F1: Webber 'Can Take Points Off Others': Marko Photo:
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Mike Stevens | May, 17 2011 | 0 Comments

Mark Webber is headed into a backseat role for the rest of the 2011 world championship.

That is the controversial suggestion of Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko, who denies the Australian driver is already set to be Sebastian Vettel's 'number 2' this season.

Vettel has had a meteoric start to the 2011 championship and after four races is 38 points ahead of Webber, sitting third in the drivers' standings.

"We do not have any team orders," energy drink company Red Bull's Motor Racing Consultant Marko told Germany's Sport Bild.

"But it's a fact that, generally since Silverstone 2010, Mark has been three-tenths of a second slower than Sebastian," he said.

"That's too slow to be able to win with his own steam. But if as in Turkey he races at a high level, he can take important points away from the others," added Marko.

Webber is the only significant member of the Red Bull team whose contract beyond 2011 was not recently renewed.



Red Bull, McLaren oppose Todt's plan for more testing

Some teams have admitted they do not support Jean Todt's proposal to allow some in-season testing in F1 next year.

The FIA President and former Ferrari boss said in Turkey that he will push for the teams to agree to change the severe test limitations, or simply impose the new regulations for the 2013 season.

"We are not interested in the idea of allowing private testing during the season," Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said bluntly, according to Autosprint's Italian-language website.

"We consider the current situation to be well balanced. To change it would raise costs, inevitably," added the Briton.

Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo told CNN last week that F1 is the "only professional sport in the world" that does not allow "training".

"It is true that some teams favour more testing during the season," said McLaren and FOTA chief Martin Whitmarsh, "but we must also safeguard the interest of the smaller teams, who do not have great financial means."



Interlagos corner changes set for 2012 race

The controversial 'Cafe' corner at Interlagos will still be in place for the 2011 season finale in November.

Following two recent fatalities in stock car races at the fast left-hand kink, the Sao Paulo circuit has agreed to make changes that will require significant work including the removal of a grandstand.

The FIA's Charlie Whiting inspected the section at the weekend, according to the Agencia Estado news agency.

It was reported afterwards that work on the revised section will take place in the first six months of 2012, in time for next year's F1 race.

"Charlie liked what he saw and it's now a matter for the engineers," an official is quoted as saying.

"It will take time, and the timetable that we have begins only after the (2011) Formula One (race)," he added.



Marko plays down Montezemolo's breakaway talk

Helmut Marko has played down Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo's threat that Formula One could be headed for a split from owners CVC.

Montezemolo told CNN last week that at the end of 2012 and the current Concorde Agreement CVC "doesn't own anything" and therefore creating a different world championship is a real option for the teams.

Red Bull's Marko however admitted that the dispute is fundamentally about the distribution of revenue for the next Concorde.

"A suitable compromise can hopefully be found," he told German website motorsport-magazin.com at the opening of the Red Bull Ring.

"Ferrari are the best-known team and have been in F1 the longest -- but being Italian, they tend to express things more emotionally than others. In my opinion, the situation is nowhere near as bad as it looks," said Marko.

New York Times correspondent Brad Spurgeon said the latest breakaway talk is "exasperating for the fans" coming so soon after the last political dispute with the FIA.

A potential hurdle for proposed buyer News Corp is the law, with prominent competition lawyer Paul Stone reportedly concerned that Rupert Murdoch's presence would be unfair for bidding television broadcasters.

He is quoted by Germany's Speed Week as saying a News takeover "would raise concerns".



No driver moves at Toro Rosso now - Tost

Franz Tost has played down his recent comments about Daniel Ricciardo, but the hopeful Australian driver admits he is encouraged about the progress of his F1 career.

Team boss Tost's comments in Turkey about 21-year-old Ricciardo suggested he will definitely replace either Sebastien Buemi or Jaime Alguersuari at Toro Rosso next year.

But the Austrian told motorsport-magazin.com at the Red Bull Ring opening: "Regarding the other drivers (Buemi and Alguersuari), nothing is up for discussion at the moment, as they are both performing well."

Ricciardo, however, said he is encouraged by Tost's admission that he will be in the race cockpit in 2012.

"I was glad to hear that Franz made that statement," he told another German website, motorsport-total.com.

"Nothing is confirmed, but I am encouraged, of course," added Ricciardo, who won the recent Monza race of the Formula Renault 3.5 series.

"On the other hand, it is obvious that this is the plan for me. You don't want to be doing the Friday practice for two or three years," he said.


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