Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Vettel

    2012 'option' to keep Vettel at Red Bull

  • Vettel and Hamilton had 'easier' route to F1 – di Resta
  • Sutil admits to 'listening' to rival offers
  • Manager Weber eyes 2012 return for Hulkenberg
  • Italian police seize 1.5m alleging Briatore tax fraud

2012 'option' to keep Vettel at Red Bull
(GMM) A results clause in Sebastian Vettel's contract means the reigning world champion is unlikely to leave Red Bull at the end of this year.

Having become F1's youngest ever title winner in 2010, the 23-year-old German has been linked with a high profile move to Ferrari.

Vettel remains under contract for 2011, but it was believed that the 'option' relating to 2012 was exercisable by either the driver or the Austrian team.

But in an article published by the Red Bull-owned Speed Week magazine, it is revealed that if Vettel wins a prescribed number of races this year, and finishes the championship in the top three, he will be locked in for 2012.

The editorial said that all the speculation about Vettel's future beyond 2011 was "written without knowledge of his contractual situation" regarding the 2012 option.

"There is an option based on the results," Red Bull's Helmut Marko confirmed. "We will not just let a top driver go."

Paul di Resta – can he compete at the level required in F1 after years in Touring cars?

Vettel and Hamilton had 'easier' route to F1 – di Resta
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton had an "easier" run into formula one through racing's formative stages.

That is the claim of F1's newest rookie Paul di Resta, who insisted at the announcement of his Force India debut for 2011 that he feels part of the same "generation" as the 2008 and 2010 world champions.

Scot di Resta, 24, is the new DTM champion, having detoured to the German touring car series after beating Vettel to the F3 Euroseries title in 2006.

"I wouldn't say it's been frustrating, (but) they've had it easier than me," he said of Vettel as well as the McLaren protege Hamilton, whose father Anthony is di Resta's manager.

"They (Vettel and Hamilton) had different backing and that got them there a bit quicker," he added. "Looking at it they were luckier than I am, but I've got there."

Di Resta therefore insists he is not fazed by the young champions' achievements.

"I don't want to sound big-headed," he said, "but I wasn't racing them when they won their championships. We've had some great battles in the past. Hopefully I'll get a repeat of that in the future."

His first target in F1, however, will be Force India's ever-present incumbent, Adrian Sutil.

"I would hope to be on the same pace as him or quicker than him from the start," said di Resta firmly.

Sutil admits to 'listening' to rival offers
(GMM) Adrian Sutil has admitted he was open-minded about switching to a different team for 2011.

Instead, the Silverstone-based team's ever-present German driver has recommitted for a fifth consecutive season, with a deal made official in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Speaking to Auto Bild Motorsport, the 28-year-old admits he looked around at his options at the end of last year.

But he insisted: "Force India was always the first priority, even if you have to listen to what the others can offer you.

"I am very pleased to be staying," added Sutil.

Manager Weber eyes 2012 return for Hulkenberg
(GMM) 2011 for Nico Hulkenberg will be about staying on the radar ahead of returning to a race cockpit next year.

That is the claim of the 23-year-old German's famous manager Willi Weber, who has secured his charge the third role at Force India.

Hulkenberg had a solid rookie season for Williams, including pole position in Brazil, but the British team has instead signed Pastor Maldonado for 2011.

Auto Motor und Sport claims that new GP2 champion Maldonado is bringing EUR 30 million to the Oxfordshire based team.

"In formula one, money rules," Force India race driver Adrian Sutil, who takes a sponsor to the team in the form of computer brand Medion, is quoted by Auto Bild Motorsport.

Said Hulkenberg's manager Weber: "Of course I would rather have seen Nico in a racing cockpit, but I'm glad that at least with Force India he has the foot in the door."

Force India confirmed that Hulkenberg has signed longer than just a one-year contract.

"Now it's about him doing a good job as test driver so that in 2012 he is back racing," added Weber, according to the SID news agency.

Auto Motor und Sport said Hulkenberg's new role will involve driving on the Friday mornings at grands prix.

Briatore in trouble again

Italian police seize 1.5m alleging Briatore tax fraud
(GMM) Italian authorities have seized EUR 1.5 million from Flavio Briatore's European bank accounts.

In 2010, the ousted Renault boss' luxury boat Force Blue was boarded and seized by Italian authorities on suspicion of improper registration as a charter.

Investigators alleged the 60-year-old Italian and his family were the sole users of the boat and using the false registration as a tax break.

Now, Italian reports including La Repubblica report that the financial police Guardia di Finanza have seized EUR 1.5m from Briatore's bank accounts in Italy and Monaco, claiming it is the proceeds of tax fraud.

Italian media sources say Briatore is currently staying at his coastal resort Lion in the Sun in Kenya with his wife Elisabetta and their young son.

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