Latest F1 news in brief – Monday (UPDATED)

UPDATE See updates noted in red below.


  • Marussia must approve d'Ambrosio for 2011 Virgin seat
  • Heidfeld admits interest in BMW's DTM foray
  • Schumacher not happy to stay in F1 midfield
  • Ferrari title loss is 'one less problem' for F1 – Mosley
  • More rest for Kovalainen after crash knockout
  • Trulli's only motivation this year was 2011 prospect
  • Kobayashi wins Autosport’s Rookie of the Year Award
  • Vettel scores International Driver of the Year award
  • New Red Bull to be ready for first test – Vettel New
  • Webber carried new shoulder break through 2010 finale New

Marussia must approve d'Ambrosio for 2011 Virgin seat
(GMM) Jerome d'Ambrosio is on the verge of securing his formula one race debut.

The 24-year-old completed the 2010 season as Virgin's Friday morning driver in the place of Brazilian rookie Lucas di Grassi.

Timo Glock is staying with the British team next year, and the Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure and La Libre say d'Ambrosio will almost certainly be his teammate.

The reports said Virgin Racing approved the deal last week, and it must now be signed off by the team's new Russian shareholder and title sponsor Marussia.

Confirmation is expected before Christmas, and d'Ambrosio admitted he is "confident".

"I have done what I can, now I am waiting," he added.

German Glock backed the delay in the confirmation of his 2011 teammate.

"I think it is right to take our time and make sure we have the best combination of youth and experience, plus the best information going back into the team at testing and races to ensure we can develop as quickly as we want to and keep moving forward," he said.

Heidfeld admits interest in BMW's DTM foray
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld has admitted he might be interested in working with BMW once again.

Between 2006 and last year, the German raced with the Bavarian carmaker in formula one.

At 33, he is now struggling to find a full-time cockpit for 2011, having tested with Pirelli this year and then completed the season with Sauber.

BMW is no longer in F1, but the marque is set to enter the German touring car series DTM in 2012.

"I have not finished my career in formula one, but working in the long term with BMW when they return to the DTM would be interesting," Heidfeld admitted to Auto Bild.

BMW's departing motor sport director Dr Mario Theissen indicated that the DTM team is seeking a driver of Heidfeld's caliber.

"It will be important that we have a good development driver," he admitted.

Schumacher not happy to stay in F1 midfield
(GMM) Michael Schumacher has set out his stall for a much more competitive car in 2011.

After three years of retirement, the 41-year-old struggled this year alongside his younger teammate Nico Rosberg, but neither were able to win with the W01.

Schumacher has a contract with Mercedes GP for 2011 and also 2012, but the German admitted to Swiss newspaper Blick that he needs to be pushing further up the pack as soon as possible.

"There is really only one goal, and that's winning," said the seven time world champion.

"The team won the world championship last year, so it's pretty hard for everyone to have a season like we had.

"Of course from my side it's important to identify the weaknesses, but I didn't have to put my finger into the wound to wake people up — that is done automatically with the results.

"So we are extremely motivated to come into a position to be able to win. This is the basic requirement; I said already at the start that I don't want to drive around in the middle (of the field)," insisted Schumacher.

Although also not happy with 2010, arguably the only winner at Mercedes this year was Rosberg, who by beating Schumacher showed his potential for wins and titles.

"He (Schumacher) is a very high profile teammate and I'm obviously happy to have been ahead of him," the 25-year-old is quoted by Auto Bild.

Like Schumacher, Rosberg is hopeful of a better 2011 but acknowledges the scale of the task.

"Sooner or later it will happen, but we can't forget that the gap we have to the front is quite big," he insisted.

Bernie Ecclestone observes that Mercedes' results in 2010 make it difficult to assess the performances of both Schumacher and Rosberg.

"Put him (Schumacher) in one of the Red Bulls and then see what happens," the F1 chief executive wrote in the foreword to the Official Formula 1 Season Review 2010.

"But then we don't know how good Rosberg is. Maybe Rosberg in a Red Bull would beat all of them," mused Ecclestone.

Ferrari title loss is 'one less problem' for F1 – Mosley
(GMM) Max Mosley has admitted he is "happy" Ferrari and Fernando Alonso did not win the 2010 world championship.

The former FIA president, who in 2002 banned team orders after the Italian team's infamous place-swapping in Austria, thinks Ferrari and Alonso should have lost points for the team orders deployed this year at Hockenheim.

So if Ferrari and Alonso had ultimately won the championship, "It would have given the world another unpleasant discussion about team orders.

"I doubt whether that would have been good for formula one," Mosley told the German newspaper Die Welt.

"So thank god we are instead talking about the strategy mistake of the last race and not whether Ferrari really deserved the title.

"That is one less problem for formula one," added the Briton.

More generally, despite his political collision with Ferrari last year, Mosley praised the Maranello based team's 2010 campaign.

"Ferrari did an excellent job from the middle of the season to the end. They were almost out of the hunt and they managed to bring themselves back."

On the other hand, he hailed F1's new world champion unreservedly.

"Sebastian (Vettel) deserved to win and in every respect is an excellent world champion.

"He is a likeable, relaxed and natural personality so for formula one it's a win as well," said Mosley.

More rest for Kovalainen after crash knockout
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen will spend another week recovering from a head injury sustained recently.

The Lotus driver was ordered to bed early last week after medical checks showed he suffered a heavy concussion when he crashed an Audi R8 during the Race of Champions event in Dusseldorf.

Kovalainen, who was knocked out in the crash while his girlfriend suffered minor injuries, wrote on Twitter that his recovery is "going well".

"Final scans for the head done today, no problems and just one more week resting then back to fitness training!" reported the 29-year-old Finn.

