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No-name brands sign up for F1

2011-12-01 07:44

London - Williams and Force India were among four teams with no drivers named on the entry list for the 2012 Formula 1 World championship published by the International Automobile Federation on Wednesday.

Williams had been expected to include at least well-funded Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado but the once-champion team left both spaces blank.

IS HE ON THE LIST?

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, Williams's other 2011 driver, is out-of-contract but hoping to stay on for a 20th season in the sport despite having strong rivals for the seat. He is 39.

Force India, expected to confirm Britain's Paul Di Resta and Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, also left empty spaces. So did HRT and Toro Rosso and Spanish-owned HRT announced Spanish veteran Pedro de la Rosa as a driver but his name did not appear on the initial list either.

The F1 sporting regulations decree that the IAF publish the list on or before November 30 but teams are under no obligation to decide their drivers by that date.

Lotus, formerly Renault F1, had only 2007 World champion Kimi Raikkonen listed after announcing on Tuesday that the Finn would return to F1 with the team. Russian Vitaly Petrov, Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Brazilian Bruno Senna have all been mentioned for the team's second position.

Petrov, who has a contract and has raced for the past two seasons, and his manager were meeting Lotus bosses on Wednesday to discuss his future with the team.

Lotus has now also become a British team since Renault, despite its team factory being in central England, had competed under French colours.

Williams and Force India were among four teams with no drivers named on the entry list for the 2012 Formula 1 World championship.

KOVALAINEN CONFIRMED

Despite eight of the 12 teams being British-based, including 2011 champion Red Bull, only three (McLaren, Williams, Lotus) will compete with British licences in 2012. Virgin Racing will become Russian-registered Marussia F1; Caterham, formerly Team Lotus, will race under the Malaysian flag.

Caterham confirmed Finland's Heikki Kovalainen and Italian Jarno Trulli but the latter's place remains uncertain with Red Bull-backed Australian Daniel Ricciardo linked to the team.

Red Bull's double World champion Sebastian Vettel will have No 1 on his car for the second year in a row; Australian team-mate Mark Webber will have No 2.

Over at McLaren, Jenson Button has been assigned No 3 and Lewis Hamilton, beaten this year for the first time in his career by a team-mate over the course of a season, No 4.

Reuters