Latest F1 news in brief

  • Raikkonen risks Schumacher beating – experts
  • More carmaker withdrawals won't destroy F1 – Mosley
  • FOTA wants qualifying format shakeup
  • Grosjean tests Renault on UK runway
  • Manager told Schu to snub comeback offer
  • Ferrari's 60 year F1 commitment goes on
  • Ferrari confirms Massa out of intensive care

Raikkonen risks Schumacher beating – experts
(GMM) Michael Schumacher may be returning after nearly three seasons away from the formula one grid, but he may not be the most nervous member of the Ferrari camp at present, two experts have opined.

Niki Lauda is another who staged a sensational comeback in the 80s and even went on to win a third world championship, and is sure 40-year-old German Schumacher "will be brilliant" when he sits in injured Felipe Massa’s car.

"The most interesting thing will be to see him up against Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari — who will be faster?" the great Austrian told Britain's Daily Mail.

"Put it this way: Kimi has to get his act together or be shown up," Lauda added.

Eddie Jordan, who gave Schumacher his debut in 1991 and is equally enthusiastic about Schumacher's impending return, agrees that the situation will be a "big wake-up call" for Finn Raikkonen.

"You will see a new Raikkonen because he will not want to be disgraced by Michael Schumacher," the Irishman told BBC radio Five Live.

More carmaker withdrawals won't destroy F1 – Mosley
(GMM) The sport will survive even if rumors are true that more manufacturers are considering following Honda and BMW out of formula one, Max Mosley insists.

"If any more manufacturers quit we've got people who'd replace them. I think F1 will be very healthy with or without the manufacturers," the current FIA president told the BBC.

The 69-year-old was speaking in the wake of BMW's shock announcement that it will quit F1 at the end of 2009. The FIA issued a formal statement on Wednesday blaming the decision on the dithering of team bosses over cost cutting.

Mosley warned efforts are now being made to bypass the teams and go straight "to the chief execs" of the carmakers' boards.

"Teams are making efforts to reduce (costs) but we don't think they've gone far enough or fast enough," he insisted.

Toyota and Mercedes reacted to the BMW news by insisting their own commitments to formula one are not under review.

"There are rumors, but there are always rumors, so we don't pay attention until we get concrete information," Mosley said.

One of those rumors is that Toyota team president John Howett is currently in Tokyo for a round of board meetings, which may explain why the ratification of the Concorde Agreement is delayed.

Renault's commitment is also in doubt, two authoritative newspapers claim.

"It is thought that (team boss) Flavio Briatore … is scouring the globe for funds to secure a management buyout from the French carmaker", said the Times of London.

And Switzerland's Blick added: "Renault would like to get rid of its team as quickly as possible, delivering it to boss Flavio Briatore."

FOTA wants qualifying format shakeup
(GMM) In the wake of BMW's shock F1 exit, the sport's remaining car manufacturers insist efforts are afoot to spice up the spectacle.

Not long after the Munich carmaker announced its decision to withdraw, FOTA secretary general Simone Perillo said work has begun to increase "the involvement of the fans" and to improve "the F1 show".

Mentioned on Wednesday was the possible introduction of a third car per team, but also rumored is a FOTA-sponsored shake-up to the current knockout qualifying format.

It is believed FOTA's desired change would see five cars on track at a time, with the two fastest progressing to take on the next group of competitors.

Grosjean tests Renault on UK runway
(GMM) 23-year-old Romain Grosjean appears to have moved another step closer to securing his grand prix debut.

Amid reports of a terminal falling-out between Flavio Briatore and Nelson Piquet, the French-Swiss reserve driver Grosjean was this week asked by Renault to conduct driving duties at a straight-line test.

The session took place on the runaway of the Imperial War Museum in Cambridgeshire (UK).

Manager told Schu to snub comeback offer
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's manager has revealed he advised the seven time world champion against coming out of retirement to replace the injured Felipe Massa at forthcoming grands prix.

"I advised him against it, saying the problem is the expectation of the people. If Schumacher is back in the car, then they want to see him winning," Willi Weber told Thursday's edition of Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.

40-year-old Schumacher insists he agreed to the temporary role out of loyalty to the Ferrari marque, with whom he achieved five of his seven drivers' titles and still works as an advisor.

"Ferrari asked him and he couldn't say no," Weber admitted.

"It is good for everyone: the media, the fans, formula one. Whether it is also good for us we will have to see."

Weber said his fears about the comeback are because Schumacher has not seriously trained since his retirement in 2006, and because he is ten races less experienced than his competitors with the new-generation 2009 cars.

Italy's Tuttosport, meanwhile, reports that Schumacher's decision to replace Massa coincides with news that Ferrari will extend his 5m euros per year role as team advisor.

Ferrari's 60 year F1 commitment goes on
(GMM) In the wake of BMW's impending exit from formula one, Ferrari reaffirmed its commitment to the sport.

The Italian team suggested the news is in stark contrast to Ferrari's unbroken loyalty to the world championship.

"Over the last 60 years of the continuous participation of Ferrari in the formula one world championship we've seen many teams and some important constructors come and go," said a spokesman.

"This is a characteristic of this sport, although we are sad about BMW's decision," he added.

McLaren and Toyota also affirmed their ongoing commitment to F1 in the wake of the BMW news. Renault refused to comment.

Ferrari confirms Massa out of intensive care
(GMM) A Ferrari spokesman has confirmed that Felipe Massa moved out of the intensive care unit at Budapest's AEK hospital on Wednesday.

"The most important situation is that Felipe is out of intensive care and now in his own private room," the team spokesman said.

"He is speaking more or less normally and he has managed a few steps so, from a clinical point of view, everything is going in the right direction," Ferrari's Luca Colajanni added.

The Maranello based team confirmed that Michael Schumacher is scheduled to fill in for as long as it takes the 28-year-old Brazilian to recover from the Hungarian GP qualifying crash.

Massa's doctor Dino Altman said he is hopeful he will be able to return to formula one at some point, telling reporters the Ferrari driver "doesn't seem to have a long-term injury".

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