Red Bull Contract Not Open Door For Vettel: Marko Photo:
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2010_red_bull_sebastian_vettel_abu_dhabi_world_driver_champion_01 Photo: tmr
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Mike Stevens | May, 04 2011 | 0 Comments

Helmut Marko has played down any suggestion Red Bull has simply left the door open for Sebastian Vettel to be poached by a rival team.

As the reigning champion and 2011 title leader recently signed up through 2014, team owner Dietrich Mateschitz admitted that if 23-year-old Vettel "wants to go to Ferrari or Mercedes ... we would let him go".

However, Marko - Mateschitz's Austrian countryman and right-hand man on motor sport matters - has a slightly different interpretation of the meaning of the billionaire's stance.

He said it is a general Red Bull "philosophy", with the hypothetical situation actually needing to be assessed "over a period of one or two seasons", said Marko, according to Germany's Auto Bild.

"The fact that someone can get out if he wants to is absolutely within the philosophy of Mr Mateschitz," he admitted.

"But in an organisation that is investing a lot of money, we do need some sorts of guarantees."

Marko said he is confident Vettel will have no need to jump ship before his 2014 contract is through.

"It's not about loyalty -- a top sportsman has to be an extreme egoist," said the former F1 driver.

"But we are now so strong that even if we go to a season start with a car incapable of winning, we would be able to quickly catch up," he said.



Michael Leaving Williams, Spygate's Coughlan To Join

Williams' senior technical duo Sam Michael and Jon Tomlinson are leaving the British team, while 'spygate' conspirator Mike Coughlan is joining as chief engineer.

We reported recently that technical director Michael, and chief aerodynamicist Tomlinson, were at the top of the hit list as Williams looks to restructure following its unprecedentedly-bad start to the 2011 season.

They will both leave the Oxfordshire based team at the end of the year, Williams said in a statement.

"They have recognised that the team's performance is not at the level that it needs to be and have resigned in order to give the team the opportunity to regroup and undertake the changes necessary to get back to the front of the grid," said team principal Sir Frank Williams.

As for Coughlan, who was sacked by McLaren for the Ferrari 'spygate' scandal and banned from F1 for two years, he will leave his job in NASCAR and join Williams in June.

"He left formula one in 2007 because of conduct which he acknowledges was wrong and which he profoundly regrets," said Williams, who said Tuesday's announcements were only the "first step" in the restructuring of his team.



Vairano Test Shows Ferrari Back On Track: Report

Ferrari is reportedly on the road to recovery after getting to the bottom of a wind tunnel problem that has affected development of the 2011 car.

It had been reported that a calibration problem with the team's Maranello tunnel had forced engineers to turn to Toyota's state-of-the-art facility in Cologne with a view to recovering before the world championship is lost.

Felipe Massa drove the 150 Italia car for a filming day at Fiorano last week, but the 2011 model was also being tested on the long straight at Vairano.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that, since early April, development of the car has split into two programmes: normal development and getting to the bottom of the wind tunnel problem.

Test driver Jules Bianchi was at the wheel of the car's Istanbul upgrade at Vairano, south of Milan, last Thursday, and according to the German magazine the package should now "reflect on the track what is promised by the factory".

Among the new pieces that are expected to work in Turkey this weekend are new front and rear wings, and brake ducts, with floor and exhaust parts in the pipeline for Barcelona and Monaco.

A confident Fernando Alonso is quoted as saying: "McLaren did it, we can too."



'Good News' On 2011 Bahrain GP Due 'Soon'

A senior Bahraini official on Tuesday was confident the kingdom's Grand Prix will be rescheduled for later in 2011.

F1's governing body has given race organisers another month to declare that conditions in Bahrain, where civil unrest forced the cancellation of the season opener at Sakhir, are now good enough for the event to take place.

"It's not cancelled, it's only postponed. We will hear good news soon," Bahrain tourism's acting assistant undersecretary Nada Ahmed Yaseen told Gulf News.

She denied reports that said the situation in Bahrain was still volatile, insisting the country is now "back to normal".

"I think it (the grand prix) will happen this year, we are very optimistic about it," she added at the Arabian Travel Market.


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