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Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Maldonado in the new Williams
    Not good enough for F1 says F1 paddock
    FIA tells Williams exhaust solution illegal
  • New Ferrari 'ok' says Alonso
  • Sutil, Bianchi shape up for Barcelona 'shootout'
  • Danica Patrick not good enough for F1 - Marko
  • Williams not replacing Gillan, Wolff
  • Williams F1 Team Signs New Deal With Experian, Renews Deal With Randstad
  • Red Bull's progress hampered by software issue
  • McLaren: It was a productive day
  • Lotus: Electronics issues cost us track time
  • Mateschitz: Equal status for Webber
  • Williams enjoys 'very good' FW35 debut
  • Williams F1 Team and Kemppi Announce Upgraded Sponsorship Agreement New
  • Williams F1 Team and Wihuri Increase Partnership Commitment for the 2013 Season New
  • Alguersuari unlikely to race outside F1 in 2013 New

FIA tells Williams exhaust solution illegal
(GMM)  F1's governing body has told Williams its exhaust solution for the newly-launched FW35 is not legal.

It was already believed a similar solution for the Coanda-effect exhaust on Caterham's 2013 car definitely falls foul of this year's rules.

But Williams' chief designer Mike Coughlan said in Barcelona on Tuesday, where the team's new Renault-powered car was revealed and tested for the first time, that he was confident the FW35 complied.

In fact, the two solutions were very similar, but the Williams one more cleverly exploited a loophole about aerodynamics-influencing apertures.

The FIA's Charlie Whiting was at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday, and according to Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt, "it was rumored Williams had got the FIA's blessing" before revealing its solution.

"It may be a technicality," Mercedes' Ross Brawn is quoted as saying, "but if you read the rules word for word, Williams is on the safe side."

But Schmidt reported: "This is not the case."

Schmidt even quoted Whiting as saying both the Caterham and the Williams solution indeed "violate" the rules.

A Williams spokesperson confirmed: "The team spoke with the FIA this morning, which is when they gave us their view.

"The team are now seeking further clarification on this and a decision as to whether this design will be carried forward will be made before the first race."

New Ferrari 'ok' says Alonso
(GMM)  After his first day at the wheel in 2013, Fernando Alonso on Tuesday had a stiff neck and a cautious round of optimism about the new Ferrari.

The Spaniard said he was "reasonably pleased" with his day of work in Barcelona, which left him third on the timesheet and a hundredth ahead of his 2012 title rival Sebastian Vettel.

The psychological war may also have begun on their first head-to-head this year, with Alonso cheekily overtaking Vettel on the narrow pitlane entry as the test day officially concluded at 5pm, according to the Swiss newspaper Blick.

Alonso then told reporters the F138 was "ok" and "more or less" what he expected based on the car he raced to the podium in Brazil last November, and Felipe Massa's feedback after the initial Jerez test.

"This car is a continuation of the previous one," he said, after posing with the red car featuring the sticker of new team sponsor UPS.

"I did not have any surprises, which is a good thing because last year we were a little surprised, and not in a positive way," added Alonso.

"We need to be optimistic and think we will fight this year for the championship if we improve the car a little bit."

At the very top of the times was Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, but earlier in the day he had a gearbox issue.

"The basis of the car is much, much better (than the 2012 one)," said the German, "but we are having a few too many reliability problems at the moment."

Sutil, Bianchi shape up for Barcelona 'shootout'
(GMM)  Barcelona will this week host a head-to-head 'shootout' for the final race seat on the 2013 grid.

Just like Williams weighed up Jenson Button versus Bruno Junqueira in 2000, and Nick Heidfeld versus Antonio Pizzonia in 2005, this time it will be Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi fighting for a single place at Force India.

In 2013, however, the situation is a little different, given that driver sponsorship and their links to manufacturers will also play a role in the ultimate identity of Paul di Resta's teammate.

The well-connected French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet said he is "worried" about Bianchi ahead of the shootout, because the Ferrari-linked 23-year-old has "no budget".

In Auto Plus, Moncet quoted a source as saying: "Jules is certain to drive with Force India in 2014.

"But for 2013, with more than an eye on budgets, Sutil or (Narain) Karthikeyan have a better chance, unless Ferrari contributes financially for Jules."

Actually, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport claims Bianchi does actually have a budget - EUR 4 million - and a higher one than that offered by Sutil's backers.

