Van der Garde waiting for Caterham’s decision

Giedo van der Garde is waiting to hear if he will be Charles Pic’s teammate at Caterham in 2013.

The Dutch GP2 driver completed the 2012 season as the Tony Fernandes-owned team’s regular Friday and reserve driver, and is reportedly now in the running to replace either Heikki Kovalainen or Vitaly Petrov. But, although earlier tipped to run an all-pay-driver lineup for 2013, Caterham’s financial situation has changed since the Interlagos finale, after Russian Petrov’s eleventh place returned the team to the lucrative tenth spot in the constructors’ championship.

Petrov’s performance may be rewarded with a new deal, or Caterham could use the extra money to keep its highly rated salaried driver, Finn Kovalainen. The other option remains the well-funded Dutchman, van der Garde.

“We had hoped for clarification last week, but Caterham has moved the decision forwards,” the 27-year-old told Dutch magazine Formule 1. “The decision is theirs and we can do nothing but wait and see,” added van der Garde. “If all goes well, we will know in two weeks.”

Source:GMM

Briatore: Montezemolo & Ecclestone ‘will be friends again’

Bernie Ecclestone has kept a war of words with Luca di Montezemolo running.

Earlier, after the F1 chief executive slammed Ferrari’s pursuit of the yellow flag saga as “a joke”, Montezemolo suggested Ecclestone’s “old age is … incompatible with certain roles and responsibilities”. Ecclestone, who is 17 years older than 65-year-old Italian Montezemolo, has now hit back, claiming the Ferrari president often “doesn’t remember what he says”.

“I’m sure in his case it is nothing to do with his age because he’s always been the same. At least he’s consistent. God knows what’s going to happen when he’s 82,” the Briton told BBC Sport.

Actually, Ecclestone insisted he is a “big supporter” of Montezemolo’s, but thinks the yellow flag saga should have been handled “behind closed doors”.

“I think there was so much pressure from probably the driver (Fernando Alonso),” he said.

“You must remember he’s been saying nearly every race this year the car is rubbish and it’s a bit difficult for them not to look as if they’re trying to do something to help him.”

Ecclestone also dismissed Montezemolo’s complaints about the F1 regulations.

“The rules are there for everyone to use in the best way they can. They’re the same for everyone,” he insisted.

However, one of Ecclestone’s staunchest allies insists Montezemolo only reacted to a “clear provocation” by the 82-year-old.

“Sometimes when Bernie tries to be funny he is not, Luca was disappointed because no one would have liked that statement, and he answered him. Within ten days they’ll be friends again,” former Renault boss Flavio Briatore told Italian radio Rai.

Indeed, Briatore thinks Montezemolo is “right” to complain that formula one has been “put back in the hands of engineers”. Meanwhile, Spaniard Alonso contradicted reports he played a leading role in Ferrari’s push for Sebastian Vettel to be stripped of the 2012 title over the yellow flag affair.

“I was on vacation and didn’t even have an internet connection good enough to watch videos,” he is quoted by La Stampa newspaper. “But the situation needed clarification out of respect for the fans. Ferrari was right to turn to the federation,” added Alonso.

Source:GMM

Gene: Ease of Vettel’s titles is abnormal

Fernando Alonso was “undoubtedly” the best driver of the 2012 season, according to fellow Spaniard and Ferrari test driver Marc Gene.

“The ease with which Vettel has won his titles is abnormal,” the former Minardi driver is quoted by EFE news agency. “For me the best driver this year was undoubtedly Fernando, getting thirteen out of twenty podiums.”

In contrast, Red Bull’s German Vettel – who beat his Spanish adversary to the championship by 3 points – was on the podium after 10 of this year’s 20 races.

Source:GMM

Vettel wants F1 return for Austria

Sebastian Vettel has revealed he hopes Red Bull can celebrate a “home grand prix” in Austria.

Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, who co-founded the highly popular energy drink, not only owns Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, but also the former Austrian grand prix venue A1-Ring. After a complete refurbishment, the circuit in Spielberg – which last hosted formula one in 2003 – is now called the Red Bull Ring.

Red Bull’s triple consecutive world champion Vettel said: “I was at the inauguration and had the chance to drive there.

“The track is completely Formula One-compatible,” the German is quoted by Austria’s laola1.at. “I don’t know why we (F1) don’t go there. For us (Red Bull) it would be great for it to be our home grand prix,” he said at an event in Graz, Austria.

Source:GMM

Cuquerella hints HRT adventure definitely over

HRT’s technical director Toni Cuquerella has acknowledged that the Spanish team’s F1 foray is now over.

