Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Brawn not negotiating new deal with Schumacher yet

    No talks for new Schumacher contract yet – Brawn

  • Team Lotus to use Williams wind tunnel
  • Hamilton hogs headlines after Button win
  • McLaren's de la Rosa 'more useful' after Canada
  • 'Stay or go?' during Montreal washout – report
  • Vettel still cruising, or dominance set to end?
  • Slow teams and drivers a 'problem' – Montezemolo
  • Gymkhana rally star Block to test Pirelli F1
  • Nielsen to leave Renault, Wickham to join
  • British GP secure despite Silverstone loss

No talks for new Schumacher contract yet – Brawn
(GMM) Ross Brawn has played down reports Michael Schumacher is set to extend his return to formula one beyond next season.

Based on the seven time world champion's claim in Canada that driving a team to success typically takes about "five years", German media claimed it was a strong hint the 42-year-old was set to renew his contract through 2014.

But when asked on German television RTL if this is the right interpretation to make of Schumacher's comments, Mercedes team boss Brawn answered: "No.

"There was absolutely no reason to drive that speculation. The situation has not changed."

The Briton also told German Sky television that the issue of Schumacher's renewal has "not been discussed".

"I am very happy with our two drivers — they are not the reason we are not winning races," Brawn insisted.

"Both our drivers have contracts at the moment and our priority is to make the car better. We definitely have another year with Michael and if with next year's car we can get the results we want, then I see no reason why we shouldn't go on.

"But at the moment there are no talks," he added.

Also asked about the rumors of a contract extension, Schumacher said in Montreal: "At the right time we will talk about it, but right now would make no sense."

The famous German has had a difficult time since returning to F1 from retirement last season, but in Canada came close to securing the first podium of his comeback.

One foreign newspaper said the Montreal performance showed Schumacher "has some talent left" in the wake of his record-setting previous career tallying 91 wins.

Team Lotus to use Williams wind tunnel
(GMM) Team Lotus will develop its formula one cars in one of Williams' two wind tunnels at the famous British team's Grove headquarters.

Williams is already supplying the rear end and gearbox to another of F1's new 2010 entrants, Hispania.

The deal announced on Monday will see Team Lotus expand its aerodynamics program beyond the Aerolab facility in Italy, while the team develops its own tunnel at Hingham.

"When that facility is operational all activity will be transferred to the team's own site," said Team Lotus in a statement.

Team boss Tony Fernandes' link with Williams was already strong following his former sponsorship of the Oxfordshire based team through his airline AirAsia.

"I owe a great deal of thanks to Frank Williams, Patrick Head and Adam Parr as they were the first people I ever worked with in formula one," he confirmed.

Meanwhile, it emerged in Canada over the weekend that Team Lotus has inked a new sponsorship deal with the famous computer chip maker Intel.

Lewis Hamilton, put on a pedestal by the biased British F1 media as the next coming of Ayrton Senna or Jim Clark, is expected to win – so he tries too hard and makes forced errors

Hamilton hogs headlines after Button win
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton's latest troubles are attracting more attention than his teammate’s sensational win in Canada.

"Lewis HamilDUMM" (dumb/stupid) read the headline in the German newspaper Bild, after more collisions and controversy in Montreal.

"In many respects it is a shame because Button's sensational victory in a frankly unforgettable grand prix should really take the headlines," wrote David Coulthard in his latest Telegraph column.

El Mundo newspaper after Canada described Button as the "gentleman de los circuitos", while McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said the last-lap win was among the greatest in F1 history.

But typically with the media and its commentators, negativity is the better selling point, with greats including Niki Lauda, Sir Stirling Moss and Emerson Fittipaldi all criticizing Hamilton after Canada.

Agreed former McLaren driver John Watson to Talksport radio: "I don't think he's in a good place in himself at the minute."

And lead BBC commentator Martin Brundle added: "He's collecting car damage when he needs to be finishing races. He has to come at his racing in a different way — it's not working."

Button has also commented on his famous teammate's troubles, but he rebuked Lauda who has called for the FIA to ban Hamilton in order to save lives.

