Mike Stevens | Jul 22, 2011

Sebastian Vettel has said he hopes the Nurburgring can secure its place on the F1 calendar.

The SPD/Green political coalition government in the local Rhineland-Palatinate state has announced it will withdraw its financial backing for the event after this weekend's German Grand Prix.

Circuit operator Jorg Lindner said this week that the Nurburgring's future beyond 2011 depends on a new contract with "economically and politically acceptable conditions".

Ahead of this weekend's race, German reports quote world champion Vettel as saying: "It would be a shame if we lost the race here.

"The track is great fun, and it means a lot, especially with the history here which is unlike almost anywhere else in the world," added the Red Bull driver, referring also to the fearsome Nordschleife that lies adjacent to the modern layout.

He also thinks F1 makes financial sense for the region.

"I think it brings a lot of good, on the one hand for the people and on the other hand for the wallet," said Vettel, 24.

(GMM)

 

Mercedes pair hint 2012 lineup not changing

Mercedes looks set to contest next year's world championship with its current driver lineup.

There have been rumours that while Nico Rosberg is linked with a switch to a top-three team, Michael Schumacher might end his Formula One comeback at the end of 2011.

"We thought we would be right at the front this year," German Rosberg told Bild newspaper in a joint interview with Schumacher.

"But this is also an exciting situation, to build together a successful future. Sitting in the Silver Arrow is an honour and the thought of winning in one is something special. It is worth it to be patient," he said.

Seven time world champion Schumacher was also asked for how much longer his pairing with 26-year-old Rosberg will last.

"I can't say. But, anyway, I'll be here next year."

Added Rosberg: "I would like to repeat myself that I feel very, very happy here. But I never talk publicly about contractual issues."

It also seems likely that the driver pairings at top-3 teams Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull will remain static for a near-unprecedented third consecutive season in 2012.

(GMM)

 

Schumacher to mark 20th anniversary with black cap

Michael Schumacher will mark the twentieth anniversary of his F1 debut with a special black cap.

Next month, when the German arrives at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit, it will be precisely two decades since he made his debut for Jordan at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix.

A report in the Hamburger Morgenpost said Schumacher, now 42 and the record holder of seven titles and 91 wins, will mark the occasion with a special black cap.

It will feature gold stitching for his sponsor DVAG and his autograph and gold laurels on the peak.

"Michael wanted to deliberately make no reference to any of his three teams - Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes - but instead do something that represented him as a driver," said spokesman Markus Schell.

Schumacher's first Dekra-branded cap was black.

Meanwhile, the German grand prix this weekend will be the first time Schumacher races through the turn 8-9 section at the Nurburgring since it was renamed in his honour.

"Obviously I would like to believe that this is not only making me proud, but also even faster," he said.

(GMM)

 

Title hopes 'very small' admits Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton on Thursday admitted he harbours only minor hopes of winning the 2011 title.

The McLaren driver lies almost a century of points behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, but still he refuses to write off his chances altogether with ten races to go.

"The chance to win the championship is very small, but it's not impossible," he told the German news agency SID at a sponsor event ahead of the German Grand Prix.

"As long as there is even a small chance you have to put on as much pressure as you can. If we win the next five races, we're back in it," insisted the Briton in Hamburg.

Hamilton however acknowledged that the contest for the constructors' championship, with McLaren behind Red Bull, is perhaps more achievable.

"There is also the constructors'," said the 26-year-old. "It's not just about the drivers but also the team."

(GMM)

 

Barrichello reveals contract talks in Germany

Rubens Barrichello on Thursday revealed he has scheduled talks about his future with Williams at the Nurburgring this weekend.

Team boss Frank Williams recently described the veteran Brazilian as "superb", while chairman Adam Parr indicated it is very likely the 39-year-old will be re-signed alongside Pastor Maldonado.

"We've just emailed one another saying we would continue the conversation over here, so I'm looking forward to that," Barrichello told reporters ahead of the German Grand Prix.

"Of course, it (the new contract) will be on the same basis as the current one, so I don't think it will take very long," he is quoted by Sky Sports, adding that the talks should be "straightforward".

(GMM)

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