Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • After bankrupting Nurburgring by charging outrageous sanctioning fees, Bernie now says he will help them

    Good form will 'ensure' Ferrari future – Massa

  • Ecclestone vows to 'do everything' to help Nurburgring
  • Alonso also F1's personal sponsor king – report
  • No summer deadline for new Hamilton deal – Whitmarsh
  • Sam Michael thinks 2-second pitstops possible
  • Ultra-safe F1 'a shame' – Moss
  • Bottas 'ready' for F1 seat now
  • Tire war would mean 'decent tires' in F1 – Schumacher
  • Susie Wolff still on track after de Villota crash
  • GP2 leader Razia eyeing Red Bull test

Good form will 'ensure' Ferrari future – Massa
(GMM) Felipe Massa is confident he just needs to keep up his improved form to "ensure" a new contract for 2013.

In a pre-German grand prix statement posted on Ferrari's official website, the Brazilian denied that Mark Webber's decision to stay at Red Bull next year is a weight off his mind.

"The only thing that is important for me is that I keep performing in the same way I did in Silverstone," the 31-year-old is quoted as saying.

He admitted he is keeping "an eye" on the 2013 silly-season.

But "I'm sure that driving the way I am now is the only thing I can do and need to do to ensure my future," Massa insisted.

"What happens in the drivers' market does not have a significant effect on my position. If I carry on performing the way I did in Silverstone, then I don't feel too worried about my future."

Massa has raced for Ferrari since 2006.

Ecclestone vows to 'do everything' to help Nurburgring
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has vowed to do what he can to keep the Nurburgring on the F1 calendar.

The famous circuit has commenced an insolvency process, raising the danger that from now on the German grand prix will be held only once every two years at Hockenheim.

But German reports on Wednesday said F1's chief executive has offered to waive his usual race sanctioning fee for the Nurburgring in 2013, and in return "bear all costs but also claim all revenues".

A spokesman for the Nurburgring confirmed the accuracy of those reports.

And the Rhein Zeitung newspaper quoted a circuit official as warning that there is only "a small tine window" for authorities to approve the deal.

German reports said circuit officials Kai Richter and Jorg Lindner negotiated the deal with Ecclestone in London last Thursday.

"We will do everything that is commercially feasible to keep it (the German grand prix on the calendar) — hopefully in Hockenheim and the Nurburgring," 81-year-old Ecclestone is quoted by Auto Bild.

But the Briton also acknowledged the risk that the Nurburgring will drop off the calendar.

"If it's not possible, we will talk to Hockenheim to see if they can do it," said Ecclestone.

Alonso also F1's personal sponsor king – report
(GMM) It is no secret that Fernando Alonso's Ferrari contract is the most lucrative in formula one.

But the German media and marketing magazine 'WundV' claims that the Spaniard also commands the most income from external sponsors.

The report said that, in the past year, the 30-year-old made between EUR 7 and 8 million just from his personal backers, including Puma, Tag-Heuer and Santander.

In second place is Michael Schumacher, the seven time world champion.

Despite winning only a single podium in the two and a half seasons since returning to F1 in 2010, 43-year-old Schumacher made between 5 and 6 million in personal sponsorship in the past year, said the report.

The current world champion, Sebastian Vettel, reportedly makes only 3-4 million in estimated personal sponsorship; about the same as Jenson Button, but less than McLaren's Lewis Hamilton (5m).

No summer deadline for new Hamilton deal – Whitmarsh
(GMM) Martin Whitmarsh has played down Lewis Hamilton's suggestion that a new deal for the 2008 world champion could be done and dusted by the end of the forthcoming August break.

Hamilton, whose current contract runs out this year, admitted recently "it would be nice to get something in place" for 2013 before the sport reconvenes from its summer slumber at Belgium's Spa at the beginning of September.

But McLaren team boss Whitmarsh told reporters on Wednesday: "I don't think we should put any timeframe on it.

"I think it's something that's got to be determined for both parties preferably before the end of the season."

Hamilton's plans have been the subject of intense speculation, but Mark Webber's re-signing at Red Bull has most F1 insiders convinced that McLaren is the Briton's best choice for 2013 and beyond.

But Whitmarsh played down suggestions McLaren's performance slump could change the situation.

"I think Lewis is more intelligent than that and I hope the same applies to the media," he said.

Asked if he thinks the two sides will eventually come to a deal, Whitmarsh answered: "I think we will."

Also during the team's regular Vodafone teleconference on Wednesday, Whitmarsh revealed that the MP4-27 will look visibly different at Hockenheim, following a poor outing at the British grand prix for McLaren.

"The sidepods from the front to the rear are quite different so you'll notice those and there are other bits and pieces that the sharper eyed will see," he said.

"And clearly there are some parts which are hidden to the naked eye."

Sam Michael thinks 2-second pitstops possible
(GMM) Sam Michael thinks two-second pitstops will be possible before too long.

The Australian, ousted as Williams' technical director last year before moving across to McLaren as sporting director, took a lot of criticism for his new employer's pitstop problems in 2012.

