Mike Stevens | Jan 13, 2012
  • Kubica breaks leg again in fall
  • 2012 Ferrari 'not pretty' admit bosses
  • FIA says radical Lotus system 'legal' - ‚Äčreport
  • 'Leave Spa alone' say F1 figures
  • Official says Nurburgring race 'possible' for 2013
  • 2012 US GP venue 'taking shape' - report
  • FIA should decide on Bahrain's F1 return - teams
  • Alguersuari turned down reserve role - Newey
  • Cloud still hangs over Trulli's 2012 seat
  • Rossi wants to 'be like Schumacher' in decade
 

Kubica breaks leg again in fall

Robert Kubica's hopes of returning to F1 have been dealt another blow with reports the recovering Pole has broken his leg once again.

The former BMW and Renault driver, who suffered horror injuries in a minor Italian rally early last year, has now fractured his leg by slipping on ice on the street, Ansa news agency reports.

He was taken to an Italian hospital where x-rays showed a fracture in his right leg, which was first broken in the rally crash.

F1's official website said Kubica's manager is yet to comment.

But the BBC said the 27-year-old "needs an operation to have a metal screw inserted just above his ankle".

Before the latest bad news broke, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali played down rumours Kubica could be part of the famous Italian team's plans for 2012.

"We need to wait to see. That kind of injury takes a long time to recover from," he said.

Domenicali, who admitted Felipe Massa could lose his race seat after the 2012 season, is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "At the moment there are no plans (regarding Kubica)."

(GMM)

 

2012 Ferrari 'not pretty' admit bosses

Ferrari's 2012 car is not attractive, bosses of the famous Italian team hinted this week at the Madonna di Campiglio winter media event.

Having failed to win the championship since 2007 and finishing a distant third behind Red Bull and McLaren last season, Ferrari has taken an aggressive approach to the development of this year's machine, codenamed 663.

"It's definitely different," team boss Stefano Domenicali told journalists on Wednesday when asked about the car that will be unveiled next month.

"It's not that pretty, because the shape defined by the technical regulations does not leave much scope, but - and this is what counts really - our hopes are that it is at the very least quick."

Depending on the weather, the car will make its track debut during a short shakedown on 3 or 4 February at Ferrari's own Fiorano test track.

Asked about Domenicali's news about the physical appearance of the single seater, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo replied: "I'd like it to look lousy.

"I say that provocatively because I want it to be a winner, reliable but also 'simpatico' in the sense that it knows how to win with a smile."

(GMM)

 

FIA says radical Lotus system 'legal' - report

Ferrari is awaiting a clarification about Lotus' reportedly radical braking system for its 2012 car, Stefano Domenicali has revealed.

It emerged this week that Lotus, formerly Renault, intends to run the system this season after debuting it during the young driver test late last year.

"I know that some teams and the FIA have exchanged letters," Ferrari team principal Domenicali is quoted by the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat from the 'Wrooom' media event in the Italian Dolomites.

"We are now expecting a definitive answer as to whether it is acceptable or not. Of course, we look at devices that affect the car's performance," he added.

La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes Domenicali as confirming that the Lotus system relates to braking stability.

The Spanish news agency Europa Press suggested that the legality of the system is being questioned because its movement reportedly affects the aerodynamics of the car.

"We need to wait to see the reaction of the FIA," added Domenicali.

Livio Oricchio, the correspondent for the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo, wrote from Ferrari's Madonna di Campiglio event that the FIA "has just declared legal the height control system developed by Lotus".

(GMM)

 

'Leave Spa alone' say F1 figures

Two prominent F1 figures have expressed disappointed at reports the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps could become only a biennial event.

It is reported that France's Paul Ricard is close to inking an agreement to share alternating race hosting rights from 2013 with the fabled Belgian track.

On Twitter, outspoken Red Bull driver Mark Webber denounced it as a "shit idea".

And Pirelli's motor sport director Paul Hembery reacted similarly: "Yuk.

"Agree (with Webber), leave Spa alone."

(GMM)

 

Official says Nurburgring race 'possible' for 2013

The Nurburgring's chances of staying on the F1 calendar received a boost this week.

The German race, which until now has alternated a single annual Grand Prix date with Hockenheim, was thought endangered due to the withdrawal of the Green-influenced Rhineland-Palatinate government's state support.

But parliamentary leader Hendrik Hering told the Rhein-Zeitung newspaper: "A race in 2013 is possible.

"There could be a small state subsidy but it needs to be much less than before," he added.

Other German media reports said new talks have been held with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone and those "initial discussions were positive".

"If it (the agreement) is very financially favourable, there could be a Formula One event in 2013 at the Nurburgring," Hering added.

(GMM)

 

2012 US GP venue 'taking shape' - report

The scene of America's return to the F1 calendar this year is starting to take shape.

