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Latest F1 news in brief - Monday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Vettel cannot clinch title in Abu Dhabi
    Ecclestone rules out 'electric in the pitlane' in 2014
  • Vettel cannot wrap up 2012 title in Abu Dhabi
  • Keep politics out of F1 - Karthikeyan
  • Paul Ricard seeking more talks with Ecclestone
  • Grosjean 'has his place' after India performance - boss
  • Webber apologized after press conference snub
  • Marko says Buemi could go to Force India
  • Raikkonen confirmed with Lotus for 2013
  • McLaren aims for new record in Abu Dhabi
  • Domenicali: Alonso drove 60 qualifying laps
  • Sutil could replace Hulkenberg in 2013 - Mallya New
  • Vettel-Ferrari rumor 'to upset Red Bull' - Marko New

Ecclestone rules out 'electric in the pitlane' in 2014
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone is certain F1 cars will not be powered by electricity in the pit lanes of 2014.

Actually, the electric-only idea is already enshrined in the incoming new turbo V6 rules.

F1's chief executive admitted in India at the weekend that he has given up on trying to stop the V6s from being introduced in 2014.

"We're used to these (V8) engines," he said.  "Maybe we'll get used to the new ones (too)."

But another part of the FIA's 'green' 2014 rules is that the cars also need to be powered by electricity alone whilst driving in the pitlane.

Ecclestone told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt: "The electric in the pitlane will not happen."

As for the V6 engines, the 82-year-old admitted that even the staunchest supporters of the current V8 rules - like Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo - concede that the new rules are definitely coming in.

"Di Montezemolo is not happy," said the Briton, "but they say we have spent all this money."

Meanwhile, amid the ongoing Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery scandal, Ecclestone played down reports that F1's owner CVC has commissioned a headhunting agency to find his successor.

"No, no," he told India's Telegraph.  "For the purposes of our IPO, potential investors need to know 'what if' ... it's normal (practice), I've been told."

Ecclestone celebrated his 82nd birthday in India on Sunday, and was presented a cake by many of the sport's well-known faces.

Triple world champion Niki Lauda told Blick newspaper: "In my life I've met two people whose charisma and personality really influenced me.

"They are Enzo Ferrari and Bernie Ecclestone," he said.

Ecclestone's latest project is to convince the teams to accept a US $200-250 annual spending cap.

"Whoever cheats for the first time will go three races without championship points," he proposed.

Vettel cannot wrap up 2012 title in Abu Dhabi
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel cannot wrap up his third consecutive drivers' title this weekend in Abu Dhabi.

The German extended his points lead over Fernando Alonso to 13 points in India, making him now the clear favorite for the championship.

But with three races to go, even if Ferrari's Alonso scores no points this weekend in Abu Dhabi, Vettel would have to wait at least until the penultimate race in Texas in order to seal the deal mathematically in 2012.

Maths aside, the Red Bull driver's form indicates a very likely win.

On Sunday, he became the first driver to lead every lap of three consecutive grands prix since Ayrton Senna in 1989.

And his 26th career victory moved him past the tally of the great Niki Lauda.

Nonetheless, paddock experts insist his rival Alonso has been just as impressive this year at the wheel of an inferior Ferrari.

Alonso said in India that has title battle is not with Vettel but with Red Bull's genius designer Adrian Newey.

Former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari fully agrees.

"The Indian grand prix confirmed it fully," he told Mundo Deportivo newspaper.  "Newey won, and the talent of Vettel made it possible.

"Alonso might not win in the end, but what he has achieved already is a major title -- the recognition of the fans, the media and the F1 circus that he is the best F1 driver.

"I think there is no sport in the world in which the loser can maybe get as much recognition as the winner," said Alguersuari.

Keep politics out of F1 - Karthikeyan
(GMM)  Narain Karthikeyan has explained why he did not respond to the Ferrari flag controversy at the weekend by flying the colors of India's navy.

Ferrari irked Indian nationals and officials at the weekend by putting the flag logo of the Italian navy on the front of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa's F1 cars.

The Maranello team insisted it was not a political move, but it most certainly triggered a highly politicized debate.

So did Karthikeyan, F1's only Indian driver, consider responding in kind by adding the Indian naval flag to his helmet livery?

