Mike Stevens | Jan 31, 2012
  • Barrichello admits Indycar switch possible
  • Sutil, Petrov line up for Ferrari reserve role
  • Heidfeld set for Le Mans in 2012
  • Pirelli denies favouring​ Ferrari in F1
  • Force India can be like R​ed Bull - Mallya
  • Sutil tried to settle Lux ass​ault case
 

Barrichello admits Indycar switch possible

Rubens Barrichello is not yet writing off his formula one career, but the veteran Brazilian, who has lost his Williams race seat on the eve of his 20th consecutive season, has admitted he might emerge on the 2012 Indycar grid.

Regarding F1, he told Brazil's Jornal Nacional: "If it happens, it will be a great thing.

"If not, I had the feeling for nineteen years. If you're asking 'Do I want it to happen" then I do! Because it was always my life.

"So formula one is still open."

More likely is a switch to America's premier open wheel series Indycar, with his countryman Tony Kanaan lining up a test this week at Sebring.

"I have no contract with anybody so there's nothing stopping me doing it," Barrichello, 39, told the O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

"I'm doing it with my mind wide open. If I can get the passion with that car that I have always had when I am driving, then why not? I love racing."

He revealed that the owners of the KV team will be at the Sebring test, "which is not normal".

But is he forgetting his promise to his wife Silvana, that he will not race on America's dangerous ovals?

"It's true and it's an important issue to be resolved," said Barrichello.

"But before I think about it, first I have to know the car. There is always the possibility of running the season but not the ones on the ovals."

If it was up to his young sons, Barrichello said he would sign an Indycar contract straight away.

"They are jumping for joy at the idea of seeing their father keep racing," he smiled. "If it was just about them then I would be there."

At the same time, it is obvious F1 remains Barrichello's first choice.

"The dream of competing in my twentieth season is still very much alive. You never know," he insisted.

"Sometimes things change for all sorts of reasons and someone calls up your speed and experience. Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher came back, so there's no reason I could not as well.

"The reason I am not staying with Williams is not about the driving.

"Frank called me personally and began by saying they had decided to sign another driver. It is known that Williams is having difficulties with their budget and they had to choose an option more in line with their needs.

"That's understandable," he said.

"Bruno (Senna) called me and he was almost upset so I told him to stop it, we're friends. I wished him all the best. I said that my dispute was with Williams, not with him.

"Let's see how they (Senna and Pastor Maldonado) go with the problem of being inexperienced and developing the car, but in his favour the engineers have told me they will have a better car than I had last year.

"If they have the money, Williams can develop," added Barrichello.

(GMM)

 

Sutil, Petrov line up for Ferrari reserve role

Adrian Sutil and Vitaly Petrov have emerged as candidates to become Ferrari's official reserve driver in 2012.

With Jules Bianchi moving into Force India's Friday practice seat this year, it was reported that Italian GP2 driver Davide Rigon had succeeded him at Ferrari.

In fact, the Maranello based team is believed to not consider the 25-year-old as ready to step in should Fernando Alonso or Felipe Massa need replacing during a grand prix weekend.

Indeed, Ferrari said Rigon has extended his contract and will be "on call ... for all racing and promotional activities".

The team did not mention official reserve driving duties.

Finland's Turun Sanomat said the real frontrunners for the job are the respective Renault and Force India refugees Vitaly Petrov and Adrian Sutil.

Russian Petrov played down the rumour.

"If you want to go to Ferrari, you don't want to go for one year only," he insisted.

"I can't say whether it has been discussed or not, but for me I think it is too early to go to Ferrari. Maybe in one or two years the time will be right."

(GMM)

 

Heidfeld set for Le Mans in 2012

Nick Heidfeld is set to continue his motor racing career in 2012.

But after twelve seasons and 183 grands prix, having replaced the injured Robert Kubica at Renault in the first half of 2011, the 34-year-old's F1 career appears to be over.

