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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Valencia circuit being left to decay
    Buemi aims to end F1 reserve 'torture' in 2014
  • F1 dream over, Valencia street circuit crumbles
  • Glock hopes for 2013 DTM seat
  • Kobayashi reports wrong, Pirelli keeps Alguersuari
  • McLaren 'working hard' to stop Lowe exit
  • Melb gov't 'shouldn't complain' about F1 deal - Ecclestone
  • Kubica on 'slow' road back to F1
  • Lowe saga rolls on - Lotus' Allison to McLaren? New

Buemi aims to end F1 reserve 'torture' in 2014
(GMM) Sebastien Buemi has admitted a sports car program in 2013 is some compensation for having to watch every grand prix from the reserve bench.

"Yes, it's terrible," the Swiss said, when after being retained as Red Bull's official reserve driver for 2013 was asked if sitting on the sidelines is difficult.

"Real torture!" Buemi, 24, said as he recalled last year, the first season after being dropped by Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso.

He had hoped to return to the grid in 2013, but instead has signed on for the Red Bull reserve role yet again.

"Given the circumstances, it is the best option," said Buemi.

"I didn't have the opportunity to sign with a competitive team, so I decided to stay with the (Red Bull) team, who have just won the titles again.

"Working with Red Bull Racing is only a plus for my career."

But he admitted that Sundays at the scores of grands prix around the globe are far from fun.

"Definitely, for a driver there's nothing worse than not being on the track," he is quoted by Russia's f1news.ru website.

Buemi, however, said some recompense is his continuing race program with Toyota. Last year, Buemi's hybrid prototype was running third in the fabled Le Mans 24 hours when teammate Anthony Davidson crashed heavily.

"Yes, I have signed a contract with Toyota and will be at the start at Le Mans and at least three other races," he said. "I also have 15 days of testing so it's a good program.

"Also at the grands prix I won't just be a spectator, I will again work as an expert on TV."

Buemi said he will try again to make his F1 race return for 2014.

"Nothing can be ruled out," he insisted. "The situation in formula one is changing rapidly.

"But even if at the end of the year Mark Webber finishes his career, it is clear that there will be a lot of applicants for his place."

F1 dream over, Valencia street circuit crumbles
(GMM) Valencia's F1 foray is apparently over, with a Spanish newspaper reporting that the street circuit is now falling into disrepair.

The chances the former European grand prix venue will return to the calendar therefore seem dim, as Marca newspaper publishes images that suggest the facility is no longer being even minimally maintained.

Thieves have stripped the circuit infrastructure of any valuable items like electronic control boxes, while an access tunnel is completely flooded by standing water.

"A bridge that cost two million euros is now used only by vagrants," read the report.

The pit boxes have been "ransacked", manholes stripped of their covers, and wires pulled out of light posts.

The last grand prix at the Valencia street circuit was held last July, and won by Spain's Fernando Alonso.

"Now, far from the glamour, the neighbors complain that there is no supervision and that thieves have taken everything of any value," said Marca.

Glock hopes for 2013 DTM seat
(GMM) Timo Glock on Wednesday said he would be "delighted" if he can race in the German touring car series DTM in 2013.

Having lost his Marussia seat to an as yet unknown pay-driver, the German - a former F1 test driver for BMW - quickly lined up a DTM test with the Bavarian marque.

The 30-year-old's debut was at Valencia on Wednesday.

"I saw his first lap and noticed that he was somewhat lost," Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"But when I saw him on the track later on, it looked as if he had found his way well. He looked quite happy."

Glock agreed with that assessment.

"As a formula one driver for a long time, it is obviously something completely different to suddenly have a roof over your head," he said.

"Luckily, I found the acclimatization quite easy, and the same goes for the team, who gave me a warm welcome.

"I know many faces from the past, so I immediately felt at home.

"It was great fun," Glock continued. "But I also know that I have work to do in order to get a feel for how to get the most from a DTM car at the limit.

"For now we are doing this test, then we will see how we can take the next steps together. I certainly felt very comfortable right away and would be delighted if we could find common ground."

Kobayashi reports wrong, Pirelli keeps Alguersuari
(GMM) Reports that Kamui Kobayashi would be unveiled as Pirelli's new F1 test driver on Wednesday were wide of the mark.

The Italian marque's Paul Hembery said in Milan that, so long as the contract to supply tires to F1 teams is extended beyond 2013, Jaime Alguersuari and Lucas di Grassi will almost certainly keep their jobs this year.

Spaniard Alguersuari, however, wasn't confirming the news.

"Sorry, I haven't confirmed my future yet," he wrote on Twitter. "I'm still working on it so I can give you news soon. Sorry for the delay."

Hembery thinks staying would be a good move for Alguersuari.

"Jaime learned more in one day of testing with Pirelli than he did in his entire career with Toro Rosso," he is quoted by Spain's AS newspaper.

As Pirelli launched its new, softer and faster tires for 2013, Briton Hembery insisted: "There is no reason for us to change our drivers.

