Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
2011 development to stop after Singapore - Domenicali
- Ferrari will not have Newey-like structure - Domenicali
- Massa contract 'safe' for 2012 - Domenicali
- McLaren boss Whitmarsh defends Button
- Vettel vows to 'fight hard' despite huge lead
- Domenicali 'mistaken' about Vettel quality - Berger
- Vettel admits big pay-day at Monza
- Only four current drivers better than Schu - Berger
- Busy time in F1 sponsorship world
- Good weather forecast for Monza
- Pirelli confirms 'more cautious' camber advice
- Trulli not sure of Japan nuclear safety
- Trulli says 2012 Team Lotus stay 'settled'
- Pirelli to do less private testing in 2012
- Fernandes returns to pitwall at Monza
- Massa tips Mercedes for Monza surprise
2011 development to stop after Singapore - Domenicali
(GMM) Development of Ferrari's current car will stop after Singapore in two weeks, team boss Stefano Domenicali has announced.
Fernando Alonso is the highest ranked non-Red Bull driver in the 2011 points standings, but his deficit is a huge 102 points with just seven races to go.
This weekend is Ferrari's home race at Monza, where the Italian team is hoping to impress the Tifosi.
"We have a specific package for Monza and some small improvements for Singapore," Sky Italia quotes Domenicali as saying.
"After that, the car won't be changed, because in Maranello we are working on the 2012 project. The goal is being competitive from the very first race, because we can't afford a bad start," he added.
And even now, more than a quarter of Ferrari's resources are already dedicated to the 2012 project, technical boss Pat Fry has told Corriere della Sera.
When asked how he is splitting his time at present, the Briton answered: "50 per cent on this year, 25 per cent on next year and 25 per cent to the reorganization.
"But in the wind tunnel we are working half (2011) and half (2012)," added Fry.
Domenicali said Ferrari will then use the rest of 2011 to "learn how to use these (Pirelli) tires in all conditions".
"So we will be aggressive even if the championship is gone," he added.
He insists 2011 "will be the last disappointing season" under his reign.
"We are laying the groundwork for an unbeatable structure," he told La Repubblica newspaper.
"Alonso believes in it. He is in the heart of his career and has signed with us to 2016, which is not something a winner would do if he was not convinced," added Domenicali.
Asked to compare the results of his reign with that of his predecessor Jean Todt, Domenicali continued: "He (Todt) won a lot, but he had time to create a winning team with an outstanding balance. That is also my goal."
Ferrari will not have Newey-like structure - Domenicali
(GMM) Stefano Domenicali insists he will not use Red Bull as Ferrari's template for success.
Asked to compare his reign with that of his predecessor Jean Todt, Domenicali said the Frenchman devised a structure with an "outstanding balance".
"I am convinced that we are laying the foundations for an unbeatable structure," Italian media reports quote him as saying.
"We will not have single men at the helm, like Red Bull with (Adrian) Newey. Rather, we will have a team," added Domenicali.
The Italian's McLaren counterpart, Martin Whitmarsh, acknowledged Newey's contribution at Red Bull.
"Adrian is definitely a very important factor when we talk about success," he told Die Welt newspaper.
"He beat us last year but before that it was us who beat him," added Whitmarsh. "If his car wins he is raised up on a pedestal, but if he does not - and he sometimes doesn't - then his skills are questioned."
Former Ferrari and McLaren driver Gerhard Berger, who is very close to Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, insists Red Bull has not set itself up for instant rather than long-term success.
"Red Bull has laid the foundation for longer term success," he told APA news agency. "Vettel will not leave with the performance like he has, Adrian Newey is the best designer and he enjoys the conditions Red Bull gives him.
"Christian Horner was given his chance as a young team manager and so is very loyal, and Helmut Marko does a good job of holding the team together. So there is no reason for things to change for them," added Berger.
Domenicali, however, doubts Lewis Hamilton's recent claim that Red Bull will very likely start the 2012 season in a similar position of dominance.
"No, there are no guarantees," he said. "Between us, McLaren and Red Bull, it will be open war."
Massa contract 'safe' for 2012 - Domenicali
(GMM) Felipe Massa is not going anywhere for now, insists Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.
Since his championship tilt of 2008, Brazilian Massa has struggled to get on terms with his new teammate Fernando Alonso.
