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DATE News (chronologically)
09/08/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday (Update)  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

09/08/13
  • Even with Raikkonen, Alonso still 'number 1' - Briatore
  • Briatore 'not looking for a job' on Monza visit
  • Todt ready to accept Pirelli staying in F1
  • FIA considering five-second penalty for borderline decisions New
  • Red Bull to test Pirelli tires with 2011 car New

Even with Raikkonen, Alonso still 'number 1' - Briatore
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore insists Fernando Alonso will not be worried if Kimi Raikkonen is signed by Ferrari for 2014.

As the long and sillier-than-usual driver 'silly-season' finally looks set to draw to a close, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said at Monza he is now poised to decide the famous Italian team's next lineup.

"We will take a decision in the next days, and we haven't taken any kind of a decision yet," he said on Saturday.

Undoubtedly, the frontrunners to be Spaniard Alonso's teammate next year are Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg -- and probably in that order of preference.

The fact former team champion Raikkonen, first signed in 2007 to replace former 'number 1' Michael Schumacher, is Ferrari's preference probably explains Alonso's foul mood of recent weeks.

The latest evidence that all is not well in the Alonso-Ferrari marriage was broadcast live in the Italian tongue at the end of qualifying on Saturday.

Alonso called his colleagues either "scemi" (stupid) or "geni" (geniuses) -- the double world champion insisted it was the latter.

"It's ok," Alonso said.  "I am long enough in formula one that I know that these things are hyped."

But the episode left Montezemolo visibly furious, and initially refusing to give interviews.

Later, when asked about the radio controversy, he told Italian reporters: "I don't know and I don't care, the issue is to be united and to fight with knives between our teeth tomorrow."

The undoubted elephant in the room, however, is Raikkonen.

"First of all, Kimi is a good driver," said Montezemolo, when asked about the strengthening rumors.

As for his apparently strained relationship with the taciturn Finn, he answered: "What happened in the past with Kimi (and Ferrari)?  We won a world championship."

Many in the paddock think the 33-year-old, to be the oldest driver in F1 next year after Mark Webber's departure, has already signed a 2014 deal.

"Ha," Raikkonen told F1's official website on Saturday, "some days ago the same people were 100 per cent sure that I'd signed for Red Bull!  So much for that."

But if he does eventually sign, surely Alonso - the current Ferrari 'number 1' - will not like it.  The looming prospect of having Felipe Massa replaced by Raikkonen would surely explain Alonso's recent foul mood.

Briatore, who is still involved in Alonso's management, doesn't see it like that.

"Fernando is the number 1 and I don't see any others," he said at Monza, "unless you are talking about Hamilton and Vettel.  These are the roosters in formula one.

"He (Alonso) would have no problem to drive with any teammate.  He just needs a driver who collaborates in the development of the car," Briatore is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

In truth, if Ferrari is determined to drop Massa, and Alonso then gets his way, the driver who would be signed qualified third on Saturday -- in front of both red cars.

"I am pleased to see it (the Sauber) up there with the best," said Montezemolo, "because it shows we have a great engine."

He didn't refer specifically to the 26-year-old German, but Nico Hulkenberg did his cause no harm at Monza with a giant-killing performance in an inferior car.

"He is incredibly fast," triple world champion Niki Lauda said on German television RTL.  "He proves time and time again, and especially now, just what he can do."

Even Hulkenberg admitted he did his quest for Massa's seat a big favor at Monza.

"I can only influence it (Ferrari's decision) by performing very well, and obviously the timing (of qualifying third at Monza) is not the worst," he smiled.

Briatore 'not looking for a job' on Monza visit
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore insists he is not interested in returning to formula one.

The flamboyant Italian left Renault and the sport amid disgrace and the 'crashgate' scandal, but has often been linked with a return to F1, possibly in a commercial role.

The 63-year-old returned at least to the Monza paddock on Saturday, but he was accompanied by his wife and three-year-old son.

"I'm not looking for a job, that's for sure," Briatore told the German broadcaster Sky.

"I am currently very happy with my life and my job.  My life is very exciting -- I have a wonderful wife and a wonderful baby.  We are a wonderful family.

