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

  • With the richest man in the world bankrolling him, Sergio Perez could drive for any team
    Perez's 'money' powered McLaren move - di Resta
  • Tester Paffett puzzled by Hamilton's team switch
  • Changes and updates at Ferrari as the new season approaches
  • Lotus offered Raikkonen faster car - Parr
  • Gascoyne has warned other new teams in F1 will struggle for survival
  • Ecclestone: Nurburgring race unlikely New 
  • 2013 'still unclear' for Bruno Senna New
  • Williams Wins Business of the Year New
  • F1 in Schools World Finals 2013 to take place in Austin, Texas New
  • 'No deficit' at Sauber - Nico Hulkenberg New

Perez's 'money' powered McLaren move - di Resta
(GMM)  Considerations about "money" played a role in McLaren choosing Sergio Perez.

That is the claim of Paul di Resta, the Force India driver who admits to having talks with McLaren when the British team was deciding Lewis Hamilton's 2013 replacement.

"I'm not going to give away too much, but yes, there were discussions," 26-year-old Scot di Resta, who is staying at Force India for a third consecutive season this year, said.

"Unfortunately in this sport now there's a little bit more to it.  There's a commercial side and money's tight.  Perez has some good backing," he is quoted by the Daily Mail.

Di Resta is undoubtedly referring to Perez's former backing by Carlos Slim's Mexican telco Telmex, the company that while staying at Sauber this year has been linked with a future tie-up with McLaren.

"I've got a great relationship with McLaren," di Resta said.

"Martin Whitmarsh was actually the key person who put my name forward for Force India, and also I've been part of Mercedes-Benz for a lot of years.

"Our paths may cross," he said at the Autosport International show in Birmingham.

Tester Paffett puzzled by Hamilton's team switch
(GMM)  Long-time McLaren test driver Gary Paffett says Lewis Hamilton's decision to switch to Mercedes is puzzling.

Throughout Briton Hamilton's six-year racing tenure with McLaren, countryman Paffett, now 31, has split his DTM career with his F1 testing role.

He said at the Autosport International show in Birmingham that he does not understand why Hamilton would swap McLaren for Mercedes.

"Some drivers move for their own certain reasons," said Paffett.  "I think a few of the times they move people don't understand it and I don't understand this one.

"I knew Lewis very well, I used to kart with him when he was ten years old.  Lewis has solely been focused on winning, that is his aim.

"He wants to break records, he wants to win the most championships, win the most races and I see his best place to do that at McLaren.  But obviously he wasn't comfortable there anymore or he fancied a new challenge," he added.

Paffett's comments are interesting, as for his entire McLaren career, he has also driven for Mercedes in DTM, the premier German touring car series.

"Mercedes are a big manufacturer and they are putting a lot of effort into their F1 team," he said.

"I'm sure they will get better, but I don't think this year Lewis is going to be in a better position than he would be with McLaren."

Changes and updates at Ferrari as the new season approaches
As the new year kicks into life there is plenty of action at Ferrari; the team is beginning work on a new base for its F1 team which is due to open in time to develop the 2015 car, on a site between the Cavallino restaurant and the existing team headquarters, known as Gestione Sportiva.

At the same time the team announced today that from February 1 it will have a new head of communications, Renato Bisignani, formerly of Renault F1, who will replace Luca Colajanni, who held the position for over a decade.

This change has been rumored since the end of last season, but was confirmed today. It is a change which will not mean a great deal to F1 fans, but will resonate within F1 media; Colajanni did a difficult job with great passion and attention, but inevitably some relationships were more tense than others. I always got on well with him and enjoyed his sense of humor.

As for the new HQ, which will be a trapezoid shape, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, team principal laid the first stone on Monday and the Ferrari website noted,

“The first excavations have indeed begun of the foundations of the building that will house the offices of the management, engineers and administrative staff along with the working areas of the team. The location, which is owned by Ferrari and currently used as a car park, is situated between the Cavallino restaurant and the building that is currently used by the Scuderia.

“The project has been planned in accordance with guidelines inspired by the practicality, efficiency and style that characterize the Formula One program. The aim is to create an environment that has been well thought through for the people who will work there. This program, which has benefited from the positive steps taken in favor of the employees and their families, has earned Ferrari the title “Best place to work in Europe” from the Financial Times.”

