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Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Toto Wolff
    New Mercedes boss Wolff starts work on Monday
  • Ecclestone banned from Twitter
  • Italian governing body questions Monza boss
  • Schumacher to race karts in 2013
  • 2013 Ferrari to hide 'step' in nose - report
  • Sainz Jr moves even closer to F1 future
  • Toro Rosso better than Sauber in some areas - Key
  • F1 car launches kick off tonight with Lotus, no Marussia plans 
  • Minardi: Pay drivers a sign sport must cut costs

New Mercedes boss Wolff starts work on Monday
(GMM)  Mercedes' new recruit Toto Wolff has revealed he will be based at Brackley.

A new team shareholder and officially called executive director, 41-year-old Austrian Wolff is in essence replacing Norbert Haug, Mercedes' long-time motor sport vice-president.

"These are very large shoes to fill," he said in an interview with Austrian broadcaster ORF.  "He (Haug) did a lot of things extremely well.

"It has not gone as expected last year and now we have to figure out what happened," said Wolff.  "But Norbert certainly was not working on the car.

"Anyway, I think it is important to be on site.  I hope I do a good job in England," he added.

Niki Lauda, the team's chairman, will also be in Brackley this week, but the triple world champion will not be based in the UK full-time.

Wolff explained: "It is important that there is someone on site who understands the English mentality."

Also still a Williams shareholder and co-owner of Mercedes' DTM company HWA, Wolff has bought 30 per cent of the Brackley based team.

"I would really like to say (how much he paid), but I have signed something that obliges me to secrecy," said Wolff.

"Niki and I are partners, we therefore carry some of the risk, which was important for Mercedes.  We have a big responsibility and I am very proud to own a company together with Mercedes -- how many people can say that?

"I am responsible for business operations and therefore Brackley, Niki is chairman of the company -- so the formula one team and the formula one engine company.

"He (Lauda) has no operational role, but he is of great help with his valuable contacts and know-how.

"Ross Brawn is responsible for the technical side," added Wolff.

Ecclestone banned from Twitter
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone is banned from using Twitter.

Former Olympic chief Michael Payne now works as the F1 chief executive's special advisor.

France's RMC Sport quotes him as saying: "I suggested to him (Ecclestone) that he should be on Twitter.

"But he told me that his lawyers have forbidden him, fearing a catastrophe," Payne laughed.

Italian governing body questions Monza boss
(GMM)  A spat has emerged between Italy's motor racing sanctioning body, and the Italian grand prix venue Monza.

The existing head of the circuit's operator Sias, Enrico Ferrari, has stepped down amid an investigation into his behavior.

His successor is Fabrizio Turci, but it is clear the president of the Automobile Club d'Italia - Angelo Sticchi Damiani - is no admirer.

"I am concerned about the grand prix of Italy," he is quoted as saying.

"I do not think Turci has the experience to handle the organization of this event," Sticci Damiani is quoted by Italian media.

Schumacher to race karts in 2013
(GMM)  Now back in retirement, Michael Schumacher will return to his karting roots in 2013.

In the days after the seven time world champion's last grand prix late last year, we reported that the 44-year-old had signed up to be a test driver for the Italian kart maker Tony Kart this year.

Spain's El Mundo Deportivo newspaper reports that the great German will in fact be racing in 2013.

Preparing for his new race seat in the KZ category, Schumacher was testing his Tony Kart at the Lonato circuit in Italy last week and - reportedly - his lap times were "very good".

Meanwhile, the Kolner Express newspaper reports that - with Hermann Tilke on board as designer - Schumacher has commissioned a new world championship-standard karting circuit near Cologne.

"We will build the best track in Europe," Gerhard Noack is quoted as saying.

Tilke confirmed: "The plans are ready."

2013 Ferrari to hide 'step' in nose - report
(GMM)  Ferrari will hide the 'step' in the nose of its 2013 car, it has emerged.

The FIA has allowed teams to install a "structurally irrelevant" laminate over the unseemly step for this year's cars, following the public's reaction to the dubious aesthetics of the 2012 field.

The 'modesty panel', however, is not mandatory, even though Valtteri Bottas revealed earlier this month that Williams will take advantage of the new rule for its 2013 car.

Now, a few days before the 2013 Ferrari appears officially, Spain's Marca reports that the latest Maranello-built creation also has a smooth nose section.

"Visually, there is no step on the nose, but the nose remains high to allow the airflow under the car," wrote correspondent Marco Canseco.

He added that the 2013 Ferrari's front and rear wings "may not be shown in detail" at the forthcoming car launch, "to avoid giving clues to its rivals".

The Marca report also said the new Ferrari will have smaller sidepods, front pull-rod suspension as per the 2012 car, and a Red Bull-style Coanda exhaust layout.