"Before, my family was the team.  Now there are only two people, which is much easier to manage," he smiled.

Todt ready to accept Pirelli staying in F1
(GMM)  Jean Todt has indicated Pirelli is staying put as F1's official tire supplier.

Although the Italian marque has inked contracts beyond its 2013 tender with all the teams and Bernie Ecclestone, rumors have indicated FIA president Todt actually wants the French marque Michelin to return next year.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone at Monza made his feelings very clear, revealing that Pirelli's new contracts are in fact for a longer-than-expected six year period.

And the 82-year-old said he would not support Michelin's desire to return to F1 and supply tires with an 18-inch low profile.

"It would look like a bicycle tire on a formula one car," Ecclestone told the British broadcaster Sky, "so I'm very much against that."

And it seems Frenchman Todt is also now ready to accept that Pirelli is staying.

"I understand that (the teams) want to stay with Pirelli," he is quoted by the Telegraph on a visit to Monza for the Italian grand prix.

"I will go with the consensus.  I am reading that I want Michelin because I am French, but I never read that (as Ferrari boss) I was the only one of the top teams to stay with Bridgestone when Michelin came into the sport.

"I was still French then," Todt smiled.

So he told Reuters that the matter of F1's tire situation beyond 2013 will probably not be put up for grabs after all.

"If everybody says we are very happy, then what is the point going to a tender?" said Todt.

FIA considering five-second penalty for borderline decisions
The FIA is looking at the possibility of introducing a five-second time penalty for borderline track limit infringements.

The potential new penalty is being discussed following the controversial incident involving Romain Grosjean and Felipe Massa during the Hungarian Grand Prix, with the stewards' hands tied as a drive-through penalty was the most lenient punishment available to them. McLaren sporting director Sam Michael confirmed that a five-second penalty was being considered, but that in which form it could be applied is still being debated.

"That was a discussion that started about a year ago and that was discussed again at the sporting group a couple of days ago," Michael said. "It's difficult, because it's a tricky thing to do to go and lose five seconds in a lap, but what you've got to keep in mind is it's that versus a 12-seconds penalty for a drive through - sometimes more - so it would be good to put something in there, it's just practically how do you implement it?

"What the stewards are saying is 'Listen, that's the minimum penalty that we can inflict in a race where we think a fine or a reprimand is not good enough because you've done something wrong, but actually a drive through is really harsh'. So they're trying to find an intermediate point, and there's various ideas of what you could do. They might come in next year or they might come in as an experimentation as well to see how they work during the race."

A straight five-second penalty added to the final race time is one option which is being considered, though there are reservations about drivers finishing in a different order on track. Grosjean himself believes

"It's always hard to decide. If you follow the rules from Hungary then yes I went outside the track but there is another rule that says you have to avoid a collision and when you see Felipe's front wing there I did try to avoid a collision. So it's 50:50, so maybe yes something a bit less harsh that is a little bit in between when we agree to disagree would be nice.

"I don't know if they can give [a penalty] afterwards. They could say 'Yes you're going to get a penalty' so you can do your race and push hard to try and get a gap to the guys behind. Or they could say slow for a lap, but if you slow down then you could block the guys behind, so it's hard to know what to do." ESPN.co.uk

Red Bull to test Pirelli tires with 2011 car
(GMM)  Red Bull will conduct a two-day, 1000 kilometer tire test with Pirelli mid next week in Barcelona.

The news revives memories of this year's Mercedes 'test-gate' scandal, but Auto Motor und Sport reports that the world champion team will be using a 2011 car, not the title-leading RB9.

And the race drivers will not be in action.  Instead, it will be test driver Sebastien Buemi alongside 2014 race driver Daniel Ricciardo.

Their task, confirmed by Pirelli motor sport boss Paul Hembery, will be to test 2014-specification tires.

But not everyone is happy.

"It's a huge advantage for them," said Force India sporting director Otmar Szafnauer.  "We were not offered a test like this."

It is believed however that a condition of Pirelli's tire testing with individual teams is that all of the other teams also have to be offered a similar opportunity.

Hembery denied Szafnauer's claim.

"We asked everyone.  We have another team that is interested but no date as yet," he insisted.

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