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DATE News (chronologically)
02/21/12
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • What does the mail slot in the Red Bull nose really do?
    Dumping Trulli 'a no-brainer' - Jones
  • Rosberg's father says Mercedes delay 'a risk'
  • Red Bull admits to 'hidden secrets' in RB8 car
  • World champions assess Hamilton's 2012 so far
  • Economic situation saved Massa's seat - Keke Rosberg
  • 2012 cars 'not ugly' insists Alan Jones
  • Bahrain should stay on 2012 calendar - Hill
  • Rigon not third driver at Ferrari in 2012
  • Wurz returns to Williams as 'driver mentor'

Dumping Trulli 'a no-brainer' - Jones
(GMM) 1980 world champion Alan Jones has backed Caterham's decision to dump Jarno Trulli.

Despite having extended the Italian veteran's contract for 2012, the former Lotus team decided at the last minute to sign the well-backed Russian Petrov.

Caterham explained that Petrov brings "fresh impetus" to the team, whilst also admitting that the decision was made "with a realistic eye on the global economic market".

One French report has calculated the 27-year-old's sponsorship contributions at EUR 12 million, including money from Russia's largest petrochemical company Sibur.

But the straight-talking Australian Jones, who won Williams' first drivers' title three decades ago, said Caterham was also right to oust Italian Trulli on performance criteria.

Told that Heikki Kovalainen "destroyed" Trulli in 2011, Jones said: "I think he was destroyed by everybody, wasn't he?"

On Caterham's decision, he told GMM: "In my opinion Trulli wasn't doing the job so it would have made it a pretty easy decision to get in this younger guy who is perhaps a bit keener, a big hungrier.

"It's also a fact that he (Petrov) is bringing in money, so to me it's a no-brainer," added Jones.

Rosberg's father says Mercedes delay 'a risk'
(GMM) Nico Rosberg's father has questioned the decision by Mercedes to delay the launch of its 2012 car.

Nico Rosberg, the German-born son of 1982 world champion Keke, has publicly backed his team's approach in not running the W03 in anger until now, a full group test after main rivals Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari got their new cars up and going.

"There is definitely some risk," said former McLaren and Williams driver Keke Rosberg, 63.

"It's Barcelona and so there could be some snow and the test could even be cancelled.

"Or if it happens to you what happened to Ferrari in Jerez, then you have even a shorter amount of time to fix everything.

"The tests are separated only by days and then there is the last one, and again it could be snowing or raining," added Rosberg. "It's not Andalucia, remember, but the Costa Brava."

Rosberg said the issue for Mercedes and also Ferrari is the risks they are needing to take in order to catch up with last year's pacesetters, Red Bull and McLaren.

"How could Ferrari be having such problems, when without the exhaust gases last year they won at Silverstone?

"Maybe it's because they had to take such a leap, but when you do that there's the risk it will go wrong.

"It's the same for Mercedes, because last year they were in calm waters with a big gap to the top and the middle groups."

Red Bull admits to 'hidden secrets' in RB8 car
(GMM) Christian Horner has admitted Red Bull is keeping its cards close to its chest ahead of the 2012 season.

Under the glare of the F1 world's eyes, the title-defending RB8 has been in action for four days at Jerez recently.

But when the Adrian Newey-penned car was officially launched, the team refused to host a traditional unveiling ceremony, instead releasing a short animated video.

"We didn't want it photographed at the first opportunity from every side by our competition," admitted team boss Horner to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Amid Red Bull's meteoric recent success, rival teams have copied the blown diffuser and flexible wing concepts, and this year's 'step' noses are all the result of yet another Newey design philosophy beneath the chassis.

"At last year's launch at Valencia there were 100 photographers all doing their shots from the roof of the pits," Briton Horner exclaimed.

"In no time at all, everyone knew every dimension of our car."

So, in 2012, some mysteries about the RB8 continue to exist -- one is the real or secondary function of the letterbox-style nose slot, and another is an unlaunched development of the exhaust layout.

"Last year we had to have the blown diffuser out early," explained Horner, "because we had to find out how the exhaust gases affected the tires.

"This time, the secret is in the detail, and you don't want to give your competition too much of a helping hand," he smiled.

World champions assess Hamilton's 2012 so far
(GMM) A former world champion has dealt Lewis Hamilton a mild rebuke after the Briton refused to appear at Adrian Sutil's assault trial.

Not only did the McLaren driver defer to his team's looming car launch date rather than leap to his former friend's aid in Munich, he has also refused to contact Sutil or answer a single question on the matter posed by the media.

Sutil's father has called the 2008 world champion "pathetic" while the former Force India driver himself described Hamilton as a "coward".

"I don't know whether you'd call him a coward," 1980 title winner Alan Jones told GMM, "but I don't know whether I'd like to have him in the trenches with me."

Hamilton, who recently reunited with his girlfriend Nicole, had a tumultuous 2011 season and so this year will be accompanied to races by experienced manager Didier Coton.

When involved with Mika Hakkinen's career, Coton worked for the management company headed by Keke Rosberg.

"In the past, Lewis has certainly made mistakes in the professional organization of his life," Rosberg, backing the changes Hamilton is making, commented to the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

"You can't go flying every other week to America when you're making a serious job of being a formula one driver," he said.

