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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Daniel Ricciardo
    Ricciardo told to push, not fear crashes
  • Angry Ecclestone dares Australia to drop F1 race
  • Glock thinks new Marussia to beat 107pc rule
  • No official reserve for Ferrari in 2012
  • Argentina close to deal for 2013 F1 return
  • Red Bull and McLaren to fight for win - rivals
  • Ferrari revolution leads to 'crisis' - Surer
  • Raikkonen would have stayed in F1 in 2010
  • Raikkonen's managers now take a back seat
  • Marussia F1 Team partners with VPS.NET
  • Marussia F1 Team teams up with 100TB

Ricciardo told to push, not fear crashes
(GMM)  Toro Rosso has told its new drivers to push hard rather than fear a crash, Daniel Ricciardo revealed ahead of his first home grand prix in Australia.

The Red Bull rookie team has replaced Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi with Australian Ricciardo and newcomer Jean-Eric Vergne.

They are lined up as potential replacements for senior team Red Bull's Mark Webber in 2013, but at the same time must fear succumbing to the same fate as their instantly-axed predecessors.

"We're going to be on the edge," Ricciardo insisted in Melbourne.

"They (his bosses) have said 'if you make a mistake, it happens.  At least we know you're pushing it'.

"Obviously we're not going out there trying to crash the car, but sometimes a team needs to see you go off - whether it's a crash or you run across the grass - to know that you're trying to find that limit.

"I'm not going to hold back," he promised.

When ruling out Lewis Hamilton for Webber's seat earlier this week, Christian Horner said Red Bull was more likely to look "inwardly than outwardly" should the team need to find a new teammate for Sebastian Vettel.

At the same time, Ricciardo feels the pressure to keep his place at Toro Rosso.

"It could be my one and only (year) if it's not good enough so I've definitely got to step up and do as good as I can," he said.

Angry Ecclestone dares Australia to drop F1 race
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has played down the controversy over the future of Australia's grand prix by daring organizers to walk away from the sport.

"When the contract comes up, they don't have to renew," the F1 chief executive, speaking from London, told local Fairfax Radio ahead of the 2012 Melbourne race.

"That is the nice thing.  We are not going to force anyone into doing anything because we can't."

The current contract expires in 2015, and Ecclestone has offered to ease the taxpayers' burden if race organizers agree to host the race at night, to better service Europe's live television audience.

But the 81-year-old Briton is also furious, after a federal politician for the ruling Labor Party scorned the millions paid to Ecclestone in order to bankroll the billionaire's flamboyant "bogan" daughter Tamara.

"Who was the halfwit that said these things?" Ecclestone told 3AW radio.

"You're not a communist state there, are you?  Any money that my children have got, they didn't steal.

"I'd like him to say what he said to me face to face."

The latest spat is yet another threat to the highly popular Albert Park race, with Ecclestone surmising: "From all the things I read that the government say, I don't think that they want to continue."

Australian driver Mark Webber hopes the race has a future.

"I don't think it's a gain to lose it, put it that way," he said.

"It was successful in Adelaide and in Melbourne as well and it would be brilliant to keep it here for a long time yet."

Glock thinks new Marussia to beat 107pc rule
(GMM)  Timo Glock is hoping McLaren's driver simulator is accurate.

That's because he is relying on that data in hoping his 2012 car - the new Cosworth-powered Marussia MR01 - is fast enough to beat F1's 107 per cent qualifying cut-off.

If not, he and rookie teammate Charles Pic could be left out of Sunday's season opening Australian grand prix.

Some promotional running on demo Pirelli tires aside, the MR01 sat out the entire pre-season period because it twice failed to pass one of the FIA's mandatory crash tests.

"As it (the testing) was on the demo tires, I can't say much.  The feeling was very good, but it's just a feeling," said Glock.

In addition to the Silverstone shakedown, he has done three days at the wheel of the car in the virtual world, thanks to the former Virgin team's technology deal with McLaren.

In the McLaren simulator, German Glock said the car was fast enough to qualify for races.

"But I'm cautious," he said, "because we do not have much experience with the simulator."

Meanwhile, HRT is pushing to get a final shipment of components to Melbourne in order to put together a second 2012 chassis.

"If there's a flight delay, it could be we miss P1," Pedro de la Rosa told the BBC.

No official reserve for Ferrari in 2012
(GMM)  Ferrari will not appoint an official reserve driver in 2012, the famous Italian team has confirmed.

The Maranello based team's former reserve, Jules Bianchi, has stepped up to the Friday role at Force India.

Also on Ferrari's books are Davide Rigon, Giancarlo Fisichella and Marc Gene.

