Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
2011 title win for Mercedes 'difficult' - Schumacher
|Schumacher knows beating an Adrian Newey designed car will be difficult|
- Pirelli tires will spice up F1 races - Alonso
- Vettel still eyeing future Ferrari switch
- Alonso rates rivals and hits back at criticism
- No stock market float for Ferrari - Montezemolo
- Karthikeyan not complaining about HRT, Pirelli
- Driver doubts Williams have fastest car
- Whiting happy with India track after inspection
- Massa urges Ferrari not to favor Alonso
2011 title win for Mercedes 'difficult' - Schumacher
(GMM) Michael Schumacher has admitted it will be "difficult" for Mercedes to triumph in 2011.
The seven time world champion returned from retirement last year and had a troubled comeback season with the German marque.
Mercedes GP is looking more confidently into its second season since the Brawn takeover, but so far the pace and reliability of the new W02 has appeared less than perfect.
"We are Mercedes and our goal is clear," Schumacher is quoted in German by sport1.de. "It will be difficult to achieve our goal this year but we have a vision that is not only short term."
Schumacher ended a day of the recent Jerez test with the fastest time, but it has been rumored that it was achieved with low fuel on the super-soft tire.
"Only the first race in Bahrain will show us exactly what our situation is," said the 42-year-old.
Schumacher's teammate Nico Rosberg has occasionally sounded pessimistic since the debut of the 2011 car, but he told F1's official website that he is not panicking.
"Yes, we weren't too fast in Valencia but with Michael's two days of running in Jerez we are obviously heading in the right direction," he said.
Rosberg said last week that the W02's current specification is akin to an "interim car", with a big step scheduled for closer to the Bahrain opener.
Pirelli tires will spice up F1 races - Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso believes F1's switch to Pirelli tires will lead to more exciting races in 2011.
"The tires are not lasting as long as (the Bridgestone's did) last year," the Spaniard said in an interview with EFE news agency.
"After 15 or 20 laps they run out of life," added the Ferrari driver.
"I think it will change the way races are run this year; there will be different strategies and more pitstops," said Alonso.
"I hope this is good for the show, but for the teams and the drivers it will be a little more stressful."
Vettel still eyeing future Ferrari switch
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has reconfirmed his desire to one day switch to the Ferrari team.
The new world champion and his current team Red Bull have recently been playing down the speculation about 23-year-old Vettel's career beyond his current contract.
But the Italian daily Libero quotes him as saying last week at Jerez: "I would like to be on the podium at Monza with Ferrari.
"One day I do hope to be with the team from Maranello," added Vettel.
"However, I am happy to stay with Red Bull and even now there are a lot of Italians who support me," said the German.
"I'm happy at Red Bull but I dream of Ferrari," the German was quoted as saying by Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I would pay a year's holiday to (Ferrari driver) Alonso to have the red car."
The 23-year-old has often maintained it was every driver's wish to one day race for Ferrari but his continued comments make uncomfortable reading for title holders Red Bull.
"I would like a podium at Monza with Ferrari. And one day I hope to have a Ferrari in my garage," he also told Italy's La Stampa.
"Despite being at Red Bull there are lots of Italians supporting me."
Alonso rates rivals and hits back at criticism
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has given a fascinating insight into how he rates his closest rivals in formula one.
The Ferrari driver was asked by the Spanish sports daily AS to summarize his feelings about challengers Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and his own teammate Felipe Massa.
On world champion Vettel, Alonso answered: "Very fast and precise. If he is coming first in a race, he is difficult to stop."
In the other Red Bull, Mark Webber is "experienced, calm and very consistent. It is very rare to see him fail."
According to Alonso, 2009 world champion Jenson Button "has a great instinct for difficult races in rain or with the safety car. This is an unique talent," he added.
Michael Schumacher had a difficult return to F1 in 2010 but "he is the champion, we all respect him and he is a driver always capable of surprising", 29-year-old Alonso said.
Alonso said his own teammate Massa is "very quick, knows the team and is very hungry to win".
Arguably the highest praise, however, is reserved for Alonso's former arch nemesis Lewis Hamilton.
"He is a great driver and maybe the fastest at the moment in formula one," he said.
Alonso also hit back at claims that while he is universally rated as perhaps F1's best driver, he is far from the most popular.
"There are more than 30,000 people here," he marveled at last week's Jerez test.
"The people who speak badly about me then tremble and cry when they want to have their picture taken with me.
"There is a difference between how brave people feel writing on the internet, and when I see the admiration I receive all around the world," added Alonso.
"I also think it's easier to write that there are so many people who are anti-Alonso than to write that 30,000 people came to a test to see me," he said.
