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F1 - BRAZILIAN GP FIRST PRACTICE TIMES

Red bull comfortably quickest while Ferrari struggle

Pos. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1'12.328 23
2 6 Mark Webber Red Bull 1'12.810 0.482 28
3 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1'12.845 0.517 24
4 1 Jenson Button McLaren 1'13.267 0.939 24
5 11 Robert Kubica Renault F1 1'13.370 1.042 24
6 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1'13.516 1.188 26
7 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams F1 1'13.546 1.218 26
8 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1'13.643 1.315 25
9 14 Adrian Sutil Force India 1'13.918 1.59 26
10 22 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1'14.000 1.672 23
11 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1'14.004 1.676 23
12 10 Nico Hulkenberg Williams F1 1'14.155 1.827 29
13 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1'14.246 1.918 20
14 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1'14.267 1.939 26
15 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault F1 1'14.370 2.042 23
16 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India 1'14.487 2.159 26
17 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1'14.618 2.29 30
18 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1'14.734 2.406 29
19 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus Racing 1'15.603 3.275 25
20 24 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1'15.860 3.532 20
21 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Racing 1'16.057 3.729 26
22 25 Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1'16.707 4.379 28
23 20 Christian Klien HRT F1 1'16.839 4.511 18
24 21 Bruno Senna HRT F1 1'17.360 5.032 30

F1 - INTERLAGOS INTRIGUE

The reportedly 'strong rumour' in the Brazilian paddock is that Proton owned Group Lotus, contesting Tony Fernandes' right to call his team Lotus in 2011, could buy into the Renault team.

 

 

Two interesting rumours emerged on Friday during the opening Formula One practice session at Interlagos.

 During the BBC's radio coverage of the first 90 minute session, commentators discussed the likelihood that the team currently known as Lotus Racing will have to use a different name in 2011.

 But a team could still be called 'Lotus', they said. The reportedly 'strong rumour' in the Brazilian paddock is that Proton owned Group Lotus, contesting Tony Fernandes' right to call his team Lotus in 2011, could buy into the Renault team.

 Fascinatingly, the team currently known as Renault could then become known as Lotus-Renault in 2011.

 Lotus Racing has done an engine deal with Renault for 2011, so it also wants to be called Lotus-Renault next year.

Another rumour reported by the BBC on Friday morning is that Mark Webber, following his outbursts in the media 24 hours ago, could leave Red Bull after next Sunday's Abu Dhabi finale whether he is crowned World Champion or not. Webber on Friday would not categorically deny rumours he is set to quit Red Bull and possibly Formula One after next Sunday's season finale Grand Prix at Abu Dhabi.

 After making critical comments at Interlagos about the team's approach on Thursday, the big rumour in the paddock now is that the Australian is set to leave. The chance he will simply retire, particularly if he wins the World Championship, is considered high, although some believe he might be signed by Ferrari to replace the struggling Felipe Massa.

 When asked if he is leaving Red Bull for 2011 despite having signed a contract, the 34 year old told BBC Sport: "That's a pretty big step to take." "As long as I'm enjoying my driving and performing really well, then of course I'll be here next year," added Webber. But in a separate interview, Webber said only that there is "a good chance" he will still be at Red Bull next season.

 Team boss Christian Horner said during the practice session that he had been 'surprised' with the Australian's comments on Thursday. "He needs to get down and focus on the job," added the Briton. 

34 year old Webber has already agreed a contract to race with Red Bull next year, but has admitted he would like to retire whilst at the top. 

MOTO-GP - NEWS OF THE WEEK

Toni Elias Returns to Moto-GP 

LCR Honda MotoGP Team has announced its new co-operation with the Spanish Moto2 Champion Toni Elias and Honda HRC for the 2011 MotoGP Championship.

The LCR Team is ready to take part in their 6th season in the MotoGP class thanks to the support of the Japanese Constructor which has renewed its co-operation with the Team Manager Lucio Cecchinello.