But there have also been suggestions the 30-year-old is no longer the same after recovering from near-fatal head injuries sustained in mid 2009.
Domenicali told La Repubblica newspaper that Ferrari still believes in Massa.
"The fan in the bar says 'Trust me, he is as strong as he was before Budapest'. He will be supported in every way.
"Meanwhile, the contract will not be touched; he is safe until December 2012," added Domenicali.
McLaren boss Whitmarsh defends Button
(GMM) McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has defended Jenson Button.
The 2009 world champion is pushing his British employer to trigger the option in his contract for next season, amid reports Whitmarsh would actually like to sign him up for a much longer term.
Some observers, however, are wondering why McLaren does not go onto the market for a new teammate for Lewis Hamilton, with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg for example still yet to get a true top car.
"Jenson, like Fernando (Alonso), is battle hardened and experienced, but becoming a little more relaxed, intelligent and very cool in the cockpit," Briton Whitmarsh told Die Welt newspaper when asked about his countryman.
"There are people who feel he does not give everything, or risk everything, but I ask the question: how then have we seen from him this year things like Hungary, Canada and Belgium?"
Whitmarsh suggested that - with Button - Hamilton and Alonso are among the best drivers in F1 at present.
"All three are absolutely brilliant, each in his way. It is hard to compare them," he told the German newspaper, "just as you can't compare Picasso with van Gogh."
Asked, however, if he feels his career is missing something without a world championship, Mark Webber used the example of Button to point out that titles are not everything.
"Yes it would be great to have a world championship," the Australian told The National newspaper, "but I have many special victories against tough competition.
"Unfortunately, when I got myself in a good car, I had Sebastian (Vettel) as a teammate.
"Jenson didn't have that at Brawn; he had Rubens (Barrichello), so there are a lot of one-championship drivers that have had a phenomenal car, but no real competition," added Webber.
Vettel vows to 'fight hard' despite huge lead
(GMM) Even with his massive championship lead, Sebastian Vettel is not prepared to relax just yet.
It is mathematically possible that the Red Bull driver will wrap up his second title in Singapore in two weeks.
But he told the DAPD news agency: "If you fail twice, and someone else has a few good races, then things can change.
"So we are going to keep on doing our maximum," Vettel said ahead of the Italian grand prix at Monza.
The German told Kleine Zeitung newspaper: "Unless I have the title in the bag, I have nothing. You never know what is going to happen.
"Of course it's nice to have a head start so that maybe you feel a little safer, but still you cannot rest -- you have to fight hard until the end."
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh insists that his drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, will not give up until the calculator no longer gives them a chance.
"That is the appropriate thing for our team," he told the Die Welt newspaper. "We exist to win. It's in our DNA.
"Sebastian had an exceptionally good start to the season, but on the other hand Red Bull has only won two of the last six races. It looks to me as though we and Ferrari have caught up.
"In that situation you can't give up," added Whitmarsh. "As far as I am concerned there are seven races left and we can win them all."
He also denied that Red Bull has stumbled upon a secret recipe for guaranteed success in F1.
"I've learned that it is extremely difficult to win continuously," said Whitmarsh. "Just look at Ferrari and what they did with Michael Schumacher, and what happened afterwards."
Domenicali 'mistaken' about Vettel quality - Berger
(GMM) Stefano Domenicali is "incredibly mistaken" if he believes Sebastian Vettel is not among F1's true leaders.
That is the view of Gerhard Berger, who as Toro Rosso co-owner in 2008 stood on the Monza podium when the young German became the sport's youngest ever winner.
Ferrari team boss Domenicali this week said Vettel, 24, "is still not a leader ... like Michael and Fernando. He is simply too young and lacking in experience".
Asked about the comments, Berger told the Austrian news agency APA: "Then he (Domenicali) is incredibly mistaken.
"If somebody has those (leadership) qualities then it is Sebastian. He showed it already with Toro Rosso and developed even further with Red Bull.
"It's not a question of age. For his age, in his head he is far ahead," added Berger.
Another of Vettel's developed qualities, said Berger, is his calm under pressure. "He makes no more mistakes," he said.
Berger continued: "Mark Webber, for example, is a very good driver but under pressure he is not as strong.
"For Vettel many factors have come together -- speed, diligence and meticulousness. He combines them all to get the optimum points possible."
