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DATE News (chronologically)
12/20/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • Fernando Alonso
    Alonso expects Ferrari to close gap on Red Bull
  • Alonso 'not bothered' after Alguersuari loses seat
  • Vettel beaten to Germany's top sportsman plaudit
  • Sutil willing to wait on future until February
  • Renault to fire up first V6 engine in 2012
  • Age costing Schumacher 'precious tenths' - Frentzen
  • Chandhok admits test seat likely for 2012

Alonso expects Ferrari to close gap on Red Bull
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has admitted an "overdose of optimism" as Ferrari looks to bounce back and win the world championship in 2012.

The normally-cautious Spaniard said he expects the "dramatic difference" in pace to Red Bull this year to have been curbed in time for next season, with Ferrari having rendered its conservative approach to history with an all-new project.

"There is an optimism, in fact an overdose as with all the winters with Ferrari, just as it is in the preseason for Real Madrid," said Alonso.

"We are the best team in formula one and we have an obligation to be world champion.

"We are optimistic but we will have strong rivals and the championship will be decided by one or two tenths," he predicted.

"The Red Bull was very, very good and it will be improved further, but they don't have as much room to improve as we do," Alonso is quoted by Europa Press.

For 2012, the FIA has clamped down on flexible front wings and also blown exhaust diffusers -- two innovations pioneered and perfected by current champions Red Bull.

Alonso thinks the cream will still rise to the top.

"It doesn't matter what rules they (the FIA) think of because the engineers are smarter," he insisted.

Recently, a specialist magazine surveyed every F1 team principal and Sebastian Vettel was voted the best driver of 2011, with Alonso also trailing behind runner-up Jenson Button.

He smiled: "The first position is for the champion of course, because he has been the best.

"Of the others, several of us have done good seasons and it's difficult to put a value on it due to the differences in the cars.

"F1 goes in cycles," Alonso is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.  "Sebastian won the last two, I have won two, but we will see in ten years who has the most.

"He has been very lucky to have a competitive car so quickly, but I wouldn't want to swap with anyone.  I'm with the team I want to be in."

Alonso 'not bothered' after Alguersuari loses seat
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso reacted coolly when asked if he is hoping fellow Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari can rescue his stalled formula one career.

Alguersuari, 21, has been axed from the Toro Rosso lineup, and will likely not return to the paddock in 2012 unless he is appointed Red Bull's official reserve.

A less likely outcome is that HRT will move to complete an all-Spanish race lineup for next season by putting Alguersuari alongside Pedro de la Rosa.

"I'm not bothered if Jaime is going to HRT or not," Ferrari driver Alonso, who is not friends with Alguersuari, is quoted by Spanish reporters.

"About his departure (from Toro Rosso) I have no strong opinion.  I don't know how he worked with the team or if they were happy with their drivers or not," he insisted.

"I'm surprised because they have changed both drivers at once and teams need continuity, but I was also surprised about Sutil (losing his seat at Force India)," added Alonso.

"I think Toro Rosso and Red Bull have many young drivers and only two (Toro Rosso) seats so maybe they felt the need to try some others," he said.

Vettel beaten to Germany's top sportsman plaudit
(GMM)  After dominating in formula one this season, Sebastian Vettel has been pipped at the post as Germany's outstanding male athlete was crowned.

The Red Bull driver missed out on the 64-year-old award - presented during a nationally televised ceremony in Baden-Baden - that instead was won by Dirk Nowitzki.

The NBA star, who plays for the Dallas Mavericks, is Germany's first basketball player to be so honored.

"After so many years that was by far the best year of my career," said 33-year-old Nowitzki.

With the winner decided by a jury of 1500 sports journalists, Vettel came in a close second.

Sutil willing to wait on future until February
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil is in no rush to secure his future after losing his long-time Force India seat ahead of 2012.

The 28-year-old - with an impressive finish to the 2011 season behind him - has been shortlisted by Williams, who are reportedly also interested in the German's solid backing by the computer company Medion.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reported this week that Sutil and his manager Manfred Zimmermann are keen to ink a one-year deal so that he is free to switch to Ferrari at the end of Felipe Massa's contract.

"We are not panicking," said Zimmermann in the wake of Force India's confirmation that Sutil is being replaced for 2012 by his countryman Nico Hulkenberg.

"We have until February 7, when the tests begin," he told Sport1.

Zimmermann did not deny the Ferrari rumors, saying only: "It would be a strange tactic to give the names of those you are talking to.

"We will keep quiet with our various options and decide what makes the most sense."

Renault to fire up first V6 engine in 2012
(GMM)  Renault's V6 engine, designed for the new 2014 regulations, will be fired up for the first time next year.

2012 is two full seasons before the current generation of 2.4 liter V8s are dispensed with, but the French carmaker's F1 manager Jean-Francois Caubet insists the early fire-up is crucial.

Renault Sport F1 currently supplies its V8 engine to Red Bull, Lotus, Caterham and - from 2012 - the Williams team.

"The new (V6) power units for 2014 will be substantially more complex to design and operate than current engines and are going to be a huge challenge to get right," said Caubet.

"Our first V6 will be on test mid 2012 and then it will be an intense program to refine and develop each part of the unit within the permitted envelope," he is quoted by nextgen-auto.com.

Age costing Schumacher 'precious tenths' - Frentzen
(GMM)  Age has slowed down Michael Schumacher, his countryman and former rival Heinz-Harald Frentzen said on Tuesday.

Early in their motor racing careers, it was the now 44-year-old Frentzen who was considered the quicker of the pair, but Schumacher went on to dizzying heights in F1 while the other German retired in 2003 with just three wins.

Schumacher, 43 next month, retired three years later than Frentzen but returned in 2010 with Mercedes, where in two seasons so far he has failed to add a podium to his tally of 91 wins and seven world titles.

"As you grow older," Frentzen explained to the Indo Asian News Service, "you tend to hesitate and become indecisive whether or not to push and take risks.

"You lose precious tenths of a second.  I think Michael is at that stage in his career."

Chandhok admits test seat likely for 2012
(GMM)  Karun Chandhok on Tuesday acknowledged he will likely have to settle for another season as a test driver.

In the role this year, the Indian made a one-off appearance in Jarno Trulli's Team Lotus car at the Nurburgring and was hoping for a regular seat in 2012.

But he is quoted by the Press Trust of India: "I am mentally preparing myself to continue as a test driver for another season.

"As of now, most of the teams have announced their drivers for the 2012 season.  There are only two slots up for grabs -- one with Williams and other with HRT.

"So the situation is a bit difficult but I am ready to work hard," added Chandhok, who is tipped to stay with Lotus as the team becomes Caterham in 2012.

He admitted it is a "tough situation" to be competing on the market with other potential race drivers who can offer "good sponsorship money".

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