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DATE News (chronologically)
11/21/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday (Update)  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

Vijay Mallya - waiting for ridebuyers with biggest check. Ridebuying is the cancer that is killing open wheel racing
11/21/13
  • Alonso not Ferrari 'number 1' - Montezemolo
  • Massa likens F1 pay-drivers to 'prostitutes'
  • Hamilton, Rosberg disagree over Massa's Williams move
  • Button says teams should sign 'intelligent' Perez
  • F1 deal fraught with 'constant crisis' - CVC official
  • Departing Webber not ready for 'red wine' with Vettel
  • Force India won't rush decision, waiting for ridebuyer with bigger check New
  • Q and A with Romain Grosjean New

Alonso not Ferrari 'number 1' - Montezemolo
(GMM)  Having given Fernando Alonso "eight out of ten" for his 2013 season, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo now insists the Spaniard is not the famous Italian team's number 1 driver.

"I don't like number 1, number 2," he told CNN.

Alonso, who has had an often fraught relationship with Montezemolo this year and flirted with moves to Red Bull and McLaren, has been controversially paired for 2014 with Ferrari's last world champion, Kimi Raikkonen.

But Brazilian Felipe Massa, who has been regarded as Ferrari's number 2 in recent years, was clearly Alonso's preferred teammate going forwards.

"Alonso knows that he drives to win for himself, but also for Ferrari," Montezemolo insisted.

"Ferrari is a team and I want drivers (who) will drive and will act and react as a team member, not only one man," he added.

Montezemolo also dismissed suggestions Alonso, who infamously clashed with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2007, will not get along with Finn Raikkonen.

"I don't want to say that they are old," he smiled, "but I'm sure (they will get along), yes."

Massa likens F1 pay-drivers to 'prostitutes'
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has likened F1 pay-drivers to prostitutes.

After eight years with Ferrari, the Brazilian will switch to Williams after this weekend's 2013 season finale in his native Sao Paulo.

It was thought that Massa, 32, was bringing some Brazilian sponsorship backing to the seat currently occupied by the heavily PDVSA-backed Pastor Maldonado.

But Massa insists he will remain a "professional" racing driver in his own right at Williams.

"For all that I've gone through, and everything I've achieved, it makes no sense to pay to race," he is quoted by Brazil's Globo.

However, Massa said he would help Williams - the once-great F1 team - to find some new sponsors.

"Of course, I will do all I can," he said.  "Money is good for improving the car and I have great relationships with some companies, some of them Brazilian.

"The crisis has hit all teams, big and small," added Massa.

He said he also negotiated with "Lotus, Force India and McLaren" about 2014.

"But (Lotus team boss Eric) Boullier did not do anything as though he really wanted to do something (for 2014).

"Then Williams came after me.  The first conversation was 'We want you'.  And that was very important for me."

Massa said he was not interested in becoming a 'pay driver', in the sense that a driver's services are inextricably linked to his financial backing.

"I don't know if this is how I should describe it, because it is a very strong word," Massa said.

"But the word is 'prostitute'," he is quoted by UOL Esporte.  "Not having to do that - pay to drive - is my greatest pride.

"It is logical to help with sponsors, but I will not be a prostitute," added Massa.

Hamilton, Rosberg disagree over Massa's Williams move
(GMM)  F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are split over whether Felipe Massa's move to Williams is a boost to the departing Ferrari driver's career.

Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, likened Massa's move after a long stint with Ferrari to his own decision to leave McLaren and join Mercedes this year.

"It's a great opportunity for Felipe," said the Briton, who was almost beaten to his title by Massa in a thrilling Interlagos finale five years ago.

"He was at Ferrari for a very long time," Hamilton is quoted by Brazil's Globo.

"And that is good in some ways, but going somewhere else - trying something new and working with new people - will be refreshing for him.

"It will be like fresh air for him, as it was for me," he added.

"And they (Williams) will have a good engine (Mercedes) next year," Hamilton continued.

"So I think it could be a turning point for him."

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, however, has a slightly different view.  Before joining Mercedes in 2010, Rosberg began his career at Oxfordshire based Williams, for whom he drove for four years.

"I think it will be quite difficult for him," the German said.

"To leave a team like Ferrari, where everything is possible, to go to Williams, he will find that everything is much more limited," said Rosberg.

"It will be difficult for him to adapt to being in a smaller team," he added.