"I don't agree with that," the Montreal winner is quoted by the Mirror. "I think his driving style is aggressive and he always goes for gaps."

And a report in The National said Button added: "Lewis is in the headlines a lot, and a lot of it is because he is bloody good."

But Button also revealed that he spends no social time with his teammate, and Lauda agrees that part of Hamilton's problem is his attitude.

"He must calm down and spend less time trying to be a celebrity and a rock star," the Austrian great wrote in a column for The Sun.

"When times are tough as they are now and he is making mistakes he needs to refocus and concentrate solely on driving," added Lauda.

Coulthard agrees: "He does seem a bit distracted at present, certainly in contrast to his main rivals."

But the Scot rubbished Lauda's claim that he is a threat to the other drivers' safety, and a spokesman for Hamilton insisted: "While we respect Niki's views, he is plain wrong in this instance.

"Lewis was cleared by the stewards of causing any accidents on Sunday and has never come close to injuring or purposefully taking out another driver."

McLaren's de la Rosa 'more useful' after Canada
(GMM) McLaren might thank Sauber after loaning the Swiss team its reserve driver in Canada.

Pedro de la Rosa was still wearing his McLaren overalls on Friday afternoon when he was drafted in at the last minute to replace Sauber's unwell regular Sergio Perez.

The 40-year-old Spaniard finished the race but did not score points, but he said he will always remember the 2011 Canadian grand prix.

"I had a blast and I'm going home with an amazing experience in my bag and I'm now more useful as McLaren's reserve driver, being accustomed to a current car," de la Rosa told AS sports newspaper.

Sauber's attention now turns to getting its Mexican rookie Perez back into the car for Valencia, after expecting the 21-year-old to have missed only Monaco after his concussion sustained in the Principality.

The Swiss newspaper Blick said well-known F1 fitness guru Josef Leberer has flown to Mexico City this week to help Perez with his recovery.

Team boss Peter Sauber is quoted as admitting to "slight disappointment" with Kamui Kobayashi's seventh place despite the Japanese lining up second on the grid before the Montreal re-start.

"The truth is we knew we had no chance against Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari because we lack top speed. But as a private team we can be proud of our season," he said.

'Stay or go?' during Montreal washout – report
(GMM) Many race-goers walked out of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve during the Canadian grand prix's excruciatingly-long rain delay.

"Stay or go? That was the question that haunted the soaked audience on Sunday afternoon," wrote La Presse.

The Montreal rain caused the F1 world and its global television audience to wait more than two hours for the rain to stop.

But spare a thought for the drenched local spectators who had nothing to watch but the rivers running down the track.

"I never thought about leaving," one spectator, who travelled from New York with his brother, said. "We came too far to give up that easily!"

A Montreal local added: "I have waited for this all year. It's the biggest sports event in Canada."

The press office for the race promoters would not speculate upon the percentage of the crowd that remained until the late checkered flag, but spectators guessed that between 25 and 50 per cent went home.

"It was just common sense," said one departee, who had come with his 10-year-old son. "It was like a flood and not at all fun in those conditions.

"But we still had a great weekend in Montreal," he added.

A spectator from New Jersey also left: "It was like being in the centre of a typhoon, with the rain so strong I dared not move from my seat. I can understand why they had to suspend the race."

Another couple had attended every Canadian grand prix since 1978 but decided to leave when the red flags were waved.

"Anyway, Vettel is going to win," said the woman at the exit.

Faster tracks will benefit Vettel (L)

Vettel still cruising, or dominance set to end?
(GMM) He had a long face on the Montreal podium but Sebastian Vettel might still be cruising to the 2011 title.

The Red Bull driver was gutted after handing his Canadian grand prix lead to McLaren's Jenson Button almost within sight of the checkered flag.

"If you have got it in your hands and you give it away, it's not the sweetest feeling," admitted the German.

But in actual fact, because his closest challenger Lewis Hamilton did not finish, Vettel actually extended his championship lead in Canada, now over the sister McLaren.

