Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Felipe Massa

    Ferrari talks began 'long ago' – Massa

  • Williams better than recent races show – Bottas
  • Barrichello would consider F1 comeback 'invitation' but no one wants him
  • Alonso the 'hero' of 2012 season so far – Brundle
  • Piquet Jr camp clarifies Senna comments
  • Hamilton tells McLaren boss he wants to stay

\Ferrari talks began 'long ago' – Massa
(GMM) Felipe Massa has admitted his future remains unclear, despite talks with Ferrari about the 2013 season having begun "a long time ago".

The Brazilian, who is 13 places and 139 points behind his teammate Fernando Alonso in the drivers' championship, is at risk of seeing his Ferrari career end after seven seasons.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali said last week that Massa, 31, "knows what he has to do" to secure a new deal.

"I'll need to stay prepared and finish the races well to try to have better results in the second half of the year," the driver said at an event in his native Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

"The discussions began a long time ago, but until there is a deal finalized, nothing changes."

Massa said his own form is now on an upswing, after Ferrari improved the performance of the F2012 car.

But he denied that because Alonso is pushing for the championship, he faces an even tougher time to prove to Ferrari that he should stay in 2013.

"It won't hurt me," said Massa.

"If I'm near Alonso or in front of him I'll do what I can to help him win the championship, that's obvious."

Massa is quoted by Brazil's Globo as saying he has always been under pressure in F1.

"At Sauber I was fired after my first year, and being test driver I had to have good results to get another chance. Then in my first year at Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen was already signed and no one knew if Michael Schumacher would stop or not.

"Then we can speak about Valentino Rossi … actually, in my career, I have been through more difficult times," he insisted.

"I am confident. I have a chance to continue with Ferrari. What we need to do is keep working on the car, because (in F1) nobody does anything alone.

"Yes the next races are super-important for my future, but it was also the same at the beginning of the championship.

"I'm 100 per cent focused on my results, and I believe so much in what I am capable of doing, which is what I've done many times."

Williams better than recent races show – Bottas
(GMM) Williams' 2012 car holds more potential than has been seen at recent grands prix.

That is the claim of the famous British team's Finnish reserve driver Valtteri Bottas, who is hotly tipped to step into the race cockpit in 2013.

A vast improvement on last year's Williams, the FW34 has even won a race from pole this season.

But Bottas, 22, thinks the car is better than it has appeared more recently, with the best finish since Pastor Maldonado's victory in Spain being Bruno Senna's seventh place last time out in Hungary.

"I think that we were really unlucky in the results of the last races," Bottas is quoted by Brazil's Globo Esporte.

"We should have more points," he added, referring to Williams' seventh place in the constructors' championship, placing the team between Sauber and Force India.

"The car has more pace than it has seemed," said Bottas.

Results aside, he insists the team is on the right track in terms of car development.

"We're definitively developing and understanding the car much more since the beginning of the year," said Bottas. "The direction has been right all of the time.

"Of course the other teams have developed as well, but if we keep up the good work, even if all the others continue to develop, we can get some good points."

Barrichello would consider F1 comeback 'invitation' but no one will have him
(GMM) Rubens Barrichello has once again refused to rule out returning to formula one.

The Brazilian, who with almost 330 grand prix weekends in his pocket is the sport's longest serving driver of all time, told a German magazine last week he can still imagine "a way back" to the grid.

Barrichello, who at 40 is three years younger than Michael Schumacher, switched to the US-based IndyCar series for 2012.

"My problems have been with the tracks than are much bumpier than the ones in Europe," he is quoted as saying in Taubate, Brazil, where he gave a motivational speech.

"I am not criticizing, but saying that the problem is just part of my adaption. The car is also totally different to the 19 that I drove in my life in formula one."

Barrichello said racing remains his chosen method of "expression".

"Formula one ended too early for me. I am the driver with the most experience, but I thought that it would last longer.

"Some people have tried to bury me, but actually it's not my time yet," he insisted.

