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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Button could be next to mark triple-century
  • 2014 engine importance 'right' for F1 - Tombazis
  • 'Business' side crucial for new contract - Hamilton
  • More Mercedes wins unlikely for now - Rosberg
  • Hamilton doesn't want Button's help for title
  • Tombazis feared for job after Ferrari's poor start
  • Pic's manager to meet with Force India, Sauber
  • Lotus could end victory drought in Belgium

Button could be next to mark triple-century
(GMM)  Jenson Button has admitted he could be the next F1 driver to notch up a landmark 300 grands prix.

Michael Schumacher is celebrating his triple-century this weekend at Spa Francorchamps, and the next most experienced active driver on the grid is McLaren's Button, who has raced 221 times to date.

Asked if he might become the third driver in F1 history with 300 grands prix, after Schumacher and record-holder Rubens Barrichello, Button said in Belgium: "Yeah, there's no reason why not.

"It's four and a half years of racing.  Yeah, it's possible."

Less likely is that Schumacher could go on to notch up yet another century of grands prix, as racing in an unprecedented 400th grand prix will mean he is still driving at the highest level towards the end of his 40s.

"We probably (can) say no for that one," German Schumacher said on Thursday.

In fact, the 43-year-old's former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa thinks the seven time world champion was wrong to come out of retirement in 2010.

"He had the most perfect career that a driver could imagine," the Brazilian told Germany's motorsport-magazin.com.

"In my opinion he stopped just at the right time and at the right age," said Massa at Spa.

Fernando Alonso, however, thinks the only thing missing since Schumacher returned to F1 is a good car.

"With a Red Bull Bull last year he probably would have won the title," the Spaniard told Diario AS.

2014 engine importance 'right' for F1 - Tombazis
(GMM)  Ferrari designer Nicholas Tombazis insists it is "right" that engines will have a higher importance in 2014.

His Red Bull counterpart Adrian Newey said recently he was worried the start of the new V6 era could mean one engine supplier enjoys a big advantage over its rivals.

But when asked by Italy's La Stampa if he thinks F1 is currently too dominated by aerodynamic performance and development, Tombazis agreed: "In 2014, the engine will regain a major importance.

"And that's just right," said Ferrari's Athens-born designer.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug, meanwhile, said fears that the 2014 rules will spoil the current high-competitiveness on the grid are unfounded.

"I believe there will be a good competition between the teams and a balanced world championship that will not be dominated by engines," he told Germany's motorsport-magazin.com.

'Business' side crucial for new contract - Hamilton
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has revealed that his management team at Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment are now negotiating the terms of his 2013 contract.

With McLaren figures insisting a new deal with the 2008 world champion is close at hand, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said on Thursday the impasse "will be resolved in fairly short order".

"We'll know in due course and when we've got something to say we'll make that statement," he added.

Hamilton, 27, entered F1 six years ago with McLaren, having also enjoyed the marque's support in his junior career.

But according to speculation, his managers are now arguing with the Woking based team about money and other business-related issues.

Asked at Spa Francorchamps if - in his heart - he wants to stay at McLaren, he told reporters on Thursday: "Yeah, but this is a business.

"I always wear my heart on my sleeve but of course you have to be business-minded as well.

"The guys that are paid to do their job are discussing that and working on getting that resolved," said Hamilton.

More Mercedes wins unlikely for now - Rosberg
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has played down his chances of adding another pole or victory to his 2012 tally this weekend in Belgium.

Since breaking through in China early this season, the German has only managed one more front row start and one more podium, and he was tenth at the finish last time out in Hungary.

"At the last race we had balance problems in the long corners," Rosberg is quoted as saying at Spa Francorchamps by Germany's Speed Week, "and here there are a lot of the same type of corners.

"I believe we can have a good weekend, but whether it's enough for a very good result, I don't know," the 27-year-old insisted.

