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DATE News (chronologically)
01/18/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

01/18/13
  • Charles Pic, one of many pay drivers
    FIA names F1 doctor Hartstein's successor
  • Last-minute ban spoiled Red Bull's 2012 start - Newey
  • Long-term Caterham deal due to 'performance' - Pic
  • Massa not worried about growing 'Alonso factor' at Ferrari
  • Williams to debut new car at second test New
  • Alonso names Hamilton strongest rival New
  • Raikkonen and Webber get new race engineers New

FIA names F1 doctor Hartstein's successor
(GMM)  The FIA has finally named a successor for F1's departed doctor Gary Hartstein.

We reported last week that, with American Hartstein's contract not renewed for 2013, the F1 governing had picked a successor.

He is UK-based Dr Ian Roberts, a consultant in anesthesia and intensive care best known as the chief medical officer of the British grand prix venue Silverstone.

Last-minute ban spoiled Red Bull's 2012 start - Newey
(GMM)  Adrian Newey has confirmed reports an eleventh-hour ban by the FIA was a serious setback to Red Bull's 2012 preparations.

It emerged in recent days that, just as the reigning champions were preparing to test debut the ultimately title-winning RB8, F1's governing body banned Newey's solution to the new blown exhaust clampdown.

"It set us back further than we thought," Briton Newey told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"When we looked at the new rules, we thought the effects would be less severe, especially because we thought we could compensate well."

However, the FIA said Red Bull could not use its proposed 2012 exhaust solution.

"So because of the lack of time we went to the first test with a conventional exhaust in the engine cowling," said Newey.  Frantic work behind the scenes then began on a so-called 'Coanda' solution.

He revealed that the banned 2012 solution was a sophisticated sort of rear brake duct that absorbed exhaust gases.

"There was a loophole in the rules for the area behind the rear suspension," said designer Newey.  "So you could have something that collects the gases and transports them where you want them."

The FIA quickly closed the loophole, leaving Red Bull scrambling for balance at the start of 2012.

"It was hard to find a balance, yes," Newey confirmed.  "We had understeer, oversteer, often booth simultaneously."

He says often that the FIA's constant crusade against innovation is frustrating.

"We should be careful that the rules don't restrict the inventive spirit.  The beauty of formula one is the struggle of man against man but also machine against machine.

"There is something for every interest.  The more stringent the rules are, the faster we move towards 'GP1'.  Do we want that?

"I'm surprised how many of my colleagues at the meetings of the technical working group make the case for more restrictions.  It's as if we are letting the turkeys vote for Christmas."

Long-term Caterham deal due to 'performance' - Pic
(GMM)  Charles Pic has joined Sergio Perez in hitting back at the perception a growing number on the formula one grid can be best described as 'pay drivers'.

Some believe drivers like Mexican Perez, backed by billionaire Carlos Slim and making the move to top team McLaren in 2013, and Frenchman Pic moved to the front of the queue due to the size of their backers' wallets.

Pic, 22, has moved from Marussia to Caterham for 2013 and beyond, presumably in the place of the highly rated but unsponsored Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen.

Asked how long the deal is for, he told French daily Le Monde: "It's a contract for several years -- I will not be on the team only for one season.

"But I cannot disclose the details."

Surely, say the cynics, the size of his backing was a key consideration as team owner Tony Fernandes and boss Cyril Abiteboul signed the paperwork.

"This is a favorite question of journalists," said Pic.  "Frankly, I don't think it can be the only thing (that is reported).  A driver gets an offer from a team due to his performance.

"Priority is given to driver qualities; speed and racing skills.  Only then is attention paid to the sponsors, and so this factor should be treated differently."

Pic admitted, however, that money is important in F1.

"This is a part of our sport; formula one has gained in popularity through the media and is used by large companies who need to promote their brands," he said.

Massa not worried about growing 'Alonso factor' at Ferrari
(GMM)  Felipe Massa insists he is not worried about the apparently ever-greater influence wrought by his teammate Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.

Brazilian Massa hit such a low-point in his career early last year that, this week, he admitted that as Ferrari considered who to replace him with, he thought about quitting the team and formula one.

