- Leaving Ferrari was 'a relief' - Raikkonen
- Boss Abiteboul, racer van der Garde tipped for Caterham
- Red Bull 'not involved' in qualifying fuel debacle
- Slim 'quite sure' Gutierrez to race Sauber in 2013
- F1 briefs: Kubica, McLaren-Mercedes and Austin
Leaving Ferrari was 'a relief' - Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen has admitted it was a "relief" when his lucrative deal with Ferrari ended in 2009.
The premature termination of the Finn's contract, making room for the arrival of Fernando Alonso and major sponsor Santander, pushed Raikkonen out of F1 completely and off to a two-year foray in world rallying and Nascar.
But the now 33-year-old returned to the grid this year with Lotus, performing impressively to now sit a comfortable third in the drivers' standings, and having notched up his 19th career grand prix last weekend in Abu Dhabi.
He is also signed up for 2013.
Asked by the Spanish sports newspaper Marca to recall his memories of racing for F1's most famous team Ferrari, Raikkonen answered: "Neither good nor bad.
"I won a title with them and had some good times. I am satisfied with the three years I spent there.
"I don't miss anyone," he admitted. "To me, leaving there was a relief.
"The situation could have been better, but it's the past and what is done cannot be reversed," said Raikkonen.
"Things don't last long if you're working somewhere and the relations are not good."
He explained that, in contrast, he enjoys working with Lotus.
"I felt good from the start," said Raikkonen. "People work hard and calmly, but they want to win and the sport and the technical sides come before the politics."
Boss Abiteboul, racer van der Garde tipped for Caterham
Caterham's latest recruit, Cyril Abiteboul, is tipped to succeed founder Tony Fernandes' as the team's new principal.
Having announced a major new sports car venture with Renault, Malaysian entrepreneur Fernandes this week confirmed reports he is stepping down as Caterham's F1 boss.
Initial rumours suggested his successor could be Jean-Francois Caubet, whose last race as engine supplier Renault's F1 chief was in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
But another prominent Renault member also left the French engine supplier recently: Cyril Abiteboul.
Indeed, Renault's former deputy managing director was in September signed up as Caterham F1's new chief executive.
Asked recently if Abiteboul will soon be Caterham principal, Fernandes answered: "Not at the moment, no. Eventually, maybe."
The Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat on Wednesday reported that Abiteboul will indeed take over Fernandes' role.
The report also tipped Caterham to announce Dutchman Giedo van der Garde as part of the team's 2013 race lineup, amid suggestions the other seat will be filled by the similarly well-backed Frenchman Charles Pic, who would move from Marussia.
That would leave the highly rated - but unsponsored - Heikki Kovalainen out in the cold for 2013.
Van der Garde is this week testing the green CT01 in Abu Dhabi, but he will not be reprising his recent Friday driving duties next weekend in Austin.
"It's a new track and so the race drivers need the maximum time in the car," he is quoted by De Telegraaf newspaper.
The report said van der Garde will, however, be practicing on the Friday before the 2012 finale, in Brazil.
Red Bull 'not involved' in qualifying fuel debacle
Red Bull has distanced itself from the blame, following Sebastian Vettel's disastrous qualifying session in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
Disqualified from the session after scrutineers could not extract the necessary litre of fuel for sampling, the championship leader had been asked to stop the car urgently following advice from engine supplier Renault.
It emerges that Renault feared damage to the engine and other systems if Vettel's RB8 had been left to run completely out of fuel.
"We saw some numbers going down," said Vettel, "and in order to save the engine, save the pumps in between etcetera, we decided to stop the car, convinced that we had enough fuel in the car to provide a sample."
So why wasn't enough fuel put in the car for the decisive qualifying session?
"It's difficult," team boss Christian Horner is quoted by Germany's RTL, "because Renault was sure there was enough fuel in the car.
"What happens is the engineers for the engine side calculate the amount of fuel to be put into the car. As a team, we (Red Bull) are not involved in it," he insisted.
Slim 'quite sure' Gutierrez to race Sauber in 2013
If Sauber's biggest sponsor has its way, Esteban Gutierrez will next year line up on the grid alongside confirmed 2013 driver Nico Hulkenberg.
Gutierrez's fellow Mexican Sergio Perez, who is heading to McLaren, was until now the cream of Sauber backer Telmex's F1 programme for the last two years.
But waiting in the wings all the time has been the one-year-younger Mexican reserve driver Gutierrez, who is this week testing Sauber's C31 in Abu Dhabi, as is another 2013 candidate, the highly-rated Robin Frijns.
Telmex chief and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, however, could have a substantial influence on the final decision.
"We are talking with Sauber for next season," he told the Mexican newspaper Reforma, "and we intend to continue together.
"Obviously that will be with the participation of a Mexican driver, which is Esteban Gutierrez," Slim Domit insisted.
Gutierrez, 21, got his first taste of official F1 action recently in India, when Perez was suffering from a heavy cold and sat out a practice session.
"It would not be that the team gives him a practice event in formula one if they have no long-term plan for him," Slim continued.
"And for us, we would not have our participation in formula one without a Mexican driver, so I think it is quite sure that for the first time next year, we will have two Mexican drivers in formula one for a full season," he added.
F1 briefs: Kubica, McLaren-Mercedes and Austin
Robert Kubica will continue his push for racing fitness by stepping up to the wheel of a full world rally-spec Citroen C4 for two forthcoming minor rallies (Rally di Coma and Rallye du Var).
"I can't wait to drive a car that is as quick and has been as successful as the C4 WRC," said the former BMW and Renault driver, who was seriously injured in a rally crash in February 2011.
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh has once again fended off speculation McLaren could be set to switch engine suppliers, amid rumours the British marque is eyeing a collaboration with Honda.
"It is going to be McLaren-Mercedes for quite a few years to come," he told the Daily Mail.
Whitmarsh played down reports the Woking based team is looking at its options because it will now have to pay for a 'customer' supply of Mercedes power.
"I think we have got a very good deal with them, but I think more importantly than that is we have got a good partnership," he insisted.
The first of F1's six cargo 747s has touched down in Austin, Texas, ahead of the Circuit of the Americas' first US grand prix next weekend.
Local broadcaster KVUE said the 'Cargolux' flight touched down at Austin-Bergstrom international airport on Wednesday afternoon.
"A lot of that (flight's cargo) is supplies for the paddock area," track president Steve Sexton said.
The Circuit of the Americas is an all-new facility, and Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali told La Stampa his team's analysis is that it is a "copy and paste" of other well-known grand prix layouts.