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DATE News (chronologically)
12/29/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday  
  • Niki Lauda
    V6 engine rules 'good compromise' - Lauda
  • Zanardi tips Hamilton to bounce back in 2012
  • Hamilton had raisins and brown rice for Christmas
  • Retired Berger too content to consider F1 return
  • Vettel now better than Alonso, Hamilton - Berger
  • Vettel 'could beat Schumacher records' - Todt
  • Domenicali in 'eye of the storm' at Ferrari - Todt
  • Marko was unhappy with axed Alguersuari in October
  • Liuzzi admits HRT seat 'uncertain' for 2012

V6 engine rules 'good compromise' - Lauda
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has hailed formula one's change of engine regulations for 2014.

The sport's governing body initially wanted the current normally-aspirated 2.4 liter V8 engines to be replaced in 2013, but ultimately ceded to pressure to agree turbo V6 rules that will make their debut a year later.

"It's a good solution, saving fuel but also preserving performance," triple world champion Lauda told the Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten.

"Four cylinder would have been nonsense, so the six cylinder is a good compromise," he added.

Zanardi tips Hamilton to bounce back in 2012
(GMM)  Alex Zanardi has tipped Lewis Hamilton to bounce back in 2012 from his troubled past season.

Briton Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, had a disastrous season, struggling with his personal life amid a series of on and off-track incidents and poor form.

But Italian Zanardi, who lost his legs in a Champ Car crash two years after being fired by Williams at the end of 1999, tipped the 26-year-old to fire on all cylinders in 2012.

"What is happening to him this year simply means that he's human," said the 45-year-old, whose new target is to win an Olympic gold medal for Italy in hand-cycling.

"Even Lewis Hamilton is vulnerable," Zanardi told the Telegraph.

"I mean if at his age what has happened to him had happened to me, I would probably have been in Monte Carlo with the biggest boat, with the gold Rolex watch, looking down at people and asking 'what the hell do you want from me?  I'm the best guy on the planet'.

"I had the privilege of interviewing him once for an Italian magazine and I really discovered a guy who is very, very mature for his age.  So this tells me that basically he put one foot out of step but I'm sure next year he will have learned his lesson," he added.

Hamilton had raisins and brown rice for Christmas
(GMM)  McLaren's race drivers are on strict diets as the British team plots a course to the top step of the podium in 2012.

Even on Christmas Day, when much of the world indulges, Lewis Hamilton ate a protein shake for breakfast with dates and raisins, followed by beans with brown rice for lunch and fish for dinner.

"I sit at the table and I see everyone else having the biggest pile of pancakes, waffles and eggs and bacon and I'm just dying -- it's like a punishment for me," the 2008 world champion told the British tabloid The Sun.

It's a similar story for his teammate, Jenson Button.

"The team want me to be lighter than I actually should be -- basically, I don't eat carbohydrates, unless I'm training hard," said the 2011 runner-up.

McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale confirmed the team's obsession, as every gram under the mandatory 640kg minimum weight can be better positioned for handling and performance.

"The team wanted to change the drivers' race suits during the season and add an extra logo," he revealed.

"That would have added 37 grams to the weight and I had a heated argument about it.  We want the drivers to be as light as they can be, because that gives us more leeway with what we can put on the car."

Retired Berger too content to consider F1 return
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger insists he is too content in his retirement to consider options to return full-time to premier motor racing.

After hanging up his helmet in 1997, the ten-time grand prix winner served as BMW's joint motor sport director before buying half of the Toro Rosso team.

With those adventures over, the 52-year-old recently denied reports he is set to buy the GP2 team Super Nova or replace Eric Boullier as Lotus' F1 team principal.

His latest role is as the president of the FIA's single seater commission, triggering rumors Austrian Berger might have designs to succeed Jean Todt.

"It's very simple," the former McLaren and Ferrari driver told broadcaster ORF.

"I would say that one half (of the rumors) is speculation, the other half are requests, but I decided to retire because I enjoy having the free time.

"Of course I am still interested and of course I am here and there, but I am finished with getting on the plane or on the road all the time and living formula one 24 hours a day.

"I never rule anything out but I think it (returning) would be a very difficult decision for me," said Berger.

He said he decided to head the FIA single-seater panel because his former Ferrari boss Todt asked him specifically.

"So I said 'Ok, I'll help you out and pass on my experience'."

As for replacing Todt as the Paris federation's president, Berger insisted: "That's not for me."

Vettel now better than Alonso, Hamilton - Berger
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel proved in 2011 that he is the best driver in formula one.

That is the claim of former Toro Rosso team co-owner Gerhard Berger, who in 2008 stood on the podium to collect the constructors' trophy after Vettel won the first of his now 21 race victories.

"The boy is just great and he's also with the best team," said the Austrian, referring to Toro Rosso's parent team Red Bull Racing.