Anyone who has been behind the scenes at Maranello and seen the existing factory will concur that this move has not come a moment too soon. The existing race bays and engine build shop are historic (although the technology inside is state of the art) and the team needed to move into a 21st century building, which it will now be doing. It’s a significant investment, albeit not on the scale of the McLaren Technology Centre. But then it doesn’t need to be, as Ferrari has many other new buildings on the campus like the wind tunnel and logistics centre.

Ferrari’s traditional start of season bash in the mountains, known as Wrooom, kicks off today (hence the timing of the Colajanni announcement) with press conferences scheduled with Domenicali and the drivers. So watch out for lots of Ferrari stories in the next few days… James Allen on F1

Lotus offered Raikkonen faster car - Parr
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen didn't make his formula one comeback with Williams because Lotus were offering him a more competitive car.

That is the claim of Adam Parr, the former Williams chairman who now admits to trying to secure the services of the 2007 world champion at the end of 2011.

Ultimately, the Williams talks collapsed and former McLaren and Ferrari driver Raikkonen, now 33, return to F1 after a two-year rallying hiatus last year with Lotus.

Famous for his laconic and truly unique personality, he surprised many in 2012 by winning in Abu Dhabi and finishing his return season with third place in the world championship.

Briton Parr, who left his role as Williams chairman early last year and is now promoting a book, confirmed he had talks with the Finn about driving for the famous British team in 2012.

"I wanted to bring Kimi to Williams in 2012," he is quoted as saying by Italy's Autosprint, "but I could not guarantee a competitive car for him.

"When I spoke with him, I was impressed by his hunger and his determination," said Parr.

"Nevertheless, his value at the time remained unclear, and we didn't know just how strong our car would be."

In 2012, Pastor Maldonado won the Spanish grand prix and, alongside Bruno Senna, the pair helped Williams to finish eighth in the constructors' world championship.

With Lotus, Raikkonen also won just a single race but also an impressive tally of 207 points.

Gascoyne has warned other new teams in F1 will struggle for survival
Caterham's Mike Gascoyne has warned that simply surviving in Formula 1 will be a challenge for other new teams on the grid.

The Englishman has currently moved away from the pit-wall and taken up the role of Group Technical Officer at the expanding Leafield outfit, overseeing a number of the company's other business ventures.

And it is those additional revenue streams that the 49-year-old feels will ensure Caterham are able to continue in Formula 1 in the long term.

"One thing about the Caterham Group is that when we set up the Caterham F1 team, it was all about a sustainable automotive group - so cars, consultancy and the rest of the business earn money to be able to fund a Formula 1 team and that was always part of the idea," Gascoyne exclusively told Sky Sports F1 Online.

"That's what I am now running and it is the most important part of the group, as without it we won't have a Formula 1 team."

Caterham set themselves the target of moving into the midfield in 2012, but failed to score a point all season, and Gascoyne says it will take time to catch up with the other teams who have spent decades investing in facilities.

"I think you have got to understand that if you look at the nine teams that are in Formula 1 that have survived - so many teams have gone by the wayside - if you look at the investment that they have made over the years, because they have all been there for twenty or thirty years plus, spending £10-, £20-, £30million-a-year on facilities, you can't come in, even if you have got a decent budget, and match all those facilities overnight," he added.

"You can't suddenly spent £100million on all those facilities, seven-post rigs, wind tunnels etc, that these teams have. So it is a huge step up to move into Formula 1 and the most important thing for Caterham is to make sure it is sustainable and it survives, which I don't think any of the other new teams will do.

"It is a tremendous achievement just to survive and then once you get your first point and move into the midfield, that is going to take time, but the important thing is to make sure you have that survivability."

Gascoyne feels that a budget cap is a must for F1 if it is to survive long term and feels teams could cut their expenditure by six-fold.

"It (F1) absolutely needs a budget cap - it's madness that teams spent £200m or £300million to put two races cars out for two races," he insisted.

"It is absolute madness. If you look at the budget a team like us run off, which is £50million and is still a huge amount of money, and then you have teams spending six times that - if you had 20 Caterhams on the grid painted different colors, would you actually notice a difference? I don't think you would. And in this era, I think a budget cap is the only way for this sport to survive.