Vettel admits big pay-day at Monza
(GMM) As Sebastian Vettel returns to the scene of his F1 breakthrough, he recalls 2008 and the biggest pay-day of his career until then.
Three years ago, the boy-faced German was just 21 and a rookie with Red Bull's junior team when he shocked the formula one world by winning at Monza.
The victory also shocked Vettel's bosses, Franz Tost and then Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger.
"My victory bonus in the contract was very, very high," Blick newspaper quotes Vettel as laughing.
It was Berger who mounted the podium to collect the constructors' trophy.
"It was amazing as Vettel won with an Italian team and a Ferrari engine," the Austrian recalled to APA news agency.
"It's a pity Toro Rosso have not gone on since then, but I'm too far away from it now to know the reasons," said Berger.
Only four current drivers better than Schu - Berger
(GMM) Michael Schumacher is still one of the very best drivers in formula one.
That is the view of Gerhard Berger, amid constant media speculation that at the age of 42 the great German should give up his Mercedes seat.
He told APA news agency: "Schumi can no longer beat the young, super-fast drivers because of his age, which is quite normal. But he can join in the ranks behind them.
"To the best boys - so Vettel, Rosberg and Hamilton - he is missing two or three tenths. But that means that in a Red Bull he could still win races.
"I still respect him highly. Apart from the three I mentioned I only see Alonso in front of him," added Berger.
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, meanwhile, told Die Welt newspaper that Schumacher is now "in the top 12" on the 24-strong 2011 grid.
Busy time in F1 sponsorship world
(GMM) It has been a busy time in the world of formula one sponsorship.
The German media is saying Nick Heidfeld's axe at Renault was definitely financially-motivated, with the team's confirmation of four new sponsors.
One is with Bruno Senna's personal backer Embratel, and another with the Brazilian oil company OGX.
"The Brazilians are taking the Senna name back to formula one and, clearly, it is a special emotion for all the Brazilians that are passionate about F1," said Embratel president Jose Formoso.
Toro Rosso, meanwhile, has confirmed that the logos of Spanish oil brand Cepsa will feature on the STR6's nose, rear wing and endplates at Monza and beyond.
Etihad Airways has inked an extension to its title sponsorship of the Abu Dhabi grand prix through 2015, with CEO John Hogan saying the deal "goes against the current commercial trend for shorter terms".
A deal in Australia has raised eyebrows, with the Melbourne City Council signing over $500,000 for the next three Albert Park events despite mayor Robert Doyle calling for the race to be scrapped only months ago.
"While the event is here in Melbourne, I support it, and the city will support events in the city of Melbourne that promote tourism to Melbourne," Doyle told the Herald Sun.
Finally, despite its shrinking share price on the Frankfurt exchange, British team Williams has announced that its turnover, profit and net cash have increased.
"We have upgraded and extended existing partners Randstad and Oris, and added Interbrand as a new partner," said team boss Sir Frank Williams.
Good weather forecast for Monza
(GMM) A warm and sunny weekend is forecast for the Italian grand prix at Monza.
A report at F1's official website said that, unlike at Spa-Francorchamps two weeks ago, the weather in Italy should mean teams and drivers have better conditions to avoid a repeat of the blistering seen on Pirelli's tires.
"The teams should have plenty of time to adjust their cars to the new (camber) restrictions," the report added.
Irish former F1 driver and commentator Derek Daly has been appointed the third steward at Monza.
"This (Monza) is one of those races everyone loves going to, because it's so traditional," said the FIA's Charlie Whiting. "Monaco and Monza are really the two big ones in this respect".
Sunday will mark the ten-year anniversary of America's September 11 terror attacks.
Pirelli confirms 'more cautious' camber advice
(GMM) Paul Hembery has confirmed that Pirelli has taken a "more cautious" approach to its recommendations about tire camber.
Worrying blisters emerged on the leading Red Bull cars at Spa two weeks ago, with Adrian Newey admitting the team slightly breached Pirelli's guidelines about not exceeding 4 degrees of camber.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that Pirelli has therefore reduced its recommendation to 3.75 per cent for Monza and beyond.
"We will be more cautious with our recommended values," Pirelli motor sport director Hembery is quoted as saying by Autosprint, "particularly because of circuits like Monza.
"In truth graining and blistering are not unknown phenomena in the world of racing, but there are limits," he explained.
