Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
Red Bull reserve Buemi 'not a winner' - Marko
|Dr. Helmut Marko|
- Red Bull still planning Jerez debut for 2012 car
- 2012 Force India passes FIA crash tests
- Ferrari loses key man to Mercedes
- Toro Rosso trainer dies at 46
- Sponsor says Senna to race Williams in 2012
- Gov't confirms French GP plans 'on track'
- Massa tipped to debut new Ferrari at Jerez
Red Bull reserve Buemi 'not a winner' - Marko
(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has dented Sebastien Buemi's hopes of one day moving to Red Bull Racing by insisting the Swiss is not a potential race winner.
Marko, in charge of the energy drink company's driver program, justified the decision to oust both Buemi and his 21-year-old teammate Jaime Alguersuari from the rookie team Toro Rosso during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"They had their chance for three years and that's enough to evaluate the development of a driver," said the Austrian.
"We didn't see in them the possibility for more. They are grand prix drivers, but not enough for what we want, which is to have grand prix winners."
Buemi, who has been appointed Red Bull's reserve driver, told a Swiss newspaper late last week he hoped to use the role as a springboard to possibly replacing Mark Webber in 2013.
Spaniard Alguersuari on the other hand is still looking for a job for 2012.
Red Bull still planning Jerez debut for 2012 car
(GMM) Red Bull plans to get its 2012 car up and running for the first test at Jerez next month.
In an interview with Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, the energy drink company's motor racing consultant Dr Helmut Marko admitted that time is tight.
"That's normal for January," said the Austrian, as the team prepares to attempt three consecutive drivers' and constructors' championship crowns next year.
As per usual, the new car - the RB8 - has been designed by Adrian Newey, who said recently the Renault-powered machine will be another evolution of the 2009 concept.
"Time is short," said Marko, "but our program is that we are ready for the first test at Jerez with the new car."
For this year, Newey has to contend with the banning of the blown exhaust and diffuser concept, which was so effective in the hands of Sebastian Vettel in 2011.
"The rules are the same for everyone," Marko insisted. "We have taken up the challenge.
"The most important thing for a championship battle is that the car is good and the driver is able to work with it in the way he wants -- like Sebastian Vettel could last year.
"We don't know if he will again race away three seconds ahead of the others in the first lap, but of course we expect him to be at the top -- just as we do as well with Mark Webber."
2012 Force India passes FIA crash tests
(GMM) Force India's 2012 car is scheduled to make its debut at the opening test of the pre-season at Jerez early next month.
Technical director Andrew Green revealed that the Mercedes-powered VJM05 has successfully passed the mandatory FIA crash tests.
For the first time from 2012, teams must meet the governing body's requirements before their new cars can be run at the official winter tests.
"It's been a little bit tougher this year," Green said, "so there was a little bit of extra planning involved to get that sorted.
"The chassis has been homologated since December," he revealed.
Force India finished the 2011 championship in sixth place, behind Renault/Lotus and the four biggest teams.
Driver Paul di Resta said he is expecting more for his second F1 season in 2012.
"It will be difficult but we have got ourselves prepared for a podium," he told the Express newspaper.
The Jerez test kicks off on February 7.
Ferrari loses key man to Mercedes
(GMM) Mercedes has reportedly poached a key member of Ferrari's technical team.
Media reports claim Marco Fainello has been enticed from his role at the head of the famous Italian team's F1 performance group.
Sources claim the 47-year-old will join his former Ferrari colleagues Ross Brawn and Aldo Costa at Mercedes GP after a period of 'gardening leave'.
Finland's Turun Sanomat said Fainello was a tire performance specialist.
Toro Rosso trainer dies at 46
(GMM) A trainer working with the Toro Rosso team has died.
Spanish news agency EFE reports that physiotherapist Raniero Gianotti, 46, had a fatal heart attack whilst cycling.
"I've lost a brother," said Jaime Alguersuari, a driver with the Italian based team between 2009 and 2011.
Italian reports said Gianotti began working in F1 in the nineties, when Faenza based Toro Rosso was Minardi.
The reports also said he worked during his career with Ferrari, Stewart and Toyota and with drivers including Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa and world champion Sebastian Vettel.
His funeral will be in Urbino, Italy.
Sponsor says Senna to race Williams in 2012
(GMM) Bruno Senna's chances of staying on the formula one grid in 2012 remain more than alive.
That is the claim of one of the Brazilian's powerful sponsors, who mid last season helped Senna to take over Nick Heidfeld's race seat at Renault/Lotus.
Just after the 28-year-old joined the team and the sponsor deal with oil company OGX was announced, a spokesman for Senna confirmed the driver's links with the holding company EBX.
At the helm is multi billionaire Eike Batista, who according to Forbes is Brazil's richest man.
Just before the weekend, Senna insisted he is "still battling for a place in F1" this year, having not been "confirmed with any team".
But when contemplating Senna's next move, the O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper quoted Batista as saying: "Simple -- he will race for Williams."
Gov't confirms French GP plans 'on track'
(GMM) Plans to put France back on the F1 calendar are "on track", the government has confirmed.
Just before the weekend, the Paris daily Le Figaro reported that Paul Ricard is likely to host a formula one race in September of 2013.
After that, the event will reportedly alternate annually between the Bernie Ecclestone-linked circuit and Belgium's fabled Spa-Francorchamps.
The deal has been supported at the highest levels by the Francois Fillon-led French government.
It is "on track", the source at Matignon, the prime minister's official residence, said in a French-language AFP media report, adding that officials are working to "finalize the feasibility and financing" of the project.
The source added that there is the "political will" and the "desire" to "get things done quickly".
Massa tipped to debut new Ferrari at Jerez
(GMM) Felipe Massa has been tipped to give Ferrari's 2012 car its official debut next month.
The first official test of the winter, at Jerez, kicks off on February 7, and Spain's Marca newspaper said the likely pilot is Brazilian Massa.
On the same day, Mark Webber will reportedly give Red Bull's championship-defending challenger its debut, before his teammate Sebastian Vettel takes over on the following days.
Ferrari's plan appears similar, with Marca saying Fernando Alonso is next in line after Massa to drive Maranello's 2012 single seater at the southern Spanish venue.
The newspaper said Alonso and Vettel, likely championship challengers this year, will surely meet on the circuit on day three of the test, on February 9.
Ferrari's 2012 project is codenamed 663.
Marca said it is possible the car will make an unofficial debut on February 3 at Ferrari's Fiorano test track, when the single seater will be revealed to the media for the first time.