But in the event Felipe Massa or Fernando Alonso are unable to race at any point this season, Ferrari will "take one of the drivers who are running around the paddock", a spokesman told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"Last year we saw that Pedro de la Rosa was there and ready to go when Sergio Perez needed to be replaced at Sauber," the source added.

For example, it is believed ousted Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari accepted the full-time radio co-commentary role with the BBC in the hope he will be needed by a team at some point this year.

Mercedes, too, will not have its official reserve - Sam Bird - on site throughout the long 2012 season.

"It makes little sense with the test limits to pay for an experienced test driver full-time," explained Norbert Haug.

Argentina close to deal for 2013 F1 return
(GMM)  Argentina is close to returning to the formula one calendar, the president of South America's second-largest country has revealed.

EFE news agency quotes Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as saying it is likely an Argentine grand prix, last held at the ageing Autodromo Oscar Alfredo Galvez in Buenos Aires in 1998, will take place in November or December 2013.

She said next year's race would take place on the streets of the coastal city of Mar del Plata.

"For us this is very important," she said, "because after football, motor racing is the second favorite sport of Argentina."

Fernandez said the deal would be initially "for three years, in 2013, 2014 and 2015".

Red Bull and McLaren to fight for win - rivals
(GMM)  A general consensus has emerged about the likely pecking-order this weekend in Australia.

Based on winter testing, this year's longest-ever F1 season looks set to be very closely contested, but experts, pundits and insiders fairly agree about the rough shape of Saturday's Melbourne grid.

"From what I saw in the tests, Red Bull and McLaren seem to be at a similar pace," Francesco Nenci, Kamui Kobayashi's race engineer at Sauber, told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

"Then comes Mercedes and then our team along with Lotus and Ferrari.  But we'll only really find out here," he told Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio in Melbourne.

Steve Nielsen, Caterham's sporting director, roughly agrees.

"Red Bull and McLaren are the best, Mercedes is a little bit behind and then it's Lotus, Ferrari, Sauber and Force India," he said.

And given that the top three teams will presumably dominate the first six positions in Q3, the last part of qualifying "should be exciting", Nielsen smiled.

But so will the fight at the front, with McLaren's Jenson Button desperate to end Red Bull's two-year run of dominance.

"With quite a big change in the regulations in terms of the blown diffuser, now is the interesting time to see whether Red Bull can hang onto the advantage they have had," said the Briton.

"If they can, it is going to be very difficult to beat them over the next few years."

Ferrari revolution leads to 'crisis' - Surer
(GMM)  Ferrari has fallen over by being too ambitious with the design of its 2012 car.

That is the assessment of Marc Surer, a former formula one driver from Switzerland who is now a pundit for German television Sky and the Die Welt newspaper.

He referred to Ferrari's decision mid last year to abandon the 2011 car in order to restructure technically and philosophically and produce the radical F2012.

But the new car has proved unreliable and uncompetitive in testing, leading some analysts to predict Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will this weekend be beaten by not only Red Bull and McLaren, but also Mercedes, Lotus and possibly even Sauber, Force India and Toro Rosso.

"They wanted to build an aggressive car, but they have changed too much," Surer said.

"Now they have realized that it doesn't work and are having to back-track with parts.

"For them, it's a serious crisis.  They'll be lucky if they finish fourth", he added, referring to the constructors' championship.

Alonso, however, sounded confident in Melbourne on Thursday.

"In winter testing, we see some teams that are quite quick and then when we arrive at the race they are not quick anymore.

"Maybe we didn't reach targets that were very optimistic but that doesn't mean we are slower than the other cars," he warned.

Raikkonen would have stayed in F1 in 2010
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has argued he is back in the mood for F1 by revealing he would have kept racing in 2010.

"I was never planning to leave the sport in the first place," the 2007 world champion told the Times of India.  "I had a contract for 2010 anyway."

Indeed, at the end of 2009, Ferrari bought out the Finn's deal so that Fernando Alonso could arrive early with the backing of the Spanish bank Santander.

Raikkonen headed off for two years of world rallying but is back with Lotus in 2012, fending off all the old questions about his motivation.

"Since I started in F1, I have always preferred the time we spend in the car from anything else happening in the paddock.  It's still the same," the 32-year-old insists.

Even now, he would prefer to split his F1 racing with more rallying, but has agreed to abide his team's wishes that he stay off the gravel.

"Ah, it's normal with formula one they try to ban everything," he told London's Telegraph.  "Unfortunately with what happened to Robert (Kubica) last year ... but even before that it was written into contracts.

"Maybe in the future if you can do some good results you can get a release or something.  I still love it," said Raikkonen.

"If I could do it this year at the same time as formula one I would.  I think it's good practice and it's good fun."

Raikkonen's managers now take a back seat
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen's managers have revealed they only now take a back seat in the career of the 2007 world champion.

