- ???Road back to F1 'not so long now' - Kubica
- Willi Weber 'can't imagine' Schumacher at Sauber
- Lauda denies becoming Mercedes' new 'strong man'
- New Jersey governor says 'no problem' with 2013 race
- Prost could be first to test Renault's V6
- Button to take Suzuka grid penalty
Road back to F1 'not so long now' - Kubica
Robert Kubica has taken yet another step on his long road back to formula one, by winning the Citta di Bassano rally in northern Italy.
"I still have a long road in front of me," the former BMW and Renault driver said afterwards.
"But this shows the road is not as long as we thought," added Kubica, referring to his extended recovery from an horror rally crash in early 2011.
The main problem for the 27-year-old now is the mobility of his right arm.
Turning a steering wheel inside the narrow confines of a single seater is currently not possible for Kubica.
But his arm surgeon Igor Rossello is confident.
"Currently, we estimate his recovery at 50 per cent," he told the Polish source Gwizdek24.
"I assume that we will make it back to 75 to 80 per cent, which would be quite sufficient to drive a formula one car," added Rossello.
"I have spoken with his manager Daniele Morelli, who is as excited about his progress as I am," he said.
"I am convinced that it (returning to F1) is possible, although the recovery can often take many months and years."
Willi Weber 'can't imagine' Schumacher at Sauber
Michael Schumacher's famous former manager has advised the seven time world champion to finally quit formula one for good.
Having recently negotiated the great German's latest personal sponsorship deal, Willi Weber made headlines by announcing that - if he was still in charge - he would travel to Maranello for a chat with Luca di Montezemolo.
In the wake of Mercedes' decision to overlook Schumacher for a 2013 seat, that triggered real speculation that the 43-year-old could return to Ferrari next year to replace Felipe Massa.
Weber, however, hopes it doesn't happen.
"Michael doesn't have to prove one more thing," he told Auto Motor und Sport.
"He was the best driver in the world. As a manager I would maybe try to get him in there (Ferrari), but I cannot imagine that it would be considered seriously.
"With all respect for Michael and his legend, now is the time for the younger ones," added Weber.
And he said Schumacher should absolutely not court a move to Sauber.
"What is this? Continue with Sauber? With a private team? I can't imagine Michael doing that.
"Nothing against Peter Sauber, as what he has done this year is better than what Mercedes has done. But someone like Michael belongs with a global company or a famous racing team.
"And at Sauber he cannot fight for the title," added Weber.
The Sauber link, however, will continue for as long as Schumacher and his new manager Sabine Kehm do not rule out otherwise.
Kehm told CNN: "The answer is that we will carefully think about any options we have. We are not in a hurry to do this.
"In the meantime though we will not give out any reports and discuss the different steps."
Niki Lauda was instrumental in Mercedes' decision to replace Schumacher with Lewis Hamilton, but the great Austrian hopes the former Benetton and Ferrari driver does not retire altogether.
"Naturally, his withdrawal would leave a big hole in formula one," he is quoted by Der Spiegel.
Lauda denies becoming Mercedes' new 'strong man'
Niki Lauda has vowed "no compromise" amid speculation he is the new strong man at Mercedes.
Some insiders have drawn a parallel between the triple world champion's new arrival as non-executive chairman at Mercedes and his role at Jaguar early last decade.
Ten years ago, Lauda joined Jaguar and tension between him and team boss Bobby Rahal led to the great Austrian's ascension to the throne.
So should Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug be worried now?
"I certainly will not compromise," 63-year-old Lauda told Osterreich in an interview.
"Together, we must ensure that Mercedes is able to compete next season.
"I'm not an engineer, so I will see that the right people are working with the right priorities and figure out why it did not work out this year," said Lauda.
He baulked at reports he is set to take over from Briton Brawn as the real 'strong man' of Mercedes.
"That's still (going to be) the team principal Ross Brawn, who is responsible for the development of the car and the team," Lauda insisted to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.
"I'm something like the link between the racing headquarters in the UK and the company headquarters in Germany," he explained.
Indeed, Lauda will have little to do with the operation of the team at grands prix, as he is continuing as a television pundit for the German broadcaster RTL.
New Jersey governor says 'no problem' with 2013 race
New Jersey governor Chris Christie is not worried plans for a formula one street race next June are set to collapse.
Bernie Ecclestone triggered the uncertainty by revealing that the race organisers currently do not have a contract, despite the fact a June 16 date for the 'grand prix of Jersey' was ratified by the FIA at the end of last week.
The New York race, however, was listed with an asterisk denoting 'TBC' (to be confirmed).
Governor Christie said he phoned chief organiser Leo Hindery after reading about the reported uncertainty.
"He (Hindery) told me that it's absolutely happening," Christie told reporters.
"I called and reached out and he told me there's not a problem. It's on the schedule."
A spokesman for Hindery insisted there would be no comment "on financial arrangements with formula one".
Indeed, Christie admitted he didn't know why the FIA listed the New Jersey race with an asterisk.
"No one can explain it to me," he said. "But I called the guy (Hindery) who's in charge of the group that's running the race and he told me it's definitely happening, no problem."
F1 chief executive Ecclestone told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that some provisions of the original New Jersey contract "went unfulfilled".
But he added: "If they get together with all the provisions, everything will be ok."
Hindery said: "We expect to fully satisfy all of F1's requirements in the weeks ahead."
Prost could be first to test Renault's V6
F1 legend Alain Prost could be the first to sample the sport's new V6 power.
In his first F1 test since McLaren in 1996, the quadruple world champion drove a modern Red Bull at the Renault World Series event at Paul Ricard last weekend.
Already contracted to the team's French V8 engine supplier Renault as an ambassador, the 57-year-old could now be first in line to test the new 1.6 litre turbo V6 for 2014.
"It was really helpful to take the wheel of a modern formula one car," the Frenchman is quoted by the French-language F1i.
"And maybe I'll have another opportunity with the new engine in the next two months. It would be a good experience," added Prost.
"I am interested in these new engines coming to formula one. I will work very hard with Renault on this side, it's our new goal."
Button to take Suzuka grid penalty
Jenson Button's Japanese grand prix aspirations have already taken a dent, with news the McLaren driver will move five places down the Suzuka grid.
Writing in the Daily Mail, journalist Simon Cass said the British team has had to change the 2009 world champion's damaged gearbox.
The report said the problem identified was the same one that caused teammate Lewis Hamilton to retire from the lead in Singapore.
Button's bad news comes mere days after the 32-year-old called on McLaren to improve the reliability of its MP4-27 car, after two mechanical retirements in as many races.
"It is such a shame because the team in every other area are doing such a good job," he told Press Association Sport.
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