Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Jenson Button relaxes in the Philippines at an Iron Man competition with girlfriend Jessica Michibata

    Drivers relax during August shutdown

  • Raikkonen 'a real threat' in 2012 – Whitmarsh
  • Wolff rules out testing Williams car
  • 'All teams' ready to enter 2013 season – Whitmarsh

Drivers relax during August shutdown
(GMM) Ping-pong or the Olympics?

It's a tough choice for formula one drivers as they contemplate how to spend their rare free time during the August break.

Felipe Massa, having returned to his native Sao Paulo, has posted on Twitter photos of his downtime on the saddle of a four-wheeled motorcycle, and playing mini table-tennis with his brother Eduoardo.

Red Bull's Mark Webber has headed to the real Olympics, watching his countryman James Magnussen grapple with the pain of losing Gold in a swimming race he was hotly tipped to win.

"It's called the journey," said Australian Webber. "That's the amazing thing about sport."

Champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are also enjoying sport of a different flavor.

2009 title winner Button, and his model girlfriend Jessica Michibata, headed to the Philippines for an Ironman competition.

"Triathlons aren't ever going to make me money," the McLaren driver told the Daily Mail. "But whenever I have any time off it doesn't take me long before I am pining to get back out on one."

2012 championship leader Alonso, meanwhile, won a 20 kilometer cycling time trial — at a speed of almost 45 kilometers per hour.

Lewis Hamilton is holidaying in Grenada, the country of his father Anthony's heritage, while Lotus' Romain Grosjean is enjoying a honeymoon with his new wife Marion Jolles, a French television presenter well known in the F1 paddock.

Seven time world champion Michael Schumacher is just enjoying some downtime with his young family.

"I'm more focused on living a quiet and private life, so I would rather avoid lots of people," he said.

Raikkonen 'a real threat' in 2012 – Whitmarsh
(GMM) Martin Whitmarsh, a former boss of the famous Finn some years ago, has admitted he has been impressed by Kimi Raikkonen in 2012.

The pair worked together between 2002 and 2006, when the now 32-year-old won nine grands prix for McLaren.

Raikkonen switched to Ferrari in 2007, winning nine more races and the title, but after 2009 he quit formula one to go rallying and Nascar racing.

He has returned to F1 with Lotus this year, and despite not yet adding to his tally of career wins, the 'Iceman' is tipped as a dark horse for the 2012 championship.

When asked about Raikkonen, McLaren team boss Whitmarsh told Brazil's Totalrace: "He is very talented.

"I think he is one of the fastest men on the planet," he added.

"People tend to underestimate Kimi, because of how little he talks. But he is a very intelligent and impressive driver.

"The Lotus is a good car and so, put together, they're a real threat," said Whitmarsh.

"I'm sure you've noticed that Kimi does not make many mistakes; he always does a good job.

"So I'm not surprised and I think he has the ability to improve even more throughout the season," he added.

Raikkonen's former McLaren stablemate, Pedro de la Rosa, told Spain's El Confidencial that Raikkonen is "definitely one of the best drivers I've ever seen".

And at the wheel of the impressive black and gold E20, it looks like a winning combination.

"Well, it hasn't won any races, so it's not a winner," Raikkonen insisted.

"We are still pretty happy but of course you want to do better. We'll see what we can do in the second part (of the season)," he added.

Lotus' technical boss James Allison thinks a shot at the title is not out of the question.

"Why not?" he told the British broadcaster Sky.

"There are an awful lot of points for coming first and an awful lot of races left. The lead is miniscule compared to the points available."

Wolff rules out testing Williams car
(GMM) Toto Wolff, a shareholder and now Williams' new executive director, has ruled out testing the famous British team's 2012 car.

Williams test driver Susie Wolff's husband, and Friday driver Valtteri Bottas' manager, Wolff is also a racing driver.

He raced single seaters in the 90s and in 2002 finished sixth in the FIA's NGT (now GT2) championship.

He also won a race in the GT1 class and more recently achieved success in Austrian rallying and won the 2006 Dubai 24 hour race.

And a Youtube video of his Nordschleife lap record and spectacular 270kph Porsche crash is legendary in racing circles.

But Wolff, 40, insists he has no plans to test the Renault-powered FW34.

"As you know, I was more ambitious than talented and there is no ambition to drive a formula one car because I think it would just look ridiculous," he said.

Instead, in the wake of chairman Adam Parr's surprise departure, Wolff is taking his new job – helping Sir Frank Williams to run the Oxfordshire based team – very seriously.

"The answer is yes, I'm going to spend more days at the factory and I enjoy it, it's what I want to do now," he said.

'All teams' ready to enter 2013 season – Whitmarsh
(GMM) Despite the current Concorde Agreement uncertainty, all 12 competing F1 teams will almost certainly line up on the 2013 grid.

Originally, the FIA imposed a June 30 deadline for teams to apply to contest next year's world championship.

But that date came and went, shortly after the World Motor Sport Council approved an extension of the deadline to the end of September.

However, it has emerged that all of the teams met the original June 30 entry deadline anyway — even though some teams, most notably Mercedes, have yet to agree a new 'Concorde' with Bernie Ecclestone.

The FIA also has not signed on with the sport's 81-year-old chief executive, despite Jean Todt saying in mid June that he wanted a new deal to be finalized "in the coming weeks".

"I believe all teams entered (for 2013)," McLaren and FOTA chief Martin Whitmarsh said, "but the FIA has redefined the entry time at the moment, so I presume all of the teams will re-enter within the new time frame.

"The FIA has asked us to resubmit our entries at a later date," he added.

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