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Maria De Villota: F1 reserve driver died of 'natural causes' in Spain

Formula 1 reserve racing driver Maria De Villota died from natural causes, a post-mortem examination has confirmed.

De Villota, 33, was found dead in a hotel room in Seville, Spain on Friday.

"I can confirm that her death was due to natural causes. The family has been informed," Dr Joaquin Lucena Romero, head of forensic services at the Institute for Legal Medicine, said.



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The Japanese GP

1. Sebatian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h37.410s
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault +7.1s
3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +9.9s
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +45.6s
5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault +47.3s
6. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari +51.6s
7. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +1m11.6s
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +1m12.0s
9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +1m20.8s
10. Felipe Massa Ferrari +1m29.2s
11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes +1m38.5s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes +1 lap
15. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault +1 lap
17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault +1 lap
18. Charlies Pic Caterham-Renault +1 lap
19. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap

Drivers Championship

1. Vettel 297
2. Alonso 207
3. Raikkonen 177
4. Hamilton 151
5. Webber 148
6. Rosberg 126
7. Massa 90
8. Grosjean 87
9. Button 60
10. Hulkenberg 49
11. Di Resta 36
12. Sutil 26
13. Perez 23
14. Ricciardo 18
15. Vergne 13
16. Gutierrez 6

17. Maldonado 1

Vettel needs more 10 points to clinch his 4th title

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I love Vettel, but the shear dominance of Vettel and Red Bull is making the seasons less enjoyable. I would much rather watch a season where Vettel wins the championship on the last race than seeing Vettel cruise to the championship with a fifth of the season still to go.

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This season I've come round to believing Vettel has no betters in F1. There are maybe a couple of other drivers who could do just as good a job in that Red Bull set up if given the chance, but nobody could do a better job. He's not put a foot wrong, nobody has scared him off the track like Button did in Canada a couple of seasons back, and today's drive was so mature and so strong tactically that you just feel he's come of age.

Other teams need to up their game in the technical department. It's as simple as that. As good as Vettel is he's not four times better than Hamilton or Kimi or twice as good as Alonso, but that's what the WDC tally will say in two weeks' time.

I'm hopeful the 2014 regs will shake things up and the drivers who are as good as Vettel will have a genuine title shot against him.

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Toro Rosso: Daniil Kvyat, 19, to join Jean-Eric Vergne for 2014

Russian Daniil Kvyat will race for the Toro Rosso team next season in a surprise move for the feeder outfit of world champions Red Bull.

The 19-year-old, who competes in GP3, will partner Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne - retained for a third season.

Kvyat replaces Daniel Ricciardo, who has been promoted to Red Bullto fill the seat vacated by Mark Webber.



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Stefano Domenicali admits that Ferrari wanted to hire Robert Kubica

Stefano Domenicali has confirmed that Ferrari had intended to offer Robert Kubica a drive prior to the accident that appears to have ended his F1 career.

In an interview on the Scuderia's website, Domenicali admitted: "Yes, we were keeping an eye on him. Unfortunately, I don't think he will be back, because with his physical problem, he would struggle in certain limited situations which require reactivity."

"It's a shame," added Ferrari's Team Principal. Kubica has made a steady recovery after almost losing his right arm in a rallying accident in February 2011 and was linked to a Ferrari test drive in the summer of 2012.

The 28-year-old Pole has since used Mercedes' simulator and yet, as things stand, he lacks the necessary movement required to control an F1 car. Switching to rallying, Kubica currently leads the WRC2 standings and will step up to the WRC at next month's Wales Rally GB.

The idea of Kubica partnering his friend Fernando Alonso is one of the great 'what ifs?' of recent times, although Domenicali stressed that Ferrari had to give Felipe Massa the chance to prove himself after the serious accident he suffered at the 2009 Hungarian GP.

"From a medical point of view, there is no proof that the accident left any permanent damage, such as problems with his sight or reflexes. And then there's the gentility which would demand that we give a driver who hasn't had much luck, the chance to show he deserves to stay with us," Domenicali said of the Brazilian.

"If Felipe was unable to deliver the performance we hoped for, it was mainly down to a hyper-sensitivity to a car that was too nervous at the rear, but in 2008, he almost took the title and I consider him as a world champion."

Massa is now making way after eight seasons to be replaced by the returning Kimi Raikkonen, who won the world title in 2007 before making way for his next team-mate.

"We took Raikkonen because we wanted more. When we replaced him with Alonso, he was not happy and so he returns with a great desire to do well," Domenicali added.


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The rest of the grid knew today they couldn't beat the Vettel-Newey combo so didn't even try. The paddock outside of that RB garage is shot psychologically.