"I think £50million is absolutely the right level to set it at, including drivers' salaries and even my salary. [Former FIA President] Max Mosley tried to bring it in and it was very unpopular. But he didn't do it in the right way and I didn't agree with the way he did it, but you have to say what he wanted to do was correct.

"Football should be doing the same thing, the Premier League is not sustainable and all of sport needs to look at itself and limit these expenses."

The former Jordan, Renault, Toyota and Force India man also thinks points should be awarded to all drivers in a race to prevent a repeat of 2012, where Caterham only secured tenth spot in the Constructors' at the final race of the season and with it much-needed prize money.

"(It was) massively important - there were about £7million good reasons to do it," Gascoyne said.

"It was a fantastic job from Vitaly (Petrov) to do that, but it is what we deserved as the team was in front of Marussia for the whole year - we were a better team than they were. It would have been an anomaly if we hadn't finished tenth because it is just on that one position.

"I think you have to look at putting points all the way down [the field], because when you do it from your best race, we out performed them at every race and we could have lost a huge amount of money on one race and that is not what it should be about.

The team are yet to announce who will partner Charles Pic in 2013, but Gascoyne did hint it would be a young driver, rather than the experienced Heikki Kovalainen or Petrov.

"I'm not allowed to [say], but hopefully we will have a young guy in there that will be pushing hard," he added. Sky Sports

Ecclestone: Nurburgring race unlikely
Bernie Ecclestone says a race at the Nurburgring is extremely unlikely in 2013, with talks between the Formula 1 supremo and the German venue appearing to fall through. The 82-year-old is certain that a Grand Prix will take place in the country this season, but a host circuit is still yet to be officially announced.

"No," Ecclestone is quoted as saying by ESPN when asked if the Nurburgring will host a race this year, following recent negotiations. "The trouble is that the people that used to be there have gone. They haven't got enough money. So we will see."

Despite the situation, Ecclestone is adamant that the Formula 1 fraternity will make a visit to Germany in 2013, with a venue now due to be chosen in-season.

"We have got a German Grand Prix but we don't know where it is going to be," Ecclestone explained. "We have got the race penciled in. It's on the calendar. We can decide it once the season has started."

Ecclestone previously stated that he would be willing to front the cost of hosting a race at the Nurburgring, but this no longer appears to be the case. The most likely replacement is the Hockenheim circuit, with a venue spokesperson confirming to GPUpdate.net last month that it would be open to organizing the event in 2013.

2013 'still unclear' for Bruno Senna
Bruno Senna  says his future is "still unclear" but confirms he has been talking to both Force India and Caterham over the winter.

Senna is without a drive having been replaced by Valtteri Bottas at Williams at the end of the 2012 season. Having seen his first full season in the sport hampered by a lack of running time in Friday practice - he handed his car over to Bottas on 15 occasions in FP1 - Senna is now struggling to find a drive for this year and admits he doesn't know if he'll be able to remain in Formula One.

"For 2013, it is still unclear," Senna told Totalrace having taken part in Felipe Massa's charity karting event. "We are in the game but it is not easy to know where I'll end up."

Although unsure of his future, Senna added that he expected to have a clearer picture in the near future having held talks with both Force India and Caterham.

"I imagine that it will not take long for the pieces to fit together. We are looking at all the options, both inside and outside of Formula One. I am talking to the teams that still have seats free ... I hope everything goes well." ESPN F1

Williams Wins Business of the Year
Williams has won the prestigious Business of the Year Award at the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) Business Excellence Awards.

The awards, often described as the ‘Oscars’ of the motorsport industry, took place at Birmingham’s NEC Arena last week during the annual MIA dinner. First presented in 1995, the MIA Business Excellence Awards recognize excellence at all levels within the motorsport and high performance engineering industry. It is the only awards of its kind within the industry and the judging panel consists of industry and MIA members who are invited to vote in each of the seven categories.

2012 was a noteworthy year for Williams both on and off the track. The Williams F1 Team returned to winning ways, with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix for driver Pastor Maldonado. Williams Advanced Engineering, the division of Williams that adapts Formula One based innovations for commercial applications, has seen its technologies introduced into a number of high profile applications in the fields of energy efficiency, road safety and education. Notable successes include a partnership with Go-Ahead Group to hybridize a number of London buses and success at the Le Mans 24 Hours with the victorious Audi R18 e-tron quattro using a Williams Hybrid Power flywheel. Williams Advanced Engineering’s Qatar Technology Centre launched a new range of road safety simulators to help reduce road traffic deaths in Qatar.

