Latest F1 news in brief

  • Sutil not worried about Force India saga
  • New Toro Rosso not off the pace – Buemi
  • Klien still in talks with Campos and USF1
  • Campos given more time to pay Dallara EUR4m
  • Coulthard expects Button to trail Hamilton
  • Soucek still fielding options for F1 role
  • Kobayashi surprised with 'luck' of F1 turnaround
  • No pre-season testing for Mercedes' Heidfeld

Sutil not worried about Force India saga
(GMM) Adrian Sutil insists he is not worried about reports Force India may soon be forced to close its doors.

In a saga played down by team owner and boss Vijay Mallya, the UK's Companies House is threatening to dissolve the Silverstone based company for failing to file its 2008 financial accounts.

"No, it doesn't," answered the team's German driver Sutil when asked by the DPA press agency if the news makes him fear for his job.

"My manager has asked the team about the situation," the 27-year-old explained.

"We are assuming that they (the team) will meet all the requirements in time," Sutil added.

New Toro Rosso not off the pace – Buemi
(GMM) The opening test of the 2010 pre-season last week showed that Toro Rosso is not lagging behind, according to Sebastien Buemi.

At Valencia, the team's continuing Swiss driver gave the first fully Faenza-designed Toro Rosso its track debut.

"While real comparisons are still difficult, we know that we are currently able to compete with Mercedes, Renault and Williams," the 21-year-old told the Swiss newspaper Blick.

"Ferrari, McLaren and Sauber are ahead," Buemi added. "Yes, the Swiss car (Sauber's C29) surprised me. Now only the Red Bull car missing."

After winning the drivers' and constructors' titles (as Brawn) last year, and with Michael Schumacher now at the wheel, some observers expressed surprise that Mercedes GP was off the pace with its new W01 at Valencia.

Team boss Ross Brawn told Bild newspaper: "We are in a reasonable position, and have identified the areas where we can improve."

Klien still in talks with Campos and USF1
(GMM) With little more than one month until the first race of 2010, Christian Klien is still not writing off his chances of being on the Bahrain grid.

At the DiTech Racingshow at the weekend, the former BMW-Sauber test driver revealed he is still in talks with "teams" that have yet to complete their 2010 race lineups.

The only remaining seats on the grid are with the struggling Campos team, and the new American outfit USF1.

"The chances are still good," the 27-year-old is quoted as saying by the Austrian daily Der Standard.

Klien said he had been in the running for the Sauber and Renault seats, and indicated that both Pedro de la Rosa and Vitaly Petrov respectively could offer more attractive sponsor packages.

He said he was a possibility for de la Rosa's seat until the "last moment", and the same was the case with Renault.

"With Renault, I was still on the shortlist until 24 hours before the decision (to sign Petrov)," Klien insisted.

"It really was a last minute decision and one that was obviously not easy for the team," he said.

Klien said he was not able to speak about the opportunities with Campos and USF1 "for the sake of the negotiations", and admitted that his chances are "limited".

"Until I no longer see a realistic chance, I will fight to take part in F1," he added.

Klien also said "another year as a reserve driver would not be a catastrophe".

Campos given more time to pay Dallara EUR4m
(GMM) Campos has been given more time to pay outstanding bills to its Italian car constructor Dallara.

Following reports that Dallara has already lost patience and sold the rights to the car to Stefan GP, Spain's Diario AS reveals that Campos must now pay its reportedly EUR4 million debt by next Wednesday.

Recent Spanish reports said the last deadline expired late last week.

Despite the extension, AS insists that if Campos cannot come up with the missing money, the rights to the Dallara car will fall under the control of Stefan GP, the Serbian outfit that is hoping to receive an official team entry for 2010.

"Dallara are great professionals who know the story of Adrian and the difficulties of a project like this, so I am sure they will do everything to find a solution that satisfies both parties," Spanish motor federation president Carlos Gracia said.

He added that he believes Tony Teixeira's reported investment into the Campos team is still on track.

Meanwhile, Spain's El Pais newspaper reports that the latest Concorde Agreement allows teams to sit out three grands prix before their official entries are revoked.