The Swiss magazine Speed Week said Heidfeld will contest rounds of the FIA's new world endurance championship this year for the Anglo-Swiss Rebellion team.

His programme in the Lola prototype car will reportedly include the fabled 24 hour Le Mans race, as well as Spa and Sebring.

(GMM)

 

Pirelli denies favouring Ferrari in F1

Pirelli has denied it works too closely in formula one with fellow Italian marque Ferrari.

"Nonsense," the tyre supplier's chief executive Marco Tronchetti Provera is quoted by La Repubblica newspaper.

The question was put to him after Pirelli decided to soften the hardest compounds of its tyres ahead of the 2012 season.

Last year, Ferrari struggled on Pirelli's harder tyres.

"It was a choice we made in accordance with all the teams and drivers," insisted Tronchetti Provera.

"These (2012) tyres are for 2012, not the cars of last year," he is quoted by Spain's AS newspaper.

He admitted however to wanting to see Ferrari succeed.

"Naturally. If you're Italian your dream is for Ferrari to win, if you're English then it is McLaren. Everyone's heart is where it is."

And with Europe in crisis, a Pirelli-shod Ferrari victory would be meaningful for Italy.

"There are Italian companies with the right approach in terms of competitiveness, technology, quality of the people.

"They can offer a great contribution to restoring confidence in the country," he admitted.

During his conversation with reporters, Tronchetti Provera answered his phone.

"Luchino!" he beamed, admitting the call was from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

"Now everybody is going to say I have a special relationship with Ferrari," he laughed, before pausing: "He (Montezemolo) says it isn't true!"

Tronchetti Provera also insisted he would be happy to see a tyre war in F1.

"Alone or with a competitor, it's ok either way," he said. "F1 decided that the tyres should be the same for everyone, but we do not care."

(GMM)

 

Force India can be like Red Bull - Mallya

Force India's new investor Subrata Roy wants the Silverstone based team to be like Red Bull.

That is the claim of fellow Indian billionaire Dr Vijay Mallya, who with title sponsor Sahara's Roy co-owns the team.

Mallya bought the former Jordan team some years ago when it was known as Spyker and finishing grands prix in last place.

"The Indian people are proud that we have been able to create a team for the country to play an important role in formula one. Without our success we have attracted a larger group of supporters," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

"Now it's getting difficult to meet the demands," Mallya told the German magazine, after Force India finished the 2011 season sixth behind Renault and the four top teams.

"The people of India expect us to beat Mercedes now," he admitted.

If Force India can do that, is the sort of success achieved by Red Bull - another non-carmaker team - a realistic target?

"Why not?" answered Mallya. "Subrata Roy's vision is to be as good as Red Bull but he's so excited that I have to stop him a bit.

"There are no short-cuts in formula one."

(GMM)

 

Sutil tried to settle Lux assault case

Adrian Sutil on Monday said he is "extremely sorry" for hurting Lotus executive Eric Lux last year.

The former Force India driver's two-day assault hearing, relating to an incident in a Shanghai nightclub after which Lux needed 24 stitches in his neck, began in a Munich court.

"I'm sorry, extremely sorry, I didn't want it to happen," Sutil told the court, according to SID news agency.

The 28-year-old German said he tried several times to apologise, but Lux did not take his calls.

Lux testified that he wanted a face-to-face apology.

"I expected him to come to Luxembourg and apologise to me. A call is not enough," he said.

Sutil, whose F1 career could depend on the outcome of the hearing, was wearing a dark suit and salmon-coloured tie.

Judge Christiane Thiemann read out a mail from Sutil to Lux dated last May, in which the driver offered to support Lux's African charity project.

Sutil said Lux's counter-offers for an out-of-court settlement were "comical", for a "very, very high amount" of money and involving voluntarily sitting out several races.

"He wanted to destroy me, to make sure I'm in jail for years," said Sutil.

"I did everything to try to settle this."

(GMM)

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