But things have come good for Michael, presiding over two-and-a-half second stationary tire pitstops at more recent grands prix.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that McLaren practiced pitstops no less than 800 times prior to the British grand prix and were then "clearly the fastest (pit crew) at Silverstone".

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were in the pitlane for just 99.401 seconds during their home race, compared with 100.805 seconds for Ferrari and 101.181 seconds for Red Bull.

"Our target is an average stationary time of 2.5 seconds by the end of the year," said Michael.

And then, for 2013, "I think two seconds is not unrealistic," he added.

Ultra-safe F1 'a shame' – Moss
(GMM) Sir Stirling Moss thinks it is "a shame" formula one is so safe today.

"The concept, the whole idea, has changed," the British legend, who started winning grands prix in the middle of the 50s, said on Austrian Servus TV.

"That's a shame, because we had fun risking life and limb and that's gone now, really," added Moss, 82.

Moss admits that the danger was a key factor in his enjoyment of racing.

"In my opinion, if you don't want to take risks, play tennis," he added.

Bottas 'ready' for F1 seat now
(GMM) Valtteri Bottas believes he is ready to race in F1.

The 22-year-old Finn, who won the GP3 championship last year, is now focusing entirely on his formula one duties with the famous British team Williams in 2012.

With team co-owner Toto Wolff his manager, Bottas is the Oxfordshire based squad's official reserve driver, appearing in Bruno Senna's car for numerous Friday morning practice sessions at grands prix.

He dominated the recent young driver test at Silverstone, and is tipped as a possible Williams race driver for 2013.

"I would like to have a (race) seat," Bottas is quoted by the French language

"I think that is my next goal. If someone asks me, I'll be ready for next year or even sooner."

Tire war would mean 'decent tires' in F1 – Schumacher
(GMM) With a single neat soundbite, Michael Schumacher on Wednesday renewed his criticism of Pirelli and called for a new tire war in F1.

The German publication Auto Bild this week mentioned the rumor that FIA president and Frenchman Jean Todt would like to see Michelin return to the sport.

But the French tire marque has stated categorically that it would only come back if the rules are changed to allow tire makers to compete against one another again.

During the FOTA fan's forum in Stuttgart on Wednesday, seven time world champion Schumacher admitted he too would like to see a tire war once again.


"Because then we would have decent tires," the 43-year-old German is quoted as saying.

Earlier this season, Schumacher likened Pirelli's 2012 product to driving "on raw eggs".

The Mercedes driver also admitted he would be open to contesting more than 20 grands prix per season.

"I think there are 34 match days that are watched on television in the (German football) Bundesliga," said Schumacher, "so I think there is still room (in F1)."

Susie Wolff still on track after de Villota crash
(GMM) Susie Wolff is sure she will get more chances to prove her skills in a formula one car.

Some insiders saw the serious injuries sustained by Maria de Villota during a recent straight-line test for Marussia as a major setback for F1's other female driver.

But Wolff, who is a test driver for Williams, remains scheduled to drive the FW34 in October.

Recently, Wolff conducted a straight-line aerodynamic test for the British team.

"I was sick when I heard about Maria's accident," she is quoted by the Kolner Express newspaper.

But, while also a DTM driver, she said her own F1 job remains on track.

"I am looking forward to seeing in October how close I can get to the level expected of a top driver," said Wolff.

She denied the Williams gig is a PR stunt, or just because her husband Toto is a Williams co-owner.

"Although he's my husband and biggest supporter, he's also my biggest critic. He even said he wasn't sure if he wanted to see me in a formula one car," said Wolff.

"I have to show them what I can do, especially Frank Williams. He would never let anyone in his car that he doesn't think deserves a chance."

So is she dreaming of lining up on the grid any time soon?

"No, at the moment that's unrealistic," said Wolff, 29. "If things go well, I'll get more opportunities to sit in the car.

"But I do think that a woman will be there (in F1) in the next ten years."

GP2 leader Razia eyeing Red Bull test
(GMM) With his career in tatters at the end of last year, the next step for Luiz Razia could be a test for reigning world champions Red Bull.

Just 12th at the end of last year's GP2 championship, when under Caterham's wing, the Brazilian nearly quit racing altogether.

"I almost stopped," the 23-year-old confirmed to Globo. "I was thinking about going back to college to do engineering."

One year on and he is leading the 2012 GP2 championship and now tipped for a Red Bull test.

"Christian Horner called me, sat me down and proposed a very generous contract for this year," Razia revealed, referring to the Arden GP2 team owner and Red Bull Racing principal.

"It was an opportunity to be with a strong team and to improve as a professional within RBR," he said.

"Things went well from the start."

Razia openly admits that his next target is F1.

"It's the goal of every driver in GP2," he insisted, "and I have the dream to be the GP2 champion — it's something that no Brazilian has done before.

"Being GP2 champion can open many doors for me," he said.

"The goal is to win and then do the rookie tests at the end of the year with a good team."

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