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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday UPDATE #2 Speaking at the hospitality suite at the F1 Grand Prix in India, Ecclestone said, "They asked our lawyers in Germany. They said could we have 400 million back? I did not respond. There is no point, is there?"

Ecclestone said he has not offered to settle. Asked whether he was prepared to go to court, he said, "Yeah, absolutely."

10/25/12 Updates shown in red below.

  • Caterham giving Alexander Rossi (above) and Giedo van der Garde another chance to test F1 car
    Hamilton to fix Dennis rift before leaving McLaren
  • Kobayashi downbeat as Sauber career fades
  • Ferrari uses F1 cars for political message in India
  • McLaren pushing ahead with 2012 car development
  • Safety car driver not eyeing retirement yet
  • Button tips Webber to help Vettel now
  • Alonso still favorite for 2012 title - Salo
  • Hungary looking to secure F1 race through 2021
  • Wolff wanted F1 test to prove de Villota's abilities
  • Caterham F1 Team Confirms van der Garde & Rossi for Abu Dhabi Test
  • Marussia F1 Team to give Max Chilton practice chance in Abu Dhabi
  • 2013 German GP location decision due New
  • Bank wants Ecclestone to pay back $400m New
  • Perez's cold could open door for Gutierrez in India New

Hamilton to fix Dennis rift before leaving McLaren
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has revealed he is hoping to sign off at McLaren on speaking terms with his former mentor Ron Dennis.

Dennis, the former team boss and still the chairman of the McLaren group of companies, groomed Hamilton through the junior ranks and gave him his F1 debut in 2007.

But reports suggest the pair had not exchanged a word since it was announced that Hamilton is jumping ship to Mercedes in 2013.

Briton Hamilton returned to McLaren's Woking headquarters after the recent Korean grand prix, though, and the 27-year-old said in India: "I spoke to Ron and - me and Ron - we're planning to meet up I think it's in Abu Dhabi.

"We'll go for dinner, have a good chat," added Hamilton at a sponsor event on Wednesday.

Kobayashi downbeat as Sauber career fades
(GMM)  Kamui Kobayashi is sounding increasingly resigned about bowing out of formula one at the end of the season.

The exciting Japanese, who got his break with Toyota at the end of 2009 and was then snapped up by Sauber, admitted recently he has been told to find some backing or risk losing the seat at the Swiss team for 2013.

"Unfortunately my plan for next year is not fixed yet, but of course I will do my best," he told his Twitter followers this week.

"I will try to get my dream," added Kobayashi, who acknowledged that he feels he has a "high wall" to climb.

"But this chance gave me the opportunity to be even stronger in myself.

"One day if I need help from supporters of course it will be very helpful," he added, "and please keep supporting me -- it will help a lot!"

After losing Sergio Perez to McLaren, Sauber is believed to have decided to replace him with the similarly Telmex-backed Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, and pair him with German Nico Hulkenberg, who will arrive from Force India.

"We will communicate in due course who our drivers will be in 2013," team boss Monisha Kaltenborn told Spox.com.

"Our goal is to engage the two best drivers who are within reach for our team.  The first selection criteria will be sporting performance."

And she told the Times of India: "We haven't finalized anything.  I won't tell you anything more on that.

"We'll announce the decision in due course.  You just have to wait for a few more races."

Ferrari uses F1 cars for political message in India
(GMM)  Ferrari has waded right into a political debate by vowing to display the flag of the Italian navy on its formula one cars in India this weekend.

The famous team said the move is "in the hope that the Indian and Italian authorities will soon find a solution" to a situation involving two Italian sailors.

Media reports said the sailors were being held by Indian authorities on murder charges, following the fatal shooting of two Indian fisherman mistaken for Somali pirates.

So far, the regional Indian governed has refused to agree a settlement while Rome pushes for the marines' return for prosecution in Italy.

In return, Italy has recalled its envoy from New Delhi, confirming its "strong displeasure" with India's handling of the incident.

Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi welcomed Ferrari's support, and is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport: "This shows our naval guards that they have the support of the entire nation."

