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F1: Alonso Jokes As Webber Wins FIA 'Prize' Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | Dec, 20 2011 | 0 Comments
  • Alonso jokes as Webber wins FIA 'prize'
  • 2012 McLaren to be launched before Jerez test
  • HRT says second driver decision 'not urgent'
  • Di Resta worried F1 career would spin out - manager
  • Trulli not ready to stop as Caterham readies 2012 car
 

Alonso jokes as Webber wins FIA 'prize'

Mark Webber has revealed he had mixed feelings when he beat Fernando Alonso to third place in the 2011 constructors' standings.

The pair, who are friends, lead similarly guarded private lives, so in the closing stages of the championship they considered the 'prize' that went along with pipping the other to the post for third place.

"Only the top three drivers have to go", said Australian Webber, referring to the official FIA prize-giving gala, which was held recently in India.

"Jenson, Fernando and I had had a bit of a joke on the drivers' parade before the final race of the season in Brazil last month.

"We were all keen to improve our championship positions, but none of us were that up for any extra travel," he wrote in his last BBC column for the year.

"In the end, I won in Brazil, relegating Fernando to fourth. He's an intense competitor but I don't think he was that unhappy about losing out by one point," said Webber.

"I got a text message from him the day before I was going to India, reminding me that I had to go. It was along the lines of 'This is your captain speaking, your flight is ready for boarding'. It made me smile."

(GMM)

 

2012 McLaren to be launched before Jerez test

McLaren has become the latest team to reveal details about the launch of its 2012 car.

Direct rivals Red Bull and Ferrari have already announced that their next single seaters will be ready for the start of the opening test of the 2012 pre-season.

"The MP4-27 will break cover on Wednesday February 1 2012," Woking-based McLaren said on Monday.

The Mercedes powered team said the launch location will be announced "after the new year".

"The MP4-27 will test for the first time at Jerez on February 7-9," McLaren added.

Mercedes' new car, the W02, will not be tested until the second test, set to take place in Barcelona two weeks after the Jerez session.

(GMM)

 

HRT says second driver decision 'not urgent'

HRT is not rushing to fill one of the last seats on the 2012 grid.

The identity of Pedro de la Rosa's teammate aside, the only other official vacancy for next season is at Williams.

The latest names linked with HRT are Narain Karthikeyan, Jaime Alguersuari, Vitaly Petrov and Dutchman Giedo van der Garde.

"We are in advanced talks with several drivers but we can't anticipate anything yet," the team's new boss Luis Perez Sala, a former Minardi driver, said.

"It's a decision we surely won't make until the start of next year because, at this stage, who will be the team's second driver for next season is perhaps the least urgent one right now."

Having also changed ownership recently, HRT is busily making plans for a new headquarters whilst designing its own 2012 single seater.

"We will feel the effects of this transformation the team is going through and will have 'pay' for it at the start of the season," Sala warned.

"We're not going to be at the same level as when we finished this past season, where the same team had been running for two years, but we're aware of that.

"We're taking a step back so that we can take two forward."

(GMM)

 

Di Resta worried F1 career would spin out - manager

Paul di Resta's family was worried the Scot would race out of F1 after just a single season.

That is the claim of 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony, who after splitting with his son now handles di Resta's F1 career.

The 25-year-old had a solid debut season with Force India and has retained that seat for 2012.

But the Vijay Mallya-led team repeatedly delayed the official announcement, despite long-running rumours that di Resta would race next year alongside a new teammate, Nico Hulkenberg.

Friday's news was a relief, Hamilton admitted to the Telegraph.

"He really deserves it and I'm delighted for him and the rest of his family.

"I know they were worried as it took so long to announce."

He described Force India as a "mid-ranking" team, hinting that some more powerful potential employers might pay attention to di Resta's battle with the highly-rated Hulkenberg next season.

"I reckon it's a level playing field but certainly if they drive well both will have other teams knocking at their door," said Hamilton.

"The great thing is that they are both there (at Force India) on merit, which suggests the team is moving in the right direction."

(GMM)

 

Trulli not ready to stop as Caterham readies 2012 car

Caterham's 2012 Formula One car has been declared fit to run by the governing FIA.

A new rule for next year means cars now have to pass all the mandatory crash tests before they are allowed even to test ahead of the 2012 season.

Technical boss Mike Gascoyne, referring also to the team's new identity after two seasons as Lotus, revealed the good news via Twitter.

"Great week," he said on Saturday. "Renaming as Caterham F1 Team on Tuesday and today our first chassis, CT-01 passes all FIA homologation test.

"Well done all," added Gascoyne.

According to Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, lead driver Heikki Kovalainen is confident.

"I believe that next season we will fight for the middle places. On a good day I can be close to the points," he said.

It is rumoured that the fate of his teammate Jarno Trulli is uncertain, but the Italian also sounded confident ahead of 2012.

"Hopefully next year the sun shines some more after this season of suffering," said the veteran.

"There is a lot of hope and good will for the new project, but ultimately it's only about what you get on the track. The clock never lies," said Trulli.

The 37-year-old said he is not yet ready to stop.

"After Toyota withdrew I thought about changing to a different category, but I believed then - and I still believe now - in the project with Lotus," he insisted.

(GMM)

 

Ferrari eyes Sutil after Force India exit

As Adrian Sutil departs Force India, he is being linked with famous F1 teams Williams and Ferrari.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport claimed that, while his exit from the Silverstone based team after a five-year tenure only became official last Friday, the 28-year-old has been making new plans for 2012 since Abu Dhabi.

"Williams is interested," said the magazine, "and not only because of his Medion sponsor money. In the second half of the season Sutil did a lot of good to his reputation."

Auto Motor und Sport claims Ferrari is also interested, even though the Maranello based team's president Luca di Montezemolo has yet again insisted that Felipe Massa's contract for next year will be observed.

"Felipe knows next year is very important for him," said the Italian.

The German report said: "Sutil would be an interesting option for Ferrari in 2013. That's why he only wants to sign for one year with Williams."

Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann is quoted by Sport Bild: "Adrian's future is not fixed yet and we will not be making any short-term panic decisions."

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, meanwhile, neglected to mention Sutil when he hailed the German presence on next year's grid.

"For Germany, we need Sebastian, Michael and the two Nicos," he is quoted by Kolner Express tabloid.

(GMM)

 
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