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F1: Vettel Unsure Of Webber's Future At Red Bull Photo:
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Mike Stevens | May, 07 2011 | 0 Comments

Mark Webber has stepped away from his comments of last week by insisting a move from Red Bull for 2012 is "unlikely".

The Aussie ace had said earlier that if his current team "doesn't want me any more" he could not rule out a change of teams as opposed to retirement.

That rekindled rumours about Ferrari, with Webber telling F1's official website on Thursday: "I always look good in red.

"But Red Bull is what I associate all my success with, so the only red is in Red Bull, as when I wear Red Bull colours I think of success," he insisted.

Whether he stays, however, depends on him being offered a new contract, and a prime mover in that decision will be the curt Austrian Dr Helmut Marko.

"At 34, Mark is no longer at the beginning of his career," he is quoted as saying by Die Welt.

"I know other drivers who are trading a similar path as Sebastian (Vettel) did," added Marko, surely referring to Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi and Daniel Ricciardo.

And if Marko consults Vettel, there is no guarantee the 23-year-old will not ask for a new teammate for 2012.

Asked in Turkey about his relationship with Webber, a year after their crash at the same circuit a year ago, the German answered: "Sometimes you get along well with your teammate and sometimes you don't.

"I am fine with him. We have a common understanding. We might not be best friends but show me a couple in Formula One who go to the pub in the evening for a beer."

As for Webber's future, Vettel answered: "I know that Mark is racing alongside me here and all the races this year, after that happens we will see then."

Until the future is clearer, it's an awkward period for Webber. "If I want to talk to Fernando and go to the Ferrari motor home, what happens then? Exactly, rumours," he said on Thursday.

(GMM)

 

Vettel Misses Second Session After Morning Crash

Sebastian Vettel lost the entire day of running after crashing in the rain in Turkey on Friday morning.

The championship leader's Red Bull sustained serious damage when he hit the wall after losing control at Istanbul's famous Turn 8.

German Vettel, 23, then watched the entire season session - ran entirely in the dry - from the pits.

"The car is badly damaged and from a safety point of view we need to check everything," team boss Christian Horner told German broadcaster Sky.

"We would rather be on the safe side, checking everything three or four times," he added.

(GMM)

 

Ferrari Moving Closer To Flexible Wing Debut

Ferrari tested a Red Bull-like flexible front wing last week but will not introduce it this weekend in Turkey.

It has emerged ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix that the Italian team tried the new wing in test driver Jules Bianchi's hands during the Vairano straight-line test.

Ferrari is however introducing a new wing in Istanbul, and some other developments as the team gets to the bottom of a wind tunnel calibration problem that marred the early progress of the 150 Italia car.

There is also a new rear wing, McLaren-like brake ducts and some tweaks at the blown exhaust, with Fernando Alonso expecting to be a couple of tenths quicker than in China.

"We know now that our data from the wind tunnel was not correct," the Spaniard is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. "Now we can head in the right direction.

"There is no revolution for here but instead the first of many steps," added Alonso.

(GMM)

 

Paddock 'Nervous' As F1 Politics Returns: Boullier

After a prolonged period of relative peace and unity, the spectre of power-politics is returning to the F1 paddock.

It emerges that the media reports about 'big four' Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes planning a Stuttgart meeting next weekend surprised some other major teams, including Renault.

A regular FOTA meeting will take place this weekend at Istanbul Park, raising the suggestion that the formerly 'secret' meeting is to discuss possibly joining the News Corp/Exor consortium that is considering a bid for the sport's commercial rights.

Subsequent media reports back the theory, including the detail that News Corp officials will also be at the German summit.

"I think everybody is a bit nervous now," admitted Renault team boss Eric Boullier.

At the same time, McLaren's executive chairman emerged in an interview with Bloomberg urging caution that, prominently alongside Rupert Murdoch's interest in buying F1, is the Ferrari-linked major Fiat shareholder Exor.

Ron Dennis warned of a "conflict of interest" and said it would be like "someone who owns a football team wishing to invest in the league".

Italy's Autosprint, meanwhile, said that despite F1 being valued much lower, the buying price of EUR 8 billion could stir CVC's interest in agreeing to sell.

But Dennis said he is worried about Murdoch's famous attitude about free media content, should he become the new F1 owner.

"We generate revenue from the surface of the racing car," he said. "The teams would have to be heavily persuaded to support anything that wouldn't see that free-to-air (television) element of grand prix racing maintained."

(GMM)

 

Heidfeld Surprised By Petrov's Strength

Nick Heidfeld has admitted he has been surprised with the strong pace shown by his teammate Vitaly Petrov so far in 2011.

The German veteran admitted he had expected to easily beat the Russian based on his pace alongside Robert Kubica in 2010.

For this year, Heidfeld has replaced Renault's injured regular Kubica, with the pair knowing each other's strengths well following their almost four common seasons at BMW until 2009.

Asked if he therefore expected to easily outpace Petrov, Heidfeld told F1.com: "I had, to be honest.

"I think he has made some good improvements and I would assume that he is as good as the team hoped he would be," he added.

Niki Lauda said this week that Heidfeld is not compensating Renault for the loss of Kubica, but the 33-year-old German insists he is at least as good as his Polish successor.

"Some people will probably tell you that Robert was quicker, but there are also numerous others who will swear that I was quicker and if you look at the real numbers we've always been pretty equally matched," he said.

(GMM)

 

Teams Want To Own F1 Says FOTA Chairman Whitmarsh

F1 teams are interested in owning the sport they compete in, FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh announced in Turkey on Friday.

Amid news that 'big four' teams McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes are meeting with representatives of potential commercial rights bidders News Corp next weekend, McLaren boss Whitmarsh said F1's teams are also interested.

"Ultimately it is desirable to have team ownership of the rights," he said, also allaying fears that F1 could move from free-to-air television.

Agreed Renault team boss Eric Boullier: "Yes, I think we should be involved in some way in the ownership of the show and we should have a key role in promoting F1."

 
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