Article 1 of the FIA statues says F1's governing body "shall refrain from manifesting racial, political or religious discrimination in the course of its activities and from taking any action in this respect."

McLaren pushing ahead with 2012 car development
(GMM)  Even with Lewis Hamilton admitting his 2012 drivers' title push is probably over, McLaren has vowed to press ahead with the development of its current car.

"Realistically we are too far away to win the drivers' (championship)," Hamilton said in India on Wednesday.  "If we did (win) through some kind of miracle, then I'll eat my words."

Indeed, most commentators also see the remaining four races of the season as a fight only between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, with Briton Hamilton a full 62 points behind the lead.

But McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael said on Wednesday: "It's not a big a decision to decide to continue development of the 2012 car.

"The rule changes for next year are quite small compared to what they would be in normal years, so most of the development work we do on this car will carry over to 2013 anyway.

"We're going to push to the end," he told reporters during the regular Vodafone teleconference.

Safety car driver not eyeing retirement yet
(GMM)  Although now into his 40s, Bernd Maylander said he has no immediate plans to step back as F1's full-time safety car driver.

Formerly a race winner in the DTM series, the now 41-year-old has been the safety car driver since 2000.

Asked by the Kolner Express newspaper if he has started to think about retirement after 13 seasons in the pitlane, Maylander answered: "It's funny, because in the last two years I have been getting that question more and more often.

"The clock is ticking for all of us, but basically I can do the job for a few more years.

"I still feel fit enough to do all the travelling and to drive cars at the limit.

"Once you get gasoline in your blood, I see it as a positive addiction," Maylander smiled.  "My contracts are ongoing and my partner is also quite happy that I am not at home all the time!"

Button tips Webber to help Vettel now
(GMM)  Jenson Button has tipped Red Bull's Mark Webber to play a supporting role for his title-leading teammate from now until the end of the season.

Actually, Red Bull insists both its drivers - Webber and Sebastian Vettel - will enjoy free reign to push for the championship, even though Australian Webber is now a huge 63 points behind with just four races still to run.

"I'll eat my hat if Webber wins (races) ahead of Seb," McLaren's Button is quoted by Germany's Sport1.

Indeed, Motorsport Aktuell reports that Webber is actually contractually obliged to help Vettel now, having triggered a clause in his contract that names a maximum points gap to his teammate at a certain point of the season.

Alonso still favorite for 2012 title - Salo
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso is still very much in the running for the 2012 title.

That is the claim of former Ferrari and Sauber driver Mika Salo, who said many figures in the paddock also doubt that Sebastian Vettel will necessarily stroll to his third consecutive drivers' title over the season's final four races.

German Vettel finally took over Spaniard Alonso's long-held championship lead in Korea recently with his increasingly dominant Red Bull.

But Finn Salo told the MTV3 broadcaster: "There is a common perception among the drivers that Alonso will win the championship this year.

"Keep in mind that Ferrari was not competitive at the beginning of the year, but Alonso has led almost the entire way until now.

"He hasn't made any mistakes throughout the year, which is different to Vettel.

"Vettel gets the job done when he is driving alone at the front, but he is not as rational as Alonso in racing situations.

"Alonso on the other hand would prefer 18 points to none," added Salo.

Hungary looking to secure F1 race through 2021
(GMM)  Hungary is looking to secure its place on the F1 calendar for almost another whole decade.

Germany's sport1.de reports that Hungaroring boss Zsolt Gyulay intends to secure a deal with Bernie Ecclestone to extend the race deal from 2016 until 2021.

"I think we have a good chance to be one of the European tracks that stays on the calendar," he is quoted as saying.

"I have to say though that we need to find the right level of investment, because the track is already very well utilized," added Gyulay.

Wolff wanted F1 test to prove de Villota's abilities
(GMM)  Susie Wolff has revealed she carried a heavy burden when she recently made her debut at the wheel of a formula one car.

Williams' 29-year-old Scottish development driver made international headlines when she tested at Silverstone recently.

Some of the media attention was simply due to her gender, but Wolff's appearance took on an even greater significance in light of the serious injuries sustained by fellow female test driver Maria de Villota earlier this year.