"I believe that in Monza and Singapore we will have a better chance to have a good result, but I don't know if it's realistic to talk about winning," Rosberg added.

Hamilton doesn't want Button's help for title
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton insists he doesn't want help from his teammate Jenson Button to win the 2012 title.

Button is 41 points behind the sister McLaren in the drivers' standings, prompting team boss Martin Whitmarsh to warn that there "may come a point" when the issue of team orders is discussed.

It was clear on Thursday at Spa, however, that Button is not ready to have that discussion yet.

"Personally I think it is a pretty pointless conversation right now," he said.

"We will fight all the way until either we win the championship or it is no longer possible."

Hamilton, meanwhile, said he doesn't even want Button's help.

"Jenson drives for the team and for himself," he is quoted in Belgium by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"I want to beat my rivals on the track, not because someone has let me past.  That's not my approach and I would never ask for it," said Hamilton.

Tombazis feared for job after Ferrari's poor start
(GMM)  Nicholas Tombazis has admitted he feared for his job after launching the 2012 Ferrari early this year.

Through an impressive development program, and the skilled racing of Fernando Alonso, the red F2012 now leads the drivers' championship.

But it was more than a shaky start, and the team's Athens-born chief designer Tombazis admitted it was a career low point.

Asked if he feared following Aldo Costa and Chris Dyer out the Maranello factory doors, he told La Stampa: "A team has the right to question his chief designer and - if they're not winning - wonder if he is the right person for the job."

But, more than half the season in and with Alonso now regarded as the clear favorite for the title, Tombazis insists relief is not the right word.

"We have recovered from one of the worst beginnings of my whole career," he said.

"For now we are alright, but we need to keep developing if we are to win the world championship."

So how did his technical team recover from such a bad start?

"The first step was to recognize where we were wrong.  And as is the case with an alcoholic, one starts from admitting you have a problem."

Pic's manager to meet with Force India, Sauber
(GMM)  Charles Pic's management will reportedly meet with representatives of the Force India and Sauber teams this weekend at Spa.

According to RMC Sport, the 22-year-old French rookie takes EUR 7 million to the Marussia team this season, raised and invested by his management group Lagardere.

The report said Lagardere has been disappointed by Marussia's performance so far in 2012, and is therefore shopping around for possible alternatives for 2013.

RMC said Pic's representatives will meet with bosses of the Force India and Sauber teams in Belgium this weekend, while Caterham "is also interested".

The report said Sauber and Force India "have made enquiries" about Pic, and so experienced manager Didier Coton will represent Lagardere and Pic in meetings this weekend.

Marussia's technical consultant Pat Symonds said this week he is happy with the team's current driver lineup, also featuring the experienced Timo Glock.

And asked if he has been pleasantly surprised by Pic, he answered: "Yes, absolutely.

"I think this year he has matured in his approach in formula one.

"There is no doubt that he's fast; he has proven that on a number of occasions, and I think race-by-race he learns more about the nuances of the tires and indeed the way one approaches a grand prix weekend."

Lotus could end victory drought in Belgium
(GMM)  The buzzword in the Spa paddock is 'Lotus'.

Already a standout performer of the 2012 season, the black and gold E20 is long overdue for a victory.

Belgium could be just the place.  Only Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher have won more times in the Ardennes than Kimi Raikkonen (4).

And, for the first time in 2012, he and teammate Romain Grosjean are tipped to race the Enstone based team's new 'double DRS' innovation, which on Spa's long straights could provide a big advantage.

"On paper, it (Spa) looks very good for us," the always-smiling Frenchman Grosjean is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Friday practice will be his first ever chance to try the double-DRS.

"It will be very interesting and a big help if it works the way we expect," he said.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton said in Belgium: "Lotus are going to win at some stage.  That car looks fantastic to drive.

"They're quick and yet they don't have the rear end Ferrari, Red Bull and us have.  When they get that, the rest of us are going to be in trouble."

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