Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Jenson Button and Jessica Michibata gassed then robbed

    Button gassed, robbed on vacation

  • Toro Rosso hoping to keep James Key
  • F1 revolution could be delayed to 2018 – report
  • Mercedes team wins Bandini trophy
  • Yamaha could give Hamilton MotoGP test
  • Medical issue stops Alguersuari's career
  • Massa says 2016 Williams deal still not done
  • Partner says Raikkonen is no 'Iceman' at home
  • Verstappen learned nothing from Monaco crash – Massa

Button gassed, robbed on vacation
(GMM) Jenson Button was gassed and robbed as he holidayed with his wife in France, the Briton's spokesman has confirmed.

The McLaren driver, holidaying with friends during F1's summer break, was with friends in a rented villa in St Tropez when the incident occurred.

"Two men broke into the property whilst they all slept and stole a number of items of jewelry including, most upsettingly, Jessica's engagement ring," the spokesman said.

Button's spokesman also confirmed reports that Button and his housemates may have been rendered unconscious by anesthetic gas.

"The police have indicated that this has become a growing problem in the region with perpetrators going so far as to gas their proposed victims through the air conditioning units before breaking in," he said.

"Whilst unharmed everyone involved is unsurprisingly shaken by the events."

"Police have told Jenson they're convinced the burglars gassed the house using the air-conditioning units.

"Jenson is convinced that's what happened too. The burglars were in the same room as him and Jessica, rifling through all their drawers.

"But they weren't disturbed at all because the effects of the gas gives the burglars free rein."

Three other people in the villa were also affected by the gas.

Everyone in the property was in bed when the incident happened and first realized the next morning when they found the house had been ransacked.

The source added: "It was a terrifying experience for them to know these criminals were actually in the room with them."

Police in France say there have been a number of raids on exclusive properties using the same methods.

Detective are investigating the possibility it was a two man criminal team who may have staked out the property during their stay.
Detectives are reviewing CCTV footage in the area to try and catch the culprits.

The McLaren driver and Michibata married in Hawaii last Christmas at a ceremony in Maui.

On New Year's Eve both the former Formula One world champion, from Frome, Somerset, and the Japanese-Argentine model tweeted: "Happy New Year from Mr. & Mrs. Button!! We're excited to see in the New year with family and loved ones, we hope you're too!"

After meeting in 2008, the couple's relationship experienced ups and downs and they split for a short time in 2010 before getting back together.

Toro Rosso hoping to keep James Key
(GMM) Toro Rosso is hoping to hang onto its increasingly highly-rated technical boss James Key.

Key has taken much of the credit for the Red Bull-owned team's 2015 chassis, the STR10, which some have said is perhaps the best car on the grid this year behind Mercedes'.

It has unsurprisingly sparked speculation that Briton Key, 43, may be headhunted by a bigger team.

Team boss Franz Tost admits Key has been 'the key' to the Faenza based team's strong form.

"James Key was the key person to do this (build up the technical team) and he surrounded himself with very, very good, high-skilled, capable people," he said.

"Of course all these top engineers have long-term fixed contracts."

Earlier in 2015, Toro Rosso was linked with Renault's plans for a full works team, but Tost now admits that the French carmaker is shopping elsewhere.

But he insists: "Toro Rosso, I'm convinced, has a good future. We are also quite healthy on the financial side and I expect also some success in the future.

"Therefore I don't see any reason why one of the top people should leave the team, especially after the hard period to build up everything, as of course the people want to see the results and want to be involved when hopefully we will have some success," Tost added.

F1 revolution could be delayed to 2018 – report
(GMM) F1's planned technical revolution for 2017 may be delayed, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports.

Earlier, the sport appeared collectively determined to react to dwindling audiences by speeding up the cars to the tune of 5-6 seconds per lap by 2017.

But correspondent Michael Schmidt reports that there are concerns that F1 is rushing into changes that should actually be thought through more carefully.

The report said the matter will be discussed by technical directors during a meeting on August 18, and that one option is to delay the changes until 2018.

"It is a big job to get the concept right and make it into a set of regulations by the end of February 2016," Williams' highly experienced Pat Symonds said.

"I think 2017 is a very ambitious target. There is not much time," he added.

Mercedes team wins Bandini trophy
(GMM) Mercedes will receive this year's edition of the prestigious Trofeo Lorenzo Bandini.

Past recipients of the trophy are a roll-call of long and successful grand prix careers, including champions Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.

Last year's winner was Daniel Ricciardo.

But specialist Italian reports indicate that the 2015 recipient will not be a driver but Mercedes, the German team that has utterly dominated in F1's new 'power unit' era.

The reports say bosses Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe will travel to Brisighella, Italy – the home town of the F1 legend Bandini – to collect the prize on 30 August.

Yamaha could give Hamilton MotoGP test
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton's dream of testing a MotoGP bike might soon come true.

