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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Michael Schumacher - nothing but bad luck
    Schumacher's bad run mere 'fate' - Brawn
  • Alonso hails Ferrari's unprecedented progress
  • Button 'very lost' as title hopes lose grip in 2012
  • Montreal promoter 'relieved' after stressful event
  • Villadelprat slams Red Bull cheating 'witch hunt'
  • Brawn no longer strategy 'super brain'
  • Surprise podium for Perez

Schumacher's bad run mere 'fate' - Brawn
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's run of terrible luck is raising questions about equality within the Mercedes team.

His 2012 title hopes already effectively over due to a spate of incidents and technical problems, the seven time world champion once again failed to finish on Sunday when his DRS rear wing stuck open in Canada.

"It's hard to understand why the problems affect only one driver," former Force India racer Adrian Sutil said on German television Sky.

"If you compare his points with Nico (Rosberg)'s, the difference is significant," he added.

Team boss Ross Brawn said: "I can only apologize to Michael for a further technical failure."

Schumacher, however, denied any suggestion he is being given inferior equipment, mechanics, or attention to detail.

"I am one hundred per cent convinced of that," he is quoted by Bild newspaper.

Brawn agreed.

"In my time at Ferrari is the was the reverse: it was said we favored Michael and gave his teammates something less," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

"Of course it's nonsense.  A team always tries to give both the drivers exactly the same.  If there is a one-sided series of defects, then that is down to fate alone," Brawn argued.

It is bad timing, however, that Schumacher's string of problems coincides with his expiring Mercedes contract, and the talks and decisions that must precede a new one.

"Obviously it's not a help," said Sutil.  "At some point it can affect your motivation, as it happens no matter what you do or how strong you are.

"But there are still races to go and it can turn around," he insisted.

Alonso hails Ferrari's unprecedented progress
(GMM)  Rather than rue a lost victory, Fernando Alonso hailed Ferrari after the Canadian grand prix.

The Spaniard and former championship leader was at the head of the Montreal field late on Sunday, until his Pirelli tires gave up their grip.

His team, however, persevered with the one-stop strategy, while Sebastian Vettel gave up, pitted and ultimately passed him, and Lewis Hamilton won with the clearly superior two-stop strategy.

The struggling Alonso was even passed by Hamilton's fellow podium-getters Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez, and he ultimately finished just fifth.

According to Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo, the 30-year-old conceded that, in hindsight, making another pitstop would have been the better choice.

But he hailed Ferrari anyway.

"I've never before seen a kind of progress as we have made this year, and this development (in Canada) was the most significant we have made for a long time.

"At the beginning of the season we were struggling to get out of Q1, and now we are fighting for the first places on the grid and for victories," added Alonso.

Button 'very lost' as title hopes lose grip in 2012
(GMM)  Former championship favorite Jenson Button is being swallowed up by F1's fascinating 2012 season.

The first winner this year, Briton Button's form has been sliding recently and it hit rock bottom in Canada, where he finished sixteenth whilst Lewis Hamilton won in the sister McLaren.

He admitted afterwards that he leaves Montreal "confused and very lost".

He has qualified tenth or lower throughout May and June, and has only half of championship leader Hamilton's points tally, and is just eighth in the title standings.

"There was nothing there," Button told reporters after Sunday's race.

"It has been the same at the last couple of races.  I don't know why that is."

Button, the 2011 championship runner-up, also admitted he is at a loss to explain how his celebrated skill of looking after his tires is proving no benefit this season.

Compounding the mystery is that Hamilton, actually the more aggressive driver, is making the heavily-degrading Pirellis work for him.

"I haven't got a clue at the moment," Button said when asked what he and his engineers will do to rectify the situation between now and Valencia in two weeks.

"Driving around one and half seconds slower than the leaders, one of whom is my teammate ... I don't know why because I can't push the car any quicker.

"It is not the tires.  I cannot be the only person who can't drive the tires.  It's impossible.

"That felt like the limit of the car.  I am leaving here confused and very lost," he said.

Montreal promoter 'relieved' after stressful event
(GMM)  Race promoter Francois Dumontier admitted he was relieved after the Canadian grand prix was run without incident on Sunday.

The protesting university students and a heavy police and security presence around Montreal has been obvious this weekend.

But according to the La Presse newspaper, Dumontier said the ticket sales decline was ultimately lower than expected.

"I am relieved," he said.

