Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
Teams to try 2013 tires in Brazil
|Much fuss over a flag|
- Ferrari denies navy flag logo is 'political'
- Hamilton not expecting immediate success at Mercedes
- Leimer pulls the plug on Sauber test
- Raikkonen admits Lotus budget held team back
- Bottas still hoping for 2013 Williams debut
- McLaren defends mosquito-ridden hotel
- Horner 'comfortable' with Red Bull's spending
- Ecclestone would consider another Indian GP
- Karthikeyan not good enough for Force India - boss
- Schumacher with injured knee in India
- Ecclestone confirms Hockenheim talks over 2013
- Di Resta admits need to spice up image
- Force India not confirming Hulkenberg exit
Teams to try 2013 tires in Brazil
(GMM) F1 teams will get their first taste of next year's Pirelli tires in Brazil next month, the Italian website motorionline.com reports.
The report said the sport's Italian supplier has almost certainly decided to field asymmetric tires in 2013, with different shapes on the sides to improve degradation.
Motorionline's Maurizio Manna said the new tires will make their test debut in opening practice for the 2012 season finale at Interlagos late next month.
Ferrari denies navy flag logo is 'political'
(GMM) Ferrari has rejected claims it put the Italian navy flag logo on its F1 cars in India for political reasons.
The decision has undoubtedly sparked a political response, with Italian government figures welcoming the decision and their Indian counterparts angered.
But team boss Stefano Domenicali on Friday denied the move was linked with the diplomatic situation involving two Italian sailors held in India on murder charges.
"No, no, that's not true," he insisted.
The original Ferrari statement, however, clearly referred to the "two sailors".
The Maranello based team then issued a new statement, saying "with all the respect due to the Indian authorities ... this initiative does not have ... any political implication".
But some Italian insiders believe Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who has a political party, knew precisely the impact the flag logo would provoke.
Indeed, he is quoted by Ansa news agency: "It (the logo) is the contribution that Ferrari can make to this story.
"All we want to do," Montezemolo is also quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport, "is make a small contribution ... towards finding a solution through dialogue."
Hamilton not expecting immediate success at Mercedes
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton is not expecting to enjoy immediate success at Mercedes next year.
"Perhaps we will have a good car next year and will keep up, that would be fantastic," the Briton, who is switching to the famous German marque after six years with McLaren, told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.
"But, honestly, I am counting on a season in which we have much to learn," he added.
Hamilton, 27, has celebrated his impending switch - akin to 'moving out of home' according to many insiders - with a few tattoos.
He has a big tattoo on his back, and his latest ones - an angel and Mary and Jesus - are displayed prominently on his right arm.
"I had them done in the last couple of races but they've healed up now, although they're not finished yet," the 2008 world champion is quoted by the Sun.
On the track in India, Hamilton thinks Sebastian Vettel has a clear advantage, after the German appeared to have a big advantage in the opening practice sessions on Friday.
"I hope he had less fuel, because if not, we're in trouble," he is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.
Another win this weekend would be Vettel's fourth on the trot, making him the clear favorite to beat Fernando Alonso to the drivers' title.
"Yes, Seb ... has done a great job and if he does win a third title, then we should congratulate him," Hamilton's teammate Jenson Button said.
"But he has not done it yet. Fernando is still there in the hunt."
Leimer pulls the plug on Sauber test
(GMM) Fabio Leimer has dropped out of the running at Sauber.
After paying hundreds of thousands of euros for a test with the team a year ago, the young Swiss was expected to return to the track for the forthcoming young drivers' test in Abu Dhabi.
But according to the Swiss newspaper Blick, the 23-year-old GP2 driver has dropped out.
Indeed, Sauber announced last week that only 2013 hopeful Esteban Gutierrez, and new Renault World Series champion Robin Frijns, will be driving the C31 next month.
Blick speculated that Leimer's backer Rainer Gantenbein might have pulled the financial plug.
"Leimer cancelled his young driver test with us. We do not know more," team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said.
Raikkonen admits Lotus budget held team back
(GMM) Lotus' budget has held Lotus back in the second half of 2012, Kimi Raikkonen has admitted.
Still a mathematical contender for the championship, Finn Raikkonen confessed to the MTV3 broadcaster that he can no longer keep up with F1's fastest cars.