"Vettel is only counting down the time before his new world championship comes," wrote Italy's Tuttosport, while Marca said the outcome in 2011 is "practically decided".

Agreed Joan Villadelprat in his El Pais column: "Make no mistake, the Red Bull is still the best car and Vettel extended in Canada. I'm guessing it's going to be very difficult to beat him in the coming races."

Red Bull, meanwhile, said all weekend that Canada is perhaps its "weakest" race of the season with the RB7.

"He should not be too disappointed," said boss Christian Horner afterwards.

Der Spiegel quotes Vettel as agreeing: "It's annoying to lose a race because of a moment of distraction just before the finish.

"But when I look at the world championship standings after the seventh race, I am quite satisfied."

Long-time McLaren team boss Ron Dennis, however, said before leaving Canada that the race had proved "Vettel is not invincible".

And the RB7's dominance might be affected by the forthcoming restrictions on blown exhausts.

"The rule changes are going to spice things up," Lewis Hamilton predicted, according to The Independent.

In the Telegraph, Montreal winner Button agreed: "There's a lot happening this year in terms of the regulations. It could go our way, it might not. We'll have to see."

Slow teams and drivers a 'problem' – Montezemolo
(GMM) An incident in Canada was evidence F1 took a wrong turn in its approach to the bottom half of the grid, according to Luca di Montezemolo.

The Ferrari president was staunchly opposed to the entrance in 2010 of the low-budget new teams Virgin, Team Lotus and Hispania.

He argued that a better approach would have been for the big teams to enter third cars that can be driven by promising and talented newcomers or veterans.

A furious Felipe Massa said after Montreal that he was fighting for the win when collided with HRT's Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan.

"He was going very slowly on the dry line but then, as I was passing him on the wet, he accelerated," said the Brazilian.

According to O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, Massa's description of Karthikeyan immediately after the race was "unprintable".

Montezemolo told Italian Sky Sports 24: "This is the problem of slow cars and inexperienced drivers."

Ken Block

Gymkhana rally star Block to test Pirelli F1
(GMM) World rally driver Ken Block, famous for his online gymkhana stunt videos, will test the Pirelli F1 test car later this year.

American Block, 43, will drive the updated 2009 Toyota at Monza in August, the sport's official tire supplier announced in a media statement.

He will take over the car for a "one off" drive after Pirelli's test driver Lucas di Grassi tests at the Italian grand prix circuit on the first two days.

"Everybody talks about formula one being the pinnacle of world motor sport so I can't wait to discover it for myself," said Block at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday.

Nielsen to leave Renault, Wickham to join
(GMM) Steve Nielsen has resigned as sporting director at the Renault team, it emerged just before the Canadian grand prix on Sunday.

The BBC reported from the Montreal circuit that the Briton, whose tenure in the prominent role takes back to the Flavio Briatore-led period, will stay on board only until September's Singapore grand prix.

The British broadcaster said boss Eric Boullier would not comment but the move is reportedly part of a management reshuffle in order to improve the efficiency of the now Genii-owned and Group Lotus-sponsored team.

It is also believed John Wickham, formerly of the Footwork/Arrows team in F1 and most recently head of operations in the A1 series, is set to join Enstone-based Renault.

Wickham has been seen at grands prix this season.

Renault has been contacted for comment.

Lewis on his way to 2nd place last year at Silverstone

British GP secure despite Silverstone loss
(GMM) Silverstone has played down suggestions the British grand prix is once again in doubt.

After the Donington fiasco, the Northamptonshire circuit re-secured its formula one race contract and has completed radical circuit improvements that are said to have locked-in the race's new 17-year deal.

But the Telegraph reports on Tuesday that after making a profit in 2009, the circuit-owning British Racing Drivers' Club has recorded a $3 million loss for 2010.

The report said the reason for the loss was the fact tickets could only be sold seven months before last July's event in the wake of the Donington uncertainty.

Indeed, with revenue growing 23 per cent in 2010, BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt insists he is "very pleased and encouraged" by the latest figures.

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