Latest F1 news in brief
- Alguersuari 'skeptical' after 2011 Toro Rosso renewal
- Mercedes not looking for Schumacher replacement - Haug
- German GP ticket sales 'flattened' after Schumacher hype
- Hamilton thinks small title lead 'strange'
- Grosjean returns to GP2 grid at Hockenheim
- Monaco axe threat just Ecclestone 'negotiations' - Tambay
Alguersuari 'skeptical' after 2011 Toro Rosso renewal
(GMM) Jaime Alguersuari has cautiously welcomed news that he will be staying with Toro Rosso in 2011.
Last week, team boss Franz Tost said the Spanish 20-year-old as well as current teammate Sebastien Buemi are "both confirmed" for next season.
Swiss 21-year-old Buemi initially reacted by denying he has signed a new contract, before clarifying that he will indeed be staying with the Faenza based team in 2011.
Now, in an interview with AS newspaper, Alguersuari said: "I'm happy with the extension and the fact that Tost trusts me for 2011, but next season is still far away.
"It is not going to influence at all what I do on the track because I am very focused on the present.
"In F1, things change very quickly, so that the situation now can be different in a few months.
"I just want to have a better second half of the year and return to the points," he added.
Alguersuari was asked by the Spanish newspaper if, like Buemi, he is "skeptical" about Tost's confirmation about the 2011 lineup.
"He (Buemi) believes more or less what I do. At this point you can never know for certain what will happen to you for next season.
"I could go to another team, or stay with Toro Rosso, where I am very happy to continue, but you never know.
"We are skeptical until the end of the season and can't really say anything else," he said.
Alguersuari scored points on two separate occasions in the first five races of 2010, but since Barcelona his highest finish has been eleventh.
"At the beginning of the year I could score and do some overtaking. But we've had some races without improvement, and while Williams were behind us now they seem unattainable.
"In the last two races my teammate did very well and I had some problems."
Hockenheim will mark almost exactly a year since Alguersuari debuted mid-season in 2009.
"What I have liked most is my progression in the race, but the worst thing has been my qualifying.
"I see myself getting better now with my strengths and also my weaknesses. But I know that it is still not possible to be at 100 per cent; I still have much to learn," he added.
Mercedes not looking for Schumacher replacement - Haug
(GMM) Michael Schumacher is "definitely not" considering abandoning his return to formula one after a single season.
That is the continued insistence of Mercedes' Norbert Haug, after the German marque's competition boss recently confirmed that Schumacher "will go for the title" in 2011.
The seven time world champion's lukewarm return so far has been much criticized, but Haug insists that he is the best possible teammate for Nico Rosberg.
As for rumors that a different driver will be alongside Rosberg in the next Mercedes car, Haug told DPA news agency: "Definitely not.
"As soon as we have a winning car then he will look for victories, just like Nico Rosberg will," said the German.
Haug defended Schumacher's recent performances.
"Michael finished in fourth place twice in the last six grands prix. That's not much for Schumacher or Mercedes standards but it's a lot when you consider what was possible in these races."
And he said the 41-year-old should not be ashamed to be 54 points behind Rosberg in the drivers' standings.
"Nico is one of the best around. Who knows, he could even be the best of them all," said Haug.
"We will make it to the very top," he promised. "We know what it takes to win races; we've done it before and we'll do it again."
In the context of his three-year retirement that began at the end of 2006, Schumacher also said he is satisfied so far.
"I am at a level that allows me to be happy," he is quoted by Welt newspaper. "Apparently, some others are not so happy, but that's their position."
German GP ticket sales 'flattened' after Schumacher hype
(GMM) Demand for tickets for the German grand prix subsided along with the hype about Michael Schumacher's return.
Hockenheim chief Georg Seiler told Welt newspaper that the announcement of the seven time world champion's return to formula one led to a surge in demand for tickets.
But with a 75,000-capacity venue, only 61,000 tickets have been purchased so far.
"After the announcement of the comeback there was a time when ticket sales went sharply upwards," said Seiler, "before quickly flattening."
But at least the new race contract with Bernie Ecclestone means that Hockenheim is no longer staring down EUR5 or 6 million losses for the 2010 race.
"We are confident now that we can cover all the expenses incurred by the contracts," Hockenheim mayor Dieter Gummer told the DPA news agency.
Under the older agreement, the losses could have risen to 7m this year, official Karl-Josef Schmidt confirmed.
"That would have killed us," he said.
Hamilton thinks small title lead 'strange'
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton believes his 12 point championship lead over his teammate Jenson Button is "strange".
"It's strange," he told the Telegraph whilst visiting Italy to collect the 2010 Bandini award.
"I've had four solid races - two wins and two second places - and yet I'm only 12 points ahead," explained Hamilton.
The 25-year-old's solid results have all come in succession, but fellow McLaren driver Button has also won twice and finished second on two occasions so far in 2010.
Hamilton's slightly bigger haul of points is explained by a further two podium finishes, while Button's only other podium came at Valencia.
"We'll have to see how it goes but if I can increase that gap a bit I'll certainly be happier," said championship leader Hamilton.
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said on Tuesday that Hamilton's lead is not yet big enough for him to be regarded as de facto number one.
And with the quicker Red Bull cars not far behind his drivers' tallies, he is also not writing off Ferrari's chasing Fernando Alonso.
"I also think it's too early to write off Mercedes. Red Bull clearly are the principle challenge at the moment, but I don't dismiss the others," said Whitmarsh.
Grosjean returns to GP2 grid at Hockenheim
(GMM) 2009 Renault race driver Romain Grosjean is returning to the leading formula one support category GP2.
The Swiss-born Frenchman debuted for the French team last year in the wake of Nelson Piquet's ousting, but for 2010 was replaced by Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov.
Grosjean, now racing in the new GT1 series as well as AutoGP, has been appointed to the DAMS GP2 team by Gravity, the management company headed by Renault's new F1 team owners Genii Capital.
He replaces Jerome d'Ambrosio, one of Renault's F1 reserve drivers in 2010, but the Belgian will be back in the car in Hungary.
Gravity said the decision is to "analyze the reasons why the d'Ambrosio/DAMS pairing has been unable to fully unlock its potential so far this season".
When Grosjean moved up to F1 last year, he was contending for the championship with eventual winner Nico Hulkenberg.
Monaco axe threat just Ecclestone 'negotiations' - Tambay
(GMM) Patrick Tambay has taken issue with Bernie Ecclestone's claim that formula one can "do without Monaco".
The F1 chief executive said recently that because of a growing list of potential race hosts but the schedule capped at 20 grands prix, "the Europeans are going to have to pay more money".
"We can do without Monaco," he insisted, adding that organizers of the famous street race in the Principality "don't pay enough".
But Tambay, a winner of 2 grands prix in the 70s and 80s, told French radio RMC that Monte Carlo "would be a huge loss" to F1.
"It is the highlight of the season and the grand prix with which partners and sponsors from around the world want to be involved," insisted the 61-year-old former McLaren, Ferrari and Renault driver.
"There are things that probably need to be put straight," continued Tambay.
"There are plenty of candidates who want to organize new grands prix, while the others pay fees that may need to be revised upwards.
"All of this is a matter of negotiations that Bernie Ecclestone is currently conducting with the Automobile Club de Monaco," he added.