"We are constantly trying to improve the speed of our car," he said, "but the others have more money and people to develop and that's where the differences are," he said.
"The good news is that despite that we have managed to fight well against the biggest teams. If we are realists, we have done a good job this season," added Raikkonen.
Both the former Ferrari and McLaren driver, and his teammate Romain Grosjean, are expected to be retained by Lotus for 2013.
"The truth is that both drivers have options for next season," team boss Eric Boullier told France's RMC Sport.
"We will make announcements in due time, certainly before the end of the season."
And Boullier grinned: "Look at me -- do I look worried?"
Bottas still hoping for 2013 Williams debut
(GMM) Valtteri Bottas is still sitting tight, in the hope he will get the nod to step into a race seat at Williams in 2013.
The team's young Finnish 'Friday' driver is hotly tipped to be Pastor Maldonado's teammate next season, having impressed the British team this season.
In his 14 morning practice outings in Bruno Senna's car this year, he has outpaced Maldonado a credible 6 times.
Still, Williams is yet to announce its decision.
"We need a little more time," 23-year-old Bottas is quoted by Turun Sanomat newspaper.
"It could happen in 5 minutes, or on the 31st of December," he explained. "But they know that there is a lot more to come from me, as long as I am able to do more driving."
As ever in modern F1, however, money is a factor. So does Bottas need to find some more powerful backers?
"I hope that's not the case," he answered. "But these days the role of money is big, especially in the beginning for a new driver.
"I have some Finnish sponsors, but not as big as some of the others have to offer."
In the meantime, Senna is hoping to hold on to his seat for 2013, even though the well-backed Brazilian has reportedly also been in talks with Caterham.
"Every year I go to a new team," the frustrated former HRT and Lotus driver is quoted by Brazil's Globo.
"So it would be good to have some sort of stability. For sure, this part of the year is not the most comfortable when you don't have a contract," Senna admitted.
McLaren defends mosquito-ridden hotel
(GMM) Jenson Button's manager has admitted he is concerned about McLaren's accommodation for the Indian grand prix weekend.
Earlier, we reported that mosquitoes are a problem at McLaren's hotel, particularly with hundreds of New Delhi locals having contracted the deadly Dengue fever.
McLaren is staying at the Hilton, which is a sponsor of the British team.
"The Hilton is really nice and the people there are friendly and helpful," Button's manager Richard Goddard is quoted by the Daily Mail.
"But perhaps with the hotel being new, there has not been enough allowance made for the amount of mosquitoes in the area."
Reports say the hotel is situated near an area of standing water, which has acted as a breeding ground for the mosquitoes.
But McLaren spokesman Matt Bishop insisted the hotel is "excellent, luxurious, comfortable", adding: "Mosquitoes are a hazard of life all over India that Indians learn to live with -- just as Scottish highlanders cope uncomplainingly with midges, for example."
Horner 'comfortable' with Red Bull's spending
(GMM) Christian Horner insists he is "very comfortable" with Red Bull's stance regarding costs in formula one.
It is believed the energy drink-owned team, the reigning back-to-back world champions and the favorite to win again with Sebastian Vettel in 2012, is the sport's biggest spender.
"Red Bull spends about 250 million per season," Williams' Toto Wolff is quoted by El Confidencial.
He said the Dietrich Mateschitz-owned team is refusing to accept the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA); a gentleman's pact aimed at cutting costs in several areas.
"If he accepted the RRA, Mr. Mateschitz would save a hundred million euros," Wolff said. "Though without their unlimited spending model they would not have the same advantage."
Red Bull team boss Horner, however, insisted: "I feel very comfortable with our position.
"We have been very consistent regarding resource constraints, and if that disturbs others, then that's their problem, not ours," he insisted.
Ecclestone would consider another Indian GP
(GMM) F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone would consider letting in a second Indian race in the future.
But the sport's 81-year-old chief executive said there is no room on today's 20-race calendar.
"We've got too many races now either in the championship or about to go in," he is quoted by Reuters. "So, later on maybe. Three or four years."
However, after a good crowd watched last year's inaugural Indian grand prix in New Delhi, the grandstands have been much emptier on F1's return visit.
