Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Jaime Alguersuari

    Alguersuari not happy with Webber's new deal

  • Vettel not worried about Japan visit
  • Sauber angry after Ferrari gearbox failures
  • Alonso warns Vettel to expect 'hard' racing
  • No more 2011 car development now – Alonso
  • Title tilt unlikely until 2013 – Brawn
  • Vettel eyes pole record, breaking records of all F1 greats
  • Former Minardi press officer dies
  • US GP promoter Hellmund sued
  • Vettel's Ferrari interest 'very good' – Agnelli
  • Perez to test 2009 Ferrari this week
  • Button says McLaren 'listening more' now

Alguersuari not happy with Webber's new deal
(GMM) Jaime Alguersuari has admitted he was not happy when he learned that Mark Webber has secured a new contract with Red Bull for 2012.

Spaniard Alguersuari and his Toro Rosso teammate Sebastien Buemi were hoping they would be considered for the seat at the energy drink-owned company's main team.

Instead, they are now regarded as being in a fight to secure the single race cockpit alongside likely Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo next season.

Asked by Spanish radio Cadena SER if he is upset about Red Bull's decision to re-sign Webber, Alguersuari admitted flatly: "Absolutely.

"I want to be with a team that can win races. I am very happy with Toro Rosso and delighted that I got to go to formula one at (the age of) 19, but I want to win."

In an apparent swipe at 35-year-old Australian Webber, Alguersuari added: "If I was constantly half a second behind my teammate, I would be out."

The 21-year-old hailed his career-best run to seventh place at Monza as "one of my best races", but offered only barbed praise for 2011 champion-elect Vettel's victory.

"He has a car that allows him to do the poles and win all the races that he has," said Alguersuari.

Vettel not worried about Japan visit
(GMM) World champion Sebastian Vettel has revealed he is happy to travel to Japan next month.

Leading MotoGP riders, and IndyCar drivers including Danica Patrick who will race at Motegi this weekend, have expressed grave concerns about travelling to Japan in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

"Heck yeah, I'm concerned," Patrick said, revealing she will take her own food and water to the country.

Japan's formula one venue, Suzuka, is located further away from Fukushima than is Motegi, and officials have declared that the area is safe.

Runaway 2011 championship leader Vettel insists he is not worried.

"I'm looking forward to it. I think most of us (are)," said the German.

"It's a good sign for us to go there and I hope that we will bring some laughter and joy to the people."

Sauber angry after Ferrari gearbox failures
(GMM) Peter Sauber has admitted he is "angry" after both his cars retired with gearbox failures at Monza.

The units, like the Swiss team's engines, are supplied by Ferrari.

"It was like going back to formula one's stone age," Sauber growled to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, referring to the fact that technical problems are today increasingly rare.

The magazine said Ferrari "has yet to analyze" the cause of the double failure, which caused both Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi to retire from the Italian grand prix.

Sauber said the defects cost the Hinwil based team points amid its close championship battle with Force India and Toro Rosso.

"For the second time this year like Australia we have given our opponents points in a big way," he added. "But we have to take it in a sporting way and go to full attack for the last six races."

Beyond 2011, Sauber is hoping to have a bigger budget to make better use of its facilities at Hinwil, once the headquarters of BMW's works team.

"I think the infrastructure is excellent," said the team's 67-year-old owner and boss, "and, of course, with more money we can be faster. In our case it is very easy."

Sauber also admitted he wants to expand the team's staff count beyond its current 280.

Alonso warns Vettel to expect 'hard' racing
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has warned runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel to expect more "hard" racing in the final throes of the 2011 season.

After winning at Monza last weekend, Red Bull's Vettel recalled that Spaniard Alonso raced "hard but fair" as the Ferrari driver defended his early lead.

And although writing off his chances of beating Vettel to the crown, Alonso warned the German to expect more hard racing in the remaining six races.

"Yeah, we have nothing to lose in the battles with Sebastian," said Alonso, who is in second place behind Vettel's championship lead but 112 points behind.

"He is leading the championship by 100 points I think, so when we have to defend we will be a little bit harder with him," he added.

Alonso, 30, thinks he might be able to challenge Vettel in Singapore in two weeks, the scene of his victories in 2008 and 2010.

"Of the races remaining I think Singapore is probably the best one for our car characteristics," he said.

No more 2011 car development now – Alonso
(GMM) The development of Ferrari's 2011 car has now effectively stopped, Fernando Alonso has revealed.

After Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel pulled his championship lead over the Spaniard to 112 points at Monza, Alonso admitted beating the German to the title this season is now "impossible".

With Felipe Massa mathematically out of the running, La Stampa newspaper therefore confirms that Maranello based Ferrari's full focus is now on 2012.

"The last updates did not work as expected," Alonso is quoted as saying. "There will be no others, except for a little something in Singapore."

Added Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo: "As the car was born bad, there is no more potential to improve it."

Alonso, 30, won the floodlit Singapore grand prix in 2008 and 2010 and is therefore the city-state race's only multiple victor.

Title tilt unlikely until 2013 – Brawn
(GMM) Targeting the world championship in 2012 is not realistic for Mercedes GP, according to team boss Ross Brawn.

Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche admitted last week he is not happy with the performance of the Brackley based team, currently a distant fourth in the points standings behind Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.

"Our intention is to be better every year and it is clear that in this sense we cannot be satisfied," Brawn told Spain's El Pais newspaper.

"Last year we were fourth and we are again. The next step should be to fight for third or second, and then go for the title in 2013," he added.

"You need to be going forward and when you do not, you have to know why and to change your strategy."

He said he is not worried about Mercedes possibly losing patience.

