- F1 'would not allow' Indycar tracks - Barrichello
- 2012 title much tougher for Vettel - Lauda
- McLaren 'closer' to 2013 Hamilton deal - Neale
- Berger wants to make climb to F1 easier
- Renault's Lom 'busy' with new FIA role
- Turkey, Greece eye spots on F1 calendar
F1 'would not allow' Indycar tracks - Barrichello
Rubens Barrichello has admitted that driving an Indycar after an almost two-decade F1 career was a rude awakening.
And not just the speed difference.
Asked by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport if his new mount felt slow even after Williams' uncompetitive 2011 car, the Brazilian said: "Yes, at first.
"But when you come to Indianapolis, you think differently about the speed."
The biggest difference, he explained, is the driving style he now needs to deploy.
"I am driving a car that is 200 kilograms heavier, so my precise and smooth style that I had over 19 years in Formula One is not needed here," said the 40-year-old.
"I have to be aggressive, against my instinct," said Barrichello.
Another major difference, said the winner of 11 Grands Prix, are the circuits.
"As the former president of the GPDA, I have to say that we would not allow these circuits in F1. No Formula One drivers would go there," said Barrichello.
"They are very bumpy, there is no run-off. You have to get used to it after being spoiled in Formula One.
"If we would take the Indycar to the European tracks, I would look better," he insisted.
Barrichello said that it is for that reason that - perhaps strangely - he is performing better this year on the ovals compared to the bumpy road and street circuits.
"I'll tell you why," he explained. "It's because a precise and smooth driving style works best on the ovals. I can drive there (on ovals) according to my instincts."
Another rude awakening, said Barrichello, has been the technology shift.
"In Formula One of course, there are many electronic toys that do not exist here.
"Even in the car setup of the Indycar there are not too many adjustments you can make; just the classical dampers, springs, anti-roll bars.
"There is nothing wrong with that, there is simply less money available. Here, you can put together a car for five million dollars.
"In Formula One you need more like 50 million," said Barrichello.
[Photo: Bryce Womeldurf]
2012 title much tougher for Vettel - Lauda
Winning the 2012 world championship is going to be a much tougher task for reigning back-to-back title winner Sebastian Vettel.
That is the view of F1's legendary triple world champion Niki Lauda, who nonetheless told the Osterreich (Austria) newspaper that the 25-year-old German cannot be written off.
With half the 2012 championship now behind him, Vettel has one win compared to leader Fernando Alonso's three, and he also trails his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber.
Told that Vettel appears less happy in 2012, Lauda said: "That's logical.
"Last year he had a huge advantage with his car.
"Now, in every race, he is having to fight like a donkey in order to stay in touch. And the stress level is higher."
And Austrian legend Lauda, 63, said Webber and Ferrari's Alonso are not Vettel's only problems.
"All the top teams are closer together, as we saw in Budapest last time. I expect it to stay like that and I hope that Red Bull and McLaren can exploit their full potential."
As for how Vettel shapes up against 2012 favourite Alonso, Lauda said the Spaniard is "superior to everyone in difficult situations".
Lauda was also asked about reports London could soon join the F1 calendar.
"I watched the Olympics from the opening to the closing ceremony," he said, "and loved it. An Olympic Games could not have gone better."
As for what he thinks about the idea of a London street GP, Lauda answered: "Not a lot."
McLaren 'closer' to 2013 Hamilton deal - Neale
Lewis Hamilton and McLaren are apparently now "closer" than ever to agreeing a new deal beyond the 2008 world champion's current contract.
With the 27-year-old Briton's current deal expiring this year, he has been linked with sensational moves to Lotus or Mercedes.
Rumours have said the McLaren impasse is essentially over money, although Hamilton said recently the fact he is currently not allowed to keep his original trophies or helmets is a "push point" in the negotiations.
"In a lot of other teams, the drivers get their original trophies," he is quoted by the Guardian.
"So whatever contract I'm having next, that is going to be a push point."
McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale suggested this week that Hamilton is now close to signing on for 2013.
"We are closer and of course we (are) in dialogue," he is quoted as saying by the Sun.
"We are working hard to find common ground."
Asked if both McLaren and Hamilton want to keep working together in the future, Neale insisted: "Very much so."
Berger wants to make climb to F1 easier
Gerhard Berger wants to make it simpler for young drivers to progress through the junior ranks to F1.
The former ten-time GP winner, BMW motor sport director and Toro Rosso co-owner is now the president of the governing FIA's single seater commission.
Jean Todt, Berger's former Ferrari boss and now FIA president, told the latest edition of the federation's own Inmotion magazine that he is looking into "how we can best create a logical path for aspiring drivers from karting all the way to F1".
The problem has arisen in recent years, with the path now cluttered with junior series including GP2, GP3, Renault World Series, F2, Formula Renault, Formula BMW, Formula Ford, F3, Auto GP and others.
It was much easier in 52-year-old Berger's day, when he moved from Formula Ford and rose through the German and European F3 ranks and was spotted by the F1 team ATS.
"The commission," Berger said, "looks at everything between karting and Formula One and I find that the pyramid at the moment is very loose.
"There are too many championships out there and attention between them is split too much.
"People are complaining that the best drivers are now all spread out and so you cannot look at the British Formula 3 championship, for example, and say that he is certain to get to formula one.
"These days, the best drivers are all over the place. The system no longer does what it is supposed to do, which is to give a highly talented driver a CV he can use to progress to Formula One."
Berger said he is "sure" he can help to "sort out" the system "because of the contacts" and skills he has.
He has started by championing European F3, and the next step - according to Berger - could be an all-new "Formula 4".
"We are working on this," Berger admitted.
Renault's Lom 'busy' with new FIA role
No longer in a Renault shirt, Fabrice Lom has revealed he is still "very busy" in the world of F1.
A high ranking engineer at Renault throughout the Williams, Benetton and Fernando Alonso eras, the Frenchman's last team role was in 2011, liaising between the engine supplier and its most prominent partner, Red Bull.
But a role at the FIA opened up late last year, with the governing body's engine boss Gilles Simon having accepted a job to design a V6 for Craig Pollock's new 2014 venture Pure.
Lom is the FIA's new head of powertrain.
"The FIA contacted me and proposed a job," he revealed. "I was quite happy at Renault but it sounded like a very interesting opportunity for me and so I decided to take it.
"It is a very busy role," Lom admitted.
He is in charge of the powertrain for F1, world rally, world endurance, world touring cars and F3.
One of Lom's tasks, he revealed, is "discussing the details of the 2014 F1 rules with the manufacturers".
Turkey, Greece eye spots on F1 calendar
Turkey could return to the F1 calendar.
Between 2005 and last year, despite poor spectator attendance, drivers enjoyed the Hermann Tilke-designed Istanbul layout, featuring the unique quadruple-apex Turn 8.
But the race was not included on the 2012 schedule, after organisers and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone disagreed over the sanctioning fee.
81-year-old Ecclestone, however, said on Wednesday that he, the teams and the FIA are "happy" to go to Turkey.
He told the major daily Haberturk: "If we can solve this (fee) problem, Turkey can return to the F1 calendar."
It is not known if the news is linked with recent reports that, amid Greece's severe economic crisis, the country could enlist neighbour Turkey's help to stage a F1 street race in Athens.
A report in the Hurriyet daily said Greece was in serious talks with Turkish race official Mumtaz Tahincioglu.
"We have to support all projects that market Greece," said Greek sports minister Kostantinos Cavares.