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

  • Alex Zanardi exits garage
    Zanardi at speed
    Willem Staat
    Caterham confirms Abiteboul for top job
  • FIA warns drivers to stop bad language
  • Specialists clear Red Bull over 'rubber nose' saga
  • Coke would tackle F1 with energy drink - Ecclestone
  • HRT must improve car for 2013 - de la Rosa
  • Brazil GP planning retirement send-off for Schumacher
  • Renault suspects supplier to blame for quali debacle
  • Zanardi doubts DTM test prelude to race seat
  • Di Resta not fussed over 2013 teammate
  • 2013 Pirelli tires to be different - Hembery
  • De Villota to undergo more operations
  • Magnussen able to apply for Superlicense
  • Toro Rosso pleased with new 2013 components
  • Button: Flat fee for super license New
  • USGP Marussia Preview New
  • USGP Mercedes Preview New
  • Sauber USGP Preview New

Caterham confirms Abiteboul for top job
(GMM)  Caterham on Thursday confirmed reports Cyril Abiteboul has replaced Tony Fernandes as team principal.

Having announced a major new sports car venture with Renault, Malaysian entrepreneur Fernandes this week announced he is stepping down from the top of his F1 team.

We tipped Abiteboul, engine supplier Renault's former deputy managing director, to replace him.

"He takes over during a season when we have not yet fulfilled our potential, but at a time when we have everything in place to help us do so," said Fernandes.

At 35, Frenchman Abiteboul is now F1's youngest team boss.

FIA warns drivers to stop bad language
(GMM)  Formula one teams have been instructed to pull their drivers into line, after world champion Sebastian Vettel and former title winner Kimi Raikkonen swore during their post-race podium interviews in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

Speaking to former driver David Coulthard for the 'world feed'-broadcast new podium interviews at Yas Marina, Raikkonen said the word "sh*t" and Red Bull's Vettel "f**k".

"I should just remind our audience that he (Vettel) is speaking in his second language," Coulthard said immediately on the podium, "and so we apologize for the choice of words."

But in a letter to team bosses, the FIA's communications head Norman Howell said it is now their "responsibility to make sure drivers are aware such language has no place during media events".

Howell said the letter was just a "friendly" reminder, but that incidents in the future could lead to disciplinary action, according to a report by the BBC.

Specialists clear Red Bull over 'rubber nose' saga
(GMM)  Three leading specialist publications have played down the 'rubber Red Bull' affair.

Recent video footage depicted the Adrian Newey-penned RB8 with a decidedly bendy front nose tip, causing some outlets and fans to question the legality of the apparently 'rubber' construction.

But writing in Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, journalist Andrea Cremonesi said that "according to the FIA, everything is in order".

"Word has arrived from Paris that the parts in question are not structural and are not subject to the rigid tests other parts of the car are," he explained.

"The FIA have made it known that the 'soft nature' of the nose is what is required in order to avoid dangerous consequences should the cone come into contact with the side of another car," Cremonesi explained.

Tobias Gruner, a journalist for Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, has a similar analysis.

"We have shown the pictures to our technology experts," he revealed.  "The consensus: false alarm."

He said the nose tips are designed "always a little softer" in order to comply with the FIA's crash tests, and that Vettel's could have appeared even weaker during his first pitstop in Abu Dhabi due to the damage it had sustained.

A report in Italy's Autosprint added: "We have consulted with engineers at other teams and can now say that a certain degree of deformation in the 'nose tip' is acceptable.

"That said, it is possible and indeed likely that Red Bull has gone further with its interpretation, because the deformable structure holds the front wing and can be used to get (the wing) closer to the ground.

"Some technicians at the competition are convinced of this," the report added.

Coke would tackle F1 with energy drink - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that if Coca-Cola enters formula one as a sponsor, it would do so with one of its 'energy drink' brands.

It was reported earlier this year that Coke, arguably the most recognized brand name on earth, could be eyeing F1.

Sources had told the business journalist Christian Sylt that McLaren could ultimately win the deal, replacing the British team's flagging title backer Vodafone.

Asked about the rumors, Ecclestone told Eurosport: "The president of Coca-Cola is a very good friend of mine but the head of marketing has always said he didn't think formula one was good for them."

But the F1 chief executive admitted that "if they do come in I think they will come in with one of their energy drink brands, not Coke itself."

Sylt said Coca-Cola's leading energy drink brand is Relentless, which according to Wikipedia "has been compared to energy drinks such as Red Bull".

