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DATE News (chronologically)
11/03/10
f1
F1 news in brief - Wednesday  
  • Felipe Massa
    Massa confirms he will help Alonso in Brazil
  • Schumacher to have new race engineer in 2011
  • HRT to announce de la Rosa for 2011 soon - reports
  • Webber not worried teammate Vettel is 'superstar'
  • Red Bull hasn't ruled out team strategy - Wendlinger
  • HRT vows to 'work' rather than react to Ecclestone

Massa confirms he will help Alonso in Brazil
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has confirmed that if he can help Fernando Alonso to reinforce his lead in the drivers' world championship this weekend, he will.

"If it depends on me, then for sure (I will help)," he is quoted as saying in Brazil by the news agency EFE.

Massa, who was controversially ordered aside for his Ferrari teammate at Hockenheim in July, is a specialist of his local Interlagos circuit and a crowd favorite.

But he concedes the Italian team's desire to put its full weight behind Alonso's title charge.

"I'm a professional.  I did it already in 2007," added Massa, referring to his then teammate Kimi Raikkonen's successful championship campaign alongside him three years ago.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali has confirmed this week that Alonso and Massa will return to a position of equality in 2011.

When asked if Spaniard Alonso is the best teammate he has had at Ferrari, he answered emphatically: "No.  I've had three (teammates) all at the same highest level.

"I don't need to say anything about Schumacher because his career speaks for itself.  Kimi was also excellent.  I see all three of them on the same level.

"Alonso has had a better season than me and has been more competitive.  It has not been my best year, not only with the results but also the problems I have had in qualifying warming up the tires.

"For me, 2011 will be better than 2010," he insisted.

In additional comments published by the Globo newspaper, Massa said he thinks his Brazilian fans will understand his position at Interlagos this weekend.

"I think the public has always treated me very well, not only the day before what happened in Germany, but also the day after.

"The journalists, no.  But the public, yes -- always.  I am sure the fans will be great and I will do my best to give them a good result," added Massa.

Michael Schumacher continues to shape the personnel around him.  This is how he won seven F1 world titles, a record likely to never be beaten
Schumacher to have new race engineer in 2011
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher will have a new race engineer at Mercedes next year, according to reports.

The French-language Eurosport said the identity of the engineer is Mark Slade, who this year is working alongside Vitaly Petrov at Renault.

Slade moved to Renault this year from McLaren, where he worked with famous Finns Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen.

After 15 years with the British team, he left McLaren early this season due to a technical staffing reshuffle.

Schumacher's engineer in 2010 is Andy Shovlin, who in 2009 worked at the Brackley based team - then Brawn GP - alongside world champion Jenson Button.

It is expected that Shovlin will have a more general engineering role next year.

Schumacher's teammate Nico Rosberg will also have a new race engineer in 2011, having worked this year with Jock Clear.  It is expected that Tony Ross, Rosberg's former race engineer at Williams, is switching to Mercedes.

Meanwhile, French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet wrote in his latest Auto Plus column that Mercedes GP chiefs Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug will have more distinct roles in 2011.

Moncet said he believes team boss Brawn's role will be partially factory-based.

The only reason Vettel (above) is faster than his teammate Webber is because Webber is bigger and weighs more
Webber not worried teammate Vettel is 'superstar'
(GMM)  Mark Webber insists he is not concerned that it is Sebastian Vettel, and not himself, who is regarded as the star of the Red Bull team.

Australian Webber is better placed in the points standings than his German colleague Vettel, but team figures are insisting upon a situation of driver equality for the remaining two races of 2010.

Experts believe the situation is a reflection of the fact that it is 23-year-old Vettel who is the darling of the Austrian team.

"It doesn't bother me at all," Webber said in an interview with the Italian magazine Autosprint.

"I am 34 years old and I think it's great that I'm still at the top level and as competitive as I am," he added.

"If I was ten years younger and was getting the same results, I'm sure you'd all think I'm the superstar.

"I think the only difference is that Vettel is young.  I don't really see him working any differently than, say, Heikki (Kovalainen) at Lotus," said Webber.

"I think the best way to judge someone is to consider the consistency of their results," he added.

Red Bull hasn't ruled out team strategy - Wendlinger
(GMM)  Karl Wendlinger insists it is "hard to imagine" that Red Bull has ruled out the possibility of deploying a team strategy at the final two races of 2010.

Following suggestions Sebastian Vettel might play a supportive role to boost teammate Mark Webber's chance of winning the drivers' title, Red Bull bosses insisted the pair will enjoy strict equality in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

But according to Austrian Wendlinger, a former Sauber driver, it is "difficult to imagine" that Red Bull has "totally ruled out" the concept of using team orders.

He also noted on Austrian television Servus TV that Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has confirmed that if there is a lack of spare or new parts in Brazil, it will be Webber who is offered them first.

That is a "psychological advantage" for the Australian, Wendlinger said.

"He (Webber) knows he is better placed in terms of points and that the team wants one of its drivers to be world champion," he added.

Niki Lauda reinforced the view that "intelligence is not the same as team orders".

He was very critical of Ferrari's infamous strategy at Hockenheim, but insists that Red Bull should now be fully behind Webber.

"I've never said anything about (Red Bull using) team orders.  Just that they have to be sensible," the triple world champion told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

"What Ferrari did at Hockenheim for example was an affront to the spectators."

When asked if that means, for example, that Vettel should not try to overtake Webber at Interlagos this weekend, he answered: "Exactly.  But this is nothing to do with team orders."

HRT vows to 'work' rather than react to Ecclestone
(GMM)  The struggling Spanish team HRT insists it is reluctant to respond to Bernie Ecclestone's latest scathing comments.

The F1 chief executive said this week that while Lotus is worth keeping in F1 and Virgin should simply invest more money, the sport's newcomers are "cripples" that have been "an embarrassment".

When asked about the 80-year-old Briton's jibe, Hispania's communications boss Alba Saiz said the team prefers "to work, not respond to everyone who talks" about them.

"We have nothing more to say," Saiz is quoted by the Spanish news agency EFE.

Ecclestone had said F1 needs "to get rid" of its stragglers, but the HRT official said the team is pushing ahead for 2011.

"We are working and already thinking about next year, and in that way we have just announced a partnership with Williams for two years.

"In a couple of weeks we will make a further announcement," added Saiz.

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