Mike Stevens | Jan 30, 2012
  • VW official to propose F1 foray - report
  • Kubica able to drive again - report
  • New Sauber also has ugly nose 'bump'
  • Force India signs Bianchi, Rigon steps up at Ferrari
  • Lotus calls 2012 car 'E20'
  • Vettel signs another Finn to replace trainer
 

VW official to propose F1 foray - report

Volkswagen is contemplating a formula one foray, according to German reports.

The carmaker giant's motor sport representative Wolfgang Durheimer told leading business magazine Wirtschaftswoche he has devised a preliminary plan for the future that includes F1.

"Later this year I will put forward proposals to the executive group for (involvement in) not only the racing series that we do already," he said.

"It is true -- in America, Asia and the Middle East, we are not sufficiently represented in motor sport," added Durheimer.

The magazine cited sources in saying the first step for VW, already linked commercially with the Red Bull rookie team Toro Rosso, would be to become an engine supplier.

These latest reports are not the first time a Volkswagen F1 entry has been rumoured - and denied - with the brand's technical development boss ruling out any plans for an F1 project last year.

"Nothing for us," the brand's head of technical development is quoted by Reuters, referring to both premier motor racing classes.

"I should know what I am talking about, since it would come out of my budget."

(GMM)

 

Kubica able to drive again - report

Robert Kubica has returned to the wheel of a powered vehicle, according to reports in Italy.

The Omnicorse website reports that the Pole, horrifically injured in a rally crash a year ago, is now recovered enough to drive a Renault Megane with an automatic gearbox.

The former BMW and Renault driver re-broke his leg in an icy slip recently but is now managing some steps without crutches, the report added.

Kubica is reportedly spending five hours a day on physiotherapy, with movement in his previously badly-injured right arm now almost "back to normal".

(GMM)

 

New Sauber also has ugly nose 'bump'

Sauber's 2012 car has an ugly bump on its nose, boss Peter Sauber has hinted.

Before the launch of the unseemly Caterham, Ferrari officials admitted their own Maranello built car is also "ugly" due to new regulations.

For this year, the FIA is requiring the pointed nose of the cars to be lower, while the actual monocoque height stays the same.

In the wind tunnels around Europe, it is believed most teams have found that the best solution is to radically taper the nose, despite the fact it is not pretty.

"Yes, for reasons of aerodynamics, this step in the nose is almost inevitable," admitted Peter Sauber, a week before the Hinwil-built C31 is revealed.

The Swiss said the Ferrari-powered car has passed all the mandatory FIA crash tests and will be fired up for the first time this week.

What about the livery colour?

"That is a secret of course," Sauber smiled to the Sonntagsblick newspaper. "All I can say is that the basic colour is white, but the overall impression is dark, with red.

"In short, it is different (compared to 2011). I remain a friend of the colour white, although often on television some cars cannot be well distinguished."

(GMM)

 

Force India signs Bianchi, Rigon steps up at Ferrari

Force India has confirmed reports it has chosen Ferrari reserve driver Jules Bianchi to replace Nico Hulkenberg in 2012.

German Hulkenberg, the official reserve and 'Friday' practice driver last year, has moved into a race seat with the Silverstone based team.

Frenchman Bianchi, a GP2 driver last year, will now sit on the sidelines at Force India in 2012.

Like Sergio Perez, the 22-year-old is a Ferrari development driver, handled by Felipe Massa's manager Nicolas Todt.

"For sure we want to invest (in Bianchi) because we believe in him," Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said late last season.

Force India said on Friday Bianchi, to make his test debut with the team next month, will also practice "in a minimum of nine Friday practice sessions" this season.

"I hope it (the new role) will put me in a strong position to one day move into a race seat," he said.

Bianchi, along with Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and his 2012 successor Davide Rigon, is currently attending a Ferrari fitness camp in the Canary islands.

"Jules will still be part of the Ferrari driver academy," confirmed the Maranello based team.

Ferrari added that Italian GP2 driver Rigon, 25, "has recently extended his relationship" with the team.

He "will be on call for all racing and promotional activities also for the 2012 and 2013 seasons", said Ferrari.

(GMM)

 

Lotus calls 2012 car 'E20'

This year's Lotus car will be called the E20.

Last year's Enstone-produced single seater was the R31, in accordance with the Renault numbering tradition.

But with the name-change to Lotus for 2012, the team has decided to honour the factory staff by naming the new car E20 -- 'E' for Enstone.

The '20' is a reference to the fact the new single seater is the twentieth made at Enstone since the then Benetton team relocated in 1992.

The E20 will be revealed on February 5, the day before Kimi Raikkonen debuts it at Jerez on the eve of the opening 2012 group test.

(GMM)

 

Vettel signs another Finn to replace trainer

Sebastian Vettel has signed up a new trainer.

Last month, it emerged that the reigning back-to-back world champion was parting with Tommi Parmakoski, who is returning to Finland to coach a women's hockey team.

German Vettel, the Red Bull driver, worked with Parmakoski since 2009.

The Sport Bild magazine said the 24-year-old has replaced him for 2012 with another Finn, 28-year-old Heikki Huovinen.

The German report said Huovinen - recommended to Vettel by Parmakoski - has a masters in sports science and has worked at a well-known Finnish fitness centre.

He has also reportedly been a personal trainer and group instructor, and is a former player in Mestis, Finland's second highest ice hockey league.

Sport Bild said Huovinen, to be trackside at Jerez early next month, is relocating to Switzerland in order to live close to Vettel.

(GMM)

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