Keke Rosberg also questioned a recent claim made by the 27-year-old Briton.

"He says he wants to win all the races this season. That's quite a claim.

"I would think Jenson Button wonders how he will do it when he will probably win a few races in the same car," said Rosberg.

Economic situation saved Massa's seat - Keke Rosberg
(GMM) Felipe Massa may have kept his seat at Ferrari for economic reasons.

That is the view of Keke Rosberg, the 1982 world champion and father of Mercedes race driver Nico.

Keke's Finnish countryman Mika Salo, a former Ferrari driver, told MTV3 last week he was "surprised" Brazilian Massa kept his seat for 2012 after two consecutively poor seasons.

Massa already had a contract for 2012, but at the end of 2009 - when Kimi Raikkonen was replaced by Fernando Alonso - Ferrari showed it is not afraid of paying handsomely to end a deal.

So is Rosberg also surprised Massa is still Alonso's teammate?

"I think that's been influenced by the fact that they burned quite a lot of money with Kimi," the 63-year-old said.

"They could have again paid off the guy with the contract and taken someone else, but at some point you have to be economically mindful -- you can't always go for the most expensive option," added Rosberg.

2012 cars 'not ugly' insists Alan Jones
(GMM) Amid all the 'ugly' talk, Alan Jones doesn't mind the look of F1's field of 2012.

With McLaren the notable exception, every team has incorporated an awkward 'step' into its nose design as the optimum solution to new FIA rules.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motor sport director, recently decried the look as "pig ugly".

But 1980 world champion Jones doesn't think so.

"I don't think aesthetics matter, and anyway I don't really find them (the 2012 cars) particularly ugly," the Australian told GMM.

"There's a couple of interpretations of the new nose that aren't as nice as some of the others, but there are a few out there that don't look too bad at all," said Jones.

"And I've never seen an ugly car in the winner's circle," he smiled.

Meanwhile, another former world champion - 1982's Keke Rosberg - described McLaren's solution as aesthetically pleasing, but hopes the British team has not made a mistake by going a different route to the rest of the grid.

"At least it's nice looking and I wish the others would have done the same," said the Finn.

"Jenson Button is quite a big guy and he has said he is sitting significantly lower than last year.

"If it (McLaren's solution) suddenly becomes a problem for them, with the chassis already homologated then that's just what they've got," he told the MTV3 broadcaster.

Bahrain should stay on 2012 calendar - Hill
(GMM) Damon Hill has backed Bahrain as the island Kingdom returns to the F1 calendar this year.

After last year's race was cancelled, the 1996 world champion travelled to Bahrain with FIA president Jean Todt and afterwards said he supports the decision to give the Sakhir circuit its April 22 date for 2012.

However, as some clashes between protesters and police are still taking place, there are some who believe strongly that Bahrain is not ready to host F1 again.

The teams are mainly quiet, but Red Bull's Christian Horner said last week that, "As far as I'm aware, we're definitely going.

"As of today there's a race committed to Bahrain and we'll be there," he added.

Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary added: "I have decided I will be going to Bahrain if the race goes ahead."

Briton Hill, the winner of 22 grands prix, thinks Horner and Cary are right.

"Everyone wants things to move in the right direction in Bahrain," he is quoted by The Sun.

"The grand prix is of huge economic importance to Bahrain. You'd almost be putting an economic sanction on Bahrain by pulling the race."

Rigon not third driver at Ferrari in 2012
(GMM) Davide Rigon has confirmed reports he will not serve as Ferrari's official reserve driver in 2012.

With Ferrari's Jules Bianchi moving to Force India this year, it was initially assumed that Italian GP2 driver Rigon, 25, would be promoted to replace him on the race team.

Indeed, Ferrari confirmed last month that Rigon "has recently extended his relationship" with the scuderia.

But it was subsequently rumored that Maranello based Ferrari does not consider Rigon ready to step in should Fernando Alonso or Felipe Massa need replacing during a grand prix weekend.

Reports in January said Adrian Sutil might be a contender for the third role.

Rigon told the Italian website F1Web that he will work on the simulator in 2012.

As for whether his responsibilities will include actual track testing, he answered: "I don't know, although I cannot deny that I would like to do some during the season.

"I am available to the Scuderia and I have to keep myself ready for any eventuality, but right now I am not the third driver," admitted Rigon.

Wurz returns to Williams as 'driver mentor'
(GMM) Former Williams driver Alex Wurz has returned to the famous British team as a "driver mentor".

Austrian Wurz, 38, was Oxfordshire based Williams' Friday driver in 2006, and Nico Rosberg's teammate the following year, before he left F1 with 69 grands prix under his belt.

Now a Le Mans driver, he will return to the F1 paddock in 2012 to mentor Bruno Senna, Pastor Maldonado and test driver Valtteri Bottas.

"Alex will start his duties at this week's Barcelona test before accompanying the team to races this season," said Williams in a media statement.

Wurz made his grand prix debut in 1997, and was also highly regarded as a test driver for McLaren and Honda.

On his new role, he said: "This is a great initiative by Williams and highlights just how hard the team is pushing to optimize its performance."

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