Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
Vettel's rivals write off 2011 title chances
- Alonso blames British media for bad image
- Schumacher return 'a waste of time' - Irvine
- Renault impose October deadline for Kubica return
- Ecclestone deputy Mullens severs ties with F1
- F1 is a money pit for Renault
- Fernandes wants Karun Chandhok in the Indian Grand Prix
- Rosberg denied entry into India
Vettel's rivals write off 2011 title chances
(GMM) All four of Sebastian Vettel's championship rivals on Sunday said the fight for the drivers' title is now over.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa is already mathematically out of the hunt, but according to the calculator his teammate Fernando Alonso, as well as the McLaren drivers and Mark Webber, could all still win.
Alonso is the best placed, with a 112 point deficit. That means that if Vettel wins in Singapore with the Spaniard is fourth, the Red Bull driver will secure his second consecutive world championship with five races to spare.
"Obviously the championship is impossible," said Alonso after sharing the Monza podium with Vettel. "Not mathematically but we are no longer in contention."
Agreed Red Bull's Webber: "It's all over now, isn't it mate? I think the rest of us are all battling for second place now."
Hamilton added: "I doubt it's still possible to beat Sebastian for the title, but we'll keep pushing."
And Button said: "Yes, it (the title) is gone and it has been for a few races."
Other F1 drivers, like Michael Schumacher, feel the same way. "I don't see many ways that he (Vettel) can lose, but you still have to bring it to the end."
And Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said: "It's perfectly clear that it (the title) is in Sebastian's hands."
Brazilian Massa added: "The only way he can lose is if he doesn't come to the races anymore."
Vettel however smiled that he will be attending the final 'flyaway' portion of the 2011 calendar. "I'm contracted to do all the races, so maybe you need a word with Christian (Horner)!" he told a reporter.
But the 24-year-old German insisted that he has no plans to put the champagne on ice just yet.
"I think we just do Singapore as we did all the other races this year. Go there and take it step-by-step and see what we can do," he said.
And he told Bild newspaper that he will not be exercising his calculator on the flight to Asia. "Maths has never been my strength," Vettel grinned.
Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko, too, insists he is in no rush.
"(Winning the title in) Singapore or Japan would be fine, but I would probably prefer Korea," he told F1's official website. "After that disastrous weekend we experienced there last year it would be a sort of compensation."
As for the others, their hopes have now turned to 2012.
"Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull have a great advantage with their exhaust blowing, but next year it will be banned and so we hope things change," McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa told EFE news agency.
"I have to say Vettel is driving flawlessly, perfectly, so we should not detract from that," he added.
Alonso blames British media for bad image
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has blamed the British media for his image as a spoilt number 1 driver.
O Estado de S.Paulo correspondent Livio Oricchio asked the Spaniard if it is true that all is well inside his team so long as he does not share equal status with his teammate.
"That is a belief that was created in 2007," said the Ferrari driver, referring to his ill-fated single season alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.
"The reason was the contamination of the media, particularly the British.
"I have been in formula one for 11 years. For ten, I was the consummate professional," he explained. "Engineers, mechanics and my teammates could not say a word against my professionalism.
"But in 2007, McLaren, the English press, week after week, contaminated our relationship, which was not bad. That is what led to this general impression about me.
"But nothing changes for me, my values stay the same. When I went onto the market, the offers I received were as great before and after 2007," added Alonso.
Another perception is that Alonso, 30, is enjoying a position of privilege at Ferrari due to his links with main sponsor Santander, a Spanish bank.
"Good, no?" he laughed. "Everyone can talk and think what they like, it's part of the sport -- the media too, especially with the internet."
F1's next stop is Singapore, where Alonso won not only last year but also in 2008, when his Renault teammate Nelson Piquet deliberately crashed to bring out the safety car.
The Spaniard insists he still counts the victory among his best.
"There is something about the track that suits my driving style," said Alonso. "I know it's strange to you, but the victory of 2008 is just as special as the one of last year."
Schumacher return 'a waste of time' - Irvine
(GMM) Eddie Irvine is convinced his former Ferrari teammate's return to formula one is a "waste of time".
Michael Schumacher, who shared the Ferrari team with the outspoken Ulsterman in the late 90s, had a strong weekend at Monza but his comeback has generally been regarded as mediocre.