Let's get this season done and dusted and hope 2014 brings some closer racing at the front.

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The Indian GP Qualifying

 1. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m24.119s 2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m24.871s  +0.752s 3. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes             1m24.941s  +0.822s 4. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m25.047s  +0.928s 5. Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m25.201s  +1.082s 6. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m25.248s  +1.129s 7. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari       1m25.334s  +1.215s 8. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m25.826s  +1.707s 9. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes     1m26.153s  +2.034s10. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m26.487s  +2.368s11. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m25.519s  +0.951s12. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m25.711s  +1.143s13. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m25.740s  +1.172s14. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m25.798s  +1.230s15. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault     1m26.134s  +1.566s16. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari       1m26.336s  +1.768s17. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m26.577s  +1.003s18. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m26.842s  +1.268s19. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth    1m26.970s  +1.396s20. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault     1m27.105s  +1.531s21. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault     1m27.487s  +1.913s22. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth    1m28.138s  +2.564s
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The Indian GP

 1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault           1h31:12.187 2.  Rosberg        Mercedes                   +    29.823 3.  Grosjean       Lotus-Renault              +    39.892 4.  Massa          Ferrari                    +    41.692 5.  Perez          McLaren-Mercedes           +    43.829 6.  Hamilton       Mercedes                   +    52.400 7.  Raikkonen      Lotus-Renault              +  1:07.900 8.  Di Resta       Force India-Mercedes       +  1:12.800 9.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes       +  1:14.70010.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:16.20011.  Alonso         Ferrari                    +  1:18.20012.  Maldonado      Williams-Renault           +  1:18.90013.  Vergne         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     1 lap14.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes           +     1 lap15.  Gutierrez      Sauber-Ferrari             +     1 lap16.  Bottas         Williams-Renault           +     1 lap17.  Chilton        Marussia-Cosworth          +    2 laps18.  Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth          +    2 laps19.  Hulkenberg     Sauber-Ferrari             +    6 laps

Drivers Championship

 1.  Vettel        322        2.  Alonso        207         3.  Raikkonen     183         4.  Hamilton      169         5.  Webber        148         6.  Rosberg       144         7.  Massa         102         8.  Grosjean      102         9.  Button         60        10.  Di Resta       40       11.  Huleknberg     39       12.  Perez          33       13.  Sutil          28       14.  Ricciardo      19       15.  Vergne         13       16.  Gutierrez       6       17.  Maldonado       1       
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Very good drive from Vettel and well-deserved champion for 2013.

But (and this isn't a criticism of Vettel but of F1 in general), none of his overtakes were that good because they didn't NEED to be!

He had a car that was so much faster than the other teams' PLUS the artifical DRS boost (a system which was really introduced to allow fighting between two evenly matched cars, not to allow an already hugely dominant car to sythe through the field).

The lack of overtaking in this sport has been known for ages to be because of the predominance of aero over mechanical grip. THAT'S what needs to be fixed - we really need to move beyond this era of sticky plaster solutions.

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Vettel reprimanded after winning fourth title

(Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel was reprimanded by Formula One's governing body on Sunday even as he celebrated becoming the sport's youngest quadruple champion at the Indian Grand Prix.

The 26-year-old Red Bull driver was summoned to stewards for ignoring post-race procedures and performing crowd-pleasing 'donuts', with the car spinning in a circle of tyre smoke at the end of the pit straight.

The German then climbed out, bowed down in front of the car and clambered up a wire fence to throw his driving gloves to spectators.

Stewards noted in a statement that he had failed "to proceed directly from the circuit to post-race parc ferme without unnecessary delay" in a breach of the sporting regulations.

"Due to special circumstance the stewards accepted the explanation of the driver," the statement added.

Red Bull, who also celebrated their fourth successive constructors' title, were fined 25,000 euros for failing to instruct their driver to return directly and park his car in the pit lane.



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I'm debating picking up Sunday tickets to the USGP, but it's sort of a bummer to go to a race where the results don't really matter... I guess I'll think about it and try to make a decision sometime this week.

I follow F1 only on the most casual level, but follow IndyCar rather intently... it's interesting since the IndyCar series championship came right down to the wire this year.

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Ross Brawn to leave Mercedes at the end of the current F1 season

Ross Brawn will leave his position as Mercedes team principal at the end of the Formula 1 season.

Brawn and Mercedes have failed to reach an agreement on a role in which he would have been happy to stay at the team, sources close to Mercedes said.

Mercedes will now be run in tandem by their two executive directors, Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe, along with non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.

Both Mercedes and Brawn refused to comment on the development.


Brawn's future is unclear. He has emphasised that he would not try to line up a new job elsewhere while still in his present role, but he is now free to find one if he wishes to continue working in F1.

