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F1: Marko Unhappy With Webber, Eyes Hulkenberg For 2014 Photo:
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TMR Team | Jan, 07 2013 | 1 Comment
  • Marko eyes Hulkenberg for 2014 Red Bull seat - report
  • McLaren could have kept Hamilton - Dennis
  • Sauber 'capable of winning' in 2013 - Perez
  • Caterham not ready to complete 2013 lineup
  • First races of 2013 key to title - Domenicali
  • 2013 Red Bull could miss first winter test

Marko eyes Hulkenberg for 2014 Red Bull seat - report

Mark Webber looks set to struggle to keep his Red Bull race seat beyond 2013.

Granted just a one-year contract for a seventh consecutive season at the team, the 36-year-old Australian is already on notice by Red Bull's tough Dr Helmut Marko.

Now, Austrian Marko has made clear Red Bull was not happy with Webber's driving at the 2012 Interlagos finale, when teammate Sebastian Vettel was fighting for the title against Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Indeed, Flavio Briatore - still involved with the management of Webber's career - said after Brazil: "The only one who helped Ferrari was Webber."

Marko confirms: "Mark was not optimally cooperative in Brazil."

Germany's Sport Bild reports that, while Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne are obvious candidates to succeed Webber, Marko is also keen on Nico Hulkenberg.

German Hulkenberg, 25, has signed just a one-year deal with Sauber for 2013, and has also been linked with a potential 2014 move to Ferrari.

Marko confirmed: "A few years ago he was on the list of candidates for our junior team, but Nico already had a main sponsor (Dekra) with which he didn't want to separate."



McLaren could have kept Hamilton - Dennis

Ron Dennis has hit back at suggestions Lewis Hamilton simply chose Mercedes over McLaren for his future.

Dennis, the Woking based company's 'supremo' who groomed Briton Hamilton from child prodigy to world champion, is understood to have fallen out badly with the 27-year-old as the two sides negotiated a new deal.

Ultimately, Hamilton signed with Mercedes, but "I think it's wrong to portray that Lewis left this team," Dennis told CBI magazine.

"At the end of the day, you end up with a situation where you're going to separate if the circumstances aren't right. Life isn't about one person deciding anything. It's never that way. It's about circumstances," he added.

Indeed, Hamilton's departure has been portrayed as a bitter loss for McLaren, but the stoical and admittedly emotional Dennis insisted: "Everybody says 'Am I bitterly this or bitterly that?' What? I'm a realist.

"Did we have the ability to create a situation where we could have stayed together? Categorically, yes. Would that have been the right thing to do? We didn't think so."

Hamilton's successor is Mexican Sergio Perez, who moves from Sauber.



Sauber 'capable of winning' in 2013 - Perez

Sauber will reveal its 2013 car, the C32, in the days before it makes its track debut at the start of winter testing.

Team founder Peter Sauber had already announced that the new Ferrari-powered single seater will run for the first time at Jerez on February 5.

The Swiss team on Thursday invited the media to an official launch event at its Hinwil headquarters, on 2 February.

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber's new driver replacing Sergio Perez, has already had his seat fitted.

The German's teammate will be the Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez.

McLaren-bound Perez, who finished on the podium three times in 2012, is quoted by Swiss magazine Speed Week: "Sauber will be strong again, I am firmly convinced.

"The rules are fairly stable, the team has understood its car well, so why should they be worse than 2012?

"I even think there could be races they are capable of winning."

Perez continued: "Sauber has done a lot for me, so I want them to do well more than any other team -- with the exception of McLaren of course!"

In other pre-season testing news, Reuters correspondent Alan Baldwin wrote on Twitter that he believes Mercedes has booked the Jerez circuit for filming on the day before the first official test begins.

"Wonder who will be first in the car," said Baldwin, contemplating Mercedes' 2013 lineup of Lewis Hamilton alongside Nico Rosberg.



Caterham not ready to complete 2013 lineup

Caterham is not yet ready to announce its full 2013 driver lineup.

The team has already filled one of this year's race seats with 2012 Marussia rookie and Frenchman Charles Pic.

Rumours on Thursday suggested an announcement about his teammate was imminent, with Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov thought to be the front-runners.

Russian Petrov's teammate last year was Finn Heikki Kovalainen.

As for Thursday's rumblings about an imminent announcement, Finnish MTV3 commentator Oskari Saari said: "It was just a rumour then.

"Caterham says nothing is being announced in the foreseeable future as all options are still being explored."



First races of 2013 key to title - Domenicali

The opening races of this season's world championship will be crucial, according to Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.

In 2012, runner-up Ferrari had a dire start to its campaign, while eventual champion Red Bull also took some time to establish its full potential.

But with the sweeping rule changes of 2014 looming large, Domenicali said the dynamics of this season's battle will be different.

"Next season (2013) will be decided in the first races," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"The teams will do their work for 2013 and then move on to the preparations for 2014," the Italian added.

"I think this switch will happen in July, so you will need to start the year well."

Referring to the 2014 rules, featuring the move from V8 to turbo V6 engines, Williams' technical director Mike Coughlan confirmed: "It's a huge change.

"There are very few teams who will be able to do a fully-focused run on the 2013 championship and the year after," he is quoted by the Sun newspaper.

However, Domenicali said he is confident Ferrari will succeed where it failed in 2012.

"What happened to us last year in the Jerez test will not be repeated this year," he insisted.

"Now we are sure that the wind tunnel will not give us surprises," added Domenicali, referring to the closure of the Maranello facility for a revamp, and Ferrari's looming exclusive work in Toyota's state-of-the-art Cologne tunnel.



2013 Red Bull could miss first winter test

Reigning champion Red Bull's 2013 car might not be ready for the first pre-season test in early February.

We have already reported designer Adrian Newey's admission that late development work to ensure the 2012 title somewhat delayed progress of the RB8's successor.

He said in an official Red Bull film that 2012 was "one of the toughest seasons I've been through".

Newey is now quoted by the Sun newspaper: "We had to keep pushing which made it difficult to introduce developments and simultaneously develop next year's (2013) car.

"This has compromised the timescales of the new car more than we would have liked."

The BBC reports that Red Bull will confirm next week if the 2013 car, the RB9, will be ready for the first Jerez test on 5 February.


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