Mike Stevens | Mar 12, 2012
  • Kubica would have replaced Massa - Ecclestone
  • Rosberg happy to stay with Schumacher beyond 2012
  • Valencia pays 2012 fee, Spain to alternate from 2013
  • Ferrari 'better than people think' - de la Rosa
  • New Marussia car 'good' so far - Glock
  • Allison thanks Lotus boss for allowing innovation
  • Teams to combine DRS with F-duct for 'huge' benefit - report
 

Kubica would have replaced Massa - Ecclestone

If not for Robert Kubica's predicament, Felipe Massa would have lost his Ferrari seat by now.

That is the view of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

He told Austria's Der Spiegel that Kubica, still recovering from horror injuries sustained in a rally crash in February last year, would have replace the struggling Brazilian Massa.

"I think, for them (Ferrari), it's a question of alternatives," said Ecclestone.

"Who, of those available to them, are better than Massa?

"I am very confident that Robert Kubica would be sitting in that Ferrari now if a year ago he would not have had that horrible rally accident," the 81-year-old opined.

Italy's Rallyemotion reports that Kubica tested a Skoda Fabia rally car last Thursday in Liguria.

Meanwhile, Ecclestone backed Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, amid expectations the famous Maranello based team will struggle early in 2012.

"Ferrari's problems have nothing to do with the leadership," he said.

"The problems are on the technical side. But instead of firing someone, they should buy someone: Adrian Newey."

(GMM)

 

Rosberg happy to stay with Schumacher beyond 2012

Nico Rosberg has announced he would be happy if Michael Schumacher stayed at Mercedes beyond 2012.

Seven time world champion Schumacher's current contract runs out this season, and there has been speculation he could either stay or be replaced possibly by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg knows Hamilton well from their karting days, but the German indicated he would be happy to stay alongside Schumacher.

"It is quite possible that he will stay, and that would be a good thing," he told the DPA news agency.

"Technically, we complement each other well, which of course for the development of the car is always helpful," added the 26-year-old.

Rosberg, meanwhile, has received a ringing endorsement by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

"He's very talented and is capable of winning races. Let's hope he does this season," said the Briton.

43-year-old Schumacher, however, is not sure.

"Victory (in Australia) to me is unlikely," he said on his official website. "I see Red Bull in front.

"Behind them it will be tight, and you can be either hero or zero very quickly."

(GMM)

 

Valencia pays 2012 fee, Spain to alternate from 2013

Spain will host only one formula one race per season beginning in 2013, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has announced.

The country's current two hosts, Barcelona and Valencia, had already admitted the impact of the European crisis and said alternating a single annual race date was a possibility.

And there were rumours Valencia had not yet paid the race fee for this year's June street race.

"All is well and everything is paid," Ecclestone told Radio Valencia-Cadena Ser.

"There is no doubt there will be formula one at Valencia on June 24," said the Briton.

And Ecclestone said that from next year, there will be only one Spanish grand prix per season.

"Both Valencia and Barcelona have agreed that it is best to alternate, so now we are trying to choose the dates," he said.

As for whether the economic crisis is affecting him personally, the billionaire answered: "No, because I don't need or spend much money anyway."

Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez backed the news about Spain.

"It's better than having no races, which would be a pity," he told DPA news agency.

Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa said it is "normal" for each country to have one race per season.

"Having two is what is not normal," he insisted.

(GMM)

 

Ferrari 'better than people think' - de la Rosa

Pedro de la Rosa has admitted he senses a little too much pessimism from the Ferrari camp.

Amid talk the famous team's new F2012 car is a flop and needs to be substantially redesigned, the La Gazzetta dello Sport daily wondered recently: "Let's hope it's just pre-tactics."

De la Rosa, the veteran Spanish driver for HRT, thinks there is an element of truth to that.

"They are better than people think," he told Cadena Ser radio.

"On the other hand I know that there are teams that are stronger, but I wouldn't rule out the podium -- I assure you," the 41-year-old insisted.

"What happens is you try to remove the pressure that is on you. As for me, I see Ferrari in a better shape than the sort of negative feeling that exists here in Spain.

"I think they have their problems like everyone else, but their car is faster than it seems."

It was Pat Fry, Ferrari's new technical director, who announced recently that the F2012 is not currently a podium contender.

"This is not something that goes through my head," Felipe Massa admitted to reporters in Sao Paulo this week.

"It is true we tested a type of exhaust and realised it was not the right thing. But last year everyone was 90 per cent sure we would fight for the title and then we did not.

"I won't hide that we are not 100 per cent satisfied with what we did in the three test sessions in Spain.

"But we have a very strong team and I have lots of faith in their capacity to be able to develop the chassis during the season," he added.

(GMM)

 

New Marussia car 'good' so far - Glock

Despite a difficult winter for the Marussia team, Timo Glock is in a positive mood as he travels to Australia for the 2012 season.

The former Virgin squad struggled to get its new car through the FIA's mandatory crash tests, which according to new rules meant the MR01 was grounded throughout the official pre-season period.

Indeed, the Russian website F1News quotes technical consultant Pat Symonds as saying the "last two months were the most difficult of my 20 years in formula one".

Due to a testing loophole allowing some running on demonstration Pirelli tyres, the Cosworth-powered car finally made its debut over two days of 'promotional filming' early this week at Silverstone.

"The basis is definitely good; the first test miles were really good," German Glock is quoted by the German-language Speed Week.

"The car did exactly what we expected from it. The data we recorded corresponded exactly to what we had calculated previously," he added.

The report said Glock will travel to Australia on Friday, with his 30th birthday set to coincide exactly with the start of the new season.

Symonds added: "There is still much to be done, but it is a long term project and so I hope that we move forward step by step."

(GMM)

 

Allison thanks Lotus boss for allowing innovation

James Allison has thanked his boss, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier, for pushing him to be creative with this year's E20 car.

The former Renault team had a troubled 2011 season, with the innovative front-exiting exhausts ultimately scrapped when the field raced ahead with the more obvious Red Bull-style exhaust solution.

Boullier may, therefore, have been sensible to request a more conventional approach to 2012.

But the new E20 is once again an adventurous design, and in pre-season testing it was quicker than any rival at both the Barcelona and Jerez circuits.

"I can only thank my boss," technical director Allison told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"He had every reason to demand from us a conservative car, but instead they encouraged us to continue to be innovative.

"You can get it right that way but there's also a lot of risk."

One major hiccup so far was the chassis suspension flaw, which cost Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean the entire middle Barcelona test.

Otherwise, the E20 is tipped to be a positive surprise of 2012.

"Its manufacturing is worlds better than the (2011) R31," said Allison. "There are fewer seams, gaps, edges."

The German magazine report said the secret is under the skin, after Lotus took a meticulous approach to aerodynamics for 2012.

"Anything that increases air resistance was eliminated systematically," he explained.

(GMM)

 

Teams to combine DRS with F-duct for 'huge' benefit - report

McLaren and Mercedes look to be leading the way with the latest technical ingenuity in formula one.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the two teams are set to combine the button-activated DRS system with a sort of additional F-duct at the rear of their 2012 cars.

It was believed F-ducts were no longer legal, but new passive systems have emerged on the front wings of some 2012 cars, pioneered by Mercedes.

As for the rear wings, those F-ducts are also still legal "under certain circumstances", the German magazine claims.

Combining a legal rear F-duct with DRS could result in a "huge top-speed gain", writer Michael Schmidt claims, with the Mercedes W03 reportedly racing ahead by a whopping 18kph at the recent Barcelona test.

(GMM)

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