Some thought so, when they spotted that the top of his helmet resembled the logo on the Indian flag.

"I support my country," he is quoted by Italy's Tuttosport, "and for this I have the national symbol of India on my helmet, but it's something I've done from the beginning of my career."

As for the naval flag saga, Karthikeyan added: "It is better to keep politics out of the race.

"What the military has done is wrong, but there is an ongoing process," he insisted.

Paul Ricard seeking more talks with Ecclestone
(GMM)  Paul Ricard will hold more talks with Bernie Ecclestone over France's potential return to the F1 calendar in 2013.

After the circuit's boss Stephane Clair last week indicated a "90 per cent" possibility that France will replace the delayed New York grand prix next year, F1's chief executive Ecclestone indicated similarly in India on Sunday.

"We are ready to sign," he said.  "Which circuit they are going to use is one thing (to resolve), and who is going to pay for it.  That's the bottom line."

Clair is now quoted by the French-language sport24.com: "Bernie Ecclestone never speaks in a vacuum.

"He has told the teams by announcing that there will be 20 races in 2013, not 19, despite the withdrawal of the grand prix of New Jersey.

"The message is heard," he added.  "We will try to continue the negotiations next week."

Sport24.com predicted that the story will continue to develop behind the scenes this week, as F1 gathers in Abu Dhabi for the next race.

Grosjean 'has his place' after India performance - boss
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean's future is secure, after a good race in India on Sunday.

That is the claim of Lotus team boss Eric Boullier, following a tumultuous period for fellow Frenchman Grosjean, whose career has been in doubt due to his multitude of early-race incidents on his return to the sport in 2012.

Boullier told RMC Sport after the Indian grand prix: "Romain did a great race, doing what was expected of him.

"He did a good start.  He was able to fight and win places.  He drove well with no errors.

"I think he has really showed his potential and that he has his place.  His confidence has taken a big leap forwards, he is more calm now and he will build on it," he added.

Webber apologized after press conference snub
(GMM)  Mark Webber walked out of the official FIA press conference after Sunday's Indian grand prix.

The incident occurred at the tail end of the media formalities at the Buddh circuit, when not a single question from the floor was addressed to the Australian.

So, when Bild newspaper's Frank Schneider asked title contenders Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel what they would each like from one another, Vettel turned to Alonso and grinned: "Ah, no, you have a cap.

"I was just about to say his cap, but ... where did you get that from?" Webber's Red Bull teammate joked.

Alonso looked puzzled: "I can give it (the cap) to you but ... I didn't understand the ..."

Webber, "shaking his head" according to the SID news agency, had already walked out.

F1's media delegate Matteo Bonciani told the Indian news agency IANS that he later apologized.

"He said it is something he should not have done.  Maybe he did that as he didn't like the questions asked in the room," said Bonciani.

Bonciani told SID: "He apologized and I accepted."

He confirmed that he could have referred Webber to the stewards for penalty, but explained: "I didn't (do that) because anyone can respond incorrectly in the heat of the moment.

"Normally there are no problems."

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko also defended Webber.

"Mark actually had an early fight and was running late," he told Bild.  "So because the last question was not for him, he got up (and left)."

Marko also dismissed the 'psychological games' played by Ferrari's Alonso in India this weekend, when the Spaniard said his title fight is not with Vettel but with car designer Adrian Newey.

"It's just games," he insisted.  "But they don't make us nervous."

Marko says Buemi could go to Force India
(GMM)  Red Bull's reserve driver Sebastien Buemi on Sunday had a meeting with Force India officials, Blick newspaper reports from India.

The Swiss, who lost his Toro Rosso race seat at the end of last season, has already been named as a possible successor for the probably Sauber-bound Nico Hulkenberg.

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko also seemed to confirm the possibility Buemi is in with a shot of the Force India cockpit.

"If Buemi doesn't go to Force India," he is quoted by the Swiss newspaper Blick, "then we want to keep him.

"He might also do the (sports car) endurance world championship with Toyota," added Marko.

Raikkonen confirmed with Lotus for 2013 
(GMM) Lotus on Monday said Kimi Raikkonen is staying with the team in 2013.

