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Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Michael Andretti eyes F1 'customer cars' - father
  • Fittipaldi tips 'another team' to sign Massa
  • Lotus hits back by signing Ferrari man - report
  • Valencia mayor rejected proposal to move GP
  • 2013 chances to dwindle in final phase - Perez
  • Rally made Raikkonen better F1 driver - Solberg
  • Webber: I decided to quit Formula One because.....

Michael Andretti eyes F1 'customer cars' - father
(GMM)  Michael Andretti would get involved in formula one as a team owner if the sport allowed 'customer cars' on the grid.

That is the claim of former McLaren driver Andretti's famous father Mario, the 1978 world champion.

He told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that allowing teams to sell chassis to one another would help those teams that are struggling financially.

"I have already spoken with Bernie Ecclestone about it," said the 73-year-old.

"It would also be a way for new teams to be a part of formula one, even if they don't have their own racing car factories," added Andretti.

"My son (Michael) would be one of the first who would come in, if he could buy a car from one of the top manufacturers."

Mario Andretti dismissed the claim customer cars would devalue the sport.

"I find the idea of a blue Ferrari overtaking a red Ferrari very interesting," he said.  "It would give formula one a whole new appeal."

Michael Andretti, whose F1 career as Ayrton Senna's teammate at McLaren in 1993 was brief, is now a team owner in various series including IndyCar.

'Andretti Autosport' will also contest the FIA's new Formula E series for electric single seaters in 2014.

Fittipaldi tips 'another team' to sign Massa
(GMM)  For the first time in more than 40 years, F1 could be without a Brazilian driver in 2014.

Felipe Massa has lost his seat at Ferrari, but his manager Nicolas Todt is hoping Lotus will sign him as Kimi Raikkonen's replacement.

Meanwhile, it had been reported young Brazilian Felipe Nasr was close to breaking into formula one, but Dr Helmut Marko has now dismissed speculation linking him with Toro Rosso.

It means F1 is facing the prospect of a grid without a single Brazilian in 2014.  According to O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, the last time F1 was without a Brazilian was 1970, prior to Emerson Fittipaldi's debut.

"I don't believe we (Brazil) will have no drivers in formula one next year," Fittipaldi, now 66 and a two-time world champion, said.

"I think Massa will sign with another team."

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, the longest-serving F1 driver until his exit in 2011, blames the situation on a disconnect between the junior categories in Brazil and Europe.

"There is a big difference between the racing here and the racing over there," said the winner of 11 grands prix, who lives in his native Sao Paulo.

"Today, just having talent is not enough," added Barrichello.

The issue could have implications for F1's passionate Brazilian fans.

"In the short term, it has no effect at all," said Oscar Ulisses, who has been a part of broadcaster Globo's coverage of formula one for decades.

"Long-term, yes," he admitted.

"And just having a Brazilian on the grid means nothing -- it's important to have a driver who is doing well.  Having someone at Marussia solves nothing," said Ulisses.

According to Italy's Autosprint, another option for Massa beyond 2014 is Williams.  It is already rumored that his well-known Ferrari race engineer, Rob Smedley, could be about to return to Britain.

Autosprint floated the theory of Pastor Maldonado taking his PDVSA backing to Lotus, opening the door for Massa at Williams, perhaps with the support of the former F1 and Williams sponsor Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company.

Lotus hits back by signing Ferrari man - report
(GMM)  The flow of personnel between Lotus and Ferrari is not all one way, it has emerged.

Lotus' technical boss James Allison was the first to defect to Maranello, and star driver Kimi Raikkonen will follow in 2014.

And after Raikkonen's move was confirmed, it also emerged that Lotus' aerodynamics chief Kirk de Beer is heading to Ferrari.

It is also rumored that Raikkonen will take his race engineer Mark Slade, who started working with the Finn at McLaren a decade ago, to Ferrari.

However, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Lotus has signed a well-regarded Ferrari aerodynamicist, Nicolas Hennel.

Meanwhile, Finland's Turun Sanomat reports that the new turbo V6 era could start off on the heavy side for Ferrari.

According to sources, the current version of the 2014-specification Ferrari 'power unit' will reportedly push the car well over the allowed minimum weight.

Valencia mayor rejected proposal to move GP
(GMM)  The mayor of Valencia rejected a proposal that might have saved the European grand prix.

When it became clear the race on the streets of the Spanish port city was no longer financially viable, the regional president Alberto Fabra made a proposal to the Valencia mayor, Rita Barbera.