Button says teams should sign 'intelligent' Perez
(GMM)  Jenson Button has given his departing McLaren teammate Sergio Perez a strong recommendation as the Mexican seeks a new seat for 2014.

The 2009 world champion has admitted he was surprised when he learned the great British team had decided to oust Perez after just one season in favor of the in-house development rookie Kevin Magnussen.

Perez, 23, is now struggling to find an alternate seat for next season, but Button thinks he would be a wise signing by any team that is on the market for an "intelligent" and "complete" driver.

"I feel that Checo has learned a lot this year," Button is quoted by France's L'Equipe.

"McLaren did a very good job in providing everything necessary for him to achieve his objectives," he added.  "To absorb everything at once can be very difficult, but Checo was able to do it."

When asked his opinion about the young Dane Magnussen, Button said of his new teammate: "The decision about who is in the other car is not mine.

"All I can say is that Checo did a great job this year.  Any team with a seat available should consider him, because he is not only fast, he's also intelligent.

"He is a complete package," added Button.

This weekend in Brazil, 33-year-old Button will become the most experienced British driver in formula one history by competing in his 247th grand prix.

But at the end of an appalling season for McLaren, the Briton admitted he is not too excited about beating David Coulthard's old record.

"I am obviously doing something right if I've been around that long," Button is quoted by the Mirror.

"It's interesting more than anything else.  Right now a podium would mean a lot more than reaching 247."

F1 deal fraught with 'constant crisis' - CVC official
(GMM)  Donald Mackenzie, the highest profile figure at F1 owners CVC, has described his investment in the sport as one fraught with "constant crisis".

This week, the CVC co-founder, who has admitted a conviction for Bernie Ecclestone would mean the F1 chief executive's demise, has been testifying in the London high court.

"Until that (a conviction) happens we will give him the benefit of the doubt," said Mackenzie, "provided it is not seriously damaging the business of formula one."

Ecclestone, who is also being pursued by German prosecutors, is being sued by a German media group called Constantin, claiming the 83-year-old's alleged bribe to banker Gerhard Gribkowsky cost it over $100 million.

Mackenzie, 56, has often clashed with Ecclestone, possibly because CVC was caught by surprise by the sport's troubled inner workings.

"It's been an extremely difficult investment almost from start to finish," he said, according to the BBC, adding that he thought Ecclestone had "oversold the business".

"It was constant crisis and firefighting."

Mackenzie said CVC was also caught out by the political in-fighting between the sport's authorities and the teams.

"In that period between 2006, when we bought it, and 2009, we could not sell this company," he said.  "It was not sellable.  No one wants to buy formula one when there's no Concorde Agreement signed.

"There was a history of anger," explained Mackenzie.  "This was like a very bad divorce.  The husband and wife have been fighting each other for years and years and they could no longer see sense."

He also admitted to reporters outside court this week that the Ecclestone corruption affair had indefinitely delayed CVC's plans to float the sport.

But, although those plans are delayed, Mackenzie said F1 is now in a much better state of affairs.

"Thankfully we have agreed all these terms and we now have a stable series," he said.

Departing Webber not ready for 'red wine' with Vettel
(GMM)  Mark Webber is not ready to spill the beans on the intriguing story of his "f***ing intense" title battle with Sebastian Vettel in 2010.

But as the Australian's long F1 career draws to a close this weekend in Brazil, Webber has hinted there was much more than meets the eye to 2010, during which he famously exclaimed "Not bad for a number 2 driver" after winning the British grand prix.

"Only those closest to me know what went into it," Webber, 37, told the Telegraph.

Asked if the truth will eventually come out, he insisted: "Not from me."

"Looking back I'm pretty proud of myself, the way it was kicking off and how I handled myself."

Silverstone was the epicenter of the fraught campaign, when a newer specification front wing was taken off Webber's car and put on eventual champion Vettel's.

But there was also the collision in Turkey, while Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary suggested Webber's once-close relationship with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner never fully recovered after the goings-on of 2010.

"To manage the whole scenario hasn't been super easy for the team," Webber conceded.

"We were in uncharted waters in 2010.  'F***, we're going for our first title.  Holy sh**, how do we do it?  Let them both go at it maybe?  Oh no, maybe not'," said Webber.

Webber's relationship with Vettel only nosedived further in recent years, culminating in the notorious 'Multi-21' affair of early 2013 and eventually the veteran Australian's decision to retire and move to Le Mans.

