Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • Buemi sets new Swiss waterslide record
  • 2011 was last chance for F1 dream – Perez
  • RB7 to be evolution of 2010 Red Bull – Newey
  • Red Bull keeping F1 engine 'options open' – Horner
  • Alonso among top Spaniards on 'net in 2010
  • HRT to use old car for first 2011 test
  • Montoya says 'no chance' of F1 return
  • Germans not predicting Schumacher title in 2011
  • Rosberg not sure Mercedes can catch up in 2011
  • Alonso not worried about Vettel/Ferrari rumors
  • Pirelli to return to Bahrain in January
  • Lauda wants Sutil, Hulkenberg at Force India
  • HRT engineer says F1 KERS systems 'inefficient'

Buemi sets new Swiss waterslide record
(GMM) Although F1 is in its winter recess, Sebastien Buemi has set a new record.

The Toro Rosso driver slid down the three high-speed waterslides at Aquaparc in Le Bouveret, Switzerland, faster than the previous record holder.

"I have a competitive spirit, whatever game I am taking part in," said the Swiss 22-year-old, according to Le Nouvelliste.

He admitted that launching himself into waterslides as quickly as possible is a risky off-season pursuit.

"It can be dangerous in the sense that you can slip over, that's true. But I was careful," smiled Buemi.

"Before coming, I got the 'ok' from my team," he added.

2011 was last chance for F1 dream – Perez
(GMM) Sergio Perez has admitted that his F1 dream would have likely slipped away if he had not been signed to make his debut in 2011.

The 20-year-old Mexican, backed by the Carlos Slim-led Telmex company, is quoted by the Spanish website "I think this was my last chance to enter F1."

Just before Christmas at Hinwil, Perez had his seat fitting for next year's Ferrari-powered Sauber C30 and admitted that a third consecutive season in GP2 in 2011 "would have made it difficult" to progress to F1.

He ultimately finished the season second behind fellow 2011 F1 rookie Pastor Maldonado, admitting that he felt the pressure this year.

"Half way through the negotiations with the F1 teams began and I was fourth or fifth (in GP2), and at this time Carlos Slim was clear with me.

"He told me that if I was not in the fight for the championship then I would not be in the minds of the teams and my chance was going to slip away," explained Perez.

He also played down suggestions that money is outpacing talent at present in terms of which young drivers are moving into F1.

"F1 is a world of big money and we have noticed that there was a lot of interest with the business opportunities in Mexico, and for sure it didn't hurt me," said Perez.

"But I have proved that I am a good driver; nobody has given me anything."

RB7 to be evolution of 2010 Red Bull – Newey
(GMM) Red Bull's 2011 car will be a further evolution of the pace-setting cars of the past two seasons.

This year, the championship-winning RB6 was an evolution of the similarly Adrian Newey-penned 2009 car, which although beaten to the title by Brawn was ultimately the quickest package.

And Briton Newey is quoted by in Austria: "It (the 2011 RB7) is a further evolution of the current series. The DNA of the car is the same.

"The (2010) RB6 was basically an evolution of the last car; one basically turned into the next."

Asked if the team's rivals will therefore once again spend the season complaining about the legality of the new machine, he answered: "I hope so!

"Because that would mean we have done a good job again. If you're out the front in F1, everyone always thinks you are cheating," laughed Newey.

Red Bull keeping F1 engine 'options open' – Horner
(GMM) Team boss Christian Horner has backed reports that Red Bull's F1 cars might one day be powered by their own brand of engine.

When Volkswagen was recently linked with an engine supply foray in the future, the closely-aligned Red Bull was mooted as a natural partner.

"We are on stand-by for an interesting partnership," said team owner Dietrich Mateschitz recently.

"And even the idea of developing our own engine, I think, is no longer so absurd," he added.

The new formula for 2013 might be the ideal time for Red Bull to split with its current supplier Renault and delve into F1 engine design.

"It is important to keep all the options open," Horner told the Austrian website "This is one of Mr. Mateschitz's great strengths."

An F1 alliance with VW, however, might be considered more likely.

"With Didi's vision, anything is possible," acknowledged Horner.

