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DATE News (chronologically)
01/29/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

01/29/13
  • Lotus keeps stepped nose
    Lotus thinks most teams will keep 'step' nose in 2013
  • De la Rosa 'proud' of Alonso's respect
  • Ferrari's Jean Todt turned me down - de la Rosa
  • Susie Wolff to debut Williams' 2013 car
  • Villeneuve to commentate for Italian TV
  • Frijns disappointed with 2013 Sauber program
  • Small teams 'stuck in vicious circle' - Glock New
  • Webber 'not part of Marko's agenda' New

Lotus thinks most teams will keep 'step' nose in 2013
(GMM)  Lotus' technical boss thinks many teams will continue to use 'step' noses in 2013.

The first 2013 car to be unveiled on Monday, Enstone based Lotus' E21 still features the indecorous 'step' synonymous with last year's grid, despite the FIA now allowing teams to please the fans by installing a so-called 'modesty' laminate.

It is believed that Williams and Ferrari will indeed race cars with smooth noses in 2013.

But Lotus' James Allison thinks the majority of the field will continue to feature questionable aesthetics.

"I would not be surprised if the majority of the grid chose not to make use of it (the modesty panel)," said the technical director.

"The panel will add a few grams of weight and so is only likely to run on the car if a team can find a performance benefit for doing so," added Allison.

The new Lotus E21, revealed during a Youtube launch on Monday evening, does however feature the Twitter hashtag #imsexyandiknowit on its livery.

Allison admitted the car is a combination of redesigned parts and evolution.

Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean will race, while the new GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi has signed up as 'third driver'.

Italian Valsecchi, 26, said: "I hope this is the beginning of a career in F1."

Belgian Jerome d'Ambrosio, however, retains his role as 'reserve driver', while Frenchman Nicolas Prost - the son of the famous four-time world champion Alain - "will perform development driver duties", Lotus announced.

De la Rosa 'proud' of Alonso's respect
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa on Monday said the fact Fernando Alonso "wants" to work with him at Ferrari has made him "very proud".

The fact test driver de la Rosa has joined his countryman and former McLaren colleague at the Italian team for 2013 was interpreted by some as a further sign of the increasing influence wielded by Spaniard Alonso at Ferrari.

2012 HRT driver de la Rosa, 41, said on Monday: "That Fernando wants to work with me makes me very, very proud.

"Not because he is Spanish, but because he is the best," he said in Spanish at a Santander sponsor event.

Meanwhile, de la Rosa denied media reports that he was signed up by Ferrari because the Maranello based team is developing an all-new driver simulator.

"A new simulator for me?  I'm good, but not that good!" he joked.

"There is no such project," the former Arrows, Jaguar and Sauber driver insisted in Madrid.  "We have started a job and will develop what we have, which is perfectly valid.

"But what is certain is that, with the number of changes to the regulations for 2014, we have a lot of work to do in the simulator.  And that's one of the reasons I'm here, because the amount of work formula one teams have to do is huge."

Ferrari's Jean Todt turned me down - de la Rosa
(GMM)  Ferrari turned down Pedro de la Rosa when the Spaniard was first on the market as a test driver.

The 41-year-old is now regarded as arguably F1's very best test driver, who has been signed by Ferrari for 2013 and will drive the team's 2013 car at Jerez next week.

But he recalled: "When I left Jaguar, in January 2003, I called Ferrari to offer my services as a test driver and reserve.

"Jean Todt said, 'We have Felipe Massa and Luca Badoer, so we're covered', and hung up.

"Then I called McLaren, Martin Whitmarsh, and he said they were covered with Alex Wurz.  But I told them that Ferrari has two testers, and so he told me that if I was in England, to come and see him.

"Two weeks later, I got on a plane and met with them.  The interview was really bad, but they signed me.

"If I had not been quick to say that the competition had two testers, I would probably not be here today," he smiled.

De la Rosa was McLaren's test driver between 2003 and 2009, and again in 2011.

He continued: "I don't know if everyone is happy or not, but the important thing is to look to the future.

"Certainly there were other teams, but probably they were not quick enough or they knew what I wanted.  For me it was very important to do something different.

"It is a massive challenge, but I'm where I want to be.

"One of the first people I called was Martin Whitmarsh; obviously he was very surprised by the decision, but he congratulated me."

Now, he is looking forward to his debut in a red car, next week at Jerez.

"I am very happy to be able to test the car, I didn't expect that."

De la Rosa also said he will be "ready" in case Ferrari call him up to race, as a reserve driver at every grand prix.

"I'll be at the race and prepared for what might happen.  But whether or not I am reserve driver is a team decision.

"But if I have been ready my whole career, how could I not be ready now?" he added rhetorically.

Susie Wolff to debut Williams' 2013 car
(GMM)  Susie Wolff will give Williams' 2013 car, the FW35, its track debut next month.

