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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Marc Gene
    Gene inks new Ferrari test driver deal
  • Raikkonen 'learns nothing' in simulators
  • Kobayashi can return to F1 in 2014 - Perez
  • Perez starts work in McLaren simulator
  • Whitmarsh: Drivers will have equal status

Gene inks new Ferrari test driver deal
(GMM)  Marc Gene has signed up for yet another year as a Ferrari test driver.

Although now spearheading the F1 role with an Audi sports cars endurance seat, Gene has inked a new one-year Ferrari contract for 2013, Switzerland's Speed Week reports.

The 38-year-old Spaniard, who also commentates on F1 with Spanish television Antena 3, has been a Ferrari test driver since 2005, although Jules Bianchi was the famous Italian team's official reserve in 2012.

Gene's recent role has been more confined to working with sponsors, and in the simulator.

"I'm honored that I can continue working for Ferrari," he is quoted as saying this week.

"My goal is clear -- I want to help Ferrari and Fernando Alonso to have a car capable of winning the title."

Gene raced for Minardi in 1999 and 2000, and as Williams' reserve driver stepped into injured Ralf Schumacher's car for short periods in 2003 and 2004.

Raikkonen 'learns nothing' in simulators
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has clarified his aversion to sophisticated formula one simulator technology, insisting he simply "learns nothing" at the computerized wheel.

An avowed fan of idol James Hunt's bygone days, 2007 world champion Raikkonen has always sounded unenthusiastic when asked about the simulator technology that has replaced F1's former days of expensive track testing.

That sparked rumors that, like Michael Schumacher, simulators give the famous Finn motion sickness, or that perhaps the former Ferrari and McLaren driver is claustrophobic.

Raikkonen's new team, Lotus, has now developed a brand new simulator at its Enstone base, but it appears only teammate Romain Grosjean will be at the wheel.

"I just think that I can learn nothing in the simulator," the 33-year-old is quoted by Switzerland's Speed Week.

"I learn a new track quickly, without a simulator," added Raikkonen.

Indeed, when Lotus' new simulator was up and running prior to Austin last November, Grosjean lapped the virtual circuit many times but was still immediately outpaced in real life by Raikkonen, who got his first taste of the US layout in Friday practice.

Kobayashi can return to F1 in 2014 - Perez
(GMM)  Sergio Perez believes his 2012 teammate Kamui Kobayashi can return to formula one next year.

Japanese Kobayashi, who in the same 2012 Sauber scored 60 points last year compared to Mexican Perez's 66, has acknowledged he will not be on the 2013 grid.

At the same time, Perez was signed to switch to McLaren next year to replace the British team's most recent champion Lewis Hamilton.

The 22-year-old Mexican kicked off his official duties on Wednesday by speaking to the press at a photo opportunity at McLaren's Woking headquarters.

"Kamui is a great racer, a nice guy, he does his job well," Perez is quoted as saying by the Russian website f1news.ru.

"I wish he wasn't left without a contract, but I think he'll be back in formula one next season," he insisted.

"I'm sure that with his speed he will find a good place and we'll see him again next year."

Perez also had some words for his countryman Esteban Gutierrez, the 21-year-old rookie who is filling his seat at Sauber.

"I think it's a great opportunity for Esteban," he said at Woking.

"Sauber is a great team in which a driver has the opportunity to demonstrate his potential."

Perez starts work in McLaren simulator
(GMM)  Sergio Perez on Wednesday revealed he has already started work at the wheel of McLaren's sophisticated driver simulator.

But the Mexican warned that he will have no impact on the design or specification of his 2013 car, the MP4-28.

"Of course, no," he is quoted by the Russian website f1news.ru, after his first official visit to McLaren's Woking headquarters for the media on Wednesday.

"However," said the 22-year-old, "I have already worked on the simulator, helping the team to understand the specifics of my driving style.

"But to be honest, I have no influence on the creation of a new car," Perez admitted.

He said his real challenge, whilst learning from his experienced teammate Jenson Button, is to become top dog and fight for the 2013 championship.

"I think at the moment it looks like Jenson has experience, has the team," the Mexican is quoted by the Daily Mail.

"He's a great champion -- the most experienced driver in the paddock now.  So I think I have a lot to learn from him.  And obviously I want to beat him as well."

Whitmarsh: Drivers will have equal status
Sergio Perez has been promised the same treatment as McLaren team-mate Jenson Button throughout the 2013 season, with Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh reiterating that it is not in the outfit's nature to favor one of its drivers over the other.

Having welcomed Perez through the doors of the McLaren Technology Centre on Wednesday, Whitmarsh explained that although Button has the advantage of experience heading into the new campaign, the pair will be given equal status.

"People like to have that debate," Whitmarsh told Sky Sports in Woking. "The fact is Jenson has got the advantage in terms of he knows the team, he has the experience and he is a World Champion.

"Jenson will be very generous with his time, but when he pulls out of the garage, Jenson will want to beat Sergio and Sergio will want to beat Jenson. That is the mentality in our team. They will have equal treatment. I think that competition in the team is good."

Meanwhile, Perez has repeated that fighting for the world title is his primary goal in 2013, the 22-year-old claiming 'this must be your target' at a team such as McLaren.

"I'm here to give everything I can, to do my very best in every single race, inside and outside of the car, and to work with this great family at McLaren," said Perez. "When you come to McLaren, this must be your target, otherwise you shouldn't join McLaren. Everybody here is working for that goal and I'm coming here to do the same."

Perez, who moved from Sauber to replace Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton, ended up tenth in the 2012 Drivers' standings with three podium finishes to his name.

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