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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Ecclestone says only top-10 F1 teams will get paid
    Only top ten teams to be paid - Ecclestone
  • Vettel 'camaraderie' quotes 'rubbish' - Webber
  • Gutierrez must perform eventually - Kaltenborn
  • Force India 'too far away' says Ricciardo
  • Wolff hints Brackley staff members could go
  • Season 'going well' despite Williams struggle - Bottas
  • F1 'no longer real racing' - Mateschitz
  • Webber can race Vettel 'freely' in 2013 - Mateschitz
  • Friend Raikkonen as teammate would be 'fine' - Vettel
  • Perez denies apologizing to Button
  • Voice 'stronger' after Schumacher exit - Rosberg
  • Hulkenberg not regretting Sauber switch
  • Interlagos to sign 2020 extension in May - mayor
  • Razia reveals talks with Force India
  • Briatore plays down F1 return chances

Only top ten teams to be paid - Ecclestone
(GMM)  The team that finishes last will no longer receive any formula one income, Bernie Ecclestone has revealed.

Marussia officials have been puzzling as to why they were not offered a new Concorde Agreement for this season and beyond.

The truth now emerges: F1 chief executive Ecclestone has revealed he has scrapped the $10 million prize-money for any teams that finish the constructors' world championship outside the top ten.

"They (Marussia) don't have a commercial agreement because they are not in the top ten.  We pay the top ten, that's what we do," he told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt in the Telegraph newspaper.

"For three years we did something different because we had an agreement with (former FIA president) Max (Mosley) but from now on we will pay the top ten and that is it."

Ecclestone also revealed that the sport is pushing ahead with plans to float on the stock exchange.

"We have agreed to do it," he said.  "It will happen this year and it will be up and running."

Vettel 'camaraderie' quotes 'rubbish' - Webber
(GMM)  Mark Webber has denied saying he and Sebastian Vettel "share a great camaraderie".

In the wake of the 'Multi-21' team orders affair, and the deepening of the bad feeling between the Red Bull teammates, the quote was distributed at the weekend by the Indian news agency IANS.

"Call me a cynic," said Reuters correspondent Alan Baldwin, "but (I) can't quite believe the (Webber) quotes floating around today".

Indeed, via his 'AussieGrit' official Twitter account, Australian Webber clarified that the quotes are 'out of date'.

"Some rubbish quotes floating around today I hear, good old spin job by someone," said the 36-year-old.

Gutierrez must perform eventually - Kaltenborn
(GMM)  Sauber has backed struggling rookie Esteban Gutierrez, admitting however that the young Mexican will eventually come under pressure to perform.

Taking over at the Swiss team from the McLaren-bound Sergio Perez, 21-year-old Gutierrez has struggled so far in 2013 to match the performance and consistency of his teammate Nico Hulkenberg.

Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn is quoted by the website of Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport: "We have no doubt about his ability to understand what is wrong and recover."

Kaltenborn admitted that part of the problem is the troublesome C32 car.

"The car's performance very much affects the performance of the drivers, so we are not jumping to conclusions, especially after only four races.

"At the same time we will be watching to see whether our expectations are met or not," she added.

"It is hard to find the right balance: we have to give him a chance to prove himself, but it's also important to bring home results that have an impact on our finances and our future."

Force India 'too far away' says Ricciardo
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo has revealed Toro Rosso's goal is to beat Williams and Sauber in 2013.

Last year, the second Red Bull team beat only the three newest teams on the grid - Caterham, Marussia and defunct HRT - but already this season Toro Rosso has more points than established duo Sauber and Williams.

"For now, our goal is to match and maybe beat the Williams and Sauber (cars)," Australian Ricciardo is quoted by Italiaracing.

"At the moment I think Force India is too far away: it is a very fast car compared to ours."

Ricciardo, 23, has taken a feisty approach so far to his battle this year with teammate Jean-Eric Vergne.

But the Australian said he has the tension under control.

"There is obviously competition between us, but we are working together to develop the car," he insisted.

For the Toro Rosso pair, 2013 could be remembered as a true 'win or lose' contest.

Mark Webber's potential departure could open up a seat at the main Red Bull team, but one of the duo could be shunted aside altogether to make room for the energy drink company's latest young hotshoe, Antonio Felix da Costa.

"It's true," Ricciardo admitted, "there is always great pressure on us, but we're used to it.

"We are the best, we are in F1, we are part of a group like Red Bull, so we can't afford to make mistakes," he continued.

"If I'm not good enough, it's right that there's trouble for me.  It may sound harsh, but it's the law of the sport and we know how it works."

Wolff hints Brackley staff members could go
(GMM)  Toto Wolff has warned that the staff at Mercedes' Brackley headquarters are under pressure to keep their jobs.

Some of the team's British staff have been on site since Craig Pollock founded BAR in 1998.

The team then became Honda, then Brawn GP, and now Austrians Wolff and Niki Lauda have arrived to shake up the team following its first three years as Mercedes.

Wolff said one of the problems has been the staff's lack of "identity".

"I am trying to have them breathe it again," he told the Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger.

"There are those who will respond, and those who will not," he warned.

