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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Renault, which supplies several top F1 teams like Lotus, is already focused on 2014
    Renault already putting '70pc' into 2014 engine
  • Ricciardo earning less than $500k in 2012
  • Williams in no rush for new title sponsor - Parr
  • Grosjean happy if Melbourne rain falls
  • Caterham F1 Team adds Visa
  • Brawn: W03 can win races
  • Pirelli confident tire life will be shorter
  • Marussia must focus on basics before KERS - Glock 

Renault already putting '70pc' into 2014 engine
(GMM)  F1 engine supplier Renault is now devoting 70 per cent of its efforts into the sport's new 6-cylinder turbo formula for 2014.

This year's championship and the next are the last in which the cars will be powered by the current generation of normally-aspirated V8s.

"We are now working 70 per cent on the new engine," Red Bull supplier Renault Sport F1's Jean-Francois Caubet told Germany's Auto Bild.

"Next year it will be 100pc," he added.

Renault also supplies the Lotus, Williams and Caterham teams.

The report said Renault's estimated cost of development for the 1.6 liter V6 is EUR 50 million.

A significant part of that is KERS.

"That (KERS) is an integral part of the new engine," Caubet explained.  "In 2014 we will supply Red Bull not only with the engine, but the complete powertrain."

Ricciardo earning less than $500k in 2012
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he will earn less than $500,000 in 2012.

And the Australian rookie also confirmed that, when he made his grand prix debut last year with HRT, his sponsor Red Bull paid him only for the race seat, not a salary.

"Yeah, it's quite a strange journey to formula one because it's so elite and when you get there it can turn around very quickly," he told Australia's Fox channel.

"(On) the road to getting there, you're always climbing a ladder, but you don't really see the rewards until you get well established," the 22-year-old added.

Ricciardo told television host Eddie McGuire that Toro Rosso will pay him some money in 2012.

"A little bit," he smiled.  "Let's say I can buy myself a pair of jeans now, but not a mansion."

He confirmed he is earning "less than" half a million dollars.

Some of that has already been spent -- on a set of dental braces.

"I figured, just to keep my feet on the ground, I won't get too beautiful," Ricciardo laughed to the Herald Sun.  "So I've got a mouth full of beautiful metal instead."

Williams in no rush for new title sponsor - Parr
(GMM)  Williams will not rush into signing a new title sponsor, chairman Adam Parr insists.

The famous British team performed woefully in 2011 and lost its naming backer ATT, yet recently revealed improved turnover and profits.

And Parr told Reuters the Grove based team has more than $45 million in the bank.

"I am very satisfied with what we have done overall with the business," he said.

"We don't have a title sponsor at the moment and obviously that's an important initiative for us.  But it's something that you have to get right because your title sponsor is the most visible of your partners," Parr explained.

"In many ways, it sets the character of the team.  You want a title partner who is very active in the way they promote and activate the partnership.

"This is not something we are going to rush into, this is something we want to get right."

For the moment, Williams' main source of income appears to be the controversial deal with Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA, including Pastor Maldonado as driver.

"PDVSA is an important partner of the team in financial and other respects but it is by no means the only one," insisted Parr.

Grosjean happy if Melbourne rain falls
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean will be happy if this week's weather forecast for Melbourne proves right.

Although Wednesday will be warm and sunny in the Victorian capital, the clouds will begin to gather on Thursday, when the F1 circus congregates in the nearby Albert Park paddock for media and scrutineering activities.

Then, when practice signals the official start of the 2012 season on Friday afternoon, rain and isolated thunderstorms are predicted.

And isolated showers are forecast for the qualifying and race days.

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has not tested his new E20 mount on a wet track, and the last time he saw rain from the cockpit of any F1 car was in Brazil 2009.

"It feels like a long time ago!" the Frenchman confirmed.

"I'm ready if the (Melbourne) track is more slippery, and I'll try to make the best of it.

"I like racing in the wet, so maybe it will be a bit of an advantage for me," added the reigning GP2 champion.

Sunday will be his eighth career grand prix, following 7 races with the Enstone based team - then known as Renault - in 2009.

Caterham F1 Team Welcomes Visa As Hospitality and Experiential Marketing Partner
Caterham F1 Team has announced a multi-year agreement with Visa as the team's Hospitality and Experiential Marketing Partner.

The partnership will see the two brands collaborate on a series of innovative hospitality and marketing programs that takes Visa cardholders into the heart of Formula One's fastest developing team.

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Team Principal, Caterham F1 Team, said, "This is another major milestone for our team as it aligns us with one of the world's most famous, trusted brands and gives us an opportunity to create some exciting new projects for our fans and Visa's customers. The growth of our commercial partnership portfolio reflects our development as a team on track and it is a sign of our increasing strength that we have been able to attract a brand as prestigious as Visa."

