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DATE News (chronologically)
08/21/12
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • F1 return for Kubica uncertain - Alonso
  • Piquet jr slams driver lineup at Lotus
  • Third title 'not easy' for Alonso in 2012 - Senna
  • 2012 US GP state funding not assured
  • Nurburgring eyes 'long' grand prix contract
  • Pirelli unhappy with 2010 test car solution

F1 return for Kubica uncertain - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has admitted he is unsure if his friend Robert Kubica will ever return to formula one.

Pole Kubica, who after 2010 was regarded as one of the very best drivers on the grid, has been absent since sustaining serious injuries in a rallying crash in the weeks before the 2011 season.

But the 27-year-old is still pushing to return, with the latest reports suggesting Kubica will test a rally team's Peugeot 207 S2000 car in October.

2012 championship leader Alonso, however, is not sure Kubica will ever return to F1.

"It's very hard to say whether Robert will return to 100 per cent fitness and be able to race again in formula one," the Ferrari driver told F1 Racing magazine.

"Now and again we speak and I know how much it hurts him to be so far away from what has always been his world.

"He has to keep calm and think first and foremost about recovering total functionality of his body, then he can think again about racing," added Alonso.

Piquet jr slams driver lineup at Lotus
(GMM)  Nelson Piquet Jr has slammed the driver lineup of his former formula one team.

Scoring just 19 points in his 28 races for the works Renault team in 2008 and 2009, the now 27-year-old Brazilian turned to Nascar racing after leaving F1 amid the 'crashgate' scandal.

Enstone based Renault is now Genii-owned Lotus, and while Piquet says the black and gold E20 is a "very good car", he evidently has no admiration for the men at the wheel.

His main target is Romain Grosjean, the Swiss-born Frenchman who in 2009 was drafted in by Renault to replace him.

"Romain has been lucky," said Piquet Jr, "because he came (back) at a time when he had a slightly weaker teammate (Kimi Raikkonen) and a very good car.

"It happened for him in the right team at the right time," he told the Terra website.

Piquet added: "If Fernando (Alonso) was at Lotus, he would win the championship.

"Grosjean has improved, but he is no phenomenon and certainly not comparable to Alonso.  He had the luck to return to F1 after a bad start and another season in GP2 -- he had a sponsor to return to F1, right?

"The timing was just right for him."

Third title 'not easy' for Alonso in 2012 - Senna
(GMM)  There is no guarantee Fernando Alonso will secure his third drivers' crown in 2012.

That is the view of Brazil's Bruno Senna, who drives for the famous British team Williams.

He is quoted by Totalrace as saying that while Ferrari driver Alonso's 40-point lead at the season mid-point is "reasonable", the Spaniard cannot afford to relax.

"There are still 225 points (for race wins) left, which is a lot," said Senna.  "So even with 40 points more at the moment it's not going to be easy for him."

Senna said the development chase at the top teams is what will decide the title outcome.

"You never know what is going to happen in terms of the development," he explained.  "It is possible that Ferrari will be left behind, even if I don't think they will let that happen."

Indeed, Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that, in 11 of Ferrari's 15 past drivers' title successes, the eventual champion had a points lead in August.

This was the case for Alberto Ascari (1952-3), Juan Manuel Fangio (1956), Mike Hawthorn (1958), Niki Lauda (1975-7), Jody Scheckter (1979) and Michael Schumacher (2001-4).

2012 US GP state funding not assured
(GMM)  State funding for the 2012 US grand prix venue in Austin, Texas, is not yet guaranteed.

Autoweek reports that while construction of the bespoke Circuit of the Americas is well advanced, the matter of $30 million in state funding is still unresolved.

Indeed, the report said even Texas' land commissioner and also the attorney general are not sure if the funds will be released after November's inaugural race.

Organizer Steve Sexton said: "We have worked with the local organizing committee in following the process to secure and host this international event."

Meanwhile, the president of the 2013 American grand prix in New Jersey, Tom Cotter, is leaving that role at the end of August.

He said in a statement he has "full faith in the grand prix of America team and look forward to sitting in the grandstands at a world-class race in 2013."

Nurburgring eyes 'long' grand prix contract
(GMM)  The Nurburgring's current financial problems do not mean the German circuit has no future on the F1 calendar.

That is the claim of the fabled venue's boss Jorg Lindner, who said the company headed by himself and Kai Richter have a lease on the Nurburgring until 2040.

"I intend to fulfill it," he is quoted by the Rheinische Post newspaper.

The Nurburgring has entered an insolvency process, but Lindner said talks with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone remain on track.

"Everyone is talking about Mr. Ecclestone, but nobody except us is talking to Mr. Ecclestone," said Lindner, who revealed he had a meeting in London recently with the 81-year-old Briton.

The topic, he said, was a formula one race contract.

"Specifically, we are aiming for a long term relationship, not only for the season 2013," Lindner insisted.

"The receivers have given us an assurance that agreements we make with Mr. Ecclestone need to be a part of the (insolvency) proceedings.

"Naturally, a sale would have a higher value with a formula one contract," he said.

Pirelli unhappy with 2010 test car solution
(GMM)  The notoriously-small operating 'window' of this year's Pirelli tires could have been avoided, with the help of the competing formula one teams.

That is the claim of the Italian marque's F1 chief Paul Hembery, who said the sport's official supplier did not foresee the full characteristics of the 2012 tire.

"The same tires used on a 2010 car do not have the same level of challenge," the Briton is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.

Until last year, Pirelli was developing its F1 tires with the 2009 Toyota, upgraded to simulate subsequent regulation changes.

Now, with Pirelli testers Jaime Alguersuari and Lucas di Grassi at the wheel, the marque has been at work with the 2010 Renault, as last raced by Robert Kubica.

But Hembery said the "aerodynamic balance" of a 2010 car versus this year's single seaters is fundamentally different.

"This is important because it changes the energy going into the tire and the relative temperature front to rear," he explained.

Asked if Pirelli had foreseen the characteristics of the 2012 tire, Hembery revealed: "No, because we could not see it on a 2010 car."

So when asked if the marque will push ahead with its Renault test car program, he answered: "It's the only one we can (test).

"Of course we don't like to test with a two year old car, but it was a great battle even to get that."

Hembery explained that Pirelli getting its hands on a 2012-spec test car would require the teams to agree, "and they will not".

"It took 18 months for them to reach a consensus last time and we had to make do with a car from 2010.

"I can't even have one of last year's cars, unfortunately.

"The cars change so much from one year to another, and in terms of the compounds we are talking about very precise parameters."

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