Latest F1 news in brief
- Brazil GP improves rain drainage with grooves
- Standard engine 'not feasible' - Mercedes
- Only new rules give Rosberg hope for 2009
- Massa hits back at Eddie Jordan jibe
- Boss hopes for unlikely Ferrari title
Brazil GP improves rain drainage with grooves
(GMM) Brazil could be set to stage a wet finale to the 2008 world championship.
Local forecasts from the scene of the Interlagos circuit, located about a half-hour drive from downtown Sao Paulo, suggest that cloudy conditions could bring rain at any point throughout the weekend, including on Sunday.
It has emerged that Brazilian organizers have this week added grooves to three sections of the 4.3km Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace layout, to improve drainage in the event of heavy rain.
Standard engine 'not feasible' - Mercedes
(GMM) Norbert Haug has added yet another F1 manufacturer's opposing voice to plans for a standard engine formula.
The German, representing McLaren's carmaker partner Mercedes-Benz, told Auto Motor und Sport that he does not "believe a single engine is feasible for the manufacturers".
Haug said F1 remains a technical challenge, but notes that "in recent years, technical excellence has been limited".
Mercedes therefore joins Ferrari, Toyota, Honda and BMW in spelling out their distaste at the prospect of a third party supplying either an engine or a mandatory detailed design in 2010 and beyond.
Toyota and Ferrari this week threatened to quit F1 over the issue, but Haug told Bild newspaper that he is hopeful a "solution can be found, but everyone must be prepared to compromise".
BMW's Mario Theissen explained to the German news agency DPA: "We don't expect the standard engine to come after the talks held so far, and our formula one concept is based on this."
Renault boss Flavio Briatore told the Welt newspaper that, instead of standard engines, F1 will "probably" pursue the route of a future engine formula that, "on the basis of costs, will not go beyond certain development borders".
Only new rules give Rosberg hope for 2009
(GMM) F1's raft of sweeping rules changes for 2009 has given Nico Rosberg hope that he could be able to climb the formula one grid.
But when asked by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport if the new era for next year - including KERS, slick tires and sweeping aerodynamic changes - is his only reason for optimism, the 23-year-old answered in the affirmative.
"Just because of the rules changes," the German confirmed. "Otherwise I would have lost faith long ago."
His comments are hardly a ringing endorsement of Williams, but they do reflect the reality of the British team's latest phase as a competitor not fully backed by a manufacturer partner.
Triple world champion Niki Lauda explains: "He is being held back by the performance of his car, which is something he can't do anything about."
Another former grand prix racer and analyst, Germany's Christian Danner, told RTL: "In my eyes Nico is a winner, so to me it is almost tragic that he is losing so much time at Williams."
Rosberg raised many eyebrows when, amid rumors of a switch to McLaren and perhaps BMW, he reaffirmed his commitment to the Toyota-powered Grove team.
He explains: "At the time I had a valid contract with Frank, and as I learned from my father, loyalty is an important value.
"Of course there are grey areas, and in formula one you must exploit them now and then. But the signs were that staying with Williams was the right choice."
He points out the danger of switching and then "playing second fiddle" at a team like McLaren, which is undoubtedly centered around its lead driver - and probably new world champion - Lewis Hamilton.
"As a driver, first and foremost you want a good and competitive car. So if you are contractually able, you would have to accept an offer from a team like this.
"But there is a danger of having to play second fiddle, which would not be ideal as from the outset you would be fighting against so many other things rather than just driving fast," Rosberg said.
Massa hits back at Eddie Jordan jibe
(GMM) Felipe Massa has hit back at Eddie Jordan, after the former F1 team owner warned Lewis Hamilton to watch out for more dirty tactics from his Brazilian rival this weekend.
Jordan, who founded the Silverstone based team that is today known as Force India, believes the Ferrari driver deliberately crashed into McLaren's Hamilton in Japan earlier this month.
"If Massa tries to take him out as he did in Japan in order to steal the title then Lewis has to be ready for it," Jordan said last week.
Massa, 27, rubbished Jordan's comments while preparing for the 2008 championship finale in his native Sao Paulo this week, according to the local Globoesporte.
"Since he sold his team, Eddie Jordan has had nothing to do with F1 except for what he says in the press," he shrugged.
Massa said he is not bothered about criticisms, nor the fact that he is among the most underrated championship contenders in recent history.
"People always put me completely out of the game. Nobody expects you to do a good job and then you do a better job than everyone thinks and it's even nicer," he said.
Something he will be relying on at Interlagos this weekend are his trusty underpants, which he has worn for each of his 14 career pole positions and 10 wins.
"Who knows, maybe if I am champion (on Sunday) it will be time to retire them," Massa laughed.
Reporters in Brazil marveled at the fact that, after exerting himself to pole position on Saturdays, he has not opted for a clean pair of underpants for the race.
"Do I wash them?" he answered. "Maybe I will ask you -- have you never worn the same underpants two days in a row?"
Boss hopes for unlikely Ferrari title
(GMM) Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali believes it is possible the team's Felipe Massa will emerge from the 2008 championship showdown this weekend with the drivers' title.
The 27-year-old Brazilian is 7 points behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton with just the Interlagos race to run, meaning that even if he wins, Hamilton only has to finish fifth to claim the laurels.
"In order for us to win the title, something extraordinary must happen," Domenicali told the Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport, "but to this point we have already seen much more extraordinary things than that."
Domenicali says Ferrari should take the blame for not emerging at the end of the season with a better chance of winning the drivers' title.
"For our standards we have made an unacceptable level of mistakes, and paid for them dearly," he said.
Massa, however, said he will be pointing no fingers should he emerge from his home race on Sunday without the championship.
"We are a team," he said in Sao Paulo. "Everyone has the right to make mistakes."
Two of the more memorable foul-ups include his botched pitstop in Singapore, and an engine failure within sight of victory in Hungary.
"This is how sports work," Massa said. "Our team works hard day and night to be 100 per cent ready, but sometimes things don't go as planned."