Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • Ecclestone miffed

    Ecclestone, FIA, say Vettel will stay 2012 champion

  • F1 is 'a world without pity' – Grosjean
  • Pic breaks record for most times overtaken
  • Chilton positive over Marussia race seat
  • Hamilton tipped for success at Mercedes
  • Vettel overtaking saga 'now closed' – Ferrari New
  • Luca di Montezemolo says Ferrari must start 2013 with a race-winning car New

      Ecclestone, FIA, say Vettel will stay 2012 champion
      (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has slammed as a "complete joke" Ferrari's efforts to question the outcome of the 2012 world championship.

      The controversy erupted when video footage emerged – and was circulated widely by "Fernando Alonso's management" according to Sport Bild – of Sebastian Vettel purportedly overtaking illegally under yellow flag conditions at Interlagos.

      Ferrari confirmed that it asked the governing body for "clarification", and spokesman Luca Colajanni insists the Maranello team has "until tomorrow (Friday) to file an appeal".

      British newspapers quote F1 chief executive Ecclestone as blasting the affair "a complete joke".

      "It was a super race, a super championship. Now everyone is talking about this," he said.

      Ecclestone said the subsequent furor is a "joke" because of the "fact" that Vettel overtook only once he had passed a waving green flag.

      "I don't think there needs to be any action taken. It's completely and utterly wrong," he added.

      "It's a very silly, bad thing for anyone to do to push this because there is nothing in it. Ferrari had a great season but this was a mistake."

      And he told Germany's Der Spiegel: "Vettel will suffer no consequence and will remain the 2012 world champion."

      Indeed, FIA spokesman Norman Howell indicated that the Paris federation will now spell out the news to Ferrari in a formal letter of response.

      "Now that Ferrari has sent us a letter asking for an explanation we will give it to them," he said.

      F1 race director Charlie Whiting added: "We never had any doubt that Vettel's overtaking was compliant.

      "There were conflicting flags and lights," he acknowledged to Germany's Sport Bild. "It was investigated during the race, with the result that there should be no punishment."

      An FIA spokesman added: "Vettel's title is not in danger. A further investigation will not happen."

      However, Ecclestone acknowledged that another route open to Ferrari is civil action.

      "But the case is flawed before it starts," he told the Telegraph. "Nothing is going to happen."

      But what has happened already is the criticism of Ferrari and Spaniard Alonso. Germany's Berliner Kurier accused them of being "sore losers".

      And the Bild-Zeitung daily said the efforts to have Vettel's championship overturned are "Unfair. Un-Ferrari".

      F1 is 'a world without pity' – Grosjean
      (GMM) As the candidates clamor for his seat, Romain Grosjean has acknowledged that formula one is a "world without pity".

      "Yes," he confirmed to the Swiss daily Le Matin. "But that's normal for the top level.

      "It's also the case with banking and watchmaking. There is no room for mercy.

      "Seats in F1 are scarce; there are no presents."

      The interview with the 26-year-old took place amid reports he might lose his Lotus seat after his often impressive but equally tumultuous return to F1 in 2012.

      The reports suggest Kamui Kobayashi and Heikki Kovalainen are being considered by the Enstone based team.

      Dropped by Sauber, Japanese Kobayashi's chances appear to have been boosted by his race seat donation website, which so far has raised EUR 775,000 to contribute to the budget of his 2013 employer.

      The money will be returned to his fans if he fails to secure a seat.

      "It has been a huge show of support after a campaign of only five days," Kobayashi told the AFP news agency.

      Finn Kovalainen, on the other hand, appears to have acknowledged that his chances are slim not only of staying at Caterham but of finding a seat elsewhere.

      "Outside of F1, there are not many things that interest me," he is quoted by Russia's

      "But sometimes I'm a little surprised that more F1 drivers haven't tried rallying. Let's see what happens next year. There is life outside of F1," said Kovalainen.

      In the meantime, the Swiss-born Frenchman Grosjean also has his fingers crossed.

      Asked what he has learned in 2012, he answered: "A lot. More than what I thought.

      "The world of F1 is more difficult than I imagined. When I returned, I saw that there was a mountain to climb.

      "And once I started to climb, I saw how high it really is."

      Pic breaks record for most times overtaken
      (GMM) Charles Pic has entered F1's history books by breaking an unenviable record.

      Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper reports that the young Frenchman, who made his debut this year with Marussia and for 2013 will switch to Caterham, broke a record held for more than 20 years by Italian Stefano Modena.

      In 1989, Modena's Brabham was overtaken no fewer than 68 times.

      But this season, 22-year-old Pic broke the record by losing position to another driver 70 times.

      Indeed, Marussia's 2012 car – also raced by Timo Glock – was overtaken 134 times this year, compared to 119 for fellow backmarkers Caterham, and 114 for HRT.

      Chilton positive over Marussia race seat
      Marussia reserve Max Chilton is hopeful that he will be able to secure the team's second race seat for the 2013 campaign, explaining to that 'plenty of negotiations' are taking place over his future plans. Following Charles Pic's decision to join close rivals Caterham, a position alongside the experienced Timo Glock is now up for grabs.

