Sutil to replace Schumacher UPDATE #2
Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug has claimed that under-fire team principal Ross Brawn's position is not under threat.
Pit land rumors had suggested that both Brawn and seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher could be fired at the end of the season after disappointing results this year, but Haug denied that there are any problems.
“We have full confidence in Ross,” the 57-year-old told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.
“Work for the future is going well. It is normal that rumors come and go. I’ve heard rumors about Michael, about me and about Ross. When I say no, I mean no, and when I say yes, I mean yes. My answer is no - there are no cracks in the relationship.
“The automotive industry has gone through a crisis, and several other manufacturers have left F1. Mercedes is committed to the future of this sport. We do not yet have a winning team, but we are putting in the work to become a winning team.” 09/21/10 Rumors that Michael Schumacher will retire from Formula One for a second time at the end of this season refuse to go away with the latest reports claiming there may be pressure on him to quit.
The seven-times World Champion made his comeback with Mercedes GP at the start of this year following three years away from the sport and he was tipped to challenge for the title.
However, he has struggled to make an impact and has been outshone by his younger team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan recently told the BBC that "there are too many indications that now give me the feeling he is reconsidering his commitment to his three-year contract".
Although the Schumacher camp has denied that he will quit at the end of the season, the reports refuse to go away. zzzz
Respected F1 journalist Joe Saward wrote in his latest blog that the 41-year-old would have a convenient excuse should he decide to 'retire'.
'It is unlikely that Mercedes-Benz would want to be seen to be dropping Michael, as this would suggest that the decision to take him on was a mistake, but there may be pressure in the background for him to decide that retirement is the best option. If he needs excuses, he still has a neck injury that could be revive to smooth the departure, which would be an explanation that most of the German media would happily accept.
'There is little question that this season has done nothing to enhance the Schumacher legacy, although perhaps for the man himself it has been necessary for him to understand that time stands still for no man and that one day he must face up to the reality that everyone gets older. Trying to fight that inevitably results in a sad story.'
The BBC's Jonathan Legard last week claimed that Adrian Sutil is the leading contender to take over from Schumacher and Saward added that Paul di Resta is the front-runner to take over from Sutil at Force India.
'Sutil's contract with Force India is coming to an end and if he moves on it will allow another Mercedes rising star, Paul di Resta, to get into Formula 1 as team-mate to Tonio Liuzzi at the Silverstone team.'
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug has already thrown his support behind the campaign to see Force India tester di Resta in F1 soon.
"I think his chances for an F1 seat are good," Haug told racexpress.nl. "Of course I hope he stays with us, but I also know he has to take the opportunity when it arises. I would absolutely support him in that." Planet F109/19/10 Adrian Sutil is reportedly first in line to replace Michael Schumacher should the German opt to leave F1 at the end of this season.
Schumacher returned to F1 at the start of this season, signing a three-year deal with Mercedes GP.
However, his comeback has failed to reap the rewards many expected from the seven-time World Champ, prompting rumors that he could retire again at the end of the year.
"I've a hunch something fundamental has changed. I believe he is disillusioned and thinking of quitting," BBC pundit Eddie Jordan said of Schumacher in the wake of the Italian GP.
"There are too many indications that now give me the feeling he is reconsidering his commitment to his three-year contract." And should he opt to leave, another of the BBC's team, Jonathan Legard, says it will pave the way for Force India's Sutil to make the move up the grid.
"Hearing that Sutil is leading contender to replace Schumacher at season's end IF he leaves Mercedes. Sutil out of contract at Force India," Legard wrote on Twitter. Planet F1