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Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
  • Jean Eric Vergne
    Despite Red Bull snub, Vergne set to keep Toro Rosso seat
  • Raikkonen's manager says 2014 talks still ongoing
  • Silverstone ban didn't hurt Mercedes - Hembery
  • Rosberg unmoved by Schumacher jibe
  • No helmet rule for F1 pitlane media - FOM
  • Austria GP return hurdles 'nothing serious' - Marko
  • Hulkenberg admits he's on the market

Despite Red Bull snub, Vergne set to keep Toro Rosso seat
(GMM)  Ruled out of contention for the big move to Red Bull, Jean-Eric Vergne's seat at Toro Rosso for 2014 at least seems secure.

"I'm convinced that Jean-Eric Vergne will race next year for Toro Rosso," team boss Franz Tost said in Hungary.

Austrian Tost admitted Vergne's teammate Daniel Ricciardo has sped into contention to replace Mark Webber "simply because he is more experienced" than the similarly-aged Frenchman.

"As far as I'm thinking," Tost added, "next year he (Vergne) is with Toro Rosso."

Vergne, 23, agreed, telling RMC Sport: "Whether Daniel goes to Red Bull or not, my future will be at Toro Rosso and Red Bull.

"From that side I have no problem."

He also told Austria's Laola1: "It looks as if Red Bull believes he (Ricciardo) is the better driver.

"I can understand that if you're only looking at the results.  But I'm not going to go to Christian Horner and explain the reasons."

Vergne said he even thinks he might still have a chance of becoming Sebastian Vettel's next teammate.

"All I can do is show my true performance, and then we'll see if it's too late.  And I think it's never too late.

"In my opinion we're on a par."

Asked if he was disappointed when Red Bull called Ricciardo up to test at Silverstone and not him, Vergne insisted: "Not at all.

"It was logical, because Red Bull thought he is more consistent than I am.

"As I said, he is a year ahead of me, and the team knows him so very well.  Together with everything, it tipped the balance for him."

Raikkonen's manager says 2014 talks still ongoing
(GMM)  Amid suggestions Red Bull is preparing a 2014 contract for Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen's manager insists the Finn is still in the running.

"The facts, or what I can tell you, is that an agreement has not been reached at this time.

"Negotiations and discussions are still underway," manager Steve Robertson, who reportedly had a meeting with Lotus' Eric Boullier in Hungary on Friday, told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

He added: "I can't tell you much about the details, but things are still open.  I hope the situation will be resolved in the not very distant future."

Asked, however, if the pendulum has swung away from Red Bull and towards a new Lotus deal for the 2007 world champion, Robertson insisted: "You put me in a difficult situation, because I can't say any more than I have already."

At the very least, he denied speculation Raikkonen could simply choose the option that compels him to do the least PR and media duties.

"It's useless to deny that public relations work is not on Kimi's list of his favorite things.

"But it's never even been on the agenda in any of the negotiations," Robertson told Turun Sanomat newspaper.

At the same time, pushing hard to stay at Lotus next year is Raikkonen's current teammate, Frenchman Romain Grosjean.

"We have a common desire," Grosjean told RMC Sport, "to succeed together in the future.

"I know, and the team knows, that if the performance is right, there is no reason to change."

Asked if he wouldn't mind if Raikkonen moved to Red Bull and he became Lotus' new 'number 1' driver, Romain answered: "We all want to be the number 1.

"But with us (at Lotus), there's never really been an order between Kimi and I anyway."

Silverstone ban didn't hurt Mercedes - Hembery
(GMM)  Paul Hembery has denied the missed Silverstone test will continue to affect Mercedes.

As a result of the 'test-gate' scandal, Mercedes was ordered to sit out the young drivers test, at which every other team got an early taste of Pirelli's new Hungary-spec tire.

But Pirelli's Hembery told Auto Motor und Sport: "From now, I do not expect Mercedes will be disadvantaged.

"These tires are well known from last year, and Mercedes got all the (test) data.

