Mike Stevens | Jan 27, 2012
  • Rivals Cannot Write Off Schumacher - Glock
  • Marussia delays 2012 car track debut until March
  • Hulkenberg race deal for one season only
  • Barrichello to test Indycar next week - report
  • Quality of F1 2012 field 'perhaps highest ever' - Hembery
  • Barcelona denies Spanish grand prix in doubt
 

Rivals Cannot Write Off Schumacher - Glock

It is a mistake to write off Michael Schumacher. That is the claim of the seven time world champion's countryman Timo Glock, who drives for the back-of-the-grid Marussia team.

43-year-old Schumacher, meanwhile, is looking ahead to the third and final season of his comeback contract, having so far failed to score a single podium with the Mercedes team.

"You can't underestimate him in any way," Germany's Sky Sports News HD quotes Glock as saying.

"He is highly motivated and still someone who you always have to take into consideration."

Former driver Derek Warwick, however - the new president of the Silverstone-owning British Racing Drivers' Club - is not so sure.

He predicts the great German will be having "sleepless nights" as he looks ahead to another year of being beaten by his teammate Nico Rosberg.

"I think the Mercedes will be quick this year as they continue to develop their challenge to the big three at the front," he told the Sun.

"So can Schumacher win a race? Yes, but it will probably at the default of Rosberg, because Rosberg has now shown what a magnificent grand prix driver he is," said Warwick.

According to Glock, the obvious favourite for 2012 is Sebastian Vettel.

"What he did in the past two years was phenomenal," Glock is quoted as saying by SID news agency. "In terms of consistency, he will be hard to beat."

1980 world champion Alan Jones hopes Vettel's teammate Mark Webber can match that form.

"He probably knows that he's got to do it this year, and he's at his fittest and most determined," the Australian told Fox Sports News. "I put him down as a real dark horse to be honest."

(GMM)

 

Marussia delays 2012 car track debut until March

Marussia will sit out the forthcoming first test of the 2012 pre-season.

And it has also emerged that the former Virgin team's new single seater will not make an appearance until the third and final test of the winter in Barcelona.

Kevin Eason, the London newspaper The Times' veteran F1 correspondent, said the news is "worrying".

After finishing its first two seasons dead last, however, the team has gone back to the drawing board with what boss John Booth describes as an "almost entirely new (car), with very little carry over".

"Unfortunately our programme has slipped and there seems little point in fielding the new car before we can optimise the run plan for it.

"So the plan is to run the 2011 (car) in Barcelona from 21 February and the new (2012 car) MR01 from 1 March at the second Barcelona test," the team explained on Twitter.

"We will hopefully gain more constructive track time than we might otherwise have achieved had we rushed the new car out for the second test," added Booth.

Previously, Marussia planned to be at the forthcoming Jerez test with the 2011 car to give rookie Charles Pic some mileage.

(GMM)

 

Hulkenberg race deal for one season only

Nico Hulkenberg's race deal with Force India appears to be only for a single season.

The 24-year-old, who sat out the 2011 season on the Silverstone based team's reserve bench, has told Germany's Sky Sports News HD that he will be working this season to secure his future.

"My goal is to establish myself in formula one," said Hulkenberg, whose promising new career was interrupted by Williams at the end of his debut in 2010.

"I want to have a race cockpit again in 2013," he insisted.

Hulkenberg said he should be ready to face off immediately with his new teammate Paul di Resta, who will begin his second consecutive season with Force India in Melbourne.

"I may have to polish off a little rust," admitted Hulkenberg, "but I'm relaxed and ready for the season."

(GMM)

 

Barrichello to test Indycar next week - report

America's premier open wheeler Indycar series has emerged as a possible option for Rubens Barrichello in 2012.

After 19 consecutive seasons in formula one, the 39-year-old veteran has been left without a race seat after Williams signed his Brazilian countryman Bruno Senna.

Former Ferrari driver Barrichello, a winner of 11 grands prix, has previously said he will not look to Indycar racing once his F1 career ends.

"I think at first I won't look for anything. Perhaps I'll just enjoy my family for a year.

"After that I believe my passion for speed will not allow me to stand still," he said recently as he waited for Williams' decision.

"For sure I will not race on the American ovals -- I have promised that to my wife," said Barrichello, whose close friend is Tony Kanaan, the Indycar driver, "and I will honour that."

But the Associated Press reports that an Indycar test has been lined up for Barrichello by KV Racing, the team fielding Kanaan and former F1 driver Takuma Sato.

Citing "a person familiar with the test", the American news agency said Barrichello will enjoy a two-day "exploratory" test at the Sebring road course in Florida early next week.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Barrichello is currently holidaying with his family in Florida.

(GMM)

 

Quality of F1 2012 field 'perhaps highest ever' - Hembery

The scene could be set for the most competitive season in F1 history, according to Pirelli's Paul Hembery.

He is referring to the fact that six world champions - Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher - will be on the Melbourne grid in March.

That is a quarter of the entire 24-car field.

"That is probably the highest level (of quality in F1) ever," Hembery is quoted as saying by Finland's Turun Sanomat, "particularly when you take into account that there are a lot of other very talented drivers who haven't won a title.

"If the level of the cars and the performance levels (of the drivers) are just as high, there will be some astonishingly good races," added the F1 tyre supplier's motor sport director.

Hembery was coy, however, when asked specifically about Raikkonen, the returning 2007 champion.

"I have met him twice," he said. "He is a quiet guy and, anyway, we strive to keep our distance. The drivers turn to us when they need something."

He did not give anything away about Raikkonen's first taste of life on Pirelli rubber, after the Finn's Valencia test this week on demonstration tyres.

"We didn't monitor it at all, it was Lotus' thing alone," he insisted.

"Of course I saw his comments and it will be a big difference for him now compared to what he has known before.

"But Kimi is one of the most extraordinary drivers the sport has seen so I think he will learn quickly."

(GMM)

 

Barcelona denies Spanish grand prix in doubt

The boss of Spanish grand prix venue Circuit de Catalunya has played down reports the event is endangered.

It is reported that Spain's other F1 host, Valencia, as well as F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, are pushing Barcelona to agree a plan to annually alternate a single race date.

But amid the country's troubled economic times, Catalunya track boss Salvador Servia said Barcelona remains fully focused on its current race contract.

"Only a disaster - say, an earthquake - is a problem. Forget all the rumours and headlines, we are still working as we were before," he told Vuelta Rapida radio.

Ecclestone warned recently that, with F1's calendar ever-globalising, there could be only five grands prix remaining in Europe within a few years.

"If there are five then we want to be one of them, and we will fight to be," Servia insisted.

He said Barcelona's current F1 contract guarantees the Spanish grand prix until 2016.

"We have had no communications, either verbal or written from him (Ecclestone) or his organisation regarding the issues of the rumours and headlines," said Servia.

"We are here, working to fulfil our contract until 2016 and thinking about 2020 as well."

(GMM)

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