- Webber to favour Red Bull in 2013 team talks
- F1 'not corrupt', defiant Ecclestone insists
- FIA tells Vettel to mind his manners - report
- Unlucky Button aims to end Silverstone 'jinx'
- Promoter confirms Spa race alternation idea off
- Boss Sala hints HRT to keep Cosworth for 2013
- 'Serious differences' in tyre quality in 2012 - Marko
- Hamilton to negotiate with McLaren over trophies
Webber to favour Red Bull in 2013 team talks
Mark Webber has revealed he will prioritise Red Bull as he plans for his twelfth season in Formula One in 2013.
The energy drink owned team has indicated it is likely to extend the 35-year-old Australian's latest one-year contract.
But Webber has also been linked with a move to Ferrari alongside Fernando Alonso.
He told French broadcaster TF1 that he would like clarity in "a few months".
"First I will talk with my team, because I would be happy to continue here," Webber, currently second behind Alonso in the drivers' championship, said.
Webber said he clearly plans to stay in F1.
"I'm motivated, I feel good, I've got a great job to drive the fastest cars on the world's best stretches of road. That's a dream," he insisted.
He does expect some "changes" in the line-ups at the "top four teams" for 2013.
"I think given Felipe (Massa)'s results there could be a change there (at Ferrari)," said Webber. "It's such a great team with great history.
"It's also unclear what's happening with Michael (Schumacher); the same goes for me at Red Bull and Lewis (Hamilton) at McLaren."
F1 'not corrupt', defiant Ecclestone insists
Bernie Ecclestone has issued his strongest defence yet amid continuing suggestions the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery affair could also claim the F1 supremo's scalp.
81-year-old F1 chief executive Ecclestone said in no uncertain terms that the convicted former banker's bribery claims are "wrong".
"It's false," Ecclestone is quoted by the German newsmagazine Focus.
"The court did what it needed to do ... but the man is lying," he insisted.
Ecclestone has said consistently he paid Gribkowsky the millions because he was being "shaken down" relating to his British tax affairs.
"I am a businessman," said the Briton. "I am always weighing up between opportunity, risk and hassle."
Although there are rumours some in the sport are nervous about the potential association with corruption, Ecclestone said his removal as F1's chief executive would be counterproductive.
"For over 40 years," said Ecclestone, his partners have "trusted my handshake".
"There are no corrupt practices in Formula One," he insisted.
Ecclestone also denied the link between the scandal and F1's delayed floatation, even if he admits the Gribkowsky situation has been "not very helpful".
FIA tells Vettel to mind his manners - report
Sebastian Vettel has been warned to watch his manners, according to Germany's Kolner Express newspaper.
After Valencia, where following his retirement the Red Bull driver admitted he suspected a conspiracy, German motor sport association president Hans-Joachim Stuck said Vettel needed to be careful about being cited for "unsportsmanlike conduct".
Vettel had suggested the safety car was called onto the Spanish circuit chiefly to cut his huge lead.
"Sebastian Vettel should learn to be a good loser," said Stuck.
The Cologne tabloid Express said Vettel's theory did not escape the attention of the governing FIA, who have placed the reigning world champion on a sort of unofficial 'probation'.
Already in 2012, Vettel is said to have caught Jean Todt's attention with his "cucumber" insults against backmarker Narain Karthikeyan.
"We know that, quite often, Vettel speaks roughly after disappointments, which is not a good example," an unnamed FIA official is quoted as saying.
Manners or not, Jenson Button described Vettel's qualifying and race pace until his retirement with a failed alternator in Valencia as "scary".
McLaren's Button had been asked about the widespread praise of Fernando Alonso following the Spaniard's Valencia win, including Lewis Hamilton's description of the Ferrari driver as "phenomenal".
"There's been a lot of arse-kissing going on lately," Button told British newspapers. "I don't know what's happening. It's quite strange."
The Briton said Vettel, not Alonso, is the really "scary one".
"The pace that Sebastian had (in Valencia) was amazing. He was on fire. He had such a massive difference in pace to the rest of the field and we haven't seen that for a while," said Button.
Unlucky Button aims to end Silverstone 'jinx'
In his 13th consecutive season and stranded on 13 race wins, Jenson Button is hoping to finally end his Silverstone "jinx" this weekend.
The McLaren driver has been caught in a performance slump recently, but he refused to tell British reporters that outright victory at his home GP in 2012 is unlikely.
Statistically, however, Silverstone success is unlikely for the 32-year-old, given that since debuting in 2000, not a single metre of his 56,000 kilometres during grands prix have been spent in the lead on his home track.
In fact, he has never even been on the podium at the end of a British grand prix.
"It's definitely the biggest missing trophy on my shelf," said Button. "It does hurt."
He admits that, having tried and failed at the wheel of Williams, Benetton, BAR, Honda, title-winning Brawn and McLaren cars, the fact his best finish is fourth is strange.
Asked if he feels jinxed in his 13th F1 season, Button answered: "I seem to have had (a jinx) for the past four races, so I'm hoping now the British grand prix is coming up it will turn around and be the opposite for me.
"I wouldn't say it's a jinx," he added. "I think we've just been unlucky at times and not had the car at other times."
Promoter confirms Spa race alternation idea off
The boss of the Belgian GP has confirmed reports the once-touted race alternation with France is now off the agenda.
