- Vettel won't win title in Austin - Danner
- 2013 Hockenheim race 'problematic' - mayor Gummer
- Austin like Suzuka, Silverstone, Turkey, Hockenheim
- Toro Rosso, Force India to change engines for 2014 - report
- Comeback 'bad for Schu, good for F1' - Wurz
- Zetsche denies approving F1 budget boost
- Ma Qinghua to race HRT in China next year - agent
- Radio impatience helped Raikkonen 'brand' - Wurz
Vettel won't win title in Austin - Danner
Christian Danner, a former F1 driver turned commentator from Germany, does not believe countryman Sebastian Vettel will wrap up his third consecutive drivers' title in Austin this weekend.
Mathematically it could be done, but the relative competitiveness of the Red Bull driver's championship rival Fernando Alonso means a finale in Brazil next weekend is more likely.
"I think we will wait until Sao Paulo, no matter what happens in Austin, really," Danner told RTL.
"If the race in Austin is fairly normal, with both of them reaching the finishing line and taking a lot of points, there will be no decision here," he added.
"I think we can look forward to a nice season finale in Brazil," said Danner.
With a faster car than Alonso's Ferrari and a ten-point buffer, Vettel is the hot favourite on paper.
But Jacques Villeneuve, the outspoken 1997 world champion, admitted he is backing the Spaniard.
"Seb is super quick," the French Canadian is quoted by the Sun newspaper, "but there is a difference with Fernando that emerges in the case of an unfavourable situation.
"Alonso remains calm, cool, and rational, while Vettel most times gets upset, angry, screams and flicks the middle finger. He (Vettel) reacts like a child."
2013 Hockenheim race 'problematic' - mayor Gummer
It is possible Germany will fall off the 2013 F1 calendar altogether.
This week, it has emerged that - at the circuit's own admission - the financially-crippled Nurburgring will almost certainly not host the German GP as scheduled mid next year.
Hockenheim has been named as a possible alternative, and it was believed that talks between circuit officials and Bernie Ecclestone had been underway for some time.
But the city's mayor Dieter Gummer told DPA news agency: "It is the case that we are in constant contact but it has never led to negotiations on an F1 event in Hockenheim in 2013.
"Before a Grand Prix in Germany goes we would in any case be prepared to talk, but in every case the priority is Nurburgring," he added.
Gummer said organising a 2013 race at Hockenheim would be "certainly problematic", as preparations for a grand prix usually begin "at the completion of the previous event".
Austin like Suzuka, Silverstone, Turkey, Hockenheim
According to the buzz in the brand-new Circuit of the Americas paddock, F1's often-criticised circuit designer Hermann Tilke has penned a memorable layout for the sport's American comeback.
The most obvious feature of the Austin layout at first glance is the steeply-uphill turn one, and then soon after the course emulates Silverstone's famous Becketts section.
"Turns three and four," agreed Mark Webber. "And later on it's a little like Suzuka in Japan, which drivers love," the Red Bull driver told local broadcaster KVUE.
Engine supplier Renault's Remi Taffin picks up the theme.
"It (Austin) has replicated some of the most challenging corners we have visited, including the Suzuka esses and Turn 8 from Istanbul."
McLaren's Jenson Button added: "I can even see a bit of the Hockenheim infield too."
Designer Tilke told the DPA news agency that his Austin layout is "one of the most difficult" for drivers that he has penned.
"We wanted to do something special so we have taken advantage of every hill. It is constantly up and down and with fast corner combinations," he said.
Speaking to Germany's Sport1, former F1 driver Alex Wurz likens "the first half" of the Austin layout to "a roller-coaster ride, with everything at high speed".
The Austrian suggested the layout will probably suit Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull more than the Ferrari driven by his title rival Fernando Alonso.
But Jules Bianchi, who last weekend tested Austin-bound improvements for Alonso's F2012, told Marca newspaper that the Ferrari should be "competitive" in the US.
"Everyone at the factory has been working for it and we should be competitive here," said the Frenchman.
"It's full of high speed corners, the start is like the Suzuka esses, but there are also many slow corners, and some big braking areas," he added.
Toro Rosso, Force India to change engines for 2014 - report
Toro Rosso will switch to Renault power for the start of F1's new V6 engine era in 2014.
That is the claim of the authoritative German specialist publication Auto Motor und Sport, reporting that the Red Bull-owned team will end its long association with supplier Ferrari after the V8 era concludes late next year.
