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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Jenson Button
    Singapore challenge too much for drivers - Button
  • Schumacher not sorry after Monza driving criticism
  • Schumacher no longer best in F1 - Irvine
  • 2012 to be tougher challenge for Vettel - Schumacher
  • Mosley scandal moves on to French court
  • Alonso swore at Vettel after Monza duel - report
  • Red Bull's Monza-spec floor 'hole' legal - report
  • Hulkenberg sympathizes with Barrichello's plight
  • 'No chance' hazy Singapore GP to be cancelled
  • 'Out of contract' McLaren duo 'phenomenal' - Horner
  • Button is F1's 'best number 2' - Irvine
  • Sutil denies visiting Williams factory
  • McLaren receives sponsorship from Lucozade energy drink 

Singapore challenge too much for drivers - Button
(GMM)  Singapore is too tough a challenge for formula one drivers, 2009 world champion Jenson Button said in the city-state this week.

The McLaren driver has called on the length of the floodlit street race to be shortened due to the heat and high humidity, the bumpy surface and the fact it runs close to the sport's two-hour limit.

"We find it very tough and after the race you are shattered, in pieces," Button, 31, is quoted by the Daily Star newspaper.

"It's one of the races we actually think is a little too long, that they need to maybe shorten."

And The Sun newspaper quotes him adding: "At the end of the race all the drivers sit in their cars for a few moments before getting out.  If you get out too quickly, you feel light-headed and dizzy.

"It (the race) is almost too tough -- you're totally drained by the end.  If you look at pictures on the podium, you can tell the drivers are not completely with it, due to the heat and dehydration," said Button.

But not all of the Briton's rivals agree with him: "The heat and humidity it pretty hardcore," acknowledged Team Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen, "but I like it."

Brazil's Globo quotes the Finn adding: "It is a big challenge and that is what F1 is about."

Schumacher not sorry after Monza driving criticism
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher is unapologetic in the wake of criticism of his driving at Monza.

Two weeks ago, some of the seven time world champion's rivals, and former driver and Monza steward Derek Daly as well as commentators, said Schumacher should have been penalized for his tactics to prevent Lewis Hamilton from passing him.

But Schumacher told Germany's Sport Bild this week: "I use the rules up to the limit.  As for the others complaining, I am used to it.

"As long as the officials say it's 'hard but okay', then I have done everything right," added the 42-year-old.

Schumacher acknowledged that he is not able to win races in the last six races of 2011, but he expects to add to his record tally of 91 victories at some point next season.

"There should be wins but I don't think we need to talk about the title in 2012," he said.

The fact he is only expecting a championship tilt to be possible for Mercedes after 2012 is ramping up speculation the great German intends to extend his contract.

"We will sit to discuss the future next year; I don't want to say any more than that," said Schumacher.

Schumacher no longer best in F1 - Irvine
Michael Schumacher was the best, but Mercedes should now be looking for a faster driver.

That is the view of the German's former Ferrari teammate Eddie Irvine, who always said openly that Schumacher is simply better than him and his peers.

But, with Schumacher now 42 and struggling even for a podium in his comeback, Ulsterman Irvine said his former colleague is now being simply outclassed.

"There's no point either for him or for his team," he told Germany's Auto Bild.

"His curve is downwards, so Mercedes is investing in falling stock," added Irvine.

"Michael was an absolutely super driver.  Everyone said he is a leader, the best developer, blah, blah blah -- bullshit.  He just had the most talent, incredible car control, incredible speed," said the 45-year-old.

Schumacher admitted to Germany's Sport Bild this week that he is no longer as good as he was when he won five consecutive titles at Ferrari.

"Am I as good, as perfect as I was during this time?  Probably not," he said.  "I am after all 42.

"But am I still good enough?  I would say definitely yes."

2012 to be tougher challenge for Vettel - Schumacher
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel will have a tougher time in 2012, according to his countryman, friend and rival Michael Schumacher.

It is possible Vettel, 24, will secure his second consecutive drivers' title this weekend with still five races to follow Singapore.

"Of course Sebastian has had a great performance this year," German Schumacher, who in 1995 similarly won his second title in successive seasons at Benetton, told Sport Bild.

But the 42-year-old, tipping Red Bull's rival teams to speed up in 2012, added: "I don't think he runs the risk of getting tired, but it will be more difficult for his team.

"The gap will be less.  This year there have been races in which no one was able to follow him (Vettel).  That's not going to happen again."