Ecclestone, however, warned: "You wouldn't want to take Red Bull on."

HRT must improve car for 2013 - de la Rosa
(GMM)  HRT needs to buckle down this winter to improve its formula one car, according to the struggling Spanish team's leading driver Pedro de la Rosa.

"We need a good winter to improve the car aerodynamically, which is our weak point," he told El Confidencial.

With its new ownership and management, HRT has in 2012 improved its shaky image of the past few seasons, and is no longer troubled with worries it will not even qualify for races.

"Well, we progressed quite well until the summer," said de la Rosa, "and then we stalled a bit, with a slower development than we expected.

"But still, overall the progress has been very good.  We didn't qualify in Australia and then in Monaco or Valencia we were 103 per cent from pole, which is a good result."

But de la Rosa, who is committed for 2013, also acknowledged that there is a lot of work to do.

El Confidencial referred to recurring brake problems that appear to have no solution, leaving the public with the idea that HRT is in fact not making progress.

Another major problem is the looming 2014 season, with V6 engines reportedly set to cost much more and HRT needing to build an all-new car rather than tweak the existing one.

"It all depends on what we do next year (2013)," de la Rosa said.

"If we can strengthen, 2014 will be much easier for us.  Nobody has a guaranteed future in formula one."

Brazil GP planning retirement send-off for Schumacher
(GMM)  Organizers of the Brazilian grand prix are planning to send Michael Schumacher back into retirement in style.

In late 2006, the seven time world champion entered his first retirement with a pre-race celebration on the Interlagos grid involving soccer legend Pele.

Now, with the 43-year-old's ultimate trip into retirement also coinciding with a Brazilian season finale, race organizers are planning a similar send-off.

But for now, the details are top secret.

"Just beforehand we will talk with Bernie Ecclestone, so as we do not interfere with any of the other activities," Interlagos chief Claudia Ito is quoted by Agencia Estado.

Ito is also quoted by Globo: "You'll all be surprised.  Even Bernie doesn't know what will happen.

"I am sure Schumacher will like it," he added.

Renault suspects supplier to blame for quali debacle
(GMM)  Renault suspects equipment failure caused Sebastian Vettel to be pushed to the back of the grid in Abu Dhabi.

Actually, Red Bull pointed the finger of blame at its French engine supplier, revealing that Renault engineers asked for the German to be stopped at the side of the track after he qualified third last Saturday.

Then, when FIA scrutineers could not find the mandatory liter of fuel in the RB8's tank for sampling, team boss Christian Horner insisted it is Renault's decision to crunch the numbers for qualifying.

However, Renault's top F1 engineer Remi Taffin suspects the French marque is actually not to blame.

"We need further investigation," he is quoted by the Spanish daily AS.

"We have checked the numbers, we have looked at what we did with the 'robot' and each number says there should have been enough (fuel).

"Along with the supplier, Red Bull is now checking (the fuel equipment/robot).

"We have checked everything on our side and we have not seen any problems," added Taffin.

Zanardi doubts DTM test prelude to race seat
(GMM)  Alex Zanardi has this week tested a hand-controlled DTM car.

But the former F1 driver has played down expectations a race seat in the premier German touring car series could be his next project.

The highly popular 46-year-old Italian secured the test due to his long-standing links with BMW, who modified a M3 DTM car and painted it gold just for the Nurburgring outing.

A media statement said the German marque went to the effort to pay tribute to Zanardi's "outstanding sporting achievements", including his handcycling medals won at the London Paralympics.

"I still have a passion for racing," said Zanardi.

"However, I'm not sure whether our demonstration drive will be anything more than just that, as the level in the DTM may possibly prove to be too high for someone of my age."

Di Resta not fussed over 2013 teammate
(GMM)  Force India is yet to announce the news, but Paul di Resta will almost certainly be staying for a third consecutive season in 2013.

Asked by Brazil's Totalrace about the contract, the Scot reportedly answered: "It's a team policy not to discuss it, but I'm not worried.

"I'm not a bit worried," he added.

Indeed, the real question is who will join him at the Silverstone based squad next year: an old hand like his 2011 teammate Adrian Sutil, or a young charger like reserve driver Jules Bianchi.

"I feel I could handle a rookie on the team, as well as someone competitive," said di Resta.

"I feel I have enough experience and have been a part of this team long enough (for either)."

Pressed to nominate his favorite, he insisted: "To be totally honest, I don't care.  The decision is not mine and so it's something I don't worry about.