"He spoke of the possibility of involvement, but he spoke to me about Cheste, and I have an urban circuit," Barbera is quoted by El Pais newspaper.

"The budget of Valencia is for Valencians," she insisted.

The permanent Ricardo Tormo circuit, located 26 kilometers from Valencia in Cheste, hosts a MotoGP race.  It has also been a popular circuit for F1 testing.

Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone has cast doubt on India's hopes of returning to the calendar in 2015, after it emerged Delhi will not host a race next year.

Race organizers had claimed the only issue affecting next year's Indian grand prix was Ecclestone's scheduling headaches.

But the F1 chief executive told Sportbusiness International: "The trouble in India is a simple one.  The rupee has devalued an enormous amount so it is all very political.

"We won't be there next year but after that I hope we will go back," added Ecclestone.

2013 chances to dwindle in final phase - Perez
(GMM)  Getting results will be harder as the 2013 season enters its final phase, McLaren driver Sergio Perez has admitted.

The great British team has had a disappointing championship campaign with the uncompetitive MP4-28.

And according to McLaren newcomer and Mexican Perez, the prospect of a breakthrough 2013 podium will dwindle even more as the season races into its final 'flyaway' phase.

McLaren is just fifth in the constructors' championship; narrowly ahead of Force India but a massive 125 points behind Lotus.

"Obviously, the fight at the sharp end of the championship means that the top three or four teams are still pushing hard to develop their current cars, whereas some of the others are looking more towards 2014," said Perez.

"That means that it's getting slightly harder to score good points in the remaining races."

He revealed that "most" of the forthcoming developments for the MP4-28 will be "with an eye to next year".

Rally made Raikkonen better F1 driver - Solberg
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen's rallying foray made him a better formula one driver.

That is the claim of 2003 world rally champion Petter Solberg, who got to know the 'iceman' during his two-year F1 sabbatical in 2010 and 2011.

Finn Raikkonen returned to F1 with Lotus last season, impressing the grand prix world yet again after his career had flat-lined in his final two years at Ferrari.

"I know Kimi and I believe that the rally made him a better formula one driver," Solberg told the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG).

Like many observers, Solberg thinks Raikkonen's return to Ferrari next year, where he will become current 'number 1' Fernando Alonso's teammate, will be interesting to watch.

"Alonso will certainly not like it," Solberg said of Raikkonen's impending move.

"But Kimi is cool," he added.  "He drives the car, and that's it."

Former Ferrari boss Cesare Fiorio said last week he would not have signed Raikkonen.

"I admire his talent, but not his lifestyle or his technical work," he is quoted by Italy's Tuttosport.

But another former Ferrari boss, the current FIA president Jean Todt, backed the decision taken by the Maranello team's current chiefs.

"Ferrari is a formula one institution, and very strong," he told the Italpress agency, "and I am absolutely certain they will also be at the highest level in the coming years."

As for signing Raikkonen, "Ferrari has always known how to make the right decisions," Todt insisted.

Webber: I decided to quit Formula One because.....
Red Bull driver Mark Webber says he decided to call time on his Formula One career at the end of the current season because he was lacking motivation to continue in the sport.

The Australian has spent 12 years in F1, but will be replaced by Daniel Riccardo for the next campaign.

Webber will switch to driving for Porsche in the World Endurance Championship and says his passion for Formula One had started to wane.

"I've been on the edge with F1, motivation-wise, for the past couple of years," he told F1 Racing magazine.

"You have to be driven. You turn yourself around each winter and the fire in the belly is not quite what it was when you were 24."

He added: "I remember hearing something about sportsmen and women years ago. They were saying that as long as they could keep their motivation, they would keep going. 

"I could never work out what that meant. How could you lose your motivation? But questions keep coming to me more and more often that were never there in the past.

"It's not about driving or racing, it's about keeping my own F1 program going for 11 months of the year. And it's just got to the point where it's like, well, I've achieved a lot of things."

Webber has won nine grands prix during his F1 career and narrowly missed out on the championship in 2010. But he admits there are many aspects of being a professional driver that he will not miss.

"Travel and hotels," he said. "And probably the repetitive nature of the job. A bit of media. Lots and lots of small things that you're happy to deal with when you're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

"But it does, in the end, force you to ask yourself the question: 'Do I have to be here, doing this?' And when Porsche came along, I could look myself in the eye and say: 'Well, you know what, I probably don't have to do some of those things any more." The Telegraph

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