Sebastian Vettel looking forward to seeing 2012 Red Bull F1 car
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Sebastian Vettel is keen to get his hands on Red Bull’s 2012 challenger just weeks after becoming Formula 1’s youngest double world champion.
The 24-year-old German dominated the 2011 season, finishing 122 points ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button after 11 wins, and setting a new record for pole positions in a season to become the ninth driver to claim back-to-back titles.
“We see it coming together. It’s like a child being born. I’m not a father but they tell me that’s how it feels,” said Vettel.
“I’m looking forward to the competition. We are all very happy with this year, so it wouldn’t be right to ask for more. If we can match 2011 and do better here and there, that would be fantastic.”
Veteran Rubens Barrichello is optimistic of retaining his race seat with Williams, which would see him start a 20th season in the sport despite rumours that the Grove-based team are assessing other drivers.
Williams have already confirmed Pastor Maldonado will be retained, as well as announcing their third driver – but Barrichello’s future remains in the balance.
Barrichello wrote on Twitter: “Just came back from England…now some holidays…and waiting for good news from Williams.”
Williams had been linked with a move for 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, but the Finn subsequently signed a two-deal with Lotus Renault GP. Williams could now look for a younger driver who will bring pace, experience, and much-needed sponsors to the team – and last year’s now unemployed Renault drivers Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov would tick those boxes, while former Force India driver Adrian Sutil is also in contention.
“Of course I’m working hard and trying to find the best solution possible, but so far nothing is certain,” said Senna. “There is still a lot of work to be done, so hopefully I can get a good seat.”
Heikki Kovalainen is willing to stay with Caterham beyond 2012 – if the team continues to improve next season.
After a strong year for the team in just its second year in F1, the Finn was linked with a move away before committing to the Norfolk team. He will assess his future depending on whether the team continues to progress in 2012.
“I want to see what we can do together and let’s see what is the situation in the summer,” he said.
“It depends on the car’s performance. I cannot give an exact percentage but if we continue to develop next season then it [the chance I’ll stay] is high. Otherwise it is small.”
Luca di Montezemolo has revealed that Ferrari withdrew from Fota because other members were not respecting the organization’s rules.
The Ferrari president also revealed that there was no joint decision with world champions Red Bull who also withdrew in the same week.
“We have left Fota of our own accord and without consulting anyone else, because we were tired of the compromises dragging it down,” Montezemolo said at a media conference at Maranello.
“And let’s be clear: If one is part of a club then everyone has to respect its rules. Otherwise, what’s the point? However, I still believe that we can have a common vision between the biggest teams when it comes to the future, and I will push to the maximum to seek out common objectives.
“All we want are clear rules and interpretations. Situations like the one in Silverstone must not happen again, when the rules changed three times over the course of a Grand Prix weekend.
“On that occasion, Ferrari decided to sacrifice its own interests to avoid a fall out that would have damaged Formula 1, with all the accompanying comments that we did not want the agreement because we were not competitive.”
Work on the circuit for the United States Grand Prix is set to continue after disagreements with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone were resolved, despite promoters missing several deadlines to pay the race sanctioning fee.
The track currently looks like a construction site and is behind schedule, with work on the vertical elements just beginning less than a year before the first race is due to take place.
Organisers insist that despite the setbacks and the delays, the project will be completed on time.
Formula 1 rivals McLaren and Ferrari will launch their 2012 cars at the start of February in the week leading up to the first winter test at Jerez.
Ferrari have finished third behind McLaren in the World Constructors’ Championship in the last two seasons, and for most of the 2011 season were clearly inferior to Red Bull and McLaren, with president Luca di Montezemolo notably unhappy with his team’s performances in recent years.
McLaren unveiled the MP4-26 a very public launch outside of Vodafone’s German headquarters in Berlin, but while a venue for their 2012 launch on 1 February, two days before Ferrari, has yet to be revealed.
However, the Woking outfit confirmed the MP4-27 will take part in the testing at Jerez after the decision to delay testing of its predecessor 10 months ago left Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton woefully off the pace at the start of the season.