Mike Stevens | Apr 8, 2010

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER will be a "silent member" of the F1 drivers' union GPDA, his spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

From his Swiss office on Tuesday, the 41-year-old's day-to-day manager Sabine Kehm confirmed that the seven-time world champion had reconsidered his earlier decision not to rejoin the Grand Prix Drivers' Association in 2010.

Kehm said in March that, with the German having played a leading role in his initial career until 2006, Schumacher now wanted F1's new generation to carry the baton.

It was rumoured that the Mercedes driver did not get along with the GPDA's chairman Pedro de la Rosa, who quit the association in protest after Schumacher's Monaco 'Rascasse' parking incident four years ago.

In Melbourne, Spaniard de la Rosa stepped down and was replaced as chairman by Mercedes reserve driver Nick Heidfeld.

But on Wednesday, Kehm denied that Schumacher's decision to rejoin the GPDA has anything to do with the Sauber driver.

She said: "Michael always supported the work of the GPDA, for many years as a director. After he retired the work had been successfully taken over by the younger drivers, and at first Michael was hesitant to join as he did not want to be involved again.

"But after some thoughts and discussions, mainly with Felipe Massa, he reconsidered this initial decision and will now be a silent member," added Kehm.

Schumacher's friend and former Ferrari teammate Massa, as well as friend and countryman Sebastian Vettel, are the new directors of the GPDA, replacing Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso.

(GMM)

 

Ferrari Downplays Claims Of Engine Reliability Dramas

FERRARI HAS DOWNPLAYED suggestions that last weekend's Malaysian grand prix highlighted a major engine reliability problem for the Italian marque.

After both his and Felipe Massa's engines had to be replaced before the race in Bahrain, Fernando Alonso then retired at Sepang last weekend with a smoky blown V8.

Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi's Ferrari-powered Saubers also failed in the Malaysian heat, even though their problems were not related to Alonso's.

Ferrari has now confirmed that the Sauber-spec engines failed due to "a malfunction of the electronic engine management". All electronic control units fitted to F1 cars are supplied by McLaren Electronic Systems (MES).

The Maranello based team also said Alonso's Sepang failure was sudden and isolated, and therefore not linked to the problems in Bahrain that were caused "by a momentary overheating".

Ferrari said Alonso's separate gearbox problem in Malaysia, where the Spaniard drove almost the entire race without a clutch, "could have caused some consequences for the engine".

"A more precise analysis can only be made when the engine is back at the works (factory) on Wednesday afternoon," added the team.

(GMM)

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