- 2013 calendar finally taking shape
- Raikkonen 'learns nothing' in simulators
- Gene inks new Ferrari test driver deal
- Kobayashi can return to F1 in 2014 - Perez
- Perez starts work in McLaren simulator
2013 calendar finally taking shape
The shape of the 2013 calendar is now becoming clearer.
The signs grow stronger that the Nurburgring will host the German GP, while the scheduled 20-race calendar will dwindle to just 19 rounds this year as bids by Austria and Turkey falter.
Bernie Ecclestone has said this week that he hopes talks this week will confirm the Nurburgring's fate.
"We consider it very positive that Mr Ecclestone is optimistic about these final negotiations," said circuit spokesman Karl-Heinz Steinkuehler.
"The last talks will be conducted in the near future," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. "Then there will certainly be an outcome."
Auto Motor und Sport speculated that Briton Ecclestone, 82, might even inject some of his own money.
"We cannot afford to lose the German Grand ]Prix," he said.
As for the 20th race date, set aside for a European venue in the wake of New Jersey's demise, F1 chief executive Ecclestone has now ruled out Austria.
And now, Turkey's chances have also collapsed.
The Hurriyet daily reported on Wednesday that prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to approve state funding for F1's return to Istanbul Park.
So what venue will host the 20th race now?
"Probably none," Ecclestone is quoted by Austria's Krone newspaper.
"(The weekend of) July 21 would therefore remain free. Longer holidays for everyone," he said.
Raikkonen 'learns nothing' in simulators
Kimi Raikkonen has clarified his aversion to sophisticated F1 simulator technology, insisting he simply "learns nothing" at the computerised wheel.
An avowed fan of idol James Hunt's bygone days, 2007 world champion Raikkonen has always sounded unenthusiastic when asked about the simulator technology that has replaced F1's former days of expensive track testing.
That sparked rumours that, like Michael Schumacher, simulators give the famous Finn motion sickness, or that perhaps the former Ferrari and McLaren driver is claustrophobic.
Raikkonen's new team, Lotus, has now developed a brand new simulator at its Enstone base, but it appears only teammate Romain Grosjean will be at the wheel.
"I just think that I can learn nothing in the simulator," the 33-year-old is quoted by Switzerland's Speed Week.
"I learn a new track quickly, without a simulator," added Raikkonen.
Indeed, when Lotus' new simulator was up and running prior to Austin last November, Grosjean lapped the virtual circuit many times but was still immediately outpaced in real life by Raikkonen, who got his first taste of the US layout in Friday practice.
Gene inks new Ferrari test driver deal
Marc Gene has signed up for yet another year as a Ferrari test driver.
Although now spearheading the F1 role with an Audi sports cars endurance seat, Gene has inked a new one-year Ferrari contract for 2013, Switzerland's Speed Week reports.
The 38-year-old Spaniard, who also commentates on F1 with Spanish television Antena 3, has been a Ferrari test driver since 2005, although Jules Bianchi was the famous Italian team's official reserve in 2012.
Gene's recent role has been more confined to working with sponsors, and in the simulator.
"I'm honoured that I can continue working for Ferrari," he is quoted as saying this week.
"My goal is clear - I want to help Ferrari and Fernando Alonso to have a car capable of winning the title."
Gene raced for Minardi in 1999 and 2000, and as Williams' reserve driver stepped into injured Ralf Schumacher's car for short periods in 2003 and 2004.
Kobayashi can return to F1 in 2014 - Perez
Sergio Perez believes his 2012 teammate Kamui Kobayashi can return to F1 next year.
Japanese Kobayashi, who in the same 2012 Sauber scored 60 points last year compared to Mexican Perez's 66, has acknowledged he will not be on the 2013 grid.
At the same time, Perez was signed to switch to McLaren next year to replace the British team's most recent champion Lewis Hamilton.
The 22-year-old Mexican kicked off his official duties on Wednesday by speaking to the press at a photo opportunity at McLaren's Woking headquarters.
"Kamui is a great racer, a nice guy, he does his job well," Perez is quoted as saying by the Russian website f1news.ru.
"I wish he wasn't left without a contract, but I think he'll be back in formula one next season," he insisted.
"I'm sure that with his speed he will find a good place and we'll see him again next year."
Perez also had some words for his countryman Esteban Gutierrez, the 21-year-old rookie who is filling his seat at Sauber.
"I think it's a great opportunity for Esteban," he said at Woking.
"Sauber is a great team in which a driver has the opportunity to demonstrate his potential."
Perez starts work in McLaren simulator
Sergio Perez on Wednesday revealed he has already started work at the wheel of McLaren's sophisticated driver simulator.
But the Mexican warned that he will have no impact on the design or specification of his 2013 car, the MP4-28.
"Of course, no," he is quoted by the Russian website f1news.ru, after his first official visit to McLaren's Woking headquarters for the media on Wednesday.
"However," said the 22-year-old, "I have already worked on the simulator, helping the team to understand the specifics of my driving style.
"But to be honest, I have no influence on the creation of a new car," Perez admitted.
He said his real challenge, whilst learning from his experienced teammate Jenson Button, is to become top dog and fight for the 2013 championship.
"I think at the moment it looks like Jenson has experience, has the team," the Mexican is quoted by the Daily Mail.
"He's a great champion - the most experienced driver in the paddock now. So I think I have a lot to learn from him. And obviously I want to beat him as well."