The famous British team has already announced that the Renault-powered single seater will not be at the opening test of the official pre-season at Jerez next week.

Instead, the car will only be driven by race drivers Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado at the second test, in Barcelona.

But before that, Scottish female driver Wolff, a Williams development driver last year, will be giving the FW35 its actual track debut, at Spain's Idiada facility.

The Grove based team revealed the news as it announced that Susie Wolff, whose husband and Williams shareholder Toto Wolff has switched to Mercedes, is staying put for 2012.

Williams said: "Susie will be the first to get behind the wheel of the FW35 when she drives the car at Idiada next month, and will do the majority of aerodynamic testing this season."

With Susie and her husband now working for rival teams, Toto Wolff this week admitted he has mixed feelings as he starts work as Mercedes' new 30 per cent co-owner and director.

"As a shareholder, you have a commercial obligation as well as a moral one," he told Austrian ORF television this week, referring to Williams.

"There are many people who are dear to my heart, including Frank Williams and his daughter (Claire), and many others," he said.

"You cannot say, one day to the next, 'Now I take off one shirt and put on another.  You can't, and I don't want to.

"Now it's a matter of structure, and avoiding conflicts of interest," he said.

Whether or not he eventually sells his Williams shares is unknown.

"That means looking at all options and alternatives, whether Frank Williams buys them back, any of the current investors buys them back or I hold them as long as I think it is acceptable and feasible from a corporate point of view," he told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt, according to the Telegraph.

Villeneuve to commentate for Italian TV
(GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve will be back at the grands prix in 2013.

Reporting from a launch event at Monza, the Italian press said the 1997 world champion has signed up with Sky Italia to commentate during live broadcasts at all races this season.

Joining him will be Ferrari test driver Marc Gene, who switches over from Antena 3's Spanish coverage.

French Canadian Villeneuve, 41, is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Watching the races on TV, sometimes I would get angry about what others are saying.

"Now maybe someone will get angry at me," laughed the outspoken former Williams, Honda and BMW driver.

11-time grand prix winner Villeneuve's late father, Gilles, is among the most revered Ferrari drivers of all time.

Frijns disappointed with 2013 Sauber program
(GMM)  Robin Frijns has admitted he is disappointed with his schedule for 2013.

The new Formula Renault 3.5 champion, 21-year-old Frijns was signed up for this year by the Swiss team Sauber, replacing 2012 reserve Esteban Gutierrez.

Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said late last year: "We will now carefully guide him to formula one."

But the Dutch magazine Formule1 reports that Frijns was disappointed ten days ago when Sauber called to inform the young Dutchman that his services will not be required for the forthcoming winter test period.

"I think this year I will not have much to do," he is quoted as saying.

"On January 30 I am going to the factory and I hope I will get more clarity," added Frijns.

"It's not only the winter tests I will not be doing, it also looks unlikely I will be used during the Friday practice sessions," he lamented.

Frijns continued: "And Sauber has no simulator so I can't gain experience in that way."

Moreover, Frijns revealed he had "heard nothing" from Mercedes following his DTM test late last year.

"I have few other possibilities," he said.  "I fear it is going to be a difficult year."

A Sauber spokesman commented: "Robin will get the opportunity to be present at the technical meetings, to engage with the engineers, and participate in our fitness programs.

"It will provide a good basis for the future."

Small teams 'stuck in vicious circle' - Glock
(GMM)  Timo Glock has lamented the trend at the back of F1's grid.

The salaried German has been dropped by Marussia mid-contract, with the backmarker team openly admitting it needs to replace him with a sponsored driver.

30-year-old Glock has switched to DTM with BMW.

"A few years ago," he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, "if the gap (to the front teams) was one or two centimeters, now it is ten."

Indeed, HRT has folded, Marussia has cleared space for a second pay-driver, and Caterham is yet to announce a teammate for Charles Pic -- and it is unlikely to be the highly rated Heikki Kovalainen.

"As long as this model (in F1) continues, it will be increasingly difficult for the smaller teams to stay in the race," Glock predicted.

"And next year, with the new engines, then Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes will pull even further ahead."

Needing 'pay drivers' simply to stay afloat but then suffering on track as a result, Glock said the smallest teams are "stuck in a vicious circle".

Webber 'not part of Marko's agenda'
(GMM)  Recovered from an operation to remove a forty centimeter rod from his once badly broken leg, Mark Webber on Tuesday said he is ready to hit the track in 2013.

"Now I'm back into it (training) properly," said the Australian.

But, back with Red Bull for another season, the 36-year-old also turned his attention to some recent criticism fired at him by the outspoken Dr Helmut Marko.

Marko, openly fonder of the team's triple world champion Sebastian Vettel, aimed jibes at Webber's alleged dips in form and struggles to cope with pressure.

Asked about that, Webber answered: "Look, everyone at this level has their own agendas and it's been evident for a long time now that I've never been a part of Marko's."

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