- Top teams have signed new Concorde: report
- Red Bull confirms Buemi to be 2012 reserve
- FIA adds new overtaking rule to 2012 regulations
- Senna backer Embratel could be new Williams sponsor
- More unrest in 2012 F1 host Bahrain
- Verstappen arrested after girlfriend assault
Top teams have signed new Concorde: report
Jan.5 (GMM) More media reports claim Ferrari and Red Bull, and probably also Sauber, have already inked separate new Concorde Agreements with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
The rumour was first reported by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport just after Christmas, on the heels of the teams' split from the association FOTA.
The report quoted Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo as revealing that negotiations over the next Concorde - with the current one set to expire at the end of 2012 - will begin "in January".
It is believed Ecclestone favours the 'divide and rule' tactic - with the most powerful teams offered lucrative deals - because it weakens the ability of the other teams to negotiate a proportionately higher share of F1's income.
Ferrari-powered Swiss team Sauber has also pulled out of FOTA, followed it is believed by the Red Bull sister team Toro Rosso.
"The consequences of the decision by Christian Horner, Luca di Montezemolo and Peter Sauber (to leave FOTA) are huge for the future of formula one," wrote O Estado de S.Paulo correspondent Livio Oricchio.
"The extension of the Concorde Agreement with Bernie Ecclestone will shortly be announced by Red Bull, Ferrari and Sauber," he predicted.
"And after that - as always happens when Ferrari takes such a decision - the rest will follow," claimed Oricchio.
Agreed Italy's Autosprint: "Red Bull and Ferrari have come to an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone over the terms of their future participation in the world championship.
"The agreement - not official yet - was made as far back as November."
The report said the FOTA split will force the other teams, including McLaren and Mercedes, to also sign new Concorde Agreements.
"It is likely that, as in the past, Maranello has received some bonus money in exchange for its loyalty until 2017," journalist Alberto Antonini wrote.
Red Bull confirms Buemi to be 2012 reserve
Red Bull on Thursday confirmed reports Sebastien Buemi will be the energy drink-owned team's official test and reserve driver in 2012.
The 23-year-old Swiss lost his race seat after three full seasons with rookie team Toro Rosso, but the Blick newspaper said recently he would at least stay in the paddock this year in a reserve role.
"It's good to remain with Red Bull for another year and have this opportunity with the world championship winning team," he said.
"I would prefer to be driving at the races of course, but working with Red Bull Racing on the development of their car and providing them with feedback throughout the season is the next best thing."
Team boss Christian Horner said Buemi will attend all 20 Grands Prix in 2012 and also complete "important test and simulation work" away from the race tracks.
FIA adds new overtaking rule to 2012 regulations
A new overtaking rule has been added to F1's official sporting regulations for 2012.
Last month, the FIA flagged the forthcoming rule by announcing that drivers "may no longer move back onto the racing line having moved off it to defend a position".
The rule has until now been an unwritten one that was agreed and understood by the drivers, with the stewards empowered to issue penalties for questionable manoeuvres.
But from 2012, the actual regulations now declare: "More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted.
"Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner," the rule goes on.
Senna backer Embratel could be new Williams sponsor
Bruno Senna could bring a new title sponsor to Williams.
A spokeswoman for the beleaguered British team has confirmed to the Telegraph that American telecommunications multinational AT and T is no longer its title sponsor.
"We have reached the conclusion of our partnership, the contract expired on December 31 by mutual agreement," she said.
The Reuters news agency said Williams, ninth in the constructors' championship last season, is in "advanced negotiations" over title sponsorship with another telecommunications company.
Finland's Turun Sanomat said one candidate is Embratel, a Rio de Janeiro based company that backs Brazilian driver candidate Senna.
A team source told Reuters that the ATT deal, reported to be worth just $7 million to Williams in 2011, was not "sustainable".
The Williams spokeswoman, meanwhile, would not comment on reported links between the Oxfordshire based team and touted major sponsor Qatar National Bank (QNB).
QNB is already affiliated with the team through Williams' partnership with the Qatar Science and Technology Park.
The bank is also in partnership with Qatar Telecom (Qtel).
More unrest in 2012 F1 host Bahrain
More civil unrest in Bahrain will intensify speculation the island Kingdom's return to the F1 calendar early this year will be called off.
Last year's pre-season test and also the Grand Prix at the same Sakhir circuit were cancelled due to a political uprising, in which the government was later found to have used excessive force against its people.
"We have been assured that this is not what's happening," said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone to the Guardian newspaper last month.
"What did the report say? Yes, there were instances or whatever, but ... I wanted to go out there. I was happy to go. I'd like to go into the prison or the hospital or whatever and ask What actually happened?" he said.
"I hope we go to Bahrain (in 2012) and there's no trouble - the race goes on, the public are happy and there are no dramas. That's what I hope," added Ecclestone.
Those hopes might now have been dented, amid reports a Bahraini woman was killed after inhaling tear gas fired during a "peaceful" demonstration this week near the capital Manama.
It is the third fatality since late November last year, with one teenager reportedly dying after a tear gas canister hit him on the head in late December and another run over by a police vehicle a month earlier.
Ecclestone was asked last month if he would consider calling off the 2012 race if there was real proof that Bahrain's problems were persisting.
"We'd have to give it some serious thought then. But we've been to Argentina when there's been big dramas. There's been dramas in Brazil.
"I think you can look anywhere now and it's not all good."
Ecclestone told Al Jazeera in December: "There obviously is a problem and I'm quite sure that eventually they'll get to the bottom of it and sort it out."
The Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled to be the fourth of 20 races in 2012.
Verstappen arrested after girlfriend assault
Jos Verstappen has been arrested in his native Netherlands.
The former Benetton, Stewart and Minardi driver turned himself into police after fleeing the scene following an incident involving his 24-year-old ex-girlfriend, according to Flemish newspaper De Standaard.
Dutch police confirmed the arrest of a 39-year-old man after an incident in the southeastern city Roermond.
Unconfirmed media reports say Verstappen deliberately struck his former girlfriend - who was taken by ambulance to hospital with heavy bruises and abrasions - with a car.
Verstappen was previously accused of beating his girlfriend.
"It's definitely not the first time he does this," the unnamed woman told RTL television. "I think now I need to go and hide - I don't know what to expect now when he is released."
In 2008, Verstappen was fined and sentenced to three months suspended jail time over an assault case involving his ex-wife.
And more than ten years ago, he was convicted of assault after fracturing a man's skull at a kart track.
Verstappen contested over 100 Grands Prix between 1994 and 2003.