Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Michael Schumacher

    Poor form may drive Schu from F1 – Fry

  • Senna to race 'Barcelona fire car' at Monaco
  • Senna to drive all weekend in Monaco
  • Maldonado could win in Monaco – report
  • Ecclestone offered money to make Mosley MP
  • CVC sells some of F1 stake
  • Ferrari chief: Massa must improve

Poor form may drive Schu from F1 – Fry
(GMM) Michael Schumacher is racing for retirement if his run of poor form continues.

That is the view of Nick Fry, the chief executive of Mercedes' Brackley based formula one team.

Despite looking more competitive in 2012 than in the first two seasons of his controversial return to F1, seven time world champion Schumacher has scored just 2 points so far, compared to Shanghai winner and teammate Nico Rosberg's 41.

So after a meteoric career spanning 91 grands prix, will he bow out on a low?

"I am sure if we get to the end of this year and it continues as it has done for the last few races I think he will probably be asking himself that question," Fry is quoted by the Daily Mail.

Fry this week named Mercedes' former DTM protege Paul di Resta as an ideal successor for Schumacher, whose contract runs out late this year.

"There is time to go and we are not making any decisions yet," Briton Fry, who deputized for ill team boss Ross Brawn recently in Barcelona, insisted.

It is a similarly worrying time for Schumacher's 2006 Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa, who – as his own contract runs out – is struggling notably against Fernando Alonso.

In an open motivational letter to Ferrari staff this week, team president Luca di Montezemolo insisted Brazilian Massa "must bring home the results we expect from him".

Senna to race 'Barcelona fire car' at Monaco
(GMM) The F1 car photographed amid the charred remains of Williams' burnt-out garage in Barcelona will be back in action this weekend at Monaco.

We reported last week that an initial inspection of Bruno Senna's Renault-powered FW34, which was sitting in the pits when the fire broke out during the team's celebrations for Pastor Maldonado's victory last Sunday, showed it had emerged with minimal damage.

A spokesman has now confirmed that Senna will race the very same chassis on the streets of Monaco this week.

Otherwise, the garage fire "somewhat hampered" Williams' preparations for the famous race in the Principality, chief engineer Mark Gillan admitted.

"But the impact has been mitigated by what can only be described as a herculean effort by the factory and our suppliers to restock both the damaged equipment and car parts," he said.

Gillan also said rival teams made "generous offers" of help.

Maldonado's chassis was safely in parc ferme at the time of the fire.

Senna to drive all weekend in Monaco
(GMM) Bruno Senna will be at the wheel of his Williams throughout the Monaco grand prix weekend.

Recently, the Brazilian has been giving up his seat to the team's rising young reserve driver Valtteri Bottas on Friday mornings.

Because the Finn is managed by team shareholder Toto Wolff, and with him recently bringing new sponsors Wihuri and Kempii to the livery of the FW24, speculation had suggested Bottas might soon replace struggling Senna altogether.

Austrian Wolff, however, rubbished those rumors.

And now it emerges that Senna, 28, will be driving all weekend in Monaco, including in the initial practice session, which in the Principality will take place as per usual early on Thursday.

However, Senna also kept his FW34 throughout the Melbourne race weekend, held on a semi-permanent road circuit.

And Bottas told a Finnish newspaper late last year that his program for 2012 will involve him practicing at every grand prix circuit "except for the street races".

Therefore, he is expected to also sit out Canada, Valencia and Singapore.

The pressure is on Senna. In the sister car, Pastor Maldonado raced from pole to the famous British team's first win since 2004 last weekend in Spain.

Senna failed to make Q2, and in the race was crashed out by Michael Schumacher.

"I have performed well there (at Monaco) in the past and hopefully that trend will continue this weekend and we can get some good points," he said.

Maldonado could win in Monaco – report
(GMM) Pastor Maldonado is a genuine contender for victory this weekend at Monaco.

That is the claim of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, arguing that the once-derided 'pay driver' Venezuelan's breakthrough win in Spain was not necessarily a one-off.

Some, including reigning world champion team Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz, have written off the 2012 season so far as little more than a Pirelli-fuelled "lottery".

But having offered odds of 500-1 prior to Barcelona, Maldonado is now 16-1 to repeat his victory in the famous Principality, according to the major British bookmaker William Hill.

Auto Motor und Sport reckons on "two main favorites" for Monaco, the other being McLaren's Hamilton.

"Both (Hamilton and Maldonado) are proven Monaco specialists, who were able to win on the Cote d'Azur in any class long before formula one," read the report.

"Hamilton was the fastest man in Barcelona but was hampered by the fuel problem in qualifying. And in addition to his Monaco-talent, Maldonado's Williams has incredible traction."

However, journalist Tobias Gruner acknowledged that "whoever has bet on the favorite this season has not been happy so far".