Mosley scandal moves on to French court
(GMM)  Almost four years after the News of the World scandal first broke, Max Mosley is still chasing the saga in court.

Since early 2008 when Briton Mosley was filmed with five prostitutes, the 71-year-old's reign as FIA president has ended and the British tabloid closed.

But despite winning a similar case in Britain, his lawyers have been in France's Tribunal de Grande Instance this week pressing another case against the report's chief reporter.

Because the News of the World report and video footage was available within France, Mosley sued journalist Neville Thurlbeck for defamation and breach of privacy.

He is seeking EUR 100,000 in damages from both the News of the World and Thurlbeck, according to The Guardian.

"Every copy of the paper distributed was a thorn in the skin of Mr. Mosley.  Every one was a prejudice," said Mosley's lawyer Philippe Ouakrat.

But Thurlbeck's lawyer told the hearing on Tuesday that Mosley should not be able to sue twice for the same offense.

"Mr. Mosley has already gained satisfaction in England," said Jean-Frederic Gaultier.  "This case here is not about justice but about vengeance."

Alonso swore at Vettel after Monza duel - report
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel was sworn at by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso after winning the Italian grand prix at Monza two weeks ago.

That is the unconfirmed claim of the German daily Bild-Zeitung, who said Spaniard Alonso whispered in the ear of championship Vettel before the Monza podium: "F*ck you, my boy".

Earlier, to the passionate Tifosi's chagrin, Vettel had passed Alonso to lead the race, a move the Red Bull driver described as "very hard but fair".

Afterwards, the team's outspoken Dr Helmut Marko said it was "good to show Alonso how the wind blows".

Double world champion Alonso however denies Bild's claim that he insulted Vettel.

"We chatted briefly but it was quite normal and friendly," said the Spaniard.

Bild said Vettel would not comment.

But in an interview with the German broadcaster RTL, he talked about having the respect of his rivals.

"It's important to me that I can feel it," said the 24-year-old, "even if you have had an extremely tough race."

Should Vettel extend his huge lead by another 13 points in Singapore, he will be crowned champion with five races still to run in 2011.

An analysis by Financial Times Deutschland said that with 27 per cent of the calendar to go, Vettel's achievement will rank among the best in F1 history.

But Jim Clark (1963 and 1965), Jackie Stewart (1969 and 1971) and Nigel Mansell (1992) actually secured those championships in an even more rapid manner.

And the record is held by Michael Schumacher, who won the title with more than 35 per cent of the 2002 calendar still to run.

At least Red Bull figures are now starting to admit the inevitability of Vettel's 2011 triumph.

"In many ways it's more of a challenge to defend a title," said Vettel's boss Christian Horner.  "It's one thing to win a title, another to stay up there," he told Die Welt newspaper.

"Sebastian just gets stronger and stronger."

Red Bull's Monza-spec floor 'hole' legal - report
(GMM)  Red Bull's 2011 car was perfectly legal at Monza despite some suggestions to the contrary.

That is the finding of a Spanish sports daily in the wake of rumors after the Italian grand prix that the underside of the RB7 seemed to be hiding a suspicious secret.

When Mark Webber's crashed car was removed from the circuit, photographs and videos of the highly-secreted floor were leaked onto the internet amid suggestions a 'hole' could reignite a double diffuser-type debate.

But a report in Spain's Marca insists the Monza-spec floor of the Red Bull was legal.

"What is evident is the thoroughness of the work Red Bull is doing for each race," wrote journalist Marco Canseco, "with a nearly always bespoke solution for each circuit."

A separate report in Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Red Bull's development success in 2011 has astonished teams like McLaren and Ferrari in the context of the resource restriction agreement.

"Nearly everything we bring to the race track, works," said the team's Dr Helmut Marko.  "Our success rate is close to 100 per cent."

Hulkenberg sympathizes with Barrichello's plight
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg has revealed he knows just how Rubens Barrichello feels.

A year ago, the young German was enjoying a solid debut season in formula one but waiting to know if he would get a new Williams contract for 2011.

Ultimately, despite putting the FW32 on pole at Interlagos, Hulkenberg was overlooked by the famous British team apparently because Pastor Maldonado was offering millions in Venezuelan backing.

Now, it is Hulkenberg's former teammate Barrichello - the highly rated Brazilian veteran - who is waiting to know if he will be replaced for 2012.

