Latest F1 news in brief – Friday (UPDATED)

UPDATE See updates shown in red below.


  • Ferrari targets aero gains to catch Red Bull
  • Montezemolo wants start time change for F1 races
  • Brawn not sure Pirelli to suit Schumacher in 2011
  • Manager denies Raikkonen set to quit racing
  • Dennis names best and worst moments in career
  • Mosley takes media privacy crusade to human rights court
  • Court says HRT owner Carabante owes business partner EUR 47.5m New
  • HRT confirms Karthikeyan for 2011 New
  • Italian suits for Kobayashi and Perez New

Ferrari targets aero gains to catch Red Bull
(GMM) Ferrari has restructured its aerodynamics department and upgraded its wind tunnel in a bid to track down the championship-winning Red Bull team in 2011.

That is the announcement of the Maranello based team's chief designer Nikolas Tombazis, after Red Bull's car proved the class of the field for the second consecutive season last year.

Ferrari would have won the drivers' title if not for the race strategy blunder in Abu Dhabi, but Ferrari figures including Tombazis openly admit that the F10 was not as quick as the RB6.

"Mainly in the area of aerodynamics our car was not as good as the Red Bull," Athens-born Tombazis told the German magazine Sport Bild.

"That's why we have restructured the aerodynamics department, upgraded our wind tunnel and launched an ambitious development program.

"And of course we are looking to have new and innovative components," he added.

Fernando Alonso will give Ferrari's 2011 car its track debut at the Valencia group test beginning 1 February.

"But we are expecting a fairly big step up for the first race," revealed Tombazis. "The configuration has a lot of development potential."

Luca di Montezemolo

Montezemolo wants start time change for F1 races
(GMM) F1 should think about changing the race start time for grands prix, according to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

Most races on the annual calendar traditionally kick off in the early hours of the afternoon.

"I don't think it's good that in July or August the races begin at 2 o'clock when most people are laying on the beach," the Italian told Germany's Sport Bild.

"Football games don't get started until 5 o'clock or later," added Montezemolo.

He also maintained his push for leading F1 teams to be allowed to field three cars.

"We don't want to build it for the Scuderia, but for another team," said Montezemolo. "A Spanish (team), an American, whatever."

Brawn not sure Pirelli to suit Schumacher in 2011
(GMM) It is too early to say whether F1's switch from Bridgestone to Pirelli will make Michael Schumacher more competitive in 2011.

That is the admission of Ross Brawn, the seven time world champion's Mercedes GP team boss who said the great German had an "encouraging" finish to his F1 comeback in 2010.

The great German celebrated his 42nd birthday this week, but "I didn't have to think about a present because I already know what he wants — a competitive car", smiled Brawn.

"I am sure he will have a better time this season," the Briton told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

It has been suggested that last year's tires did not suit Schumacher and that the switch to Pirelli will work in his favor.

"It's a little premature to say that," insisted Brawn.

"During the tests in Abu Dhabi we didn't see any big differences in performance compared with Bridgestone.

"But it is clear that in changing the supplier, the car will have to be different and there may be a lot of changes during the winter tests," he added.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo poked fun at Schumacher's comeback performance by suggesting it was the former Ferrari champion's "twin" at the wheel of the silver Mercedes in 2010.

"Today I would have to say that Michael is definitely not happy with the performance of his twin," the Italian told the German magazine Sport Bild.

"Should Ferrari have a third car, I would always give it to the old Michael Schumacher, but not to his twin," added Montezemolo.

Manager denies Raikkonen set to quit racing
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen's management has played down reports the 2007 world champion could be set to hang up his helmet.

It was suggested this week that the world rally driver had ceased all talks about his plans for 2011 following the death of his father two days before Christmas.

"Since the death of Matti Raikkonen, all the plans (of Kimi Raikkonen) are on ice," said his co-driver Kaj Lindstrom.

