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F1: Webber Signs 2012 Red Bull Deal - Report Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | Jul, 26 2011 | 0 Comments

Mark Webber has reportedly signed a one-year extension to his Red Bull contract.

The Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat said the 34-year-old Aussie's 2012 deal will be announced in Hungary this week.

Earlier, it was rumoured that another driver, perhaps Lewis Hamilton, might be drafted in to replace Webber as Sebastian Vettel's teammate.

But team owner Dietrich Mateschitz said recently that Webber, who achieved pole at the Nurburgring and outperformed Vettel all weekend, is staying put.

"I always said that I expect our 2012 driver line-up to be the same," team boss Christian Horner told F1's official website, adding that the news becoming official is a "formality".

"I am very happy with the two drivers we have. They push each other hard and I can't imagine any other driver in our car, or Mark Webber in any other team's car next year," he added.

(GMM)

 

No 'emergency meetings' after Nurburgring - Horner

Boss Christian Horner insists there will be no "emergency meetings" or "panicking" after Sunday's second consecutive failure by a Red Bull driver to win the Grand Prix.

The team boss was speaking after Mark Webber, third, and championship leader Sebastian Vettel, fourth at the Nurburgring, called on the team to up its game after losing first to Ferrari at Silverstone and then McLaren's Lewis Hamilton on Sunday.

"Yes, we can push forward the development programme but we are not panicking because of two races without a win," Horner is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo.

Der Spiegal correspondent Ralf Bach said Horner "smiled" when he heard the word 'crisis' in the wake of the German result.

"After ten of the 19 races, Sebastian leads with 77 points over Mark. He (Vettel) could go on holiday for three races and still be ahead," said the Briton.

Indeed, Vettel's closest non-Red Bull challenger is Hamilton, while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is 86 points behind with nine races to go.

"It would be presumptuous to believe in the title," the Spaniard said. "I prefer to concentrate on every single race."

Hamilton's McLaren teammate Jenson Button is 107 points behind, and after another technical retirement said on Sunday: "I don't think we're fighting for the championship anymore."

Hamilton agreed that the fight will be "very, very, very hard", while Alonso vowed to keep the pressure on.

"For sure it's not as easy for them (Red Bull) as when they were one second in front of everyone.

"When you are only a couple of tenths ahead, it's not the same confidence any more and there is a possibility for mistakes," he said.

German pundit Hans-Joachim Stuck thinks the "week-long" pressure of his home race got to Vettel, who was uncharacteristically off the front row and podium at the Nurburgring.

And David Coulthard told the Telegraph: "The jury is still out on his racing in traffic."

(GMM)

 

Nurburgring talks with Ecclestone 'positive'

Talks on Sunday about the future of the Nurburgring on the F1 calendar were "positive".

That is the claim of Kurt Beck, who attended the German Grand Prix amid reports his Rhineland-Palatinate state government is no longer willing to financially back the famous circuit's formula one race.

"The talks with Mr (Bernie) Ecclestone have been very positive," the minister-president told Bild newspaper. "I think German fans will see more formula one races at the Nurburgring in the future."

Bild says the meeting with the F1 chief executive lasted more than half an hour.

"If it was up to me, I would have a ten year contract," Briton Ecclestone said. "I have made them a fair proposal.

"I don't think this is the last race. We found a solution to stay at Hockenheim," he added.

It has been suggested that Karl Josef Schmidt, who negotiated the Hockenheim solution, wants the same deal for the Nurburgring, where the circuit pays a lower sanctioning fee but shares its ticket receipts with F1.

"I believe we will somehow find a way to agree to politically and economically viable conditions," he is quoted by the SID news agency.

(GMM)

 

Teams consider single in-season test for 2012

F1 teams are close to agreeing to a single in-season circuit test for 2012.

FIA president Jean Todt recently denounced the current total ban as "stupid", preceding a meeting of the teams alliance FOTA at the Nurburgring at the weekend.

France's autohebdo.fr reports that the proposal to emerge from the meeting is for a single three-day test before next year's European race season, to probably take place at Mugello.

The report said the test could be in addition to a third practice session at European grands prix in 2012.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport added that, to assuage the reluctance of some smaller-budget teams, the in-season Mugello test would be in lieu of three days of the pre-season winter schedule.

The report said the date of the test, which cannot be finalised now because the 2012 calendar remains provisional, would be during a three-week break prior to the first European race.

It is also believed that teams will not be forced to run young drivers at Mugello.

"There are pros and cons of testing during the season," FOTA chairman and McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.

(GMM)

 
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