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Latest F1 news in brief - Friday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Note the step on the nose of the new Ferrari
    Ferrari to beam launch live on Friday morning
  • Sutil deserves to stay in F1 - Hulkenberg
  • Force India needs more staff for F1 tilt - Szafnauer
  • 'Friday' driver plan not for top teams - Szafnauer
  • Button wants to avoid retiring too soon
  • Karthikeyan completes 2012 grid with HRT deal
  • Ferrari lament ugly nose on new car
  • Ferrari deliver Massa warning
  • New Ferrari, Force India have 'ugly' noses
  • Whiting to attend Jerez amid legality rumors New
  • Hamilton 'pathetic' says Sutil's angry father New
  • Santander extends Ferrari deal through 2017 New
  • Williams shakedown cancelled due to bad weather  New

Ferrari to beam launch live on Friday morning
(GMM)  Having cancelled its media launch event due to the snowy weather in Italy, Ferrari is preparing for a live internet reveal of its 2011 car on Friday morning.

Hot on the heels of the McLaren launch, and on the same day as the unveiling at Silverstone of Force India's new car, Ferrari will show its 2012 single seater at 10am central European time, the Maranello based team said.

"The livery has been completed one hour ago and now we're doing the photo shooting inside the logistic building," said Ferrari on Twitter.

"This is always a special night, the one before the unveiling," added the team late on Thursday.

An article in Autosprint said that the possible official names for the 2012 car are F2012, F12 or perhaps F2012-AA, in honor of the 60th anniversary this year of Alberto Ascari's 1952 championship title.

Elsewhere, Williams gave its 2012 car, the newly Renault-powered FW34, its private track debut along the straight line at Idiada proving ground outside Barcelona on Thursday.

Finnish test driver Valtteri Bottas was driving.

And Pedro de la Rosa - the only confirmed HRT driver so far for 2012 - on Thursday had his seat fitted and pedals adjusted in readiness to test the Spanish team's old car at Jerez next week.

"Impressed by what I have seen today at HRT," the former McLaren test driver said on Twitter.  "Great effort in less than three months.  Good job guys."

Sutil deserves to stay in F1 - Hulkenberg
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil deserves to keep his formula one race career alive.

That is the claim of Nico Hulkenberg, the driver who is replacing his German compatriot at Force India in 2012.

Sutil, 29, has failed so far to secure an alternative seat, and days ago was dealt a further blow with a Munich court convicting him of grievous bodily harm for an assault on Lotus team executive Eric Lux last year.

He did, however, have a strong 2011 season, outscoring his teammate Paul di Resta - the Scottish rookie who has retained his race seat - by 15 points.

"Adrian definitely deserves a cockpit -- more than some of the other current race drivers," Hulkenberg, who steps up from the reserve role after losing his Williams race seat at the end of 2010, said.

"There is absolutely no bad blood between us," the 24-year-old, referring to his relationship with Sutil, told Sport Bild magazine.

He blames the situation - with drivers like Sutil and Rubens Barrichello out in the cold - on 'pay-drivers'.

"I was one of the few drivers in formula one who don't need to bring any money," said Hulkenberg.

"But that so many experienced drivers are without seats shows just how brutal the sport can be."

His plan for 2012, therefore, is to ensure a place on the 2013 grid.

"At the end of the year I don't want to have to worry about my seat for the next season," insisted Hulkenberg.

And he said helping Force India to secure fifth place in the constructors' world championship - one position better than in 2011 - is another goal for his second season in F1.

The Mercedes-powered VJM05 will be launched on a chilly Friday morning at Silverstone.

Force India needs more staff for F1 tilt - Szafnauer
(GMM)  Force India has acknowledged it will not challenge for the world championship until the team is bigger.

Otmar Szafnauer, who is the Silverstone based team's chief operating officer, told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that the former Jordan, Midland and Spyker team's head-count is currently 310.

"Here at Silverstone we have 212, and there are 98 in our aero department in Brackley.

"500 would be too many," he told the magazine.  "We don't have room for that.

"What is ideal?  If we have 330 people next season, fifth place (in the world championship) should be possible.

"Can we be world champion with that?  Probably not.  We'd need 450."

The next step for Force India is the inauguration in February of its new driver simulator.

"We are growing cautiously.  (This year) five to 10 per cent more people, but only in the departments where we can follow suit with the equipment.  CFD for example," continued Szafnauer.

"In the wind tunnel, we are more limited."

The issue is that Force India is effectively unchanged since the Jordan days, with departed team founder Eddie Jordan opting instead for the philosophy of minimizing infrastructure and paying external suppliers.