But the 31-year-old's manager Steve Robertson told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3 that he would be surprised if the former Ferrari and McLaren driver retires.

"There is a lot of talk and of course he is upset about his father's death, which is normal," Robertson said, amid rumors a new deal with Citroen is close.

He added: "I'm pretty sure Kimi will still be involved in motor sport."

Robertson did not want to comment on whether Raikkonen sees his future in rallying or whether a return to F1 one day is possible.

"Kimi is a world champion so of course he has many options," said Robertson. "But at the moment, there is nothing to say."

He indicated that the current period of uncertainty will soon be past.

"Well, it's January, so I don't think it's going to be a very long time," said Robertson.

Ron Dennis (L) and Fernando Alonso who split on bad terms after Dennis allowed the team to favor Lewis Hamilton

Dennis names best and worst moments in career
(GMM) Ron Dennis has named Mika Hakkinen's near-fatal crash in 1995 as the worst memory in his long McLaren career.

The 63-year-old, for a long time the Woking based team's F1 principal and still the executive chairman and shareholder, said his first title as boss – with Niki Lauda in 1984 – is his best memory.

"The finest moment?" Dennis is quoted by Turun Sanomat in Finland. "Of course I should say it was the last championship with Lewis, but for me it was the first one with Niki."

The Briton did not hesitate when contemplating his lowest point.

"The worst was when I had to go to a hospital in Adelaide after Mika's accident," revealed Dennis. "There was a possibility that a driver had died in my car.

"Fortunately that never happened," he added.

Dennis named Hakkinen, Lewis Hamilton and Ayrton Senna as McLaren's best drivers.

"Mika I choose for his honesty, Lewis for his uncompromising attitude, and Ayrton because of his passion," he said.

Mosley takes media privacy crusade to human rights court
(GMM) Max Mosley's crusade against newspapers breaching personal privacy will head next week to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

In 2008, the former FIA president was the subject of an investigative piece by the News of the World showing the then 67-year-old Mosley engaged in what the tabloid alleged was Nazi-themed sado-masochistic sex with prostitutes.

The Briton won a round of legal action against media outlets and then filed against the United Kingdom, asking that individuals be given the chance to argue in court before newspapers can publish stories about personal lives.

A media lawyer told the Press Gazette that, if successful, Mosley's action could "imperil investigative journalism" and lead to newspapers "folding".

"There will be a radically different press if he is successful with a lot of the color taken away," said Caroline Kean.

The case will begin on Tuesday with opening addresses by barristers, but the outcome is not expected to be known for some months.

"Proper investigative journalism should not be affected (by the action); unlawful sex exposes should be," said Mosley's lawyer Dominic Crossley. "There needs to be a proper practical remedy for privacy rights that works."

Court says HRT owner Carabante owes business partner EUR 47.5m
(GMM) A Spanish arbitration court has ruled that HRT team owner Jose Ramon Carabante owes almost 50 million euros to a business partner.

Mid last year, the payment dispute with Trinitario Casanova, from whom Carabante bought the Grupo Hispania in 2008, emerged, with each claiming the other owes them multiple millions.

The Madrid commercial court La Corte y Mercantil de Arbitraje ruled a few days ago that Carabante pay EUR 47.5 million to Casanova within 20 days, according to the La Verdad newspaper.

But according to another report in the Spanish newspaper Expansion, "Trinitario and I came to an agreement before" the ruling, Carabante is quoted as saying.

In the same report, Carabante defended HRT's lackluster debut season in 2010.

"We finished more races than many other teams, and Virgin, for instance – with a much higher budget – fell behind us," he insisted.

"At first it was said we would not be at the first race, then it was said we would last two races, then three, and finally we finished the season with dignity," added Carabante.

He also said HRT is close to reaching an agreement with an investor.

"We are in advanced negotiations for the entry of an international investor," he announced. "It would be for a minority of capital because I don't want to sell completely."