"It's a waste of time," Irvine scolded on a visit to the Monza paddock, according to Der Spiegel newspaper.
"Schumacher is good but no longer good enough and he was already on the decline in 2005 and 2006 at Ferrari.
"I have no idea why Mercedes invests in such an old driver as the performance curve can only be downwards. He's too old now to beat the top drivers like Nico Rosberg," added Irvine.
Renault impose October deadline for Kubica return
(GMM) Renault has imposed a deadline for the finalization of its driver lineup for 2012.
The Genii-owned team has left open a vacancy for Robert Kubica next year alongside the confirmed Russian driver Vitaly Petrov.
But media reports in recent days have revealed that Kubica, recovering from his horror February rally crash, actually does not have a contract for 2012.
The Pole's manager Daniele Morelli said at Monza that Renault "have given us assurances" about Kubica's place for 2012.
But he also said the 26-year-old will "put on a helmet" next month "to give a message on what he can do" in either a simulator or a fast road car.
It now emerges that the "message" needs to be received by Renault team boss Eric Boullier.
The Frenchman is quoted by Brazil's Globo Esporte: "I will be flexible because I really like Robert and it will be good for him to return.
"But in the middle or end of October I need a clear confirmation. My problem is that I cannot miss the opportunity to have Robert back, but at the same time I need to defend the interests of my team.
"I need to have the best driver lineup I can have, or the best I can afford," said Boullier.
As for Kubica, reports say he is now working six hours a day on rehabilitation following his final operation to free movement in his elbow.
"I am not expecting him to be as fast as last year, because I know that when you are off the track for a year it is hard to come back," said Boullier.
"Besides, when you suffer a serious accident as he did, it is not easy. But I need to understand if he can do it," he added.
Ecclestone deputy Mullens severs ties with F1
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone's long-time deputy Stephen Mullens is no longer working in formula one.
The Sunday Times reports that the low-profile executive has resigned from the seven companies that manage the sport's commercial affairs.
A Reuters report linked the story with the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption affair, surrounding the sale of the sport to its current owners CVC five years ago.
Mullens was recently named by former owner Constantin Medien in a lawsuit claiming millions in missing profit proceeds.
And earlier this year a report said Mullens, referred to as "F1 lawyer and board member", would be interviewed by German prosecutors even though at the time he was not "suspected or accused of any wrongdoing".
Reuters said Formula One Management was unavailable to comment.
F1 is a money pit for Renault
It is being reported that the Renault Formula 1 team – known as Lotus Renault GP this season – had losses of over $54 million last year. The plummet was chiefly due to the Singapore 2008 race-fixing scandal, which duly resulted in the loss of title sponsor ING prior to the following year’s race in Marina Bay.
2010 marked the last season in which the French car manufacturer owned the team which continues to carry its name, with the outfit now owned by Luxembourg businessman Gerard Lopez’s Genii Capital.
A number of factors contributed to the downfall, with the Singapore scenario resulting in walkouts from key partners and the loss of ING alone equating to approximately $65 million, according to The Guardian. Double World Champion Fernando Alonso left for Ferrari at the end of 2009 and it is believed his departure helped costs fall by 18 percent to $194 million.
Last year, Robert Kubica facilitated raising the team from eighth to fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, only for the Pole to be critically injured in his February rally crash and therefore miss the entire 2011 championship.
Fernandes wants Karun Chandhok in the Indian Grand Prix
(GMM) There could be a second Indian on the grid in Delhi next month, Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes admits.
It has already emerged that Narain Karthikeyan will be reunited with his HRT cockpit when India stages its inaugural formula one race.
And his countryman Chandhok, who has already replaced Jarno Trulli this year at the Nurburgring, could be a second Indian racing around the new Buddh circuit.
"I'd like him to. It's up to the team to see," Fernandes is quoted by Reuters.
The Malaysian entrepreneur admitted it will be Trulli to step aside should Chandhok, Team Lotus' reserve and occasional Friday driver, be given the green light for India.
"Yes, I think Heikki (Kovalainen) is our number one driver, although Jarno's outqualified him here," Fernandes said at Monza.
Rosberg denied entry into India
Do the Indians authorities know something we don’t know? They have refused the entrance visa for Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg, as they do not understand why he is coming to India.
True, but it should be resolved in time for the Indian GP in 6 weeks.