TMR Team | Dec 19, 2012
  • 'Problem child' Grosjean keeps Lotus seat
  • FIA 'nervous' about F1's return to Bahrain - report
  • Horner - I would have ousted Massa
  • Berger could be candidate to replace Haug - report
  • Webber coped better with early-season RB8 - Vettel
  • Kobayashi aims for F1 return in 2014
  • Caterham 'close' to completing 2013 lineup
  • Schumacher flags possibility of 'small belly'
 

'Problem child' Grosjean keeps Lotus seat

Lotus has ended an intense period of speculation by announcing Romain Grosjean is staying with the team in 2013.

At the same time, former Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi admitted he will not be on the F1 grid next season.

Lotus, and major sponsor Total, had reportedly considered ousting 26-year-old Frenchman Grosjean in the wake of his often impressive yet tumultuous return to F1 this year.

Swiss-born Grosjean said late on Monday: "It's superb to have the support of everyone at Enstone."

Basler Zeitung, a Swiss newspaper, reacted: "The problem child gets his toy back."

(GMM)

 

Horner - I would have ousted Massa

Felipe Massa is lucky to have kept his seat at Ferrari.

That is the view of Christian Horner, the boss of Ferrari's chief championship rival in 2012, the reigning title winners Red Bull.

Asked if he would have inked a new deal with Brazilian Massa in 2013, Horner admitted: "No, I don't think I would have.

"Unfortunately, it's a tough business, and results-based," he told the book The Official Formula 1 Season Review 2012.

"You've got to look at what the guy in the other car (Fernando Alonso) - which we must assume is equal equipment - is achieving."

Horner said it is obvious that Ferrari did consider axing Massa, who made his debut for the fabled Maranello based team alongside Michael Schumacher in 2006.

"They obviously had a look at other drivers - at least one of ours! - so they were obviously concerned about his form, but their options seemed to become limited," he said.

Horner said Sergio Perez, who was eventually signed by McLaren for 2013 and beyond, initially seemed "a shoe-in" for Massa's seat.

"Then Felipe obviously picked his form up in the last third of the year," he added.

"They were obviously deliberating - the messages coming out of Maranello confirmed that - and probably when the music stopped they realised that the option they had was best for them."

During Ferrari's recent Maranello Christmas party, team president Luca di Montezemolo joked about Massa's mid-season return to form in 2013.

"I don't know where you went in the first part of the year," he smiled to Massa, "but I am very pleased you came back."

(GMM)

 

FIA 'nervous' about F1's return to Bahrain - report

The FIA is "nervous" ahead of F1's still-controversial return to Bahrain in 2013.

After the 2011 race was cancelled due to civil unrest in the island Kingdom, the sport's return to Sakhir this year was hugely controversial.

And "top-level figures" at the sport's Paris-based governing body "are already nervous" that the 2013 edition - scheduled for next late April - will be "another horrifying embarrassment", according to Times correspondent Kevin Eason.

"It was a public relations disaster on every level," Eason quoted an unnamed source as saying.

"The race will go on but you have to wonder what will happen this time.

"The demonstrators were not very organised in April and they probably feel they missed the chance to use the race as a platform.

"This time, they have plenty of warning that the race is on and plenty of time to make plans. It is fingers-crossed time," the source added.

(GMM)

 

Berger could be candidate to replace Haug - report

Gerhard Berger could be a candidate to replace Mercedes-Benz's departing head of motor sport Norbert Haug.

That is the claim of the Swiss magazine Speed Week, specifically naming the former Ferrari and McLaren driver as potentially in the running for Haug's job.

Austrian Berger, 54, was BMW's joint motor sport director last decade, and until 2008 the co-owner of the second Red Bull team, Toro Rosso.

"We will inform you about everything in due course," a Mercedes spokesman is quoted by the German news agency DPA.

(GMM)

 

Webber coped better with early-season RB8 - Vettel

Sebastian Vettel has admitted his teammate Mark Webber initially had a better handle of Red Bull's 2012 car.

