F1 news in brief – Saturday

  • Button is McLaren's man in 2013

    McLaren counting on Button to win 2013 title

  • 'Right time' for Schu to finally quit – Ecclestone
  • Ecclestone still doubts New Jersey race
  • Raikkonen to announce 2013 plans on birthday
  • Hamilton logs McLaren details before Merc switch
  • FIA changed rules to slow Red Bull – Horner
  • McLaren keep the door open for Hamilton return

McLaren counting on Button to win 2013 title
(GMM) Jenson Button thinks McLaren will have to look to him to win next year's world championship.

With Lewis Hamilton leaving for Mercedes, Button – to contest his fourth season at McLaren next year – will be paired with the young Mexican Sergio Perez.

Before Hamilton decided to leave McLaren, Button said he hoped the 2008 world champion stays in 2013.

Now facing the prospect of sharing a garage with 22-year-old current Sauber driver Perez, he said at Suzuka: "Having just one experienced person in the team does change things but (that's) is something I love.

"I'm not underestimating him (Perez)," Button insisted. "He is inexperienced compared with Lewis and it will be his first year, but he will still be quick.

"There should be more consistency in his speed the following year but I will definitely be the person McLaren turn to if they want a world champion next year."

Button admits he is "very surprised" Hamilton chose Mercedes over McLaren for his future.

"Because every season you race for this team you win grands prix," he explained.

"We all have different challenges and things we want to achieve. He wants to try something new."

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told the Express newspaper: "Lewis wanted out of McLaren because he felt unhappy there.

"He spoke to me and I told him he should go where he felt he would feel good if he could make a deal that suited him."

'Right time' for Schu to finally quit – Ecclestone
(GMM) Despite losing one of F1's strongest brands, Bernie Ecclestone has backed Michael Schumacher's decision to finally retire.

"It is the right time for Michael to go," the F1 chief executive is quoted by Express newspaper.

The 81-year-old Briton was a big supporter of the great German's return to F1, but at the tail-end of 2012 he admits: "There have been a few too many shunts and another one in practice today (at Suzuka on Friday)."

When he made the big announcement, Schumacher admitted Mercedes' signing of Lewis Hamilton had made his decision to quit easier.

"I think it is good if someone comes along and helps you make a decision," said Ecclestone. "It happens for the right reasons usually."

He is worried, however, that Schumacher is tempting fate by deciding to quit with a full six races left to run in 2012.

"God forbid that anything should happen to such a great driver in the next few races when he is looking forward to a new life," said Ecclestone.

He recalls, years ago, Niki Lauda's decision to retire for the first time — during a mid-season practice session.

"I said (to Lauda) 'if you are going to retire, go now, don't wait, anything else doesn't make sense'.

"And Niki left there and then. Left his overalls and helmet and went. It was the right thing to do," said Ecclestone.

Ecclestone still doubts New Jersey race
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has continued to cast doubt on the inaugural running of next year's New York street race.

With the F1 chief executive claiming organizers no longer have a valid contract, race officials have nonetheless expressed confidence the event will still take place as scheduled in mid 2013.

But Ecclestone said on Friday: "They are way behind with a lot of things. I don't think they will get it ready in time."

Britain's Express newspaper said Turkey, having dropped off the calendar last year, could replace New York.

Raikkonen to announce 2013 plans on birthday
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen will announce his plans for the 2013 season on October 17.

Despite Lotus chiefs saying the Finn is staying in 2013, 2007 world champion Raikkonen insisted at Suzuka that he has not yet signed a deal.

But that will all change on his 33rd birthday.

A viral video has emerged on Youtube, depicting Raikkonen signing an unbranded contract and then putting his finger to his lips and saying "shhh".

The description reads: "There has been a lot of speculation about what Kimi Raikkonen will do next season. This will all come to an end on the 17th of October when a new contract will be published."

According to Finnish broadcaster MTV3, the company behind the video is Pulp Active Oy, an advertising agency that represents Raikkonen's rally team Ice 1 Racing.

Hamilton logs McLaren details before Merc switch
(GMM) The last stretch of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren career has not started well, according to The Independent newspaper.

The report cites McLaren insiders in claiming the Briton has taken a "newfound interest" in the technical details of his 2012 McLaren now that he has decided to jump ship to Mercedes next year.

"He's been very interested in the exhaust system and the telemetry," a team insider is quoted as saying.

And Hamilton told reporters on Thursday that he knows all about McLaren's plans for the 2013 single seater that he will never drive.

"Trust me, it will be a good car next year, I know," he smiled to his replacement, Sergio Perez, at Suzuka.

"I know exactly what's going on next year with your car."

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he is not worried.

"I think if I was pursuing intellectual property from other teams, I'd probably go for engineers not drivers," he said.

"But I think Lewis is respectful of the team and what it's doing."

FIA changed rules to slow Red Bull – Horner
(GMM) Christian Horner has admitted he thinks the FIA tries to level the playing field when a team displays dominance under a certain set of rules.

The Red Bull team boss said the regulation changes over the winter, including the banning of blown exhausts and the clampdown on flexible wings, have hurt the reigning back-to-back world champions.

"The changes over the winter had a big impact on us," he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

Asked if he thinks the FIA specifically targeted Red Bull, Horner admitted: "I think history has shown again and again that when a team is dominant, then something like this (the rule changes) happens."

And asked if he feels Red Bull has been treated unfairly in other ways, he added: "Let's put it this way — some of the decisions we have seen this year I think you could say were quite harsh."

McLaren keep the door open for Hamilton return
McLaren will 'never say never' to Lewis Hamilton returning to them one day even if that looks unlikely at the moment, team principal Martin Whitmarsh said on Friday.

Hamilton, McLaren's 2008 Formula One world champion, has signed a three-year deal with rivals Mercedes and will take retiring Michael Schumacher's place there at the end of this season.

The British driver assured reporters ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix that he was not leaving McLaren through the back door and that the path he had chosen to take could ultimately bring him back.

"Yes, certainly, I think it is (possible)," Whitmarsh said. "But he's joining a strong team in Mercedes and I don't think he'll be coming back any time soon.

"I'm sure they've got a good contract… and I don't think Lewis's intention is to hop from team-to-team on an annual basis.

"But never say never and we'll see what happens in the future," he added.

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