He also has the Ferrari link, but German correspondent Michael Schmidt claims another factor in play could be Sutil's link with Mercedes; the German manufacturer that currently supplies Force India's engines.

In short, the talks about Force India's turbo V6 supplier for 2014 and beyond will be key.

Schmidt claims Mercedes is charging about EUR 21 million for its V6, while Ferrari is asking only 17 million.

But a rumor in the Barcelona paddock on Tuesday is that Mercedes could be throwing in a gearbox deal as well, which could play in German Sutil's favor.

Danica Patrick not good enough for F1 - Marko
(GMM)  Danica Patrick has leapt back into the motor racing headlines by becoming the first woman to secure pole for the 2013 Nascar opener at Daytona.

Previously, the highly popular 30-year-old American, who is stealing the show at the pinnacle of US motor sport, has insisted she has little interest in exploring her options in formula one.

But could more doors open now?

"For ten years," said triple world champion and Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda, "I've told Bernie Ecclestone he's dopey for not getting a woman into formula one.

"If we could get a woman into the top six, you would immediately have twice as many fans in front of the TV," he is quoted by Bild newspaper.

Lauda, however, questioned whether Patrick is the right woman for the job.

"It has to be said that the technical level in the US does not compare to the level in formula one.  This is also reflected in the drivers," he said.

"The last American who had success in Europe was Mario Andretti -- and that was in my day!" exclaimed the 63-year-old.

Dr Helmut Marko, the outspoken driver manager at world champions Red Bull, also questioned Patrick's credentials.

"You have to look at Danica's results in the road races," he said.  "It's not enough."

Indeed, there are no female drivers among Red Bull's current flock of young development drivers, whose ultimate aim is to earn a place at the junior team Toro Rosso.

"We are looking for drivers based on performance, not by quota," Marko insisted."

World champion Sebastian Vettel added: "First of all, hats off to Danica for her achievements.  But motor sport in the US just has a completely different culture."

Williams not replacing Gillan, Wolff
(GMM)  Williams is not planning to replace Mark Gillan, the chief operations engineer who was credited with helping the team recover its lost form in 2012.

Gillan left Williams late last year, but at the time the Grove based team did not say if it intended to recruit from elsewhere to fill the vacancy.

"You have to remember," said chief designer Mike Coughlan on Tuesday, "there's a lot of people moving forward in their careers."

Coughlan had been asked by Britain's Sky Sports if Williams were now actively on the market to replace figures like Gillan, and the Mercedes-defector Toto Wolff.

"We look at it as one door closing, another door opening," Coughlan continued, "and a tremendous opportunity for some young people.

"What you may lose in experience, you certainly make up for in dedication," he added.

Asked again if Williams is looking to directly replace Gillan or Wolff in the short term, Coughlan insisted: "No, not at all."

Williams F1 Team Signs New Deal With Experian, Renews Deal With Randstad
The Williams F1 team has signed a new multi-year partnership agreement with global information services company Experian. The company will provide data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Experian logo will be visible on the chassis side and front wing of the Williams-Renault FW 35, and appear on each driver's overalls, their respective helmets, and team personnel's kit.

In addition, the team renewed and upgraded its current sponsorship deal with global recruitment company Randstad. The partnership between Randstad and Williams will enter its eighth consecutive year. As in previous years, Randstad will appear prominently on the car's engine cover and cockpit surround, while also appearing on the front and back of all the team's apparel.

In addition, Randstad branding will also appear on the drivers' cap Williams F1

Red Bull's progress hampered by software issue 
After ten days spent analyzing data obtained from the first pre-season test in Jerez, Formula One’s teams today returned to action in Spain for further intense exploration of their cars’ potential, this time at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. Red Bull however endured a difficult start to this test due to a software issue that was not solved until noon.

When it finally got sorted, Sebastian Vettel ran quickest for much of the day. The defending champion eventually claimed P4 on the timesheet.

“It’s very important for us to put good mileage on the car and this morning that wasn’t really possible,” said Vettel afterwards. “We had a small software issue this morning, I think many teams had. That wasn’t ideal but we got it fixed and after that it was another decent day.”

“It is good to back in Barcelona. It is a good circuit to judge a car on and a good indicator of where you are but we need to be careful of doing that as it’s pretty cold at the moment and it’s quite tough to keep the tires alive for many laps. So hard to know. But overall, not a bad day again.”

