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DATE News (chronologically)
12/14/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday  
  • Hamilton hits back at Ecclestone criticism
  • Vettel loses trusted trainer Tommi to hockey
  • Marko tells Alguersuari to win ticket to Red Bull
  • Boullier hints at Friday role for Senna
  • Russian and Dutchman key to 2012 driver market - report
  • Friday role 'not the priority' as d'Ambrosio eyes 2012
  • Ecclestone offers to save Nurburgring's F1 race

Hamilton hits back at Ecclestone criticism
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has hit back at Bernie Ecclestone's criticism of his management team.

With the 2008 world champion's calamitous 2011 season now behind the British driver, F1 chief executive Ecclestone said the handing of Hamilton by Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller this year has been "a disaster".

The 26-year-old McLaren driver hit back this week, telling the Guardian that the criticism of Fuller and his company XIX Entertainment is "massively unfair".

Hamilton said his problems in 2011 were "my fault really".

"They've wanted to be here every single race, they've been nothing but supportive.  I control it and I decided not to have them at every race because I wanted to be on my own at some races," said the Briton.

"For the future I'll have them at every race," Hamilton announced.

Vettel loses trusted trainer Tommi to hockey
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel is set to lose his physiotherapist and trainer Tommi Parmakoski.

After securing his back-to-back drivers' world championship in Japan two months ago, Vettel paid special tribute to the Finn.

"He was the one not allowing me at any stage this year to lose the grip, start to fly, or think about things that are not in our control," the Red Bull driver said.

"It is down to people like Tommi who push more than 100 per cent to do his job and keeps us on the right track," added Vettel.

Parmakoski, 28, said in 2011: "At the race track Sebastian is the boss.  Away from the track, I am."

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that, after three years together with Vettel, Parmakoski - a former ice-hockey goalkeeper - has accepted an offer to coach a Finnish women's hockey team.

The report said Vettel is seeking a replacement.

Marko tells Alguersuari to win ticket to Red Bull
(GMM)  Jaime Alguersuari could win a ticket to Red Bull's senior formula one team for 2013.

The 21-year-old Spaniard has not yet been confirmed for the secondary team Toro Rosso for 2012, but - after a strong second half of the season - he is expected to stay.

Indeed, he is now all-but admitting it.

Asked by sports newspaper Marca what he will have to do to replace Mark Webber at the main team for 2013, Alguersuari answered: "What do I have to do?

"According to (Red Bull driver manager) Helmut (Marko), I have to win a race with Toro Rosso.  Those were his words in Japan, so I'll try.

"I have 20 races to try it and I have as good a chance as any, however small," he laughed.

Should he win the promotion, however, Alguersuari refused to predict Sebastian Vettel-style dominance at the wheel of a Red Bull.

"It's a question I cannot answer," he insisted.  "We do know what would happen if Alonso was in a Red Bull, but as for myself it would be pure speculation.

"So I think it's better to say nothing.

"What I will say is that if a driver has the best car, it is because he deserves it."

And Alguersuari thinks Vettel will probably continue to have the best car at his disposal in 2012, despite the FIA's efforts to curb exhaust blowing and flexible wings.

"I think the best is always the best, and to date it has been (car designer Adrian) Newey.  He's a genius, an artist, and I see no reason why Red Bull's dominance is going to be stopped now," he insisted.

Boullier hints at Friday role for Senna
(GMM)  Bruno Senna appears headed for a return to the reserve driver role at Lotus for 2012.

With the Enstone based team known as Renault this year, the Brazilian began 2011 in the third driver role before graduating to the race cockpit mid-season when Nick Heidfeld was ousted.

Lotus, however, has named Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean for the race cockpits in 2012.

Senna, 28, has been quoted this week as admitting a return to a reserve role is possible for 2012, especially if he is able to drive in Friday practice sessions.

"We have two racers, we will see about a third driver later on," Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is quoted by the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur.

"This is an opportunity for Bruno if he does not find a seat elsewhere," he added.

"He is someone who is very good on the technical side and so we could consider the role for Fridays as well," said Boullier.

Italiaracing said Senna is an outside contender for a race seat at Williams or HRT, where he began his F1 race career in 2010.

Russian and Dutchman key to 2012 driver market - report
(GMM)  Vitaly Petrov and Giedo van der Garde are the keys to the remaining seats on the 2012 driver market.

That is the claim of Finland's Turun Sanomat, revealing that the management of Russian Petrov - ousted by Lotus/Renault - has been in talks with Toro Rosso, Williams, Marussia and HRT.

It is believed that, given the fact he had a year to run on his existing contract, Lotus must have had to pay Petrov in full for the 2012 season.

On top of that money, he has two years of F1 racing experience now in the bag, and at least EUR 10 million in other sponsorship to offer.

His manager Oksana Kosachenko has revealed that his future should be clear within the next ten days.

Dutch GP2 driver van der Garde, meanwhile, has had a low profile on the 2012 driver market, but very real sponsorship to offer a potential employer.

His manager Jan Paul ten Hoopen doubles as the commercial director of the fashion house McGregor, and his father-in-law is the billionaire Marcel Boekhoorn.

Turun Sanomat said he is the frontrunner to be Pedro de la Rosa's teammate at HRT.

Friday role 'not the priority' as d'Ambrosio eyes 2012
(GMM)  Jerome d'Ambrosio remains confident he can keep his new formula one racing career alive in 2012.

The Belgian, backed by sponsors and managed by the Eric Boullier-led Gravity group, has lost his race seat at Virgin/Marussia after his solid debut season this year.

But he insists he remains in the running for one of the remaining places on the 2012 grid.

"For me, nothing has really changed since Brazil," he is quoted by La Derniere Heure, a French-language Belgian newspaper.

"Not even the signing of Romain Grosjean with Lotus-Renault, as it has never really been an option for me.

"One way or another, I will be in F1 in 2012.  And a reserve role is not the priority at the moment."

The Belgian newspaper said HRT, Caterham and Williams are the teams targeted by d'Ambrosio's management.

Heading d'Ambrosio's management by Gravity is Benjamin Mignot, who said he has "high hopes" to see his charge "on the grid in 2012".

"At this stage we are still in discussions with three of the five teams that have seats for 2012," said Mignot.

"To tell the truth, we have been able to raise so far a very reasonable amount for a very consistent driver -- to develop a car, it's not just about money.

"I get calls daily but it (the market) is not going to move before the holidays.

"Even if it doesn't work out, there are third driver positions where you can even drive on the Fridays at grands prix," added Mignot.

Ecclestone offers to save Nurburgring's F1 race
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has put an offer on the table in an effort to save F1's biennial Nurburgring race.

Local politics have threatened the future of the event, with the new green-influenced ruling alliance in the Rhineland-Palatinate state baulking at the use of public funds for F1.

Circuit operator Jorg Lindner responded earlier this year by saying the race contract with F1 chief executive Ecclestone needs to be renegotiated.

On Tuesday, Nurburgring spokesman Karl-Heinz Steinkuhler said the state's financial involvement has already fallen from about EUR 13.5m to less than 10 million.

At the same time, meetings with Ecclestone have taken place.

"The proposal will now be discussed with (interior minister) Roger Lewentz," read a report by the German news agency DPA.

The Tageblatt newspaper said the Nurburgring's theme park operations including the rollercoaster will be scaled down, with about 60 jobs made redundant to cut costs.

A spokesman said the Nurburgring's future will thereafter be "highly profitable".

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