It was believed the team’s departing owner Thesan Capital had set an end-of-November deadline for a new buyer to be found. Indeed, as November became December over the past weekend, the FIA published the official 2013 entry list, and it made no mention of HRT. But subsequent reports in Spanish newspapers suggested the dream may not be over for the team, who may have been granted more time by the governing body to pay next year’s entry fee.

However, leading team figure Cuquerella wrote on Twitter: “Four years ago, I suggested to a friend to make a F1 team.

“Today after three seasons the last page of HRT has been written. It was certainly an experience,” the Spanish engineer concluded.

Ferrari test driver Marc Gene, another Spaniard, commented: “It leaves a bad taste, because the probability of another Spanish project (in F1) is small and the precedent is negative.

“Support in Spain normally goes to the drivers,” he is quoted by the EFE news agency. “I can think of several projects in which it was thought that the country would get behind it, but instead only the athletes are supported,” added Gene, a former Minardi driver.

Source:GMM

Alonso counts himself among greatest ever drivers

Fernando Alonso insists he is unmoved after being labelled a ‘sore loser’ in the wake of his 2012 championship defeat.

Even amid his title battle with Sebastian Vettel, the German media said Ferrari’s Spaniard reverted to ‘dirty tricks’ to psychologically unsettle his adversary. And afterwards, there were rumours that Alonso was firmly involved in the heightening of the ‘yellow flag’ saga over Vettel’s allegedly illegal overtake in Brazil, earning him fresh rebukes from within Germany.

“Frankly, I’m not that interested in what the opinion is of me in Germany or elsewhere,” Alonso said at Ferrari’s end of season event at Valencia at the weekend. “What I know is that people who see me in the streets hug me and call me gladiator or samurai. What matters to me are the 1200 people in the Ferrari family who gave me a standing ovation at a dinner.”

Indeed, many in the paddock believe Alonso has improved even since his title-winning days at Renault mid last decade, and would have been a more deserving 2012 champion.

“Before,” Alonso agreed, “the people had a more or less good opinion of me, but now I notice a whole different level of respect, which I did not have when I won in 2005 and 2006. And then, to be one of the greats of formula one, it’s not enough to win titles, you must also tackle seasons like the one just ended.”

Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes him adding: “I don’t have as many titles as Fangio or Schumacher, but I’m one of the best.

“Senna won three and is considered the best, even though others have more. When I retire, I will have the titles I have and I hope I am considered the best,” he is quoted by the AS sports daily.

Source:GMM

Montezemolo hits out at Ecclestone, Schumacher

Luca di Montezemolo used Ferrari’s end-of-season event at Valencia to criticise former team driver Michael Schumacher as well as F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Directing his attention to German Schumacher, who won five consecutive drivers’ titles at Ferrari, president Montezemolo admitted he was unhappy the now-retired Mercedes driver moved over so readily at Interlagos for his countryman Sebastian Vettel.

In Brazil, Ferrari’s new ‘number 1′ Fernando Alonso was fighting for the drivers’ title with Red Bull’s champion.

“I was expecting a slightly different final race on the part of Michael Schumacher because he is a driver with links to Ferrari through some extraordinary moments and with whom we feel very close,” said Montezemolo.

The Ferrari president, however, saved his real vitriol for Bernie Ecclestone, who last week described Ferrari’s questioning of the outcome of the 2012 championship as a “joke”.

The affair surrounded an overtaking move by Vettel that, although ultimately declared legal by the FIA, was questioned by Ferrari in the days after the Brazilian finale.

Insisting Ferrari remains highly critical of F1 regulations including the emphasis on aerodynamics and a lack of testing, Montezemolo said: “Since some people have used the expression ‘It’s a joke’ in recent days, I would like to say that this is the real ‘joke’.”

As for 82-year-old Ecclestone’s criticism of the yellow flag saga, Montezemolo – who is 65 – said: “My father always taught me that you have to have respect for your elders, above all when they reach the point that they can no longer control their words.

“So I will stop there. Certainly, old age is often incompatible with certain roles and responsibilities.”

Source:GMM

Nurburgring confident of 2013 German GP

Nurburgring officials say they were “confident” after meeting late last week in London with Bernie Ecclestone.

Earlier, it was believed the circuit’s hopes of organising next year’s German grand prix had been dashed by financial problems and a breakdown in talks. But, back at the circuit on Friday, officials Jorg Lindner and Kai Richter said their Thursday meeting with F1 chief executive Ecclestone had left them feeling “confident”, according to the German language Spox.

The report said the final calendar for the 2013 season will be published by F1’s governing body this week.

Source:GMM