yet over.

"It's obviously a very serious matter that went on, and potentially could be going on," Red Bull driver Webber told the Daily Mail newspaper.

"Time is a healer, and people move on eventually," he acknowledged.  "Whether it's enough in this situation?  I think we'll find out a bit more in the next few months."

Asked if he can imagine the 2011 event going ahead, Webber insisted: "I think you have to take a rain check on that.

"That's why Bernie (Ecclestone) has so many races on the calendar knowing that there could be a few - whether it's a commercial reason, or a political reason in terms of Bahrain's case - that could make it (the calendar) a little bit vulnerable."

Ferrari must consider McLaren-like stability - Villadelprat
(GMM)  Ferrari needs to follow McLaren's example and add crucial stability to its recipe for success.

That is the claim of veteran engineer Joan Villadelprat, who wrote in his column for the Spanish newspaper El Pais that British team McLaren "is clearly" better than Ferrari at developing a car during a season.

"Why did this happen if both teams have unlimited budgets and engineers of the highest level?  It's not just a technical issue," he wrote.

Villadelprat thinks one reason could be Ferrari's status, encapsulated by "the tifosi, national honor, the media ... Ferrari must win every race and every championship".

"This pressure is leading the team to make quick decisions, and sometimes wrong ones," he said.  "There is no stability and therefore a lack of trust with the employees.

"At McLaren, it is quite the opposite.  Ron Dennis has been very concerned about turning his team into a kind of family where everyone is supported and where ideas are valued.

"There is little change ... people feel valued and give 150 per cent."

And ahead of the 2012 season, while McLaren can base its next championship on a solid past season in the bid to chase down Red Bull, it is all change once again at Ferrari.

"Under the requirement of victory, Ferrari has made radical changes, relocating people and seeking innovative solutions that are not copied but will be copied.  And that carries a high risk," said Villadelprat.

Teammate says Schumacher cheated in 1994
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's 1994 teammate has accused the German of winning his first world championship with the help of illegal electronic aids.

Dutchman Jos Verstappen claims that while the Benetton he raced almost two decades ago conformed to the rules, the sister car driven to the title by Schumacher was fitted with secret systems.

"I know what happened when we were together at Benetton," Verstappen is quoted by the Dutch-language Nusport.

"People think I'm looking for excuses but I know that his car was different from mine.

"I always thought it was impossible; I braked at the limit and took the corners as hard as possible, so how could Schumacher do it?  There was something wrong.

"There were electronic driver aids.  It was never mentioned, but I'm convinced and when I later asked Flavio Briatore he replied 'Let's not talk about it'.  So I know enough now.

"Like everyone else, Michael is also dependent on his car.  For most people he was a god but he is not superman -- in a go-kart he never beat me," added Verstappen.

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