Ultimately, on the way to collecting his third consecutive drivers' title this year, German Vettel outscored Australian Webber by more than 100 points.

And Webber won two Grands Prix in 2012, both in the first half of the season, compared to Vettel's five.

A report in Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Red Bull's renowned designer, Adrian Newey, "took half a season" to get the RB8 fully up to speed.

"I just felt more comfortable in the car (in the second half of the season)," Vettel explained.

"The balance was better for me than it was at the beginning, which caused problems especially in qualifying.

"For a long time I was not happy with the exhaust, even though it brought more downforce than the old version.

"I couldn't play with the car the way I wanted, to fit my driving style. I get my speed in the corners in the entry, while Mark is better at the exit.

"Only the last 'Coanda'-solution got me close to what we had last year," added Vettel.

(GMM)

 

Kobayashi aims for F1 return in 2014

Kamui Kobayashi has announced he will not be on the F1 grid in 2013.

Dropped by Sauber, the exciting Japanese driver had been raising money via a fans' website in a bid to secure an alternate race seat for next season.

Alan Jones, Australia's 1980 world champion, publicly backed his campaign.

"Perhaps now is the right time for corporations in Japan to get behind (Kobayashi) to secure his future in the sport," he said last week.

"Kamui is the best so far from Japan to compete in Formula One," added Jones.

But after Lotus late on Monday confirmed that Romain Grosjean is staying put in 2013, 26-year-old Kobayashi acknowledged that he is dropping out of F1 for now.

"I was in the position to bring a budget of eight million euros at least," he announced on his website.

"Unfortunately, the time was still short and I am not able to secure a seat with a competitive F1 team for 2013.

"I have to admit that it is very sad and I feel sorry for the fans and Japanese companies who supported me. But I am still confident to make it happen in 2014.

"I would like to stop the donation for now and while I will save all the money for 2014, I will start to look at what is the best option for 2013 and also 2014.

"My main priority is to secure a competitive F1 seat in 2014. I have no interest in racing in any other categories," he said.

Kobayashi, likeable and popular also for his exciting wheel-to-wheel style and audacious overtaking, debuted for Toyota late in 2009 before being signed by Sauber full time.

(GMM)

 

Caterham 'close' to completing 2013 lineup

Caterham is almost ready to complete its 2013 driver line-up, new team boss Cyril Abiteboul has revealed.

Having fielded Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov this year, Caterham has already announced that Frenchman Charles Pic will drive one of the green cars next season.

Finn Kovalainen's hopes of staying in F1 are now pinned on Caterham's plans, but the sponsored drivers Petrov, Dutchman Giedo van der Garde and Bruno Senna are reportedly all also looking to the Tony Fernandes-founded team.

"There are different options," Abiteboul admitted to F1's official website.

Russian Petrov's hopes appeared to get a boost last week, when a delegation for his sponsor Russian Helicopters visited Caterham's factory.

"One option," Abiteboul said, "is someone who he (Pic) can learn from and who he can use as his benchmark for what we want from both our drivers.

"Another option, more radical, is to accept the fact that 2013 is a transition year that we use to continue building the team before a period of greater stability in 2014, when a lot of other things in the package will change," he added.

"Both types of candidates are out there, and we are close to making a decision."

(GMM)

 

Schumacher flags possibility of 'small belly'

Michael Schumacher has admitted his fitness could slip now that he is returning to retirement.

But the great seven-time world champion, who after almost two decades on the F1 grid is now retiring for a second time, told his fans not to worry about him.

"Why would anyone worry what Michael Schumacher is going to do when he stops?" the 43-year-old is quoted by RTL.

"He has a family and is just happy to spend time with them and not have too many plans.

"And, anyway, my calendar will be full next year."

Schumacher would not say what those plans are, but sources insist he has totally ruled out a management role, such as to replace Mercedes' departing Norbert Haug.

The German joked that, the next time some fans see him, he might have grown a "small belly".

(GMM)

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