He has been linked with roles running Honda's new F1 programme when the Japanese manufacturer returns to the sport in 2015 as engine partner to McLaren, as well as to a position with governing body the FIA.

FIA president Jean Todt used to work with Brawn at Ferrari, in roles very similar to those now to be occupied by Wolff and Lowe at Mercedes.

Brawn moving to Honda is considered unlikely by some insiders, who say he had grown frustrated with certain aspects of working with the company when he ran their F1 team in 2007-8, particularly dealing with Honda management and repeated trips to Japan.

Claims Brawn will move to McLaren, though, are incorrect, according to sources.


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Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying

 1.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault       1m39.957s 2.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault       1m40.075s  +0.118s 3.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes               1m40.419s  +0.462s 4.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes               1m40.501s  +0.544s 5.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault          1m40.542s  +0.585s 6.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari         1m40.576s  +0.619s 7.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault          1m40.997s  +1.040s 8.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari                1m41.015s  +1.058s 9.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes       1m41.068s  +1.111s10.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.111s  +1.154s11.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari                1m41.093s  +0.620s12.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes   1m41.133s  +0.660s13.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes       1m41.200s  +0.727s14.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.279s  +0.806s15.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault       1m41.395s  +0.922s16.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault       1m41.447s  +0.974s17.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari         1m41.999s  +1.306s18.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes   1m42.051s  +1.358s19.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault       1m43.252s  +2.559s20.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth      1m43.398s  +2.705s21.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault       1m43.528s  +2.835s22.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth      1m44.198s  +3.505s
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Raikkonen excluded from qualifying, will start last

Kimi Raikkonen has been excluded from qualifying after his Lotus failed a floor deflection test.

He will be allowed to start the race from the back of the grid.

The stewards considered video and telemetry evidence and invited Lotus to explain why it had failed the test. The stewards noted Lotus’s justification for the part failing was that “the relevant part broke upon contact with a kerb”.

But the stewards added they “did not accept that the incident referred to constituted an accident, or excused failing the relevant test”.

Raikkonen’s floor was found to transgress article 3.17.5 of the technical regulations because it “deflected more than 5mm vertically when the load was applied vertically to it at the point which lies 100mm of car centre line on the left-hand side”.

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Abu Dhabi GP

1.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1h38m06.106s  2.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      +30.8s   3.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              +33.6s   4.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         +34.8s   5.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               +1m07.1s 6.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  +1m18.1s 7.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              +1m19.2s 8.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               +1m22.8s 9.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      +1m31.1s10.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  +1m33.2s11.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      +1m35.9s12.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      +1m43.6s13.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        +1m44.1s14.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        +1 lap  15.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      +1 lap  16.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    +1 lap  17.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    +1 lap  18.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      +1 lap  19.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      +1 lap  20.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     +2 laps 21.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     +2 laps 
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Kimi Raikkonen will miss the final two rounds of the 2013 Formula One season in order to undergo back surgery ahead of his move to Ferrari in 2014. This means that the Finn will no longer be racing at the Circuit of the Americas in the United States Grand Prix, set to take place next weekend.

Raikkonen has suffered from a recurring back injury throughout his career, but it has become increasingly problematic of late and it was thought that he may take the decision to pull out of the final few races of the year in order to correct the problem.

Speaking to Autosport, Raikkonens manager, Steve Robertson, confirmed that the Finn would not be racing in the final two rounds of the season.

In an ideal world it would have been nice to finish the season with Lotus in the final two grands prix, he explained. However, due to the severe pain that Kimi is having, sadly it is not possible.

Therefore, Raikkonen has raced for Lotus for the final time, bringing to an end a two-year stint at Enstone that has turned sour due to financial problems. He made clear in Abu Dhabi that he would consider walking away from the team early if they could not come to some sort of agreement, but team principal Eric Boullier insisted earlier this week that relations were good with Raikkonen despite him having a seat fitting with Ferrari. Nevertheless, Raikkonens decision to have back surgery should allow him to begin life with the Italian marque in 2014 fully fit.

Lotus released a statement on Sunday afternoon confirming the news.

Lotus F1 Team can confirm that Kimi Raikkonen will miss the final two races of the 2013 Formula 1 season to undergo, and recover from, back surgery. The team will make an announcement about the replacement driver for the United States and Brazilian Grands Prix in due course.


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The Williams F1 Team is delighted to announce that Felipe Massa will join the team to drive alongside Valtteri Bottas for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship season. The new line-up reflects Williams determination to bring success back to the team.

@WilliamsF1Team @Felipe1Massa @ValtteriBottas

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