Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • Euro 2012 fever grips F1 paddock in Montreal
  • Pic duo could be next brothers on F1 grid
  • Analysis shows Schu could be leading title chase
  • Bad news chasing Lotus team at present
  • End of legal action 'bodes well' for US GP
  • Massa 'back to normality' after struggle – Alonso

Euro 2012 fever grips F1 paddock in Montreal
(GMM) Canada is in the grip of F1 fever, but in the Montreal paddock, it is football fever that is rampant among the sport's travelling circus.

That is because Euro 2012, UEFA's European football championship, has kicked off in Poland and the Ukraine.

On Saturday, Germany's match against Portugal was set to kick off just minutes after qualifying.

When asked a mundane question about his helmet design immediately after taking pole on Saturday, an impatient Sebastian Vettel smiled: "It (the answer) might take too long …"

Quipped Lewis Hamilton: "I think that's the best and shortest answer I've ever heard him give!"

Fernando Alonso, in the post-qualifying press conference as well, also teased Vettel: "As Seb wants to go, I will give you a very long answer now, starting from my go-kart helmet …"

Ultimately, Vettel caught the kickoff and watched Germany win 1-0 from the comfort of Bernie Ecclestone's marquee.

And Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that Mercedes rearranged Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg's media and briefing commitments in order to watch the match together.

Rosberg was seen sporting suitable black, red and yellow glasses, hat and inflatable hand.

"I will try to watch all of the games," he confirmed.

Spain plays Italy on Sunday, which could be awkward for Spaniard Alonso, who is Ferrari's much-loved number one driver.

"If Spain wins," said the driver, "I think there may not be many people at my pitstop!"

Pic duo could be next brothers on F1 grid
(GMM) Artur Pic is hoping to join his brother on the formula one grid.

F1's last sibling duo was Michael and Ralf Schumacher, who shared the grid for almost a decade until 2006.

The next brothers could be Artur and Charles Pic.

Charles, 22, has made his grand prix debut this year with Marussia.

Two years younger, Artur Pic currently races in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, and is placed 12th in the championship.

"I don't have a target, but I hope to be in GP2 next season," said the Frenchman. "I think I can be there (in F1) within two or three years."

Charles Pic confirmed: "He has the qualities to get there and works hard."

The brothers both still live in their native Montelimar, France.

"We've always been together since we were children and shared everything," Charles told RMC Sport.

Artur agreed: "It's true, I don't even remember the last time we argued!"

Analysis shows Schu could be leading title chase
(GMM) Michael Schumacher could have been on track for his eighth world championship in 2012.

He may be carrying the number 7 on his Mercedes this year, but luck has abandoned the great 43-year-old German in the third and possibly final year of his F1 comeback, Bild newspaper reports.

"It sounds funny," Schumacher admitted. "I have only two points, but it is my best year with Mercedes."

The newspaper's analysis claims Schumacher could in fact be leading the 2012 championship after the first six races.

The analysis said Schumacher lost 15 points in Australia with gearbox trouble, and 11 points in Malaysia due to the clash with Romain Grosjean.

In China he lost 18 points due to a lose wheel, 7 points in Bahrain due to a DRS rear wing problem, and 4 points in Spain in the crash with Bruno Senna.

In Monaco, he scored his first pole for over 2000 days, but had to go back five places on the grid before a fuel pressure problem struck in the race.

That might have cost him the win and 25 points, Bild claimed.

"An interesting calculation," Schumacher commented when confronted with the analysis.

"I am realistic and I know that I can no longer fight for this world title, but I can still fight for wins," he said.

Schumacher's 1997 title rival Jacques Villeneuve, appearing as a pundit for British television this weekend, admitted to being impressed by his old foe in 2012.

"It's impressive how he always fights back after all the bad luck. I would not begrudge him victory in Montreal," said the French Canadian at the circuit named after his legendary father Gilles Villeneuve.

Schumacher qualified ninth for Sunday's Canadian grand prix.

Bad news chasing Lotus team at present
(GMM) There is little good news to report about the Lotus F1 team at present.

The UK financial website reports that the Enstone based team has recorded a $32 million pre-tax loss for last year.

It is however an improvement on the $63 million loss of 2010.

But the news of the latest loss followed the dismissal by the team's former sponsor Group Lotus of its controversial chief executive Dany Bahar.

Business journalist Christian Sylt said Group Lotus' Malaysian owner DRB-Hicom is contemplating "whether to close or sell the loss-making marque".

On the brighter side, the Lotus team's black and gold E20 car is regarded in the F1 paddock this year as perhaps the very best in the field.

Commentating on British television Sky this weekend in Canada, 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve called the car "amazing" and blamed its drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean for failing to perform.

"Put a Hamilton-Alonso-Vettel in there and they might have won every race," said the French Canadian.

Grosjean and 2007 world champion Raikkonen qualified seventh and twelfth in Canada.

Asked why McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and even Williams have been winning so far in 2012 while Lotus has not, Raikkonen said on Saturday: "My guess is that we still have to get stronger in qualifying.

"Of course, the aim always is to win, but sometimes it is better to fight for a good position and bag good points. If the win comes it comes," he told F1's official website.

End of legal action 'bodes well' for US GP
(GMM) The US grand prix could get back on the right track now that a spate of legal action has ended.

The local Austin American Statesman newspaper reports that race founder Tavo Hellmund and the Circuit of the Americas' new project leaders have settled a lawsuit.

No further details were forthcoming, but the newspaper said the settlement "could lift a cloud that has been hanging over Austin's first F1 race".

"I hope this puts the matter behind us all," Hellmund commented.

His lawyer agreed that the confidential settlement "bodes well for Austin's F1 project, and we look forward to seeing Tavo's dream of a fantastic race happen in November".

The good news is timely for the $300 million project, with FIA officials set to inspect the site on Monday ahead of the scheduled mid November race debut.

Tickets are now going on sale.

Massa 'back to normality' after struggle – Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has tipped his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa to keep up his new run of better form.

Earlier in the Montreal paddock, Brazilian Massa had admitted his recent struggles might cost him not only his Ferrari seat, but also his entire F1 career.

"If I need to go to a small team, maybe I will think about doing something else," he said.

Massa revealed that his management will start to look at his options around August.

But things had already started to turn for the 31-year-old, after a strong weekend in Monaco.

"I think if we carry on like this," Massa said in Montreal, "it will be much easier to stay at Ferrari or find a good direction in which to race."

As in Monaco, Massa has also looked up to speed between the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's concrete walls, qualifying on Saturday within a few tenths of his championship-leading teammate Alonso.

"I'm very happy for Felipe of course," Spaniard Alonso – pointing out that earlier in 2012 the Ferrari was "not the easiest to drive" – said.

"Since Barcelona he's done quite a good job. In Monaco he was very quick all weekend and here as well so I expect this is the normality and it will be like this from now until the rest of the championship," he added.

Ferrari has not ruled out retaining Massa in 2013.

"It depends mainly on Felipe," team boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed to Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo.

"We are here to help him in every way to return to being the very good driver that we know he is."

The famous team is not short on candidates to replace Massa, but as Flavio Briatore points out, the looming V6 turbo era in 2014 is a complication.

"That is why the teams are thinking hard before deciding on this or that driver," said the former Renault team boss.

"The drivers will have to show they can be effective within the new rules, which are very different from today's."

Also with theoretical driver openings for 2013 are top teams McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull.

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