Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • Adrian Sutil

    Manager admits Sutil visited Ferrari headquarters

  • Teammate says McLaren stay 'right thing' for Hamilton
  • F1 drivers on notice about cutting corners
  • Petrov handed fine for pit lane speeding
  • Williams achieves double top ten result
  • Hamilton delighted with latest McLaren updates
  • Perez settles differences with Maldonado

Manager admits Sutil visited Ferrari headquarters
(GMM) Adrian Sutil recently visited Ferrari's headquarters at Maranello.

But the former Force India driver's manager denied that German Sutil, 29, is therefore a hot contender to replace Felipe Massa in 2013.

Indeed, the Cologne newspaper Express said Sutil was only at Ferrari's private test circuit Fiorano for a day of road car driving with friends and a factory tour.

"It's true," the out-of-work former Spyker and Midland driver's manager Manfred Zimmermann said.

"Adrian was at Ferrari and also at the test track.

"But he was in a road Ferrari. He was not in the simulator or getting a seat fitted," Zimmermann insisted.

As for the likelihood this might have been Sutil's first step towards a Ferrari future, he admitted: "We definitely would not be opposed, but currently there are no negotiations.

"We are however confident that Adrian will be back (in F1) next year," added Zimmermann.

Teammate says McLaren stay 'right thing' for Hamilton
(GMM) Jenson Button thinks staying at McLaren would be the "right thing" for Lewis Hamilton.

As Briton Hamilton and McLaren supremo Ron Dennis step up their war of words amid negotiations for a new contract, speculation the 2008 world champion could jump ship to a rival team – perhaps Mercedes or Lotus – continues to swirl.

"I'd like to see him stay," teammate Button, who is already under contract for 2013, said in Hungary.

"I'd love someone really slow as a teammate, but this place is like home to Lewis, he has been here since the start of his career.

"It's a massive change to go somewhere else," said Button. "I've done it a couple of times. Sometimes it's good for you.

"It's up to Lewis obviously but it doesn't seem, to me, like it would be the right thing to do."

McLaren chairman Dennis this week sounded unlikely to meet all of Hamilton's new contract demands, insisting "It's a question of whether we employ him, not the other way around".

But 1996 world champion Damon Hill had a word of caution for McLaren.

"His (Hamilton's) value is just going to keep going up and up if he carries on driving like that," the Sky pundit said after Hamilton netted a dominant pole at the Hungaroring.

Allan McNish, a former Toyota driver, described it as "one of the best qualifying performances I've seen".

Button, however, sensed Dennis might be serious.

"Maybe it's best to ask Lewis, he is the one with the choice to leave or not — well, I don't know, I heard Ron Dennis say some interesting comments this week," said the 2009 world champion.

F1 drivers on notice about cutting corners
(GMM) Charlie Whiting has briefed the stewards, including former American F1 driver Danny Sullivan, to be on alert during the Hungarian grand prix, as the FIA clamps down on drivers sneaking an off-track advantage.

Last weekend at Hockenheim, world champion Sebastian Vettel was demoted from second at the flag to fifth in the classification, for passing Jenson Button late in the race whilst off the track.

Whiting, the highest-ranking FIA official at grands prix, has reportedly warned he will be just as tough about drivers taking all four wheels outside the limits of the circuit in Hungary.

"We'll see how it applies here at the Hungaroring," McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael is quoted by Spain's El Mundo Deportivo.

"There are at least four places where you can cut the corner," added the Australian.

GP2 driver Sergio Canamasas tested the theory on Saturday and was handed a drive-through penalty for exceeding the limits of the circuit for advantage.

Indeed, Whiting is understood to have insisted that not only maintained or gained positions will be penalized, but also off-track moves for lap time or 'DRS' activation benefit.

Mundo Deportivo correspondent Raymond Blancafort said the problem has arisen recently because of the modern trend for asphalted run-off zones and verges, where previously there was either gravel or slippery 'grasscrete'.

Petrov handed fine for pit lane speeding
Caterham's Vitaly Petrov has been ordered to pay a fine of 1,000 euros (£782.80) after speeding in the pit lane at the Hungaroring on Saturday afternoon. The offence, committed in qualifying, has no bearing on the Russian's grid position.

In a bid to further improve safety, officials have dropped the previous pit lane limit of 100 km/h down to 60 km/h at certain venues this season. Petrov was found to be travelling 4.8 mk/h quicker than permitted, a breach of Article 30.12 of the regulations.

Petrov will start Sunday's 70-lap Grand Prix from 20th position, joining team-mate and former Hungarian winner Heikki Kovalainen on the tenth row of the grid.

Williams achieves double top ten result
Hungary marks Williams’ first double top ten qualifying result since the Brazilian Grand Prix of 2010. On that occasion it was Nico Hülkenberg on pole position with Rubens Barrichello sixth. Today, Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna were eighth and ninth.

“Both drivers did very well today in what is an extremely tight and competitive grid," explained Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan. “We are very pleased to get both cars into the final session of qualifying for the first time this season and look forward to the race tomorrow. The forecast indicates that the race is likely to be wet and the rain could be heavy, especially towards the later stages of the race."

The result also marks Senna’s first Q3 appearance of the year.

“It’s been a good weekend so far and I’m really happy to be in the top ten for the first time this season," the Brazilian smiled. “Q2 was extremely close, but we were able to get through. I could have done a better lap in Q3 but I’m pleased with the result and having both cars in Q3 is great. The car has felt consistent and our long run pace is looking good."

The former Champion squad now aims for a double points finish. It last won the Hungarian Grand Prix when Jacques Villeneuve passed an ailing Damon Hill in 1997.

Hamilton delighted with latest McLaren updates
McLaren gained a significantly larger amount of speed after upgrading their car in Germany last weekend and have now gone one step further in Hungary. New parts for Budapest included modified sidepods, which contain more air inlets, and helped Lewis Hamilton to his 22nd career pole position and the 150th for the Woking squad.

“This has just been a really positive weekend so far and finally the upgrades are working this weekend," Hamilton said after celebrating his third pole in Hungary. “I’m always going for that perfect lap – that’s what makes it intense and exciting. We knew we had the pace to do that this weekend, so it was just a case of actually doing it.

“Considering the pace we’ve had all weekend, missing pole would have been disappointing, so I’m very happy to have got it."

Hamilton has now matched Fernando Alonso again for 22 personal pole positions. The pair of rivals and former team-mates sit 11th overall in the all-time Formula 1 rankings.

Perez settles differences with Maldonado
The tension between Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado is now water under the bridge, as far as the Mexican is concerned. The Sauber driver was extremely vocal about the Venezuelan after the pair came to blows at both Monaco and Silverstone earlier this year.

The first contact between the duo came in the final practice session of Monte Carlo, when Maldonado swiped into the Mexican’s car and arguably caused his qualifying crash. They collided again in the British Grand Prix, with Perez then telling reporters that all of the F1 field is worried about Maldonado and his capabilities to cause injury.

However, in Hungary, Perez – who claims he spoke with Maldonado at Hockenheim last weekend – has said that the tautness is now a bygone.

“I was just very frustrated because all of the people in our team work night and day to give me a good car, so what Pastor did at Silverstone was not right and that’s why I was angry," a candid Perez commented. “I have nothing against him, though. Many others say bad things about drivers but I was mainly just angry at the time."

When explaining the private conversation between the pair, he continued:

“We just had a discussion and cleared it all up – it’s all sorted now. We respect each other just as we expect all of the other drivers."

Both men made their F1 debuts in 2011. Perez is currently ninth in the Drivers’ Championship with 47 points to his name, with Maldonado 11th and with 29 points.