Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • Nico Rosberg
    Nico Rosberg

    Rosberg unmoved after Lauda contract comments

  • Relationship with Hamilton unchanged – Rosberg
  • Hockenheim admits German GP future in doubt
  • Button slams 'desperate' new F1 drivers
  • Pirelli reveals British GP tire selections
  • Mallya targets more podium finishes
  • Raikkonen told to prove he 'deserves' seat

Rosberg unmoved after Lauda contract comments
(GMM) Nico Rosberg has played down reports this week that suggest he is on a fast-track to a new Mercedes contract.

While promoting the forthcoming German grand prix at Hockenheim, the championship leader was asked on Tuesday about Niki Lauda's suggestion that a new two-year deal is now basically agreed.

"There is nothing to report," the German insisted, according to DPA news agency.

"Nothing has changed but there is no time pressure either," Rosberg added.

But at the same time, he played down suggestions the lack of a deal for now means it remains possible that he could move to Ferrari to be Sebastian Vettel's new teammate.

"I am sure that I will stay at Mercedes for many more years," Rosberg, who turned 31 on Monday, insisted.

He was more comfortable talking about this weekend's Austrian grand prix, where despite it being the 'Red Bull Ring', he will charge for a hat-trick of wins at the circuit at the wheel of his silver racer.

"The track suits me very well," said Rosberg, who leads teammate Lewis Hamilton by 24 points. "I'm sure this will be another good weekend."

Relationship with Hamilton unchanged – Rosberg
(GMM) Nico Rosberg has applied the brakes to teammate Lewis Hamilton's claim that the pair are once again friends.

While their title-dulling relationship at Mercedes has been troubled at times, world champion Hamilton said it has improved to the point that they now hang out in their mutual apartment complex in Monaco.

"When I finished a few laps (in the swimming pool), we sat and talked for 20 minutes or half an hour," Hamilton told the Mail on Sunday, describing a recent encounter with Rosberg.

Rosberg was asked about those comments during a media event in Hockenheim on Tuesday, and said little had actually changed.

"The relationship is as always," he answered, according to DPA news agency. "It's up and down.

"The basic respect is always there, but there will be trouble again I'm sure."

Rosberg said the fight for victory this weekend in Austria will be closely fought, perhaps like the duel in the past between Michael Schumacher and his hero Mika Hakkinen.

"Mika was my idol. I knew nothing else," Rosberg smiled, as on Tuesday he got the chance to drive Hakkinen's 1998 title-winning McLaren.

In those days, Hakkinen was managed by Nico's father, 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg.

Hopefully German driver Nico Rosberg, chosen by Mercedes to be this year's World Champion, can revive German GP ticket sales
Hopefully German driver Nico Rosberg, chosen by Mercedes to be this year's World Champion, can revive German GP ticket sales

Hockenheim admits German GP future in doubt
(GMM) Hockenheim promoter Georg Seiler this week admitted Bernie Ecclestone is right that Germany might once again be absent from the F1 calendar in 2017.

The good news for fans of the German grand prix is that, after an absence in 2015 that Nico Hulkenberg describe on Tuesday as "almost criminal", it is back this year with a race at Hockenheim at the end of July.

To help promote Germany's F1 return, Hulkenberg as well as fellow German drivers Nico Rosberg and Pascal Wehrlein attended a media day at Hockenheim on Tuesday.

According to the German press, they urged their countrymen to come to Hockenheim late in July to enjoy the race and help secure its future.

But F1 supremo Ecclestone has warned that Germany will probably be absent from the calendar once again in 2017, as the alternating deal with the Nurburgring appears defunct.

"2017 was to be the Nurburgring's turn," Hockenheim managing director Georg Seiler agreed.

"I don't know about the negotiations, because we can only step in if we can eliminate any risk to us," he warned.

Seiler vowed that Hockenheim will honor its contract through 2018, but German reports said the future of the race is in doubt due to dangerously low ticket sales.

So far, only 46,000 tickets have reportedly been sold, well short of Seiler's target of 60,000.

Jenson Button mocks F1 ride-buyers
Jenson Button mocks F1 ride-buyers

Button slams 'desperate' new F1 drivers
(GMM) Jenson Button, F1's most experienced active driver, has chastised the latest generation of new and "very erratic" grand prix stars.

The 36-year-old, who by season's end will match Michael Schumacher's huge career tally of 308 race entries, says an increasingly young grid lacks the poise of former F1 generations.