Coulthard expects Button to trail Hamilton
(GMM) Jenson Button is not likely to keep up with his new teammate Lewis Hamilton in the opening part of the 2010 season.

That is the admission of Button's friend and former rival David Coulthard, who previously rebuked commentators' claims that Hamilton will blow away the 2009 world champion this season.

After experiencing seating position problems at Valencia last week, Button trailed Hamilton's pace at Valencia as the pair got their first taste of the new MP4-25.

The situation seemed to play out fears that Button walked into the lion's den by switching from Brawn to McLaren.

"I'd expect Lewis to have the upper hand in the early part of the year," former long time McLaren driver Coulthard is quoted as saying by the Mirror.

"But it's a great chance for Jenson to show he's a great driver and a worthy champion," the Scot added.

Soucek still fielding options for F1 role
(GMM) Andy Soucek insists he is still fielding options to have a role in formula one in 2010.

The reigning F2 champion, who once said he could not afford the Campos race seat, also hinted to the Spanish sports newspaper Marca that the other vacant race seat – with the new American team USF1 – could be an option.

British team and F2 partner Williams' test driver role was once touted as an option for the 24-year-old Spaniard, but young Finn Valterri Bottas was instead appointed in that role.

"Right now nothing is signed," Soucek said, "but the negotiations have opened new fronts. The two empty seats are with USF1 and Campos, but there are other possibilities, all of them in F1."

He indicated that his talks with Campos had been at an "advanced stage", and that the contact with USF1 was more informal.

Soucek also said accepting a reserve role with a significant team "cannot be excluded", and emphasized the difference between being a mere "test" driver with a "third driver" role.

"I think to be third driver is a job I deserve, and I do not have to pay for it. I'm interested in that," said Soucek.

Kobayashi surprised with 'luck' of F1 turnaround
(GMM) Kamui Kobayashi has admitted that the manner in which his career turned around late last year surprised even himself.

With the 2009 F1 season winding down, the 23-year-old thought he was attending his last grands prix as the withdrawing Toyota's reserve driver.

Despite winning the preceding GP2 Asia Series, Kobayashi's campaign in the main F1 feeder championship had not gone as expected, and he did not have the budget to stay in Europe in 2010.

Although allergic to sushi, he was facing up to having to return to Japan to work in the kitchen of his father's restaurant.

Then came Timo Glock's qualifying crash and injuries sustained at Suzuka, allowing Kobayashi to fill the German's cockpit in Brazil and Abu Dhabi and so impress the F1 world and Peter Sauber with his exciting racing style.

"I fought all the way (in GP2) and I never gave up the idea that I could do better," he is quoted as saying by France's Auto Hebdo.

"That paid off in Brail and Abu Dhabi (in F1). It was my chance.

"I must admit that it is difficult to believe how much things changed from one moment to another. I was quite surprised myself," he smiled.

Kobayashi also appreciates Toyota's loyalty to him amid the team's flagging career and his lukewarm season in GP2.

"From the outside, it is difficult to understand their decision, as people tend to forget you after a series of poor results.

"I was lucky and I am very, very happy," added the Japanese, whose new Sauber mount impressed at the Valencia test last week.

"But with hindsight it is difficult to say what happened. Sometimes, luck and circumstance decide your future," he said.

No pre-season testing for Mercedes' Heidfeld
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld is not likely to get any test mileage before the start of his season as Mercedes GP reserve driver.

After a race career spanning 169 grands prix, the 32-year-old will this year travel to all the events in case Michael Schumacher or Nico Rosberg are unable to drive.

But with only 12 days of testing left until the start of the season, the German will probably have to go to Bahrain next month without having driven the new W01 car.

"It is envisaged that before the season start, Michael and Nico will get as many test miles as possible," Mercedes' competition director Norbert Haug told the German news agency SID.

But Haug said Heidfeld is well-equipped to cope with his new role.

"In the unlikely event that he has to replace one of our regular drivers, Nick is well prepared to do a good job straight away," added the German.

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