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F1: Austin And Bahrain Staying, Toro Rosso Driver Decision This Week Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | Dec, 08 2011 | 1 Comment
  • FIA says Austin, Bahrain, staying on 2012 calendar
  • Toro Rosso to make driver decision this month - Buemi
  • Rivals wanted to curb Red Bull's aero dominance - Marko
  • Rosberg not worried career could be winless
  • Sauber admits 2011 'difficult' for Kobayashi
  • Marussia an option as Petrov looks to save F1 career?
  • Marussia 'made most sense' for rookie Pic - Panis
 

FIA says Austin, Bahrain, staying on 2012 calendar

Next year's inaugural US grand prix at Austin has survived the meeting on Wednesday of the World Motor Sport Council.

Bernie Ecclestone had warned that without reaching a new agreement with the Circuit of the Americas officials, the event would be pulled from the 2012 calendar.

"The 2012 FIA formula one world championship calendar was confirmed as previously published," said the governing body after the meeting in India.

That is also good news for Bahrain, amid reports the situation inside the island Kingdom might have endangered the race's scheduled return to the F1 calendar next April.

The FIA also announced a raft of regulations tweaks, including one that will not escape the notice of the drivers.

"Drivers may no longer move back onto the racing line having moved off it to defend a position," the statement read.

(GMM)

 

Toro Rosso to make driver decision this month - Buemi

The signs are growing ever stronger that Toro Rosso, Red Bull's secondary formula one team, is set to stick with its existing driver lineup for 2012.

It was believed that Jaime Alguersuari or Sebastien Buemi - or both - could be replaced by the energy drink company's latest newcomers Daniel Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne.

But Ricciardo, now in the frame for Jarno Trulli's Caterham seat, told an Australian newspaper on Tuesday that he thinks Alguersuari and Buemi are safe for 2012.

"I don't know what's happening. Nothing," Swiss Buemi is quoted by Blick newspaper.

"I do know that the decision will be in December," he revealed.

The Swiss newspaper added that Frenchman Vergne is likely to remain in the Red Bull reserve role next season.

"I'm just taking it easy for a few days," Buemi explained. "I just have a date with my watch sponsor Audemars Piguet and after that I will be in the Red Bull simulator in Milton Keynes between the 11th and 14th of December.

"I am continuing to work as normal," added the 23-year-old.

Spain's AS newspaper cited a source close to Toro Rosso's Spanish sponsor Cepsa as believing "Alguersuari is an essential figure in the (Toro Rosso) project".

The report agreed that Buemi also looks set to be retained for 2012.

(GMM)

 

Rivals wanted to curb Red Bull's aero dominance - Marko

Red Bull pulled out of FOTA because the other teams were trying to curb the team's dominance.

That is the inkling of the energy drink company's F1 consultant Dr Helmut Marko, referring to the failed talks over the next cost-limiting resource restriction agreement (RRA).

Red Bull had been accused of breaching some of the articles in the existing agreement, and talks finally collapsed at the Brazil season finale.

Marko is quoted by the Kleine Zeitung newspaper as claiming that Red Bull's dominance was being specifically targeted by the other teams as the cost-cutting talks went on.

"We are the best in aerodynamics and so the others only wanted to cut back the (development of) aerodynamics," he charged.

It is turbulent times politically for Red Bull, but team driver Mark Webber seemed blissfully unaware as he began his post-season wind-down this week in Tasmania.

Asked by the Daily Mail about his employer's withdrawal from the teams association, the Australian answered: "Haven't got a clue, mate -- doesn't bother me.

"Didn't know any of that had happened," added Webber.

(GMM)

 

Rosberg not worried career could be winless

Nico Rosberg verged on losing his temper on Tuesday when asked by French sports daily L'Equipe about his alarming race-to-win ratio.

In 2011, the German scored over 50 fewer points compared to his first season with Mercedes last year, and yet he has signed on for a new multi-year term.

He was asked if he is alarmed that, more than 100 grands prix in and at the age of 26, he could be heading for a long and winless career.

L'Equipe said Rosberg's answer was angry.

"All the statistics; it's a journalist's trick," he answered. "I'm not worried and I don't think about it.

"If (Jenson) Button had listened to you (journalists), he would have retired before being world champion.

"I have extended my contract with Mercedes because I feel that I can win with this team."

Rosberg concedes, however, that when he raced the silver W02 for the first time in Australia in March, he was "a little disappointed".

"In Melbourne we had great hopes," he admitted, "then we realised that we were not going to be able to do anything about Red Bull.

"Now, I feel pretty satisfied with the season, especially since I have finished once again ahead of my teammate (Michael Schumacher)," added Rosberg.

(GMM)

 

Sauber admits 2011 'difficult' for Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi has admitted he had a difficult season as 'lead driver' with Sauber in 2011.

As a rookie, the Japanese spent his first full season in F1 in 2010 alongside highly experienced teammates Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld.

But this year, the 25-year-old shared the Swiss team's garage with rookie Sergio Perez, ultimately finishing the season with double the Mexican's haul of points.

Kobayashi, however, admits that the role as the key Sauber driver "certainly wasn't easy for me".

"I needed to improve a lot in various areas. Not only in driving, but also in making decisions with the engineers."

Sauber team boss Peter Sauber has decided to keep both Kobayashi and Perez, 21, for 2012.

"It was important to have an emotionally positive finish to the season," Sauber wrote in Blick newspaper. "This was especially true for Kobayashi, who has a difficult year behind him."

(GMM)

 

Marussia an option as Petrov looks to save F1 career?

According to the Russian press, a shock switch to the Marussia team might be an option as Vitaly Petrov looks to rescue his F1 career.

Lotus is reviewing its options after signing Kimi Raikkonen for 2012, with Petrov only one candidate for the sister seat alongside others including Romain Grosjean, Bruno Senna and Adrian Sutil.

The Russia Today website cited a French report in claiming new GP2 champion Grosjean is the hot favourite.

Petrov's manager Oskana Kosachenko would not confirm or deny the news other than to say "the French media is always good at supporting their countrymen".

The report went on to say the Virgin team, assuming the official name of its Russian supercar partner Marussia from 2012, is a possible alternative for Petrov.

But that team has already confirmed Timo Glock alongside French newcomer Charles Pic.

(GMM)

 

Marussia 'made most sense' for rookie Pic - Panis

The French sports daily L'Equipe on Tuesday quoted Charles Pic as saying his target for next season is to "reach the level" of his experienced teammate Timo Glock "as soon as possible".

The French newcomer, speaking in Paris, has been signed by the former Virgin team Marussia for 2012 and 2013.

"I have known him since he was very young," said his manager Olivier Panis, who revealed that Pic's career has been supported by another former French F1 driver, Eric Bernard.

Pic is quoted by Le Figaro: "I'm flying to England tomorrow to be at the factory to get to know the staff and start working with the engineers and in the simulator."

1996 Monaco grand prix winner Panis said Marussia is the perfect first team for Pic.

"It means a little less pressure for him to start with. Alonso started at Minardi, Vettel at Toro Rosso, I started at Ligier, Senna started at Toleman.

"There are only 24 F1 drivers in the whole world and so when you have the opportunity to do it, you do not pass it up.

"We had two options and, for me, Marussia made the most sense."

It is believed Panis, 45, will travel with Pic throughout the 2012 season.

(GMM)

 
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