- Webber upped form with performance 'coach' - Horner
- Quick Webber decision to stop rumours - Marko
- Whiting hints 'stepped noses' to go in 2013
- Sources insist Coke eyeing McLaren sponsor deal
- F1 close to Concorde Agreement deal now - Ecclestone
- Schumacher not ready to retire again
- Singapore insists no new GP deal yet
Webber upped form with performance 'coach' - Horner
Mark Webber enlisted some outside help to get him over the slump of 2011.
After narrowly losing the title to his teammate Sebastian Vettel in 2010, the Australian's form nosedived last season as Vettel utterly dominated in the sister Red Bull.
But Webber, 35, is back with a bang in 2012, winning two Grands Prix so far compared to Vettel's sole Bahrain victory and a new contract for 2013.
"Mark had a very difficult year in 2011," team boss Christian Horner told Bild newspaper, revealing the tall Australian is now working with a "coach".
Horner named the 'coach' as Webber's friend Bernie Shrosbree, who the winner of nine GPs met while he was a Renault test driver in 2001.
Back then, Shrosbree was Renault's 'performance training' chief.
"Seb found great momentum in 2011 and was unstoppable but it's easy to forget that Mark was never that far behind," said David Coulthard after Webber's British GP win.
"He was never being lapped," he wrote in the Telegraph. "Either way, he is in great form and right in the championship hunt."
Quick Webber decision to stop rumours - Marko
Red Bull made a snap decision to re-sign Mark Webber in order to stop the "constant rumours" about the Australian's future.
That is the claim of Dr Helmut Marko, who just hours before the team announced the 35-year-old Australian is staying in 2013 actually said Red Bull would only decide its next lineup "in August".
Why the rapid change of heart?
"Because we wanted to put an end to the constant rumours and the resulting unrest," the Austrian told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.
Webber had been linked with a sensational switch to Ferrari.
"Mark is relaxed and motivated this year unlike ever before," Marko continued.
After the driver announcement on Tuesday, team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports "the lure of Ferrari" had been a "significant" factor in Webber's deliberations for 2013.
The news of Webber's new deal will be a big relief for Felipe Massa.
"Our prediction?" wrote Auto Motor und Sport. "The five big teams will not change (their drivers) for 2013."
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo (Brazil) and Marca (Spain) newspapers: "I have often said that we are not in a hurry" to decide Fernando Alonso's 2013 teammate.
As Webber was the prime candidate to replace Massa, this week's news as well as the Brazilian driver's recently improved form indicates that Ferrari might simply leave its line-up alone for 2013.
After Silverstone, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said: "I am very pleased to have seen that Felipe was very quick, fighting hard and consistently throughout the weekend.
"It was very important for him and for us".
Whiting hints 'stepped noses' to go in 2013
Charlie Whiting has indicated 'stepped noses' will disappear at the end of 2012.
The issue of the questionable aesthetics of this year's field returned to the headlines this week when Lewis Hamilton wondered if McLaren took the wrong path with the sleeker design of its struggling MP4-27.
"Just look at them (the 2012 cars) and ours looks different from the others," he said after Silverstone.
"That's a significant difference," Hamilton added, "(although) it's too big a change (for McLaren to make) for this season."
But Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio has revealed that Whiting, the FIA's top F1 official, is looking into tweaking the rule that led to the prevalence of stepped noses this season.
"The FIA is aware of the dissatisfaction of the fans in relation to the appearance of this year's cars," Whiting told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.
Sources insist Coke eyeing McLaren sponsor deal
Sources continue to insist that Coca-Cola is interested in entering F1 as a sponsor.
The business journalist Christian Sylt suggested recently that Coke, arguably the most recognised brand name in the world, could replace McLaren's title sponsor Vodafone.
It had emerged that Vodafone is currently reviewing its major sponsorships.
Another F1 journalist, however, on Tuesday rubbished the "stupid" story on the basis that McLaren already has a drinks sponsor, Lucozade.
