Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.
|Nico Hulkenberg to Sauber|
- Senna doubts 2012 title to go down to the wire
- Hembery doubts 'tire war' to return to F1
- Raikkonen not ruling out return to Ferrari, McLaren
- Sutil's manager says Force India talks 'not concrete'
- Schu would have won races for Sauber - Alonso
- Sauber F1 Team signs on Nico Hulkenberg for 2013 New
- Theys Gives Fans Rides in an Actual F1 Race Car New
Senna doubts 2012 title to go down to the wire
(GMM) Bruno Senna hopes the battle between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel for the 2012 title goes down to the wire in his native Brazil next month.
But he doubts it.
"I hope it does (happen) so that we can have some fun there," the Williams driver is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace, "but it's difficult.
"Red Bull has a very big advantage," added Senna.
In fact, he thinks Ferrari's deficit to Red Bull could be even bigger this weekend in Abu Dhabi.
"In India, the advantage is somewhat minimized because it's a track with less limitation for the rear," said the Brazilian.
"But when you get to a track like Abu Dhabi, they (Red Bull) will have a very good performance."
Gary Anderson, a former F1 technical chief turned broadcaster, agrees that Red Bull and Vettel are very much the championship favorites.
"I don't know how Ferrari will pull it from nowhere to overtake Red Bull's pace of development," he is quoted by German-language Speed Week.
"Especially as Red Bull will also have new things on their car in Abu Dhabi."
Austrian great Niki Lauda agreed this week that the title is now "almost impossible" for Spaniard Alonso to win.
Alonso, however, said nothing has changed.
"It's been like this for a good part of my career, and yet people say good things about me, that I am considered one of the best."
He told Totalrace that the key to Vettel's resurgent title challenge has been Adrian Newey.
"I don't think Sebastian and Mark (Webber) have improved their driving since Singapore, yet suddenly they are always first and second.
"This means that the car they have now is so superior that they can even afford to make a mistake; they have that margin.
"But we (Ferrari) will work hard so that they don't have it in the three remaining races," Alonso insisted.
The Spaniard's former McLaren nemesis Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, clearly agrees with the paddock sentiment about Alonso being at least the 'moral' champion of 2012.
"In my opinion," the Briton is quoted by Spain's El Confidencial, "he is a three or four times world champion already."
Hembery doubts 'tire war' to return to F1
(GMM) Paul Hembery doubts Pirelli will be fighting in formula one against a rival tire manufacturer any time soon.
It was rumored in India last weekend that the Italian supplier's British chief has now kicked off talks with Bernie Ecclestone about Pirelli extending its stay in F1 beyond 2013.
But Hembery is quoted by the German-language Spox as doubting the sport will end the era of no competition in the supply of tires.
Asked if he sometimes imagines a 'tire war' would be enjoyable, he answered: "Clearly.
"From a personal perspective, we always look forward to competition. It's always more fun to beat an opponent," said Hembery.
"Nevertheless, we need to consider the financial environment. The teams have no interest in a new tire war," he claimed.
"Just as it is for the tire manufacturers, it's also very difficult to assess the team's part in success.
"There would need to be quite a strong argument to return to the days of open (tire) competition," he added.
Raikkonen not ruling out return to Ferrari, McLaren
(GMM) Although committing to Lotus for another season, Kimi Raikkonen is not ruling out a return to his former teams McLaren or Ferrari in the future.
The 2007 world champion has been praised for his highly competitive return to F1 this season, but until now he has failed to add to his career tally of 18 wins.
He won all of those races for McLaren (2002-2006) and Ferrari (2007-2009), until he headed to world rallying in 2010 after being replaced at the Italian team by Fernando Alonso.
"I think the last year has been, overall, good for the team but of course you want to win races and challenge for championships," Raikkonen told the Telegraph, after Lotus announced that the 33-year-old has been signed up for 2013.
"I'm not 100 per cent happy," he admitted. "If I'm here I want to win and be successful."
Raikkonen does not, therefore, rule out a return at some point to Ferrari or McLaren, insisting that although his relationships with those teams did not end perfectly, the doors could still be open.
"Ferrari could have ended in a slightly nicer way but the people I worked with who are still there, I had a very good relationship with them and go and talk to them still," he explained.
"You never know," he said. "I don't know how long I will be driving for. Maybe I don't drive for many more years."
Raikkonen said McLaren is another possibility, even though it is reported his relationship with team supremo Ron Dennis was not great.
"For sure you have a different view of many things but we still talk to each other," he said. "I have never had a fight with him.
"People just try to make sh*t stories. I have no issues with anybody."
Sutil's manager says Force India talks 'not concrete'
(GMM) Adrian Sutil's manager has played down reports the German is first in line for a return to Force India in 2013.
With Nico Hulkenberg looking likely to switch to Sauber next year, Force India supremo Vijay Mallya admitted last weekend that long-time team driver Sutil is a candidate to replace the younger German.
Sutil, who has been on the sidelines this year following his assault conviction of 2011, is quoted by Switzerland's 20min.ch as admitting there
are "definitely opportunities" for a return to formula one in 2013.
But his manager Manfred Zimmermann is for now playing down the Force India link.
"There are no concrete negotiations with Force India," he told the German news agency DPA by telephone.
Zimmermann said Sutil, 29, has several options for 2013.