"Even if we wanted to buy all the manufacturing machinery in the world tomorrow, we would have nowhere to put it," explained Szafnauer.  "We would need a new factory.

"We have autoclaves that are too small for a chassis or a floor.

"Strategically, it would be better to produce more parts ourselves because of the speed at which you can react.

"We felt that (last year) in the blown diffuser area as we had to wait for some parts, while we could have produced some of them ourselves overnight."

Force India's 2012 car, the Mercedes-powered VJM05 with a McLaren gearbox, will be launched at the chilly Silverstone circuit early on Friday morning.

"I'm not getting carried away," race driver Paul di Resta told the Herald Scotland ahead of his second F1 season.

"A podium will be a massive challenge.  We are a midfield team and you have to be realistic.  I'm not saying it can't happen but it will take a lot for us to achieve that."

'Friday' driver plan not for top teams - Szafnauer
(GMM)  If Force India was a title challenger, it would no longer sign a 'Friday' driver.

That is the admission of Otmar Szafnauer, the Silverstone based team's chief operating officer.

Ahead of the launch of the 2012 car at Silverstone circuit on Friday morning, he backed the decision to sign Jules Bianchi to drive one of the race cars on most Friday mornings this season.

In the last two seasons, Paul di Resta and then Nico Hulkenberg occupied the same reserve role, stepping up into the race seat the following year.

In those cases, Vitantonio Liuzzi and then Adrian Sutil lost their seats.

"Better to have to make a tough decision than to have no choice," defended Szafnauer.

"The advantage," he told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, "is that you can get a young driver that you believe in and get a direct comparison with the regular drivers.

"Even if he's only running on a Friday morning with one set of tires on a green track, our simulation tools are now so good that we can extrapolate the handicaps.

"The third driver also brings a third set of feedback," he added, "which helps the engineers."

Szafnauer acknowledged, however, that sidelining a race driver for an entire 90-minute practice session is not something a title-contending team can do.

He refers, therefore, to the fact that some of the "smaller teams can get some sponsorship money" from the third driver solution.

"The disadvantage is that when it comes to the world championship, you want to be making maximum use of your (race) drivers.

"So for this you need all the practice sessions, especially in changing weather conditions.

"If you are going for the championship, you really can't afford to (run a Friday driver)," admitted Szafnauer.

Button wants to avoid retiring too soon
(GMM)  While his teammate's plans beyond this year are unclear, McLaren driver Jenson Button is sure his career is on the right track.

Lewis Hamilton has been making headlines this week after saying he wants to think about his future beyond 2012 - when his existing contract expires - soon.

"Probably, after the first couple of races, it's something we will probably want to get out of the way, probably in the earlier part of the year rather than later," said the Briton.

2011 championship runner-up Button, however, inked a new multi-year contract last season, now telling the Sun newspaper that at the age of 32, it is too soon to think about retiring.

Agreeing that 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen's return to F1 this year is good for F1, Button said: "It also tells me not to leave F1 too early."

Also among the six world champions on the 2012 grid is Michael Schumacher, who returned two years ago at the age of 41.

"Two of the six champions have left and come back again.  You always think the grass is greener but you've got to be careful about when you retire," said Button.

The quality of the 2012 grid is also making predictions about the outcome of the world championship particularly difficult.

"It will be close," agreed McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh.  "It's a massively competitive championship these days.

"No one, in my view, is going to run away with this victory, not us, not anyone else."

Karthikeyan completes 2012 grid with HRT deal
(GMM)  HRT, the Spanish team that until now had the final vacancy on the 2012 grid, has finally completed its race driver lineup by signing Narain Karthikeyan.

The Indian began last year's championship with the back-of-the-grid outfit before he was replaced by Red Bull protege Daniel Ricciardo.

But with Australian Ricciardo moving to Toro Rosso for 2012, 35-year-old Karthikeyan - who briefly returned for his home race in India late last season - has taken back his full-time seat.

The news is a blow to Vitantonio Liuzzi, who had acknowledged that a driver with higher-paying sponsors could oust him for 2012 despite his long-term contract.

Karthikeyan will be Pedro de la Rosa's teammate.

"It has taken a lot of hard work to make this happen but I am absolutely elated to feature on the 2012 grid with HRT F1 team," he said in a statement on Friday.

De la Rosa will begin HRT's pre-season preparations at Jerez next week, before Karthikeyan drives at the second test, at Barcelona.

Ferrari lament ugly nose on new car
Ferrari have blamed Formula One's 2012 regulations for making the nose of their new car "not aesthetically pleasing" while also revealing that the front wing of the F2012 will evolve in the coming months.

