Latest F1 news in brief – 2

  • F1 absence has not changed Massa – Barrichello
  • Raikkonen yet to make plans for 2010
  • Kubica hints experienced driver to be 2010 teammate
  • Massa allegations 'not important' – Alonso
  • Brazil eyes 90,000 crowd for Sunday's GP

F1 absence has not changed Massa – Barrichello
(GMM) Rubens Barrichello on Thursday played down suggestions his friend and countryman Felipe Massa has changed since his serious accident in July.

Brazilian Massa, 28, has been particularly outspoken in recent times, suggesting his 2010 Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso knows more about crash-gate, and saying Jenson Button might blow the world championship.

Barrichello was asked by a British reporter if he thinks Massa's absence has changed him.

"No, I don't think he has (changed). I think he's been the same person and all my wishes, when I was at the hospital, were that he was the same guy," said the Brawn driver.

Barrichello, 37, said he believes Massa's apparent outspokenness is a combination of his sitting out races, and the media paying particular attention to his comments.

"In formula one if you're not traveling with everyone all the time and not hearing what the same people are talking about, you just get different ideas and maybe you're flying on your own ideas," he said.

"He's been out for a month and then he comes back in and talks about something and it becomes a lot more important.

"For me it's just the fact that he's been out and not living the world that we're living in," Barrichello added.

He also said Massa appears to be the same driver as before his Hungarian shunt.

"After I saw him with my own eyes and I saw that he was the same, I wished that he could drive the same way, and he went to Fiorano and did that," said Barrichello, referring to Massa's test earlier this week in a F2007 Ferrari.

"From all the people that I've spoken to and to himself, it looked like he got into the car and on the third lap he was on the pace," he added.

Raikkonen yet to make plans for 2010
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen on Thursday said he has not yet signed a new contract to keep racing in formula one next year.

The Finn agreed to end his Ferrari deal to make room for Fernando Alonso in 2010, and two weeks ago announced that he is likely to either stay on the grid with a top-flight team or switch to rallying.

"For sure I can stay in formula one if I want to, but there is no point in making a stupid contract so I will wait and see what is my best option," said Raikkonen, linked with a return to his team of 2002-2006, McLaren.

Raikkonen, who will turn 30 in Brazil on Saturday, also showed little regard to those eagerly awaiting news about his future in the hope it will trigger the next moves in the 2010 driver market.

"I will make my decision when I feel like it," he said.

Kubica hints experienced driver to be 2010 teammate
(GMM) Robert Kubica on Thursday indicated that his new Renault bosses for 2010 are considering appointing an experienced driver to be his teammate.

The current occupant of the second seat at the French team is the rookie Romain Grosjean, who has failed to set the track alight since Flavio Briatore chose him to replace Nelson Piquet.

Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock and Nick Heidfeld are some of the names linked with the drive in 2010.

"I think there are quite a few names, quite experienced, which Renault is looking at for the next year," Pole Kubica, who will leave BMW-Sauber after the Abu Dhabi finale, said in Brazil.

The 24-year-old said he will not get involved in the decision about his teammate, and refused to confirm or deny reports that his Renault deal is for the 2010 season only.

Kubica also said he is relaxed about the future despite Renault's turmoil amid the crash-gate scandal.

"Renault as a team has had a difficult past months so there was also some unsettled moments for me and their future," he admitted.

"But once they decided to continue (in F1) and I was sure that the future is guaranteed, the decision (to join) was quite easy."

Massa allegations 'not important' – Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso on Thursday played down Felipe Massa's dubious welcome to the Ferrari team.

The Spaniard is set to join the Italian squad next year, but his 2010 teammate Massa put the harmony of their pairing in jeopardy this week by insisting Alonso must have known about Nelson Piquet's notorious deliberate crash.

"It's not very important for me. I'm not too worried," Alonso, who like Massa is 28, told reporters in Brazil.

"It will not affect anything, me or the relationship. I actually think we will be great. I think it will be a good group and we will be very strong next year," he said.

Massa will be in the Interlagos paddock this weekend to meet with his colleagues and wave the checkered flag, but Alonso said he is not planning to sit down with the Brazilian to discuss the crash-gate comments.

"Maybe we will have a chat, but I'm sure it won't be about this matter," he insisted.

"If we do have a chat it will be more about his recovery, that he seems well, about his experience at Ferrari. He has been there three or four years and I need to learn, to adapt myself a little bit quicker if possible.

"So anything I talk to Felipe about these days or in the future will be a huge help for me to know the team," he added.

Brazil eyes 90,000 crowd for Sunday's GP
(GMM) The global financial crisis will have little effect on this weekend's Brazilian grand prix, with 90,000 expected to watch the penultimate round of the 2009 world championship at Interlagos on Sunday.

Sao Paulo Turismo announced on Thursday that income for the event is expected to be 13 per cent higher than last year, when the Sao Paulo venue hosted a dramatic end to the 2008 F1 calendar.

The German news agency DPA also said local hotel managers predict 100 per cent occupancy throughout the popular race weekend.

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