Latest F1 news in brief – Saturday

  • Hamilton denies 'not focused' after paparazzi reports
  • Red Bull denies losing pace due to 'engine maps' saga
  • Petrov could leave Caterham after 2012 – manager
  • F1 drivers criticize Pirelli's wet tires
  • Alonso 'calmer' than 'aggressive' Schumacher – Hamashima
  • 2014 F1 engine supplier 'Pure' hits roadblock

Hamilton denies 'not focused' after paparazzi reports
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has hit back at suggestions he might be letting his priorities slip, after paparazzi recently snapped unflattering photos of the McLaren driver at the end of a big night out in London.

The reports come at an awkward time for the 2008 world champion, as it is believed he is locked in delicate negotiations with the famous British team over the terms of his 2013 contract.

"I have been out once in the UK in the last eight months," Hamilton, 27, insisted in Budapest on Friday.

"I didn't even go out on new year's eve," said the Briton.

"This whole 'not focused' stuff … I have never been so focused in my life. I have never trained so hard in my life. I have never dedicated so much time of my life to preparing for a grand prix."

Some, however, are sure Hamilton is now letting his celebrity lifestyle take too much of a hold, raising the question of how he knows where to draw the line.

"You just do (know)," he is quoted by the Daily Mail. "That is why we are the top drivers, because we know how to do it. Downtime is important."

Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions in Hungary on Friday.

"It's been a really positive day. I'm very happy," he said.

Red Bull denies losing pace due to 'engine maps' saga
(GMM) The FIA's 'engine maps' clampdown has not cost Red Bull even a single tenth, according to the team's engine supplier Renault.

After crossing the finish line in second place just a week ago at Hockenheim – where the reigning champions were using the now-outlawed settings – Sebastian Vettel's practice best in Hungary on Friday was good enough only for eighth.

And teammate Mark Webber, in the sister RB8, was buried down the timesheets.

"We've got work to do," said the Australian. "I'm not super happy."

Engine supplier Renault's trackside operations chief Remi Taffin, however, played down suggestions Red Bull's struggle is the direct result of Vettel and Webber no longer enjoying the software 'gizmos' they had a week ago.

"It's very difficult to quantify," said the Frenchman, "but we're talking about hundredths (of seconds lost) and not at all about seconds or tenths."

German Vettel, too, was careful not to blame his Friday performance on a hobbled car, insisting a good result on Sunday is still possible.

"If you would know what is going on in the background then you would not be too interested in all the talking and stuff that has been printed in the last few days," he is quoted by the Independent.

"Fortunately tomorrow (Saturday) there is a new newspaper, and after tomorrow again, and especially on Monday, so we focus on the race here and then try to make some good news for Monday's paper."

Petrov could leave Caterham after 2012 – manager
(GMM) Vitaly Petrov's manager has revealed she is in talks with three teams about the 2013 season.

After Renault (now Lotus) dropped him at the end of last season, Russian Petrov moved to the back of the grid for 2012 with Caterham.

But the 27-year-old's manager Oksana Kosachenko has now hinted Petrov could lose his seat yet again once the current championship is over.

"I would like something in my hands, something we can put on the table when we don't have any proper offer from Caterham," she told Ria Novosti news agency.

"Before autumn we have to be ready to take some decisions. I don't want to be in the situation which we faced last year," added Kosachenko.

And she insisted that if Petrov does stay at Caterham, they expect the Tony Fernandes-led team to up its game.

"The main priority is to keep staying in the team we're in at the moment," said Kosachenko. "They're developing and we're expecting big progress in the second half of the season, so we'll see what we will have."

She played down the likelihood that Vyborn-born Petrov could contest Russia's first ever grand prix next year with the Russian-owned team, Marussia.

"He is quite an experienced driver, so I think he deserves to get points. I am not sure this is feasible with Marussia, even next year," she said.

F1 drivers criticize Pirelli's wet tires
(GMM) A trio of formula one drivers have criticized the performance of Pirelli's rain tires.

Seven time world champion Michael Schumacher on Friday suffered his second crash in wet conditions in the space of seven days, explaining at the Hungaroring that he aquaplaned into the tire barrier.

But the great German, who has been openly critical of F1's Italian tire supplier, held his disapproving fire on Friday.

Others were more vocal.

"In my view, these (Pirelli wet) tires are extremely bad in terms of (water) displacement," Marussia driver Timo Glock is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"The (tire) behavior is just very, very funny, in terms of aquaplaning," he added.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, who made his F1 debut in 2010, added: "The Bridgestones were able to cope with more water."

And a third – unnamed – driver told the publication: "In the past we lost 12 seconds in the rain, now we're losing twenty."

Alonso 'calmer' than 'aggressive' Schumacher – Hamashima
(GMM) When asked to compare Fernando Alonso with Michael Schumacher, Hirohide Hamashima insisted the great pair of drivers are "so very similar".

The Japanese, previously Bridgestone's technical chief and now working with Ferrari on "tire issues", is uniquely placed, having worked closely with both Schumacher and, now, Spaniard Alonso.

Having run away with the 2012 championship lead despite arguably not enjoying the best car this year, some commentators believe Alonso is among the best drivers of all time — and perhaps even better than seven time world champion Schumacher at his peak.

Hamashima, better known in the paddock as 'Hammy', was quoted at the Hungaroring by Spanish news agency EFE as saying Schumacher and Alonso are "so very similar".

"They never give up in their efforts to achieve victories and titles," he said.

"I think Fernando is calmer and Michael (is) more aggressive," added Hamashima.

"In meetings, Fernando says the right thing, and calmly. Schumacher also made good comments but his manner of expression was different," he added.

2014 F1 engine supplier 'Pure' hits roadblock
(GMM) Craig Pollock's 'Pure' company has paused its operations, the German website motorsport-total and journalists Dieter Rencken and Stefan Ziegler have revealed.

Pollock, formerly the founder of Brackley based BAR and Jacques Villeneuve's manager, announced last year he intended to supply 'Propulsion Universelle et Recuperation d'Energie' (Pure)-branded engines to formula one customers for the 2014 V6 regulations.

The company set up camp at Toyota's Cologne headquarters earlier this year.

But the project, which also involves former Ferrari and FIA engine boss Gilles Simon, has hit a financial roadblock, the German-language report said.

A key investor pulled out a month ago, and now Pure will have to move out of Cologne, where it utilized office space, a workshop and engine test stands.

Simon informed Pure's partners and suppliers of the unfortunate development by email, explaining a financing problem. said Pollock confirmed the news.

"The situation is very simple," he is quoted as saying. "The investor is from the United States."

He went on to explain that Pure needs financing to come from Europe in order to satisfy Swiss tax rules.

"Until now we've been manufacturing parts and assembling engines in Cologne, but as of today, all of this has stopped," said Pollock.

He said he is expecting new European-based finance to be in place by "the end of the month".

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