Team boss Eric Boullier said after the Indian grand prix that Romain Grosjean "has his place" with the Enstone based team, despite his sometimes tumultuous 2012 season.

Now, it appears Finn Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion who returned to F1 this year after a world rallying foray, is also definitely staying.

Lotus posted a video on Youtube that said at the end: "Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus F1 team in 2013. The story continues."

McLaren aims for new record in Abu Dhabi
The end of the 2012 F1 season is made up of three pairs of back-to-back races. Now heading towards the second part of Chapter 2, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, McLaren can set a new points-scoring record for the sport.

“In Abu Dhabi we’ll be seeking to establish a new benchmark,” begins Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh. “56 consecutive World Championship Grands Prix in the points. In fact, of course, we’ll be aiming to do a bit more than that.

“There are three Grands Prix still to run this season and you can be well sure that everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be doing his or her level best to win as many of them as we possibly can.”

The last time McLaren failed to scores points in a Grand Prix was in Abu Dhabi three years ago. On that occasion, Lewis Hamilton led from pole but retired with a broken gearbox on Lap 19, whereas Heikki Kovalainen finished in 11th position.

Domenicali: Alonso drove 60 qualifying laps
Fernando Alonso was on qualifying pace for the whole of Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix, which paid off massively when the Ferrari driver passed Red Bull’s Mark Webber with 13 laps to go. Stressing the Spaniard’s accomplishment, he finished second after qualifying fifth and was 35 seconds ahead of his team-mate.

“What a race that was from Fernando, simply amazing!” said Team Principal Stefano Domenicali. “He’d said he would tackle this race like a sixty-lap qualifying session and he was true to his word: on the attack from start to finish and the only one from the top ten on the grid to make up places by the end. This second place is all down to his talent, to his aggressive approach and the fact he never wants to give up, backed up by a team that is doing the maximum to give him a car that is worthy of him.

“Sure, we leave India with a bigger gap to the leader of the Drivers’ Championship than when we got here, but this race should not leave those who are ahead in a calm and relaxed mood. Fernando and Ferrari will not slacken their efforts by a centimeter, right to the end of this long season.”

With Red Bull having increased their Constructors’ Championship lead thanks to a one-three finish, Domenicali's squad sits second and 91 points in arrears, with a maximum of 129 left available from Abu Dhabi, the USA and Brazil.

“There are three more finals to go, up against very strong opponents, but they are not unbeatable,” he continues. “I recall that, in 1982, the Italian football team was definitely not the strongest but went on to win that year’s World Cup. We believe in our chances and I’m sure that all of our fans do too.”

Sutil could replace Hulkenberg in 2013 - Mallya
(GMM) Vijay Mallya on Monday suggested former Force India driver Adrian Sutil is a possible contender to replace Nico Hulkenberg in 2013.

But Mallya, the Silverstone based team's co-owner and boss, said he is not certain German Hulkenberg is switching to Sauber.

"I hear from the media that Nico has signed with Sauber," he is quoted by the Indian Express.

"He hasn't sat down with me and told me that," added Mallya.

But if Hulkenberg does go, Mallya is confident he will not be difficult to replace.

"Yes absolutely, why not? Never forget I always have the potential of considering Sutil again. Sutil is always quick. So there are many options," he said.

Sutil was a long-time Force India driver until last season, when he was embroiled in the Chinese nightclub assault saga and thereafter lost his seat.

Vettel-Ferrari rumor 'to upset Red Bull' - Marko
(GMM) The 'Vettel to Ferrari' story that emerged with renewed vigor in recent days was planted to disrupt Red Bull, Dr Helmut Marko has suggested.

Runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel slammed the story after winning Sunday's Indian grand prix, calling it "bullsh*t".

Some paddock figures suggested the source of the rumor could be Ferrari itself, whose Fernando Alonso is locked in a head-to-head battle with Vettel for the 2012 championship.

Responding to the rumors, Red Bull's Marko is quoted by SID news agency: "It was totally unnecessary, because someone just wanted to create unrest for us."

But the Austrian did not point the finger at Ferrari, insisting: "I do not know where it came from. All I know is that it's not true.

"Sebastian has a fixed contract with us through 2014. And Seb's not stupid. Alonso is fixed until 2016 with Ferrari and he's not going to be his teammate."

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