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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday UPDATE Update shown in red below.

  • Caterham
    Caterham must improve aerodynamics 'a lot' - Kovalainen
  • Di Grassi involved in FIA's 'Formula E' plans
  • Alonso 'a step ahead' of all rivals - Fisichella
  • Ferrari fires up V6 on test bench
  • Wolff backs three-car teams New

Caterham must improve aerodynamics 'a lot' - Kovalainen
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has revealed Caterham needs to improve "a lot" in the area of aerodynamics.

Having expected a major step forward in performance terms for the 2010 startup this year, speculation suggests the Finnish driver may be seeking a faster team for the 2013 season.

Finland's Turun Sanomat has published a summary of the 30-year-old's career so far, contrasting his four podiums with Renault and McLaren with his four best 13th-place finishes for Caterham (nee Lotus) since 2010.

Kovalainen has been strongly linked with Sauber for 2012, but the Suomussalmi-born driver also revealed that he has "seen" Caterham's "preliminary plans" for its 2013 car.

"It (the project) is all concentrated around the aerodynamics," he said.

"There is no greater element that influences the whole car.  We need to improve the aerodynamics a lot," added Kovalainen.

Di Grassi involved in FIA's 'Formula E' plans
(GMM)  Pirelli tester and former Virgin race driver Lucas di Grassi is now involved in plans for the FIA's new 'Formula E' category.

The governing body's president Jean Todt has signed a deal with Addax GP2 and GP3 team owner Alejandro Agag and other Hong Kong-based investors to promote the new single seater series that will debut in 2014.

The cars, to be developed by official tester and Brazilian di Grassi, will be powered only by lithium batteries and electric energy.

One race will be held on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, and the FIA said other rounds "will be ideally staged in the heart of the world's leading cities, around their main landmarks".

Reuters said a race around Berlin's Brandenburg Gate "would be the first choice for Germany".

The Financial Times said an aim of the series is "to draw competitors from traditional F1 teams, electric car companies and global brands".

The report said drivers will reach speeds of 220kph, and have to switch cars during mid-race pitstops when their batteries are depleted after 25 minutes.

"We don't expect the big carmakers to step into Formula E in the beginning," said chief executive Agag.  "The industry is not too familiar with electric racing.

"But I am sure they will come in in a second stage."

Alonso 'a step ahead' of all rivals - Fisichella
(GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella has joined a growing list of F1 personalities, competitors and pundits declaring championship leader Fernando Alonso the class of the 2012 field.

Once race teammates at Renault, the pair still work together at Ferrari, where Italian and three-time grand prix winner Fisichella, 39, is a test driver.

Fisichella is quoted by Spain's El Confidencial as saying it is "incredible how he (Alonso) judges the limit of the car, the track and the tires.

"He knows when to attack and when to look after the tires.  He is always on the limit of what he can and should be.

"At the moment he is quite a step ahead of his rivals.  He is always achieving the most of what is possible and I don't think there is anyone who can do a better job than him," he added.

Another of Alonso's strengths, said Fisichella, is the way he has rallied the troops at Maranello around him.

"He is very close to the team," said the Italian.  "He is frequently at Maranello, with the mechanics, playing football with them, going out to dinner with them, cycling with them.

"The human aspect is very important in formula one.  The mechanics need to see someone who is good, who is fast, but they also need to feel a friendship."

Ferrari fires up V6 on test bench
(GMM)  Ferrari has confirmed reports it already has a V6 engine up and running.

We reported a fortnight ago that F1's likely three engine manufacturers for 2014 - Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes - are hard at work on their new turbo designs for the radical new regulations.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said their plans are now "in phase two", meaning they are no longer working only with prototypes.

"We have now run a V6 and the program is more or less in line with our planning," Renault Sport's Rob White said recently.

Italy's Autosprint quotes Ferrari's engine boss Luca Marmorini as saying a 1.6 liter F1 engine is now running on the Maranello test bench.

He said it is therefore an unusually busy time for engine makers, as they are still working on 2012, preparing for the final V8 season in 2013, and developing the V6 at the same time.

"Our V6 has just gone onto the dynamometer, and ourselves and our suppliers are learning a lot of things.

"Although 2014 seems far away, making an engine from scratch is a long process and the deadline is closer than it seems," said Marmorini.

It is believed Mercedes has also begun bench-testing its V6.

Wolff backs three-car teams
The idea of having three cars in each of the leading F1 teams has been rekindled by Toto Wolff, Executive Director of Williams Grand Prix Holdings. The concept was first backed heavily in 2009, then by Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo.

Three years ago, di Montezemolo pushed for three cars from the start of 2010, having wished to bring Michael Schumacher back to the sport alongside Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. For Williams, the concept would be ideal under current circumstances; Pastor Maldonado is confirmed for 2013, but the Grove squad is set to replace Bruno Senna with Valtteri Bottas.

“I would prefer having three cars next year,” Wolff, who manages Finnish reserve driver Bottas, explained to Brazilian website Total Race.

“It is too early to say anything about our 2013 line-up, but it is something very important to Frank Williams (Team Principal).

When asked if Bottas could be drafted in as early as this season, Wolff replied:

“There is as much chance as the sun falling out of the sky.”

Maldonado joined Williams’ race squad in 2011, whereas Senna stepped in at the start of the current campaign after being left on the sidelines by Renault (now Lotus).

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