"But unlike the other teams, they were unable to test any upgrades on their car.

"That was their disadvantage of not running at the young drivers test," he insisted.

Hembery also denied that some teams have been unfairly advantaged, while others disadvantaged, as a result of the latest change in Pirelli's 2013 tire specification.

"As far as we are concerned, it looks as though nothing has changed," the Briton said.

"The order is the same as before."

Rosberg unmoved by Schumacher jibe
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has brushed off reports Michael Schumacher failed to name him among the very best drivers in formula one.

As teammates at Mercedes between 2010 and last year, it is generally accepted that Rosberg usually had the upper-hand over Schumacher when the seven-time world champion raced out a three-year F1 comeback.

But when contemplating the pecking order in 2013, the great German this week named only Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen as the standout drivers.

And Schumacher was also quoted by Sky Italia: "(Those four drivers and) Maybe someone else I've forgotten."

Could it be that Schumacher's "forgotten" driver was Rosberg?

"I don't know," Rosberg told the Spanish sports newspaper AS, "but he can say what he wants -- I don't comment on these things."

Two-time 2013 race winner Rosberg did insist, however, that he is "very happy" to be able to say that "for three years I beat the best driver of all time".

No helmet rule for F1 pitlane media - FOM
(GMM)  Photographers and reporters still allowed in the pitlane during F1 track sessions do not have to wear a helmet.

After a flying wheel left a FOM cameraman in hospital after the recent German grand prix, F1 authorities clamped down on pitlane safety.

Access to media was severely limited, and team members in the pitlane all forced to now wear a helmet.

But does the new helmet rule also apply to the media?

"No, not yet," FOM spokeswoman Suzanne Eyre is quoted by the Kolner Express newspaper.

"We are working on a safe solution that doesn't interfere with their work," she added.

The newspaper said FOM has installed fixed cameras on the pitwall and the pit building in Hungary.

And the injured cameraman Paul Allen is quoted as saying: "I'm doing well so far.

"I hope to be in Singapore."

Another FOM cameraman, Uwe Hohls, said: "It's good that safety is continuously improved, but we all know that working in motor sport is always dangerous."

Austria GP return hurdles 'nothing serious' - Marko
(GMM)  Dr Helmut Marko has played down fears Austria's return to the F1 calendar next year might stumble at hurdles.

A deal for a grand prix next July at the relaunched A1-Ring, now called the Red Bull Ring, has been agreed between Dietrich Mateschitz and Bernie Ecclestone.

But the race actually going ahead is conditional on environmental and decibel permissions, and the raising of the allowed daily spectator limit beyond 40,000.

Red Bull's Marko, however, insists: "I see nothing serious that would be a problem."

F1 team bosses met at the Hungaroring and argued that next year's calendar should not extend beyond 20 races.

With Austria, Russia and New Jersey all set to join the schedule, however, that would mean at least two existing races are axed.

Reports from the paddock say India and Korea are the most likely to fall victim.

Marko told Kleine Zeitung newspaper: "There are some monumental tracks in Asia, but (they have) no atmosphere."

Hulkenberg admits he's on the market
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg has admitted he is on the market for 2014.

Contesting only his tenth race for Sauber since switching from Force India over the winter, the German is undoubtedly concerned not only by the Ferrari-powered C32's lack of pace, but also the Swiss team's financial problems.

"I have no idea what will happen, we're still exploring all options," Hulkenberg is quoted by Speed Week.

Many in the paddock believe the highly-rated 25-year-old is now in pole position for a move to Ferrari next year, should the fabled Italian team not renew Felipe Massa's contract.

Hulkenberg said: "My manager and I are speaking with several teams, including Sauber.

"There's nothing official yet, and anyway I'm concentrating on the current season."

It has also been rumored Lotus, possibly to lose its number 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen, is interested in Hulkenberg.

"There are so many rumors and not all of them can be true," he insisted.

"I'd also much rather be sitting in the car than reading everything that is written about me," added Hulkenberg.

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