For Barrichello, the excitement and competitiveness of F1's 2012 season has made his forced retirement even tougher.

He said he would "love" to still be there.

"My whole life has been an open book," he revealed. "As much as I am focused on Indy, if there is an invitation from formula one, I will think about it.

"You have got to take your offers, select the best three and make a decision," said Barrichello.

Finally, Barrichello moved to settle the argument about who is the greatest F1 driver of all time.

"I have no doubts about that: Ayrton Senna," he said, before smiling: "Or maybe you were hoping I would say Schumacher?"

Alonso the 'hero' of 2012 season so far – Brundle
(GMM) Former F1 driver Martin Brundle has hailed Fernando Alonso as his "hero" of the 2012 season so far.

But the veteran of 158 grands prix, who for the past 15 years has been a commentator for British television, is not so rude as to describe Michael Schumacher as the contrasting "zero".

"I don't like (saying) that sort of thing because I know how hard being an F1 driver is.

"Michael Schumacher has had a pretty grim year," he admitted to the Sun newspaper.

Brundle is less reluctant to hail Ferrari driver Alonso's title-leading campaign so far.

"It (the hero) must be Alonso because against all odds, and without a teammate helping him out, and not having a fast car on the track, somehow he keeps coming through and winning races," he said.

Brundle, 53, was speaking in London before teaming up with his GP3-racing son Alex in the LMP2 class of this weekend's world endurance sports car race at Silverstone.

Piquet Jr camp clarifies Senna comments
(GMM) Nelson Piquet Jr has denied reports he doubts the great Ayrton Senna would have succeeded in today's formula one.

The former Renault driver's spokesman Luis Ferrari said there is "absolutely no way" the Brazilian said his countryman Senna would not have won races in today's cars.

And 27-year-old Piquet Jr, who has raced in the world of Nascar since leaving F1 in 2009, blamed the controversy on some careless "members of the Brazilian media".

In his column for Brazil's Yahoo Esportes, the son of triple world champion Nelson Piquet said journalists also took his comments about Brazilian legend Emerson Fittipaldi out of context.

"(I) explained that after the end of his racing career, he (Piquet's father) chose the entrepreneurial path rather than others who continue to explore their public persona," said Piquet Jr.

"I gave Emerson Fittipaldi as an example. Nowhere did I say that one is better or worse than the other," he insisted.

"Along the same lines, they (journalists) made another attempt to create controversy where there is not with my statement about Ayrton Senna.

"I said that if Ayrton had raced ten years earlier he would not have had the success that my father had.

"They were different times and realities. At the turn of the 70s to the 80s, reliability was much lower and drivers had to have much more of a mechanical side.

"It was no accident that my father developed the tire heaters, active suspension, improved the turbo engines and worked on several other solutions that everyone knows about.

"Senna came a little later, when it was possible to drive almost all of the time at 100 per cent performance without needing to be a development driver as before.

"Like me, Ayrton arrived in Europe concerned only about driving. He was a super fast driver and the best one in terms of pure speed.

"But he didn't have the same repertoire for the mechanical side as did the previous generation, and so didn't have to worry so much about preserving the gearbox, the engine.

"It's obvious: each had its own reflection as the product of his time. Each did what was needed to dominate his era, and each time required different things.

"It's as simple as that. And not controversial," Piquet concluded.

Hamilton tells McLaren boss he wants to stay
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton "has told" his boss he wants to stay with McLaren in 2013.

The team's managing director Jonathan Neale said last week the 2008 world champion is "close" to agreeing a new contract.

And boss Martin Whitmarsh has now been quoted as saying Hamilton, 27, "has told me" he wants to stay at the Woking based team.

"If Lewis wants to stay in the team, which he has told me he does, then he should do," Whitmarsh is quoted by the BBC and the Independent newspaper.

"Lewis and I have spoken two or three times at length. I think we are closer than we have ever been," he added.

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