- Button tips Webber to help Vettel now
- Alonso still favourite for 2012 title - Salo
- McLaren pushing ahead with 2012 car development
- Kobayashi downbeat as Sauber career fades
- Hamilton to fix Dennis rift before leaving McLaren
Button tips Webber to help Vettel now
Jenson Button has tipped Red Bull's Mark Webber to play a supporting role for his title-leading teammate from now until the end of the season.
Red Bull however insists both drivers - Webber and Sebastian Vettel - will enjoy free reign to push for the championship, even though Australian Webber is now a huge 63 points behind with just four races still to run.
"I'll eat my hat if Webber wins (races) ahead of Seb," McLaren's Button is quoted by Germany's Sport1.
Indeed, Motorsport Aktuell reports that Webber is actually contractually obliged to help Vettel now, having triggered a clause in his contract that names a maximum points gap to his teammate at a certain point of the season.
Alonso still favourite for 2012 title - Salo
Fernando Alonso is still very much in the running for the 2012 title.
That is the claim of former Ferrari and Sauber driver Mika Salo, who said many figures in the paddock also doubt that Sebastian Vettel will necessarily stroll to his third consecutive drivers' title over the season's final four races.
German Vettel finally took over Spaniard Alonso's long-held championship lead in Korea recently with his increasingly dominant Red Bull.
But Finn Salo told the MTV3 broadcaster: "There is a common perception among the drivers that Alonso will win the championship this year.
"Keep in mind that Ferrari was not competitive at the beginning of the year, but Alonso has led almost the entire way until now.
"He hasn't made any mistakes throughout the year, which is different to Vettel.
"Vettel gets the job done when he is driving alone at the front, but he is not as rational as Alonso in racing situations.
"Alonso on the other hand would prefer 18 points to none," added Salo.
McLaren pushing ahead with 2012 car development
Even with Lewis Hamilton admitting his 2012 drivers' title push is probably over, McLaren has vowed to press ahead with the development of its current car.
"Realistically we are too far away to win the drivers' (championship)," Hamilton said in India on Wednesday. "If we did (win) through some kind of miracle, then I'll eat my words."
Indeed, most commentators also see the remaining four races of the season as a fight only between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, with Briton Hamilton a full 62 points behind the lead.
But McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael said on Wednesday: "It's not a big a decision to decide to continue development of the the 2012 car.
"The rule changes for next year are quite small compared to what they would be in normal years, so most of the development work we do on this car will carry over to 2013 anyway.
"We're going to push to the end," he told reporters during the regular Vodafone teleconference.
Kobayashi downbeat as Sauber career fades
Kamui Kobayashi is sounding increasingly resigned about bowing out of F1 at the end of the season.
The exciting Japanese, who got his break with Toyota at the end of 2009 and was then snapped up by Sauber, admitted recently he has been told to find some backing or risk losing the seat at the Swiss team for 2013.
"Unfortunately my plan for next year is not fixed yet, but of course I will do my best," he told his Twitter followers this week.
"I will try to get my dream," added Kobayashi, who acknowledged that he feels he has a "high wall" to climb.
"But this chance gave me the opportunity to be even stronger in myself.
"One day if I need help from supporters of course it will be very helpful," he added, "and please keep supporting me - it will help a lot!"
After losing Sergio Perez to McLaren, Sauber is believed to have decided to replace him with the similarly Telmex-backed Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, and pair him with German Nico Hulkenberg, who will arrive from Force India.
"We will communicate in due course who our drivers will be in 2013," team boss Monisha Kaltenborn told Spox.com.
"Our goal is to engage the two best drivers who are within reach for our team. The first selection criteria will be sporting performance."
And she told the Times of India: "We haven't finalised anything. I won't tell you anything more on that.
"We'll announce the decision in due course. You just have to wait for a few more races."
Hamilton to fix Dennis rift before leaving McLaren
Lewis Hamilton has revealed he is hoping to sign off at McLaren on speaking terms with his former mentor Ron Dennis.
Dennis, the former team boss and still the chairman of the McLaren group of companies, groomed Hamilton through the junior ranks and gave him his F1 debut in 2007.
But reports suggest the pair had not exchanged a word since it was announced that Hamilton is jumping ship to Mercedes in 2013.
Briton Hamilton returned to McLaren's Woking headquarters after the recent Korean grand prix, though, and the 27-year-old said in India: "I spoke to Ron and - me and Ron - we're planning to meet up I think it's in Abu Dhabi.
"We'll go for dinner, have a good chat," added Hamilton at a sponsor event on Wednesday.