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Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Kovalainen plays down Gascoyne's criticism
  • Perez hits back at di Resta's pay-driver jibe
  • Sauber denies Mercedes engine deal for 2014
  • Mercedes must push for 2014 title - Zetsche
  • Ricciardo to debut 2013 Toro Rosso at Jerez
  • Ferrari to present new car Feb. 1st 

Kovalainen plays down Gascoyne's criticism
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has rejected Caterham technical boss Mike Gascoyne's criticism.

Gascoyne, former F1 stalwart and now the technical boss of the entire Caterham Group, said this week that Finn Kovalainen harmed his chances of staying in F1 due to his poor management team and a lack of respect as he tried to move up the grid in 2013.

Kovalainen, 31, played down the comments.

"I have always had a good relationship with him (Gascoyne)," he said, "and my relationship with him will continue even now.

"Mike is a seasoned professional and he and I have worked together for a long time," Kovalainen told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

"The fact is that my negotiations are not with him.  I talk to Tony Fernandes and Cyril Abiteboul.

"At the moment, the negotiations are continuing and I am not thinking about anything other than formula one.  First, let's finish playing the game until the end.

"Then, when we know the outcome, think about what to do next," added Kovalainen, who moved to Caterham (then Lotus) in 2010 after being dropped by McLaren.

Gascoyne this week confirmed Caterham is considering replacing Kovalainen with a sponsored driver.

Perez hits back at di Resta's pay-driver jibe
(GMM)  Sergio Perez has hit back at Paul di Resta.

This week, Force India driver di Resta revealed he had talks with McLaren when the British team was contemplating Lewis Hamilton's 2013 successor.

But he said McLaren ultimately chose the Mexican Sergio Perez because of the "commercial side" of the sport.

"Money's tight," said di Resta.  "Perez has some good backing."

But Perez, 22, apparently hit back at di Resta by saying on Twitter: "Money can buy you a seat but never the results.

"I say it to those who still doubt it," he added in his native Spanish.

While Perez got three podiums and 66 points with Sauber in 2012, 26-year-old di Resta's best finish last season was a single fourth place, in Singapore.

Earlier, as Perez made his official McLaren debut with a media day at the team's Woking headquarters, he admitted the continuing 'pay driver' label used to make him angry.

"It made me angry at the beginning as people didn't realize what I had sacrificed.  I had to leave my family when I was 15 and live above a restaurant in Germany," he is quoted by the Daily Mail.

"But sooner or later you learn how to deal with it."

Sauber denies Mercedes engine deal for 2014
(GMM)  Sauber has denied reports it has penned an agreement with Mercedes to replace its engine deal with Ferrari for the 2014 season and beyond.

French sources have claimed Force India, currently supplied by Mercedes, will switch suppliers with Ferrari-powered Sauber for the radical new turbo V6 rules.

It would be big news for the Swiss team, as - the works BMW years aside - Sauber has been powered by Ferrari throughout most of its almost two-decade involvement in F1.

But a Sauber spokesman insisted: "We do not have an engine partner for 2014, not least because several aspects with regards to the costs are still unclear.

"It is a fact that we have worked with Ferrari for more than ten years and so the Scuderia is naturally our first point of contact," the spokesman is quoted by Switzerland's Speed Week.

It should be noted that, when Sauber entered F1 in 1993, it was with a de-facto Mercedes V10 engine supplied by Ilmor, which is now called Mercedes High Performance Powertrains.

And, in works partnership with Mercedes, Sauber won Le Mans in 1989 and the world sports car championship in 1990.

Mercedes must push for 2014 title - Zetsche
(GMM)  Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of the German marque's parent Daimler, says Mercedes must be pushing for the world championship by 2014.

Admitting that the appointments of Lewis Hamilton and Niki Lauda, and the departure of Norbert Haug, were because of Mercedes' lack of recent success, he also acknowledged that the silver team will not be in a title-winning position this year.

"As it (F1) is so visible people see pretty quickly if you succeed or not, and if the results are up to your expectations," Zetsche, at the Detroit Motor Show, told Autocar.

"For Mercedes those expectations must be that we are up there at every race competing for victory."

He said the fact Mercedes only won a single grand prix between 2010 and 2012 led to "changes" for this season, including a "new driver, new chairman and more to come".

"The real problem lay with the chassis and we are working on that," admitted Zetsche.

"The coming season will probably not allow us to show the full effect of the changes, but in 2014 we will have a good shot at the championship, especially with the new engine rules," he added.

Ricciardo to debut 2013 Toro Rosso at Jerez
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he will be giving Toro Rosso's new car its track debut on the first day of winter testing next month.

While sister team and reigning champion Red Bull is reportedly slightly behind schedule with its 2013 single seater, Australian Ricciardo said the new Toro Rosso is "running to plan".

The Faenza based team has not named a launch date for the STR8, but 23-year-old Ricciardo said in a Skype interview from his native Australia that the car will be running as soon as the pre-season period kicks off in early February at Jerez.

"I'll be driving the first day, so the fifth of Feb, so not long at all -- three weeks I think.  Can't wait," said Ricciardo, who over the New Year holiday period has grown a beard.

AAP news agency said Perth-born Australian is due to return to Italy this week for a seat fitting.

"It (the beard) will come off," he grinned.

"I've been living the beach lifestyle and haven't been bothered to pick up a razor in a while.

"I'll get rid of it.  I've got to look young again."

Ferrari to present new car Feb. 1st
Ferrari has confirmed that it will launch its new car on Friday 1 February, with a presentation taking place at the outfit's Maranello factory. Team Principal Stefano Domenicali made the announcement at the Wrooom event in Northern Italy, hosted annually by the famous marque and MotoGP's factory Ducati team.

The name of Ferrari's 2013 machine is yet to be announced, with no particular pattern being followed in recent years. The team's predecessor, the F2012, was guided to three victories by Fernando Alonso last season, while Brazilian team-mate Felipe Massa helped to secure second place in the overall Constructors' standings.

Rivals McLaren, Force India, Sauber and Red Bull are the four other teams to reveal launch dates for their new designs, with the quartet set to join Ferrari for the opening pre-season test of the year which takes place at Jerez from 5-8 February.

2013 F1 launch dates:

McLaren - Thursday 31 January
Force India - Friday 1 February
Ferrari - Friday 1 February
Sauber - Saturday 2 February
Red Bull - Sunday 3 February

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