But two well-placed sources insist that the Coke rumours are real.
One of the sources said he can prove that Coca-Cola's global head of sports sponsorship has been obtaining detailed data on the beverage sponsorships sector in F1.
He said Coke has "more than a passing interest" in the sport.
The other source, meanwhile, said the Coke/McLaren link is so strong that a potential 2014 McLaren livery has been contemplated that harks back to McLaren's classic red and white of the 80s and 90s.
McLaren's current grey/silver livery dates back to 1997, but its engine partner Mercedes' rival works cars are now also coloured similarly.
Moreover, the Woking based team will begin to pay for its Mercedes engines from 2013, as Force India does already.
"If McLaren goes ahead and switches its livery it would make sense to do it for a brand as big as Coke," said Sylt on Wednesday.
F1 close to Concorde Agreement deal now - Ecclestone
F1 appears closer to having an all-new Concorde Agreement in place for 2013 and beyond.
Following a major falling out with Mercedes, Bernie Ecclestone now insists there is in fact "total agreement" up and down the pitlane with regards to the sport's commercial structure beyond the expiry of the current contract.
"Total agreement," he told the Daily Mail when asked about the progress of the next Concorde.
"We are just talking to the lawyers -- 'why have you used this word, that word?'. Typical lawyers," said the sport's 81-year-old supremo, "but everything's fine.
"Commercially it's done," he insisted.
The next step, Ecclestone suggested, is to work out how the sport's technical regulations are written in the future.
"It should be the teams, though not all the teams, who do that," he said. "They are the people who have to come up with the money, not the FIA.
"It would be the established teams who are here to stay - Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes and probably Williams as old timers - deciding what to do."
Schumacher not ready to retire again
Michael Schumacher sounds in no mood to hang up his helmet.
The contract he signed ahead of the 2010 season, which pulled him out of retirement and back onto the grid with Mercedes, is set to expire.
Whether or not he inks a new one is now regarded as the key to the 2013 driver market.
Mercedes could be interpreted as applying pressure on the 43-year-old to make a decision, given it is believed the great German has a unilateral option to extend.
At the same time, the German marque has admitted its interest in reuniting with its former DTM protege Paul di Resta, who has impressed at Mercedes-powered Force India.
"The time will come," Schumacher is quoted on Wednesday by Germany's Sport Bild, "when my focus goes once again onto something else."
He is referring to 2006, when he quit Ferrari and F1, admitting his motivation had waned.
But that was off the back of an unprecedented run of success, including the utter dominance of 2000-2004, when he won every drivers' title on offer.
Second time around, Schumacher admits he has "achieved very little" since coming back.
At Valencia recently, he finally returned to the podium.
"My first thought was 'I did it', but then it was the feeling that I wanted to be on the higher steps," he smiled.
But he insists that, three seasons into his comeback, he is finally happy at the wheel of his silver single seater.
"I am getting to the point where I can get the most out of the car. That wasn't necessarily the case before," said Schumacher.
So does he have the hunger to keep on racing?
"I'm highly motivated," said the record winner of 91 GPs, adding that he is happy with his current job.
"That's because the main part of the work is what I enjoy the most: racing the car," added Schumacher.
Singapore insists no new GP deal yet
The Singapore contract saga continued on Wednesday, with organisers insisting a deal is not yet done.
On Tuesday, it emerged that the Asian city-state's government had told the street circuit's promoter Singapore GP (SGP) that it will only extend the contract beyond 2012 if the terms are "economically viable".
Bernie Ecclestone then said on Wednesday that things previously "in the way" of a new five-year deal have been "cleared".
But SGP has slammed on the brakes, insisting in a statement that what the F1 chief executive has offered is "insufficient" for a "full five-year extension".
"We remain hopeful at reaching an outcome that is mutually beneficial to all parties," added the organisers of F1's first floodlit race.
- Interested in buying ? Visit our showroom for more information.