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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday UPDATE #2 (GMM)  F1's governing body has sided with Red Bull, after Ferrari on Thursday wrote the FIA a letter that might have changed the outcome of the 2012 world championship.

Ferrari's letter of "clarification" followed the emergence this week of video footage that apparently showed Sebastian Vettel illegally passing a Toro Rosso during the title-deciding Brazilian grand prix.

But media outlets including the Telegraph said the FIA had already responded on Thursday by declaring there is "no case to answer".

And race director Charlie Whiting was on Thursday quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "Between the last yellow light and the green light, there was a green flag being waved.

"Vettel responded to the flag and did everything right." 

11/29/12 Here is a video that shows Vettel to overtake Vergne while still in a yellow light zone.  The yellow light zone ends at the next green light.  Vettel passes just before the green light, but a marshal was waving a green flag on the left prior to that and the flag takes precedence over the lights.  We also do not know if the yellow light behind Vettel had turned green right after Vettel passed it, ending the yellow zone altogether.  So that is what is being evaluated.


  • 3-time champ Vettel
    Ferrari 'evaluating' Vettel overtaking footage
  • Raikkonen to begin break with snowmobile race
  • Vettel says last races proved critics wrong
  • 2013 French GP return 'impossible' - Prost
  • Ousting Senna not commercial suicide for Williams - Wolff

Ferrari 'evaluating' Vettel overtaking footage
(GMM)  Ferrari has until Friday to lodge a protest against the results of Sunday's championship-deciding Brazilian grand prix.

The possibility that Sebastian Vettel could lose his 2012 title, to the benefit of Fernando Alonso, has arisen after video footage emerged on the internet depicting Vettel overtaking at Interlagos possibly under yellow flags.

A spokesman for Ferrari admitted the team is "evaluating footage", which reportedly also includes still photography and various angles.

"Anything that threatens the credibility of the championship has to be examined," the Ferrari official added.

This year's FIA rules say any review of the outcome of the world championship must commence no later than 30 November.

The FIA has not yet commented on whether an official review is underway.

But the FIA's Spanish official Carlos Gracia said: "Ferrari should not win a championship in this way."

Widespread media reports say that closer review of the evidence available publicly so far shows that while Vettel did pass Jean-Eric Vergne with the yellow lights illuminated in his cockpit, a marshal may already have waved a green flag.

Another view is that Vettel was justified in passing the Toro Rosso because of how dramatically it slowed.

"If Ferrari has not protested already, it's because they do not think it is clear," Jaime Alguersuari, a Spanish former F1 driver, told AS newspaper.

Raikkonen to begin break with snowmobile race
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen will kick off his winter break with a snowmobile race.

Just after signing to return to F1 in 2012 with Lotus, the 2007 world champion hurt his wrist in a snowmobile racing crash in Austria.

Now, APA news agency reports that the 33-year-old Finn intends to race a 70 horse power snowmobile again, in Saalbach on 8 December.

At the 2012 season finale in Brazil last weekend, Raikkonen made headlines for arriving at Interlagos late following a holiday in Los Angeles.

He then missed a corner during the race and, upon driving into the support-race pitlane, had to do a u-turn when he found a gate blocking his path.

"I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year," said Raikkonen.  "Somebody closed it this time.  Next year I'll make sure it's open again."

Vettel says last races proved critics wrong
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has hit back at critics who claim the new triple consecutive world champion is not good at overtaking.

The critics have said the Red Bull driver is good at dominating grands prix from pole position, but usually falters when he needs to do some passing en route to the checkered flag.

But German Vettel thinks his races in Abu Dhabi, when he fought through the field from the pitlane to finish on the podium, and in Brazil where he won the title despite a first-lap spin, have proved the critics wrong.

"It's actually a little funny to look back now at the guy who can't overtake," he is quoted as saying by Brazil's Agencia Estado.

"Now, after just two races, people have to change their minds."

Vettel admitted the criticism bothered him particularly in 2011, when he won many races from pole.

"You start from a good position and yet you are criticized for that," he said.

Four-time world champion Alain Prost says Vettel deserves the 2012 title.

"He has the car, the team.  He does what he needs to do," the Frenchman told RMC Sport.

"He had a lot of luck, especially in Abu Dhabi and Brazil.  He was a lucky champion.  But that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve it -- far from it," added Prost.

2013 French GP return 'impossible' - Prost
(GMM)  Alain Prost has confirmed reports France will definitely not feature on F1's 2013 calendar.

The reports had said Paul Ricard and Magny Cours both missed the deadline to apply to France's sanctioning body, the FFSA, for a request to the FIA for a 2013 calendar change.

Asked about France's chances of organizing a 2013 race now, Prost - who has recently been working as an advisor to the Paul Ricard project - answered: "For 2013 it is impossible.

"The time is over.  We will see what we can do for 2014.  Now, it is technically impossible for 2013."

Asked why the French revival efforts had failed for now, Prost told RMC Sport: "Two things.  First, the real lack of desire of Bernie Ecclestone to have another grand prix in Europe.

"And then, of course, financially."

However, Paul Ricard boss Stephane Clair quickly contradicted Prost's comments, telling RMC that he will meet with the quadruple world champion to discuss them on Friday.

Clair insisted there is "no obligation" for a French GP project to have confirmation before December, and "no deadline" in place by Bernie Ecclestone.

Ousting Senna not commercial suicide for Williams - Wolff
(GMM)  Williams has dismissed suggestions Bruno Senna's departure will hurt the British team's coffers for 2013.

The Oxfordshire based team announced this week it is replacing Brazilian Senna, who is significantly sponsored, with the rookie Finn Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas is linked managerially to Williams executive and shareholder Toto Wolff.

Asked if ousting Senna will hurt Williams financially, Wolff answered: "Finance plays an important role so for us it was important to have the best possible package, and we are happy Valtteri has partners who are committed to formula one, and have followed him into formula one.

"I'm happy to say he is not only doing a great job on track but off it, as we have been quite successful in Finland securing backing.  It is not unsubstantial," he is quoted by the Scotsman newspaper.

"So getting Valtteri on board is not a hara-kiri move from a commercial point of view."

Bottas, 23, confirmed he is backed by "some great Finnish companies".

Williams' decision has left Senna trying to sell his talent and backing to Force India, amid rumors his sponsors are not interested in moving to backmarkers Marussia or Caterham.

"Bruno is a nice kid," former F1 driver Jacques Laffite told Brazil's Totalrace, "but F1 is very difficult and he has not done much this year compared to Maldonado.

"I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think he'll continue in F1."

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