The car, codenamed 663 within the Maranello factory of the sport's oldest team, includes several radical changes as Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa look to regain Ferrari's glory days after four years of disappointment.

The new rules state that cars this season must alter the height of the front section of the chassis, the position of the exhaust pipes and the mapping for the electronic engine management.

Changes to the nose have especially upset the glamour team, who have always wanted to look good on and off the track.

"The nose has a step in it that is not aesthetically pleasing: with the requirement from the regulations to lower the front part, this was a way of raising the bottom part of the chassis as much as possible for aerodynamic reasons," a team statement said on Friday as this season's car was unveiled on the internet.

Snow forced the Italian team to cancel a live launch to which some 300 people had been invited.

The 58th F1 single-seater built by Ferrari also has a new suspension with the front wing still to be fully developed.

"Both the front and rear (suspensions) feature pull-rods, aimed at favoring aerodynamic performance and lowering the centre of gravity. The front wing is derived from the one introduced on the 150§ Italia in the final part of its racing life (last season) and has been evolved from there.

"Further evolutions are planned in this area for the opening races of the season," the statement added.

The sides have a new look with the radiators in a different place while the lower part of the back of the car is narrower thanks partly to a new gearbox casing.

The front and rear air intakes for the brakes have been changed while the engine is little changed from last year's car given the technical regulations.

The kinetic energy recovery system has kept its low central location but has also been redesigned.

Ferrari - a distant third behind champions Red Bull and second-placed McLaren last year - said much would still change during the year.

"The car is due to undergo a very intensive development program over the first part of the season," the statement said.

Testing, of which there is only 12 days, begins in Spain's Jerez next week with the first race in Melbourne on March 18. Yahoo! Sports

Ferrari deliver Massa warning
Ferrari unveiled their 2012 Formula One car via the internet after their usual glittering launch had been cancelled due to snow in Maranello, where driver Felipe Massa was given a frosty reminder that he must shape up this year. 

The Italian glamour team have endured several difficult seasons since Kimi Raikkonen, now back in the sport with Lotus, won their last drivers' title and helped them to the constructors' championship in 2007.

They finished third last season with former double world champion Fernando Alonso fourth in the driver standings and Massa a distant sixth as Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull destroyed the field.

Brazilian Massa, who labeled the F2012 "aggressive" because of its radical new look, has suffered two poor campaigns and was warned he must perform this season with his contract up at the end of the year.

"As for Massa, he knows as much as we know that he has to do something great, something better after a not-so-positive season," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said in a video link.

"We are offering him the best conditions to do a great job."

Team principal Stefano Domenicali added: "I'm sure this year, after a difficult season, he will be able to show his value."

Testing starts next week in Jerez in Spain with the first race of the season in Melbourne on March 18.

Massa, so close to the title in 2008 before being pipped on the last corner by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, has not looked the same driver since being badly injured in a crash at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009.

He tried to show that the fire was back in his belly after ripping off the F2012's cover with Alonso.

"Let me tell you that it looks very aggressive, it was something that was part of my dreams," Massa told the web video.

"It's a very important year for me and the whole team of course; 2012, this is going to be the victory year. We are going to fight to get the championship back," he said.

"I really feel focused on winning. There are positive things in my head and I want to finish the championship in a better way."

There was nothing but praise from Montezemolo and Domenicali for dogged fighter Alonso, who won his two titles with Renault and is now in his third season with Ferrari having narrowly missed out on a third championship in 2010.

"It looks very different actually from what we have seen the last two years," Spaniard Alonso said. "I'm going to start with the same strength, force and determination. It's going to be a challenging season." Yahoo! Sports

New Ferrari, Force India have 'ugly' noses
(GMM)  McLaren was left the odd-one-out on Friday, as Ferrari and Force India joined Caterham in launching new cars with 'ugly' noses.

The odd feature - a quirk of new regulations - is the centerpiece of Ferrari's new F2012, launched on Friday morning at Maranello, and the Mercedes-powered Force India VJM05, whose covers were pulled off in the chilly Silverstone pitlane.

"(The car) looks very different actually from what we have seen in the past two years," said Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Agreed Felipe Massa: "Let me tell you that it looks very aggressive."

Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary, however, had another view, insisting the Ferrari, Force India and Caterham have "nasty nose jobs".

But McLaren's new MP4-27 features a clean aerodynamic line at the front.

"It's a bit of a hot topic this year," Andrew Green, Force India's technical director, acknowledged to Sky Sports.

