Mike Stevens | Sep 20, 2011

The reason Jenson Button's 2012 McLaren contract has not yet been announced is "simple", according to a veteran correspondent.

At Monza recently, the paddock openly wondered why October is nearing without the British team having announced already that it is taking up the option on the highly-regarded driver's existing deal.

Asked by the BBC if the delay over 2012 is because Button, 31, is pushing for fewer corporate appearance days, team boss Martin Whitmarsh answered: "It's not all about that."

Brazilian journalist Livio Oricchio, writing in the Jornal da Tarde daily on Monday, said Button simply wants McLaren to confirm him for 2012 so that he is available on the market for the season after.

"The answer is simple: Button is interested in Ferrari. And Ferrari is interested in him," wrote Oricchio.

Indeed, during the course of 2012, Ferrari will consider whether to extend Felipe Massa's contract or seek a new teammate for clear number one Fernando Alonso.

"Button has the right profile of a Ferrari driver," Oricchio explained. "Fast, capable of living with Fernando Alonso and regularly among the fastest ones. He also has Alonso's backing."

That would explain McLaren's eagerness to tie up Button beyond 2012, even though the 31-year-old insists he would be happy to retire having never raced a Ferrari.

"When I was growing up I was excited about the three big teams; Williams, McLaren and Ferrari," said Button.

"It doesn't mean you need to drive for Ferrari to fulfil your childhood dreams because as you grow up things change. I'm happy and if I can win a championship here I'd be even happier."

Said Whitmarsh: "We're just talking about it. I think the right thing is that we discuss it quietly.

"I'm sure we're going to find a way to work together for many years to come, that's certainly my wish and I hope it's Jenson's."

(GMM)

 

Half of all Germans advise Schumacher to retire

Nearly half of all German sports fans think Michael Schumacher should return to retirement, according to a survey.

Citing the German market research company Promit, SID news agency said 47.2 per cent of respondents would advise the seven time world champion against signing a new agreement to stay in formula one beyond his 2012 contract.

In contrast, just 32.2 per cent said the Mercedes driver should stay in 2013, with 8.5 per cent advising a move to the German touring car series DTM to reunite with his brother Ralf.

As for the 42-year-old German himself, Schumacher insists he has not decided what to do.

"I will definitely be here (in F1) next year," the German is quoted by the Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

"Then we will see what happens."

Meanwhile, 62.7 per cent of those surveyed tipped Sebastian Vettel to wrap up the 2011 title before the last grand prix of the season in November.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull's secret plans for Singapore celebration

A German newspaper has contradicted Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel's claims that they are not planning to celebrate the world championship this weekend.

Most of the 24-year-old's rivals think Vettel is heading to a certain title victory, and it could theoretically happen as soon as the chequered flag in Singapore.

But the German driver insists: "I think it's wrong to plan before something happens. First you have to win the lottery and then you worry about what to do with the winnings."

Red Bull chiefs Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko have also denied there are any celebrations being planned for Singapore.

But the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag said Red Bull has arranged for 80 special '2011 world champion' caps - one for every member of the travelling team - to be shipped to the Asian city-state in case Vettel wraps up the title.

And the team's marketing department is reportedly ready to unleash a spontaneous championship-winning party at the Swisshotel Stamford late on Sunday night.

(GMM)

 

'Killer' Vettel 'not a points hoarder' - Lauda

Triple world champion Niki Lauda has hailed Sebastian Vettel for refusing to follow his example.

Writing in the Swiss newspaper Blick, the red-capped Austrian great revealed that with Vettel's 100-point lead at Monza recently, he would not have driven so attacking a race.

Referring to the German's overtaking pass on Fernando Alonso en route to victory, Lauda said: "Any other driver would have tackled this race strategically with the championship standings constantly in mind.

"'Many points without risk' -- that is the all-too-logical motto that I have used in similar situations," added the 62-year-old.

"But, no, Vettel has proved with his killer instinct and aggressiveness that he is a true racer, not a points-hoarder."

Whether Vettel can or is prepared to go wheel-to-wheel with his rivals has been, for some, the final question mark over the Red Bull driver's talents.

The team's Helmut Marko insists Monza was a "masterpiece" and that Vettel is prepared to keep attacking in 2011 rather than cruise and collect.

And the same is true of Red Bull, he added. "Driving safe races is not our philosophy. We are always on full attack and new parts are already going out to Singapore," Marko told F1's official website.

(GMM)

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