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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • The new Red Bull is a dog down the straight
    'Details' to decide 2012 title - de la Rosa
  • Todt likely to stay FIA president beyond 2013
  • New Red Bull slowest on the straight - analysis
  • Mercedes' Lauda to remain German TV pundit
  • Vettel 'thinks only of winning' - Zanardi
  • Perez admits pressure higher at McLaren
  • Rossi rules out F1 switch
  • Hamilton will drive Mercedes forwards
  • Lotus F1 Team Making Headlines with CNBC

'Details' to decide 2012 title - de la Rosa
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa is predicting a close race to the 2013 title.

Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus, Mercedes and Ferrari have all looked quite closely matched in pre-season testing.

New Ferrari tester and veteran F1 driver de la Rosa said: "The championship will be decided in the last race.

"The differences between the teams is minimal, and so it is the details that will make the difference," the 42-year-old Spaniard is quoted by Speed Week.

"The one who wins will have made the fewest mistakes, with a car that has been developed the best."

Ferrari's chief designer Nicholas Tombazis agrees with de la Rosa's assessment about "details".

"We immediately saw some small illegalities," said the Greek engineer, undoubtedly referring to Williams and Caterham's exhaust transgressions, and possibly the Renault engine maps story.

"For the rest," he told Autosprint, "with these rules, I don't think we will see something like 2009 with the double diffuser."

Arguably the biggest surprises of the winter have been the apparently improved pace shown by Lotus, but particularly Mercedes.

"Nico Rosberg had a great final day of testing," said world champion Sebastian Vettel, "which shows how dangerous he and Lewis Hamilton will be."

Todt likely to stay FIA president beyond 2013
(GMM)  Jean Todt looks set to remain FIA president for a second term.

The former Ferrari chief (135 votes) beat ex world rally champion Ari Vatanen (49 votes) to the post in late 2009.

67-year-old Frenchman Todt's first term ends late this year, and he is eligible to run for another four years.

Reports by the French-language AFP and La Presse claim Todt has secured the ongoing backing of the motoring federations in North, South and Central America.

"When the people in North, South and Central America say with one voice that you must be present, it is clear that making the decision to continue will be easier," Todt is quoted as saying.

"It will weigh heavily in my thinking.

"There is still some way to go, but if you have a team pushing you to continue, it is obvious that it makes you want to continue," he added.

New Red Bull slowest on the straight - analysis
(GMM)  Red Bull's new car is the slowest of all in a straight line, according to an analysis by respected German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

Based on the all-important final two days of Barcelona running last weekend, correspondent Michael Schmidt found that the RB9 (307.7kph) was 12.8kph slower on the long front straight than the quickest, the Marussia.

Behind the Cosworth-powered Marussia, Ferrari-powered Ferrari and Sauber are next best with 316.7kph, equaled by the Mercedes-powered Force India.

McLaren is next, followed by the fastest Renault-powered 2013 single seater, the Lotus, clocking in at 314.9kph.

Even Toro Rosso (Ferrari) and Williams (Renault) were 5kph faster than the Red Bull.

But Schmidt said: "As Red Bull has shown, races are not won on the straight."

Mercedes' Lauda to remain German TV pundit
(GMM)  Despite becoming Mercedes' major shareholder and chairman, triple world champion Niki Lauda will remain an expert commentator in 2013.

RTL, the German free-to-air broadcaster, has announced that the famous cap-wearing 64-year-old Austrian has signed on for another season and beyond.

RTL's sports boss Manfred Loppe said he is confident the dual role as a television pundit and leading Mercedes figure will not alter Lauda's typically outspoken nature.

"I have no doubt Niki Lauda will continue to think and talk as he always has," Loppe is quoted by SID news agency.

Lauda's new RTL contract is through 2015.

Vettel 'thinks only of winning' - Zanardi
(GMM)  Alex Zanardi, the former F1 driver who inspired millions in the wake of his near fatal 2001 Champ Car crash, has admitted his admiration for Sebastian Vettel.

Just 25, Vettel is the sport's youngest ever triple world champion, but some give more credit to Adrian Newey, the genius designer of his Red Bull cars.

"I see Vettel as an incredible talent," 46-year-old Italian Zanardi, who despite losing both his legs went on to win Paralympic gold, is quoted by Brazil's Globo.

"To some degree, I envy him, because I would not have been as good," Zanardi said.

"After winning a world title, many guys - myself included - would have gone out with girls, buying big gold watches and drinking champagne at nightclubs.

"But this boy thinks only about winning again."

However, as far as another former driver is concerned, the best in the field at present is Fernando Alonso.

"When he needs to be, he is as aggressive as Hamilton, as gentle as Jenson, and can have the speed of Vettel on a fast lap," former Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson said.

The Briton also admires Spaniard Alonso's fighting spirit.

"You always get 100 per cent out of Alonso," he is quoted by Spain's El Confidential.

"Kimi looks awake only when he sniffs victory, like in Abu Dhabi, but when Fernando is seventh or eighth and in a bad car, nothing about him has changed.

"More than anything else," added Davidson, "I could not believe the performance he (Alonso) got out of that car at the beginning of the year, when the Red Bull was not up to par.

"I'm quite sure nobody could have done what Fernando did.

"If you ask me who is the fastest, I'd say maybe Lewis or Sebastian.  But if you ask me who is the best, then I would say Fernando, without a doubt."