"I feel that there are many drivers who should have learned more than they did learn before arriving in F1," Button is quoted by Brazil's UOL Esporte.

"They are very erratic. It's like they are driving in 'Formula Desperate' — they look like they're always so desperate," he explained.

Briton Button, who is hoping to extend his career into an eighteenth consecutive season next year, said that kind of 'desperate' driving indicates a lack of maturity in some F1 rookies today.

"That sort of behavior should have stopped by the time a driver arrives in F1," he said. "By the time your career reaches this level, you should already be smart enough to know what to do with the car and how to race for position."

Button said the new drivers he is talking about would do well to learn from some of F1 legend Michael Schumacher's old races.

"These new drivers need to watch more of Michael's races," said Button, "because although he always raced very hard, at the same time he was always very correct in the way he fought."

England Choices
England Choices

Pirelli reveals British GP tire selections
Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli has revealed the team-by-team tire compound selections for the British Grand Prix, with the Soft (yellow) rubber favored over the Medium (white) and Hard (orange).

All 22 drivers lean towards the Soft tire, with Sauber's Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr taking the biggest allocation (nine sets each), down to six for Force India's Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Perez.

Between three and five sets of the Medium tire have been chosen up and down the grid, with most drivers taking just one or two sets of the Hard – Hülkenberg and Perez break the trend with three sets.

For 2016, each driver receives 13 dry-weather sets per Grand Prix, with Pirelli choosing two sets for the race (only one of which must be used), and a set of the softest compound, only for use in Q3.

Drivers are free to select any combination of the chosen compounds for the other 10 sets.

For the Silverstone event, which takes place from July 8-10, as part of a back-to-back with Austria, Pirelli has allocated a set of Mediums and Hards for the race, with a set of Softs for qualifying.

Mallya targets more podium finishes
Force India team boss Vijay Mallya has set his sights on achieving further podium finishes over the course of the 2016 campaign, following Sergio Perez's recent visits to the rostrum.

Perez raced to the podium in a wet/dry Monaco Grand Prix, before climbing from seventh to third at the European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan, passing Kimi Raikkonen on the last lap.

Force India holds a comfortable fifth position in the championship standings after its impressive run, which has filled Mallya with confidence that further strong results are attainable.

"Seeing our team on the podium for the second time in less than a month makes me incredibly proud," commented Mallya, as he reflected on Perez's recent podium finishes.

"The result in Baku was achieved completely on merit and everybody in the team deserves credit.

"We are experiencing the best run of form in the team's history and we are enjoying the moment.

"There has been a lot of talk about the team switching focus to 2017 (when new regulations will be introduced), but this doesn't mean we won't be strong for the rest of 2016.

"There is a lot of performance still to be extracted from our current [VJM09] package and I am confident we can put on a good show in the races to come.

"Having scored two podiums in three races, we've got a taste for success and I would like to see us pick up more silverware before the end of the year."

Kimi Raikkonen on the hot seat
Kimi Raikkonen on the hot seat

Raikkonen told to prove he 'deserves' seat
Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne has told Kimi Raikkonen he must prove that he "deserves" a contract extension by delivering strong performances at upcoming races.

Raikkonen's current deal expires at the end of the season and, in recent months, multiple drivers have been linked to the seat next to Sebastian Vettel for the 2017 campaign.

Marchionne, however, insists that the future is in Raikkonen's hands.

"It is up to him," Marchionne explained to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport, when asked if Raikkonen, now aged 36, will remain at Ferrari for a fourth straight term.

"Kimi's time with Ferrari will depend on his performance. He has to show that he deserves to stay here, otherwise I think he won't want to continue here as well.

"There will come a day when I will leave [Ferrari] as well."

Although its 2017 driver line-up is yet to be finalized, Marchionne hinted at further changes to Ferrari's workforce structure, adding that it "needs time" to gel.

"A big problem is giving an opportunity to those people who aren't on the frontline to grow; we aren't lacking people and there is talent there," Marchionne stated.

"One thing that I did, along with Maurizio Arrivabene, is we met all the people we have within the company, even those that maybe don't get the attention they deserve.

"We want to give them opportunities to show they are capable."

Suggested that Ferrari needs to bring in more people with experience, Marchionne replied: "We are doing that. We just signed [performance engineer] Jock Clear [from Mercedes].

"There are people that are helping out those areas that are struggling. Results don't happen overnight, and we need time to bring about tangible results that will like come in 2017."

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