"Mercedes knows what kind of challenge competing in formula one is and that's why they want to prove they are capable of meeting the challenge and succeeding," said Brawn.

"It is the most competitive and complicated championship and if winning it was easy, it would not be interesting."

But Brawn warned that with only a couple of minor changes to the regulations for 2012, Red Bull is likely to once again set the pace.

"If you're winning, as Red Bull are now, that is the scenario that you want," said the Briton. "When the rules do not change there are fewer possibilities of having different interpretations of them."

Brawn therefore said he doubts there will be "any revolutionary ideas" seen on next year's F1 grid.

Meanwhile, he acknowledged that he was not personally responsible for the ground-breaking 'double diffuser' idea that was credited for Brawn GP's title win of 2009.

"It was a Japanese engineer from (former owners) Honda," said Brawn. "He presented it, we analyzed it and found it to be viable."

Vettel eyes pole record, breaking records of all F1 great
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel is likely to break an almost twenty year old formula one record this year.

In 1992, Williams' Nigel Mansell started from the front of the grid no fewer than 14 times, and Vettel has already won 10 poles in 2011 with six races left to run.

The 24-year-old German, however, admitted that even if he does capture Mansell's record, he would not consider himself the best qualifier in F1 history.

"I think it (the record would be) nice to hear but I think the most impressive one – and it will probably always be – is Ayrton Senna.

"The amount of poles he got during a year and then for three or four years in a row, I think that's the real benchmark," said Vettel.

In addition to the pole record, Vettel could also become F1's highest ever scorer of points, according to an analysis by Brazil's Globo Esporte.

So far in 2011, Vettel has won just over 87 per cent of all the points available to him, with the all-time record for an entire season being Michael Schumacher's 84.71 in 2002.

Former Minardi press officer dies
(GMM) A press officer well-known to F1 journalists a few years ago has passed away.

Canadian-born Graham Jones, who died in Britain last weekend of cancer, worked at Minardi throughout Paul Stoddart's reign beginning in 2001.

He subsequently worked as a columnist for the Toronto Star.

"What I remember most is his kindness," said Molson Indy communications manager Sid Priddle. "He was always willing to listen to ideas and was always a gentleman.

"You never felt like you were in a PR/journalist situation but working with a friend."

US GP promoter Hellmund sued
(GMM) 2012 US grand prix promoter Tavo Hellmund is being sued.

Autoweek reports that the lawsuit has been filed by Texas attorney Randolph Ewing, who claims 5 per cent of Hellmund's stake in the US grand prix is owed to him for legal and business advice.

Hellmund has responded by insisting Ewing worked for free and never issued an invoice.

In other Hellmund news, he told the Austin American Statesman that his company Full Throttle Productions has done consulting work for proposed F1 races in Mexico, Argentina and South Africa.

But he insisted: "The US grand prix is the most important thing … the next thing is to promote the US grand prix."

The newspaper said actual construction of the Circuit of the Americas' infrastructure will begin "soon".

And in other lawsuit news, the Munchner Merkur daily reports that F1's former commercial owner Constantin Medien is claiming $171 million in damages from Bernie Ecclestone and jailed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.

Vettel's Ferrari interest 'very good' – Agnelli
(GMM) A Ferrari-linked official has admitted he is "very glad" to hear Sebastian Vettel's desire to wear a red suit on the Monza podium one day.

2011 champion-elect Vettel, although contracted for the long term to Red Bull, said no fewer than three times in the post-Italian grand prix press conference that winning with a "red suit" would be an even more special feat.

"I would like to congratulate Vettel," said Andrea Agnelli, the Juventus president and grandson of the famous Giovanni Agnelli.

Agnelli, 35, is also a Fiat and Exor board member.

"He (Vettel) showed yet again his will and determination, which he can exploit to the full thanks to what at the moment is the best car," he told Italian broadcaster Rai.

"He would like to win with the Ferrari? I'm very glad about that," added Agnelli.

Perez to test 2009 Ferrari this week
(GMM) Sergio Perez will make his debut at the wheel of a Ferrari formula one car this week.

Earlier this year, the famous Italian team said the Sauber driver would be "assessed" at some point in 2011 with a test in a two-year-old Ferrari single seater.

Rookie Mexican Perez, with 8 points so far in the 2011 world championship, is a leading member of Ferrari's driver development academy.

As is fellow academy member and Ferrari reserve Jules Bianchi, Perez is tipped as a possible long-term replacement for Felipe Massa.

Ferrari on Monday announced that the 21-year-old will precede his test on Thursday with two days in the F1 simulator.

Perez, and Frenchman Bianchi, will then "get behind the wheel of a (2009) F60 for a session at Fiorano", said the Maranello based team.

Button says McLaren 'listening more' now
(GMM) There is an increasing feeling in the F1 paddock that Jenson Button is taking up the mantle as McLaren's team leader.

When the 2009 world champion joined the famous British team last year, many observers likened becoming Lewis Hamilton's new teammate to stepping into the "lion's den".

But Hamilton has had a troubled 2011, with Button nine points ahead of his countryman in the points standings.

Button is quoted by the Telegraph as claiming he is driving better now than he did when he won the title at Brawn in 2009.

"It is to do with confidence after winning the world championship," said the 31-year-old, "feeling the team around me and being in a good place off the circuit.

"I took my engineers and mechanics out for dinner on Saturday night in Italy. It is not for a competitive edge over Lewis's side of the garage, it was to pay them back for all the hard work they have done," he added.

Button also said he is playing a solid role in the development of McLaren's 2012 car, "and they are really listening to what I have to say".

"Every time I drive the simulator we test something that I specifically want.

"I don't think I am having more of a say but I think they are listening more, which is nice," he added.

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