Latest F1 news in brief - Friday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.
Raikkonen expects to fight in 2012 midfield
|Kimi Raikkonen testing the new old Lotus Renault|
- Petrov still in running for 2012 race seat
- Berger tips Schumacher to quit after 2012
- 2012 Marussia car delay 'a shame' - Glock
- Friend Kanaan asked Barrichello to test IndyCar
- Raikkonen puts rally hobby on hold for Lotus
- Marussia F1 Team develops business-critical systems with new partner Sage
- Jules Bianchi joins Sahara Force India as reserve driver for 2012 New
- Marussia will not run KERS during 2012 F1 season New
Raikkonen expects to fight in 2012 midfield
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has revealed he is prepared to race in the midfield this season as he returns to formula one with Lotus.
The Finn, a winner of 18 grands prix with top teams McLaren and Ferrari, has spent the last two years in world rallying.
For the first time since he stepped out of his Ferrari at the 2009 season finale, 32-year-old Raikkonen returned to the wheel of a F1 car this week at Valencia.
"I was expecting it to feel faster than it was," he admitted to the BBC.
"Ok, Valencia is not the fastest circuit, but it was still pretty normal."
Raikkonen is also braced for an average season, admitting in Zurich to Italy's Autosprint magazine that he is unlikely to be a frontrunner in 2012.
"I expect to have to fight in the middle group," he said. "But it will not be a drama. It's no different to my last year at Ferrari."
It is believed Raikkonen was ousted by Ferrari two years ago because the team's lucrative new sponsor Santander was willing to pay handsomely for Fernando Alonso.
Typically, 'Iceman' Raikkonen has no regrets.
"I have no resentment towards anyone."
But he has had to pay out of his own pocket for his recent rallying and Nascar forays, and is having to once again plot a course to the front of the F1 grid.
"Of course the championship is the goal," Turun Sanomat newspaper quotes him as saying. "It's fine to try it, but I am not obsessed about having another championship or not."
Raikkonen said his Lotus deal is "basically for two years".
"I don't have any long term plans. Let's see how it goes with Lotus."
His next outings will be at the wheel of the new car at Jerez.
"Generally, if the car feels good right from the start, you are usually competitive (for the season)," said Raikkonen.
"The races I don't think are so different (from 2009)," he added. "Vettel was strong even then even though there is much more passing now, but that depends on the moving wing.
"I haven't tried it (DRS) yet, or the KERS because it was the 2010 car (at Valencia). But it's just one or two more buttons to push."
As for his fitness after two years out, Raikkonen said he felt good after almost 700 kilometers at Valencia.
"I don't feel in the neck any stiffness," he said. "I probably expected to have more problems in the neck but I didn't really have any."
Petrov still in running for 2012 race seat
(GMM) Vitaly Petrov is still in the running for a 2012 race seat.
Officially, the only remaining vacancy is at HRT, the struggling Spanish team.
"HRT?" the Russian and former Renault driver is quoted by the Spanish sports daily AS.
"I can't say anything about that."
The AS interviewer asked Petrov if that means the former Hispania team is out of the question.
"The answer is not no, the answer is that I can't say anything."
The more conventional wisdom among F1 insiders is that Petrov and his manager Oksana Kosachenko are convincing their sponsors to pay to oust Jarno Trulli at Caterham.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Adrian Sutil is also a contender for that seat, but only pending the outcome of his forthcoming assault trial.
"I want to stay in F1," Petrov admitted, "because if I lose a year it will be very difficult to return in 2013.
"It is very important to stay on the grid. My manager is in Europe trying to find a place."
It is obvious that his fallback option is to be Pirelli's 2012 test driver.
"I was asked to be part of this event," Petrov said at the launch of the tire supplier's 2012 season in Abu Dhabi this week.
"... Drive the cars, work with them, maybe we can reach an agreement but I still want to be at the Jerez test with a team, that is goal number one."
Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat quoted Petrov as also admitting that a reserve driver role is a possibility for 2012.
O Estado de S.Paulo correspondent Livio Oricchio, meanwhile, said that Petrov - with the inaugural Russian grand prix on the horizon and the driver backed personally by Vladimir Putin - is also enjoying Bernie Ecclestone's help in his bid to stay on the grid.
Berger tips Schumacher to quit after 2012
(GMM) Adrian Newey is Red Bull's guarantee to remain a F1 frontrunner, according to Gerhard Berger.
