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F1: Massa Thinks Raikkonen Return 'Could Happen' Photo:
The Force India VJM03. Force India VJM03 Launch Studio Shoot, Silverstone, England, 5 February 2010. Photo: tmr
2010_force-india_vjm03_f1_race-car_06.jpg Photo: tmr
The Force India VJM03. Force India VJM03 Launch Studio Shoot, Silverstone, England, 5 February 2010. Photo: tmr
2010_force-india_vjm03_f1_race-car_05.jpg Photo: tmr
The Force India VJM03. Force India VJM03 Launch Studio Shoot, Silverstone, England, 5 February 2010. Photo: tmr
2010_force-india_vjm03_f1_race-car_04.jpg Photo: tmr
The Force India VJM03. Force India VJM03 Launch Studio Shoot, Silverstone, England, 5 February 2010. Photo: tmr
The Force India VJM03. Force India VJM03 Launch Studio Shoot, Silverstone, England, 5 February 2010. Photo: tmr
(L to R): Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 with Paul Di Resta (GBR) Force India F1 Third Driver and Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1. Force India Studio Shoot, Silverstone, England, 8 February 2010. Photo: tmr
The Force India VJM03. Force India VJM03 Launch Studio Shoot, Silverstone, England, 5 February 2010. Photo: tmr
(L to R): Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 with team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1. Force India Studio Shoot, Silverstone, England, 8 February 2010. Photo: tmr
The Force India VJM03. Force India VJM03 Launch Studio Shoot, Silverstone, England, 5 February 2010. Photo: tmr
 
 
Mike Stevens | Oct, 31 2011 | 0 Comments

If Kimi Raikkonen does return to F1, it won't be because he admires the sport's headline-writers.

Speculation is growing by the day that the 2007 world champion could return from his world rally and NASCAR experiment with the Williams team in 2012.

As for the specialist media, however, the notoriously reticent 32-year-old prefers rally.

"I have the feeling that the rally press is more interested in the discipline, and what is happening on the stages, rather than the F1 journalists who write crap to make headlines," Raikkonen is quoted by autohebdo.fr.

Where previously there was scepticism, however, there is a growing feeling in the formula one paddock that the Raikkonen rumours are real.

"I believe it could happen," Felipe Massa, who paired with the Finn at Ferrari between 2007 and 2009, told Turun Sanomat newspaper in India.

Others are not sceptical that Raikkonen might return, but concerned that he will struggle even more than Michael Schumacher has during his own comeback.

"Michael has had quite a difficult time. You have to remember that when he left Michael had a much more competitive car than when he came back.

"Perhaps it would be the same for Kimi," said Massa. "But anyway, Kimi is still young so in that sense the two-year absence is not very significant.

"When you are young, if you want to do something and you train hard enough, it is not impossible to have the same performance as you did before," added Massa.

(GMM)

 

Brawn puts job on line for Mercedes success

Mercedes' works team will "definitely" be on the F1 grid in the coming three seasons, the marque's motor sport president Norbert Haug confirmed in India.

But Ross Brawn was not willing to make the same guarantee about his job as team principal.

"I want to be here for the next three years," the Briton told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper in a joint interview with Haug.

"If you don't perform, then you're out. I am the boss. If the project is not running right, then it will be over," predicted Brawn.

The same might be true for Michael Schumacher, whose current contract runs out at the end of next season.

By 2013, when he will be 44, will Schumacher be clearly too old to perform?

"I see no reason why," insisted Brawn. "Everyone can see that Michael has stepped up this season and is still growing.

"If he can fight for podiums and wins next year, then why should he stop? At the same time if we are not successful next year, then his decision to stop will be easier."

Brawn said the decision is ultimately Schumacher's.

"It is very easy to talk to Michael about a new contract," he said. "If he wants to continue, we will find a solution quickly. I don't know what the outcome will be. And neither does he.

"Let's see how good we are in 2012," added Brawn.

Said Haug: "At the very least, I don't think Michael has the intention to go to another team."

It is arguably a more complicated situation with the other seat, as Nico Rosberg has clearly outperformed Schumacher in 2011 and 2011, attracting the attention of rival teams.

"The market is open," Haug said. "And there are many drivers who are knocking on our door. But Nico wants to move forward and we want to do it with him.

"In general you can go to the wrong team at the wrong team, which is a mistake every driver should try to avoid."

Brawn agreed: "Nico believes in the people here at Mercedes, and we believe in him. It's just a matter of time."

Haug said having the right driver is crucial for an F1 team, with the latest example being Red Bull.

"They have a fantastic car and a very stable team," the German acknowledged, "but Sebastian Vettel makes the difference for them.

"Just look at the big gap between him and his teammate Webber, who I respect a lot. Sebastian is the key to their success," added Haug.

(GMM)

 

Force India Trio To Learn Fate By Abu Dhabi

Vijay Mallya has flagged Abu Dhabi in two weeks as the accelerated deadline for the announcement of Force India's 2012 driver line-up.

The billionaire had intended to hold off the call until mid December, but reports in the last week strongly suggest he has already settled on pairing Paul di Resta with Nico Hulkenberg.

