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F1: Marko Wants Ricciardo To Beat Liuzzi; Webber Not Yet Signed: Horner Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Jul, 29 2011 | 1 Comment

F1's newest driver Daniel Ricciardo on Thursday acknowledged his bosses expect him to perform "sooner rather than later".

The young Aussie ace said Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko has not set concrete targets, but he knows beating his HRT teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi is the obvious goal for the very near future.

"He doesn't say, 'by tomorrow you have to out -ualify him or that is it'," Ricciardo said at the Hungaroring when asked about Marko's expectations.

The 22-year-old said both HRT and Toro Rosso are potential teams for his 2012 season.

"But I know what he (Marko) wants more or less and I know it is better to do these things sooner rather than later.

"He definitely expects me to be getting some results - I think he wants to see me out-qualifying and out-racing Tonio and mixing it with the Virgin guys," added Ricciardo.

(GMM)

 

Signature still missing from Webber deal - Horner

Christian Horner has denied reports that Mark Webber has now signed on with Red Bull for 2012.

But the team boss indicated he is happy to retain the 34-year-old Australian alongside Sebastian Vettel.

"The only thing missing is the signature, but to me this is just a formality," Horner said during an interview with Germany's Sport Bild.

"To be honest, I have a problem imagining any other driver in our car, or Mark Webber with another team," he added.

Horner insisted that the issues that arose after Webber ignored team orders at Silverstone were resolved in a "really good talk", and tipped Vettel to immediately bounce back from his disappointing performance at the Nurburgring.

"It is impossible to win every race, but Sebastian races all the time at an extremely high level," he said.

"Of course, a Formula One driver - unlike an athlete or a tennis player - is very dependent on his equipment. But it still comes down to what he makes of it.

"Without us and his car Sebastian would not be as good, but also true is that we would not be as good without Sebastian," added Horner.

(GMM)

 

VW could enter F1 in 2018 - official

Volkswagen could enter F1 in 2018, the German giant has announced.

Auto Motor und Sport on Thursday quotes VW Group motor racing official Wolfgang Durheimer: "When the group is at the front of the auto industry in 2018, I could imagine an involvement in Formula One.

"We have enough good brands that could do that," he added.

Durheimer warned however that Volkswagen is content with its current activities, including VW and Skoda in rallying, Seat in world touring cars and Audi in DTM and Le Mans.

(GMM)

 

CVC investors 'worried' about Ecclestone scandal

Investors in F1's owner CVC Capital Partners are worried about the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery scandal, the Financial Times has reported.

The report said the investors are calling on the private equity group to clarify the affair, with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone accused of bribing Gribkowsky amid BayernLB's sale of Formula One to CVC some years ago.

"There has not been much communication from CVC on F1 and we are slightly worried about it," an unnamed European investor is quoted as saying.

"We do not know more about this than what we read in the media."

CVC said in January it has "no knowledge of, nor any involvement in, any payment to Mr Gribkowsky". The company has never been accused of wrongdoing.

But the Financial Times said F1 managers and investors are questioning CVC's apparently "paralysed" reaction to the scandal.

The report's journalist Daniel Schafer said the investors are also "angry that Donald Mackenzie, the private equity group's management partner responsible for the deal, is not willing to replace Mr Ecclestone as chief executive of Formula One Management".

But Mackenzie was reportedly "incensed" when he learned of the payments that moved between BayernLB and Ecclestone amid the sale of the commercial rights.

The unnamed investor, however, said a revolt is unlikely.

"It is one of those cases where investors are willing to put up with a lack of communication as CVC has simply shown such great returns," he said.

(GMM)

 

Button eyes longer stay at McLaren

Despite earlier links with a potential team switch, Jenson Button has now indicated he wants to stay at McLaren for the long term.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh at the Nurburgring refused to say if the 31-year-old's 2012 contract option would be taken up, but indicated that McLaren wants to hold onto Button as well as Lewis Hamilton.

Button, the 2009 world champion, has made noises recently about Ferrari, but he has now told Spain's Marca sports newspaper that he would like to end his career at McLaren.

"Yes, as I said at the beginning of the year in China, I don't think those were my exact words but for me being at a team that has won many titles and can win the championship is exactly what I want.

"After winning the championship I want to be with a team that always gives me the opportunity to fight for it and this (McLaren) is one of them," said Button, who will start his 200th Grand Prix in Hungary this weekend.

And the Briton indicated that he has no plans to retire any time soon.

"I was thinking (that) if I did four more years in Formula One I would be 35 and I would retire from racing. I mean, what the hell am I going to do at 35?" he said.

(GMM)

 

Sauber keeps same drivers for 2012

Sauber on Thursday said its current drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez are staying with the Swiss team in 2012.

The team also said in the media statement that Perez's Mexican countryman Esteban Gutierrez, 19, will remain the official reserve driver next year.

"We are very pleased with our drivers," said boss Peter Sauber, who revealed that Japanese Kobayashi's deal is the result of the Hinwil based team taking up an "option" on his contract.

As for Perez, closely linked with the team's sponsors including Telmex, team principal and owner Sauber said his existing contract already "went beyond 2011".

(GMM)

 

Boss of Sauber sponsor arrested

The boss of embattled Sauber sponsor Money Service Group has been arrested.

A few days ago, Niki Lauda ended his cap deal with the Liechtenstein based firm, and Die Presse reports that the great Austrian has now commenced legal action.

Sauber is also backed by the company, whose founder and chief Michael Seidl recently departed.

Die Presse reports on Thursday he has been arrested in Switzerland on suspicion of commercial fraud, with the Liechtenstein chief prosecutor confirming he is suspected of "fraud, embezzlement and other offenses".

Triple world champion Lauda, now reverting to his familiar red cap, is reportedly suing for unpaid monies and damage to his image.

The Money Service Group logo was still being used by Sauber at the Nurburgring, and was present on the stationary of the Swiss team on Thursday when its 2012 driver lineup was announced.

"I can't say anything about that yet. Let's wait," Sauber managing director Monisha Kaltenborn said a few days ago.

Sauber has been contacted for comment.

(GMM)

 

Heidfeld vows to fight for F1 future

Nick Heidfeld felt the heat of the media on Thursday.

Recent reports have hinted Renault team boss Eric Boullier is disappointed with the veteran German and considering replacing him with either Romain Grosjean or Bruno Senna.

Senna walked the Hungaroring circuit on Thursday ahead of his Friday practice drive in Heidfeld's car.

"It doesn't mean he's going to get my seat," Heidfeld, who revealed he has scheduled a meeting with Boullier on Friday to discuss the situation, insisted.

"It's not been a perfect season so far but it is enough to fight for a seat next year."

But with Vitaly Petrov firmly under contract for 2012, a vacancy at Renault depends on the health of Robert Kubica, for whom Heidfeld is currently substituting.

"Yes, of course, although I can't go into the details of my contract," Heidfeld, who did not rule out a switch to another team, is quoted on Thursday by German media.

"I don't really know what the situation (with Kubica) is."

Meanwhile, Heidfeld confirmed that Renault is running its conventional front-exiting exhausts this weekend, after testing Red Bull-style diffuser exits last week in Germany.

(GMM)

 
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