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DATE News (chronologically)
09/26/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  
  • Lewis Hamilton (left) and his father Anthony
    Hamilton Snr points finger at son's management
  • Marko in no rush for Vettel's title seal
  • Domenicali says Newey last 'genius' in F1
  • Domenicali not ruling out newcomer for Massa's seat
  • FIA hands back Red Bull's curfew 'wild card'
  • Rosberg wants Schumacher to sign up for 2013
  • No F1 negotiations for Raikkonen
  • Whitmarsh: Hamilton still loved by McLaren

Hamilton Snr points finger at son's management
(GMM)  Anthony Hamilton has criticized his son's management team as the 2008 world champion returned to the headlines for the wrong reasons.

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton clashed twice with his 2008 title nemesis Felipe Massa in Singapore, and afterwards almost came to blows with the diminutive Brazilian.

"We're all pretty hot here," said his boss Martin Whitmarsh smiled and shrugged.

"Felipe grabbed Lewis slightly aggressively but I think Lewis acted with restraint and walked away from any potential confrontation."

Briton Hamilton, 26, was heard to shout "Don't touch me, man" to Ferrari's Massa and then left the circuit in his sweaty overalls without completing his media duties.

"I called to him two times, but he didn't listen to me, he went past me.  He didn't even look to me," said Massa.

"I said 'like that you will win many championships'.  Maybe his father can do something about it," Massa said sarcastically.

According to Bild newspaper, triple world champion Niki Lauda sided with Massa: "I don't understand how a guy with Hamilton's talent can be always so stupid."

Indeed, Hamilton Snr - who split professionally with his son before last season - pointed at a failure of management.  Lewis' career is now handled by celebrity manager Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment.

"You look up and down the pitlane and every driver, except for Lewis, has a driver-manager in his life, not people from a company," said Hamilton, in Singapore to be with his new charge, Force India's Paul di Resta.

"Formula one drivers need people personally involved in the driver's lives because it is a big pressure," he insisted.

"You sign up a formula one driver, so come and do your job.  No disrespect to anybody but that's how this business is.

"I have seen Lewis and he is fine.  It is hard right now but he will come back, there is no doubt about that."

Marko in no rush for Vettel's title seal
(GMM)  Dr Helmut Marko insists he is in no rush to see Sebastian Vettel capture the 2011 championship.

The Red Bull driver, who has won the past three races on the trot, needs just a single point at Suzuka in two weeks to secure his crown with four races still to run.

And if McLaren's Jenson Button fails to win in Japan, 24-year-old German Vettel will automatically be champion even if he doesn't finish the race.

Team advisor Marko, a former F1 driver from Austria, is understandably cool.

"Whether we get the world title here (in Singapore) or in Japan or in Korea, it is no different to me," he told German television.

Vettel is not yet publicly declaring his certain championship even if McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh finally conceded late on Sunday: "It's over".

"I feel capable but I still have to do it," commented Vettel.  "Obviously with the races that we've had so far, it should not be a big problem but it's over when it's over and not before."

Domenicali says Newey last 'genius' in F1
(GMM)  Red Bull's Adrian Newey is the last of his breed in formula one, according to Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.

Under the Singapore lights late on Sunday, the fabled Italian team's lead driver Fernando Alonso finally dropped mathematically out of the chase for the 2011 title.

Domenicali said recently that German Vettel, on the cusp of securing his second consecutive world championship for Red Bull, is not yet as good as Ferrari's Spanish driver in terms of leading a team.

According to him, the great champion at Red Bull is Newey, the car's designer.

"Obviously there is teamwork," Domenicali told Spanish sports daily Marca, "but what is clear is that they are the only team that has this genius that is Adrian Newey, who has done a great project.

"Formula one has changed a lot compared to the past, when there were a great many personalities in formula one.  Now there is only one, and this guy is with Red Bull," he added.

Newey is staying with the energy drink-owned team next year and beyond, but Domenicali thinks Ferrari will be able to fight wheel-to-wheel in 2012.

"They are good, but I think this area of the blown diffuser is precisely where we have not been able to get the performance we wanted.

"They have been very good with this but I think the car for next year will have fewer areas where you can find something else in the rules.

"So I am quite optimistic because we started (the 2012 car) very early, some people will say in August, and the first wind tunnel numbers are very encouraging."

Domenicali revealed he uttered the word 'Wow!' when he first laid eyes on the concept of Ferrari's 2012 car.

"Yes, honestly I did because we have changed the design philosophy," he said.  "Will it be better than this one?  It has to be.  One hundred per cent."

Jules Bianchi - another Massa, good, not great
Peter Sauber (L) has Sergio Perez (R) under contract
American Alexander Rossi - the driver Ferrari should hire to replace Massa, very fast, just needs more experience.  Supported by AirAsia and Tony Fernandes of Team Lotus soon to be Caterham Racing
Domenicali not ruling out newcomer for Massa's seat
(GMM)  Stefano Domenicali has refused to rule out finding a place at Ferrari for another driver in 2013.

Fernando Alonso is signed up long beyond next season, but his current teammate Felipe Massa will be out of contract at the end of 2012.