      "I was glad to see that Charles had gone to Caterham as that has opened up a space at Marussia, where I want to be," Chilton told of the current driver market situation. "There are plenty of negotiations going on and I’ve just got to work over the next month or so to try and get that role.

      "We’ve obviously got other plans in place if a race seat doesn’t come off, so I may spend another year learning and just developing my skills. But, I really want to get that race seat. I think the team are really enjoying my company and are happy with my speed so hopefully something will come off."

      With Marussia introducing KERS for the first time in 2013, Chilton is also positive over the outfit's potential to move up the grid and get closer to the midfield battle.

      "Speaking to (Technical Consultant) Pat Symonds on Thursday, next year’s car sounds very, very good," he added. "With the addition of KERS as well, that’s just free time. There’s no loss by installing it, it’s just pure time they’re going to find with that.

      "KERS in itself would put us further up the grid and if we’re having the car they say we will then it’s going to be a very promising year. Pat seems to think we’ve found a lot. I think that combined with KERS and everyone’s drive from this year, just losing out on tenth in the last round, the team is looking very strong for next year."

      Hamilton tipped for success at Mercedes
      According to his father Anthony, Lewis Hamilton will 'surprise a lot of people' when he moves to Mercedes in 2013. The outgoing McLaren driver is switching teams for the first time in his career, ending a six season spell with the Woking-based squad.

      Hamilton, who triumphed on four occasions in 2012, has also been tipped to win at least two races next year, with his father trusting Mercedes' future capabilities.

      "We really believe those guys are going to get it together," Hamilton senior explained of the team. "There is a definite passion to come good, and I believe they will do. You don't have such a great car company and such talented people in one place, and now they've the addition of Lewis, without it being a recipe for success.

      "I believe in Mercedes, Team Principal Ross Brawn and Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice President Norbert Haug. I believe everybody they need to turn a good team into a great team are all there, and more than anything, I believe in Lewis. I believe Lewis is going to win a minimum of two to three races, and if he doesn't do that then the car really is bad."

      Despite the fact that Mercedes tailed off after its Chinese Grand Prix victory in 2012, Hamilton is adamant that his son's decision to join the outfit will ultimately pay off.

      "It's going to work," he added of the deal, which ties the 27-year-old to the squad for three seasons. "Mercedes and Lewis are going to surprise a lot of people next year."

      Hamilton finished the 2012 campaign in fourth place, scoring 190 points for McLaren. This compared to Mercedes' overall Constructors' total of 142, putting the team fifth.

      Vettel overtaking saga 'now closed' – Ferrari
      (GMM) Ferrari on Friday said the controversy about Sebastian Vettel's alleged illegal overtaking move is "now closed".

      The Italian team had contemplating protesting the result of the championship-deciding Brazilian grand prix, after video footage purportedly showed Red Bull's German driver passing a Toro Rosso under yellow flags.

      Ferrari sent the FIA a letter requesting "clarification".

      "The federation … informs it has replied to Scuderia Ferrari … stating that as the overtaking maneuver was not in breach of the regulations … there was no infringement to investigate".

      Ferrari said in a statement on Friday: "Ferrari duly takes note of the reply sent by the FIA this morning and therefore considers the matter now closed."

      Red Bull responded: "We are pleased, but not surprised, that the FIA has confirmed there is no case to answer regarding the 2012 Brazilian grand prix."

      Luca di Montezemolo says Ferrari must start 2013 with a race-winning car
      Luca di Montezemolo has set Ferrari the primary target of starting next season with a car capable of challenging for wins from the very first race.

      Although Fernando Alonso took his challenge for the Drivers' Championship down to the wire and Ferrari beat McLaren to finish runners-up to Red Bull in the Constructors' standings – their highest finish since their last title win in 2008 – it was generally agreed that the F2012 was only the third fastest car at best over the balance of the season.

      Ferrari's lack of pace was particularly pronounced in the early rounds of the campaign, when they started in excess of a second off the pace of the McLarens, and Montezemolo insists that cannot afford to happen again in 2013 with the team's President calling on a change to working practices at the team to create a more competitive car.

      "I want us to start with a car that is immediately capable of fighting for the win and it has to be our first task," the Italian said during an end-of-season address to Ferrari's workforce.

      "In order to achieve that, each one of us must improve in our own roles by at least a millimeter.

      "We must revamp our organization and our working methods to try and be at the same level as the best, right from the first race, which for too many years now we have failed to do."

      Looking back on 2012, Montezemolo told the Maranello workforce that they should all be "proud of what you have done" given he acknowledges both Red Bull and McLaren produced superior cars.

      "Therefore having managed to get ahead of at least one of them in the Constructors' and keeping Fernando in the fight right to the end, was very significant and I wish to thank you for that," the President added.

      "We managed it mainly because of our incredible reliability, the work from the pit wall and during the pit stops and in the way we reacted after a very difficult start." Sky Sports

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