Mike Stevens | Dec 5, 2011
  • Ferrari and Red Bull quit teams group FOTA
  • Berger linked with Renault/Lotus role
  • Barrichello also tips Raikkonen to struggle
  • Williams reveals Bottas could race in 2012
  • Trulli has 2012 Caterham contract 'currently' - boss
  • Fernandes no admirer of F1's KERS technology
  • Glock eager to prove speed alongside Vettel
 

Ferrari and Red Bull quit teams group FOTA

Ferrari and Red Bull have pulled out of the formula one teams association FOTA.

Both the top teams separately confirmed the news, with a FOTA spokeswoman saying: "We are trying to arrange a meeting to sit the teams around the table and see where this takes us."

The move follows a disagreement about the future of FOTA's voluntary cost-cutting resource restriction agreement.

"(Red Bull) will remain committed to finding a solution regarding cost saving in F1," the reigning world champion team said in a statement.

Ferrari confirmed its decision was made due to the "stalemate" over "some issues at the core" of FOTA's purpose.

"FOTA's drive has run its course, despite the excellent work of current president, (McLaren team boss) Martin Whitmarsh in trying to reach agreement between the various positions for the common good," added the famous Italian team.

The Spanish team HRT quit FOTA early this year.

(GMM)

 

Berger linked with Renault/Lotus role

Gerhard Berger has emerged as a contender to work with the Lotus Renault team.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport and Finland's Turun Sanomat report that the former grand prix winner, BMW motor sport director and Toro Rosso co-owner has been sounded out by Lotus' owner Genii Capital.

"Team boss Eric Boullier is rumoured to be leaving his duties," wrote journalist Heikki Kulta.

Additionally, former McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan was in the Renault garage last weekend at Interlagos, with team figures coy about his possible full-time involvement for 2012.

Genii's Gerard Lopez said this week: "Kimi (Raikkonen's) decision to come back to formula one with us is the first step of several announcements which should turn us into an even more serious contender in the future."

(GMM)

 

Barrichello also tips Raikkonen to struggle

Rubens Barrichello agrees with Sebastian Vettel that Kimi Raikkonen might struggle to re-adapt to formula one.

World champion Vettel said this week he can imagine "it would be very difficult to return straight away to the same level as before" after a two-year absence from F1.

Brazilian Barrichello, who was an outside contender for the Lotus Renault race seat now occupied by the 2007 world champion and Finn, agrees.

"We only have the example of Schumacher," said the 39-year-old, referring to Michael Schumacher who struggled last year when he returned to F1 after a three-year retirement.

"If there was someone who we could be sure would walk back in and be there (on the pace), it was him.

"They (Raikkonen and Schumacher) are different so you can't say whether it will be easier or harder (for Raikkonen)," Barrichello is quoted by Brazil's Globo.

"But I have no doubt that after two years off, he will feel the difference in terms of how the category has changed, and of course the tyres."

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said Raikkonen's return is good news.

"I am really happy to see Kimi again where he belongs, in formula one," the 81-year-old is quoted by German news agency DPA.

"I am convinced that he will be looking forward to seeing his fans again."

(GMM)

 

Williams reveals Bottas could race in 2012

Valtteri Bottas could make his grand prix debut at some point in 2011, the Williams team has hinted.

The famous British team raised the prospect in a media statement issued late on Thursday to confirm that Pastor Maldonado has retained his race seat for 2012.

Williams did not say who will be the PDVSA-sponsored Venezuelan's teammate, but the Oxfordshire based team did say that Finnish rookie Bottas is stepping up to the role of "reserve driver".

"We anticipate that Valtteri will participate in a Friday practice session at 15 grands prix next year, most likely with a more experienced driver taking over for the remainder of the race weekend," said Sir Frank Williams.

"We will announce the identity of that driver in due course."

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport presumes it will be either Adrian Sutil or Rubens Barrichello.

Bottas, 22, was already Williams' test driver in 2011.

"The opportunity now to continue this unique development with the position of reserve driver will enable me to gain essential experience as part of the race team in 2012," he said.

(GMM)

 

Trulli has 2012 Caterham contract 'currently' - boss

When musing the certainty of his 2012 driver lineup, Caterham chief Tony Fernandes gives very different answers about Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli.

Both have contracts for next season, but a very real question-mark is lingering over the one in the possession of Italian veteran Trulli.

Finn Kovalainen has been linked with a return to the Lotus Renault team, but Fernandes insists: "Heikki is not for sale.

"He wants to grow with our team and create something unique."

That answer is in stark contrast to the one given when Fernandes is asked about Trulli, 37: "We have registered Trulli with the FIA as our driver as currently he has a contract with us," the Malaysian businessman is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Strongly linked to Trulli's seat is Daniel Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne, who would come with the backing of their employer Red Bull.

"Both of them need racing experience," Dr Helmut Marko is quoted as saying.

(GMM)

 

Fernandes no admirer of F1's KERS technology

Tony Fernandes has admitted he is no admirer of formula one's kinetic energy recovery systems, otherwise known as KERS.

Since 2009, the systems have re-used heating energy collected under braking in the form of a power 'boost' controlled via a button in the drivers' cockpit.

From 2012, the Caterham drivers will enjoy the boost for the first time, with the system supplied by the team's gearbox and hydraulics supplier Red Bull.

But team boss Fernandes is no admirer.

Referring to the high costs involved in running a F1 team, the Malaysian said: "There is still too much money spent, and above all too much in the wrong places.

"We used to talk about a million euros rent for using KERS, but now we are talking about three to five million," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"For what? Our (F1's) KERS contributes nothing to the environment."

(GMM)

 

Glock eager to prove speed alongside Vettel

Timo Glock insists he is as good as his countryman and F1 rival Sebastian Vettel -- and now he has a chance to prove it.

The Germans will be among the stars at the Race of Champions event this weekend in Dusseldorf, facing off at the wheel of identical cars.

Ahead of the event, Virgin/Marussia driver Glock was asked how determined he is to beat back-to-back world champion Vettel.

"Very," he smiled to the Kolner Express newspaper.

"I know I'm just as good as Sepp. If we were both sitting in a Red Bull, only the form of the day would make the difference.

"So I'm very curious to see how the comparison pans out."

Glock might be forgiven for feeling frustrated after the last two seasons, where after fighting for podiums with Toyota he was forced to move right to the back of the grid with the struggling Virgin team.

With the change of name to Marussia, he is staying on board for 2012 and beyond.

"Yes, it's quite funny," Glock, 29, said.

"I recently sat with an old Toyota mechanic and he asked me how I can stay motivated because we were fighting for the podium and now I'm fighting for 20th place.

"It's simply this," he explained. "When I get into the car, I'm always motivated. Even when it's for the wooden spoon, I just fight until the last metre."

(GMM)

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