Wolff denied, however, that he is preparing to take a "terminator method" to his shakeup plans.

"I'm no terminator," he smiled, "but I would be wrong if I did not express my opinions and then take a success-oriented approach to my actions."

Season 'going well' despite Williams struggle - Bottas
(GMM)  Backmarkers Caterham and Marussia aside, the only team yet to score a point in 2013 is Williams.

"It's a challenging situation for my first season," Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas admitted, "but I can't complain.

"It hasn't been easy, that's for sure, but I do feel that for my part, it's going well," he told the Turun Sanomat newspaper.

23-year-old Bottas continued: "I have not made any major mistakes and I feel it has been good between my teammate (Pastor Maldonado) and myself.

"I would give it a grade of 8.5 -- room for improvement, but not so bad," he told Finnish correspondent Heikki Kulta.

Bottas said Williams is planning a big upgrade for next weekend's Spanish grand prix, which he will try during a straight-line aerodynamic test.

F1 'no longer real racing' - Mateschitz
(GMM)  Dietrich Mateschitz has admitted his frustration with the dominant role being played this year by Pirelli's heavily-degrading control tires.

World champions Red Bull have not hidden their displeasure with the situation, putting pressure on F1's Italian tire supplier to make mid-season changes.

Pirelli, however, has made only a minor tweak to its 'hard' compound for Barcelona and beyond.

Team owner Mateschitz told Austria's Krone newspaper: "Formula one no longer has anything to do with 'classic' racing.

"Today, it's not the fastest driver in the fastest car winning, but the one with the optimum tire management.

"We've even had to scale down our car, because the tires were not lasting.

"If we really went as fast as we can, we would need 10 to 15 pitstops," he exclaimed.

Webber can race Vettel 'freely' in 2013 - Mateschitz
(GMM)  Dietrich Mateschitz has confirmed reports Red Bull's drivers will no longer be subjected to team orders in 2013.

The Austrian billionaire was reportedly so enraged by the 'Multi-21' affair that, during a phone call with Mercedes' Niki Lauda, he suggested pulling Red Bull out of F1 is even an option.

Dr Helmut Marko has since rubbished that rumor, suggesting Lauda got the gist of Mateschitz's comments wrong before they were leaked.

But it does appear true that Mateschitz ordered that team orders be no longer deployed by the Christian Horner-led team.

The 68-year-old confirmed: "Vettel and Webber can race freely to the end of the season.

"The motto is 'Go ahead of me if you can'," he told Krone newspaper.

Finally, Mateschitz said it is possible Webber will stay with Red Bull beyond 2013, amid talk the Australian may have been offered a Le Mans seat with Porsche.

"It all depends on Webber himself," he insisted.  "How fast he is and what other offers he has."

Friend Raikkonen as teammate would be 'fine' - Vettel
(GMM)  There would be "no bullshit" in the Red Bull garage if Sebastian Vettel is paired with friend Kimi Raikkonen in 2014.

Amid speculation Red Bull is considering the Finn as a potential replacement for Mark Webber next year, world champion Vettel suggested he would be happy with that choice.

"I don't care who my teammate is," German Vettel told Sport Bild.

"If you want to win, you have to beat everyone.

"But if Kimi was my teammate: fine!  We have no problem with each other and we're mature enough to deal with it even in a difficult situation.

"I get along well with him," Vettel, whose tetchy relationship with Webber fell to an all-time low with the recent 'Multi-21' affair, continued, still referring to Raikkonen.

"He's just very honest.  There's no bullshit with him."

Raikkonen has also spoken glowingly of Vettel, even though he has been careful to drop no hints about his plans beyond his Lotus contract.

"We trust each other in a duel to not do anything stupid," said the Finn.  "We're both open and honest.

"If we were to crash, we would probably complain about each other, but that's just normal."

Perez denies apologizing to Button
(GMM)  Sergio Perez has denied apologizing to Jenson Button, after the McLaren teammates clashed in the recent Bahrain grand prix.

Following Button's harsh criticism of team newcomer Perez's driving, the 2009 world champion said: "Checo has apologized.  We had a good discussion."

23-year-old Mexican Perez, however, clarified that his apology was not to Button, but to the famous British team.

"It was said in various publications that I apologized to Jenson," Perez said during a visit to Mexico City, "but it wasn't like that.

"I didn't apologize to him, because I didn't think it was necessary," he is quoted as saying on a video published on the Guardian's website.

"We owed an apology to the team, and that's what we talked about.  We apologized to the team, because we risked a lot and we were both very aggressive.

"But no, at no moment did I apologize (to Button).  Our relationship is still ok."

Former Sauber driver Perez has admitted to struggling amid the higher pressure of being at McLaren in 2013.

But he told EFE news agency: "I count on the support of an entire country (Mexico).

"The beginning with McLaren has not been easy," he continued.  "I am in a British team with a British driver, and the British press has been very hard on me.

"And of course it was not the start of the season we had hoped for, which put even more pressure on."

Voice 'stronger' after Schumacher exit - Rosberg
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg thinks his voice is now heard more loudly at Mercedes following the departure of seven time world champion Michael Schumacher.

