Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
Qualifying the key to 2013 race seat - Senna
- Button rules out sharing Ferrari with Alonso
- Nurburgring cannot afford Ecclestone's fee - official
- Kovalainen open to McLaren return
- First layer of COTA track complete
- Whiting: Schumi must learn the rules
Qualifying the key to 2013 race seat - Senna
(GMM) Bruno Senna has conceded he needs to up his game in qualifying in order to secure his future at Williams.
After incomplete seasons with HRT (2010) and Renault (2011), this year is regarded by some as the 28-year-old Brazilian's first real chance in formula one.
He has often struggled against his Barcelona-winning teammate Pastor Maldonado, Senna managing to outqualify the sister Williams on only a few occasions so far in 2012.
But he had a good weekend last time out in Hungary, qualifying in the 'Q3' segment for the first time and then racing to seventh at the finish.
The driver, whose uncle was the great Ayrton Senna, insists he is making progress, amid intense speculation Williams will replace him with the team's well-connected and highly rated Friday driver Valtteri Bottas in 2013.
"Everybody needs opportunities to grow up and this is mine," Senna told AFP news agency.
"In the races, I think I'm doing pretty well this season. As I said before, nailing qualifying will be the key to make sure I stay for next year and hopefully the next few years," he added.
Senna said the points he scored in Hungary have allowed him to enter the August break in a positive frame of mind.
"Definitely if I had come out of the weekend with a bad result or with poor pace, you come into the break with something in the back of your mind," he said.
"I have nothing to worry about now."
Button rules out sharing Ferrari with Alonso
(GMM) Jenson Button has revealed he would only consider becoming Fernando Alonso's Ferrari teammate "in a parallel universe".
The 2009 world champion's latest interview, with Italy's Autosprint magazine, is a cool rejoinder to speculation Button might consider leaving McLaren as Ferrari seeks a replacement for struggling Felipe Massa.
Asked if he has had contact with Ferrari in 2012, the 32-year-old Briton said: "Well, uh ... there has always been contact.
"I always say 'hello, how are you?' when I see Stefano Domenicali in the paddock. But he knows and I know that I have a contract for next year.
"I really don't know why it (the Ferrari speculation) is focused so strongly in my direction," said Button.
Trying another tack, Autosprint asked Button if he is flattered that Ferrari made an effort to sign him for 2013.
"Who says they did?" he reportedly smiled.
"I think if you look at this team - McLaren - you see a team that has achieved so much. And if you look at the red team, you see the same thing.
"The Italians are passionate about sports, especially motor sport -- but this (McLaren) is the right place for me now. Although, as I've always said, 'never say never'," Button insisted.
He explained that Ferrari is not the right place for him now because of the unique structure Alonso has built up around him at Maranello.
Asked if he thinks the Spaniard would willingly see 'his' team altered to suit the needs of a new teammate, Button answered: "If you asked him, then no, he wouldn't.
"He is a very intelligent driver and, maybe, in a parallel universe, I'd happily work with him. It would be difficult but it's always interesting to have someone next to you who's so tough, so smart.
"I admire him as I admired Alain Prost -- he created a great atmosphere around him, with very good people.
"I'm sorry for Felipe, but I think Fernando has the whole team around him."
Nurburgring cannot afford Ecclestone's fee - official
(GMM) A Nurburgring official has admitted the German circuit cannot afford to host formula one next year.
As per the existing German GP alternating scheme with Hockenheim, the Nurburgring was due to return to the sport's calendar in 2013.
But the venue has succumbed to its financial problems, recently commencing an insolvency process.
The future looked brighter last week, when the governing Rhineland-Palatinate state agreed to guarantee a loan so that the Nurburgring can service its debts.
Nurburgring Automotive GmbH (NAG) chief Jorg Lindner said: "I am very optimistic that formula one will be going to the Nurburgring next year."
He said talks with Bernie Ecclestone would take place over the summer.
"We don't want to lose any of the racetracks, and we need to keep the race in Germany," said F1's chief executive, Ecclestone. "We will do our best."