Reportedly in the running for the seat is Adrian Sutil, who would presumably move his personal sponsors Medion and Capri-Sonne from Force India to Williams.

Ironically, the move would probably see Hulkenberg, 24, return to the race grid next year in Sutil's place.

But referring to Barrichello's predicament, Hulkenberg said: "It's exactly the same as me last year.  You get to the end of the season without a contract and with no alternatives.

"That's how fast it can change -- last year Rubens was the hero of the team," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

'No chance' hazy Singapore GP to be cancelled
(GMM)  There is "no chance" the Singapore grand prix will be called off due to poor visibility, race organizers said on Thursday.

It is a cloudy and humid day in the city-state, with weather forecasts predicting possible rain throughout the race weekend.

Additionally, forest fires in nearby Indonesia have cast a haze over the skies, with the pollutant standards index recording a mere "moderate" air quality according to the Straits Times Indonesia.

Together with the risk of rain in the artificial light, there have been suggestions the race could be called off.

"There's a regulation that says that if we can't see a certain distance, then we don't race," confirmed McLaren driver Jenson Button.

But race organizer Singapore GP's technical director Lawrence Foo said visibility is not a major concern.

"I (have) noticed it, but out in the open, it's not too bad.  We don't expect any problems", he said.

'Out of contract' McLaren duo 'phenomenal' - Horner
(GMM)  Jenson Button might not be the only McLaren driver on the move.

Although set to stay at the British team next season, in recent days the 2009 world champion has been linked with a move to Ferrari for 2013.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, meanwhile, has hinted that - with Mark Webber only confirmed for 2012 - he might be interested in Button or his teammate Lewis Hamilton for the future.

"Both (Button and Hamilton) are out of contract at the end of next year, but they are McLaren drivers so it's not for us to get involved," The Sun quotes Horner as saying.

"But both are phenomenal drivers."

Horner acknowledged that it is Button, 31, who is in better form at present.

"It has been a poor spell for Lewis," he said, "but ... for Jenson Button you can see a driver at ease with himself -- and his driving reflects that."

Button is F1's 'best number 2' - Irvine
(GMM)  Jenson Button is the "best number 2" in formula one, and his laid-back style is because he is happy to retire without adding a second world championship.

That is the typically outspoken claim of former Ferrari and Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine.

"Jenson is doing nothing special.  He just does a reasonable job," the Ulsterman told Germany's Auto Bild Motorsport amid suggestions the 2009 world champion has got the upper hand on his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton this season.

Irvine said of Button: "He knows he will never again be world champion and he drives accordingly.  Lewis on the other hand absolutely wants to be champion again and so he's too aggressive.

"He fights not only against the others but against himself; in some races he has been simply stupid," said the 45-year-old Ulsterman.

Irvine said he would like to see Hamilton switch to Red Bull.

"Then we will see how good (Sebastian) Vettel is," he insisted.  "And we really would, because one thing we already know is that Hamilton has beaten Alonso in the same team."

Irvine said German Vettel, 24, is clearly "very, very good, but many drivers have taken a title in Newey's car.  And, for me, his teammate Webber is not a top driver".

Sutil denies visiting Williams factory
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil on Thursday denied reports he recently visited Williams' Oxfordshire headquarters.

The reports had triggered rumors the 28-year-old, backed by personal sponsors Medion and Capri-Sonne, might switch to the British team next year to replace veteran Rubens Barrichello.

"I didn't go there and there are no contacts," the Force India driver told reporters in Singapore.

Sutil's manager this week said the German's focus is to stay at the Silverstone based team in 2012.

McLaren receives sponsorship from Lucozade energy drink
McLaren has moved into a sponsorship deal with energy drink Lucozade ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, meaning the company will be pitted directly against rivals Red Bull as the on-track action continues in Marina Bay.

As a result of the collaboration, Lucozade will supply both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton with a range of sports nutrition products and the company’s logos will be seen on the cars and driver overalls.

“People often think of the unique demands placed on the human body during a Grand Prix, but few consider the overall human performance that’s needed to maintain the strength and spirit of a team of almost 100 individuals as they travel across the world for nine months of the year,” says McLaren team doctor Aki Hintsa.

“Whether it’s spending long days working outdoors in the cold temperatures of the European winter, or spending race weekends in hot and humid countries like Malaysia, Singapore and India, effective physical and mental co-ordination through hydration is vital.”

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