Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Red Bull boss Mateschitz

    Red Bull has no plans to sell two F1 teams

  • Horner, Ecclestone not writing off Webber
  • Chandhok lost 26kg to chase F1 dream
  • F1 must accept move from Europe – de la Rosa
  • No KERS or 'big jump' for Virgin in 2012 – Glock
  • 2012 Pirelli tires in action this week
  • Amul Official Partner of the Sauber F1 Team at Indian GP
  • Mercedes wants tighter control over RRA New
  • Ferrari shows signs of pen-man envy New

Red Bull has no plans to sell two F1 teams
(GMM) Red Bull has no plans to scale back its involvement in formula one, owner Dietrich Mateschitz insists.

Red Bull Racing's Nascar equivalent is being wound up but it is a different story in F1, where Sebastian Vettel is on the verge of being crowned the youngest ever back to back champion.

Mateschitz told the Independent newspaper he is even happy with his second F1 team Toro Rosso.

"No," he insisted when asked if the Faenza based team is for sale, "although partnerships would not be ruled out, as long as the partner is the right one."

Also not being sold is the premier Red Bull team, even though "a forecast is difficult and a decision always depends on the wider picture, the politics, influence of F1 shareholders and many other factors".

He played down the supposed cost-drain of being involved in F1.

"The total marketing investment for (the) Red Bull (brand) is 10 times as much as in F1," said Mateschitz.

There is, however, no title sponsor as it is "difficult to find one due to the strength of the Red Bull brand".

Horner, Ecclestone not writing off Webber
(GMM) Red Bull has not written off Mark Webber despite his struggle to live with his teammate Sebastian Vettel in 2011.

While Vettel, 24, has raced to a certain back-to-back title with nine wins so far this season, Australian veteran Webber has failed to win a single grand prix.

But even though there might be question marks about his motivation to again take on the young German next season, Red Bull has signed up Webber for another campaign.

"Well, he's still motivated enough to beat anybody except Sebastian," team boss Christian Horner told F1's official website.

"It seems all too convenient to underestimate Mark when comparing him against Seb. But that is definitely a huge mistake. Mark is undervalued right now."

Also not writing off 35-year-old Webber is Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's chief executive.

"That Sebastian is better than Mark we know by now. But who is there who is better than Mark?" wondered the Briton.

"I think it is not right to belittle Mark. In context, driving with Sebastian, he hasn't got the easiest of jobs, because in my view Sebastian is the best driver on the grid right now."

Chandhok lost 57lbs to chase F1 dream
(GMM) Karun Chandhok is today a shadow of the boy who a decade ago dreamed of emulating his heroes.

On a trip to Delhi this week, he revealed to the Daily Pioneer that when he left high school he peaked at 211 pounds.

"I was told that if I wanted to race I had to lose weight in order to first fit in the car," said Chandhok, who as Team Lotus' reserve driver is tipped to contest India's inaugural grand prix late next month.

"So I lost 57lbs in less than six months and went on to win the Indian national racing championship. I guess that was the turning point for me," added the now 27-year-old, who graduated to British F3 and then GP2.

F1 must accept move from Europe – de la Rosa
(GMM) Formula one needs to accept the steady move away from its traditional European homeland.

That is the claim of Spanish test driver Pedro de la Rosa, whose employer McLaren is based in the UK close to seven other formula one teams.

The other four teams are based elsewhere in Europe but, next year for example, no fewer than 12 of the 20 scheduled races will take place on other continents.

De la Rosa wrote in his latest column that F1 is moving with the times of the world.

"We all know that the grands prix are usually contested in those countries which can permit it, and nowadays, the majority of countries which can permit it are now in the Near East or on the same continent, Asia," he said.

The next traditional host in danger of losing its F1 races is Germany.

"I find it hard to imagine a season of formula one without Germany," the Nurburgring's Karl-Josef Schmidt is quoted by the DPA news agency this week. "I think it's the same for Mr. Ecclestone."

Schmidt is trying to negotiate a lower race fee for the circuit's next scheduled race in 2013.

But de la Rosa said F1's traditionalists need to accept the future has arrived.

"I understand that it is very hard for all those who, like me, grew up watching F1 races at the Nurburgring, at Brands Hatch, Estoril or at the Paul Ricard circuit," he said.

