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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Bruno Senna riding on his uncle Ayrton's coattails
    Senna lacks Heidfeld's 'driving skills' - Sauber
  • Boullier unhappy with F1's income distribution
  • F1 cannot always be exciting - Mosley
  • Boris Becker slams Schumacher critics
  • Rosberg - fonder F1 memories of Hakkinen over Schu
  • Alguersuari sees 'no problem' with Japan trip
  • F1 to be unhurt by Gribkowsky affair - Mosley
  • Split TV deal is 'good news' - Mosley
  • Hulkenberg to drive in afternoon, not morning
  • Boullier has 'no interest' in Raikkonen comeback
  • No mind games but Button wants Vettel to worry
  • Spa straights may or may not suit Red Bull

Senna lacks Heidfeld's 'driving skills' - Sauber
(GMM)  Peter Sauber, whose Swiss team is pushing to catch Renault in the constructors' standings, has admitted he thinks the Nick Heidfeld affair is only about "economic problems".

He is apparently referring to speculation that Renault has dumped former Sauber driver Heidfeld because his replacement Bruno Senna promises millions in Brazilian sponsorship.

And there have also been long and widespread rumors this year about the Enstone-based team's financial situation.

Sauber told Blick newspaper: "I do not expect that Senna can offer the team (Renault) the same driving skills as Heidfeld."

Germany's Speed Week believes German Heidfeld, 34, is pressing his legal claim in order to collect his EUR 260,000 per race fee for the remainder of the 2011 calendar.

Heidfeld's management on Thursday confirmed that the case is being pushed to the London High Court, with a "full trial" scheduled for after Monza.

"This position (the appointment of Senna) is disputed by the team for apparently purely financial reasons," Heidfeld's lawyer Dr Stefan Seitz said.

And the driver's manager Andre Theuerzeit said the plan is to have Heidfeld back in the black R31 in Singapore.

"I still have a clear contract and I want to drive," said Heidfeld, who surprised many by actually appearing in the Spa paddock on Thursday in a Renault team shirt.

Swiss newspaper Blick speculated that it was for legal reasons, "to show that he was ready" to drive in Belgium and beyond.

Auto Motor und Sport quotes Heidfeld as saying: "A racing driver always wants to race and that's why I'm not at all upset at Bruno.  He obviously wants to race as well."

Boullier unhappy with F1's income distribution
(GMM)  Renault boss Eric Boullier has expressed frustration with the amount of income distributed to the teams by F1's commercial rights holders.

"F1 is the only sport where the owner of the commercial rights gets 50 per cent and leaves its participants with the task of finding their own source of income," he said in an interview with France's Auto Hebdo magazine.

In a separate interview with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, former FIA president Max Mosley is predicting a complicated battle between the teams and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Referring to forthcoming negotiations over the next Concorde Agreement, he said: "The question is whether the teams will still be as united when Bernie lures one or two of them with a special offer.

"It will be fun to watch from the outside for a change," said Mosley.

The Briton proposed a fascinating solution to the teams' push for more money and power for his old sparring partner Ecclestone.

"If I was Bernie, I would offer to distribute the revenue equally to all the teams except the top four.  The top four can threaten to have their own championship but it would not work.

"When they come back to Bernie and the FIA, they could both say: 'You are welcome, but there is no money left over for you'.  The approach would bring the small teams a little bit closer to the big ones," he added.

F1 cannot always be exciting - Mosley
(GMM)  Max Mosley thinks formula one should ease its obsession with spicing up the show.

The former FIA president was asked by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport to compare football, for example, with formula one, where one boring race triggers speculation the sport should do more to excite its spectators.

"Absolutely.  It is absurd to never allow a sport to be boring," said Mosley.

Boris Becker slams Schumacher critics
(GMM)  German tennis legend Boris Becker has scolded F1's experts for pushing Michael Schumacher to retire.

He told Die Welt newspaper it is not right that "formula one greats are now criticizing him publicly and basically forcing him to go".

Former number 1 Becker, 43, said the criticisms coming from the likes of triple world champion Niki Lauda "have no decency or class".

And he said even F1's new German sensation Sebastian Vettel "would not win all the races in the Mercedes".

Becker also said he doesn't think Schumacher, 42, is damaging his legacy.

"You cannot do that," he said, "when you're a seven times world champion."

Former FIA president Max Mosley also backed Schumacher.

"Maybe it's because of my age," said the 71-year-old to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, "but I'm absolutely convinced that Michael can still win races if he is in the right car.

"I can imagine that what is difficult to do at his age is to motivate himself when he knows he cannot win at the moment.

"If Michael had a winning car, it would be hard work for Rosberg against him," added Mosley.

Rosberg - fonder F1 memories of Hakkinen over Schu
(GMM)  With the F1 paddock focused on the 20th anniversary of Michael Schumacher's grand prix debut, his current teammate Nico Rosberg has revealed he has different early memories of the sport.

German Rosberg, whose father is Finland's 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg, instead looks back to 1991 and Mika Hakkinen's debut.

"My first memories of F1 are Mika Hakkinen at Lotus and Nigel Mansell at Williams," said Rosberg, who turned 6 in mid 1991.

"Mika was actually in F1 earlier than Michael and I remember Mika better."

In 2000, Rosberg - then 15 - remembers the Belgian grand prix, famous for Hakkinen's awesome overtaking move on Schumacher.

"I was watching with my father at home.  When Mika made the move I went outside and cried with joy and remember that my knees were shaking with excitement."

As for 2011, Rosberg admits he has been surprised by his performance alongside Schumacher, who had been expected to considerably speed up on Pirelli tires this season.