"I'm hired to do a job on the track."

2013 Pirelli tires to be different - Hembery
(GMM)  Paul Hembery has revealed that next year's Pirelli tires will be significantly different.

The teams will get their first taste of the Italian marque's 2013 rubber during free practice in Brazil late this month.

Pirelli's F1 boss Hembery told Brazilian journalists on Thursday: "The (2013) tires will be significantly different to this year, which will challenge the teams because the cars will be virtually the same, with almost no change in the regulations.

"The difference (in tires) from 2012 to 2013, however, will have a strong effect on the aerodynamics of the cars, and so the teams will have to work hard," the Briton is quoted by Totalrace.

He said there will also be a greater difference between the various compounds in 2013.

De Villota to undergo more operations
(GMM)  Maria de Villota has revealed she will undergo at least two more operations in the near future.

The 32-year-old female driver, who lost her left eye in the incident, suffered serious skull, brain and face injuries earlier this year during a day of straight-line testing for Marussia at a UK airfield.

She is quoted by the Spanish sports daily Marca as revealing she has "five plates" in her head as a result of the impact with the truck loading ramp, "and they are still not all positioned quite right".

And a second forthcoming operation, she explained, is to remedy a problem with the "limited" movement of her mouth, caused by muscle atrophy.

The Spaniard said surgeons intend to fix the problems "in one or two operations, if possible".

De Villota insisted: "I have never lost my good mood as I think that everything is for the better."

Magnussen able to apply for Superlicense
Kevin Magnussen has now completed enough mileage to be able to send off for a Formula 1 Superlicense. The license is required by any driver wishing to take part in an official session on an F1 weekend, such as Friday free practice.

A driver is eligible for a Superlicense once he has completed 300 kilometers (186 miles) of driving in an F1 car, or achieves it through an initiative such as finishing as a top three driver in the Formula 2 championship.

“Kevin’s pace, consistency and engineering feedback were all excellent,” says Sam Michael, McLaren Sporting Director. “Given his performance, he certainly didn’t look like a guy who had never turned a wheel in a modern F1 car before.”

Magnussen is the son of former Grand Prix driver Jan. Having set the pace on Tuesday, his lap time remained the fastest of the week in Abu Dhabi.

Toro Rosso pleased with new 2013 components 
Although the Young Driver Test is a time for talents of the future to prove what they are capable of, the six teams present also took the opportunity to run updates ahead of the USA, Brazil and 2013, with the latter certainly being the case for Toro Rosso.

“The past three days have been very productive, as our car ran with no major problems which allowed us to complete a lot of laps,” explained Chief Engineer
Laurent Mekies.

“Our job list was very full, testing many items - the majority aimed at next year’s car, which will be very useful when it comes to preparing for 2013; it’s fair to say that some of the work could be beneficial to us in the remaining two races of this year.”

A massive 51 points in arrears of Williams, Toro Rosso is seemingly marooned in ninth position for this year’s Constructors’ Championship.

Button: Flat fee for super license
Jenson Button has called on the FIA to impose a flat super license fee and stop charging drivers extra per point.

Last week motorsport's governing body announced that next season the entry fees for the teams will increase, which means the drivers can probably expect a hike as well.

However, at present all drivers pay a different amount as it is based on the number of points scored the previous season.

"Personally I don't feel that we should be paying different super license fees for different drivers and different point situations," Button told ESPNF1.

"I mean, when you get your license to drive on the road, because you do more miles you don't pay more for it, do you?

"And you don't pay more for a license in any other category because you've got a better car or whatever, so it should be a flat fee."

Citing an example of how expensive it can get, Button revealed that the year after he was crowned the World Champion he paid more than €250,000.

"When I won the Championship in '09 that was the worst year to win a Championship because that's when the super license went crazy and I think I spent over a quarter of a million Euros on my license to race that year!" Planet F1

USGP Marussia Preview
Race distance 308.896 km...20 corners, 11 left-handers, 9 right…Promises to be a real gem of a circuit…Run in an anticlockwise direction in common with Singapore, Korea, Abu Dhabi and Brazil…The steep, uphill run into the hairpin Turn One is set to become one of the stand-out features of the track…Team simulations show Turns Three to Six to be reminiscent of Suzuka…There is a familiar stadium feel to Turns 12-15…Turns 16-18 reflect the much-loved multi-apex Turn 8 in Turkey…The challenge for Pirelli - their most complex track of the year as the asphalt has never been raced on before…Tire nomination Pirelli PZero Silver Hard and White Medium… Last time F1 raced in the US - 2007. How good does it feel to be back? - Awesome!

