F1: Vettel Pass Legal: Whiting Photo:

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TMR Team | Nov, 30 2012 | 0 Comments
  • Vettel pass was legal, FIA's Whiting declares
  • Vettel says last races proved critics wrong
  • 2013 French GP return 'impossible' - Prost
  • Raikkonen to begin break with snowmobile race
  • Ousting Senna not commercial suicide for Williams - Wolff
  • Now Kobayashi could replace Grosjean at Lotus - report

Vettel pass was legal, FIA's Whiting declares

F1's governing body has sided with Red Bull, after Ferrari on Thursday wrote the FIA a letter that might have changed the outcome of the 2012 world championship.

Ferrari's letter of "clarification" followed the emergence this week of video footage that apparently showed Sebastian Vettel illegally passing a Toro Rosso during the title-deciding Brazilian grand prix.

But media outlets including the Telegraph said the FIA had already responded on Thursday by declaring there is "no case to answer".

And race director Charlie Whiting was on Thursday quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "Between the last yellow light and the green light, there was a green flag being waved.

"Vettel responded to the flag and did everything right."



Vettel says last races proved critics wrong

Sebastian Vettel has hit back at critics who claim the new triple consecutive world champion is not good at overtaking.

The critics have said the Red Bull driver is good at dominating grands prix from pole position, but usually falters when he needs to do some passing en route to the chequered flag.

But German Vettel thinks his races in Abu Dhabi, when he fought through the field from the pitlane to finish on the podium, and in Brazil where he won the title despite a first-lap spin, have proved the critics wrong.

"It's actually a little funny to look back now at the guy who can't overtake," he is quoted as saying by Brazil's Agencia Estado.

"Now, after just two races, people have to change their minds."

Vettel admitted the criticism bothered him particularly in 2011, when he won many races from pole.

"You start from a good position and yet you are criticised for that," he said.

Four-time world champion Alain Prost says Vettel deserves the 2012 title.

"He has the car, the team. He does what he needs to do," the Frenchman told RMC Sport.

"He had a lot of luck, especially in Abu Dhabi and Brazil. He was a lucky champion. But that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve it -- far from it," added Prost.



2013 French GP return 'impossible' - Prost

Alain Prost has confirmed reports France will definitely not feature on F1's 2013 calendar.

The reports had said Paul Ricard and Magny Cours both missed the deadline to apply to France's sanctioning body, the FFSA, for a request to the FIA for a 2013 calendar change.

Asked about France's chances of organising a 2013 race now, Prost - who has recently been working as an advisor to the Paul Ricard project - answered: "For 2013 it is impossible.

"The time is over. We will see what we can do for 2014. Now, it is technically impossible for 2013."

Asked why the French revival efforts had failed for now, Prost told RMC Sport: "Two things. First, the real lack of desire of Bernie Ecclestone to have another grand prix in Europe.

"And then, of course, financially."

However, Paul Ricard boss Stephane Clair quickly contradicted Prost's comments, telling RMC that he will meet with the quadruple world champion to discuss them on Friday.

Clair insisted there is "no obligation" for a French GP project to have confirmation before December, and "no deadline" in place by Bernie Ecclestone.



Raikkonen to begin break with snowmobile race

Kimi Raikkonen will kick off his winter break with a snowmobile race.

Just after signing to return to F1 in 2012 with Lotus, the 2007 world champion hurt his wrist in a snowmobile racing crash in Austria.

Now, APA news agency reports that the 33-year-old Finn intends to race a 70 horse power snowmobile again, in Saalbach on 8 December.

At the 2012 season finale in Brazil last weekend, Raikkonen made headlines for arriving at Interlagos late following a holiday in Los Angeles.

He then missed a corner during the race and, upon driving into the support-race pitlane, had to do a u-turn when he found a gate blocking his path.

"I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year," said Raikkonen. "Somebody closed it this time. Next year I'll make sure it's open again."



Ousting Senna not commercial suicide for Williams - Wolff

Williams has dismissed suggestions Bruno Senna's departure will hurt the British team's coffers for 2013.

The Oxfordshire based team announced this week it is replacing Brazilian Senna, who is significantly sponsored, with the rookie Finn Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas is linked managerially to Williams executive and shareholder Toto Wolff.

Asked if ousting Senna will hurt Williams financially, Wolff answered: "Finance plays an important role so for us it was important to have the best possible package, and we are happy Valtteri has partners who are committed to formula one, and have followed him into formula one.

"I'm happy to say he is not only doing a great job on track but off it, as we have been quite successful in Finland securing backing. It is not unsubstantial," he is quoted by the Scotsman newspaper.

"So getting Valtteri on board is not a hara-kiri move from a commercial point of view."

Bottas, 23, confirmed he is backed by "some great Finnish companies".

Williams' decision has left Senna trying to sell his talent and backing to Force India, amid rumours his sponsors are not interested in moving to backmarkers Marussia or Caterham.

"Bruno is a nice kid," former F1 driver Jacques Laffite told Brazil's Totalrace, "but F1 is very difficult and he has not done much this year compared to Maldonado.

"I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think he'll continue in F1."



Now Kobayashi could replace Grosjean at Lotus - report

Kamui Kobayashi has entered the frame as a potential replacement for Romain Grosjean at Lotus, Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper reports.

Earlier, the Finnish source MTV3 said Heikki Kovalainen - at risk of losing his Caterham seat - was now a candidate for Lotus, as the Enstone based team considers whether to keep Frenchman Grosjean on board.

Grosjean enjoys the support of team boss Eric Boullier and also the team's important French backer Total, but it is believed the 26-year-old tumultuous 2012 season has sparked deliberations about whether he should keep the seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen.

Writing in Turun Sanomat, journalist Heikki Kulta said Lotus owner Gerard Lopez is wondering if having a more consistent driver alongside Raikkonen would be a wiser choice in terms of securing a more lucrative position in the constructors' world championship.

"Kimi comes at a cost to us," Lopez is quoted as saying, "but on the other hand he helps us in the manufacturers' standings, bringing even more money to the team."

While Raikkonen scored 207 points this year, finishing third in the drivers' table, Grosjean is just eighth, with 96.

Lotus finished fourth in the constructors' title.

Kulta wrote that Japanese Kobayashi, who has been raising money via a support website to contribute to a 2013 employer, has entered the frame at Lotus after losing his Sauber seat to Esteban Gutierrez.

"It's a shame for Romain, as not finishing his season in Brazil very well is a problem," fellow Frenchman Alain Prost told RMC Sport.

"What's more important, speed or reliability? That is what Lotus must decide," he added.

Meanwhile, the correspondent for Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, Livio Oricchio, claims Lotus is leaving open the second race seat for now amid its negotiations with potential team investors.

Oricchio said Lotus' talks are with a group of investors involving none other than Bernie Ecclestone, who would promote a "very controversial" new team boss.

"Not Flavio Briatore," Oricchio insisted.


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