Two-time title winner Emerson Fittipaldi would bet on Lotus.

"I see them as the most consistent team," the Brazilian legend is quoted by Globo.

The 2012 'lottery' has polarized F1 pundits, but former driver and Williams mentor Alex Wurz counts himself among the delighted.

"There have been six winners so far: five different drivers, and formula one itself," the Austrian told Sportwoche.

Ecclestone offered money to make Mosley MP
(GMM) A British politician has alleged Bernie Ecclestone offered money in exchange for his former F1 ally Max Mosley becoming a member of parliament.

David Davis, a conservative backbencher and former party chairman, said the F1 chief executive's offer was made a decade ago ahead of the 2005 election, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Ecclestone's offer of money in exchange for a safe conservative seat for Mosley was reportedly made to Davis by Sir Alan Curtis, the former chairman of Lotus Cars.

"He (Curtis) said Mr. Ecclestone wanted to help Mr. Mosley obtain a safe conservative seat and that if we delivered, we could expect a serious contribution from Mr. Ecclestone," Davis said.

"I told him, 'We simply don't do that sort of thing'. After that, I heard nothing from him."

Former FIA president Mosley said: "It's a lovely idea but it's got no connection with the truth as far as I am concerned."

Curtis, however, confirmed meetings took place "but I can't believe I said he (Ecclestone) would (financially) support the party".

Ecclestone also confirmed the meetings, but as for the offer of money, the 81-year-old insisted: "I don't imagine that is what happened.

"We don't know Mr. Davis is saying the truth do we?"

CVC sells some of F1 stake
(GMM) Even ahead of F1's Singapore floatation, the sport has some new owners.

Reuters, the specialist financial market news agency, said US-based asset managers Waddell and Reed, Blackrock and Norway's Norges Bank have bought a $1.6 billion stake from existing owners CVC.

The report cited a source "with direct knowledge of the matter". The companies did not immediately comment.

It drops CVC's stake from 63.4 per cent to about 40pc, the source said.

We reported on Monday that the Singapore stock exchange approved F1's plan to raise as much as $3 billion in an initial public offering.

Other reports said pre-marketing for the listing, likely to go ahead at the end of June, will begin immediately.

"It is not our practice to publicly comment on our dealings with listing aspirants," said a Singapore bourse spokesman.

Some insiders have expressed concern.

"Look at the muted first-day response to Facebook's IPO," an unnamed banker told the Singapore broadsheet Straits Times. "The F1 listing is not nearly as attractive and long-awaited as that."

Ferrari chief: Massa must improve
Luca di Montezemolo has thrust the poor form of Felipe Massa back into the spotlight by insisting that the Brazilian "must bring home the results we expect from him."

In an open letter to Ferrari staff published on Monday afternoon, the Scuderia chief singled out the under-performing Massa as being in need of improvement as he issued a rallying cry on the eve of the Monaco GP. According to di Montezemolo, the championship remains in Ferrari's hands, but it is his stark reference – which is likely to be interpreted as an ultimatum in some quarters – to Massa's form that is bound to garner the most amount of external attention.

"The Championship is in our own hands," wrote the Ferrari President. "The championship is very open and so far, there has not been one dominant force.

"A series of circumstances and the work done here to improve the car, as well as [Fernando] Alonso's great ability, has led to us leading the Championship after five rounds. We must capitalize on that, with each one of us giving our very best at home and at the race track, including Massa who must bring home the results we expect from him."

Although Ferrari have maintained that their support for Massa in public, his position with the team has been subject to ceaseless speculation since the start of the season. While Alonso leads the drivers' contest, Massa's miserable run of results has produced just two points in 2012, leaving Ferrari a lowly fourth in the Constructors' Championship.

Massa, though, believes the team still back him to turn things around as he battles to get to grips with the F2012.

"I feel the whole team stands by me," he told Ferrari's website over the weekend.

"It's definitely not a very easy car to drive and it's hard to find a good balance. Many times I have found myself having to fight the car and, in these circumstances, it's easy to lose a tenth here and there.

"It's well known that we don't yet have enough aerodynamic downforce and we are lacking in traction at the exit to slow corners, which could be the biggest problem."

The Brazilian also feels that since Australia, he has been performing at a similar pace to team-mate Fernando Alonso.

"I think that this year, the only race where there really was a big difference between me and Fernando was in Australia and then, in Malaysia the rain made it more complicated to get a clear picture. Starting in China, the difference in qualifying between the two of us was not so dramatic," Massa added.

"Even in Barcelona, but for the traffic, my time in Q2 was in line with previous events and on Sunday my pace was not that far off.

"I think we must also take into account that, at the moment, Fernando's driving is amazing: he is on super form, maybe even perfect."

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