Indian motor racing chief Vicky Chandhok said the biggest problem is the high ticket prices.
"There is a contract between the (Indian) GP group and formula one until 2015," he told CNN.
"Beyond that I do hope that we can sustain it, and if not maybe F1 will start to change their approach to rights fees and things like that."
Chandhok revealed that the Buddh circuit's "very high" annual fee to Ecclestone is $40 million.
Karthikeyan not good enough for Force India - boss
(GMM) Force India has confirmed Narain Karthikeyan's suspicion that the door to the Silverstone based team is closed.
Currently hoping to keep his place at the back of the grid with HRT, Karthikeyan is F1's only Indian driver, but so far he has never been seriously linked with countryman Vijay Mallya's nationally-branded team.
Lewis Hamilton said this week he has his fingers crossed for Karthikeyan, as a move to Force India would be "a huge stepping stone for him".
But Karthikeyan, 35, replied that he thinks Force India "have their own plans" for 2013.
Indeed, Force India's deputy Bob Fernley told the Indian Telegraph: "For the moment, we are very happy with the current set of drivers we have.
"(Do) you want to be simply patriotic or stay competitive on the circuit?" he asked rhetorically. "Force India are trying to improve their performance every year.
"Show me a good Indian driver and I will definitely be interested in him," he added. "For the moment, we have no such plan," added Fernley.
Schumacher with injured knee in India
(GMM) Michael Schumacher is sporting a big graze and a bandage on his left knee and shin in the paddock ahead of this weekend's Indian grand prix.
He said he was injured playing soccer last week.
"Probably anyone who has played football has experienced this -- I was fouled," the Mercedes driver told the German newspaper Bild.
Asked if the problem will hold him back in India, Schumacher answered: "If I need to race with a bandage, I will."
Ecclestone confirms Hockenheim talks over 2013
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed reports Hockenheim could return to the F1 calendar in 2013.
According to their alternating scheme, with Hockenheim having hosted the German grand prix this year, it was scheduled to be the Nurburgring's turn in 2013.
But the Nurburgring is weighed under with financial problems, triggering reports Hockenheim could stage next year's German grand prix instead.
"Yes, there are negotiations with Hockenheim about the race in 2013," F1 chief executive Ecclestone is quoted by Wirtschaftswoch.
Di Resta admits need to spice up image
(GMM) Paul di Resta has vowed to work on his image, after admitting it was "disappointing" to miss out on a move to a top team for 2013.
The Scot was linked with moves to McLaren and Ferrari, but McLaren ultimately signed young Mexican Sergio Perez, while Ferrari retained its Brazilian driver Felipe Massa.
Di Resta admitted to the Telegraph that he thinks Perez "opens up various different markets" for McLaren, which could have contributed to the British team's decision.
"But listen, it was flattering to be linked to a team like McLaren," he said. "It has not come off this time but that doesn't mean you should become any less ambitious."
Another factor counting against di Resta could be his public persona, with F1 journalist Tom Cary saying he is "about as far from colorful as a formula one driver gets".
"I think it's a big thing," di Resta admitted.
"I understand the need to get out there and show people who you are. It's just about being more open but it takes time."
He denies the fact both he and current McLaren driver Jenson Button share a manager in Richard Goddard could have counted against him.
"I don't believe that," said the 26-year-old.
"I'm happy with Richard's involvement and the way it works, and I think Martin (Whitmarsh) was equally happy with Richard's involvement."
Force India not confirming Hulkenberg exit
(GMM) Almost the entire F1 paddock seems to believe that Force India is on the hunt for a new driver.
Nico Hulkenberg is not commenting, but it is widely believed that he has signed up with Sauber for 2013.
Paul di Resta, on the other hand, will stay put at Force India.
"I don't know what Nico's plans are," the Scot told the Telegraph, "but I see this team as equally as strong as Sauber, if not more so with the stability we have.
"I'm happy where I am," said di Resta.
Officially, Force India is also happy with both di Resta and Hulkenberg, and hoping it will field an unchanged lineup next season.
So when asked by India's Telegraph who will replace the Sauber-bound Hulkenberg next year, deputy boss Bob Fernley answered: "Only the media is saying he is going ... Nico never said it.
"Let's not speculate. We will take a call after December."