Referring to 'Multi-21' and the loss of the Malaysian grand prix victory this year, Webber said: "There are blinkers and there are blinkers.

"I saw Michael (Schumacher)'s blinkers, too, and I don't think Seb's are as bad as that.  I think in time, a stiff glass of red wine one day down the line, it will probably be ok with us.  But it's hard at the moment," he admitted.

Some of Webber's closest paddock allies will wear t-shirts bearing the words 'Made My Mark' to farewell the popular driver into F1 retirement in Brazil.

Force India won't rush decision, waiting for ridebuyer with bigger check
Force India hopefuls will have to wait to learn their fate as Vijay Mallya won't make a decision until after the team's Christmas party.

Several drivers are vying for a seat at Force India for next year's Championship including 2013 race drivers Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil.

But according to the latest rumors, the team could undergo a complete overhaul with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez tipped to replace the current pairing.

For now, though, all four - and everyone else - will have to wait as Mallya is in no rush to decide.

"Everybody knows I make the decision at the last minute - well not the last minute - I make the decision after the Force India Christmas party which means in December," the team owner told ESPNF1.

"I see no reason to change it. Yes, I have received approaches from other drivers but they all know that decision time will be in December.

"I would like to think and believe that the Force India race seat is a very desirable seat, it's not just a seat for the sake of having a seat. So I am not surprised that people have come to me."

Q and A with Romain Grosjean
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean looks ahead to the season finale in Interlagos, where he will be out to end the year on a high...

Tell us about Interlagos; is it a track you like?

It’s a fantastic track; there’s really no part of it that isn’t great. It suits my driving style so I’m really looking forward to it. The E21 has been performing really well this year and there’s no reason to think it won’t be a great car once again in Brazil.

Is there a specific part of the track you like the most?

Everything! It’s a fantastically challenging track which never seems to let you relax. Even the main start-finish ‘straight’ isn’t boring as it starts uphill with some interesting camber, then gradually turns before finishing at the downhill turn one where it’s so easy to out-brake yourself. If I had to pick favorite parts of Interlagos, I would say the first and last corners. The first corner is really technical and punishes you if you get it wrong, while the last corner is so fast and really puts quite a strain on your body. As a driver I really enjoy these corners. It’s one of the real classic old-style tracks so it’s very hard to pick out a single element; I love it!

How difficult has it been taking the fight to the Red Bulls over the last few races?

They have a very fast car, of that there is no doubt! Sometimes we get a sniff of being able to chase Seb [Vettel], but now he’s got the championship in the bag he’s got some additional confidence and speed which makes it all the more difficult! Being able to chase and lead just one of the Red Bulls is really quite some achievement for the team and I’m so grateful to everyone at Enstone for all their hard work throughout the season.

Why do you think the team is performing so well at the moment?

The whole team at the track and back at Enstone are doing an amazing job. The spirit of these guys is awesome; I really can't say enough about them. They come to the track or the factory having had just a few hours’ sleep after the late night’s work the previous day, but they’re always happy to do anything they can to get the best from a weekend. We drivers are always wanting more from a car, and they never stop trying to make that happen.

You had quite a fight with Mark Webber in Austin?

You know that Mark is very experienced and he’s never going to give up, so that certainly puts the pressure on. Equally, it gives you very good motivation as you know there is no option to make a mistake as he will just take the place. It’s really satisfying racing with such a good competitor, and also very satisfying when you’re the one who crosses the finish line ahead.

Weather is usually quite a talking point in Brazil, with the altitude playing a factor. How will you approach the weekend?

To be honest the weather and altitude is not something we can change and therefore we just have to deal with it. We will plan our strategy well and just aim to be in a position to fit the right tires at the right time. The good news is that Brazil is closer to our normal time zone, so jet lag will be less hard to cure when we go back home!

What do you think of Sao Paulo and Brazil in general?

It’s a great place to end the season and I know the crew like visiting there. It’s been a long year, so I think everyone is really looking forward to the end of season party which our sponsor burn is going to hold; that should be a great night! Brazilian people are very friendly and there are some great places to eat. We’ll have a team meal with everyone before the track action gets underway and that’s a pretty good way to say thank you for everyone’s efforts throughout the year.

How would you like to end the 2013 season?

Well it’s always fantastic to be on the podium and of course the top step is always our target. We won’t know how well we and our opposition will perform until we’re out on track, but we’re certainly pushing to do the very best we can.

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