No stock market float for Ferrari - Montezemolo
(GMM) Ferrari is not following Williams onto the stock market, the famous Italian marque's Luca di Montezemolo insists.
With Oxfordshire based Williams preparing to sell 27 per cent of its company on the Frankfurt exchange next month, rival team owner Peter Sauber said he didn't "understand the reasons" behind the decision.
And Reuters quotes Ferrari president Montezemolo as saying: "There are no current plans (to list Ferrari).
"Perhaps in three, four or five years. There is no project now. Maybe there never will be," he reportedly told foreign media.
Karthikeyan not complaining about HRT, Pirelli
(GMM) Narain Karthikeyan has played down reports about Pirelli's 2011 tires, and also the drivability of the HRT car.
The Indian, who has been signed by the struggling Spanish team for 2011, had not driven a F1 car since 2007 when he was a test driver with Williams.
He drove Hispania's 2010 car at Valencia recently, and this week he is back in action for some filming with Pirelli at Monza.
"It was said that the HRT car was very difficult to drive," he said in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport.
"I wouldn't say it's easy, but it's not a disaster either," said the 34-year-old.
Moreover, with Pirelli replacing F1's departed long-time supplier Bridgestone this year, Karthikeyan did not echo the complaints about the handling and severe degradation of the 2011 tire.
"I can hardly compare them with the Bridgestones I was on four years ago," he said. "I thought it wasn't so bad.
"The wear was consistent and the grip was good," insisted Karthikeyan.
"I'm starting all over again, so the issues of the others touches me less. I take what I have and try to make the best of it," he said.
Karthikeyan said he already knows HRT quite well, as many of the staff were with Colin Kolles' Audi Le Mans team in 2009.
"All the mechanics are familiar faces," he said. "And I've known Colin since 1999 when I drove F3 in England."
Karthikeyan insisted he is not worried about becoming the next victim of HRT's apparent policy of constantly rotating its driver lineup.
"The plan is to contest all the grands prix. It's a fixed contract," he revealed.
Driver doubts Williams have fastest car
(GMM) An unnamed formula one driver has expressed doubt that Williams is truly ready to return to the top of the timesheets.
Rubens Barrichello ended the recent Jerez test with the very quickest time, set at the wheel of the Oxfordshire based team's new FW33.
"I don't believe that time," a driver, who did not want to be named, told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"If that's right then Williams are right up there this year," he added.
It is rumored that Barrichello was at the time running with low fuel, super soft tires and perhaps an underweight car after the KERS unit was removed.
Not even the Brazilian veteran said Williams is on top of the game.
"Red Bull are in front," he is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo, "but the potential of this year's Williams is bigger than last season."
"Their speed is impressive," added Barrichello, referring to the Red Bulls that in 2011 will be driven by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
"Until the beginning of the season, many teams will get better, but so will they. I believe they will start the season ahead again," he said.
Whiting happy with India track after inspection
(GMM) Construction of the Indian grand prix venue near Delhi is reportedly ahead of schedule.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting inspected the bespoke Jaypee circuit in the Uttar Pradesh state on Monday, the local body Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) confirmed.
"The track is well ahead of schedule," FMSCI president Vicky Chandhok told Reuters.
"He (Whiting) was very pleased. He liked the track and was impressed by the progress made so far. He suggested some changes which will be incorporated to encourage overtaking."
A report in the Times of India said the suggested changes include tighter apexes at corners.
"Ours will be the first track in the world to have this feature on three of its 16 corners and it will be an exciting race because of it," added Chandhok.
Whiting will make a final inspection prior to approving the venue for its inaugural race in October.
Massa urges Ferrari not to favor Alonso
(GMM) Felipe Massa has repeated his desire for equal number one status alongside Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso in 2011.
While Alonso pushed for the title in his first season with the famous team, incumbent Massa struggled notably last year.
But he is reportedly much happier with the new Pirelli tires, showing well at recent test sessions with Ferrari's newly renamed F150th Italia.
However, it was Massa who was ordered aside for Alonso at Hockenheim last year, triggering the FIA's controversial decision to legalized team orders in 2011 and beyond.
But Massa said being Ferrari's permanent number two is not in his plans.
"Choosing a number one driver too soon reduces the (team's) chances to win the championship from two to one," he told La Stampa newspaper in Italy.
Massa has previously blamed Bridgestone for his 2010 struggles, but in the interview he said he takes "full responsibility" for his performance last year.
"As to my capacities, I know how to win -- races and also the championship," said the 29-year-old, who came tantalizingly close to beating Lewis Hamilton to the crown in 2008.
And as for the new Pirellis, Massa insists: "Compared to the Bridgestones, they are working better for me. They are as I like them."