"I think we have legitimate hopes," he said. "We hope the puzzle is over in the next 14 days."
Indeed, another contender for Hulkenberg's Force India seat must be the team's reserve driver Jules Bianchi, who is backed by Ferrari and managed by Felipe Massa's manager, Nicolas Todt.
"If a place becomes available," the French rookie told RMC Sport, "there will be plenty of contenders.
"The main objective is Force India," admitted Bianchi.
Schu would have won races for Sauber - Alonso
(GMM) With one short sentence, Fernando Alonso defended the great Michael Schumacher, criticized Mercedes' performance, praised Sauber's 2012 car, and slated the Swiss team's current driver lineup.
"I am sure Michael would have won three races this year for Sauber," the Ferrari driver is quoted by the German-language T-Online website.
Instead, 43-year-old Schumacher is all but resigned to bowing out of the sport at the end of the season on a low, his return to F1 since 2010 almost certainly to be remembered as a failure in his otherwise all-conquering career.
The Mercedes driver is quoted as admitting saying goodbye in Brazil with a good result would "be nice".
"But I don't expect it," he is quoted by Abendblatt. "So in this regard I will not be sentimental."
Schumacher said the most he can hope for is that the fruits of his contribution to the Mercedes project will be reaped by next year's drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
"It is natural that we are still working together as a team right now as though I will still be there next year," he said.
"The team is also interested in my opinion and experience."
Team boss Ross Brawn confirmed that Schumacher's hand will be obvious when Mercedes succeeds.
"I hope people think of Michael on the day that we achieve our goals, because he will wear a proportion of that success," said the Briton.
Sauber F1 Team signs on Nico Hulkenberg for 2013
Nico Hulkenberg has been confirmed as one of the two team drivers for the Sauber F1 Team in season 2013. The 25-year-old German won the GP2 Series in 2009, made his Formula One debut in 2010 with the WilliamsF1 Team and managed to capture a pole position in his maiden year. He is currently driving for Sahara Force India and ranks 12th in the Drivers’ World Championship with 49 points after 17 out of 20 races. Hulkenberg’s best Formula One race result this season was at the Belgian Grand Prix, where he finished fourth on the challenging Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn commented: “We’ve been observing Nico for some time now and his performances have been very persuasive. That was the case in GP2 and has continued into Formula One. An obvious highlight was how he scored pole at Interlagos in 2010 despite the most challenging external conditions. He clearly showed that he can seize the chance if it arises. But high spots like that are one thing; systematic teamwork is another – and on that score I have confidence in Nico too. I’m sure he will fit in very well with the Sauber F1 Team. We look forward to working together with him.”
Nico Hulkenberg’s reaction: “I’m really looking forward to working with the Sauber F1 Team. It’s a well-placed team and very competitive. Plus it’s a team in which young drivers have repeatedly delivered exceptional performances. I would like to take up that baton. The Sauber F1 Team is currently going through a very positive development and I’m certain that together we can achieve a lot. Until that time I will remain fully focused on my job with the Sahara Force India Team. I’d like to thank the management at Sahara Force India for giving me the chance to return to Formula One as a team driver.”
The Sauber F1 Team will announce its second driver for the 2013 season at a later date.
Theys Gives Fans Rides in an Actual F1 Race Car
North American racing fans now have the opportunity to take a ride in a Formula 1 car with sports car champion Didier Theys thanks to a new company called the Formula GP Experience.
The cars are actual F1 cars that have been modified, not replicas.
Specifically they are modified Jordan F1 race cars with Judd V10 engines. They can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 1.8 seconds and reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour on some courses.
In an interesting twist they have been modified to include three seats, not one or two, which gives the participant the opportunity to share the ride with a friend or loved one. The passengers’ seats are on each side of the driver’s seat. Photo of the cars can be seen on the company’s Web site at FormulaGPExperience.com.
Two chassis are available: a Jordan with which Giancarlo Fisichella won the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix, and a Jordan that Nick Heidfeld drove during the 2004 F1 season. These are the actual cars with the actual F1 engines, not road engines.
Theys, a two-time Rolex 24 overall winner, Sebring 12-Hour winner, Le Mans polesitter, Grand-Am champion and three-time Indy 500 starter, is the company’s driving director.
Eric Bachelart’s Conquest Racing, which competes in both the IZOD IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series, is maintaining the cars in Indianapolis and providing trackside support.
The rides are preceded by a karting session so riders can get acclimated to cornering, acceleration and braking forces.
Participation by both individuals and corporate groups is encouraged, as the Formula GP Experience is excellent for team building and networking.
Pirelli is one of the effort’s sponsors.
Formula GP Experience is also affiliated with another company called DXL, which offers the public and companies the opportunity to test-drive some of the world’s most exotic sports cars. Cars in DXL’s garages include the Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini LP560, Mercedes SLS AMG, Audi R8 V10, Rolls Royce Ghost and McLaren MP4-12C.
Theys is the driver director of that program too.
Theys and Mario Andretti drove one of the F1 cars at the grand opening of the Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas on Sunday, Oct. 21.
Fans who plan to attend the U.S. Grand Prix there on Nov. 18 could add a ride with Theys in one of the F1 cars to their schedule, as Raceland Adventure is coordinating rides at nearby Driveway Austin Nov. 10-19. For more information on those opportunities see RacelandAdventure.com or call (855) 955-3623.