The Colin Kolles-led team said on Friday that it has "expanded (its) resources" for 2011 and is confident of "becoming more competitive".

HRT confirms Karthikeyan for 2011
(GMM) As expected on Friday morning, HRT confirmed reports that Narain Karthikeyan will drive for the Spanish team in 2011.

33-year-old Indian Karthikeyan, who raced a single season under then Jordan boss Colin Kolles in 2005, had announced the news late on Thursday via Twitter.

Hispania confirmed that Karthikeyan's deal came after "many months of negotiations and discussions" between him and "several formula one teams".

Press Release
“The Fastest Indian in The World", Narain Karthikeyan will make his long awaited and promised comeback to the pinnacle of world motorsport, The Formula 1 World Championship, in 2011. After many months of negotiations and discussions with several Formula 1 teams, Narain Karthikeyan and his management have finally inked a contract with Hispania Racing as a race driver for the 2011 Formula 1 season.

Since his last stint in Formula 1, as a race driver for Jordan Grand Prix in 2005, and a test driver for Williams F1 in 2006 & 2007, Narain has been racing competitively at some of the highest levels of international motorsport. From 2007 until 2009, he was the lead driver for A1 Team India in A1GP, The World Cup of Motorsport, where he won two races and achieved one pole position, becoming the first Indian ever to win a World Championship race. In 2009, he raced for the Kolles Audi Team in the Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24-Hour race, again becoming the first ever Indian to race in that legendary event. The car finished 7th overall.

2010 was one of Narain’s busiest years ever, as he raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the USA, as well as in the Superleague Formula in Europe, where he won a race at his favorite circuit, Brands Hatch in the UK. His win there has extended his already unique record at that circuit, where he is the only driver to win a race in every series in which he has ever raced.
Hispania Racing will participate in the 2011 Formula 1 Championship with a much improved and more competitive package. The Spanish team have expanded their own resources, and have established strong technical partnerships. Along with the proven reliability of the Cosworth engine, the team is confident that they have taken a positive step forward in their engineering solutions towards becoming more competitive on the Formula 1 grid.

Colin Kolles, Team Principal Hispania Racing:
“It is a great pleasure for us to have signed Narain Karthikeyan as our race driver for the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship. I have known Narain for a long time and he can revert to the experiences he gained when he was competing for Jordan Grand Prix and being test and reserve driver for Williams F1. Narain has also been driving in other racing series and running in one of the legendary Audi sports cars in the Le Mans Series. I am sure that his experience and speed will be very useful for the team during the season. We are welcoming Narain to our team and we look forward to working closely with him this year."

Narain Karthikeyan:
“It’s been a while in the making, but I am extremely happy to be racing again in Formula 1 in 2011. I have always maintained that I have not given up on my desire to return to the pinnacle of world motorsport. I am confident that I still have the pace, the fitness and the will to succeed in Formula 1. I’m looking forward to racing for Hispania Racing, and to working again with Dr. Colin Kolles. We have a long standing and excellent working relationship together. I’m also looking forward to racing at the first ever Indian Grand Prix in October, and I hope that the Indian public will spur me on with their blessings and good wishes."

Italian suits for Kobayashi and Perez
A “P1" displayed on his pit board tells a racing driver that he’s leading. And P1 is also the name of the new Italian brand whose safe, stylish and comfortable driver overalls will be worn by the Sauber F1 Team drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez in the forthcoming 2011 season.

The new racewear line by Enrico Glorioso, who founded the firm Sparco in 1977, will be officially unveiled at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, England in mid-January 2011. P1 offers the Formula One drivers four-layer suits made from high-tech materials and weighing under 900 grams. Indeed, their impressively low weight inspired the name “Protech 0,8".

As well as the drivers, the whole Sauber F1 Team pit crew will also be kitted out in suits, gloves, shoes and flame-retardant underwear from the P1 racewear line in 2011.

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