Sainz Jr moves even closer to F1 future
(GMM)  Carlos Sainz Jr, now the cream of Red Bull's driver development program, is excited about 2013.

Spain's El Confidential reports that the 18-year-old Spaniard - the son of the famous former world rally champion - has been signed by Christian Horner and Mark Webber's GP3 team.

Sainz Jr is also sponsored by Cepsa, the Spanish oil company and sponsor of Red Bull's second formula one team Toro Rosso.

Last year, he raced in the British and European F3 categories.

"I am seeking more consistency," said Sainz Jr, "because GP3 is a very serious thing, with lap times only six seconds behind formula one.

"Christian Horner has the ultimate responsibility, so I'll be even more linked to Red Bull," he added, revealing that he is moving to live in Milton Keynes.

"It's a whole new experience and I really want to get started."

Toro Rosso better than Sauber in some areas - Key
(GMM)  James Key, Toro Rosso's new technical boss, says the Faenza based team is "superior" to Sauber in some ways.

Briton Key moved to Red Bull's second team late last year, replacing Giorgio Ascanelli.

He is quoted by Russia's f1news.ru: "After Force India and Sauber, Toro Rosso is the third team I have worked with.

"On the one hand, they are all a bit alike, but as they are three teams from three different countries, they each have an unique culture.

"In Toro Rosso I have to solve some new problems compared to Sauber, but also the resources of this team (Toro Rosso) are much more, both human and technical.

"Toro Rosso is at a decent level, although in some areas it is inferior to those I have worked with before.  I'm focusing on (those areas)," said Key.

He revealed he is "pleased" with the progress of the 2013 Toro Rosso, the STR8, which will be launched at the first Jerez test next week.

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo confirmed: "We have changed some things with the team.

"I hope to get some more points this season and get into the fight with teams like Force India, Sauber and Williams," he is quoted by Spain's AS newspaper.

Toro Rosso finished the 2012 championship ninth.

F1 car launches kick off tonight with Lotus
(GMM)  The 2013 grid will begin to take shape on Monday.

Lotus will become the first team to reveal its new car, with an online launch of the E21 broadcast via the internet from its Enstone base on Monday evening.

Most other teams will follow suit in short order, in time for the first test of the official pre-season period at Jerez starting early next week.

The only exceptions are Williams, who will wait until the second test in Barcelona to run the FW35, Marussia - having divulged no details of its 2013 car launch plans - and HRT, the Spanish team that has folded.

Car launches

Team Date
Lotus January 28
McLaren January 31
Ferrari February 1
Force India February 1
Sauber February 2
Red Bull February 3
Mercedes February 4
Toro Rosso February 4
Caterham February 5
Williams February 19


Venue Date
Jerez February 5-8
Barcelona February 19-22
Barcelona February 28 - March 3

Minardi: Pay drivers a sign sport must cut costs
Former F1 team principal Gian Carlo Minardi has warned that F1?s inability to control costs is harming the sport.

“We’re going back to ‘90s, when the grid was composed by 18 squads – mostly private – who had to integrate their budget by choosing rich drivers,” said Minardi.

“Starting by saying that if a driver gets the superlicense, then he deserves to race in F1, the impossibility to get enough money through sponsorships, forces a team to choose those drivers who can either rely on the support of multinational companies or on the support of countries which use sport to promote their own products and tourism; their choice is not based on sports meritocracy. 

“Teams’ financial situation won’t be better, as the reintroduction of the turbo engine in 2014 will further increase costs.”

“Private testing restriction has forced teams to concentrate their resources on new sectors, such as virtual simulation. Moreover, top teams can rely on an in-house team who supports technicians in managing the race.

“To reduce costs, it should be necessary to have less sophisticated cars, reduce the employment of electronics and aerodynamics and set rules which will help the development of material and technology to be applied on the series production.”

“Car racing has always been one of the most expensive sports ever,” he continued. “Since a long time ago, all the drivers who made it into F1, could rely on the support of their family and important companies. It’s hard to see a driver pushing forward with his own resources.

“The revolution FIA is carrying on now is aiming at reducing the number of categories in order to make the talent identification process easier. In the past, we had only few categories: Formula One, Formula Two and Formula Three. In F2 there were four or five constructors and more engine suppliers. That was the right way to emphasize talent.

“We must have the courage to make some steps backwards, even if it’s not easy.”

“Furthermore, there is another particular circumstance that should be taken under control: many parents are either buying or becoming part of racing teams to assist their sons’ professional development. No doubt this means certainty to some teams, but, if results didn’t come, they could give up.

“That is what happened when car companies got into F1. As soon as the crisis started to affect the world of car racing, car companies left the scene, causing problems for the entire system.”

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