The former ten-time race winner knows the Briton well, having won the 2008 Italian grand prix as a constructor when Sebastian Vettel drove the Newey-penned Toro Rosso to victory at Monza.
"As long as they have Adrian Newey and his technical staff, Red Bull will have either the fastest or the second fastest car," Berger told this week's Auto Motor und Sport magazine.
"And with Vettel in one of the cars, with so much confidence and experience now, he can make the difference even with the second best car," added the Austrian.
But according to Berger, it is a different story for Germany's former world-beater Michael Schumacher.
"I don't think he's going to extend the contract," he said, referring to the fact 2012 is the third and final year of the 43-year-old's existing deal with Mercedes.
"At some point he has to get tired.
"He has no chance against Rosberg," explained Berger. "He will have to admit that at more than forty years of age he can't beat a young driver at Rosberg's level."
Indeed, young talent is now Berger's specialty, after he was asked by his former Ferrari boss Jean Todt to head the FIA's single seater commission.
Berger thinks the junior categories cost youngsters too much.
"What I think would be reasonable is EUR 50,000 at the most for a kart season, 100,000 for an entry-level series, 300,000 for formula 3 and half a million for the last series before formula one," he said.
2012 Marussia car delay 'a shame' - Glock
(GMM) Timo Glock has described Marussia's plans for a short 2012 pre-season as "a shame".
The former Virgin team has admitted its new single seater is facing a delay, with the MR01 to only hit the track at the final Barcelona test in March.
And Glock and his rookie teammate Charles Pic will sit out the forthcoming Jerez test altogether.
"It's a shame we are getting the new car late and therefore only a short preparation (for the season) is possible," German Glock is quoted by DPA news agency.
He insists the team, ahead of its third consecutive season on the grid, will therefore suffer a "hard time" in the "first third" of the 2012 calendar.
Auto Motor und Sport magazine said the car will receive its first significant update for May's Spanish grand prix, but there will be no KERS system at all in 2012 for "cost reasons".
Glock, however, insists he is confident.
"I am positive about 2012," said the former Toyota driver. "Of course, our goal is to keep developing progressively."
Friend Kanaan asked Barrichello to test IndyCar
(GMM) Rubens Barrichello will test an IndyCar next week at the behest of his close friend and series driver Tony Kanaan.
A photo has emerged of F1's record-setting veteran Rubens Barrichello having a molded seat fitted in the 2012-specification KV Racing car.
The image follows reports the 39-year-old, having lost his formula one race seat after 19 consecutive seasons, will test the new DW12 - named after the late Dan Wheldon - at Sebring over two days early next week.
Brazil's Globo claims Barrichello was invited to test the car by his countryman Kanaan as well as KV team owner Jimmy Vasser.
It is believed Kanaan suggested the available Barrichello would be an ideal driver to advise KV on the setup of IndyCar’s 2012 single seater.
"After you (Barrichello) play with my toy you'll give it back, right? It's mine!" joked Kanaan.
"As we can't keep the secret anymore, Rubens Barrichello will be testing for us. Very proud he can help KV Racing and myself with his feedback," he added on Twitter.
Barrichello's assistant Anderson Marsili confirmed the news.
"It's an old invitation but now that he has no contract for 2012, he has accepted it to give his help and his opinion to his friend," he said.
"It's nothing more than that."
Raikkonen puts rally hobby on hold for Lotus
|Kimi Raikkonen testing the new old Lotus Renault|
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he will sideline his rallying hobby now that he has returned to formula one full-time.
F1's 2007 world champion moved to world rallying two years ago after losing his Ferrari seat.
In the meantime, Lotus (formerly Renault) struggled last season in the wake of lead driver Robert Kubica's horror injuries sustained in a minor Italian rally.
The Enstone based team, having now signed Raikkonen, has insisted its drivers will not be covered in cotton wool, even though the 32-year-old recently hurt his wrist in a snowmobile fall.
"Kimi is Kimi and it will be difficult to change the way he lives," said Group Lotus' Dany Bahar last month.
Around the same time, Raikkonen's former world rally co-driver Kaj Lindstrom said he hopes the Finn keeps rallying in 2012 "as a hobby".
"If I could continue with rallying at the same time as competing in formula one, I would," Raikkonen is quoted by Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat in Zurich this week.
"But I will have to wait a little while before I do some rallies again," he admitted.
