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Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
  • Schumacher, on Friday in the wet, is beginning to look like his old self now that car is better
    Pirelli wants teams to get more wet tires
  • 'No evidence' Mercedes set to lose Rosberg - Haug
  • Schumacher tips Ferrari to recover soon
  • Politics on pole before Turkey qualifying
  • Turkey shows Mercedes climbing pecking order
  • Schumacher backs F1 return for Austria
  • Schumacher undecided on future beyond 2012
  • Headache but no concussion after Vettel crash
  • Ricciardo preparing for 2012 Toro Rosso debut - Tost
  • Boullier not sure Kubica can return to F1
  • Lotus plays down F1 truck fire reports
  • New exhaust causes problems for Virgin's Glock
  • Pirelli eyes 'long term' F1 foray - report

Pirelli wants teams to get more wet tires
(GMM)  Pirelli boss Paul Hembery is calling for a rules rethink regarding the supply of wet tires to formula one teams.

McLaren limited its running almost entirely in Friday's rain-affected morning practice session in Turkey, amid weather reports that the bad weather could stick around all weekend.

In fact, qualifying at Istanbul Park is expected to be dry, but Hembery told Auto Motor und Sport that if a race weekend is entirely wet, teams are likely to run out of wet tires.

"I know there is a rule, but in this case, we needn't be more catholic than the pope," he is quoted as saying.

"If there are three days of rain it would be tight," added Hembery.  "The teams would be for it (a rule change) and surely the FIA as well.

"F1 would look pretty ridiculous if drivers have to retire from the race because they have no tires left," he said.

'No evidence' Mercedes set to lose Rosberg - Haug
(GMM)  Norbert Haug in Turkey said it would be pointless to try to keep a driver if he wants to go elsewhere in formula one.

"You can't stop the migration of birds," the Mercedes chief is quoted as saying by the German press.

The comments are amid speculation that Nico Rosberg is being courted by Red Bull or Ferrari.

Haug, however, insisted that "at the moment there is no evidence that one of our drivers is leaving us".

But he said the movement of drivers is just part of formula one.

"The fact that in principle we can look around for who might come to us some day, and that the drivers look as well, is completely legitimate and part of the business," added Haug.

The theoretical departure of Rosberg would create an opening for Paul di Resta, the impressive Mercedes protege who is shining on his 2011 debut with Force India.

"The link to Mercedes is not just idle speculation," di Resta's Scottish countryman David Coulthard wrote in his Telegraph column from Turkey.

"Paul has made a great start to his F1 career and looks like he belongs," he added.

German Rosberg, however, played down the prospect of a vacancy any time soon.

"I don't want to say anything about the rumors.  At the moment I am concentrating only on the challenge of moving forwards with this team," he is quoted by the Cologne Express.

Schumacher tips Ferrari to recover soon
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has tipped Ferrari to emerge quickly from its current slump.

The famous German, who between 2000 and 2004 scooped five of his seven world championships with the Maranello based team, said Mercedes' 2011 recovery after a difficult start is proof that F1's Italian giant is not too far behind.

"I'm not convinced their problems are as serious as they seem," Schumacher is quoted by the Spanish press.

"And as we have taken a big step forward after Malaysia, they can do the same.  They have the ability and the people," added the 42-year-old.

He said the fact Ferrari has not won a drivers' title since 2007 is "an exception" rather than a new trend for the team's post-glory era.

Politics on pole before Turkey qualifying
(GMM)  Martin Whitmarsh has denied that senior staff belonging to F1's 'big four' teams are set to meet with News Corp officials next week.

The formerly secret meeting was reportedly scheduled to take place in Stuttgart involving Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull, as FOTA chairman Whitmarsh on Friday admitted it is "desirable" for the teams to own the sport's commercial rights.

He said F1 staff are not heading to Germany next weekend but couldn't rule out that the teams' actual shareholders might be there.

Whitmarsh's comments follow suggestions inside the paddock that teams meeting directly to discuss the ownership of F1 would contravene the current Concorde agreement.

"But we are all part of entities where our shareholders talk, they have businesses and they may well be having discussions," said Whitmarsh, also team principal of the partly Bahrain-owned McLaren team.