"After the publicity that surrounded Maria's accident, there's no doubt I felt an extra need to go out there, do a good job, and show her accident was a freak, one-off and it shouldn't generalize women in motor sport," Wolff told the Herald Scotland.

"It was very important for me to do it for both of us and show everybody that women can drive F1 cars successfully.  And I think I did," she added.

Caterham F1 Team Confirms van der Garde & Rossi for Abu Dhabi Test
Caterham F1 Team has confirmed that it will be running its current Reserve and Test Drivers at the forthcoming Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, taking place at the Yas Marina Circuit from 6th – 8th November. 27 year old Reserve Driver van der Garde will be in the car for days one and two of the test with 21 year old Test Driver Rossi taking over for day three.

Cyril Abiteboul, Caterham F1 Team CEO: “We are delighted to be running both Giedo, our Reserve Driver, and Alexander, our Test Driver, at the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test in November. With all the drivers we work with we want to make sure they can see that we can help guide them along a clear path to the top of the motorsport industry. On top of the FP1 sessions both drivers have already run for us, giving both Giedo and Alexander the chance to also test with us in Abu Dhabi is a good example of our ongoing commitment to helping develop talented drivers achieve their long-term goals.

“Giedo has had a very strong year with our GP2 team Caterham Racing, winning twice, in Spain and at the season finale in Singapore, and recording two podium finishes at the showpiece event in Monaco. Alexander has had a decent season with Arden Caterham in Renault 3.5, one of his highlights also coming in Monaco where he finished fifth. Picking Giedo and Alexander for the Abu Dhabi test is a good reward for their hard work in 2012, but it also gives us two drivers who know the team, understand how to get what’s needed from the cars and are familiar with the circuit – the best of all worlds for us in what will be an important test.”

Giedo van der Garde: “By the time we get to the Young Driver Test I will have completed several FP1 sessions  with the team and it will be good to be able to extend that more with two full days in the car. I’m sure it will be a very busy couple of days but I want to make sure I continue to learn as much as possible and do what I can to help the team have a useful few days testing before the last two races of the season. I believe I have benefited enormously from the work I have been doing with Caterham this year, in both GP2 and with the F1 team, and the chance to drive in Abu Dhabi is another positive step in the right direction for my career as a professional racing driver.”

Alexander Rossi: “I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for the opportunity once again to take part in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi. I’ve had a good year with the team as Test Driver and, on top of the FP1 I did in Spain, this is another chance to add more F1 experience at a track I know well, having raced there several times in the past. Every time I have worked with the F1 team since I joined the Driver Development Program in 2010 I have had all the support I need to do the best job I can when I am in the car and the team’s commitment to helping me develop, in all areas of my racing career, is a very positive sign that they believe in me and want to help me reach the very top of my sport. For the Abu Dhabi test I’ve already had several conversations with the engineers about what is planned and it’s definitely going to be busy, but I was comfortable in the CT01 earlier this year, and very prepared mentally and physically, so now I’m just looking forward to getting in the car!”

Marussia F1 Team to give Max Chilton practice chance in Abu Dhabi
As preparations begin for Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi, the Marussia F1 Team is pleased to announce that it will be providing new Reserve Driver Max Chilton with the chance to demonstrate his potential in a competitive race weekend environment by taking part in next Friday’s Free Practice 1 session in Abu Dhabi.

Max will compete alongside Timo Glock, taking over car number 25 for the full morning session, with Charles Pic resuming normal driving duties from the afternoon session and for the balance of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.

21 year old Max, from Surrey, UK, joined the team three race weekends ago in Japan, having been elevated from the Marussia Young Driver Program where he competed in the GP2 Championship this season. He also took part in the Marussia F1 Team’s Young Driver Test in July at Silverstone, where he drove the MR01 for two consecutive half days.

Since Japan, as befits his Reserve Driver status, Max has been integral to the Team’s track walks, engineering meetings and driver debriefs to ensure he is sufficiently well prepared in the event that he is required to substitute for one of the Team’s race drivers. This Free Practice 1 opportunity is a further extension of that race weekend preparation.