It had been suggested fabled Spa-Francorchamps would share an annually-rotating single date on the F1 calendar in future with a returning French race.
But after Nicolas Sarkozy lost the recent general election, those plans appeared to lose traction.
And late last week, the Belgian and French news agencies Belga and AFP suggested the Spa/Paul Ricard alternating scheme is indeed "no longer on the agenda".
"The election of Francois Hollande to the French presidency has changed the situation," Spa promoter Andre Maes is quoted by the French language Belgian newspaper L'Echo.
He said it "became clear" that France's new administration has different plans.
"Hence, the (new) proposal we made to Mr Ecclestone," said Maes. "But I am bound by a confidentiality clause, so I cannot tell you."
L'Echo reports that Spa has proposed that the Belgian GP contract simply be extended to 2016, possibly with Ecclestone to agree a slight reduction in the race sanctioning fee.
Boss Sala hints HRT to keep Cosworth for 2013
Luis Perez-Sala has indicated HRT wants to keep its Cosworth engines for the 2013 season.
It emerged recently that, with the independent British engine supplier losing key clients Williams and Caterham recently, Cosworth might not develop a V6 engine for the all-new 2014 regulations.
Citing paddock speculation, the media reports even suggested the viability of Cosworth staying in F1 for the final V8 season next year is in doubt.
The engine maker's last remaining F1 customers are backmarkers HRT and Marussia.
HRT team boss Perez-Sala suggested the Spanish team wanted to maintain stability for 2013.
Asked by El Confidencial if the team will have a new engine supplier next year, he answered: "For next year, although it is not finalised, the idea is to keep what we have.
"As a team we have made a big change this year and what we need is to consolidate and improve on what we have. So we cannot be changing too much when in 2014 there is such an important transformation.
"We expect that the coming (2013) campaign will be a continuation," added Sala.
He also suggested that Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa is a vital player in the HRT project going forwards.
When asked if he can imagine HRT without the experienced former McLaren test driver on board, Perez-Sala answered: "So far, no ... I can not imagine it!"
'Serious differences' in tyre quality in 2012 - Marko
Dr Helmut Marko suspects there are "serious differences" in the quality of the sets of tyres being supplied this year by Pirelli.
Red Bull's motor racing consultant also said the sole tyre supplier's 2012 product works only within a ludicrously small performance 'window', and favours cars with simple designs.
According to the German language motorline.cc, Marko said Italian marque Pirelli "received an order to make formula one more exciting".
In 2011, for Pirelli's first season on the grid, the tyres spiced up the show due to their heavily-degrading nature.
And this year, experts have explained that the tyres are 'mysterious' in terms of how the engineers and drivers can make them work.
"Normally a tyre degrades steadily, but with the current Pirelli compounds they are working one lap and the next they're gone," said the outspoken Austrian.
And Marko said the Pirellis are also difficult to get working in the first place.
"I think it was in Malaysia with Mark Webber, we were on the hard compound and we put in two clicks more of front wing -- a marginal different but 'Bang!' we were 1.2 seconds faster.
"We thought 'Boom! Our car is now great' but we put on the soft compound and were eight tenths slower," he said.
Marko said he suspects there are "serious differences" in the quality of the sets of tyres being supplied by Pirelli this year.
"The result is that cars that are simple in design are easier to get to the windows in which the tyres work best."
At Valencia recently, however, Red Bull's latest developments appeared to be a breakthrough for the RB8, as Sebastian Vettel dominated qualifying and the race until his technical breakdown.
"It hurts (rivals) terribly when you're so superior," explained Marko. "In the race we had to tell Vettel 'Go slower! Even slower! And now even slower!'
"We know too well - if you are too far ahead you definitely lose more friends than you make."
Hamilton to negotiate with McLaren over trophies
Lewis Hamilton is heading into his team's home GP this weekend refusing to rule out leaving McLaren at the end of the season.
The 2008 world champion's existing lucrative contract runs out this year, and as boss Ron Dennis hinted recently, the sides are set to clash over Hamilton's salary demands going forwards.
And there are also other matters to negotiate, the 27-year-old British driver has revealed.
"I haven't sat down and forged all the criteria I am looking for, but probably 95 percent is ticked off within McLaren," Hamilton is quoted by the Daily Mail.
"There could be small things, like I'd like to keep my trophies I win. But Ron's never going to want to give them up. That's alright, I'll get him on the money side!"
And the trophy issue was also mentioned by Hamilton in the Telegraph.
Referring to his British grand prix win in 2008, the driver is quoted as saying: "It's the best trophy I have ever seen.
"But Ron keeps every trophy, which isn't good and definitely won't be happening in the future."
Insiders and experts are tipping Hamilton to ultimately stay put, having been groomed by McLaren since childhood and in light of the team's continuing status as a winning grandee.
But Hamilton insisted: "Professional sportsmen do move teams. Footballers do, so do racing drivers.
"Jenson (Button) has been with a lot of teams, for instance. It's different when you are in one of the top teams already, though. It (moving) would be tough to do," he said.
Teammate Button commented: "It's unusual for a driver to spend all his career with the same team, but Lewis is racing for a team that has belief in him and will do everything they can to make sure he has a quick car."
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