Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • McLaren continues to favor Hamilton as their 'pet' driver, going so far as designing next year's car to fit his driving style. Poor Jenson Button.

    McLaren fix Monza fuel pump issue for Singapore

  • Coulthard sure Ecclestone will save Singapore
  • Rosberg not worried about Hamilton pairing
  • McLaren designing 2013 car for their chosen one Hamilton
  • Alonso could be greatest ever driver – Sainz
  • Former driver da Matta slams Gascoyne
  • Kovalainen tells Hamilton to stay at McLaren
  • Grosjean arrives in Singapore with new coach
  • Force India pair staying in 2013 – Mallya
  • COTA plans concerts for first Texas race
  • Marussia F1 Team appoints Max Chilton Reserve Driver until Brazil
  • Red Bull renews with sponsor AlpineStars
  • Tata Tea to sponsor Narain Karthikeyan

McLaren fix Monza fuel pump issue for Singapore
(GMM) McLaren is confident it can get through this weekend in Singapore without a reliability problem.

While Lewis Hamilton won at Monza recently, Jenson Button would probably have finished second if not for a fuel system problem.

With the former world champion's title hopes seriously dented, the British team returned from Italy unsure what caused the failure.

"It was a problem that we haven't had before and it wasn't an easy one for us to identify," technical director Paddy Lowe said in the regular Vodafone teleconference on Wednesday.

"We have fortunately managed to identify the root cause and it was a problem with the fuel pump. It's something we have now completely covered for the remaining races."

Coulthard sure Ecclestone will save Singapore
(GMM) David Coulthard on Thursday said he is confident Singapore will stay on the formula one calendar into the future.

The contract for F1's highly popular night race on the streets of the Asian city-state is set to expire, with Singapore officials and Bernie Ecclestone reportedly clashing over the sanctioning fee.

"All of us hope that it will be renewed because it's such an important race on the calendar," said Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg.

Coulthard, a former McLaren and Red Bull driver and now a commentator for British television, sounded confident F1's chief executive would renew the deal.

"Bernie knows how important (Singapore) is," he is quoted by the Straits Times.

Rosberg not worried about Hamilton pairing
(GMM) Nico Rosberg on Thursday sounded unfazed by the uncertain identity of his 2013 teammate.

According to the paddock grapevine, the German's Mercedes teammate next year will either be Michael Schumacher, who needs to renew his expiring contract, or the current McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton.

"For my part, I am happy if we keep going as we are now," said German Rosberg, referring to Schumacher.

"But if it's different, that's ok as well.

"I've been following the rumors, of course," Rosberg admitted. "Personally, I'm happy with my position with the Silver Arrows," he said, dismissing suggestions he might move over to McLaren to replace Hamilton.

As for whether having the highly-rated yet finely-balanced Hamilton as his teammate would bother him, Rosberg insisted: "Not at all. I've known him for so many years."

McLaren designing 2013 car for their chosen one Hamilton
(GMM) McLaren's 2013 car is being designed with Lewis Hamilton in mind, technical director Paddy Lowe has revealed.

Media speculation is rife that the team's 2008 world champion is on the verge of signing with Mercedes for next season.

But McLaren's Lowe on Wednesday sounded confident Hamilton will still be alongside Jenson Button in 2013.

"That's how we're working in terms of the design for next year," he said.

"It is our assumption that they are the drivers who we will be fielding next year. We have two fantastic drivers in Lewis and Jenson and we are very keen to keep them."

But he also admitted that whether or not McLaren has to change a driver at relatively short notice is "not a huge issue" in terms of engineering and design.

Hamilton, meanwhile, has played down suggestions his foul mood after winning last weekend's Italian grand prix was a sign he is set to quit McLaren.

"We buried my aunt that week, so she was constantly on my mind … it has been a tough time for the family, and (I) just had a lot on my mind," he is quoted by Reuters.

"It was nothing to do with being unhappy. Trust me, I was happy," he added.

Alonso could be greatest ever driver – Sainz
(GMM) Carlos Sainz, a Spanish rallying legend, thinks Fernando Alonso could one day be regarded as the greatest driver in formula one history.

The two-time world rally champion defended his countryman, amid suggestions the Ferrari driver is not the friendliest driver on the grid.

"Fernando is much more normal than people think, simply he has a lot of pressure on him at most times," Sainz, 50, told El Confidencial.

"As a driver, there is little doubt that – today – he is the best in the world, and even in the history of formula one he is one of the greatest.

"It wouldn't surprise me if he is recognized as the best ever once he decides to retire," added Sainz.

Sainz's son, Carlos Sainz Jr, is currently racing through the junior single seater ranks, with Red Bull backing.

Former driver da Matta slams Gascoyne
(GMM) Former F1 driver Cristiano da Matta has slammed well-known F1 engineer Mike Gascoyne.

In 2003, Gascoyne – who currently heads the technical side at Caterham – joined the now-defunct Toyota outfit, whose driver at the time was Brazilian da Matta.

Before the end of the following season, da Matta – who subsequently returned to American open wheel racing and was seriously injured in a 2006 Champ Car crash – was ousted.