"Of course," he said.  "I was expecting it to be much tighter both in qualifying and in the points tables."

Alguersuari sees 'no problem' with Japan trip
(GMM)  Jaime Alguersuari has revealed he has "no problem" with F1's plans to travel to Japan in October.

Some leading MotoGP riders, like Valentino Rossi, have revealed they have grave reservations about travelling to the country in the wake of the nuclear disaster.

"I was hoping the championship organizers would make the right decision and now we've got a serious problem," Italia media quote him as saying.

Suzuka, however, is much further from the Fukushima nuclear station than is MotoGP venue Motegi.

And Toro Rosso's Alguersuari told Diario Sport: "I have no problem going to Japan.  The situation is calm."

Meanwhile, at Red Bull's second F1 team, there is huge pressure on both Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi to retain their places for 2012 amid the expectation Daniel Ricciardo will take one seat.

Spaniard Alguersuari, 21, said he has always planned his future "one day at a time".

"In F1 you are always under constant pressure so that's why I like to live in the present and enjoy everything I do."

F1 to be unhurt by Gribkowsky affair - Mosley
(GMM)  F1 will emerge unscathed from the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption scandal.

That is the claim of former FIA president Max Mosley, even though his old sparring partner Bernie Ecclestone is heavily involved in the affair that could potentially see him prosecuted.

But when asked if this is a real problem for F1, Mosley told Auto Motor und Sport: "I see no reason why.

"Without knowing all the background, I would be surprised if Bernie will be involved in any way other than as a witness.

"(But) it would not matter," said the Briton.

"Even in the worst case it could do no harm to formula one.  F1 is now an international business that is more than strong enough."

There have been rumors, however, that the affair could leave Ecclestone exposed to having his 100-year lease of F1's commercial rights terminated by the current FIA president Jean Todt.

"I think that's just a rumor," said Mosley.  "Jean has never mentioned anything like that to me," he added, insisting that the commercial rights' current owners CVC have definitely done nothing wrong.

Split TV deal is 'good news' - Mosley
(GMM)  Max Mosley thinks F1's split broadcasting rights deal for Britain is good news for the sport.

"I would say that the TV viewers in Britain are getting a good deal," the former FIA president told Auto Motor und Sport.

The 50 per cent loss of free-to-air live coverage on the BBC, however, has been interpreted by many within Britain as a major blow.

Mosley insisted: "The hardcore fans will pay the fees for Sky to get all the sessions and look at every detail in full length.

"For other interested people there are highlights on free television, shown in the evening.  It's how it is with me and football.

"I would never spend half an afternoon watching football on television," said Mosley.

Hulkenberg to drive in afternoon, not morning
(GMM)  Reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg will not be making his usual appearance in the Force India on Friday morning.

"I will drive in P2 (practice 2), not in P1," he revealed at Spa-Francorchamps.

Also in action on Friday will be Team Lotus' third driver Karun Chandhok, who will be driving the T128 in the morning.

Friday morning at the fabled Belgian dawned sunny and dry.

Boullier has 'no interest' in Raikkonen comeback
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen can leave behind any hopes of being considered for a formula one comeback by the Renault team.

The 2007 champion left F1 to contest the world rally championship and he has also dabbled in NASCAR, while earlier this week he tested Peugeot's Le Mans car.

31-year-old Raikkonen was also once linked with a return to F1 with Renault, and has not ruled out a comeback for 2012.

But the Renault rumors ended acrimoniously last year with the Finn denying he ever expressed interest.

Team boss Eric Boullier is now quoted by German media: "I will not talk about Kimi.  I have no interest in him."

Vitaly Petrov is already signed up with Renault for next year, while the other seat is likely to be filled by Robert Kubica, Bruno Senna or Romain Grosjean.

No mind games but Button wants Vettel to worry
(GMM)  Jenson Button insists he is not reverting to "mind games", but he admits to wanting 2011's runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel to "worry".

German Vettel is 88 points clear of his first non-Red Bull title challenger with eight races to go, moving McLaren's Jenson Button to admit that a psychological edge will be important for the chasing rivals.

"If we don't let him have a sniff (of victory) over the next few it will start hurting and we will see how he reacts," the Briton is quoted by the Guardian.

Button admitted he got worried en route to the 2009 title when he was struggling for results despite a big points lead.

But Vettel has an even bigger lead than did Button two years ago, and the 24-year-old told F1's official website: "I think there are many who would love to walk in my shoes and there is nobody far and wide I would want to change with".

Button conceded that the task for Vettel's rivals in 2011 is "bloody hard", arguably made worse by the situation at McLaren with joint number ones.

"Maybe (Ferrari's) Alonso is in the best position but will their car be quick enough?  I'm not so sure," he said.

Spaniard Fernando Alonso told El Mundo at Spa-Francorchamps: "It's not impossible, but to think that it (the championship) is just there, within reach, would be to fool yourself.

"We will be there, trying until the last moment, while knowing it is a very difficult situation for everybody; for me, Hamilton and Webber as well."

Spa straights may or may not suit Red Bull
(GMM)  Spa-Francorchamps may or may not suit F1's championship-leading Red Bull car.

While Adrian Newey's RB7 is very good in fast corners, it has been suggested that the Belgian layout is not suitable from the perspective of the slightly underpowered Renault engine.

"There are a few too many straight lines," admitted world champion Sebastian Vettel, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

Teammate Mark Webber however is not so sure.

"The (performance) swings from track to track are not as big as they were in the past," said the Australian.

"On the tracks that are traditionally good for us, we were not as superior (in 2011), so I am assuming that at places that aren't really good for us we will maybe be less disadvantaged."

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