But the Nurburgring's development chief, Thomas Schmidt, has dealt the situation a renewed blow by revealing that Ecclestone would have to dramatically reduce or even forgo F1's race sanctioning fee.
Schmidt told DPA news agency that, in the "current situation", the Nurburgring cannot afford to pay that sort of money.
"If Ecclestone accepts an offer without this typical fee, we can certainly keep formula one," he said.
Otherwise, "We simply don't have the money", Schmidt admitted.
He said he is "confident" a solution will ultimately be found, but warned that an F1 race is "not absolutely necessary" for the Nurburgring's survival.
Kovalainen open to McLaren return
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen believes he is ready to return to a top team like McLaren.
After a difficult debut season at Renault in 2007 in the wake of Fernando Alonso's departure, the now 30-year-old Finn endured an even tougher two-year tenure at McLaren -- again in Spaniard Alonso's wake.
He was forced to rebuild his reputation and polish his skills right at the back of the grid, but after three seasons with a 2010 startup team, Kovalainen is reportedly now open to leaving Caterham and returning to the points-paying positions in 2013.
"My focus is on maximizing my performance here at Caterham and giving my best to the team," Kovalainen told the German website motorsport-total.com.
"That puts me in the best possible position in the market if I want to move teams," he said. "But I don't even know what Caterham's plans are -- maybe they don't want me anymore."
He insists he is not in a rush to find out, but the paddock speculation is not waiting for him. The most often-rumored name connected with Kovalainen for 2013 is Sauber.
"It's rumors and that's all I can say," Kovalainen said. "They (Sauber) seem to be very strong this year but that's all I can say."
What about McLaren? His former team has a theoretical vacancy for 2013 at present, with Lewis Hamilton's new contract still not signed and sealed.
Or Ferrari, who are weighing up the candidates to replace struggling Felipe Massa?
"For me, being at McLaren was a dream come true," he answered. "They are a great team, but of course so is Ferrari. Fernando is doing a great job and Massa is getting better.
"A top team, no question."
When pressed on the topic of McLaren, Kovalainen admitted: "I can only say good things about them, although I experienced some good times and some bad times.
"But I know exactly what happened at that time, and what would happen if I got the chance in the future.
"I would have no problem (going back). They are a great team and I am still in touch with lots of McLaren guys -- I have a very good relationship with Martin Whitmarsh, for example.
"At the time, everything just did not fit together, but there were reasons. Since then, a lot has changed," he insisted.
First layer of COTA track complete
The Circuit of the Americas track in Austin is making good progress with "marrying the track" taking place.
The US GP will return to the Formula One calendar this year with a race in Texas in November.
Construction of the track has had it's hiccups, with a contractual dispute bringing a halt to work over the winter. However, matters appear to be well on schedule now.
"Circuit of The Americas has reached another paving milestone!," read a statement on the circuit's website.
"Today the crew is laying final piece of base course and completing the entire first layer of pavement around the track. This process is referred to as "marrying the track" and is taking place from Turn 20, through the starting grid and up the hill to Turn 1.
"Unlike building a traditional sports complex like a stadium or ballpark the major portion of construction for Circuit of The Americas is building the "track" itself.
"About ten feet of Central Texas clay was excavated the entire length of the track. A black poly material 30 millimeters in thickness was then placed along the length of the excavated portion. This material acts as an envelope for layers of select fill to be placed so that it remains exactly in place."
Whiting: Schumi must learn the rules
FIA race director Charlie Whiting has criticized Michael Schumacher for his error on the grid in Hungary.
The Mercedes driver stalled his engine after lining up on the wrong spot on the grid. Normal procedures call for another formation lap to take place in such an event, a rule that came into place in 2005.
However, Schumacher appears not to have realized this and turned off his engine and as a result had to be pushed to the pits by the marshals.
Whiting believes that the German really should have known better.
"Michael should know the rules," Whiting is quoted as telling Bild am Sonntag.
The Briton also revealed that drivers do not need to take a rule test prior to the season, with the FIA taking it as a given that they will know them.
"We assume that a team competing in Formula One knows the rules. It is the responsibility of the teams to ensure that its drivers - its employees - know the rules," he said. Planet F1