Commenting on the morning, Race Engineering Coordinator Andy Damerum said: “It was a slow start, which was a bit frustrating. However, I don’t think we were alone in that. Looking at the lap times and number of laps done by other teams I think quite a few had a similar problem to the one we encountered. We managed to fix it just before lunch but it meant that our laps in the morning were effectively systems checks. Everything went better this afternoon, though, and we were able to get through quite a few items on our checklist and in the end managed 308km, so I’m quite pleased about that.”

“In the afternoon we were again working on some aero test items. The guys at the factory have been flat out since Jerez and as well as the things planned some time ago for this test there have been quite a few developments based on what we learned from Jerez. So there are plenty of things to get through here. Seb is driving again tomorrow.”

McLaren: It was a productive day 
The second of Formula 1’s three pre-season Spanish tests kicked off today at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, an aero-dependent track that will provide teams with a clearer idea of the state of their preparations ahead of the 2013 season.

Sergio Perez kicked off the running this morning, his second outing behind the wheel of MP4-28. As at last week’s test at Jerez, the team spent the morning running through a series of aero tests before breaking to reset the car for some set-up comparison work.

After lunch, Sergio began a series of longer runs to evaluate the effects of the mechanical set-up changes. He also took the opportunity to more fully acclimatize himself to the cockpit controls and team communications that he will start to encounter in the races.

The afternoon concluded with a live pitstop practice. It was a productive day.

What’s next? Sergio concludes his running. Jenson takes over for Thursday and Friday.

Lotus: Electronics issues cost us track time 
Kimi Raikkonen conducted the first day of running for E21 chassis #2 in Barcelona, completing 44 laps at the Circuit de Catalunya. Though Kimi completed the fewest laps of any driver today, he was nevertheless the second fastest for most of the day, including at the end of the afternoon session.

Telemetry data-logging issues meant the team completed fewer laps than desired, but nevertheless concluded a productive day of assessment of the second E21.

Kimi Raikkonen: “It wasn’t an ideal day in terms of the number of laps we completed, but the car feels strong and we’ve made some good progress. After Jerez it’s nice to be at a circuit where we race and the E21 is definitely a step in the right direction. There’s lots of work yet to do this week but I’m happy with where we are at the moment.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It’s been a positive debut for the second chassis here in Barcelona. Kimi was happy with where the car started the day, and the setup changes we’ve made have been positive. We had a few issues on the electronics side with the telemetry data-logging and this has cost us track time as well as the ability to conduct longer runs. Other than that, we’ve been able to take over from where we left off in Jerez so we’re happy with that. All we need is more laps, which is our focus for tomorrow.”

What’s Next? Kimi will drive tomorrow with the team targeting a greater haul of laps.

Mateschitz: Equal status for Webber
Mark Webber has been assured by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz that he won't be treated like the ugly step child this season.

There have been plenty of murmurs in recent years that Sebastian Vettel has received preferential treatment at the Milton Keynes team.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has also made no secret of the fact that he is not a big fan of the Australian, saying Webber often "falls relatively easily into a downward spiral" as he has "trouble with the pressure".

However, just weeks after team principal Christian Horner promised Webber that he will get the same treatment as defending World Champion Vettel, Mateschitz also came out in support of the Formula One veteran.

"I absolutely believe that and I'm certain that it will be so," Mateschitz told Gazzetta dello Sport when asked if Webber would get a fair chance.

He added: "Mark is at the same time a strong and charismatic character and an exceptional racing driver.

"It's a fact that competition begins inside your own team. That means that the environment is tough but friendly, and that's how it's supposed to be." Planet F1

Williams enjoys 'very good' FW35 debut 
The Williams FW35 chassis enjoyed an almost trouble-free debut at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday, with Pastor Maldonado racking up 86 laps in the team's latest design. Despite a minor water leak in the afternoon session, the outfit completed its planned program and approaches the rest of the week in a positive frame of mind.

"It was a very good day for us, with Pastor completing 86 laps, the second-highest of any team today," said Technical Director Mike Coughlan. "Pastor was very comfortable in the car which was shown by his early lap times. We had a small water leak this afternoon on a development part, but we were able to fix it quickly to complete our tire program. We feel confident in the core reliability of the FW35 and look forward to continuing with Valtteri (Bottas) tomorrow."