The local Austin American Statesman reports that construction of the Circuit of the Americas is "moving along quickly" following the recent uncertainty over the 2012 US Grand Prix contract.

"Buildings are starting to take shape," wrote Dave Doolittle after a tour of the Texas site.

He said there are more than 360 workers at the site, including those working on the three-story main pit and paddock building where the outline of the podium "is already visible".

Work on the media building and main grandstand has also begun, added the journalist.

"Officials said they expect to be finished on time for the inaugural race," said Doolittle, referring to the provisional mid November calendar date.

"They've got a lot of work to do, but all of the activity shows that they're working to meet that goal."

(GMM)

 

FIA should decide on Bahrain's F1 return - teams

F1's governing body will decide if it is right for the sport to return to Bahrain in April, the bosses of top teams Red Bull and Ferrari said this week.

Amid reports of continuing unrest in the island Kingdom and claims F1 should boycott the event also on moral grounds, the Sakhir circuit on Wednesday was pushing ahead with preparations for Bahrain's return in 2012.

Track boss Salman bin Isa Al-Khalifa said staff sacked amid the protests that last year caused the race's cancellation have been offered their old jobs.

It is "an important initiative towards national reconciliation and unity", he insisted.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has suggested the event will only be cancelled again in extreme circumstances.

"We enter a championship run by the FIA," Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told the BBC, "and we need to trust in their decision."

Agreed Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali: "We need to rely on the competent authorities."

But the famous Italian team's boss was asked if the FIA's judgement can still be trusted after a delegate last year gave Bahrain the all-clear.

"Maybe (that) experience will give a different approach and the information will be more accurate," Domenicali is quoted by the Telegraph from Ferrari's annual winter media event in the Italian Dolomites.

(GMM)

 

Alguersuari turned down reserve role - Newey

Jaime Alguersuari turned down the chance to be Red Bull's official reserve driver in 2012.

That is the claim of Adrian Newey, the highly rated car designer and technical boss at the energy drink company's championship-winning team.

Red Bull dropped 21-year-old Spaniard Alguersuari from its rookie team Toro Rosso after two and a half seasons, then installing his former teammate Sebastien Buemi as the 2012 reserve.

"We closed the agreement as third driver with Sebastien Buemi after Alguersuari did not want to join our team," Briton Newey is quoted by Spain's Mundo Deportivo newspaper.

The Swiss newspaper Blick quotes Alguersuari as saying this week: "I am negotiating with top teams for the role of reserve driver."

Dr Helmut Marko, the manager of Red Bull's driver programme, told Italian website 422race.com this week that Buemi was selected for the reserve role because he has "more experience of the simulator" than Alguersuari.

He denied Alguersuari was snubbed because of his videotaped row with the Spaniard after a practice session in Korea last year.

"No, not at all," said Marko. "We had an evaluation of the possibilities and we took what we thought was the best available for us."

(GMM)

 

Cloud still hangs over Trulli's 2012 seat

A cloud still hangs over Jarno Trulli's race seat at Caterham for 2012.

In September last year, the Malaysian team - then known as Team Lotus - inked a new contract for the forthcoming season with the 37-year-old Italian.

But the media statement referred only to "an agreement to keep Jarno on board", with some pundits immediately noting that it could mean only an ambassadorial role.

The provisional entry list for 2012, however, named Trulli as Heikki Kovalainen's continuing teammate.

Team owner Tony Fernandes said in December: "Currently he has a contract with us."

At one point recently, Daniel Ricciardo seemed in contention for the seat alongside Kovalainen, while the latest rumour is that Vitaly Petrov is in the running.

Sky Sports News quotes Caterham's technical boss Mike Gascoyne as saying this week: "What I can say on Jarno is that he does have a contract with the team that is concrete for this year and he will be part of the team this year."

(GMM)

 

Rossi wants to 'be like Schumacher' in decade

MotoGP great Valentino Rossi has admitted he admires Michael Schumacher's sporting longevity.

Seven-time world champion Schumacher retired from F1 at the end of 2006 but returned three seasons later with Mercedes, where in 2012 he will attempt to add a first podium to the dazzling tally of his initial career.

"I think it's great to see (what) Schumacher (is doing)," Italian Rossi, who turns 33 next month, said.

"He is ten years older than me but still in great shape and full of energy. At 43, I want to be like him," he told Italy's Sky Sport 24.

Rossi, who like Schumacher has also won seven premier world championships, said he and the German veteran have even more in common.

"I'm an Italian racing for an Italian team, Schumacher is a German with Mercedes. And we have the same chances in the championship," he smiled.

His current contract with Ducati expires at the end of 2012.

"I would like a new two year contract, which could be the last," Rossi is quoted as saying. "Then I'll think about how to have fun."

(GMM)

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