- Manager slams Renault claim Kubica not ready for 2012
- Senna still unsure as Kubica continues recovery
- Bahrain's F1 return 'in the balance' for 2012
- Vettel's talent not obvious at BMW - Heidfeld
- Red Bull knows why Ferrari wings flutter - report
- Red Bull to place Vergne at Lotus in 2012 - report
- Hamilton 'sure' Massa fans to make Brazil 'tough'
Manager slams Renault claim Kubica not ready for 2012
Robert Kubica's manager has angrily denied Renault's claim that the Pole ruled himself out of F1 for the start of the 2012 season.
In a media statement on Wednesday, the team said Kubica has confirmed "it is still too early for him to commit to driving in the 2012 championship".
"I came to the conclusion that I am not yet certain to be ready for the 2012 season," the 26-year-old driver was quoted as saying.
But according to Reuters, Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli on Thursday accused Renault of twisting the driver's words.
"It is not true that he won't be ready for 2012, he said he was not certain to be fit for the first tests in February," he reportedly told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Morelli clarified that Kubica's Renault contract runs out at the end of next month and also denied the statement's claim that talks about 2013 have begun.
"Renault will take their decision regarding drivers, we will look for alternative solutions," he said, following media speculation Kubica is being targeted by the Ferrari and Red Bull teams.
"From January 1 we will be free to go in whichever direction," added Morelli.
Senna still unsure as Kubica continues recovery
With Robert Kubica now out of the picture for early 2012, Bruno Senna insists the driver situation at Renault remains far from clear.
"For me, the announcement (about Kubica on Wednesday) does not change anything," Senna, the current occupant of the seat originally reserved for the injured Pole this season, said in his native Portuguese in Sao Paulo.
"I am working to convince the team that I should stay but the competition is great," he conceded.
Senna, 28, admitted that due to the "great" competition, "it is important" to be backed by ample sponsorship.
Even Vitaly Petrov, with a signed 2012 contract in his pocket, has hinted that Renault could pick a better-funded driver to replace him.
"It's hard to comment, I haven't read Petrov's contract," Senna insisted. "I have no information.
"I'm not worried about the seat next to me. (Romain) Grosjean is the third driver but everyone who is also on the market is an enemy - Rubens (Barrichello) has a huge amount of experience," he added, also mentioning the name of likely Force India refugee Adrian Sutil.
"We will have to see what the team decides. We have had encouraging conversations with sponsors and with the team," said Senna.
"The team is happy with me but they want more consistency. I have had ups and downs and I need my first whole season since 2008 (in GP2) to improve more."
Bahrain's F1 return 'in the balance' for 2012
The chances Bahrain will host its Grand Prix as scheduled next year have shrunk this week, according to two respected British correspondents.
The Telegraph's Tom Cary said he spent two hours on Wednesday reading the 500-page report produced by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.
He said the report, produced to analyse the unrest that earlier this year moved formula one to cancel the 2011 season opener, made clear that "many instances of torture" and abuse by the government took place and that "the situation in the country remains extremely delicate".
Said Cary: "As far as next April's scheduled grand prix is concerned, my feeling is that it remains in the balance.
"Formula one's teams and sponsors are clearly waiting to see how the world reacts (to the report); to judge the mood.
"I would not be surprised if the race was moved back in the 2012 calendar - possibly paired with Abu Dhabi - when the calendar is signed off at the next WMSC (World Council) meeting, to buy more time," added Cary.
Writing in the Guardian from Sao Paulo, another British correspondent Paul Weaver agreed that Bahrain faces "a struggle to survive" on the 2012 calendar.
Vettel's talent not obvious at BMW - Heidfeld
Nick Heidfeld has admitted that Sebastian Vettel's forthcoming dominance was not obvious when the back-to-back world champion's F1 career began four years ago.
In 2007, a then teenage and boy-like Vettel was BMW's Friday driver, supporting racers Heidfeld and Robert Kubica.
"That Sebastian would dominate Formula One was not foreseeable at the time," Vettel's German countryman Heidfeld, who earlier this season lost his Renault seat, told the German language Auto Bild.
In 2006 and 2007, before his race career began, Vettel often topped the Friday practice times but he was usually testing with fresher engines and tyres than Heidfeld and Kubica.
"With empty (fuel) tanks he had good times but compared to Robert and I he was too slow," insisted Heidfeld.
"Sebastian did a decent job on the Fridays but his potential was not easy to see. He performed solidly but the car was good for more."
The comments could explain why BMW so helpfully released Vettel into Red Bull's hands for his Toro Rosso debut, with Heidfeld conceding that since then, the now 24-year-old has been "simply unstoppable".
Red Bull knows why Ferrari wings flutter - report
Red Bull knows why flexible front wings flutter, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
With the 2011 title chase over, Ferrari began experimenting with Red Bull-like front wings recently but have struggled to solve a "fluttering" phenomenon seen mainly on the car driven by Felipe Massa.
But Red Bull also experienced some fluttering in Abu Dhabi, with team boss Christian Horner also admitting: "Mark Webber had the same (problem) at Suzuka."
The German magazine cites Red Bull sources in saying the explanation is quite simple.
The fluttering usually occurs at the end of a straight with the DRS rear wing system deployed, meaning that the aerodynamic load is increased at the front of the car.
"Then, if the tyre pressure is low, the car bounces on the tyre" causing the heavier endplates to vibrate, said Auto Motor und Sport.
Red Bull to place Vergne at Lotus in 2012 - report
Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko could switch the driver agreement with HRT to the Lotus/Caterham team for 2012, according to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.
In the second half of this season, the energy drink company has paid for Daniel Ricciardo to make his GP debut with the Spanish team HRT.
But the manager of the programme, Marko, revealed recently that he is not sure if the deal will be extended for 2012.
It is believed Australian Ricciardo will be moved to Toro Rosso for 2012, probably to replace Sebastien Buemi.
The next Red Bull-backed hopeful is Jean-Eric Vergne, who is now tipped to step into the role occupied by Ricciardo this year.
But, given HRT's signing of Pedro de la Rosa and the fact the other seat will almost certainly go to the highest bidder, Frenchman Vergne is believed unlikely to succeed Ricciardo at the struggling Spanish team.
"Red Bull could park one of their juniors Ricciardo and Vergne at Lotus (Caterham)," said Auto Motor und Sport.
Officially, Caterham's 2012 line-up is locked out, with Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen under contract.
But less than two weeks ago, veteran Trulli's manager Lucio Cavuto was moved to deny reports the Italian's 2012 seat was in danger due to "Red Bull dollars".
"One thing is clear," said Auto Motor und Sport. "Red Bull will give the Frenchman (Vergne) a cockpit next year."
Lotus/Caterham will use Red Bull's gearbox, hydraulics and KERS systems in 2012.
Hamilton 'sure' Massa fans to make Brazil 'tough'
Lewis Hamilton is "sure" he will be treated badly by some Felipe Massa fans during this weekend's Brazilian GP.
In 2008, Briton Hamilton gutted the excitable and highly partisan Interlagos crowd by pipping Brazilian Massa to the world championship.
And throughout this season the pair have been at odds with a series of on and off-track incidents.
"I have no idea what the reaction will be," said the McLaren driver before arriving in Sao Paulo for the season finale. "I just know that I have had great support every time I have been to Brazil.
"I am sure there will be a few Felipe fans who will be less happy," he acknowledged.
"It was tough when I was racing with Felipe for the championship but I think I will be fine. If not, then it will be interesting," added Hamilton.
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