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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Pic has links to Renault
    Coulthard's sister dies
  • Red Bull 'best' after first pre-season test - Lauda
  • Renault link key to Pic's Caterham move - Panis
  • F1 comeback 'difficult' for Kobayashi - journalist
  • Pirelli eyes Kovalainen for F1 test role
  • Brawn happy with Hamilton's criticism
  • Hulkenberg's feet too big for new Sauber
  • Race win not impossible for Toro Rosso - Ricciardo

Coulthard's sister dies
(GMM)  David Coulthard's younger sister Lynsay (35) has died, British media report.

The former McLaren and Red Bull driver was reportedly told the bad news just before appearing live for an interview on a TV cooking show.

"He wanted to put on a brave face and just get the show done," said BBC commentator Coulthard's agent.

The Sun newspaper said police believe Lynsay Jackson died after a sudden unexpected illness.

A spokeswoman said: "The circumstances are not believed to be suspicious."

Lynsay had a husband and young daughter.

Red Bull 'best' after first pre-season test - Lauda
(GMM)  Felipe Massa, who clocked the fastest overall time at last week's Jerez test, has declared the Ferrari F138 "better" than its predecessor.

"It's more consistent, better in braking, in and out of the corners and easier to understand," he is quoted by Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

The Italian team's experienced new test driver Pedro de la Rosa, who tried the 2013 car on Friday, agreed: "The car is well balanced and responds well to changes."

He told AS newspaper: "There are no problems, but until the end of the Barcelona tests it's absurd to draw any further conclusions."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told Italy's Sky Sport 24 that the F138 is "in line with what we expected".

"But the one we are testing is different to the car that will start the season," he added.

Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen was fastest as the Jerez test concluded on Friday.

But Niki Lauda - F1 legend, German-language commentator and new Mercedes chairman - thinks Red Bull has "the best" car after the first week of pre-season running.

"After that I see a group with McLaren, Lotus, Ferrari and us (Mercedes)," the triple world champion said.

Jo Ramirez, the former long-time McLaren team manager now involved with countryman Sergio Perez, agreed: "Red Bull, McLaren and Lotus are fast and consistent.

"Ferrari is next and then Mercedes, but the differences are small.

"It will be another hotly contested championship."

Renault link key to Pic's Caterham move - Panis
(GMM)  Caterham's links with French manufacturer Renault was key to Charles Pic's Marussia switch.

That is the claim of Olivier Panis, the former grand prix winner who is now deeply involved with the management of countryman Pic's F1 career.

Some raised their eyebrows when Pic, 22, agreed to switch from Marussia to Caterham - both similarly-matched backmarker teams - for the 2013 season.

"We were very pleased with the collaboration with Marussia," Panis insisted to the Russian website f1news.ru.

"But for the future we wanted to have a serious partner, and when a company like Renault wants to work with you - we hope for many years - it is impossible to say no," added the former BAR and Toyota driver.

"So this was the main reason."

Meanwhile, Panis said Pic is happy to be paired with Giedo van der Garde this year, after the highly experienced and rated Heikki Kovalainen was ousted.

"Last year Charles learned a lot from Timo (Glock), so now I think that factor is not so important.

"Personally, I don't mind.  An experienced teammate is fine, but we are happy with Giedo.  He also deserves a chance to show what he can do," said Panis.

F1 comeback 'difficult' for Kobayashi - journalist
(GMM)  The world of F1 is "obviously" moving on without Kamui Kobayashi, according to experienced Japanese journalist Kunio Shibata.

Kobayashi, who according to 1980 world champion Alan Jones was Japan's best ever F1 driver, lost his Sauber race seat for 2013.

"Kamui is unseen by the public, and not in the newspapers," Shibata, who writes for GPX magazine, said.

"Even in December his management firmly believed they would find Kamui a test place in February, but obviously nothing came.  The Jerez test took place without him."

So could the exciting and popular 26-year-old find a place elsewhere in the motor racing world?

"I know nothing about that," Shibata admitted.  "Kamui wanted to put every (effort) behind F1 and was supposedly negotiating with Force India.

"But if it had come to something, he would have been here (at Jerez) in the car.

"It worries me," Shibata said.  "The fans fear that once Kamui goes outside formula one, then he will not get back in.  I share this concern.

"The history of grand prix racing has demonstrated repeatedly how difficult it is to make a comeback."

Many F1 personalities have lamented the ever-growing power of F1 'pay drivers', and the effect it is having on highly rated racers like Kobayashi and the similarly-ousted Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock.

"Compare last year with this year," former F1 driver Olivier Panis - who now manages the Caterham driver Charles Pic - told f1news.ru.  "F1 has lost seven or eight drivers, including a guy who was on the podium very recently.

