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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Alonso highest paid
    Kubica admits multiple days in Mercedes simulator
  • Button wants Honda reunion in 2015
  • More creditors press on Sauber, Frijns departs
  • Monza marshals threaten to strike
  • Alonso best paid driver in motor sport - Forbes
  • Vettel denies Ricciardo signing makes him 'no.1'
  • Pay-drivers 'wrong' for Force India - Mallya
  • Tost compares Vettel to 'Senna, Prost, Schumacher'

Kubica admits multiple days in Mercedes simulator
(GMM)  Robert Kubica has revealed he has tested multiple times at the wheel of Mercedes' formula one driver simulator at Brackley.

It emerged several months ago that the Pole, who since his horror rally crash and injuries in early 2011 has returned full-time to world rally's second-tier series, has also been keeping his F1 skills up to date in conjunction with Mercedes' development program.

"But I will not tell you how many times I've been there or how many laps I did," Kubica said in May.

But the 28-year-old has now told Germany's Auto Bild Motorsport: "In the last six months I have been in the Mercedes simulator more than once and less than ten times.

"The work gives me the opportunity to see what limitations I have and how I continue to develop myself," added Kubica.

And he added: "I have the feeling that Mercedes is happy with what I have been doing."

Button wants Honda reunion in 2015
(GMM)  Jenson Button has finally admitted he wants to be at McLaren for the team's new Honda era beginning in 2015.

In May, the 2009 world champion refused to commit to the great British team beyond his existing contract.

"You've got to live in the moment and I don't think trying to agree a lengthy deal for the future is something that is interesting at the moment for me," he said.

Since then, although many assumed the 33-year-old will be at McLaren at least beyond 2013, Briton Button revealed boss Martin Whitmarsh is actually yet to take up the option on his current deal.

But he later played down rumors he is angling for the Ferrari seat.

"Ferrari is legendary, but so too is McLaren.  Why should I change?" he said.

But while hinting he will be at McLaren under Mercedes' V6 power in 2014, Button didn't say if he will reunite with the team's new Japanese partner Honda in 2015.

He is quoted by Reuters news agency on Thursday: "I want to be here in 2015.

"I've worked for many years with that Japanese engine manufacturer, it will be exciting to work with them again in the future," the former works Honda driver added.

Button clarified, however, that he is yet to put pen to paper.

"Not yet.  But it's all good.  It takes a bit of time," he is quoted by the Guardian newspaper.

Asked if the 2015 talks are holding up a deal for next season, Button answered: "I can't say right now.  In a few weeks I can."

But he did say that, despite the sillier-than-usual 'silly season' this year, the top teams will ultimately field similar driver lineups for 2014.

"There's so much change in the sport next season, in terms of the engines and the cars, it's better for the top three or four teams to stay put for the near future," said Button.

So he played down rumors Kimi Raikkonen could be his new teammate for 2014.

"From what Martin Whitmarsh has said, Kimi is not here next year," Button is quoted by the Telegraph.

The Finn, however, continues to be linked with a return to Ferrari, but a source at the Italian team played down the notion of a Raikkonen-Fernando Alonso pairing next year.

"The final decision will be the team's," a team source told the Spanish daily AS, "but Fernando will be consulted, as is normal."

Spaniard Alonso has said he would prefer if Ferrari simply keeps Felipe Massa on board.  And that would please Lotus, who are desperate to keep Raikkonen.

In a light-hearted 'tweet' in the wake of Daniel Ricciardo's 2014 signing, Lotus posted a photo with three logos.

Red Bull's logo was crossed out, leaving just Lotus' and Ferrari's.

"One down ..." the Lotus tweet said.

More creditors press on Sauber, Frijns departs
(GMM)  Long after news of the Swiss team's 'Russian rescue deal', Sauber is still struggling.

That is the claim of the Swiss business newspaper Handelszeitung, reporting that even after Russian money apparently began to flow, unpaid team creditors continue to file formal prosecutions against Sauber.

The report said that, since July, almost 20 new creditors - demanding another almost 250,000 Swiss francs - have been added to Sauber's official debt register.

"We have said that we are in a challenging situation," a team spokesman is quoted by 20min.ch.

At the very same time, it has emerged that Sauber's paid 'third' or reserve driver, Dutchman Robin Frijns, is not travelling to Monza this weekend.

The news follows reports this week that the Italian grand prix will mark the first race weekend appearance in Sauber team gear for the team's intended 2014 driver, Russian teen Sergey Sirotkin.

It subsequently emerged that the highly-rated Frijns, 22, is leaving Sauber with immediate effect, after Sauber did not take up the option on his contract.

"Yes, that bad news is true," he is quoted by De Telegraaf newspaper.

Monza marshals threaten to strike
(GMM)  Marshals scheduled to work throughout this weekend's Italian grand prix are threatening to strike.

Reports ahead of the Monza race weekend say the marshals are angry their minor reimbursements for travel expenses dating back to last year's event have not been paid by the Automobile Club d'Italia.

The headline of the Milan daily Il Giorno read: "Shadow of a strike".

One volunteer marshal is quoted as saying: "There are some who think only of the race, forgetting that someone is making money at the expense of our labor.

"Despite our passion, many of us are thinking the only way to be heard is to strike."

