- Webber to debut new Red Bull in February
- Montezemolo names candidates for Massa's seat
- Bianchi regrets Sauber debut not possible in 2012
- Famous son Rosberg now own man in F1
- Rosberg hopes Mercedes can end losing streak
- Vettel hopes Barrichello keeps Williams seat
Webber to debut new Red Bull in February
Mark Webber will be the first at the wheel of Red Bull's 2012 car, the Adrian Newey-inked RB8.
While Mercedes does not intend to get its new single-seater up and running until the second winter test, most top teams will roll out their 2012 contenders at Jerez.
When that Spanish test gets running on 7 February, it will be world champion Sebastian Vettel's Australian teammate - 35-year-old Webber - at the controls, Auto Motor und Sport reports.
The German magazine says Vettel will then take over for the last days of the test.
Montezemolo names candidates for Massa's seat
Luca di Montezemolo has defended Felipe Massa whilst conceding that a number of drivers at rival teams impressed him in 2011.
The Ferrari president is honouring Brazilian Massa's 2012 contract but making no secret that the Maranello based team is keeping its mind open as to the identity of Fernando Alonso's next teammate.
"2012 is the crucial season for Felipe. We were not satisfied with his past season and neither was he," Montezemolo is quoted by Corriere dello Sport newspaper.
"What I cannot forget is the fact that Felipe was often faster than Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. He helped Kimi to his championship and a year later was a hair short of being champion himself.
"If the tyres warm up for him better next season, we believe Felipe can cope much better."
Naturally, however, Massa's seat is highly coveted within the F1 paddock, while Montezemolo admitted Ferrari is also keeping an eye on its options.
"Jenson Button was just excellent," said the Italian, referring to the 2011 championship runner-up who currently drives for McLaren.
"Mark Webber is a good second driver, and Nico Rosberg has done well with a car that has not been competitive.
"It is also good to develop drivers within yourself, so while Sergio Perez is a Sauber driver, in fact he has developed in Ferrari's academy.
"(And) Jules Bianchi could develop further if he can test," added Montezemolo, a staunch advocate for more testing in F1.
Montezemolo did not mention the recovering Polish driver Robert Kubica.
Bianchi regrets Sauber debut not possible in 2012
Jules Bianchi has admitted a race seat at Sauber this year would have been a logical step for his motor racing career.
The Frenchman admitted to RMC radio that he is likely to play "an important role" in the paddock this season in order to push for his race debut in 2013.
Multiple sources are reporting that the reserve seat at Force India, occupied by Nico Hulkenberg in 2011, is the 22-year-old's likely destination.
"The goal is to find a team that allows me the most mileage and (at the same time) I can still stay with Ferrari," GP2 driver Bianchi, a Ferrari development driver, said.
"I feel ready for F1 already in 2012, but I must stay on the ground. It's a little hard, but that's what Formula One is like."
The Swiss team Sauber is powered by Ferrari and, prior to Felipe Massa's Ferrari debut in 2006, it gave the Brazilian a race seat.
"It wasn't possible to be at Sauber," insisted Bianchi, "as Perez and Kobayashi are signed up for a while.
"It would have been a very good opportunity but it wasn't to be," he added.
Famous son Rosberg now own man in F1
Nico Rosberg, once chiefly described as the son of 1982 world champion Keke, insists he is now his own man.
As a teenager, while he charged towards F1 as GP2 champion six years ago, Rosberg's career was guided by his father, the tough 'Flying Finn' who once managed Mika Hakkinen.
"His advice has always been important to me," Rosberg admitted to the Kolner Express, "but now he stays out of it completely.
"I have done all the negotiations with Mercedes myself," he added, referring to his new multi year contract with the Brackley based team.
"That was quite a challenge but my father helped me in the closing stages, with all the paperwork and things."
Rosberg, meanwhile, insists there are no problems between his father and Michael Schumacher, despite Keke publicly lambasting his Mercedes teammate amid the 'Rascasse' scandal some years ago.
"They have buried the hatchet," said Rosberg. "I've always been very neutral on that one.
"But maybe that's one reason why my father does no interviews any more."
Rosberg hopes Mercedes can end losing streak
Nico Rosberg is confident Mercedes is the key to ending his losing streak in F1.
The highly rated 26-year-old, with six full seasons under his belt, now has the unenviable tally of more than one hundred consecutive Grands Prix without a single win.
"If you're at the wrong place at the wrong time, you can't do anything about it," the German told Bild newspaper.
Rosberg spent his first four seasons with Williams but, now at Mercedes into the foreseeable future, he is confident he is at the right team.
The Brackley based squad does not intend to get its 2012 car up and running until the second test of the pre-season, but Rosberg does not sound worried.
"I have a good feeling about 2012," he insisted. "I know our guys are working hard in the factory to finally bring us to the front.
"I know we have many good ideas," added Rosberg.
He was asked by the Kolner Express tabloid if he has a new year's resolution.
"I need to be patient," answered the German. "I will not get frustrated as our sport is unique.
"You are so dependant on the equipment that is available to you, which means that the majority do not win and someone thinks he's the best, even if this is often not the case.
"But I'm happy where I am and I want to lead Mercedes to wins and championships," added Rosberg.
Vettel hopes Barrichello keeps Williams seat
World champion Sebastian Vettel has revealed he hopes Rubens Barrichello can extend his longest-ever formula one career into 2012.
At the age of 39, the Brazilian veteran of well over 300 GPs has amassed a reported $5 million in personal sponsorship in the hope of clinging onto his Williams race seat for another season.
And Italy's Autosprint claims Barrichello has halved his $2 million salary demand.
"I hope Barrichello stays at Williams," the Swiss newspaper Blick quotes Red Bull driver Vettel as saying. "He is a great guy."
As for the other officially vacant seat at HRT, and the one currently occupied by Jarno Trulli at Caterham, Vettel predicted they will ultimately be filled by drivers "with money".
Barrichello insists it would be "clever" for Williams to avoid the same temptation.
"I'm not pushing them, I'm just trying to show them that is the way to do it," he is quoted by The Sun.
At HRT, occasional 2011 team driver Narain Karthikeyan is a reported possibility for next year, with both Autosprint and Germany's Auto Motor und Sport claiming his Indian sponsors are willing to pay $7 million.
"With the holiday season now behind us we should be able to go ahead with our discussions as nothing has been finalised yet," Karthikeyan is quoted by the Press Trust of India.
"Personally, I have seen a lot of positive responses after the (inaugural Indian) GP as corporate houses and people in general are more aware of what it (F1) brings to the table.
"We have to be patient though - India is in its motor sport infancy and you just can't expect it to skip tens of years in progression because we hosted an F1 race."
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