Alonso among top Spaniards on 'net in 2010
(GMM) Taking into account news items, blogs and forums, Fernando Alonso was the hottest Spaniard in sport this year.

But the study by vipnet360 showed that when Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are also factored in, the Ferrari driver ranks only fifth.

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta was therefore the most popular Spanish sportsman on the internet in 2010, followed by fellow football players Iker Casillas and David Villa.

Tennis' Rafael Nadal and Alonso ranked fourth and fifth, according to a Europa Press report.

HRT to use old car for first 2011 test
(GMM) HRT's 2011 car will not be present for the start of the official pre-season test period in early February.

Owner Jose Ramon Carabante recently announced that the Hispania team will be running at the first group session at Valencia on 1 February.

But El Mundo Deportivo newspaper reports that the single seater in action will be HRT's Dallara-built 2010 car.

The report said the main reason HRT will not have its 2011 car at Cheste is because the team wants to evaluate a range of potential race drivers for next season.

HRT recently split with its 2011 car supplier Toyota, with Carabante revealing that a Cosworth-powered chassis is being designed by Geoff Willis "partly in Germany and partly in England and it will be ready".

Montoya says 'no chance' of F1 return
(GMM) Juan Pablo Montoya has played down the prospect of reversing his switch from F1 to America's premier NASCAR series.

During a difficult tenure at McLaren in 2006, the Colombian moved to NASCAR and today still races a Target-sponsored Chip Ganassi entry.

"Some people tell me I should go back to F1, but I'm happy," said the 35-year-old, who made his F1 debut for Williams in 2011 and won 7 grands prix in total.

"I think it is clear that there is no chance of going the other way at the moment," added Montoya, according to the Spanish language

In 2010, Montoya failed to finish among the top 12 Sprint Cup contenders; a system for deciding the series champion known as The Chase.

"At this moment I am happy, my sponsor is happy and Chip Ganassi is happy and that's all I care about," he insisted.

He says NASCAR is "more fun" than F1.

"I saw the (Abu Dhabi) finale this year and it's like it has been all the time — one car is a second faster than another but he cannot pass.

"They say the problem is the tracks but honestly F1 has always been the same," he added.

Montoya said he thinks F1's new champion Sebastian Vettel deserves the title.

"He's got talent even though he did everything possible not to win it," he said of Vettel.

"He and his team made many mistakes that made it very complicated for them, but I think the fastest driver and car won," added Montoya.

Germans not predicting Schumacher title in 2011
(GMM) More than 70 per cent of those surveyed by the major German news agency SID do not believe Michael Schumacher will win an eighth world title in 2011.

The most successful driver in F1 history had a difficult return to the sport in 2010 after three years of retirement, finishing ninth in the championship and 70 points behind his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Comparing the return to his own comeback in the 80s, triple world champion Niki Lauda told Spain's El Pais newspaper: "In my second phase in F1, the testing was not limited so I had plenty of mileage to prepare.

"Michael has had trouble adjusting. Furthermore, he has been against a lot of young guys eager to prove they can beat him, including Rosberg who is really fast.

"2010 was a year of practice for him (Schumacher)," added Lauda. "At first I thought he would not take more than four races to be back, and winning races has never been easy, but now it is harder than ever before.

"Anyway, if anyone can do what he has to do, it's him," said the Austrian great.

Rosberg not sure Mercedes can catch up in 2011
(GMM) Nico Rosberg is confident of a more successful season for Mercedes in 2011.

But the 25-year-old German, who this year finished 70 points ahead of his famous teammate Michael Schumacher, is not so sure the team's progress will be enough to close the gap to the pacesetters entirely.

"On the one hand, I'm obviously happy that I was able to beat Michael (in 2010)," he told the SID news agency.

"That was very important because you compare yourself with who is in the other car.

"On the other hand, I had hoped for better results, but they will come — hopefully in the near future," Rosberg, who spent Christmas with his family in Finland, added.

He acknowledged that he is unsure as to whether next year's Mercedes, designed and built at Brackley in the UK, will be a winner.