Chris Aylett, CEO of the MIA, said; ‘’Williams F1’s race heritage is beyond question, with 114 victories in Formula One. But things have evolved over the past few years, with Williams Hybrid Power supplying the first hybrid car to win Le Mans in 2012, and Williams Advanced Engineering widening technology supplies into many sectors. With a Technology Centre in Qatar, and a leading Conference Centre, this MIA member is a vibrant company going places fast and one of the few Formula One teams to successfully diversify.”

Speaking about the award Williams CEO Alex Burns commented; "Our diversification strategy into new markets is ambitious in its scope and 2012 has seen our technology transfer from Formula One gain excellent momentum. We’re focusing our attention on Formula One based technology that can make a real societal benefit and it’s fantastic that the judges recognized this. This award is particularly gratifying as it shows peer and industry recognition and on behalf of everyone at Williams I would like to thank the MIA for their continued support."

F1 in Schools World Finals 2013 to take place in Austin, Texas
The leading global educational initiative, F1 in Schools, has announced it will stage its ninth World Finals event in Austin, Texas, next year, alongside the 2013 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX to be held at Circuit of The Americas in November. It will be the first time that the F1 in Schools World Finals will have been held in the United States, with the 2012 event having taken place at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
The return of Formula 1 to the United States last year was the natural impetus for F1 in Schools to consider the continent as the host nation for the event and after fact-finding visits to the area and the inaugural 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX, F1 in Schools Founder and Chairman, Andrew Denford, was left in no doubt that the destination would be an ideal location for the 2013 World Finals.

“From the moment I arrived in Austin I was welcomed with open arms,” said Denford. “The city, the circuit and the local government were right behind us with their support for bringing F1 in Schools to the State of Texas. They understand the value of reaching out to the younger F1 audience and a wider fan base of young people and the F1 in Schools World Finals will sit very neatly with the ambitions of Austin.”

“Circuit of The Americas is pleased that the F1 in Schools World Finals will be held in Austin prior to our Grand Prix,” the Circuit’s Vice President of Public and Media Relations Julie Loignon said. “F1 in Schools provides a unique educational platform that leverages Formula 1 and provides students with a chance to apply science, math, technology and engineering subject matter to the live racing action they experience on track.  It’s a unique and impactful educational experience.”

The event is expected to be staged in one of the leading downtown conference facilities in the run-up to the 2013 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX, with a glittering Awards evening rounding off three days of competition for the students. All the competitors will be given the opportunity to stay on for the race weekend and enjoy the experience of watching the Grand Prix trackside.

Denford says of selecting Austin for the 2013 F1 in Schools World Finals, “Our priority, whenever possible, is to dovetail the event with a Formula 1 Grand Prix and in recent years we’ve been able to do this with Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and last year, Abu Dhabi. There is immense pressure for the students participating in one of the most prestigious global student competitions and they work extremely hard before they reach the event and during the course of the three days of competition, so it is great for them to be able to reap the benefits of their hard work with a visit to the United States Grand Prix.”

'No deficit' at Sauber - Nico Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg  says he doesn't see Sauber's driver line-up having any negative effect on the team at the start of the season.

Having joined Sauber from Force India, Hulkenberg will be joined by rookie Esteban Gutierrez for the 2013 season as Sauber fields an all-new driver line-up. However, despite the changes at the team, Hulkenberg thinks his experience added to Gutierrez's time as reserve driver means both will be able to hit the ground running from the start of the first test.

"I don't see any deficit to be honest," Hulkenberg told the official Formula One website. "Indeed I am new in the team, but not new in F1, and Esteban has gained experience as a test driver with Sauber so he is not new to them. I would say there is no deficit, but rather the chance to make good acquaintances."

Hulkenberg also said he will only start requesting changes with the C32 after discovering its strengths and weaknesses during testing.

"During this time of the year it is always to make me comfortable in the car. Making a good seat in which I feel comfortable is very important. Luckily I fit in well so I am ready for testing in Jerez at the beginning of February.

"There are no issues at the moment. It's not until you are out on track, running the car, that you uncover issues or weaknesses. So Jerez will be the acid test." ESPN F1

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