So how did da Matta's F1 career really end?

"I don't know if I can say this," the 39-year-old told Brazil's Totalrace, "but in the end the big problem was Mike Gascoyne.

"He joined the team earning a lot (of money), but every new thing he did, we just got worse, not better."

History recounts that Toyota ousted da Matta not only for a lack of performance, but because he was verbally critical of the car's technical direction.

Gascoyne also split with Toyota, early in 2006, reportedly due to technical differences with the former Cologne based team.

"Now comes the gossip," da Matta continued. "In 2005, when I had returned to Indy, I was in Long Beach and I saw a guy wearing a Toyota shirt.

"I thought, 'What is this guy doing here?' He came to me and said, 'Da Matta-San. I'm here on behalf of Toyota. The things you said in the past were right'.

"I told him I was happy even if the news had come late, but that I liked the respect that he had for my work."

Kovalainen tells Hamilton to stay at McLaren
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton's former McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen cannot understand why the 2008 world champion is considering quitting the famous British team.

Finn Kovalainen, who has revived his reputation at Caterham after a bad pair of seasons alongside Hamilton in 2008 and 2009, is now being mentioned as a possible successor for the 27-year-old Briton.

Hamilton switching to Mercedes would theoretically open the McLaren seat to Kovalainen, but still the Finn has advised his former teammate to stay put.

"If I was him, I would stay there," the 30-year-old told the Daily Mail.

"McLaren is a great, great team and every year they are there or thereabouts and if they have some difficulties they are able to come back."

Kovalainen questioned whether McLaren-to-Mercedes is the wisest choice for Hamilton.

"There are not a lot of better places than McLaren in terms of history, facilities, stability and budget," he insisted.

"But in the end it is Lewis' decision and sometimes you might feel like you need a change."

Kovalainen, who has also been linked with Sauber and Lotus, said he is yet to speak with Caterham officials about the future beyond his 2012 contract.

"I've been there since the beginning so it's a big deal for me but of course I want to move forward and to move higher up the grid," he admitted.

"I will talk to them (Caterham) first and then after that I will see where I am, what I need to do, and make the next plan from there."

Grosjean arrives in Singapore with new coach
(GMM) Back on track after his Monza ban, Romain Grosjean has travelled to Singapore with a new coach, according to France's RMC Sport.

The report said Grosjean, who was banned by the FIA following the first corner crash at Spa and in the wake of a string of similar incidents in 2012, is now working with Benoit Campargue.

Fellow Frenchman Campargue, 47, is a former two-time European Judo champion who coaches the current heavyweight Olympic champion Teddy Riner.

According to other media reports, Grosjean met with Campargue and Riner on a visit to the London Olympics.

Grosjean and Campargue have also previously worked together at the Institut National du Sport de l'Expertise et de la Performance (INSEP).

RMC said Grosjean and Campargue arrived in Singapore together on Wednesday night.

Force India pair staying in 2013 – Mallya
(GMM) Vijay Mallya has played down reports Force India is having to draw up a shortlist to fill its two race seats for 2013.

Paul di Resta is reportedly a leading candidate to replace McLaren's perhaps Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton, while Nico Hulkenberg has been strongly linked with Ferrari.

"Nico and Paul have contracts for next year and will be with us," Force India team owner Mallya is quoted by Auto Bild Motorsport.

The comments follow deputy team boss Bob Fernley's recent admission that, while the drivers are tied to Force India for 2013, the Silverstone based team is willing to negotiate commercial deals with any bigger teams that want to poach di Resta or Hulkenberg.

COTA plans concerts for first Texas race
Circuit of the Americas, home of the returning United States Grand Prix this season, has planned a series of concerts for race-goers ahead of its debut on the F1 calendar.

A downtown fan festival, concerts and parties will be staged on the three days of Friday 16 to Sunday 18 November. These will include a number of activities set up in collaboration with the F1 teams and music entertainment from Aerosmith, Flo Rida and Enrique Iglesias (pictured, top).

“Racing enthusiasts from around the world will converge in Austin this fall to celebrate the return of Formula 1 racing to the United States, and we want to throw a Texas-sized party to show our guests what makes our city special," says Circuit of The Americas President Steve Sexton.

“From racing team exhibits, simulators and interactive displays, to a sampling of Austin’s cuisine and live music scene, the best of motorsports will meet the best of the Lone Star State in downtown Austin for three days this November."

Max Chilton now Marussia Reserve Driver rest of year

Marussia F1 Team appoints Max Chilton Reserve Driver until Brazil
The Marussia F1 Team is pleased to announce that rising star, Max Chilton, has been elevated from the team’s Young Driver Program to the position of Formula 1 Reserve Driver with effect from the 2012 Fuji Japanese Grand Prix next month for the balance of the current F1 season.

The British 21 year old from Surrey is enjoying an impressive third season in the GP2 Series this year, competing for the Marussia Carlin GP2 Team, which is allied to the F1 team as part of its support for the feeder series. Only last month, Max won Round 9 of the Championship in Hungary from pole position – the first of two poles so far this season.