"But it's not for me to confirm what they are doing and where they are going," he insisted, revealing that a regular FOTA meeting will take place on Sunday.

The Briton also steered away from his boss Ron Dennis' claim that the Ferrari-linked Exor company buying into F1 would be a "conflict of interest".

"As far as most teams are concerned I think we all need to look, each of us, at whether we want to be involved in an ownership model in the future," said Whitmarsh.

Whatever ultimately happens, the situation at present is confusing at best and probably a deliberate case of smoke and mirrors.

"Sometimes the speculation is put out there for political reasons so we don't try to second-guess what people are up to," Virgin team boss John Booth is quoted by the Guardian.

Turkey shows Mercedes climbing pecking order
(GMM)  Mercedes seems the prime mover in Turkey as pundits consider the pecking order ahead of qualifying.

After mounting a podium challenge in China three weeks ago, Nico Rosberg came close to topping Friday's dry session at Istanbul Park.

Norbert Haug denied that victory is now plainly in sight, Rosberg instead agreeing with his teammate Michael Schumacher's prediction that Mercedes is now on the heels of Red Bull and McLaren.

"That is our aim for this weekend -- to leave Istanbul as number three in the pecking order," the 25-year-old German said.

Ferrari might have made a slight improvement to its package for Turkey but three-time Istanbul winner Felipe Massa agrees that Mercedes is the team on the move.

"It looks like the team that has made most progress is Mercedes," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Agreed Fernando Alonso: "I think we've made progress but there are a few teams quicker than us."

Schumacher backs F1 return for Austria
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher would be happy to see formula one return to the A1-Ring.

The Zeltweg circuit is actually now known as the Red Bull Ring, after energy drink mogul Dietrich Mateschitz rebuilt the former Austrian grand prix venue that is reopening next week.

"I see no reason why formula one shouldn't go back to Austria," Schumacher, speaking in Turkey, told the APA news agency.

Not all of Schumacher's memories of the track are sweet, such as 2002 when he was booed on the podium after being gifted Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello's win.

But the 42-year-old said: "I've been always happy to race in Zeltweg, from the early days in Formula Ford and F3 all the way to F1.

"I like the track a lot and it's a good thing the same layout has been kept," added Schumacher.

Mateschitz, however, despite achieving F1 homologation, rates the chances of a grand prix contract for his Austrian circuit at "more than minor".

Schumacher undecided on future beyond 2012
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher says he hasn't decided what to do beyond his 2012 race contract with Mercedes.

It emerged recently that the German was open to talks to extend the deal, but he told selected reporters in Turkey that he is not yet making plans.

"Just as when I retired in late 2006, I have not thought about it," said the seven time world champion, who signed a three-year comeback deal with the German marque beginning last season.

"Really, I don't know," Schumacher told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper as well as correspondents for prominent publications L'Equipe, the Daily Express, La Gazzetta dello Sport and El Pais.

"I have many hobbies, I have my family.  I don't see myself working with a formula one team unless I am driving, which I love deeply.

"My passion for competition is still very much alive," said the German.

But whilst singling out 2002 as his period of greatest strength in his first career, Schumacher acknowledges that at 42, he is not now quite as good.

"If you ask me if I am the same, the answer is probably not," he admitted.

"But the success I had was because maybe I am exceptional.  Probably I still am exceptional to do what I do at the age I am now," added Schumacher.

"If formula one had become ten seconds (per lap) faster, perhaps not.  But that's not the case.  Ask the physios and the drivers and they'll say unanimously that I am still up there."

Headache but no concussion after Vettel crash
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel had a headache but no concussion after crashing heavily in Turkey on Friday.

The 23-year-old German sat out the second session at Istanbul Park whilst his Red Bull mechanics repaired significant damage to all four corners of the chassis he calls 'Kinky Kylie'.

But the fact that there was little activity in his garage as the afternoon session took place raised speculation the championship leader was not feeling well after the high-speed double impact on the exit of daunting Turn 8.

Finnish physio Tommi Parmakoski told Turun Sanomat newspaper that it was the biggest crash Vettel has had since he started working with the reigning champion.