Lucio Cecchinello: Team Manager
"First of all I want to thank Randy for his precious co-operation and for the several successes we have shared in the 250cc class and in the MotoGP class in the last three years. The chance to work with Toni Elias is a big incentive for us because this is a very important moment for presenting to our sponsors and partners a new project. The nice thing is that Toni and I raced together in the 125cc class, I was at the end of my career and he was at the beginning. I remember he was a very very hard rider and very resolute. As time goes by he has improved very much and I think he is a very talented rider with a lot of experience. All the staff and I give him our warmest welcome!"

Toni Elias: Rider
"I am thrilled to be back in MotoGP and I am happy to race with the LCR Team. I want to thank Lucio and Honda for their trust and I am anxious to return. I have known Lucio for a long time as we raced together in the 125cc class from 1999 to 2001. Although his Team is not an official one it is very professional and well organized. Being their only rider is a further warranty for me."

F1 NEWS - ROOKIE DRIVER TEST DRIVERS ANOUNCED

Mercedes has confirmed that Sam Bird will drive for the team at the Young Driver test days to be held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 November.

  

British racer Sam, 23, drives for ART and will be competing in the final GP2 Series races in Abu Dhabi over the Formula One weekend. Sam is currently in fifth place in the GP2 standings with one win and four podiums this season, including the feature race victory, sprint race podium and both fastest laps at the penultimate race in Monza.

 

 

Williams have confirmed GP2 Champion Maldonado and Dean Stoneman will be testing, 20-year old Briton Stoneman won this year's Formula Two Championship which earned him the Williams test drive. Williams test driver Finn Valtteri Bottas will remain Williams test driver, but he will not participate in the young driver test days.

 

Ferrari will test 21-year old Brazilian Cesar Ramos, winner of the 2010 Italian Formula Three Championship, and also the numbers two and three in the championship, Stephane Richelmi and Andrea Caldarelli. The 20-year old Monegasque Richelmi is the son of former World Rally Championship driver Jean-Pierre Richelmi, and the also 20-year old Italian Caldarelli was active in the Eurocup Formula Renault series and the Formula Three Euroseries.

 

Belgium Jerome d'Ambrosio and Brazilian Liuz Razia will be testing for Virgin Racing, Sauber will test Mexicans Perez and Esteban Gutierrez, Red Bull will test their reserve driver Australian Daniel Ricciardo, and Toro Rosso will test Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne. Renault will run Renault World Series champion Russian Mikhail Aleshin, and perhaps Dutch-Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung, McLaren hasn't released any names, but it is expected their reserve driver Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey will take the McLaren for a spin. Lotus and HRT haven so far not given any information about their test drivers.

 

F1 NEWS FROM AROUND THE TRAPS

Barrichello's seat also not secure at Williams

 

The latest rumour in Formula One is that Rubens Barrichello's longest-ever Grand Prix career could be set to end after the 2010 finale next month.

German rookie Nico Hulkenberg admitted in Korea that he was concerned about speculation linking the new GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado with his Williams race seat. 

But a report in Auto Motor und Sport reveals that the Oxfordshire based team actually does not intend to confirm either Hulkenberg or his current teammate, the Brazilian veteran Barrichello, until the winter period.

 

 

The reason for the delay is Williams' sponsor situation, with RBS departing at the end of the year. It has also been reported that Philips, AirAsia and McGregor could also leave the Grove-based team.

Maldonado carries a reported US $15 million in the sponsorship of state-owned petroleum company PDVSA, and the latest rumour is that Williams has not yet decided whether Hulkenberg or Barrichello is the most likely to potentially make room for the 25-year-old.

The rumour about 39-year-old Barrichello was triggered when Patrick Head, Williams' engineering boss and the team's second biggest shareholder, said Hulkenberg had done enough in 2010 to justify his seat.

"I think Nico has done enough, both before he entered F1 and since being in F1, to support the view that he is a justified driver," said the Briton.

Rubens Barrichello has revealed he hopes to stay with the Williams team in 2011.

His comments, in a Portuguese interview with the news agency Reuters, follow reports that the veteran Brazilian could be replaced next year by the Venezuelan pay-driver Pastor Maldonado.

Previously, it was believed that Barrichello's rookie German teammate Nico Hulkenberg was the most likely to make way should the Oxfordshire based team decide to sign 25-year-old Maldonado and his sponsor.

"I've done a good job this year and I'm focused on the car for next year, so I'm hoping to stay," the Portuguese language report quoted Barrichello, 39, as saying.