Red Bull Racing, the energy drink's premier F1 team, is Renault's 'works' partner, running major branding of Renault partner Nissan's luxury arm Infiniti.
And also according to Auto Motor und Sport, "there are rumours Force India will in 2014 change from Mercedes to Ferrari engines".
The report by journalist Michael Schmidt said the Silverstone based team's denials so far have "not been energetic enough to make you believe them".
Reportedly, the reason for Toro Rosso and Force India's decisions could be price, with engine costs rising from about EUR 8 million at present to in some cases over EUR 20m in 2014.
But in Toro Rosso's case, there is probably a more practical consideration, with parent team Red Bull then able to supply its Faenza based satellite with Renault-compatible gearboxes, KERS and hydraulics from 2014.
Comeback 'bad for Schu, good for F1' - Wurz
His three-year return to F1 has been "bad for (Michael) Schumacher, good for Formula One".
That is the claim of Alex Wurz, who at the height of the seven time world champion's powers in the late 90s once famously went wheel-to-wheel with the great German and emerged from the Monaco tunnel with his car in pieces.
A still highly competitive Schumacher retired from F1 in late 2006 but then returned with Mercedes three years later, but - now in his 40s - only managed to add a mere podium to his giddy tally of 91 victories.
Now, after Austin and Brazil in the next two weekends, Schumacher is retiring again.
"He was not able to do what he expected," Wurz told Sportwoche.
"At the end it is a sign of the times that everything in F1 is so fast-paced, and hard as nails," he said.
Wurz, however, said he thinks Schumacher's comeback was not a failure.
"The fact that someone who dominated so much was not able to dominate again after a three-year break is a compliment to the drivers who dominate now," he said.
"It shows that they are the best in the world today," added Wurz.
For that reason, 2010, 2011 and 2012 will be remembered as "bad for Schumacher, good for Formula One", he concluded.
Zetsche denies approving F1 budget boost
Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of Mercedes' parent Daimler, has denied reports he has approved an increase in the F1 team's budget for 2013.
Reportedly on new recruit Niki Lauda's recommendation, it emerged recently that Mercedes-Benz is prepared to boost the Brackley based team's coffers to the tune of many millions.
Bild newspaper had said Mercedes' fattened budget would bring its 2013 spend up to EUR 200 million, making it comparable to what is buying success at top three grandees Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.
But Zetsche told German weeky Die Zeit: "We do not intend to increase our budget."
However, he did admit that Mercedes needs to up its game.
"The Mercedes engine is considered the best in Formula One," he said, thereby confirming that the reasons for Mercedes GP's lack of performance is "other parts of the car".
"Certainly we need to become better, and soon," added Zetsche.
Ma Qinghua to race HRT in China next year - agent
Ma Qinghua will "definitely" be on the grid in Shanghai next year, the Chinese driver's agent said on Thursday.
Ma, HRT's test and sometimes Friday practice driver in 2012, told the Fujian (Chinese) newspaper Southeast Express that reports the Spanish team is for sale do not worry him.
The 24-year-old has been tipped as a potential teammate for Pedro de la Rosa in 2013, but Spanish media reports say there is a risk HRT will fold.
Ma's agent, Jin Yong, said: "No matter who the boss is, Ma will definitely compete in next year's F1 race in Shanghai."
Ma added: "No matter who will be the boss, the team is still there. So what I need to focus on now is to improve myself through training."
Radio impatience helped Raikkonen 'brand' - Wurz
Kimi Raikkonen may have been tired of his engineer's radio messages, but he was also looking after his "brand" en route to Abu Dhabi victory.
That is the view of former F1 driver Alex Wurz, referring to Finn Raikkonen's series of pit-to-car radio exchanges that culminated in the now-famous refrain 'Leave me alone - I know what I'm doing' as he added a win to his 2012 F1 comeback.
2007 world champion Raikkonen is 'the iceman' - a laid-back, cigarette and alcohol-loving racer who in Monaco paid tribute to his hero by wearing James Hunt's helmet colours.
When asked about Raikkonen's radio impatience in Abu Dhabi, Austrian Wurz said: "Well, Kimi is the way he is.
"But he's also a clever guy who understands what his 'brand Kimi Raikkonen' needs.
"Kimi knows very well the importance of his engineers - after all, he took his McLaren engineer, Mark Slade, with him to Lotus," Wurz told motorline.cc.
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