Perez admits pressure higher at McLaren
(GMM)  Sergio Perez has felt the added pressure of stepping up the F1 grid for 2013.

Formerly the surprise podium-getter in a Sauber, the 23-year-old has now been signed up by McLaren, to replace the ultra high-profile Lewis Hamilton.

"Of course the pressure is higher now," the Mexican is quoted by Speed Week, as he represented his new employer at the Geneva motor show.

"But I have no problems with it.

"Anyone who can't handle pressure should not sign for McLaren," added Perez.

According to most pundits, Perez has had a mixed first winter with the famous British team, complaining about "extreme" tire degradation and a difficulty adjusting to the new MP4-28.

"Of course I would have liked to collect more information before going to Australia," he admitted.

"Some days it was cold and really difficult to learn about the car," said Perez.

"But I don't know anyone in the pitlane who had carefree winter testing.

"So it's the same for everyone, not a disadvantage for us."

Rossi rules out F1 switch
(GMM)  Valentino Rossi has ruled out switching to formula one.

Some years ago, the MotoGP legend flirted with a change of codes, conducting a series of tests with Ferrari.

Now 34, the Italian said: "Unfortunately, F1 is a thing of the past for me.

"I'm too old, the train has left already," he told Italy's Sky broadcaster.

"While I'm competitive, I'll stay on bikes."

Hamilton will drive Mercedes forwards
Lewis Hamilton can be a driving force for Mercedes this season after their strong showing in testing, according to Red Bull principal Christian Horner.

Whether the works team can be a consistent threat over the course of the 19-race Formula One championship, after being off the pace for much of 2012 and finishing fifth overall, remains to be seen.

"Mercedes have recorded some head-turning times with the program they have been operating to," Horner, whose own team will start as favorites for fourth successive constructors' and drivers' titles with triple champion Sebastian Vettel, told reporters on Wednesday.

"Their car looks quick, and with Lewis joining the team they will naturally take a step forward. He is worth lap time, which is why they signed him.

"I'm sure they're going to be a factor this season. Their challenge will be sustaining it over the whole season as they've been quick the last couple of years at the beginning - winning the third race in China last year."

Hamilton has joined Mercedes from McLaren, the team that backed him through his teenage years and gave him a sensational F1 debut in 2007 before his 2008 title year, in place of retired seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher.

The 28-year-old Briton and his German teammate Nico Rosberg were fastest on the final two days of testing in Barcelona last weekend with laps quicker than both the race lap record and the 2012 pole position time.

Testing times can be misleading, however, with some teams lapping with heavier fuel loads than others and working to different programs.

"Lewis, as we all know, is a world-class driver, and he is going to raise their level, and they will be a factor this year," said Horner.

Red Bull were fastest on only one day of testing, with Australian Mark Webber, but Horner was not concerned.

"The one thing we've learned about the testing is it is genuinely impossible to read form," he declared.

"It's been a positive pre-season for us, and it's only when we get to Melbourne we'll see everybody do their bit on Saturday afternoon, and we'll have the first glimpse of what the pecking order is.

"But this year is going to be a massive development race from Melbourne to Brazil, with the added challenge being that we not only have to develop the current car, but also research and design a completely new car for 2014."

The season starting in Australia on March 17 is the last with the V8 engines before the introduction of a new V6 turbocharged unit with energy recovery systems.

Big budget contenders like Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes have separate teams working on the development of this year's car and design of the 2014 one.

Horner felt Red Bull were under less pressure than success-starved rivals but would not lose their focus.

"There is a real determination within the team to keep this run of success going, to do our very best to defend both of those titles this year," he said.

"We have won three double world championships, they're in the history books now. Nobody can take them away from us. We're not a flash in the pan as people thought of us after our first double championship.

"So in many respects the pressure in certain ways is off, but in others we want to keep the roll that we have been on over the past few years continuing this year and beyond." Supersport.com

Lotus F1 Team Making Headlines with CNBC
Lotus F1 Team welcomes CNBC, the world’s leading business and financial news network, as its Official Business Media Partner in a move which cements the team’s position as the number one Formula 1 team for business.

CNBC takes business news to a global audience of 390 million homes around the world. Throughout the 2013 Formula 1 season, this new agreement will allow Lotus F1 Team’s partners to benefit from CNBC’s unmatched reach of affluent and influential business leaders with commercial advertising campaigns airing on its international network. This new relationship builds on the team’s recent partnerships with brands such as Microsoft, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company.

The partnership will see CNBC branding on the nose of the team’s 2013 car, as well as on driver and pit crew overalls, team uniform, branding around the paddock and on marketing materials.

Eric Boullier, Team Principal, Lotus F1 Team:
“CNBC is a fantastic partner which highlights the growing importance of Lotus F1 Team as a vehicle for the business world. We are working with household brands such as Microsoft, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company; brands whose actions are watched closely in the business world. Our partnership with CNBC brings us greater exposure in this environment and allows our business-to-business platform to flourish.”

Charlotte Westgate, VP Marketing & Communications, CNBC:
“CNBC’s partnership with Lotus F1 Team is extremely exciting. It’s an innovative marketing solution which provides branding and commercial opportunities for both parties. The Formula 1 audience is complementary to our own influential and affluent viewer base around the world. We look forward to working with Lotus F1 Team and wish them success in the 2013 season”

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