"I can't deny that the last two weeks have been challenging -- it's already hard enough to organize a grand prix!

"We had a good weekend," added Dumontier.  "Despite the threats, the event was not disrupted.  People could get in.

"I don't have the latest figures, but it was a good day today because the stands were well filled."

He said he hopes next year's event is less stressful.

"I hope we can have a grand prix next year under normal conditions," said Dumontier.

Although relieved and happy, he admitted the 2012 event will be a financial loss.

"For sure we will (record a loss) and that's a shame as we are a private company," he said.

But Dumontier also revealed that meetings took place over the weekend between race and government officials and Bernie Ecclestone, regarding the extension of the contract for 2014-2024.

"We have been talking for several months so it is ongoing," he said.

"There are no obstacles at the moment.  He (Ecclestone) was here and so were some ministers so we took the opportunity to speak together."

Villadelprat slams Red Bull cheating 'witch hunt'
(GMM)  Joan Villadelprat has slammed the anti-Red Bull "witch hunt" that is casting the reigning world champions as F1 cheats.

Recently, the energy drink owned team has been told not only to modify small holes in the floor ahead of the RB8's rear wheels, but also holes in the wheel hub that reportedly also gave an illegal aerodynamic benefit.

Villadelprat, a former veteran F1 engineer and manager, wrote in El Pais newspaper that top team rivals McLaren and Ferrari are having to "do anything" to get back on terms with the sport's recently dominant team.

He said the saga surrounding the apparently minor floor and hub holes was "nonsense".

"The regulation specifies that there can be no hole (in the floor) ... but it is no longer considered a hole if you put a slot to the outside.  Then it becomes a legal system.

"And that solution is used by almost all of the teams.

"Even worse is that no one even made a formal protest.  If someone is doing something illegal then you should protest it, as has happened before, not throw dirt on a rival through the media and the gossip of the paddock," he charged.

"Neither Ferrari nor McLaren wanted to enter directly into this war against Red Bull, but instead subliminally suggested to the FIA an intervention.

"This puts a halo of cheating around the Austrian team that is totally unfounded," Villadelprat said.

"It's like a witch hunt," he charged, "which is something that I lived through at Benetton in 1994 when Michael Schumacher was dominating and the other teams accused us of using traction control.

"There are many who react badly to the creativity of their rivals because it covers up their own negligence.

"But with all the obstacles, Red Bull remains competitive and they are the team that seems to best understand the behavior of these tires, which is one of the keys that will decide this championship," said Villadelprat.

Brawn no longer strategy 'super brain'
(GMM)  In his Ferrari era, Ross Brawn was hailed as F1's 'super brain'; the strategic mastermind behind Michael Schumacher's most memorable wins.

The duo are together again at Mercedes, but Briton Brawn admitted that in these days as team principal, he is no longer steering the actual race strategies during grands prix.

That role, he said, is occupied by James Vowles, a 32-year-old Briton.

"We have a very good guy for the strategies," Brawn told Finnish broadcaster MTV3, "but he presents his ideas to me to hear what I think of them.

"Sometimes with my experience I am able to give a different view of things, but James is very good and I need to intervene very rarely," Brawn revealed.

Surprise podium for Perez
Sergio Perez concedes he didn't expect to finish on the podium when he started Sunday's Canadian GP 15th on the grid.

The Mexican driver, who claimed his first ever F1 podium at the Malaysian GP earlier this season, was in a for a treat on Sunday as he put his one-stop strategy to good use.

Starting on the soft tires, the harder of the two compounds, Perez raced around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve until lap 41 on that single set of tires.

His late switch to the supersofts meant that Perez's rubber was much fresher than Fernando Alonso when it came to the final few laps and the Sauber driver overtook the Ferrari on the penultimate lap.

"When you start 15th on the grid, you don't expect to get a podium finish," Perez said.

"We went off very aggressively, and I managed to overtake a few cars with some difficult maneuvers.

"The tire degradation was not bad for me, and I managed to keep moving up the field.

"After such a bad day yesterday, when we had so much trouble with the brakes, this was a great boost for the team."

If we were a conspiracy theorist (which we're not), we would be sure F1 fixed the race to have Sergio Perez on the podium, the timing was perfect.  Can’t believe how many people from Mexico emailed us and called us to tell us they bought tickets today, the first day they sold regular tickets for the Austin GP.

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