In the role of Reserve Driver, Max will attend all of the remaining Grands Prix of the 2012 season, taking part in the engineering commitments and preparing to deputize for either race driver in the event that they are unable to race.

John Booth, Team Principal
“As part of our commitment to supporting the next generation of racing talent, we naturally keep a close eye on the feeder formulae, particularly those which race alongside us on the F1 calendar. We reinforced our support for GP2 as the key stepping stone this season by joining forces with Carlin to form the Marussia Carlin GP2 entry. Max Chilton’s impressive performances for the team this season have gone far from unnoticed and he seems to mature with each new round. We were all delighted to see him convert that into, first, his maiden pole position and then his inaugural victory in Hungary last month. An important part of the education of any young driver looking to progress to the highest level of motor sport is spending time working closely with the engineering community and other, more experienced drivers. This is an important element of our Young Driver Program. In the role of our Reserve Driver for the rest of the 2012 season, Max will be exposed to the demands of competing in Formula 1 to the extent that he will be fully prepared to step into the MR01 should it be required. Max has already driven the car at our Young Driver Test, so this is an opportunity for him to build on his experience of working with the engineers as well as the other demands placed on our drivers, including marketing activity. We look forward to having him on board as part of the Marussia F1 Team."

Max Chilton, Reserve Driver
“I’m delighted to be given this fantastic opportunity to be part of the Marussia F1 Team for the remainder of the 2012 season. My experience with the team at Silverstone for the Young Driver Test was a great taste of how F1 operates, and I’m so excited to be able to extend that into a proper working relationship as Reserve Driver at the remaining F1 events this year. I feel like my racing has really matured this season and to now be able to combine that with real insight into the engineering activities of an F1 team, and the level of preparation required of an F1 driver, really moves my career onto the next level. I’d like to thank the team once again for this opportunity."

Red Bull renews with sponsor AlpineStars
Red Bull Racing has extended its partnership with Alpinestars, the premier performance motorsport apparel company, after concluding a new multi-year agreement.

Through the partnership, Alpinestars will continue to provide technical products and support to Red Bull Racing’s drivers, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Sebastien Buemi, as well as the Team’s mechanics and technical staff.

The on-going partnership builds on the strong relationship between Alpinestars and Red Bull Racing. Alpinestars’ technicians will continue to work closely with the Team to bring technological innovation and performance development in one of the most extreme and advanced racing environments in motorsports.

Established in 1963, Alpinestars has extensive R&D facilities in Europe and the USA delivering innovative products that offer world-class safety, performance and comfort. Once proven on the track, the technology is put into commercial production, giving Alpinestars’ customers access to the same products and performance benefits as the world’s top racers.

Beyond its technical racing apparel, Alpinestars also offers a complete street fashion clothing collection, bringing an iconic brand steeped in motorsport heritage to the mainstream.

Tata Tea to sponsor Narain Karthikeyan
HRT Formula 1 Team and Tata Global Beverages (TGB) announce today its brand Tata Tea’s association with Indian Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan and the HRT Formula 1 team for the 2012 Singapore and Indian Grands Prix scheduled from September 21-23 and October 26-28 respectively.

Tata Global Beverages will be extensively promoting the ‘Tata Tea’ brand via this association, with prominent Tata Tea logos appearing on the F112 and Narain Karthikeyan’s helmet and drinking bottle. TGB’s association with Narain Karthikeyan and consequently, Formula 1, will also give it a platform to connect with a large global viewership worldwide, which is second only to the football World Cup.

Vikram Grover, Vice-President, Marketing, Tata Global Beverages: "We are pleased to partner with Narain Karthikeyan, the first Indian to compete in the coveted Formula 1. Narain reflects the Indian youth’s latent talent awakening to global sports which Tata Tea has been supporting since the launch of its Jaago-Re campaign e.g. The Tata Tea Jaago Re Inter Milan Soccer Stars program which is in its fifth season currently. Narain also cherishes much the same values as the Tata Tea brand which is evidenced by his support to an institution which provides school education and free boarding for female children belonging to the backward and the underprivileged sections of the society. Also, Formula 1’s inherent teamwork, technology, innovation and fitness-centric nature synergizes well with Tata Global Beverages’ focus of being a global, health-enhancing, ‘good for you’ beverages Company".

Narain Karthikeyan: "The Tata Group has supported me since my early days of competition so it is great to be associated with yet another world-class Tata brand. Tata Tea’s endeavor in awakening India’s latent talent in global sports is known and has given fruitful results to the country. TGB’s support will go a long way to help us develop the car and achieve the best possible results during this part of the season. Both Singapore and Indian Grands Prix are unique events on the calendar and I am really looking forward to them".

Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "For two seasons now Tata and Tata Motors have offered important and loyal support for HRT Formula 1 Team and it is great news that Tata Beverages has joined not only Narain’s image but also that of the team for two very important Grands Prix such as Singapore and India. This incorporation is further proof of the good relationship we have with the Tata Group, which not only establishes itself but continues to grow at the same time as the team in such a competitive world as is Formula 1".

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