Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
- US GP misses FIA circuit planning deadline
- Flexible cars saga did not slow Red Bull - Newey
- 'Best driver' Alonso will win 2010 title - Lauda
- Schumacher comeback decision 'a disaster' - Irvine
- Citroen waiting for Raikkonen's F1 decision
- De la Rosa not looking for 2011 test driver job
US GP misses FIA circuit planning deadline
(GMM) Organizers of the 2012 United States grand prix in Texas have missed a deadline to lodge the design of its circuit with F1's governing body.
Promoter Tavo Hellmund said in early August that the Austin layout would be presented to the FIA's Circuits Commission in September.
According to a report in the Austin Business Journal, that self-imposed deadline was missed.
The organizers revealed the basic design of the track to the public on September 1, and more detail to local authorities later last month.
But track designer Hermann Tilke's German-based company Tilke GmbH did not submit plans during the Circuit Commission meeting on September 14, the FIA panel's president Roger Peart confirmed.
Sources said the organizers can theoretically submit the plans well into 2011, and a spokesman said the missed deadline is not an indication of problems.
"We look forward to breaking ground in December and hosting a race in 2012," he said. "We are working hand-in-hand with the FIA. We plan to deliver final plans in the next couple of months."
The FIA's Peart said the next Circuits Commission meeting is unlikely to be held until 2011.
Tilke also played down suggestions time is tight for the Austin track to be built for a 2012 debut.
"We are used to working under time pressure. That doesn't threaten us," he told the American Statesman from Germany.
Flexible cars saga did not slow Red Bull - Newey
(GMM) Red Bull has moved yet again to quell suggestions the flexible wing saga curbed the dominance of its RB6.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton re-fired the saga in recent days, suggesting that Adrian Newey's 2010 car is no longer as dominant as it was in Hungary in August because the FIA had yet to clamp down on the bodywork rules.
"After that Red Bull had to rebuild their car and take a step back," he said.
And Hamilton's teammate Jenson Button also mentioned the modified RB6 when asked about the likely performance of Red Bull this weekend in Japan.
"Suzuka suits Red Bull particularly well," he told the Cologne newspaper Express, "but they've had to make some changes to the front wing and the floor.
"They won't be as dominant as they were in Budapest anymore," said the Briton.
Indeed, Red Bull Racing did arrive at Monza with modified wings and underbody, and at the same time Ferrari's Fernando Alonso began his winning streak.
But Newey told Auto Motor und Sport: "The modifications had nothing to do with the FIA. We passed the new tests at Monza with ease."
And team boss Christian Horner dismissed the latest talk about the legality of the RB6 as frivolous.
"There haven't been many bits they (Red Bull's rivals) haven't complained about," he is quoted by News of the World.
'Best driver' Alonso will win 2010 title - Lauda
(GMM) Niki Lauda has backed Fernando Alonso to win the 2010 world championship.
Spaniard Alonso is 11 points behind championship leader Mark Webber's Red Bull, but the Ferrari driver has won two grands prix on the trot from pole.
Triple world champion Lauda was highly critical of Alonso throughout the Hockenheim team orders affair, but he has now told Osterreich newspaper that the 29-year-old is poised to win a third title.
"Why?" the Austrian asked rhetorically. "Because he has twice been champion, and not by chance. He is the best driver today.
"When you assess together a driver's speed, intelligence, ability to take risks efficiently to score maximum points always, he is simply the best," said Lauda, 61.
Lauda also said Australian Webber has "surprised everyone" this season with his consistency.
But he thinks the Red Bull driver will only beat Alonso if his car is "clearly superior" to the Ferrari.
And despite his misgivings during the team orders saga, Lauda said observers can only respect Ferrari at this decisive phase of the championship because "they will do everything possible to bridge the gap separating them from Red Bull".
1996 world champion Damon Hill, however, fears that Alonso's 2010 title might be tainted by his inherited victory over teammate Felipe Massa in Germany.