Vettel visited the medical centre afterwards because the impact was measured at 5.7G.

"We suspected a concussion but fortunately it was nothing like that," Parmakoski said.  "Sebastian is fine and had only a headache," he added.

Ricciardo preparing for 2012 Toro Rosso debut - Tost
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo will almost certainly make his grand prix debut with Toro Rosso in 2012, team boss Franz Tost has admitted in Turkey.

Now at the very top of Red Bull's junior program, the 21-year-old Australian is travelling with the Italian team throughout the 2011 season to drive the STR6 on Friday mornings.

Tost told reporters at Istanbul Park that the program is a precursor to Ricciardo's proper race debut next season.

"He should learn the team, all the race tracks, to work together with the engineers, get a little bit of knowledge about the press work, about the marketing and this should be the preparation for him to race for Toro Rosso in 2012," said the Austrian.

It has been suggested Ricciardo could even replace either Sebastien Buemi or Jaime Alguersuari before 2012, but when asked Tost answered: "No, currently not."

Another possibility is that Buemi or Alguersuari could replace Mark Webber at the senior team next year, but Red Bull Racing principal Christian Horner played down those rumors in Turkey.

"Of course we keep an eye on how the Toro Rosso drivers are developing but it's way too premature to be speculating on whether or not they will sit in a Red Bull racing car," he insisted.

"We're happy with our current lineup and that's what we're focused on," added Horner.

Boullier not sure Kubica can return to F1
(GMM)  Eric Boullier insists it is too early to say when or even if Robert Kubica will return to formula one.

The injured Pole is now out of hospital and reportedly spending up to seven hours per day on his rehabilitation, particularly to restore the functionality of his right hand that was almost severed in a rally crash in February.

"I don't know when or if Robert can come back," Renault team boss Boullier is quoted by the German news agency SID in Turkey.

"He is making very good progress, but it is a long way back from such a serious injury.  So I don't want to make any predictions," added the Frenchman.

On the other hand, Boullier said he is very happy with Kubica's substitute, Nick Heidfeld.

"He is working very well and is very communicative," he said of the 33-year-old German.

"What I hope and expect for this season is to be regularly in the points and to occasionally go to the podium," added Boullier.

Lotus plays down F1 truck fire reports
(GMM)  Team Lotus has played down reports one of its main formula one transporters caught fire at Istanbul Park late on Friday.

During Saturday morning's last practice session before qualifying in Turkey, British broadcaster the BBC said a fire broke out in the truck's plant room causing "a fair bit of drama".

Lotus confirmed: "It was minor and only damaged some wiring inside the trailer.  (The) fire hasn't affected anything to do with the cars or systems."

New exhaust causes problems for Virgin's Glock
(GMM)  Timo Glock has revealed that some of Virgin's much-needed car upgrade has not worked as expected.

At the wheel of the MVR-02 not featuring the bulk of the upgrade, teammate Jerome d'Ambrosio has been quicker all weekend in Turkey than the new car steered by German Glock.

"Some of the updates worked, some didn't," Glock told the German broadcaster Sky.

"The parts that would have brought most of the (lap) time didn't (work)."

He said the biggest innovation was the blown exhaust, but like many other teams have also suffered, it initially caused overheating problems.

"We tried it yesterday," said Glock on Saturday, "and it didn't work as it should have.  There were some things becoming too hot, so we've had to go back a bit."

Pirelli eyes 'long term' F1 foray - report
(GMM)  Pirelli is targeting a "long term" presence in formula one, the Italian company's president said in Turkey on Saturday.

Marco Tronchetti Provera met at Istanbul Park with the formula one drivers and afterwards posed for a photograph, the BBC reported during morning practice.

He told reporters Pirelli had "achieved" its target so far but suggested that a longer future than the initial three-year contract as official supplier is likely.

"If it is a formula that is not too costly, we are ready to continue," Reuters quotes him as saying.

The report also said Provera would be open to a tire war, such as the one between Bridgestone and Michelin that ended in 2006.

"We are open.  It's always a question of costs.  It can be challenging," he added.

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