Hembery said Pirelli cannot force the teams to obey its recommendations about how to use the tires, but he warned that failures cannot therefore be ruled out.
"It depends on how clever you are," said the Briton. "From what I saw on two cars at Spa-Francorchamps, it seemed that someone did not see the same images that I saw.
"Or maybe they didn't have a high-definition screen," joked Hembery.
Trulli not sure of Japan nuclear safety
(GMM) Jarno Trulli has admitted he does not know what to believe about October's Japanese grand prix.
On the one hand, leading MotoGP riders are refusing to travel to the country in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
But the Suzuka circuit insists there is no health risk in the region, prompting Bernie Ecclestone to agree that the race "will go on as usual".
"Before answering this question (about Japan) we should ask one about who is telling the truth," veteran driver Jarno Trulli is quoted in Italian by Eurosport.
"The experts have assured there is not any kind of danger, but who knows exactly? It's difficult because we live in a world where you should only trust yourself."
But the panel at the Italian-language FOTA fan forum on Wednesday - comprising Trulli, Nico Rosberg, Stefano Domenicali, Paul Hembery and engineers for Sauber and Toro Rosso - insisted that F1 should travel to Japan.
German Rosberg said the grand prix drivers' association GPDA had done its own research and found that the area around Suzuka is safe.
Trulli says 2012 Team Lotus stay 'settled'
(GMM) Jarno Trulli is sure he will still be on the formula one grid next year.
When Team Lotus replaced him with Karun Chandhok at the Nurburgring, boss Tony Fernandes insisted it was a one-off and that Trulli, 37, is likely to stay in 2012.
A new contract, however, has not been confirmed, but the Italian driver said at the FOTA fan forum on Wednesday that he is "pretty comfortable for next year".
"Obviously it is not down to me to say where we are but, yes I am pretty happy with the way we are working with the team and the relationship for the future.
"I would say that we are settled," Trulli is quoted as saying by Reuters.
Pirelli to do less private testing in 2012
(GMM) Pirelli will do less private track testing next year, motor sport director Paul Hembery has announced.
As the Italian marque took over from Bridgestone as F1's sole supplier, Nick Heidfeld, Pedro de la Rosa, Romain Grosjean and Lucas di Grassi have all been deployed as official test drivers.
They have driven Toyota's 2009 car, which - to bring it closer to the specification of the current racers - has also received an aerodynamic update.
But Hembery is quoted by Reuters as saying Pirelli's approach will change for 2012.
"We're moving more towards simulators and simulation data," he said.
"We have also the mid-season test (at Mugello next year), as the teams have now agreed to, which will help us a lot, being able to get on 2012 cars mid season.
"That will be a huge advantage for us because we can start already showing them tires for 2013," added Hembery.
Meanwhile, the Briton told the Italian-language FOTA fan forum on Wednesday that F1's drivers have asked to be allocated more soft tires at grands prix.
"We received a memo from the drivers asking us to review the tire allocation and it would be good to see if we can allocate differently," he said.
Fernandes returns to pitwall at Monza
(GMM) Tony Fernandes will be back on the pitwall this weekend at Monza.
The Team Lotus boss was missing in Hungary and Belgium as he concluded the takeover of the London football club Queens Park Rangers and focused on his Malaysian airline AirAsia.
"I am delighted to be back on track after missing a couple of races due to what has probably been the busiest summer of my working career," said Fernandes.
Massa tips Mercedes for Monza surprise
(GMM) Mercedes GP could be the surprise of this weekend's Italian grand prix.
That is the view of Brazilian driver Felipe Massa, who said he is sure regular frontrunners Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari will also be on the pace at historic Monza.
"However, Mercedes have shown they have possibly the best top speed on the straight out of all of us and as that is so important at this circuit, they could also have some influence on the final result," he said.
Monza's Autodromo Nazionale, with the fastest average speed of the season at 255kph, features four long straights with top speeds expected to reach 350kph.
Mercedes' W02, featuring a highly competitive engine, DRS and KERS combination, was fast at high speed Spa-Francorchamps two weeks ago, where Michael Schumacher climbed from last on the grid to fifth at the finish.
"We learned at Spa that our car can be competitive at high speed tracks, and we definitely took a step forward there. I am confident that we can
do that again in Italy," said Nico Rosberg.