"Obviously a lot of people commented on the McLaren a couple of days ago.  For us, it's not a big deal.  It's purely aesthetics."

Paddy Lowe, McLaren's technical boss, said the team had retained a more conventional look because last year's car already had a "philosophy" in line with the new rules.

"You can't see performance necessarily by eye, it's a matter of fine-tuning the balance between all the relevant aspects," he insisted.

Whiting to attend Jerez amid legality rumors
(GMM)  The teams, the fans and the world's media will not be the only ones with their eyes firmly on the action at Jerez next week.

It is rumored Charlie Whiting, the technical delegate of formula one's governing FIA, has scheduled to attend the first test of the 2012 pre-season.

The news follows speculation some teams are flying too close to the limits of the regulations with their new cars, notwithstanding the banning of blown exhausts.

At the launch of the new McLaren, for instance, the exhausts and the diffuser were carefully hidden.

"The fact of the matter is that exhausts exist on a car, you have to have them, they blow gas," said the team's technical director Paddy Lowe.

"That will always generate some performance, a finite level of performance."

When the very aggressive-looking new Ferrari was unveiled in Italy on Friday, team president Luca di Montezemolo said he hoped arguments about the rules would not overshadow 2012.

"There are reports that ... Whiting may travel to Jerez next week due to concerns over the designs of the new cars," correspondent Tom Cary wrote in the Telegraph.

Hamilton 'pathetic' says Sutil's angry father
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil's father has joined the former Force India driver in slamming Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton, who was German Sutil's former F3 teammate and his closest friend in the F1 paddock, declined to appear as a witness in the trial this week about the assault on Lotus team executive Eric Lux.

Sutil, 29, was convicted of grievous bodily harm and fined EUR 200,000, and is without a race seat for the 2012 season.

"The initial shock has now passed but the whole thing is terribly uncomfortable for him," Jorge Sutil, referring to his beleaguered son, told the Munchner Merkur newspaper.

"He's never had to face anything like this and I never thought he'd be in such a situation," added Sutil's father.

As for Hamilton's role in the affair, having sat alongside Sutil in the Shanghai nightclub at the time of the alleged assault, Jorge Sutil is blunt.

"It's really pathetic," he said.

"Lewis Hamilton moved to Monaco and didn't tell Adrian his new phone number.  But he often called him if he had personal problems.

"His father sent my son a message that he hopes everything goes well with the hearing.  And Lewis Hamilton, the cause of the discussion, didn't do anything.

"I think my son chose the wrong friend," Sutil's father added.

"In a situation where Adrian needed support, he could tell his team that he had another engagement.  Or he could have called to say that he doesn't want to come (to Munich).  That would have been acceptable.

"But he has not even done it in person.  For a great champion, that's a pretty weak performance.  I would be ashamed," added Jorge Sutil.

And the final straw of the affair, said Sutil's father, is the damage to his son's career.

"It's not just his reputation, it's also about his career," agreed Sutil Snr.

"He is one of the top ten formula one drivers and yet now he is dealing with how to come out from this affair somehow.

"At the moment, he's not talking very much about formula one.  But that was always his dream.  Now he needs to get away and then go about making the next steps."

Santander extends Ferrari deal through 2017
(GMM)  The Spanish bank Santander has extended its major sponsorship contract with formula one team Ferrari yet again.

On the day of the launch of the famous Italian team's new F2012 car, Europa Press news agency reports that the three-year contract extension will now push the existing Santander deal through to the end of 2017.

The report said the new deal involves increased signage on the car's livery, whilst Santander continues to sponsor the Italian, British, German and Spanish grands prix.

The bank's chairman Emilio Botin said on Friday he is "delighted".

"Our sponsorship with Ferrari is the best marketing operation in the 150 year history of the bank," he said.

Williams shakedown cancelled due to bad weather
Williams called off its car shakedown of Thursday due to poor weather conditions, the team has confirmed to GPUpdate.net. Valtteri Bottas had travelled to Spain for the run.

The first outing of the FW34 was supposed to take place at the IDIADA testing facility – approximately an hour’s drive south-west of Barcelona – but a press representative of the team in England has now explained that the shakedown did not happen.

Rain has blighted much of Spain’s Catalonia region this week and some mountainous towns have already been affected by snow. When asked if the shakedown will be switched to Friday, a Williams spokesperson explained:

"There are no plans to run today. The car has now gone on to Jerez for running on Tuesday."

Testing in Jerez will begin with Pastor Maldonado before Bruno Senna steps into the cockpit of the Renault-powered car on Thursday.

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