* The FIA has granted Sauber an F1 entry for 2010, ending months of doubt over its future. The news came after BMW confirmed that the team had been sold back to Peter Sauber. The Swiss, who had maintained a 20 per cent shareholding, bought the remainder for a lot less than he was paid in ’05. The deal was made sweeter by the fact that the Hinwil facility has been greatly improved under BMW. As part of the deal there will be a cut in staff numbers.
* The FIA also confirmed the worst-kept secret of recent months when it published a 2010 F1 entry list featuring Virgin Racing instead of Manor Grand Prix as one of four new teams – a fortnight before Richard Branson intended to unveil his plans. The car, which is being designed and built by Wirth Research, will be called a Virgin Cosworth. Timo Glock and GP2 graduate Lucas di Grassi are the drivers.
* British F3 champion Daniel Ricciardo topped a three-day rookie test for Red Bull Racing at Jerez in December. The Aussie will be RBR’s third driver in 2010. Promising Brit Oliver Turvey ran for McLaren in a week where many single-seater champions could showcase their talents.
* Among the Jerez rookies was Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who has signed a long-term Ferrari deal after winning the Euro F3 title. The 20-year-old is managed by Nicolas Todt, who looks after Felipe Massa. Bianchi, who will race for Todt’s ART GP2 team in 2010, is the grandson of Le Mans racer Mauro and the great nephew of GP driver Lucien.
* Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi will stay with Force India in 2010, while Mercedes DTM racer Paul di Resta is set to be third driver after a strong Jerez test run.
* Norbert Haug, vice-president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, is to be a patron of the F1 in Schools Challenge in Germany. Other patrons include Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey.
* Lewis Hamilton has helped launch a new educational drive from Mercedes-Benz called RoadSense, which will teach children about road safety.