"These days the teams are always a bit nervous about these things," said Raikkonen.
Marussia F1 Team develops business-critical systems with new partner Sage
The Marussia F1 Team is pleased to begin the new year with the announcement of a brand new partnership with Sage, a global market leader in business software.
Sage is the third largest Enterprise Resourcing Planning (ERP) provider to business worldwide, with some 6.2 million companies using Sage products and services across 100 countries.
In the UK over 11,000 businesses use Sage’s ERP software, and the Marussia F1 Team is the latest addition following the rollout of Sage’s ERP X3 system at the team’s new Technical Centre in Banbury, UK. This system brings every part of the business together in one powerful, easy to use and quick to deploy solution.
The global business is decentralized and the company’s success has been built on understanding ‘local’ markets, empowering ‘local’ leaders, developing ‘local’ products for ‘local’ customers, and supporting them ‘locally’.
Marussia F1 Team has already begun the integration of an effective factory management solution that will track the team’s race car parts all the way through the entire process from their conception to the racetrack.
Andy Webb, CEO, Marussia F1 Team
“We are pleased to welcome Sage on board at such an exciting time for us, as we prepare for the start of a new Formula One season at the Marussia Technical Centre in Banbury. The new software solution we have developed with Sage will enable us to achieve improved time-critical control of the 3,500 parts that will be used to manufacture each of our race cars. This is all part of our drive towards the enhanced integration of all aspects of our business in pursuit of our long-term ambitions within the Championship.”
Bob Anderson, General Manager, Sage’s Enterprise Business
“At Sage, we’re hugely passionate about helping our customers to drive new levels of business success and are confident that our Sage ERP X3 solution will do just that for the Marussia F1 Team. We wish them every success as the 2012 season gets underway and are confident that our software will help them to achieve new levels of speed and efficiency both on and off the track.”
Jules Bianchi joins Sahara Force India as reserve driver for 2012
Sahara Force India is pleased to announce that Jules Bianchi has joined the team as its reserve driver for the 2012 season.
The 22-year-old Frenchman will be integrated in the team’s program and will participate in a minimum of nine Friday practice sessions during Grand Prix weekends. In preparation for the 2012 season, Jules will get his first run in the VJM05 during pre-season testing next month.
The appointment sees Sahara Force India continue its tradition of investing in young drivers and developing their skills by giving them time in the car.
Jules Bianchi: “I’m obviously excited to join Sahara Force India and the chance to get track time during race weekends is an important step for me. Being regularly in a current car is the best way to learn quickly and I hope it will put me in a strong position to one day move into a race seat. The next few months will be really exciting as I get to know the team, see how they work, and prepare for my time in the car. I would like to thank everyone for believing in me and especially Sahara Force India for giving me this great opportunity.”
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “I am delighted to welcome Jules into the Sahara Force India family. We always keep an eye on young, talented drivers and his performance in GP2 certainly impressed us all. By giving Jules the opportunity to be part of our 2012 campaign, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to young drivers. We are proud of our track record in this regard and I have no doubt that Jules will quickly settle into the team and make a valuable contribution to our efforts on track this season.”
Marussia will not run KERS during 2012 F1 season
Marussia has decided against having KERS on its car for the 2012 Formula 1 season, AUTOSPORT reports.
As the outfit bids to make the most of a major restructuring and design overhaul under the guidance of technical chief Pat Symonds, it believes its progress could be hampered if it adds KERS to its workload for the season ahead.
Although the decision means that it will suffer a laptime deficit compared to its KERS-running rivals, with the energy recovery systems worth a few tenths of a second per lap, the team believes that not having to expend efforts into getting the complicated technology working will be more beneficial in the long run.
Marussia team principal John Booth said that the call on KERS came about because the outfit is so eager to ensure that it makes a big step this season.
"With the strides we are looking to make from this year, our focus has to be on aerodynamics first and foremost - as this will yield the greater gains," Booth told AUTOSPORT. "We are looking for seconds rather than tenths."
Booth also suggested that as well as the performance reasons behind the decision, there were also cost implications - because the Marussia outfit has always been mindful of keeping its budget in check.
"Our wider view of KERS is that whilst we are supportive of the concept of regenerative braking as an environmental initiative, the current technology is incredibly expensive," he said. "It would represent a significant proportion of our operating cost, which is not in keeping with our original manifesto as a low-cost F1 team in an era of resource restriction." Autosport