The 2012 News Review - Part Four 21 Dec 2012
Momentous news kicks off the month as seven-time Formula One drivers champion Michael Schumacher announces hell retire at the end of 2012. "I have decided to retire from Formula One at the end of the season, although I am still able to compete with the best drivers of the world, the Mercedes driver explains. This is something that makes me proud, and this is part of why I never regretted my comeback.
In my opinion, he is the greatest Formula One driver, and the records which he holds in our sport speak volumes for his success and commitment, comments Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn. On behalf of everyone at our Silver Arrows team, we wish Michael all the best with his future plans and extend our sincere thanks to him for his commitment, passion and hard work during our three years together.
Another man to reveal that hell be stepping back is Sauber founder and team principal Peter Sauber. At the Korean Grand Prix he announces that Monisha Kaltenborn, the teams CEO, will take on the role of team principal with immediate effect.
We decided a long time ago that Monisha would take over from me, explains Sauber, but we left the timing open. Now is a good time for both of us, so this is the right moment to pass on the baton.
Im in no doubt that Monisha has all the necessary skills to be an outstanding team principal, and Im equally certain she will ensure that the values underpinning the company live on.
In other news, Susie Wolff completes her first laps in an F1 car with Williams and 1979 drivers world champion Mario Andretti officially opens the Circuit of The Americas, home of the United States Grand Prix, in Austin.
There is more driver market news too. Ferrari and Lotus announce that they will retain Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen respectively in 2013, whilst Sauber reveal the capture of Force Indias Nico Hulkenberg. At the end of the month Toro Rosso also confirm an unchanged line-up for 2013, with the team retaining Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Cold Fusion, a team from Adelaide, Australia, are crowned F1 in Schools™ World Champions 2012 at the eighth World Finals held at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. This team of five 16- and 17-year-old students from Brighton Secondary School turn up the heat on their rivals to lift the Bernie Ecclestone World Champions trophy and receive Motorsport and Automotive Engineering Scholarships for City University, London.
Cyril Abiteboul, who became Caterham CEO in September, is confirmed as the teams new team principal with team owner Tony Fernandes stepping back from the role.
A spectacular new Formula One documentary is unveiled in Austin during the build-up to the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. Entitled 1, the film tells the story of the drivers who raced during the sports most dangerous era in the 1960s and 70s and those who stood up to improve safety standards.
The Formula One paddock is united in its praise for the new Circuit of The Americas (COTA). Adrian Newey, Red Bulls chief technical officer, sums it up best saying: It is fantastic. A good circuit and I would dare a bet in saying that this is going to be one of the favourite races in the future. There seems to be a huge enthusiasm - full grandstands, incredible vibes - so I would say that Formula One has again arrived in the USA.
At the final race of the season in Brazil, Pirelli hands the teams their first taste of 2013 specification tyres in practice, but the big news of the weekend is Sebastian Vettel clinching his third consecutive drivers championship. The Red Bull man becomes the youngest driver in history to win three titles.
In driver news, Charles Pic announces a switch from Marussia to Caterham for 2013 whilst Mexicos Esteban Gutierrez is confirmed as Nico Hulkenbergs Sauber teammate. Gutierrez will be joined on the 2013 grid by fellow rookie Valtteri Bottas after Williams announce the Finn and Pastor Maldonado as their new driver pairing.
The final month of the year begins with the FIA announcing an eleven-strong 2013 team entry list. One team conspicuous by its absence is HRT. The Spanish teams owners Thesan Capital made it known publically in November that they were looking for a buyer for the squad.
The FIA also reveals changes to the 2013 calendar. The German Grand Prix is moved forward a week to July 7, with an additional date of July 21 reserved for another European event, subject to the approval of the relevant national sporting authorities (ASNs). Meanwhile, the FIAs World Motor Sport Council also announces several tweaks to the 2013 regulations, including changes to the way the DRS can be deployed in practice and qualifying, revised curfew regulations and more stringent front wing tests.
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing visit Istanbul to collect their world championship trophies at the FIAs end-of-season prize giving gala. Its a fantastic feeling to be here tonight and to be able to take this trophy back home for another year, Vettel comments. As I said last time, it isnt something you want to give back. Winning the title with Red Bull Racing three times in a row makes us all feel very proud. This was a season with lots of ups and downs and the team had to push hard to get me over the line.
Mercedes announce that Norbert Haug, their head of motorsport for more than 22 years, will leave his position at the end of 2012.
Norbert Haug was the face of the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport programme for more than 20 years, said Dr Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and CEO of Daimler AG. For me, he put his stamp on a whole era and, as a highlight, he was responsible for the successful comeback of the Silver Arrows to Formula One.
Over in Bangkok, Thailand, Romain Grosjean wins the Race of Champions whilst Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel win the Nations Cup for the sixth consecutive year.
Marussia announce that that Max Chilton will race for them in 2013, the 21-year-old British rookie taking the second seat at the team alongside Timo Glock.
The year ends with McLaren and Force India announcing the launch dates of their 2013 cars. McLaren will unveil the MP4-28 on 31 January and Force India will unveil their new car a day later.
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