"We have had a great time with Alguersuari and di Grassi," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace. "We need to renew our contract with formula one first, and then we'll go ahead."

Hembery said the 2013 generation Pirelli will require drivers to make more pitstops and promote more overtaking, while the identification color for the hard tire has been changed from grey to orange.

But when asked about this year's tires, Fernando Alonso said on Twitter on Wednesday: "They are practically the same as in 2012."

Hembery also said this year's GP2 champion will win a formula one test with Pirelli, and that the marque will keep the 2010 Renault as its F1 test car.

"There is not the need to get a newer model, since the cars in 2014 will be completely different to the current ones," he said.

McLaren 'working hard' to stop Lowe exit
(GMM) McLaren is reportedly "working hard" to prevent Paddy Lowe from switching to Mercedes.

Citing sources, Spain's El Confidencial said team boss Martin Whitmarsh and supremo Ron Dennis are trying to convince McLaren's technical director to resist the temptation to join Lewis Hamilton in a leading role at Mercedes.

Germany's motorsport-magazin.com reported that Lowe may have been offered a pay rise by McLaren if he agrees to stay.

At any rate, the Woking based team has clearly not given up on the 50-year-old, having issued to journalists a press kit for its 2013 car launch scheduling Lowe to speak on January 31.

There is definitely some truth to the rumors, however, given Mercedes' refusal to officially comment since the story broke a few days ago.

When asked about it, the German marque's Niki Lauda told Bild: "In formula one, you have basically never completed the task of putting together your team."

No matter what happens, McLaren will almost certainly have a highly competitive car for the new season.

Jenson Button, not the team newcomer and vastly less experienced Sergio Perez, will be the first at the wheel of the MP4-28 at Jerez on February 5 and 6.

Sam Michael, sporting director, said McLaren has been working hard since the end of the season last November.

"The car that won in Brazil would certainly not win in Australia," he is quoted by Spain's El Mundo Deportivo.

Melb gov't 'shouldn't complain' about F1 deal - Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at the latest controversy surrounding the cost of Melbourne's annual grand prix.

After reportedly seeing secret documents, local media this week revealed for the first time that the government pays a more than $30 million race fee to the sport, which increases by 5 per cent every year until the end of the contract in 2015.

Tourism minister Louise Asher said those figures are "too high".

F1 chief executive Ecclestone hit back on local 3AW radio: "Maybe it's not a true figure.

"It (paying) is up to them, isn't it? I can't make them sign a contract, they do it of their own free will. (But) they shouldn't complain after they sign."

Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief executive Andrew Westacott commented: "Melburnians have got to realize major events don't grow on trees.

"They cost a lot of money to stage," he told the Herald Sun.

Kubica on 'slow' road back to F1
(GMM) Robert Kubica insists his dream to return to formula one is on track.

It has emerged that the former BMW and Renault driver will test Mercedes' DTM car at Valencia this week.

But Mercedes' executive director and 30 per cent F1 team owner Toto Wolff insists that formula one is still a long way off for the veteran of 76 grands prix, who was almost killed in a rally ahead of the 2011 season.

"Kubica aims to see how he fares in the cockpit after his long break due to injury," Mercedes said in a statement.

The 28-year-old sounds confident.

"It's not just a dream," he told F1 Racing magazine, when asked about the prospect of returning to formula one.

Kubica admitted the reduced mobility of his right arm makes it difficult for him to drive a single seater at present.

But "things are improving," he insisted.

"It wasn't like this six months ago and it wasn't like this three months ago. And thanks to rallies and tests on the race track, slowly my condition is improving -- but there is still a long way to go."

Kubica said the biggest problem is the rotation of his arm and the limited functionality of his fingers, but he said the situation is improving "even if it's slow".

"I am quite sure this will be ... not fixed, but not a big problem."

Lowe saga rolls on - Lotus' Allison to McLaren?
(GMM)  The strong rumors of a McLaren versus Mercedes struggle for the services of top engineer Paddy Lowe continued to develop on Thursday.

The latest behind-the-scenes rumbling is that James Allison, Lotus' young and increasingly highly respected technical director, has been sounded out by McLaren as a potential replacement for Lowe.

The Mercedes camp, meanwhile, is sending out mixed messages.

On the one hand, spokespeople are refusing to comment, but there is little doubt the push to secure Lowe is being headed by the new German-speaking guard of Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda.

On the other side, in Brackley on Thursday, the current team principal Ross Brawn told reporters: "I am in charge".

His wading into the saga comes after reports he threatened to quit if Lowe arrives, while McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh and Ron Dennis have apparently offered Lowe more money if he stays put.

"I know all the plans for the future of the team and I hope I'm going to be a part of them for a very long time," said an emphatic Brawn.

Brawn hinted that Mercedes' moves for Lowe are on the basis of succession planning, while rumors of his impending exit have been triggered by his dithering over a "long term commitment".

"Obviously with a lot of additions, I want to see how things go before I make a final long term commitment," said Brawn, who admitted he has "talked to Paddy".

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