"This is a difficult sport, and not everything depends on the driver," Panis told Russia's f1news.ru.  "It's sad, but that's reality."

Pirelli eyes Kovalainen for F1 test role
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen is a strong candidate to become a test driver for official F1 tire supplier Pirelli.

But Paul Hembery, the Italian marque's F1 boss, admitted it all depends on whether Pirelli's contract to supply tires to the pinnacle of motor racing is extended.

"This question is still open," he is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat.

The highly-rated former Renault, McLaren and Caterham driver Kovalainen, 31, is the latest victim of the rise of 'pay drivers' in F1.

Hembery continued: "When everything has been resolved, we will see what the situation is with our test drivers."

He confirmed that Pirelli's 2012 test duo Jaime Alguersuari and Lucas di Grassi are still very much in the frame.

"But Heikki would be an excellent candidate," added Hembery.  "He is a highly experienced driver.

"I really believe that he is one of the strongest candidates to be with us."

Finnish rally legend Juha Kankkunen, however, thinks Kovalainen should give a career in rallying a chance.

"I think it would be a perfectly reasonable alternative for Heikki, but so too is DTM or Le Mans," he told the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti.

"But I have seen Heikki in a rally car on the frozen lake in Kuusamo (Finland) and he is an excellent driver, with real talent."

Brawn happy with Hamilton's criticism
(GMM)  Ross Brawn insists he has no problem with Lewis Hamilton's criticisms of the new Mercedes.

After six years with McLaren, the 2008 world champion began work with his new team at Jerez last week, and immediately both he and Nico Rosberg struck technical trouble.

They had a much better second half of the opening test, but Briton Hamilton pointed out that the W04 lacks the downforce of his 2012 McLaren.

"We have some work to do but it doesn't feel like a disaster," he said.

Team boss Brawn insists he is not worried Hamilton is being forthright.

"It is correct that he gives his reference points and helps us understand what we have to focus on," he said.

"Some of it we knew already and that is why we restructured the aero group.  I welcome that approach.

"It needs to be positive and constructive but criticism of the right sort is helpful to a team, it drives you forward," added Brawn.

Meanwhile, the Mirror reports that Hamilton's management team has undergone yet another change.

Just one season into his collaboration with Mika Hakkinen's former manager Didier Coton, Hamilton has now replaced him with Tom Shine.

28-year-old Hamilton is, however, staying with Simon Fuller's XIX Management firm.

"Tom is very experienced but Simon Fuller will still be the main man," a source said.

"It was Lewis' decision.  He has made all the decisions and Didier was on a one-year contract."

Hulkenberg's feet too big for new Sauber
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg's feet are too big for the footwell of the new Sauber C32.

As he began his career with the Swiss team at Jerez last week, the tall German discovered that his racing boots are too big to fit easily on the throttle and brake pedals.

And "The car cannot be rebuilt," Bild newspaper correspondent Nicola Pohl reported.

Hulkenberg confirmed: "We have cut the rubber soles back at the heels to give us some more space."

Tight squeeze aside, the new grey Sauber made an impression on the competition last week.

Asked which car had surprised him the most, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Blick newspaper: "The Sauber!

"Just like 2012, they have made a good car again."

Race win not impossible for Toro Rosso - Ricciardo
(GMM)  A race win is not out of the question for Toro Rosso in 2013.

That is the claim of Daniel Ricciardo, who this year will tackle his second consecutive season with the Red Bull-owned team.

Speaking to Spain's AS newspaper, the Australian recalled his Toro Rosso test debut prior to the 2012 season.

Now, Ricciardo insists, the feeling about the new STR8 is "more positive".

"I think our goal should be to become the best team after the big fight, so (competing with) Williams, Force India, Sauber.

"For me it's to be in the points regularly and if possible get some podiums."

23-year-old Ricciardo was also asked about Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko, who had reportedly told former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari to secure his place in F1 by winning a race.

"Er, no, he hasn't said anything like that to me," Ricciardo smiled.

"Last year, our car was not competitive enough, but we'll see what we can do this time.

"It's not easy of course, but maybe with rain - thinking about what Vettel managed (at Monza in 2008) - then it's not impossible to win with Toro Rosso."

AS correspondent Manuel Franco asked Ricciardo if Vettel's success with the team in 2008 is like a weight around the neck of Toro Rosso's subsequent drivers.

"No I don't think so," he answered, "I think it's really a motivation for us, to show us what is possible."

As for whether he might succeed his countryman Mark Webber at Red Bull's main team in 2014, Ricciardo said: "What I have to do is have a good year and then let's see.

"I know what I have to focus on right now."

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