F1 has been Re-‘born in the USA’ as Round 19 of the FIA Formula One World Championship next weekend sees the sport return ‘stateside’ for the first time since 2007. A brand new racetrack - ‘The Circuit of The Americas’ - has been constructed in Austin, Texas, which is familiar territory for many of F1’s elder statesmen, who will have interesting memories of going racing at the Dallas Grand Prix of 1984, won by Keke Rosberg.

The circuit is the first purpose-built F1 facility in the US; the last time the sport raced here the host venue was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. The 5.5km (3.4 mile) track was designed, naturally, by architect Hermann Tilke and, much like the Buddh International Circuit, it draws inspiration from a collection of the best circuits around the world. Another strong parallel can be found in the dramatic elevation changes resulting from the site’s natural topography; at some points those changes differ by as much as 40 meters.

Timo Glock, Driver #24
“Going to Austin is a really big thing for the sport and everyone involved. The first race back in the US will be quite something for us. It’s a new track for all of the teams, and already it looks awesome on the simulations we have experienced and the images we’ve seen. I’m really looking forward to it a lot and I hope the organizers and fans have a great first race bringing F1 back again; I know we will enjoy being back in the US. I can’t wait to arrive early next week and have my first real view and walk of the track. Should be an amazing weekend.”

Charles Pic, Driver #25
“The US GP is high on the list of races I have been most looking forward to in my debut season. From what I have seen, the track is spectacular and the layout seems very interesting from a technical point of view. We spent some time in the US – in New York actually – in the summer after Canada, helping to promote the new race. The reaction amongst the fans and media was overwhelming and although I didn’t get to race in the States before, they certainly look happy to have F1 back. It will be great to be a part of that. As for our objectives, there is a lot to think about as this is a new race, but we need to keep pushing hard to maintain our current momentum versus Caterham - in qualifying and the race - and ensure we leave town with 10th in the Constructors’ still firmly in our grasp. Should be a great weekend.”

John Booth, Team Principal
“The whole team is looking forward to what, for us, will be our very first US GP. It’s a landmark race and we’ll embrace every minute of the experience, hopefully finding a little bit of time along the way to soak up some of the Texan sights and sounds. The Circuit of The Americas promises to provide a fantastic racing experience for the drivers and the fans. The attention to detail with the preparation of the track is evident and the organization has so far looked second to none. From our simulation work we can see the parallels with some of the features of other great tracks on the calendar, so we are confident that it’s a circuit the drivers will enjoy racing at and the engineers will find a pleasing challenge. The ‘unknown quantity’ factor will be very exciting for us, as no one will have the advantage at the start of FP1 on Friday, so it will be all about how good a job we all do from there onwards. This track represents a significant challenge for Pirelli, as they have had only asphalt samples and simulations with which to calculate wear rates and the effects of likely ambient temperatures. Last weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi had us on the edge of our pitwall seats at various points, as it reminded us that to hold on to 10th in the Constructors’ Championship, we cannot control what happens further up the field, ahead of our own private duel with Caterham. We have to continue closing that gap and find the momentum to get ahead of them on track. We’ve come very close in recent races, despite their KERS-advantage, and we’ll remain in dogged pursuit of this objective right up until the checkered flag in Brazil.”

USGP Mercedes Preview
Formula One returns to the United States of America next week with the penultimate round of the 2012 Formula One World Championship to be held at the purpose-built Circuit of the Americas on Sunday 18 November.

* Austin is the 10th venue for a F1 race in the USA (after Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Phoenix, Riverside, Sebring and Watkins Glen)

* Simulations suggest the circuit has more corners over 250 kph than Spa and more below 100 kph than Hungary

* A qualifying lap time of around 97 seconds (1:37) and a race lap time around 102 seconds (1:42) are predicted

Michael Schumacher
My wife and I have been big fans of the USA, and also of Texas, for many years so I'm particularly looking forward to the race in Austin. I'm really excited to see what kind of track we will find and to see if the American fans will embrace our sport. From the pictures and layouts of the circuit that I have already seen, everything looks very good. I think Formula One will put on a good show at the Circuit of the Americas, and naturally I will be giving my best to be a part of that.

