Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday
Hulkenberg's pole prize could be HRT demotion
|Jenson Button shaken|
- Button in gun attack after bad day at Interlagos
- Boullier confirms F1 talks with Group Lotus
- Glock not confirming Virgin seat for 2011
- Vettel will 'never be friends' with Webber
- Peter Sauber eyes return to retirement
- Sunny weather in Brazil Sunday
- Di Grassi fined for pit lane speeding
Hulkenberg's pole prize could be HRT demotion
(GMM) Nico Hulkenberg's backhanded reward for his maiden pole position in Brazil could be a demotion for 2011 to the struggling HRT team.
Williams, facing the loss of key sponsors, is considering a place for the well-funded Pastor Maldonado, meaning either German rookie Hulkenberg or Rubens Barrichello will have to clear a seat.
The British team, set to supply HRT with gearboxes next year, is obviously satisfied with the improving 23-year-old Hulkenberg but also in the position of needing Barrichello's vast experience to keep pushing the development.
After Hulkenberg put his FW32 on pole at Interlagos, team co-owner Patrick Head was not able to say it had been enough to secure his place for 2011.
He said the team's next driver lineup will only be confirmed after the season, when Maldonado is scheduled to test the car in Abu Dhabi.
38-year-old Barrichello told Brazilian media earlier this weekend that it was a "crazy" concept to imagine his Williams tenure might be over after just a single promising season.
And he said on Saturday: "I hope Nico stays because he's a good guy and he's really, really good."
But even in the glow of his pole success, Hulkenberg confirmed that he is not yet feeling comfortable about his future.
"I think the situation is still very open," he said.
Button in gun attack after bad day at Interlagos
(GMM) After finally admitting that his 2010 title defense had slipped away, Jenson Button had a terrifying journey from the Interlagos circuit back to his hotel in the Sao Paulo suburb of Morumbi.
A few minutes into the drive in a bullet-proof Mercedes driven by a special armed chauffeur, bandits brandishing machine guns attempted to rob the 2009 world champion and his entourage.
The local driver sped away, smashing into five other cars, but McLaren confirmed that neither Button nor the other passengers - his father, manager and trainer - were hurt.
"My driver was a legend," Button told the Mail on Sunday. "He bounced off about five cars. We were driving over the top of them. It was very scary."
Earlier, the 30-year-old conceded after a disappointing qualifying session that his title chances are now essentially dead.
"Slipping away? It had pretty much slipped away before this race," he insisted.
Button also reported that he is unlikely to be able to help the championship challenge of his teammate Lewis Hamilton from 11th on the grid.
"It's pretty difficult when you're so far behind, so if Lewis gets a good start in I'm not going to be able to help in that way," he said.
Boullier confirms F1 talks with Group Lotus
(GMM) Renault team boss Eric Boullier has confirmed talks with the Proton owned sports car maker Group Lotus.
Speculation at Interlagos this weekend has suggested Group Lotus, having terminated its naming license deal with the F1 team currently known as Lotus Racing, is keen to buy into Enstone based Renault.
It is understood that rumor may be wide of the mark, with Lotus keener instead to simply tie up with Renault as a title sponsor.
But rumors persist that Renault SA could step further away from F1 and remain on the grid only as an engine supplier to the Enstone based team as well as Red Bull and Lotus Racing.
When asked about the Group Lotus rumors, Boullier told Auto Hebdo in Brazil: "Today, there are discussions, but we also have these with other sponsors and other companies."
Renault SA chief Carlos Ghosn is expected at Interlagos on Sunday but no formal announcements are scheduled.
Boullier commented further about the apparently complicated situation.
"At the moment there are a lot of distorted rumors, but it is true there have been discussions about a possible collaboration," said the Frenchman.
Glock not confirming Virgin seat for 2011
(GMM) Timo Glock has refused to definitively confirm that he will still be with the Virgin team in 2011.
Earlier, the new British team's boss John Booth said the German's contract for next year is "set in stone".
But when asked for confirmation at Interlagos, 28-year-old Glock said when asked if he is staying in 2011: "At the moment it looks like it."
Glock, who spent the previous two seasons with Toyota, told the German language spox.com that it has been a particularly difficult year.
"I knew we would have problems, but I didn't expect so many," he admitted.
Glock was also asked why he is reluctant to confirm 100 per cent that he is staying for 2011.
"In F1 you never know. Who would have thought that Michael Schumacher would come back?" he answered.
Glock was also asked about Bernie Ecclestone's reference to the new 2010 teams as "cripples".
"I read the headline and decided not to read the article!" he smiled. "I just wonder what he thinks about when we beat some of the established teams."
Vettel will 'never be friends' with Webber
(GMM) As one icy F1 relationship almost completely thaws, another has frozen solid.
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso clashed infamously at McLaren in 2007, but Hamilton has now admitted he would be happy to reunite with the Spaniard.
"I'm happy with the way I have things now but I would have no problems having him as a teammate," the Briton said.
Hamilton also refused to agree that Alonso's potential 2010 title win has been tainted by the team orders affair, insisting the now Ferrari driver would "deserve to walk in the company of the great names of the past".
"You are going to be very hard put to find someone beat him on raw talent," he told the Mirror.
"When he comes to Zurich he texts me every now and then to meet up," revealed Hamilton.
Meanwhile, at Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel has revealed that his relationship with teammate Mark Webber is near irreconcilable.
"Quite a few things have happened this season," the German told Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung newspaper.
"Let's put it this way: we will probably never be friends," added Vettel.
Peter Sauber eyes return to retirement
(GMM) Peter Sauber has revealed he is still on track to return to retirement in the next few years.
The Swiss called off his retirement late last year when BMW pulled out of formula one, which risked the livelihoods of the staff at the Hinwil based team he had founded.
But, according to an interview with Le Matin newspaper, he is now rebuilding the team with an eye on returning to the golf course with his wife.
"I always said I didn't want to be sitting on the pitwall with my headphones on at 70. I stand by what I said," said the 67-year-old.
"But I'm going to stay at least until we are able to stabilize the team in a financial sense," insisted Sauber.
That will involve choosing a new color for the Ferrari-powered cars for 2011, given the arrival of the Mexican telecoms giant Telmex as sponsor.
"I knew we wouldn't find a sponsor this year. And unfortunately BMW gave us a car that was painted completely white, which made things difficult.
"But don't worry, next year we will have sponsors, without which it would not be viable," he said.
Meanwhile, a new report in Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Ross Brawn is set to take a more backseat role at Mercedes GP.
"It will happen, but not for next year," the Briton insisted.
Sunny weather in Brazil Sunday
After Saturday's weather at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil was wet for Saturday's qualifying, Sunday has dawned bright and sunny and the forecast this afternoon is forecast to be a perfect 75 degrees F.
Di Grassi fined for pit lane speeding
Virgin Racing’s Lucas di Grassi has become the third driver to receive a fine for speeding in the Interlagos pit lane this weekend.
The fine was confirmed by FIA race stewards including former racer Johnny Herbert during Q2 qualifying on Saturday, with the contravening of the regulations having been recorded in Q1 at 2:09pm local time in Brazil.
Having clocked a speed of 104.8km/h (65mph), the Virgin entry is fined 1,000 euros (865 pounds).