Alonso best paid driver in motor sport - Forbes
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has emerged as clearly the highest earning driver in the entire world of motor racing.

The authoritative business magazine Forbes said the Ferrari driver earns $30 million per year, of which $2 million is made up of personal endorsements.

In second place is another F1 driver, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who reportedly makes $27.5 million per year, followed by Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, with $26m.

Another American, Jimmie Johnson, is next best with his $24 million, trailed by MotoGP veteran Valentino Rossi ($22m), and yet another Nascar star Tony Stewart ($18.5m).

According to Forbes, F1's reigning triple world champion and 2013 title leader Sebastian Vettel makes $18 million per year, slightly less than NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon.

And female driver Danica Patrick is not far behind Vettel with her $15 million, which is more than the $14m reportedly earned by McLaren's Jenson Button.

Vettel denies Ricciardo signing makes him 'no.1'
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has rejected suggestions Daniel Ricciardo's appointment as his teammate next year makes him the undisputed 'number 1' at Red Bull.

Although the German has won the past three world championships for the team, and is currently running away with a fourth consecutive title in 2013, his teammate Mark Webber has always pushed for equal status.

But with Webber now departing for Le Mans, the energy drink-owned team has decided to replace him with a younger Australian, Ricciardo, who is being promoted from the second Red Bull outfit Toro Rosso.

Ricciardo, 24, has secured the post despite Red Bull's admission it considered signing Kimi Raikkonen.

It gives the impression Red Bull, although insisting identical equipment and support will be supplied to both drivers in 2014, wanted to give Vettel clear air with de-facto 'number 1' status in deference to his title successes.

German Vettel, however, denied that claim in conversation with the Spanish daily Marca.

"It makes no sense to talk about team leadership," said the 26-year-old.

"At every team there are two drivers and both have the same opportunities, but in the end there can only be one winner.

"'Number 1' or 'number 2' is something that seems pretty outdated in formula one today," Vettel insisted.

Throughout Red Bull's deliberations, Vettel said publicly that he wanted to be paired with his friend Raikkonen next year.

So is he happy the Red Bull junior Ricciardo ultimately got the nod?

"In the end it doesn't matter who your teammate is," said Vettel.

"The important thing is to integrate in the team so you can be pushing all in the same direction."

He insisted that, despite their eventually broken personal relationship, he was always able to work 'professionally' with Webber -- even after the damaging 'multi-21' affair of Malaysia.

Marca asked Vettel if he will be giving the veteran Australian a parting gift, to mark the end of their five-year partnership.

"Maybe a box of chocolates," Vettel, who said earlier this year that he took victory in Malaysia because Webber did not 'deserve' it, joked.

"To be honest, I think we were always very successful together and he was a very difficult driver to beat.

"He contributed a lot to the team; really positive things.  Many more positive than negative," added Vettel.

Pay-drivers 'wrong' for Force India - Mallya
(GMM)  Vijay Mallya says he will continue to resist going down the 'pay driver' path for his own formula one team.

As many teams struggle financially at present, the power wielded by so-called pay-drivers - drivers whose sponsorship dollars speak louder than their achievements - has intensified.

But although Adrian Sutil brings some backing to the team, Force India boss and co-owner Mallya insists he will always select drivers on the basis of their talent.

"It sends a very wrong signal to the team to take pay drivers -- I always consult my engineers and the technical director on the selection of drivers," he is quoted by AFP news agency.

Believed to be referring to the choice between German Sutil and the Ferrari-linked rookie Jules Bianchi, Mallya added: "This was particularly true for 2013 when we had a choice of two and finally we went with Adrian Sutil.

"That was largely because the key technical people in the team said 'let's go with him'.

"I did not want them to feel that all the efforts in producing a competitive car were going to be compromised on track because I had chosen a driver who wasn't the best available.

"I have not gone with pay drivers, I've gone with drivers of talent and that policy will stay," he insisted.

This weekend at Monza, a new reserve driver will get to work for Force India, running in Friday morning practice.

24-year-old James Calado, a frontrunner in the GP2 series, told British broadcaster Sky he hopes the new role leads him to the F1 grid.

"It's my only chance, probably, to show what I can do and hopefully be in line for a race seat in 2014," he said.

Tost compares Vettel to 'Senna, Prost, Schumacher'
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel is on the path to being mentioned in the same breath as F1 greats "Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher".

That is the claim of his former Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost, recalling Vettel's first victory at the Italian grand prix five years ago in a column for the German newspaper Die Welt.

Since Vettel, then 21, stunned the F1 world with his dominance at Monza 2008, the German has gone on to dominate the entire sport with Red Bull, winning 30 more races and every drivers' world championship since 2010.

"He knows what he wants and pursues it without frills," Tost wrote.

"He has always been mentally strong, but due to his success he has become even stronger.  He is in the format of Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher," he said.

And now, as the now 26-year-old German's only Red Bull teammate Mark Webber leaves F1, the energy drink company is trying to emulate the Vettel success story with another home-grown talent -- Daniel Ricciardo.

Tost wanted to keep the Australian at Toro Rosso for another year, but will instead be watching the new Vettel-Ricciardo pairing with interest in 2014.

"Whether Daniel Ricciardo does as his new teammate did, depends on whether he seriously intends to defeat Sebastian," he said.

"Or whether he will only look up to Sebastian as a three, possibly four-time world champion."

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