Ultimately, 31-year-old Massa's form improved and he was offered a new deal for 2013, but some believe Ferrari want only a competent 'number two' for Alonso.

Indeed, more evidence of the 'Alonso factor' at Ferrari apparently emerged this week, when his former McLaren colleague and countryman Pedro de la Rosa was signed as a development driver.

Massa played down that suggestion.

"It is true that there are three Spanish (drivers) on the team," the Brazilian is quoted by Spain's Marca newspaper, "but de la Rosa is coming here to improve the simulator."

The third Spaniard referred to by Massa is Marc Gene, another test driver.

Massa added: "The press likes to say these things, but I don't think that this (the presence of Spanish drivers) is a thing done by Fernando."

He said he does not worry that the 'Alonso factor' is becoming so strong that the occupant of the other Ferrari has no chance.

"I cannot imagine a team that does not help one of its drivers because he wants the other to win," Massa said at Ferrari's Maldonado di Campiglio media ski event.

"There are two cars and that is important also for the manufacturers' title," he added.

In fact, he thinks that if he simply performs better than Alonso in 2013, "I do not see any reason why he is not going to help me, as I've done for him many times."

Alonso, meanwhile, welcomed de la Rosa's arrival, but played down the significance of the news.

"The arrival of Pedro is very positive," he is quoted by El Pais newspaper.  "We have signed him to optimize the simulator, which is one of the areas that we needed to improve.

"But anyway, there are more important signings for the car's performance than that of Pedro, who can help more for the longer team," added Alonso.

He is undoubtedly referring to the arrivals of well-known F1 aerodynamicists Loic Bigois and Martin Bester.

Williams to debut new car at second test
(GMM) Williams will not launch its 2013 car until after the first winter test.

The British team announced on Friday that the FW35 will only be unveiled at Barcelona on 19 February.

That is the second of three winter tests in Spain next month, and two weeks after most other teams get their 2013 single seaters up and running at Jerez at the beginning of February.

"For the earlier Jerez test," the Williams statement said, "the team will run the 2012 FW34 in order to test a number of key development parts in preparation for the launch of the FW35.

"The FW34 will display 2013 livery."

The launch presentation, taking place on the first day of the second test at the Barcelona venue, is expected to begin at around 8.30am local time (GMT +1).

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
Mercedes - Monday 4 February
Toro Rosso - Monday 4 February
Williams - Tuesday 19 February

Alonso names Hamilton strongest rival
Fernando Alonso has named Lewis Hamilton as his strongest rival in Formula One and expects him to "win more than one race" for Mercedes this year.

Hamilton's switch to Mercedes from McLaren raised a few eyebrows last season as Mercedes struggled to fifth in the constructors' championship. However, Alonso said that his 2007 McLaren team-mate is his strongest rival and that Nico Rosberg's victory in China last season leads him to believe Hamilton will win races in 2013.

"Why do I say Hamilton is the strongest? Because it's what I think, it's my personal opinion and there is nothing political in that," Alonso said. "Lewis has always won races ever since he has been in Formula One, even in years like 2009, when he had started the season with a car that was two seconds off the quickest. When you look at what happens on track, you are well aware of what he is doing, that's a fact. Last year, Rosberg won in China, therefore I expect that this year, Lewis in a Mercedes can win more than one race."

Raikkonen and Webber get new race engineers
Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber will both have new race engineers in 2013 after a swap between Lotus and Red Bull.

Raikkonen's race engineer from 2012 Simon Rennie moves from Lotus to Red Bull and will work with Webber next season, while Webber's engineer Ciaron Pilbeam moves in the other direction to become chief race engineer at Lotus. Webber and Pilbeam had worked together since 2007 at Red Bull, with Pilbeam having worked for BAR prior to joining the team in 2006.

Red Bull confirmed to ESPN that Rennie had been brought in to replace the outgoing Pilbeam.

"We can confirm that Ciaron Pilbeam has left the team to take up a new position with Lotus," a Red Bull spokeswoman said. "We're pleased to welcome Simon Rennie to Red Bull Racing who will be Mark Webber's race engineer." ESPN

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