Although German Rosberg generally outperformed Schumacher during their joint tenure between 2010 and last year, the 27-year-old suggested he wielded less political power.

Asked if his role has changed since Lewis Hamilton signed up for 2013, Rosberg told Austria's Krone newspaper: "Yes, a lot.

"I now have a stronger voice, and for me it's been a great process in which I can help Mercedes to become the best team."

Rosberg said being friends with former karting teammate Hamilton has also been a help, because finding common ground within the team is "easier".

Having secured pole in Bahrain but fallen through the field with overheating tires, Rosberg said he is looking forward to Barcelona next weekend.

"A lot," he told Osterreich.  "I was fastest there in winter testing.

"I am confident we will sort out our tire problems."

Hulkenberg not regretting Sauber switch
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg has admitted Sauber is struggling on the aerodynamic front so far in 2013.

Off the back of the Swiss team's strong form last year, German Hulkenberg switched from Force India.

But it is Silverstone based Force India that is performing more impressively so far this year, causing some to wonder if Hulkenberg is regretting his move.

"No," the 25-year-old told the Swiss website 20 Minuten.  "There have been only four races.

"Definitely we are not satisfied, and neither am I, but the season is long -- you can't write it off.

"There is still potential in the car, and when we find the right parts, we can turn the season around."

Hulkenberg said he is not getting frustrated, even though he is the same age as Sebastian Vettel, who is the reigning triple world champion.

"Sometimes you just have to be patient," he told Brazil's Totalrace.  "There are many others who also had to wait for their time to come.

"I'm comfortable where I am now."

Hulkenberg said the main issue with the Ferrari-powered C32 is the aerodynamics.

"The flow is not exactly the same as the engineers expected," he revealed.

There has been speculation the situation was worsened by Pirelli's 60 per cent scale wind tunnel tires.

"Generally, some teams might have a problem because the (wind tunnel) tires are not exactly as they are in the races, so there could be a discrepancy," said Hulkenberg.

On the bright side, Hulkenberg has so far utterly dominated his struggling rookie teammate Esteban Gutierrez.

"Currently in qualifying it is 4-0," said the German, "which is something I keep my eye on.

"But Esteban is a rookie, and everything is as new to him as it was for me in 2010.

"He is often quite quick on a lap, so he's still gathering his experience and will surely get better."

Interlagos to sign 2020 extension in May - mayor
(GMM)  The signatures will be added to a new long-term contract for Interlagos' formula one race next month, Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad claims.

Recently, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone warned that Brazil will be scratched from the calendar if organizers fail to upgrade the ageing Interlagos facilities.

Mayor Haddad responded by insisting he had sent a letter to the FIA, assuring that the upgrade will be done.

And Ecclestone said in Bahrain: "I've just received a letter from the mayor and he's guaranteed to revamp the whole facilities there, which will be good, we've been waiting long enough."

Haddad is now quoted by Brazil's Lance: "In May, we will conclude the contract so that formula one stays here until 2020.

"We just need to go through the paperwork.  It was a long discussion, it's just that we could not commit to something that we could not do.

"It is a big job.  We require a long-term contract, because we will invest more than $100 million and we could not do that without the security (of a contract).

"It is reasonable that the agreement goes to 2020," he added.

Razia reveals talks with Force India
(GMM)  Luiz Razia is hoping to return to formula one by the end of 2013.

The Brazilian came tantalizingly close to making his grand prix debut this year, signing with Marussia but then losing the drive when his sponsors failed to pay.

Now, the 24-year-old has told Jovem Pan radio he is in talks with Force India about becoming a test and Friday practice driver.

"The possibility is there," said Razia.

"Force India is very interested in doing this project.  But - strangely enough - I need sponsorship.

"The team doesn't want to do something badly, they want a project for at least two years: this year building up to be race driver in the coming year.

"I need sponsorship.  It's disappointing to have to rely on it so much to do our work professionally, but that's how it is."

Razia denied that the Marussia episode has hurt his credibility and image.

"Marussia was very convinced of me and so put me there without much security.  But I believe Force India is going to want something more concrete.

"I don't think it hurt.  The difficult part was only the situation.

"We had the option of going to Caterham, but we chose Marussia for two reasons: they had a better package while Caterham was focusing more on 2014, and because we had several meetings with Pat Symonds and he was very confident."

Razia said he is sure he could have emulated Jules Bianchi's feats, having impressed the F1 world by comprehensively beating teammate Max Chilton so far.

"For sure," he insisted.  "It don't think that would have been a difficult goal for the season.

"I think Chilton has come into formula one too early, with not enough experience."

Briatore plays down F1 return chances
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore has played down the prospect of a return to formula one.

The flamboyant Italian left the sport amid disgrace and the 'crashgate' scandal, but in the wake of his lifted ban he has been linked several times with a return.

But Briatore, 63, told the British magazine F1 Racing: "I know everything that's going on and I know to have a team at this moment makes no sense financially.

"So, there is no reason for me to come back to F1.

"Now I have a son, three years old, I'm working 20 hours a day for different businesses, different investments, different situations, both here and over in America; I'm very happy," he added.

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