Mike Stevens | Jun 21, 2011

McLaren is willing to give Jenson Button a pay-rise to stop him moving to Ferrari, the Daily Mail has reported.

The 2009 world champion revealed last week that the Woking based team he joined last season "has an option on me for next year".

At the same time Button, 31, said he is reluctant to agree a new long-term deal, despite boss Martin Whitmarsh admitting he would "quickly" ink a new multi-year contract with the former Brawn driver.

The latest twist in the story was a Ferrari source telling the News of the World newspaper that Ferrari has "checked" with Button's management to see when Button is available as a replacement for Felipe Massa.

Hours after that report was published, the Daily Mail said McLaren is "ready to hand Jenson Button a pay rise".

The newspaper said the British team is taking up the 2012 option on Button "but are so happy with his performances" that in the next few weeks McLaren is "likely to offer him an extended deal on improved terms".

(GMM)

 

Vettel cool as blown exhaust ban looms

Sebastian Vettel insists he is not overly worried about the FIA's controversial clampdown on blown exhaust solutions.

The reigning world champion has run into a clear lead in 2011, with his Red Bull said to benefit the most from the so-called 'hot blowing' of engine gases through rear diffusers.

But that practice will be severely limited as of Silverstone next month, and team advisor Helmut Marko obviously feels Red Bull's dominance has been targeted as he noted the mid-season timing of the ban as "pretty strange".

The German news agency SID, however, quoted 23-year-old Vettel as reacting coolly when asked about the possible impact of the clampdown on his so-far impressive 2011 campaign.

"I don't believe it will hit us harder than anybody else," he said.

"You can argue about why it is happening in the middle of the season, but in terms of the world championship there is still a very long way to go.

"An awful lot can happen very quickly, as we saw last year," added Vettel, who in 2010 led the world championship for the very first time only as he crossed the chequered flag at the Abu Dhabi finale.

He won last year's Valencia race, scene of this weekend's European Grand Prix.

"We had a good race there last year and the car should be good," said the German.

(GMM)

 

BBC 'unwise' to consider F1 axe - Whitmarsh

It would be "sad" and "unwise" if reports the BBC is considering dropping its live coverage of F1in Britain are true.

That is the claim of McLaren and FOTA chief Martin Whitmarsh, following the Sunday Times article about the broadcaster axing F1 after 2013 in order to save money.

He said he and other "insiders" were surprised about the report that contains "significant inaccuracies" about the sport's television viewing figures.

Meanwhile, media analysis of the Sunday Times article has pointed out that the newspaper is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, who has been reportedly interested in getting involved in F1, perhaps with his pay television network Sky.

Another possibility is that the BBC is kicking off negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone about reducing the value of its contract.

"One thing is clear," wrote correspondent Tom Cary in the Telegraph, "the BBC will never pay as much as it did last time."

Cary said he believes negotiations have begun amid the backdrop of Fuji (Japan) and Rai (Italy) managing successfully to renew their deals at lower rates.

Said Whitmarsh: "I think it would be very sad, and most unwise, if the BBC were to disappoint so many millions of British sports fans by axing it (F1), and that's why I don't believe for a moment that they'd seriously consider doing such a thing."

(GMM)

 

Oldest ex-F1 driver turns 100

Paul Pietsch on Monday becomes the only living former Formula One driver with a three-digit age.

The German, born on 20 June 1911, drove Alfa Romeos and Maseratis in the modern world championship's earliest years, failing to win a race or even score a point.

But he is also remembered for founding the authoritative magazine Auto Motor und Sport, and in his more recent years for refusing to use a walking stick or a hearing aid because they are "for old people".

Ironically as a 100-year-old now, Pietsch's nickname was 'Rennbaby' (baby racer), due to his spending much of his earlier career as the youngest in the field.

When his career stalled due to flagging finances, he founded a publishing company in a bid to get back on track.

"I wanted to race again. We had to get the funding somehow, by selling something. I said to myself that I could sell my knowledge about motor racing," he told FAZ newspaper.

(GMM)

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