Last month, the Brazilian said he was "100 per cent" sure he will be driving for Williams in 2011 even though the deal had not been confirmed on paper.

But when asked on Thursday if a deal is in place, Barrichello said: "That's something you will have to ask Williams."

And when discussing taking part in his 18th home Grand Prix next weekend, he added: "Our car is getting better and all I can hope for is a positive weekend.

"The start of the season was not so good, we thought we had a good car but it was hard for us to be in the top ten.

"But the rapport with the team was very good and we managed to improve," said Barrichello.

Globo also quotes him as saying: "I've been working on the car for next year. There are things arising from the regulations that we are only going to find out later, but the design is bold and 2011 is going to be better than this one."

 

D'Ambrosio close to 2011 Virgin race deal

 

Jerome d'Ambrosio is close to securing his Formula One race debut for 2011. That is the claim of Eric Boullier, who is in charge not only of the Renault team, but also Genii Capital's driver management arm Gravity.

Gravity negotiated Belgian d'Ambrosio's current Friday role with Virgin, and he is also set to race alongside Timo Glock next year, depending on his management's ability to compile the necessary budget.

"We have 95 per cent of the package together," Frenchman Boullier told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.

"For the remaining 5 per cent," he added, "it's just a matter of days. I would be pleased to have a signed contract in his pocket by the last race in Abu Dhabi."

 

Sutil rules out replacing Schumacher at Mercedes

Adrian Sutil has denied rumours he could be set to replace Michael Schumacher at Mercedes next year.

It has been suggested the 27-year-old German, who is currently contemplating his future at Force India, is first in line for the Mercedes race seat should Schumacher decide over the winter break to return to retirement.

"No, there is no truth in that," he told the Daily Mail in an interview.

"Michael is going to stay there for another year at least, and I think he has a three year contract, so that is how it is.

"Of course it would be great to drive for Mercedes in the future, but I think now is just too early, and they are just rumours," added Sutil.

He said he is expecting his own decision about the 2011 season to be made soon.

"I'm not sure at the moment, but it should happen pretty soon," said Sutil, who has also been linked with moves to Renault and Williams.

"I just want to make sure to do the right thing, but I can't say where I am going to be. It is too early for that.

"I was planning to make a decision four weeks ago, but it is difficult. Everyone is waiting, so I will try to make it as quick as possible."

 

Senna in talks for Lotus-Renault switch

Bruno Senna, the nephew of the great Ayrton Senna, is in talks to switch for 2011 from struggling HRT to F1's best new team Lotus.

That is the claim of Brazil's Globo Esporte, noting that the move would reinvoke the fabled Lotus/Renault/Senna combination of the 1980s.

Rookie Senna, who turned 27 earlier this month, has had a difficult debut season in 2010 at the wheel of the slowest and least developed car on the grid fielded by the Spanish newcomer Hispania.

"Bruno Senna is close to getting something better," said the Portuguese language report.

"He is in talks with Lotus and these talks are already well advanced," Globo added, nominating Jarno Trulli as the driver most likely to leave the Malaysian team in the event that Senna is signed.

The report cited sources "close to the driver" as insisting that Senna cannot finalise the deal until his sponsors agree, adding that these talks with "several companies" are also already taking place.

Globo Esporte also said Lotus' announcement of its Renault engine deal for 2011 will be made next weekend at Interlagos.

 

Amid Lotus seat uncertainty, Trulli travels to US

As drivers seemingly line up for his seat at Lotus, Jarno Trulli has been spotted in the US.

In recent days, rival drivers including Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov have been linked for 2011 with the Malaysian team, who are thought certain to renew Heikki Kovalainen's contract.

At the same time it has emerged that, immediately after the Korean Grand Prix, 36-year-old Italian veteran Trulli travelled to Miami.

He reportedly met up with his old friend Juan Pablo Montoya, and they dined on Thursday night at the Italian restaurant Il Gabbiano.

Last year, when his future beyond the withdrawing Toyota team was uncertain, Trulli also visited America, testing a NASCAR and visiting the Sprint Cup race in Phoenix.

Referring to the late 2009 test with Michael Waltrip Racing, he said his performance had been "very strong" and "on the pace of the best ones".