Nico Rosberg
It will be very exciting to race in the USA again and I'm really looking forward to our visit. The United States Grand Prix should be a great event and a real show for our American fans. I can't wait to drive on the Circuit of the Americas track for the first time in practice next Friday. I spent some time practicing on the simulator at the factory this week so I know what to expect and, as a team, we are as well prepared as we can be from our simulator work. The track looks cool with a great double S section to begin the lap and it looks like there should be some good opportunities for overtaking. We really want to end the season on a positive note so we'll be aiming to score some points next weekend.

Ross Brawn
We are very pleased to see Formula One returning to the United States for the first time since 2007, and the team are looking forward to visiting Austin and the Circuit of the Americas next week. Visiting a new circuit for the first time is always a significant engineering challenge, and we have been working hard at the factory to prepare for the weekend. The team have done over five race distances on the simulator to assess the layout, gradients and G forces. The track layout looks quite varied with a high-speed twisting section in the first sector, elevation changes with an uphill approach to the crest of turn one, and a slower, more technical section at the end of the lap. Nico was in the sim yesterday to complete our preparations and his feedback, along with that of our other sim drivers, will be used to prepare for the Friday practice sessions next week.

Norbert Haug
It is five years since we last visited the United States and there is a great sense of anticipation in Formula One to be returning to a custom-built, state of the art venue at the Circuit of the Americas. A new circuit offers a new challenge for the teams. The circuit will provide a real test for the cars and drivers: it's not a bland venue but rather a demanding layout with significant elevation changes. It contains an extremely demanding first sector, with a challenging series of high-speed corners and, throughout the lap, you can feel echoes of other great tracks around the world. Our sport has always enjoyed a very dedicated audience in the USA; their knowledge is impressive and they have always given Formula One a very warm welcome. It is an important step to return to the United States for our sport and its image. The USA is the biggest market for Mercedes-Benz cars in terms of sales and a race in the USA belongs in a world championship. The circuit looks to have exactly the right ingredients for an exciting weekend and we look forward to delivering a great race for the American fans.

Sauber USGP Preview
For the penultimate round of the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship the teams and drivers will enter unknown territory. After an absence of four years, Formula One returns to the United States to race on a brand new circuit in Austin, Texas, on 18th November. The unknown factors of the Circuit of the Americas not only add extra excitement to the title battle, but also to the Sauber F1 Team’s fight to close the gap of 12 points to fifth place in the Constructors’ World Championship. Sergio Perez regards the venue as his home Grand Prix and is looking forward to seeing a crowd of Mexicans there. Kamui Kobayashi is also curious to discover the new track as well as the State of Texas.

Kamui Kobayashi (car number 14):
“I have never been to Texas, as I have only been to New York and Las Vegas in America. I know this will be something completely different and perhaps pretty exciting because Texas is cowboy country, so I hope I can see some of them there. I have had a look at Austin on a google map and it looks nice. This is another new Herman Tilke circuit and he always gives us exciting tracks to have nice races. I have not seen the circuit on a simulator and, in fact, have no idea what it is like. However, it will be okay and a surprise for me. I shall walk the track when I first get there. I don't know how many laps it will take to learn it, as it very much depends on the track. It can take three, ten or more laps.”

Sergio Perez (car number 15):
“I am very much looking forward to this race! I think it is the closest race for eight years for me to my home town of Guadalajara. I expect many Mexican Formula One fans to attend and this, for sure, will give me an extra boost. Of course I also hope there will be a Mexican Grand Prix one day, because I am aware of the great enthusiasm for Formula One in my country, but for now I regard the race in Austin as my home Grand Prix. I have no issues about learning new tracks quickly. In my first Formula One season, which was only last year, I had many tracks to learn. I am sure we will have a good crowd there and I definitely want to put in a strong result for both the Sauber F1 Team and myself.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
“Going to an unknown circuit always requires a bit of extra work in advance. Along with all the other teams we have been supplied with the relevant data about the Circuit of the Americas. We implemented a simulation for the aerodynamic configuration of the car, gear ratios, braking systems and, more generally, for a baseline set up. A rather unknown factor is how abrasive the tarmac will be. In this regard we rely on Pirelli and the tire allocation they decided to go for, which is the medium and hard compounds. Unlike at circuits we are very familiar with, you will probably see a bit more driving in the first free practice session to double check the set up and, of course, to allow the drivers to learn the track. The lap begins with an uphill straight leading to corner one and then to a number of high speed corners. This part, I think, should suit our car best. After a very tight left hander we will have a long straight followed by a couple of slow speed corners and a multi apex long right hander before arriving back on the start finish straight.”

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