That has worried Adrian Sutil, who - if he is ultimately to lose his seat - wants the time between now and the end of the year to find a new one.

"I am happy that he has understood this (need) now," German Sutil is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Mallya told the SID news agency: "I have three top drivers, but only two can sit in the car. This is a difficult decision for me."

He went on to hail Force India's 2011 Friday and reserve driver, Hulkenberg.

"He has done his job very well, and the fact that he put his Williams on the pole position in Brazil (2010) says it all," said Mallya.

Sutil, however, argues that he too has done a good job recently alongside his rookie teammate di Resta.

"I am doing the best job possible," insisted the 28-year-old. "That should be quite obvious to people. But ultimately they must make the decision."

With his sponsors Medion and Capri-Sun in tow, Sutil's main alternative for 2012 is Williams.

"I will look around a bit, of course," he admitted. "But I will behave loyally to my team that I have been together with for so long.

"Let's wait for the decision."

(GMM)

 

Red Bull lost front wing before Ferrari 'flutter'

A mischievous rumour in the Buddh circuit paddock could help to explain the behaviour of Ferrari's front wing this weekend.

The team set tongues wagging in India with another version of its 2012-style prototype wing.

At high speed, the behaviour of the wing has been described by observers as oscillating or - as per the aviation jargon - "fluttering".

The wing was also flexing towards the track whilst obviously passing the aerodynamic load tests -- a mysterious phenomenon first perfected by Red Bull.

Ferrari, competitive so far in India, may now be on the way to emulating the effect, less than two months after the Italian grand prix.

At Monza in September, Red Bull reportedly 'lost' an entire version of the dominant RB7's front wing following Mark Webber's crash.

According to Auto Motor Sport, some paddock figures "think the component ended up at Maranello".

(GMM)

 

F1 to consider 'third car' issue for 2013

New fuel has been added to Ferrari's push to have three cars on the F1 grid.

After India, key officials will move on to Geneva, when next Thursday the F1 Commission meets.

La Stampa newspaper reports that one of the topics on the agenda is the redefinition of a formula one constructor.

According to Italiaracing, the news emerged after a team bosses meeting in India on Friday.

The outcome of the F1 Commission vote will settle the debate about whether big teams should be able to rent or sell their chassis designs to smaller teams.

The Italian report said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is now on Ferrari's side for a change of definition for the 2013 Concorde Agreement.

Ecclestone would reportedly like to see struggling teams like HRT be able to, for example, buy a Ferrari chassis and improve the show by running more competitively and attracting more sponsors.

And the advantage for Ferrari would be to gain a 'satellite' team to develop, for example, its young drivers and engineers.

La Stampa said key voices including McLaren and Red Bull are opposed to the idea.

The proponents, however, could argue that those teams are already sharing their intellectual property, including via McLaren's deal with Force India, and Red Bull's with Team Lotus.

(GMM)

 

Whitmarsh opposed to new customer car push

Martin Whitmarsh on Sunday confirmed reports McLaren is still opposed to the idea of 'customer cars' in F1.

The possible redefinition of a 'constructor' will be debated next week at the F1 Commission in Geneva.

It is believed Bernie Ecclestone is now supportive of Ferrari's renewed push to be allowed to sell an entire chassis to a small team.

The F1 chief executive's support could be a move to further split the unity of the teams' association, with McLaren and Red Bull reportedly opposed to the third car idea.

McLaren's Whitmarsh is also the head of the team alliance FOTA, whose unity is already being tested by alleged breaches of the cost-limiting resource restriction agreement.

It is alleged the proponents of customer cars will argue that big teams are already selling their intellectual property through technology deals such as McLaren's with Virgin.

In India, however, Whitmarsh confirmed his opposition.

"We have a duty to support the sport and the teams," he is quoted by the Press Trust of India. "It (customer cars) will probably destroy the smaller teams.

"Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, and maybe Mercedes can possibly do it, but if we manage the sport badly, the number of teams may drop to eight," he said.

"There should be sustained business for all teams."

(GMM)

 

F1 future uncertain for Karthikeyan

Narain Karthikeyan enjoyed a positive return to the F1 grid on Sunday but he's not sure he will be back in 2012.

The Indian lost his seat to the Red Bull-backed Daniel Ricciardo earlier this season, but was back at the wheel in Delhi for a one-off return at his home race.

His teammate for the Delhi weekend was Ricciardo, and despite not driving since June, Karthikeyan came within a hair's breadth of outqualifying the Australian.

And in the race, Karthikeyan beat Ricciardo to the chequered flag.

"I am really happy that I finished the race and ahead of (my) teammate too," he is quoted by the Press Trust of India.

"It is the best possible result we could have got. I was just half a second behind the Virigin car," added Karthikeyan.

But the reality is that HRT only opted to put Karthikeyan back in the car this weekend due to his paying Indian sponsors, with Vitantonio Liuzzi to return in Abu Dhabi.

As for 2012, the 34-year-old admits he has no idea.

"We have not discussed that yet. We don't talk about it. Where do we go? I don't know," he said.

One hope is that Sunday's event will motivate more Indian sponsors to back him.

"I think, it should help," said Karthikeyan.

(GMM)

 
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