Britons David and Steve Robertson have guided the famous Finn throughout his motor racing career.

But Steve told Finland's Turun Sanomat that they only intervene now when the 32-year-old driver requests it -- such as when he needed to negotiate last winter with Williams and his ultimate 2012 employer, Lotus.

"We came to the end of the road really in late 2009," he said.

That is when Ferrari bought out the rest of Raikkonen's contract, and he headed to world rally.

"We can't honestly say that we are real rally fans -- it's alien to us, while we know F1 through and through.

"When Kimi wanted to go back to F1, he turned to us for help with the agreement.  After a few months Kimi got what he wanted."

Robertson, however, explained that the father-son duo are no longer involved in the "day to day" running of Raikkonen's career.

"I have known Kimi for 11, 12 years, and he has become really close to us.  When he asks for help, he knows that we are always ready to give it," he continued.

"I was delighted when he wanted to come back where he really belongs (in F1)," said Robertson.  "There is so much nonsense about Kimi's problems with motivation.

"The truth is that he wanted to come back for one reason only -- because he is super-motivated to race in F1 again.

"By taking Kimi, it shows the (Lotus) team's desire to succeed.  I think Kimi and Romain Grosjean are a good combination.

"By changing the drivers the team has showed that it was not satisfied with the level of last year and that they want to come back to being among the big teams," he concluded.

Marussia F1 Team partners with VPS.NET
The Marussia F1 Team is pleased to announce a further new partnership for the 2012 season, with VPS.NET.

VPS.NET, a division of the UK2Group, has simplified the process of virtual private server cloud hosting making it available and affordable to everyday users, whilst giving small to medium enterprise users the flexibility they need to adequately scale and handle their growing IT demands.

Through the partnership with the Marussia F1 Team, VPS.NET will benefit from enhanced exposure in key European markets, where utilization of cloud services is growing at a rapid rate. With VPS.NET launching new locations in both France and Germany this month, the relationship will help to build awareness for the company and its innovative technological capabilities to dynamically scale computing resources for each customer’s unique demands in relevant markets.

VPS.NET was one of the first cloud hosting providers and continues to match this progress with innovative products and services. The partnership with the Marussia F1 Team provides a fantastic opportunity to grow awareness on the global stage as the two brands are aligned in their quest for speed, innovation and success.

The VPS.NET brand will benefit from exposure on the livery of the Marussia F1 Team’s new MR01 race car at selected Grand Prix this season, within the team’s trackside environment and further team collateral.

Andy Webb, CEO, Marussia F1 Team
“We are delighted to be growing the technology sector of our partner portfolio, which is further boosted with the announcement of VPS.NET today. Cloud computing is developing at a phenomenal rate, as are the advanced technologies required to keep pace in Formula One. VPS.NET and the Marussia F1 Team share similar goals in terms of our pursuit of enhanced performance, and of course our global ambitions, and we look forward to getting our new partnership off the ground.”

Rus Foster, Managing Director, VPS.NET
"Partnering with the Marussia F1 Team makes perfect sense for VPS.NET. As we are launching seven new clouds around the world, we want to associate ourselves with brands that think on an international level. And thanks to our instant deployment times for cloud services, our customers are used to Formula One speeds."

Marussia F1 Team teams up with 100TB
As the Marussia F1 Team gears up for the season-opening 2012 Australian Grand Prix this weekend, it is pleased to announce that 100TB has joined the team as an Official Partner.

100TB provide some of the fastest and most powerful dedicated servers on the market to a global audience. The partnership underlines the company’s focus on technology, innovation and speed which are important hallmarks of 100TB’s business.

As an Official Partner, the 100TB identity will be integrated into the team’s trackside environment and additional branded collateral.

Andy Webb, CEO, Marussia F1 Team
“We are pleased to welcome 100TB as a new partner in the form of another exciting young technology brand.  It is always a pleasure to work with companies who can not only contribute to the development of our business but whose ambitions so closely reflect those of Marussia F1 Team. We are really pushing new frontiers in the way we are developing our partner portfolio. We aim to emulate our current success off-track with a positive debut for the MR01 in the first few races of the new season.”

Tom Hancock, Managing Director, 100TB
“100TB is thrilled to partner with the Marussia F1 Team for the 2012 season. We both share a passion for speed, power and innovation and we look forward to developing this relationship further. As a business driven by technology, we are constantly looking to innovate and build faster, more powerful servers for our customers while offering a remarkable 100TB of bandwidth each month on state of the art servers. Much like ourselves, the Marussia F1 Team is a young and dynamic business, both striving to increase our strong market positions and we hope to do all we can to assist them in their pursuit of F1 success.”

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