- FIA feared F1 to be too slow in 2014 - report
- Uncertainty over 2013 seat 'unpleasant' - Grosjean
- Haug admits Mercedes defeats led to F1 departure
- Alesi retires from motor racing
- Vettel 'not bothered' some think Alonso better
- Bianchi has 'real chance' of Force India seat - manager
FIA feared F1 to be too slow in 2014 - report
F1's governing body backtracked on aerodynamic changes for the 2014 season because of fears the next generation of cars would be too slow.
After the recent World Motor Sport Council meeting in Turkey, the FIA announced that scheduled bodywork rule changes for 2014 to reduce downforce have been replaced by "2012 specification".
"There was concern that formula one cars would become too slow," read a report by German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.
One problem is that the all-new turbo V6 and energy recovery systems will add considerable weight - and more than initially expected - to the 2014 single seaters.
With the 2014 rules, the FIA is reportedly aiming to slow down the F1 cars by no more than five seconds per lap.
Any more than that, the German report claimed, runs the risk that formula one could be genuinely outpaced by Le Mans prototype cars, or the US-based Indycars.
Uncertainty over 2013 seat 'unpleasant' - Grosjean
Romain Grosjean has admitted to relief, after Lotus this week ended a long period of speculation about the Frenchman's future.
After his often impressive yet error-strewn return to F1 this year, the 26-year-old Frenchman admitted he genuinely feared for his race seat.
"I am happy and relieved," Grosjean told France's RMC Sport.
"It has been some long and not necessarily very pleasant weeks."
In the wake of his Monza ban, Grosjean began to put his season back together but then ended 2012 badly in Austin and Brazil.
"The last two races of the season did not help the negotiations," he admitted.
"We sat down together to understand, analyse and especially consider whether we go on again.
"I was clearly concerned about going, losing what I love. When the decision came, I was very relieved," said Grosjean.
There was speculation Grosjean's turbulent season had also endangered the backing of his sponsor Total, but the French company said on Tuesday that it continues to support the Swiss-born racer.
"This is a new step in the relationship of trust that we have built together from his first laps, 7 years ago," said senior vice president Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier.
Grosjean, meanwhile, denied Lotus decided to give him another chance for 2013 after beating the likes of reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel at last weekend's Race of Champions.
Asked when the new deal was done, he told Sky Sports: "It was just before the Race of Champions, so it was good to get there and have a weekend of fun with some good guys and really enjoy it."
Haug admits Mercedes defeats led to F1 departure
Norbert Haug has admitted he is stepping down due to Mercedes' lack of success as a works team since 2010.
But in an interview with Germany's Bild daily, he denied reports he is being made a scapegoat.
"No, I'm not," said Haug, who served as the German marque's motor sport vice president for more than two decades.
"If I had nothing to do with our failures in the last three years, then I would have nothing to do with our victory in China this year," said the 60-year-old, "and I wouldn't like that."
But why has Haug been axed, and not the Brackley based team's British principal, Ross Brawn?
"Because over 22 years I have borne the overall responsibility for motor sport at Mercedes, not Ross Brawn. I am ultimately his superior," he insisted.
Haug said he accepts that he must take the responsibility.
"The basis of our car was good, but the development was poor to very poor," he admitted.
Haug denied rumours he is actually quitting for health reasons.
"Thank god not," the German insisted. "Almost three years ago to the day I had thyroid surgery, but since then I'm doing very well. I'm totally healthy," he added.
He said he doesn't know if his job will now be split into two roles -- DTM and F1.
"I have no information. Maybe there is a very capable professional who can do much more than I can," said Haug.
He played down suggestions ex-drivers like Michael and Ralf Schumacher, or Mika Hakkinen, can fill his shoes.
"Honestly, I don't think they were born to be in the office," laughed Haug.
Alesi retires from motor racing
Jean Alesi has decided to retire from motor racing.
At the wheel of Lotus' highly uncompetitive car, the F1 veteran made his Indy 500 debut this year and vowed to return in 2013 with a better performance.
But the 48-year-old Frenchman, who won just one grand prix for Ferrari during his 202-grand prix career between 1989 and 2001, announced this week he is in fact quitting.
"I do not feel like hunting for sponsors," Alesi told the French sports daily L'Equipe.
Vettel 'not bothered' some think Alonso better
Sebastian Vettel insists he is not bothered that some regard Fernando Alonso as a better driver.
Recently, after a confidential post-season survey involving all 12 team bosses, Spaniard Alonso was voted the standout driver of the season, despite German Vettel winning his third consecutive championship with Red Bull.
"If people think that Alonso's wins are about the driver and mine about the car, that is also Fernando's responsibility -- but it doesn't bother me," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"I admire him (Alonso) very much and I respect him as a driver," added Vettel.
"For me it was clear from the beginning that my opponent for the title would be him.
"After the winter tests, Ferrari became competitive more quickly than we expected - yes, maybe in Malaysia he would not have won in the dry - but already by Barcelona he was among the best.
"His strength was to always be fast even if he was almost never the fastest," Vettel said.
As for the claims Alonso is a better driver, Vettel insisted: "I don't want to stand here and prove my performance, but we have also won races that we should not have.
"Monaco last year, for example, when I made the decision against all reason to go with a one stop. Also Barcelona 2011, when Hamilton was faster but he couldn't get past me."
Bianchi has 'real chance' of Force India seat - manager
Jules Bianchi has a "real chance" of securing one of the two remaining race seats on the 2013 grid.
The 23-year-old Frenchman's manager Nicolas Todt told RMC Sport that Bianchi is in the running for the vacant Force India drive alongside Paul di Resta.
Bianchi, also supported by Ferrari's driver development 'academy', was the Silverstone based team's full time reserve driver this year.
"The decision is in the hands of two or three people at the Force India team," Todt, the son of FIA president Jean Todt and also the manager of Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado, said.
"I think Jules has a real chance but nothing is done," added Todt.
It has been reported the favourite for the drive is German Adrian Sutil, but Todt insisted: "There are many drivers knocking on the door at Force India."
He said he doubts Sutil is a shoe-in for the seat.
"I would be surprised, but as of today I do not think anyone has signed," said Todt.
Force India has announced it will launch its 2013 car at Silverstone on 1 February, ahead of the winter test season in Spain.
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