"There will be people who feel that points should have been taken away from Ferrari and Alonso," he told the Mail on Sunday. [Editor's Note: Although Niki 'I like to hear myself talk' Lauda was backing Sebastian Vettel for the World title just weeks ago, he has switched his allegiance to Fernando Alonso. Lauda flip-flops faster than a politician.]
Schumacher comeback decision 'a disaster' - Irvine
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's decision to return to formula one this season was "a disaster", according to his former Ferrari teammate.
Eddie Irvine, who openly acknowledges he lacked the talent to beat the German during their time together in the late 90s, thinks the 41-year-old should now admit it is he who is struggling for raw pace.
"On paper, his return wasn't a bad idea," the Ulsterman told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview.
"But he had already lost something in 2006, when Felipe Massa was often in front of him. Three years later he has lost even more.
"The result? It's a disaster," said 44-year-old Irvine, who has made a fortune in property investment.
He said Schumacher should stop making "excuses" for struggling to keep up with Nico Rosberg in the sister Mercedes.
"It's 'this is a new team, with new people'. But in his first year at Ferrari, the car was rubbish but he won three races," said Irvine, who in the sister car finished the 1996 world championship in tenth place.
In contrast, Rosberg is currently seventh in the W01, three places ahead of Schumacher.
Irvine also countered suggestions that Schumacher is good at building a team, for example by leading the path on development matters.
"Ferrari took him for his talent; he had no idea about how the car was behaving.
"Michael is a great driver; you can give him a suitcase with four wheels and he'll drive it quickly. Schumacher's strength is the driving, that's all," said Irvine.
Citroen waiting for Raikkonen's F1 decision
(GMM) Citroen is waiting for Kimi Raikkonen to decide whether to stay with the French marque in the world rally championship next year.
The Finn is reportedly considering returning to formula one in 2011 with Renault, while some insiders believe he is much more likely to stay at least another season in his new discipline.
Benoit Nogier, team manager at the Citroen Junior Team, said the door is open for the 30-year-old.
"At the moment there is no commitment from Kimi for next year," he told French radio RMC.
"Up to now he has showed appreciation for what he is doing and the desire to continue.
"He is the master of his destiny so it's up to him to tell us if he wants to be with us next year or not. I will be very happy to welcome him if he wants to continue," added Nogier.
He said there is no great rush for Raikkonen to decide.
"We're not talking about a deadline because it's too early. As the days go by you eventually reach the time to make a decision," he explained.
De la Rosa not looking for 2011 test driver job
(GMM) Pedro de la Rosa has indicated he does not want to return to being a full time formula one test driver.
After seven years as McLaren's test driver, the Spaniard finally returned to the grid in 2010 with Sauber.
But he has been ousted and replaced by Nick Heidfeld, with de la Rosa instead taking over the role as incoming tire supplier Pirelli's F1 tester.
He said last week he is "really pleased" to be returning to the test track early this month in Spain, but has now scotched suggestions he is prepared to reprise his days as a full time test driver.
"I hope to have a (race) place in formula one next year," de la Rosa said in an interview with the Dutch magazine formule1.nl.
"If my racing career in formula one is over, I regret that, but it's not the end of the world," he insisted.
"One thing is for certain: I will not do another season of testing.
"Even if I only get a place with a team at the back, I would rather that to being a test driver. Even racing in a bad car is better than testing," said de la Rosa.
It has been suggested that, at 39, the Spaniard might be considering retirement rather than more time on the last rows of the grid.
But he explained: "At the beginning of your career you settle for any car you can get. Then you're more selective, and at the end of your career you're happy with any offer.
"For me, there is simply nothing better than racing," added de la Rosa.
His Sauber successor, Heidfeld, is also not yet signed up for 2011.
The German told Auto Motor und Sport: "Being a reserve driver is hard, because you arrive at a circuit and ask yourself why you're even then if there's nothing for you to drive.
"That I could be involved in the development of the car with Mercedes eased the pain somewhat, but just watching is brutal, especially when you're on site.
"In that situation, being at home is probably better, because at least there are distractions," said Heidfeld.