Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
Alonso responds to Marko's jibes
- Ferrari starts work on new F1 factory
- No 'step nose' on Williams' 2013 car - Bottas
- Ecclestone rules out Austria for 2013
- I am not crazy - Romain Grosjean
- Perez set for first McLaren appearance New
- 2013 F1 calendar finally taking shape New
Alonso responds to Marko's jibes
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has this week responded quickly to Red Bull's ever-outspoken Dr Helmut Marko.
Marko, the energy drink company's motor racing chief, gave an interview to Red Bull's in-house Red Bulletin magazine contrasting world champion Sebastian Vettel's intense focus with Spaniard Alonso, the 2012 runner-up who drives for Ferrari.
Marko said Alonso is caught up in "politics", "funny comments" and "psychological skirmishes", showing he feels the "stress" of the title battle.
Alonso interpreted the jibes as an acknowledgement by Red Bull that Ferrari will again be the main contender this year.
"I enjoy reading that Red Bull still think we will be the strongest rival for next year!" he wrote on Twitter. "And this even before start testing!!
"Flattered ;)" Alonso quipped.
Alonso, however, was not the only driver in Marko's sights. He also reserved some critique for Vettel's continuing teammate Mark Webber, who according to speculation may be replaced after the Australian's latest one-year contract expires.
"It seems to me that Webber has on average two races per year where he is unbeatable, but he can't maintain this form throughout the year," Reuters quotes Marko as having told the Red Bulletin.
"As soon as his prospects start to look good in the world championship, he has a little trouble with the pressure that this creates. In comparison with Seb's rising form, it seems to me that Mark's form somehow flattens out."
Ferrari starts work on new F1 factory
(GMM) Ferrari has started work on a new building to house the famous formula one team.
The team announced on Tuesday that "the first excavations" have commenced on an area currently used as a carpark between Ferrari's existing F1 factory at Maranello and the famous Cavallino restaurant.
It will eventually house "the offices of the management, engineers and administrative staff along with the working areas of the team", Ferrari confirmed.
Ferrari also confirmed reports that its 2013 car will be publicly unveiled in the days immediately before the pre-season test period begins in very early February.
The team did not disclose the actual launch date, instead revealing that the car will be unveiled "at Maranello" in "the very first days of February".
Autosprint magazine had claimed Ferrari's launch day is February 2.
No 'step nose' on Williams' 2013 car - Bottas
(GMM) Valtteri Bottas has revealed that Williams' 2013 car will not feature a 'stepped' front nose.
Following the public's reaction to the aesthetics of last year's cars, the FIA has allowed teams to install a "structurally irrelevant" laminate over the step in 2013.
The 'modesty panel', however, is not mandatory, which had raised doubts about whether teams would actually take up the option.
Bottas, Williams' rookie driver for 2013, told Finnish broadcaster MTV3: "As far as looks, the (2013) car is pretty much as it was last year.
"With the new rules, the step nose is straightened. That is the biggest difference in appearance.
"The new car is a development version of last year's. There are certain improvements in aerodynamics.
"We have tried to focus on getting more traction in corners," added Bottas.
He said he did not know whether he or Pastor Maldonado, Williams' continuing Venezuelan driver, will give the FW35 its track debut at Jerez early next month.
"Pastor and I will share all the test dates, so six days (each)," said the Finn.
Ecclestone rules out Austria for 2013
(GMM) Austria and Turkey will not be on F1's 2013 calendar, while the Nurburgring looks set to host this year's German grand prix.
"It should be the Nurburgring, we will try to make it possible," Bernie Ecclestone is quoted by the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung.
Media reports said meetings between the financially embattled German circuit's officials and the F1 chief executive will take place imminently in London.
As for the identity of the mystery 20th race location this year, Ecclestone ruled out Austria, despite the reported candidature of the former A1-Ring.
"Too few hotels," said Ecclestone when asked about the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. "That is the only problem; the circuit is great, the people are all friendly and a pleasure to work with.
"Unfortunately, there are just too few hotel rooms in the region," he insisted.
Despite efforts to revive the Turkish grand prix, Ecclestone acknowledged that the 2013 schedule could drop to 19 rounds.
Red Bull, however, is not giving up on the Austrian bid.
"So far we haven't received an official calendar. Nobody has spoken with us," said Dr Helmut Marko.
"I can imagine many things, even a year with only 19 races. But I can't comment and so I won't," he added.
'I am not crazy' - Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean says he is "aware of the risks" in Formula One and has worked hard at correcting the mistakes he made in 2012.
Having made a number of errors during the opening laps of races, Grosjean was banned from the Italian Grand Prix last year for causing a major first-corner crash at Spa-Francorchamps. At the second race back from that ban, Grosjean took out Mark Webber on the opening lap, leading Webber to brand him a "first lap nutcase".
Grosjean, however, says he learnt throughout 2012 that a more measured approach is required to become a world champion and that he believes having five clean races at the end of the season is proof he will improve further in 2013.
"I do not think winning at all costs is the goal, because the dream is to become world champion one day," Grosjean told Stade2. "Of course, it is true that you have to win races to be champion, but I must be careful not to mistake the goal.
"That's what cost me the nickname 'first lap nutcase' last year, but even that must be taken in context. Mark said it straight out of the car in Japan, with all the adrenaline of the race still inside him. I apologized which is the most I can do. I am not crazy, I am aware of the risks and I have worked hard to correct my mistakes. Over the last five races, I didn't have any other problems and there is no reason to believe that I will have any more."
Perez set for first McLaren appearance
Sergio Perez will make his first public appearance for McLaren on Wednesday. The Mexican, who has moved from Sauber on a 'multi-year' agreement, is en route to the outfit's factory in Woking to meet with engineers and undertake media activities.
Perez, a three-time podium finisher in 2012, was promptly signed by McLaren when Lewis Hamilton finalized a three-year deal with Mercedes. The 22-year-old from Guadalajara will race alongside 2009 World Champion Jenson Button this season.
Perez will also take part in a Google+ Hangout with fans this afternoon. The video conference, starting at 4.30pm, will be streamed live on the team's official page.
2013 F1 calendar finally taking shape
(GMM) The shape of the 2013 calendar continues to become clearer.
The signs grow ever stronger that the Nurburgring will host the German grand prix, while the scheduled 20-race calendar will dwindle to just 19 rounds this year as bids by Austria and Turkey falter.
Bernie Ecclestone has said this week that he hopes talks this week will confirm the Nurburgring's fate.
"We consider it very positive that Mr. Ecclestone is optimistic about these final negotiations," said circuit spokesman Karl-Heinz Steinkuehler.
"The last talks will be conducted in the near future," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. "Then there will certainly be an outcome."
Auto Motor und Sport speculated that Briton Ecclestone, 82, might even inject some of his own money.
"We cannot afford to lose the German grand prix," he said.
As for the 20th race date, set aside for a European venue in the wake of New Jersey's demise, F1 chief executive Ecclestone has now ruled out Austria.
And now, Turkey's chances have also collapsed.
The Hurriyet daily reported on Wednesday that prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to approve state funding for F1's return to Istanbul Park.
So what venue will host the 20th race now?
"Probably none," Ecclestone is quoted by Austria's Krone newspaper.
"(The weekend of) July 21 would therefore remain free. Longer holidays for everyone," he smiled.