Stuart Tomlinson, Country Manager, Malaysia, Visa said, “Visa is pleased to sign on as a key partner of Caterham F1 Team. With Tan Sri Tony’s business savvy and flair, we believe the team will be a dynamic force to be reckoned with in the near future, and we are excited to be part of this. With this partnership, Visa looks forward to bringing our decades of experience in creating customer hospitality, loyalty and experiential programs for cardholders.”

Visa joins an illustrious list of Caterham F1 Team partners including GE, Dell, Intel, Renault and AirAsia.

Brawn: W03 can win races
Mercedes could be in for a good season with Ross Brawn revealing that he has "not seen anything" in the W03 that says it can't win grands prix.

After clinching the Championship double in 2009 as Brawn GP, the Englishman sold the F1 team to Mercedes. However, since then results have slumped.

Racing under the Mercedes banner, the team has so far failed to win a single grand prix while last season they were also not able to reach the podium.

This year, though, Brawn sees no reason why his drivers can't finish in the top three and even do so with a victory.

"I think you always believe that," he told Autosport when asked if the W03 had the 'genes of a winning car'.

"You want a winning car and I have not seen anything that tells me it shouldn't be.

"Sometimes you have a car and you struggle with it and you see things that you say are not working how we expected and wanted, but certainly there is nothing about this car that says we should not achieve our ambitions - and our ambitions are to do a lot better than we have done for the past two years."

But while the car may have what it takes to win races, Brawn admits he doesn't know if it will as he doesn't know how it will compare to its rivals.

"It is difficult to judge because you don't know what fuel other people are running," he said.

"When you see a car out there that starts a race stint then you have to assume that it starts on full fuel and the weights are representative and you will see an accurate model of what they are doing.

"Some of the race runs look good and some don't look so good, and I suspect the cars will change again before we get to Melbourne.

"Some teams have gone for a design that is clearly still blowing the exhaust in the area of the rear tire - that may have an effect when rear tire degradation is critical because it is much more difficult to manage where the exhaust flow goes this year than it was last year.

"Last year it was quite precise, this year it is more general because you cannot have the exhaust pipes to blow through the diffuser.

"There will be some interesting twists and turns over the first few races." PlanetF1

Pirelli confident tire life will be shorter
Pirelli is now launching its second season since returning to Formula 1 at the start of 2011. At the end of last year, numerous insiders and fans alike began to worry that tires were lasting for too long and hampering the spectacle, but the Italian company is positive that such worries are redundant as the new campaign begins.

Last season, Pirelli received high praise for manufacturing tires designed to ‘fall off the cliff’ within a short number of laps, making for higher numbers of pit-stops and overtaking maneuvers as drivers ran on differing strategies. The company’s Motorsport Director, Paul Hembery, is confident of similar drama in 2012.

Pirelli's Paul Hembery “Last year, we set the standard high by helping to ensure a season with the most overtaking in the history of Formula 1, but this year we aim to make the spectacle even better,” he says. “In general, our tires are going to be less conservative, as can be seen from the choices we have nominated for the first three Grands Prix of the year.

“But the teams have a better idea of what to expect from us in 2012 and, after nearly 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles) of pre-season testing, we are sure they will already have a pretty good handle on the characteristics of the tires and possible strategies.

“What we have aimed to do this year with the tires is to give them more options, which of course makes the tires more of a talking point. The drivers and cars will always be the stars of the show but we’d like, once more, to bring the tires more to the forefront. The teams asked us to challenge them this year and, naturally, our aim is not to disappoint them.”

Tire choices for 2012
A reminder of the tire-marking system for 2012:

Hard Slick - Silver
Medium Slick - White
Soft Slick - Yellow
Super Soft Slick - Red
Intermediate - Green
Wet - Blue

The Slick selection for Rounds 1-3 is as follows:

Australia - Soft (yellow) and Medium (white)
Malaysia - Medium (white) and Hard (silver)
China - Soft (yellow) and Medium (white)

Once again, the softest Slick compound available will be labeled ‘Option’, with the harder of the pair being referred to as ‘Prime’. Both must be used for at least one lap in each Grand Prix, with the exception of an officially-declared wet race.

Marussia must focus on basics before KERS - Glock
(GMM)  Marussia needs to get the basics right before worrying about KERS, Timo Glock explained on the eve of the 2012 season.

The experienced German, and his rookie teammate Charles Pic, enter the new season with essentially no testing, after the former Virgin team struggled to push its new car - the MR01 - through the FIA's mandatory crash tests.

Last year, the Cosworth-powered team was soundly beaten by its closest rival Team Lotus, who as well as changing its name to Caterham for 2012 has also added a Red Bull KERS system to its Renault-powered package.

"On the subject of KERS, it is of course a disadvantage not to have it," Glock is quoted by the SID news agency.

"But we have said that our focus is right to first get rid of the four seconds of aerodynamic deficit, before we worry about the money and the manpower we need for five tenths with the KERS," added Glock.

"We have to get the foundation right first," said the almost 30-year-old.

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