Abu Dhabi was chosen because Max has previous experience of the Yas Marina Circuit, having raced there in the GP2 Series. This eliminates the time spent by any new driver getting acclimatized to a circuit in the FP1 session and he will be able to concentrate on car set-up, aerodynamic testing and furthering his experience of the car and Team’s systems and procedures in a more dynamic, full-grid environment than the test he previously took part in.

Charles Pic also has prior experience of the Yas Marina Circuit, having earned his 2012 race seat with the Marussia F1 Team at its Young Driver Test there in late 2011. This prior knowledge of the track means he will be less compromised in terms of his own race weekend preparation when Max conducts the morning Free Practice session.

John Booth, Team Principal, Marussia F1 Team
“We are delighted to provide this opportunity to Max in Abu Dhabi as it serves two important functions for us. First of all, in the position of Reserve Driver, Max needs to be as prepared as possible should he be required to substitute for either race driver in the remaining races of the 2012 season. Secondly, as part of our ongoing assessment of the next generation of racing talent, we are interested to see how Max has progressed since we first put him in the car at our Young Driver Test at Silverstone in the summer. Since that time, Max has impressed a great deal in the GP2 series, achieving two race wins in the latter part of the season, so at the same time as ensuring his preparedness for the Reserve Driver role, we are looking forward to comparing his driving development with his growing maturity outside of the car. Of the four remaining Grand Prix venues we will visit this season, Abu Dhabi will impact least on Charles’ race weekend preparation and it will be business as usual for him with effect from Friday afternoon.”

Max Chilton, Reserve Driver, Marussia F1 Team
“I feel very proud to be entrusted with this opportunity by the Marussia F1 Team. As part of the Young Driver Program this year I got to know the Team very well, but over the last two race weekends, as Reserve Driver, I feel like I have a proper role and have learned so much about the Formula 1 environment in a very short space of time. This is the next step in the process of proving my potential and another important notch for me personally in terms of my ultimate goals. As for next Friday, the 90 minutes of FP1 will fly by so quickly that it’s a real bonus to be testing the car at a circuit I know well. It means I can get up to speed straight away and focus on delivering some proper set-up and aero evaluation data for the Team to help during the rest of the weekend. My thanks to everyone at the Marussia F1 Team for the faith they have shown in me so far and I will now concentrate my efforts on keeping my excitement in check and ensuring I make the most of this fantastic opportunity!”

2013 German GP location decision due
(GMM)  A decision about where next year's German grand prix will take place is imminent, according to the SID news agency.

The Nurburgring is provisionally scheduled to host the country's 2013 race, but amid the venue's well-documented financial problems, it is possible Hockenheim will be asked to step in as a replacement.

"We are currently in very concrete negotiations," revealed the Nurburgring's Jorg Lindner.

"We just had contact with Mr. Ecclestone this week, and there was no indication that we should not be optimistic.

"Maybe there could be an agreement in place in Abu Dhabi," he said, referring to the scene of next weekend's grand prix.

"And we are planning a long-term contract, not only for next year," added Lindner.

Bank wants Ecclestone to pay back $400m
(GMM)  The German bank BayernLB wants Bernie Ecclestone to repay US $400 million, the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reports on Thursday.

The bank claims that is the amount it lost due to its sale of formula one shares some years ago to the sport's current owner CVC, with the transaction having been subsequently called into question over the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption scandal.

Suddeutsche Zeitung said BayernLB's lawyers have sent a letter, detailing the extraordinary damages, to F1's billionaire chief executive.

BayernLB claims that, with Gribkowsky allegedly bribed millions by Ecclestone and now providing information to authorities, the now-jailed banker vastly undervalued its F1 shares.

Perez's cold could open door for Gutierrez in India
(GMM)  Sergio Perez's participation in the Indian grand prix is in doubt, after the Mexican failed to appear for his media commitments at the Buddh circuit on Thursday.

His team, Sauber, said the McLaren-bound Mexican has a heavy cold.

The Swiss squad's similarly Telmex-backed reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez, who is tipped to replace Perez full-time next season, is reportedly first in line to replace him.

Reuters and Sky said Sauber will decide early on Friday if Perez is well enough to drive.

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