"But it is as obvious to recognize that the investment of Asian countries is supplanting and even replacing the tradition of European countries."

No KERS or 'big jump' for Virgin in 2012 – Glock
(GMM) Virgin will not be using KERS technology in 2012.

Another of the new-in-2010 teams, Team Lotus, has announced that from next season it will be using the kinetic energy recovery system developed by Red Bull.

"We have done the very best job we can this year but without that extra power we are always competing on a different level to the teams ahead," said team boss Tony Fernandes.

Virgin is also making efforts to catch the more established teams, including by hiring the highly experienced 'crashgate' engineer Pat Symonds.

"My impression of him is very good," driver Timo Glock told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Symonds' attention to detail is already becoming apparent, with the switch from steel to titanium pitstop jacks, and the use of laser technology for pitstop positioning, seen for the first time in Singapore.

The German report also said the 60 per cent scale model of Virgin's 2012 car is now complete and will enter the McLaren wind tunnel at the end of next month.

But Glock reportedly confirmed that, when complete, the car will not feature a KERS system.

And he warned: "I don't think that by the first race of next year we will make a big jump. There just isn't enough time. But for the start of the European season we are planning a major update."

2012 Pirelli tires in action this week
(GMM) Pirelli's tires for the 2012 season are up and testing this week in Barcelona.

The official supplier's test driver Lucas di Grassi has revealed he is in action at the Circuit de Catalunya.

So how do the 2012 tires feel?: "Can't tell you, sorry," the Brazilian said on Twitter.

The F1 teams may get their first taste of next year's rubber during the young drivers' test at Yas Marina after the penultimate grand prix of the season in mid November.

"We will use the 2012 tire if the teams want," said motor sport director Paul Hembery.

The driver lineup for the rookies' test in Abu Dhabi is taking shape, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

While Jean-Eric Vergne will appear for Red Bull, the energy drink's sister team Toro Rosso is reportedly selling its test seats for $200,000.

Williams will have its Finnish test driver Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes will have Sam Bird, and McLaren intends to run Gary Paffett.

Jules Bianchi will be in action for Ferrari, while Esteban Gutierrez runs for Sauber.

Amul Official Partner of the Sauber F1 Team at Indian GP
The Sauber F1 Team is pleased to announce Amul as an Official Partner at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. Amul is Asia’s largest milk brand. Its logos will appear on the rear wing front face and on the drivers’ helmets.

R S Sodhi, Managing Director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd., welcomes the Sauber F1 Team to the first ever F1 Grand Prix in India: “Amul’s vision for success through teamwork, technology, speed and innovation matches the core values of Formula One. Technology has been the driving force for over six decades at Amul, be it for breed improvement, IT integration at village level for procurement, processing of milk and for development of several products for the first time in the world like milk powder from buffalo milk in 1960’s to probiotic and sugar-free ice creams in recent times. The association with the Sauber F1 Team in the Indian Grand Prix will enhance Amul’s global brand presence and put it on the global map."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Chief Executive of the Sauber F1 Team, says: “We are proud that we can announce this partnership with Amul, one of India’s leading brands. Amul products are present in practically every household. Having spent my childhood in Dehradun, India, I have fond memories of Amul products."

Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation is India’s largest food products marketing organization. It procures 4 billion liters of milk annually from 3 million milk producers in more than 15,000 villages, and processes and markets its product range comprising butter, cheese, ice cream, fresh milk, yoghurt, milk powders, UHT milk, flavored milk, ghee, paneer etc in 3,000 cities and towns of India and 40 countries around the world. Its annual sales turnover in 2010-2011 was US$ 2.2 billion.

Mercedes wants tighter control over RRA
Mercedes GP has called for a more hard line approach to ensure that all Formula 1 teams are abiding by the Resource Restriction Agreement, amid renewed controversy about potential overspending.

All F1 outfits have signed up to abide by the RRA, which puts limit on the number of personnel they can have and how much they can spend over the course of a season.

A recent benchmark study of teams' activities by Dutch consultants Capgemini prompted fresh reports that Red Bull Racing had breached the agreement – but this was strongly denied by the team and there was no evidence to support such claims.

However, Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn believes that investigations into teams need to go much further than simply defining their activities and that a full audit of spending must be undertaken.

"What we need with RRA is an independent audit of both the methodology and the numbers so we can all be comfortable," explained Brawn, whose team downsized dramatically when Honda pulled out of F1 at the end of 2008.

"We achieved that with the aero testing. We have a university in Switzerland that comes to look at all the teams, looks at their CFD work, looks at their wind tunnel work and checks they are achieving the figures that they say they are. And we must achieve that with RRA – as it is the only way we can stop these accusations and innuendo.

"What has been done so far is a benchmarking of the methodology and not benchmarking of the numbers. The process done so far is to check that all teams are interpreting the regulations in the same way, and it has been successful. But we believe it has to go deeper than that, and we need auditing of the numbers because it is such a competitive element of what we do.

"Our cars are measured, they are weighed, and checked intermittently. The amount of money spent is a very strong influence for your competitiveness, and you need to have good control of it."

Brawn believes that the situation surrounding RRA is similar to that which F1 underwent several years with traction control where teams were rumoured to be running illegal driver aids but it was never proved.

"I think there is still work we need to do with RRA to get everybody comfortable," he said. "It is a great initiative and teams are working very well together, but this is a very competitive business so naturally the focus goes on the teams that are successful. I have had that experience myself.

"We have to take an objective view. I think where we have to end up with the RRA is the ability to fully audit all the requirements of the RRA and when we reach that stage, everybody is going to be comfortable, then some of the innuendo and accusations can stop, which is what we want to do.

"If you recall the days of traction control, people not knowing whether people did or did not have it, there were all sorts of accusations going around. And because we could not disprove it, somebody could come along and say 'you have traction control' and we could not disprove it until we got standard ECUs. Then the problem went away and nobody talked about it anymore." Yahoo! Eurosport

Ferrari shows signs of pen-man envy
Having been out-gunned by another of his designs in 2011, Ferrari personnel have been quick to pay tribute to Red Bull Racing's Adrian Newey – even as a member of the Scuderia's 'dream team' has been spotted back at Maranello.

Newey has now designed two championship-winning cars for RBR – okay, so Sebastian Vettel still needs a single point to repeat as number one – adding to the impressive record established during spells with both Williams and McLaren, and Ferrari has quite clearly realised that it has missed out by not having secured the services of the Englishman sometime in the last 15 years

"Obviously, there is teamwork, but what is clear is that they are the only team that has this genius that is Adrian Newey, who has done another great project," team principal Stefano Domenicali told Spanish sports newspaper Marca after the Prancing Horse's last championship hope was extinguished in Singapore, "F1 has changed a lot compared to the past, when there were a great many personalities. Now there is only one, and this guy is with Red Bull."

Former Ferrari team chief Cesare Fiorio echoed Domenicali's claim, suggesting that Newey was making Red Bull and its principal Christian Horner look better than they would otherwise be.

"If Domenicali had Adrian Newey, it would be him who is considered the phenomenal team manager," the 72-year old Italian told La Nazione, amid rumours that the current leader's position was in danger after failing to win the title in two years with Fernando Alonso on board.

Even as Maranello was singing its rival's praises, however, rumours abounded that Rory Byrne, who formed a fifth of the famed 'dream team' that delivered five successive championships for Michael Schumacher, was being drafted in to help turn around its fortunes for 2012.

Both El Pais, courtesy of wannabe F1 returnee Joan Villadelprat, and AS have reported that South African Byrne had been lured out of his Far East retirement to link up with Ferrari's new technical director Pat Fry. The team, meanwhile, insists that next year's car has been designed, following the exit of Byrne's replacement Aldo Costa, by Nicholas Tombazis.

Ferrari has already admitted that it is focusing its endeavours on 2012, and Domenicali is optimistic that impending rule changes surrounding the siting of exhausts and effectiveness of diffusers will level the playing field somewhat.

"[Red Bull] are good, but I think this area of the blown diffuser is precisely where we have not been able to get the performance we wanted," he opined, "They have been very good with this, but I think the car for next year will have fewer areas where you can find something else in the rules, so I am quite optimistic because we started [next year's car] very early – some people will say in August – and the first wind tunnel numbers are very encouraging."

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