At the front of the queue are the two drivers heading up Ferrari's so-called driver 'academy': French GP2 driver Jules Bianchi and 2011 Sauber rookie Sergio Perez.

Asked about Ferrari's driver plans for Bianchi and Perez in 2013, Domenicali said in Singapore: "For 2013?  Ah yes.  Bianchi is a great talent and he had a positive season in GP2 but he needs to grow and gain experience next season.

"I cannot say now where he will be," the Italian told Spanish sports daily Marca, "but for sure we want to invest because we believe in him.

"As for Sergio, he has a contract with Sauber and he also has to grow.  It is best not to put any goals at this time.  May both of them have a good 2012," added Domenicali.

Meanwhile, the Italian was asked how much he worries about the rumors Flavio Briatore is waiting in the wings to be the next Ferrari team principal.

Making a circular motion with his fingers, he said: "Zero!"

FIA hands back Red Bull's curfew 'wild card'
(GMM)  The FIA handed back Red Bull's paddock curfew 'wild card' in Singapore.

The dominant team was penalized ahead of the night race because a staff member was in the paddock during the working-day blackout period.

Dr Helmut Marko, however, protested that the unidentified staff member in question was wielding a mere guest pass and had no operational connection with either the team or the cars.

Indeed, it is believed he was connected to the sponsor Infiniti.

"After interviewing the person and hearing the explanation it is now clear that this person is not a member of the team," an official of the governing FIA is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

The FIA also lifted similar sanctions against the Mercedes and Virgin teams, who argued that they thought marketing staff were exempt from the curfew.

But Auto Motor und Sport quoted an insider as insisting that team bosses agreed in Melbourne earlier this year that marketing staff "are clearly included in the ban".

A spokesman for Mercedes GP confirmed that a female member of the team's marketing staff broke the curfew by half an hour.

Meanwhile, Toro Rosso's curfew penalty - imposed after boss Franz Tost entered the Singapore paddock too early - stands.

Rosberg wants Schumacher to sign up for 2013
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has revealed he would be happy to have Michael Schumacher as his teammate beyond the 2012 season.

The German's comments are a clear indication that he intends to sign a new deal beyond the expiry of his own contract.

And Rosberg thinks seven time world champion should do the same.

"Definitely," he is quoted by the German news agency SID.  "Of course it's up to him to decide if he's still enjoying it but for the team it would be a good thing."

Schumacher, 42, was asked in Singapore at the weekend if he will still be racing in 2013.  "Next year I'll decide," he answered simply.

His boss, Mercedes' motor racing vice president Norbert Haug, joined Rosberg in hoping Schumacher will stay on board.

"We are very satisfied with the drivers we have," he said.  "We want to climb up the ladder with the combination that we have."

No F1 negotiations for Raikkonen
Steve Robertson, manager for Kimi Raikkonen, has moved to ease speculation over the Finn’s potential return to Formula 1, revealing exclusively to GPUpdate.net that although the 2007 Champion completed a visit to the Williams factory two weeks ago, no current negotiations are taking place for a seat at the Grove squad.

"At the end of the day people know Kimi visited Williams, but there’s nothing more to say apart from that," Robertson, who also manages British F3 Champion Felipe Nasr, told GPUpdate.net. "There is nothing more to report."

Following his title-winning campaign with Ferrari, Raikkonen finished third and sixth during his next two seasons before taking up a career in the World Rally Championship. In recent weeks a possible return for the 31-year-old has been hyped up by the media, but Robertson insists this is not the case at present, with Formula 1 remaining off the current agenda.

When asked to confirm whether or not talks have been taking place in recent weeks, Robertson plainly replied: "No," before going on to explain that the pair will make a comment about their future motorsport plans when they feel it is suitable to do so.

Whitmarsh: Hamilton still loved by McLaren
McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh has defended the actions of Lewis Hamilton in the Singapore Grand Prix, stressing that – while the 2008 World Champion has suffered a poor season – he continues to receive much ‘love’ from McLaren ahead of a fresh campaign in 2012.

Following the night race in Marina Bay, Hamilton was approached during media interviews by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, with whom he collided in the early stages and damaged both cars.

“The truth is, there are plenty of people who have spoken to me already who have a different view,” Whitmarsh is quoted as saying by Reuters in response to criticism of Hamilton. “I think you have to take some risk in overtaking and he is a driver who wants to overtake in a hurry. Now, after the event, he'll regret that and wish he'd backed out of it and waited for another three corners, or whatever.

“The fact is, it happened. It was right or wrong. After that he drove an immaculate race and he shouldn't have had to have the penalty or his front wing knocked off. He (also) shouldn't have lost places at the start. In sport and life things go well and go badly for you - I think this time it went badly.”

In relation to questions about the relationship between Hamilton and Massa - the two drivers who fought for the World Championship in 2008 - Whitmarsh replied:

“They’ve been friends, they've been enemies. You know what it's like amongst drivers. Lewis is having plenty of love from the team. I have known him since he was 11 and I have seen him go through great moments of elation, achievement and areas of disappointment. Naturally, there is a big affinity between him and myself and various other members in this team. Undeniably, this year has not been a good one for Lewis Hamilton, but he's still got five races and he will regroup and try to win them.”

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