Although Williams enjoyed a successful day on-track, its new car has already caused ructions in the paddock. According to the BBC, governing body the FIA has declared its exhaust layout as an illegal concept which needs to be changed before the first race.

Williams F1 Team and Kemppi Announce Upgraded Sponsorship Agreement
The Williams F1 Team (Ticker: WGF1) is pleased to announce that it has signed an upgraded partnership with Kemppi, a world-leader in the manufacture of welding equipment.

Kemppi manufactures arc welding equipment.  Founded in 1949 by Martti Kemppi, the family run business has introduced many new innovations to the market over the past 60 years, serving industries such as shipbuilding, metal workshops and transportation.  Headquartered in Lahti, Finland, Kemppi has a global presence with subsidiaries in 15 territories and customers in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Kemppi first joined the Williams F1 Team's portfolio of partners in April 2012.  This upgraded agreement will see the Kemppi logo positioned on the front wing endplate of the Williams Renault FW35 and the sleeve of the drivers' overalls and team apparel.  Kemppi and Williams will also continue their technical cooperation which sees Williams benefit from Kemppi's expertise in welding equipment, by integration of products at the factory and races.

Speaking about the partnership Anssi Rantasalo, Chief Executive Officer of Kemppi, commented; "We've been supporting Valtteri for several years now and it's great to see him get the chance to show what he can do on the world stage this season.  It's also been a great honor for Kemppi to partner with one of the most successful teams in Formula One history and through this we will be hoping for more success for the Williams F1 Team this year.  Our relationship also encompasses a technology partnership and we are showing that our welding equipment can meet the stringent demands of Formula One".

Sir Frank Williams, Team Principal of the Williams F1 Team, added; "We're delighted that Kemppi, with their strong commitment to motorsport, have increased their commitment to the Williams F1 Team and look forward to building on our already strong relationship throughout the season".

Williams F1 Team and Wihuri Increase Partnership Commitment for the 2013 Season
The Williams F1 Team (Ticker: WGF1) is pleased to announce that it has signed a renewed partnership agreement with Wihuri, one of Finland's most respected business enterprises. The new partnership agreement will see the Finnish company increase its level of commitment to the team for the 2013 season.

Headquartered in Finland, Wihuri is a global industry and trade conglomerate engaged in packaging products, daily goods wholesale operations, technical trade investment products and aviation.  Over the past century, Wihuri has grown from a small family business into a diversified global enterprise which operates in 20 countries.  It is still owned by the family that formed the company 110 years ago.  Wihuri first partnered with the Williams F1 Team in May 2012, but their heritage in motorsport sponsorship began in the 1970s.  Their involvement with the team and drivers has enabled Williams to forge close links with a company and country passionate about motorsport.

The Wihuri logo will feature on the rear wing end plate of the Williams Renault FW35 in all races outside of Europe and North America.  In Europe and North America, the logo featured on the rear wing end plate will be Wipak and Winpak respectively, each being divisions of the Wihuri Group. The Wihuri logo will also feature on the drivers' helmets and overalls, as well as team clothing.

Juha Hellgren, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wihuri, commented; "We have thoroughly enjoyed our relationship with the Williams F1 Team so far and partnering with such an iconic team on a global stage has afforded us excellent brand exposure.  Increasing our commitment for 2013 was a logical step and I look forward to seeing our partnership with the Williams F1 Team go from strength to strength."

Sir Frank Williams, Team Principal of the Williams F1 Team, added; "It's great that Wihuri have decided to increase their involvement with the team and this new agreement demonstrates the success of our partnership to date.  2013 will prove very exciting for both Williams and Wihuri and we'll see Valtteri start his career as a fully fledged Formula One driver."

Alguersuari unlikely to race outside F1 in 2013
Jaime Alguersuari is unlikely to race outside Formula 1 this season after failing to secure a return to the grand prix grid.

"When a driver in his best racing form leaves F1, he needs to keep his currency up," Alguersuari told AUTOSPORT.

"That's why I'm very happy to have this Pirelli deal, because I can still be active, can still run in the car and can understand the tires.

"I'm still ready to jump in and race this year and do the job I should do.

"Possibly I did close other opportunities in other series but now I'm concentrating on this [the Pirelli role].

"Maybe in the future I will look at other things."

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