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GP Week : Issue 106
Bottas retains Williams reserve seat for 2011 n F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone turned 80 on Thursday. Despite heading into his ninth decade though, the Briton is not planning his retirement just yet, insisting age is nothing. “Retire? Why? I need the money, I can't afford to retire,” he told Reuters. “I don't worry. Age is nothing. People make me laugh when they talk about one year to the next year. One day you're one age and a day later you're another age. It's all nonsense. I'm like Obama, I like to move forward.” n Bruno Senna’s manager Chris Goodwin told GPWEEK in Korea that he is 95 percent certain Bruno will be racing in F1 again next year. Ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Jarno Trulli has been to the United States to see transatlantic racing pals, fueling rumors he may be off to NASCAR this season. Anyone want to put bets on the Senna name returning to Team Lotus? n Renault team principal Eric Boullier says test driver Jerome D’Ambrosio is 95 percent certain of a race seat in Formula One next season, adding to speculation that the Belgian will replace Lucas Di Grassi at Virgin Racing in 2011. The 24-year-old has been replacing Di Grassi in the first practice session of every race weekend since the Singapore Grand Prix and has performed well relative to team-mate Timo Glock. “We have 95 per cent of the package together,” said Boullier, who is also Jerome’s manager. n Despite admitting defeat in the defence of his world championship in the aftermath of a non points scoring finish in the Korean Grand Prix, Jenson Button says he will fight until the very end. The Briton heads to Brazil with a 42-point deficit, meaning he has to outscore championship leader Alonso by 18 points to stay in contention. “I've always said that I will fight until it's mathematically impossible,” said Button. “You learn early on in this sport that it's not over until it's over.” n Championship leader Fernando Alonso says he is not expecting to wrap up his third drivers’ championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend, despite having clinched his previous two crowns at the legendary Interlagos circuit. “Naturally, I've got great memories of this track because it was here that I secured my two titles, in 2005 and 2006,” said the Spaniard. “We want to tackle this grand prix in the same way as all the others, concentrating on ourselves with our feet on the ground, trying to do a good job, without making mistakes and with the aim of beating our rivals. I have said it before and I say it again: we will do the maths in Abu Dhabi.” Short Straights Sam Bird to test for mercedes in abu Dhabi GP2 race winner Sam Bird will test for Mercedes this month, after the Brackley- based team confirmed the Briton as their driver for the two-day young driver test in Abu Dhabi in mid-November. The 23- year-old Briton is racing in his first year of GP2 with ART this season and is currently placed fifth in the standings with one race weekend remaining. Bird has risen through the ranks of Formula BMW, Formula Renault and Formula 3 since making his debut in single-seaters in 2004, with a second place finish in the 2005 Formula BMW UK championship being his biggest achievement to date. Last year he finished eighth in the Formula 3 Euro Series and has gone on to take one race win and a further three podium finishes in his debut GP2 season this year. “Sam has done an impressive job in the GP2 Series during his first season. He is the highest-placed rookie in the championship order with some excellent results over the year,” said Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn. “ We are very pleased that Sam will be joining Mercedes GP Petronas for the Young Driver test next month and are confident that he will provide the team with the essential consistency and feedback we require. “ This is also an excellent chance for Sam to continue his progression in motorsport and widen his experience of Formula One. Sam has been chosen due to his relevant current single-seater pedigree through his competition in GP2, the F3 Euroseries and British F3 and as an added bonus, he will have experience of the track from his GP2 racing over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend. We look forward to working with Sam at the test and to seeing his progress and feedback over the two days.” Sam Bird already has links to Mercedes as Norbert Haug, Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, explains: “For the upcoming Young Driver test days in Abu Dhabi, it was important for us to find a young and talented driver with single- seater and preferably GP2 experience. Sam Bird, who competed in the F3 Euro Series last year with our DTM partner team Mücke Motorsport before he progressed to the ART team in GP2, who are also partners with Mercedes-Benz in F3, fulfils these requirements,” said Norbert. “With the experience that Sam will gain during the GP2 races in Abu Dhabi, I am sure he will be well prepared for the test.” The young driver test takes place two days after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on November 16 and 17 (Tuesday and Wednesday). Finn due to test GP2 in November Test drivers Sam Bird (left) and Valtteri Bottas (right) 10