Trulli's only motivation this year was 2011 prospect
(GMM) Jarno Trulli has revealed that his only motivating factor in 2010 was that things should be better next season.

After spending the best part of a decade with the well-funded Renault and Toyota teams, the Italian veteran steered right to the back of the grid for 2010 by signing with Lotus.

Tony Fernandes' new Malaysian team has re-signed him for 2011, as Trulli admitted how difficult this season was.

"At the first test it was obvious what the facts were," the 36-year-old said in an interview with the Dutch magazine

"I knew the year was over and the only way to keep motivation was to count down to next season," added Trulli.

Although with a brand new team powered by a smaller than usual budget whose car was designed and built in record time, Trulli admits he did not expect 2010 to be quite so difficult.

"Of course I expected a difficult season in terms of performance, but not so much on the reliability side.

"By the end, I was used to it. What can you do? Getting angry doesn't help.

"The worst thing was when you had to just finish the race. In Brazil for example the hydraulics failed and I still managed to finish, but it's not how you like to drive.

"But by Brazil I had reached a point when I didn't get angry. Not that I was indifferent, but I was doing it for the team.

"It was important to beat the other newcomers to finish tenth in the world championship, so it doesn't matter if you're not performing as you want or are tired of the hydraulics failing — the team comes first," said Trulli.

"Anyway, the season is over now. I managed to motivate myself until the last race and I'm really looking forward to 2011," he insisted.

Kobayashi wins Autosport’s Rookie of the Year Award
Kamui Kobayashi has won the coveted Rookie of the Year Award at the renowned Autosport Awards. The visitors to the website, which has an audience of 1.5 million motorsport fans every month, voted and considered the Sauber driver’s performance, in what was his first full Formula One season, as outstanding. The 24-year old Japanese was delighted to receive the trophy at the gala event at London’s Grosvenor House hotel on Sunday night.

Kamui Kobayashi said: “I want to thank the readers and users of very, very much for their votes! Last year I attended the gala just as a guest, and now I am one of the awardees. Many good drivers have won this rookie award before me, and it is very nice for me to belong to that circle now. Obviously I will never have the chance to win this prize again because next year I’m not a rookie anymore. I will do my best to maybe come back one day to pick up one of the other trophies."

Peter Sauber: “We are very proud of Kamui and it is a great pleasure and honor for us that the readers of Autosport have awarded his performance this way. Kamui has proved to be a true team player, especially in the first half of the season, which was technically very troublesome, and he has improved constantly over the course of the season. He has shown great performance and established himself against strong competition."

The Autosport Awards have a great tradition. Starting in 1988, many legendary drivers and characters have attended, including Ayrton Senna, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sir Stirling Moss, and Dale Earnhardt, as well as most of the current Formula One drivers. Since 2000 the best ‘Rookie of the Year’ has been awarded. Among the winners have been the last three World Champions – Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel scores International Driver of the Year award
After Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi was named Rookie of the Year during Sunday night’s Autosport awards, the newly crowned 2010 Formula One world champion, Red Bull racing’s Sebastian Vettel, received the honor of being named International Racing Driver of the Year, beating prestigious colleagues such as Dario Franchitti, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

"It's been a tiring month, but a very exciting one too. The wheels haven't stopped turning yet," Vettel said after being handed his award by David Coulthard. "Yesterday we had a very special night with the guys from the team in London, which was very special because I've been around the planet since the one night we had in Abu Dhabi."

“It's been great to be back with them and to be able to celebrate this properly. Rubens Barrichello explained a lot about the passion of this work, but it requires more than one person. It's been a massive team effort and this is for all of them."

His Milton Keynes based team did not go without either as the car that carried Vettel to the honor of being crowned Formula One’s youngest ever world champion, the RB6, was honored with the ‘Racing Car of the Year’ award as well. Together, Vettel and his RB6 took ten pole positions and five wins throughout the year.

New Red Bull to be ready for first test – Vettel
(GMM) The design of Red Bull's title-defending 2011 car is not lagging behind, according to Sebastian Vettel.

It had been reported that, due to the team fighting to the death for this year's championship and also designer Adrian Newey's renowned belatedness, the RB7 might not be ready for the first group test in February.

Sauber and Toro Rosso are the first teams to confirm they will be present with their new cars at Valencia at the beginning of the second month of 2011.

And now new world champion Vettel tells the German daily Hamburger Abendblatt: "Right now it looks like our car will be ready on time.

"The first test is planned for early February in Valencia," said the 23-year-old.

Webber carried new shoulder break through 2010 finale
(GMM) Mark Webber broke his shoulder yet again with just four crucial races left to run in 2010.

In late 2008, after shattering his right leg in a mountain bike smash, the Australian hid from his employer Red Bull the fact that he also broke his left shoulder.

But with his injuries apparently fully healed, it recently emerged that Webber would miss the post-season Abu Dhabi Pirelli test due to surgery.

It was believed the operation was due to his 2009 pre-season breaks, but Webber has now revealed in a book that he was carrying a fresh injury into his recent charge for this year's title.

In his official book 'Up front: a season to remember", the 34-year-old revealed that he broke his shoulder again after returning to Australia after the Singapore grand prix in late September.

Once again, he crashed a mountain bike; this time when a friend fell in front of him.

Webber's injury is reportedly known as a "skier's fracture"; not serious but deep in the joint and difficult to treat.

The book said he declined to tell his boss Christian Horner, and that only his trainer Roger Clearly and FIA doctor Gary Hartstein knew about the injury and his cortisone injections in Japan and Korea.

The injury might explain Webber's crucial loss of form after leading the championship at the time of his accident by 21 points from Fernando Alonso.

And when he crashed, Webber was 31 points clear of his teammate and eventual champion Sebastian Vettel.

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