"In the meantime he has become the best racing driver in formula one," Berger told the Austrian broadcaster ORF.

"Last year I would have put him together on a level with Alonso and Hamilton, but after this season I have to say -- he's the best."

Vettel, 24, won the 2011 championship in dominant style after his breakthrough title last year, and Berger tipped the German for more success.

"Together with Red Bull, he will be the front runner again next year," he said.

Vettel 'could beat Schumacher records' - Todt
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel could be on a winning streak that races him past the record-setting achievements of Michael Schumacher.

That is the claim of Jean Todt, who before becoming president of F1's governing FIA was Schumacher's boss and close personal friend as Ferrari team principal.

Schumacher was 26 when, in 1995, he became world champion for the second time -- a milestone reached by Vettel in 2011 at the tender age of 24.

"Vettel could beat Schumacher's records," predicted Frenchman Todt, referring also to the seven time world champion's 91 wins, "but it's not something that needs any more reflection than that.

"They are both great types, the same only in their backgrounds as Germans, with very different personalities and characters."

He also thinks Schumacher - albeit nearing his 43rd birthday and now with Mercedes - could win again.

"Remember that he didn't immediately dominate at Ferrari," Todt told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

"There are no miracles in formula one.  Those who return after three years and do not get the best car do not win straight away.

"He is certainly handling the pressure just as well and so I can imagine him on the podium again," he added.

Domenicali in 'eye of the storm' at Ferrari - Todt
(GMM)  The top job at Ferrari is "the eye of the storm", the fabled Italian team's former boss Jean Todt has admitted.

Frenchman Todt, 65, is now the low-profile president of F1's governing body, succeeded at Ferrari a few years ago by Stefano Domenicali.

Ferrari - the sport's most famous team and a symbol of Italian national pride - intends to bounce back in 2012 to win its first drivers' title since Kimi Raikkonen's four years ago.

"Stefano's role is the eye of the storm," Todt, referring to the immense pressure of leading Ferrari, told Corriere della Sera newspaper on Wednesday.

"I was also constantly the subject of criticism and I'm proud that in the end I made the decision about how I should retire after all the risks that I would be fired."

He gives the example of 2011, with Ferrari insisting it now needs to take an aggressive new approach to next season.

"It was claimed that they did not have a competitive car but I don't agree," said Todt.  "The Ferrari was not as good as the Red Bull but in any case it was still a good car."

He also commented on Felipe Massa, the Brazilian driver signed by Todt to be Michael Schumacher's teammate in 2006.

Massa, managed by Todt's son Nicolas, has one year left on his current contract and is under huge pressure to keep his seat for 2013.

"Felipe was unable to adapt completely to the new Pirelli tires," said Jean Todt.  "I think he's still a good driver who will show that again.

"(Fernando) Alonso is the point of reference not just for him (Massa) but for everyone -- and Felipe was three tenths away from him, not three seconds," he added.

Marko was unhappy with axed Alguersuari in October
(GMM)  Sections of the Spanish media claim to have unearthed perhaps the true reason for Red Bull's decision to drop Jaime Alguersuari.

The young Spaniard's Toro Rosso teammate Sebastien Buemi has also been ousted so that the Faenza camp's lineup will feature the fresher faces of Daniel Ricciardo and French rookie Jean-Eric Vergne next year.

But the Spanish reports, including the ABC newspaper, have seized on a video that was recorded in the Toro Rosso pits during Saturday practice in Korea in mid October.

It depicts Alguersuari - in the presence of his boss Franz Tost - being told off by the implacable Dr Helmut Marko, the manager of the energy drink company's driver program.

ABC said it was "the day Alguersuari's wings were cut".

Marko is telling off Alguersuari, 21, not only for holding up senior team Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel on a flying lap but also for "not accepting" the rebuke.

After Alguersuari hits back by enquiring sarcastically if he is supposed to give way to the other cars "on every single lap", Marko turns to Tost and says: "That's not acceptable."

Liuzzi admits HRT seat 'uncertain' for 2012
(GMM)  Vitantonio Liuzzi has acknowledged that he is looking into an "uncertain" future despite possessing a contract for 2012.

The 30-year-old joined HRT last year before the Spanish team was sold by Jose Ramon Carabante to its current owners, Thesan Capital, and boss Colin Kolles was replaced by the former Minardi driver Luis Perez-Sala.

Sala said before Christmas that HRT is in "advanced talks with several drivers" as the team considers the identity of Pedro de la Rosa's 2012 teammate.

Liuzzi, however, insisted recently that he inked a "long term" contract in early 2011.

"It would have made no sense to sign with a team at this level on just a one year contract; you have to make it a project for the future", he told Australian Motorsport News.

He now acknowledges that his future is in doubt.

"I have a contract to race next season with HRT but the agreement was concluded with the previous owner and now the future is uncertain," Liuzzi conceded to Brazil's Totalrace.

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