Mike Stevens | Jun 2, 2011

Sebastian Vettel's dominance this year is not comparable to 2009.

That is the view of Jenson Button, who won the championship two years ago after a start to the season similarly as meteoric as Vettel's this year.

But Briton Button, now with McLaren, claims the situation at Brawn GP in 2009 was vastly different to Vettel's at Red Bull.

"We had no money," he is quoted as saying by f1today.nl. "We had a good car at the start of the season but could not develop it. Red Bull can keep it up."

According to laola1.at, Vettel's start to 2011 is not just as meteoric as Button in 2009, but also Jim Clark in 1965, Jackie Stewart in 1969, Nigel Mansell in 1992 and Michael Schumacher in '94, 02 and '04.

On every occasion, the driver went on to be champion.

"He is in great form in a great car and a team behind him so that only abnormal things can stop him now," former driver Alex Wurz told Kleine Zeitung newspaper on Tuesday.

"The title for him is at hand."

(GMM)

 

Virgin in talks with McLaren/Mercedes: report

Virgin is in talks with McLaren and Mercedes about a technical collaboration for 2012.

That is the claim of the Italiaracing magazine, saying the situation could be similar to Force India's current McLaren/Mercedes alliance.

The report said struggling Virgin's package would include the engine, transmission, KERS and rear suspension.

It is the latest rumour suggesting the team is seeking a change of direction after two years with Nick Wirth leading the technical strategy.

It would also be a big blow to Virgin's current engine supplier Cosworth, who it is rumoured could also lose Williams to Renault power.

"The reality is, competition on the track technically is always matched by competition off the track commercially," said the British supplier's Mark Gallagher.

"We are well used to that at Cosworth and we believe we have an extremely good product and we don't really fear competition from anyone."

(GMM)

 

Monaco to tweak tunnel run-off for 2012

Reports this week suggest Monaco is likely to make changes to the run-off at the end of the tunnel ahead of the 2012 race.

Nico Rosberg and Sergio Perez both had high speed crashes after losing control under braking for the corner, raising serious concerns about the barrier that in the past also injured Jenson Button (2003) and Karl Wendlinger (1994).

Asked why the situation seemed worse this year, British commentator Eddie Jordan told the German newspaper Welt: "It's probably a combination of things.

"The new aerodynamics, the tyres, the asphalt. It's always been a tricky place.

"The FIA is required to protect the driver to the best of their ability. It has done a lot since then (1994) and it's doing its best: after Rosberg's crash they took away the kerbs.

"The place where Perez crashed is protected with special cushioning, but it needs to be considered now what more can be done," added Jordan.

His BBC colleague Martin Brundle, agreed: "I'm sure they will need to make changes yet again to the tunnel exit chicane run off area, but Monaco will remain one of the greatest sporting challenges.

"And that means it will remain dangerous too," he said.

It is believed the reaction for 2012 will be the further moving back of the barrier.

"It's a tricky corner and it's an area where it's very difficult to do anything about in terms of safety because it is what it is," Button said.

"It's Monaco, a street circuit, but I still think we need to look further as to what we can do with the run off there."

Jordan said the danger at Monaco needs to be weighed against its unique place on the calendar.

"I know a lot of cynics in the paddock," he said. "Monte Carlo is one of the old tracks but that myth is part of our show.

"As long as there isn't a catastrophe, it will keep going."

(GMM)

 

Rosberg set to sign 2016 Mercedes extension - report

Nico Rosberg could be the next top Formula One driver under long-term contract.

Hot on the heels of Sebastian Vettel's new 2014 deal, and Fernando Alonso's tying to Ferrari through 2016, it is reported that German Rosberg could be set to sign on for five more years with Mercedes.

Sport Bild magazine said the deal is worth almost EUR 80 million in total, representing a three million euro pay-rise increasing by 10 percent per season.

"I am counting on him being with us in 2012, and if it is up to me, a lot longer as well," said the German marque's motor racing vice-president Norbert Haug.

Rosberg, 25, did not deny the story.

"What I can say is that I'm really happy where I am. It remains my dream to succeed with the Silver Arrows," he said.

Sport Bild said Rosberg, if he does sign the deal, would become the highest paid driver of all time who has not won a single Grand Prix.

He has contested 95 Grands Prix to date, and if he does go on to win he will join the likes of Mika Hakkinen (96 races), Giancarlo Fisichella (110), Jenson Button (113), Jarno Trulli (118), Rubens Barrichello (123) and Mark Webber (130) as the drivers who took longest to join the ranks of F1 victors.

(GMM)

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