F1's reigning world champion told the Mirror newspaper recently: "When my dad bought me my first go-kart I actually wanted a motorbike.

"I'd love to test a MotoGP bike just to see what it's like. Naturally I'd know the lines but I'd love to know if I could even do it."

Valentino Rossi, undoubtedly the world's best-known MotoGP rider, said on Thursday that he has spoken with Hamilton in the past.

"I say to him 'You ride a motorcycle, or you have to start from zero?' But he said that he has good skill, he rides a 450 (bike) and everything.

"Our bike is very easy, so we try to kill a little bit of power and for sure it is good if Lewis will try the M1," added Rossi, who rides for Yamaha.

The Yamaha and Mercedes teams have in common the sponsor Monster, which might make Hamilton's MotoGP plans a reality.

Rossi's teammate is Jorge Lorenzo.

"Like Valentino says, Lewis is very passionate about motorcycles. I think he rides some motocross, so with pleasure I will lend my M1 to him — maybe with a big insurance!" said the Spaniard.

Jamie Alguersauri
Jamie Alguersauri

Medical issue stops Alguersuari's career
(GMM) Former F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari's motor racing career has come to a halt for now.

In June, the ex-Toro Rosso racer had to step out of his Formula E cockpit following a fainting episode after the race in Moscow.

"As a consequence," the Spaniard said in a statement, "my license was temporarily suspended because the FIA commission wanted to delve into medical research."

Alguersuari, who last raced in F1 in 2011 and is now 25, revealed that he underwent medical tests throughout July but "there has not been a medical resolution".

"For this reason I need to announce that, unfortunately, I will not be able to take part in the FIA Formula E championship for the 2015-16 season with my team DS Virgin Racing," he added.

Massa says 2016 Williams deal still not done
(GMM) Felipe Massa is still hopeful he will be retained by Williams for the 2016 season.

Earlier, the Brazilian said he felt trusted and wanted by the British team and expected to stay for a third consecutive year.

Now, on a visit to his native country during the summer break, the 34-year-old told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper: "My plan is to continue in Williams.

"I'm happy with a team that respects me," Massa said at a Samsung event. "Nothing has been announced yet, nothing has been done, but I believe that I will continue for next season.

"At least that is my desire and I see no reason for the team not to have the same desire as well," Massa added.

Massa said he is happy with how Williams' season is progressing, even though the Grove team has fallen behind Ferrari.

"At the moment we have a car that, depending on the track, is sometimes a little better than the Ferrari and sometimes a little worse," he explained.

Massa also told UOL Esporte: "I'm happy, super-competitive, I have a team that respects me 100 per cent, a very nice job in Williams — satisfied."

As for his new deal for 2016, he explained: "The right time for this to happen has not arrived yet, but the way things are going right now, I do not think it will take long."

Minttu Virtanen thawed the Iceman
Minttu Virtanen thawed the Iceman

Partner says Raikkonen is no 'Iceman' at home
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen is not 'The Iceman' behind closed doors, his partner Minttu Virtanen insists.

Minttu and the Ferrari driver had their first child Robin earlier this year, and the former flight attendant says Raikkonen, 35, now wants another.

"It took some time before he trusted me," Minttu, on the cover of the latest edition of Finnish lifestyle magazine Kauneus and Terveys, said.

"Kimi is very wary of people. He always wonders if people are sincere or not.

"But eventually we established trust between us and in May last year he asked me to stop work to move in with him in Switzerland to take care of me."

And now that Raikkonen is a father, Minttu said the 2007 world champion is happier than ever.

"For Kimi, his family comes before everything else," she said.

"At work, he might seem hard and selfish, but at home he's a very different person — warm and wonderful.

"I would not stay in a relationship where the other is like 'Whatever'.

"He wants to have more children," Minttu continued. "If it was up to him he would be a dad again right away. I too would like to have a second child if pregnancy did not have so many negatives.

"But one point on which we do agree is that we do not want there to be too much of an age gap between our children," she added.

Verstappen learned nothing from Monaco crash – Massa
(GMM) Felipe Massa fears Max Verstappen has learned nothing after his big crash in Monaco earlier this year.

F1 veteran Massa was vocally critical of the rookie Dutchman after Verstappen ploughed into the rear of Romain Grosjean's car and then the barriers at Ste Devote.

Speaking now to Brazil's UOL Esporte, Brazilian Massa said it is right that the young Toro Rosso driver was penalized by the FIA.

"I think especially for a 17-year-old, with what he did in that race, if he did not have a punishment it would have been wrong," he said in his native Brazil this week.

"And I think that if I was 17 and I did that I would have apologized and said 'I was wrong, I learn from it, sorry' and move on. But that's not what he did.

"He wanted to come out arguing, his father (Jos) also. Actually I think he has learned nothing from it," Massa added.

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