"The gap we are closing is of course fairy big," said Rosberg. "It will take time and I don't know how much. Perhaps at the beginning of next season we will be close.

"We will have to see, it is difficult to predict. What is definite is that we will look better than this year," he insisted.

Alonso not worried about Vettel/Ferrari rumors
(GMM) Fernando Alonso insists he would have no fear if he was paired at Ferrari with F1's new youngest world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said in recent days that the 23-year-old German will drive a red car "sooner or later", and Bild newspaper now quotes Vettel as saying a seat at the Maranello based team is a "desire and goal".

"I'm not worried about someone coming (to Ferrari) or not," the bearded Spaniard Alonso insisted in his hometown Oviedo for a charity run.

News agency EFE quotes him as insisting he has had "no problem" keeping up with teammates in F1, and that none of them have ever finished "even one point" ahead of him in the final classifications.

"I don't have much more to say on the matter," he added. "The truth is that it wouldn't be a problem whether Vettel or anyone else comes."

Alonso said his only focus for 2011 is Ferrari providing him with a "fast" car to mount another challenge for the title.

"I have no doubt that next year I will have the Ferrari that I want.

"Because of its prestige and pedigree, Ferrari is obligated to challenge always for the championship so I am sure I will have a car that allows me to do that.

"In late January we will present the car and in February we will test it," he announced.

Pirelli to return to Bahrain in January
(GMM) The next private test for 2011 F1 tire supplier Pirelli will also be in Bahrain.

With the 2009 Toyota and delayed for a day by a sandstorm, test drivers Romain Grosjean and Pedro de la Rosa recently tested at the Sakhir track over five days.

"There's still some work to do, but we can head into 2011 with confidence," said the marque's racing boss Paul Hembery.

The German-language Speed Week reports that after doing 3000 kilometers in Bahrain before Christmas, Pirelli will be back at the desert island on January 9 and 10 before immediately moving to Abu Dhabi for three more test days.

The F1 teams will then do their first group test of 2011 on Pirelli tires at Valencia from 1 February.

Lauda wants Sutil, Hulkenberg at Force India
(GMM) Force India is now the last significant team with driver vacancies for the 2011 season.

With HRT likely to select a pair of well-financed racers much closer to the start of the season, a handful of highly rated candidates are clamoring for the two Mercedes-powered seats at the team run by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya.

Adrian Sutil insists he has agreed in principle a new deal with the Silverstone based team, while the fate of the under-contract Vitantonio Liuzzi is reportedly less clear.

Also in the running are the likes of 2010 reserve driver and new DTM champion Paul di Resta, Williams refugee and Interlagos pole sitter Nico Hulkenberg, and the highly experienced Nick Heidfeld.

Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan have also been linked with the drives and would be heavily supported by Bernie Ecclestone, who would like an Indian to be on the grid when Delhi hosts its inaugural grand prix next October.

"On sporting criteria alone, Force India should have Sutil and Hulkenberg in 2011," Niki Lauda is quoted by the Swiss newspaper Blick.

HRT engineer says F1 KERS systems 'inefficient'
(GMM) A prominent engineer at the Spanish team HRT has proffered a cynical view of F1's returning KERS technology.

Originally debuting in 2009 and now returning for the 2011 season, the controversial systems store energy collected under braking that is redeployed as power at the press of a button on the steering wheel.

It is believed that HRT, as well as Virgin, do not intend to have KERS as part of their packages at the start of the 2011 season.

Spaniard Toni Cuquerella, earlier an engineer in F1 with BMW, denounced F1's KERS systems as "inefficient" whilst speaking at a technical university in Valencia.

"It is a fashionable green technology that helps to sell more (road) cars," he is quoted by Spain's

"It's inefficient but the large manufacturers want it to sell their cars."

Added Cuquerella: "A lot of the manufacturers want KERS as a tool of their marketing departments to justify their investments in formula one."

Meanwhile, he addressed boss Colin Kolles' controversial recent statement that it was HRT's inexperienced drivers that held the team back in 2010.

"It is true that we were disadvantaged compared to having a driver like Trulli, but there is no doubt that the car was slow as well," he conceded.

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