Mike Stevens | Feb 22, 2012
  • Mercedes hints Schumacher to stay in 2013
  • World champions assess Hamilton's 2012 so far
  • Red Bull admits to 'hidden se​crets' in RB8 car
  • Dumping Trulli 'a no-brainer' - Jones
  • 2012 cars 'not ugly' insists Alan Jones
 

Mercedes hints Schumacher to stay in 2013

Mercedes on Tuesday gave the strongest hint yet that Michael Schumacher is set to stay with the Brackley based team beyond 2012.

The seven time world champion returned from retirement with the German team in 2010, and has been widely criticised for failing to live up to the hype of his meteoric initial career.

But 2011 was undoubtedly a better season for the 43-year-old, moving team boss Ross Brawn to hint that Schumacher could receive a new deal for 2013.

"At the moment we aren't talking to any other drivers," he told Sport Bild magazine.

"I am also assuming that he is not talking to other teams.

"So if Michael is still enjoying what he's doing while bringing in the results that we expect, then why not? He definitely has not said that he is toying with the idea of stopping," added Brawn.

Mercedes' competition director Norbert Haug added that the great German is "still one of the best race drivers in the field".

Haug said Schumacher is often as fast or faster than his younger teammate Nico Rosberg, which is impressive "because Nico is undoubtedly among the five best drivers in F1", he is quoted by FAZ newspaper.

Added Brawn: "It took a little longer than planned for Michael to be where he wanted to be -- and even longer than I would have thought.

"The first year was difficult," admitted Schumacher's former Ferrari colleague. "I think he did an excellent job in the races in the second year, while Nico was slightly better than him in qualifying. I think that really frustrated him."

(GMM)

 

World champions assess Hamilton's 2012 so far

A former world champion has dealt Lewis Hamilton a mild rebuke after the Briton refused to appear at Adrian Sutil's assault trial.

Not only did the McLaren driver defer to his team's looming car launch date rather than leap to his former friend's aid in Munich, he has also refused to contact Sutil or answer a single question on the matter posed by the media.

Sutil's father has called the 2008 world champion "pathetic" while the former Force India driver himself described Hamilton as a "coward".

"I don't know whether you'd call him a coward," 1980 title winner Alan Jones told GMM, "but I don't know whether I'd like to have him in the trenches with me."

Hamilton, who recently reunited with his girlfriend Nicole, had a tumultuous 2011 season and so this year will be accompanied to races by experienced manager Didier Coton.

When involved with Mika Hakkinen's career, Coton worked for the management company headed by Keke Rosberg.

"In the past, Lewis has certainly made mistakes in the professional organisation of his life," Rosberg, backing the changes Hamilton is making, commented to the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

"You can't go flying every other week to America when you're making a serious job of being a formula one driver," he said.

Keke Rosberg also questioned a recent claim made by the 27-year-old Briton.

"He says he wants to win all the races this season. That's quite a claim.

"I would think Jenson Button wonders how he will do it when he will probably win a few races in the same car," said Rosberg.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull admits to 'hidden secrets' in RB8 car

Christian Horner has admitted Red Bull is keeping its cards close to its chest ahead of the 2012 season.

Under the glare of the F1 world's eyes, the title-defending RB8 has been in action for four days at Jerez recently.

But when the Adrian Newey-penned car was officially launched, the team refused to host a traditional unveiling ceremony, instead releasing a short animated video.

"We didn't want it photographed at the first opportunity from every side by our competition," admitted team boss Horner to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Amid Red Bull's meteoric recent success, rival teams have copied the blown diffuser and flexible wing concepts, and this year's 'step' noses are all the result of yet another Newey design philosophy beneath the chassis.

"At last year's launch at Valencia there were 100 photographers all doing their shots from the roof of the pits," Briton Horner exclaimed.

"In no time at all, everyone knew every dimension of our car."

So, in 2012, some mysteries about the RB8 continue to exist -- one is the real or secondary function of the letterbox-style nose slot, and another is an unlaunched development of the exhaust layout.

"Last year we had to have the blown diffuser out early," explained Horner, "because we had to find out how the exhaust gases affected the tyres.

"This time, the secret is in the detail, and you don't want to give your competition too much of a helping hand," he smiled.

(GMM)

 

Dumping Trulli 'a no-brainer' - Jones

1980 world champion Alan Jones has backed Caterham's decision to dump Jarno Trulli.

Despite having extended the Italian veteran's contract for 2012, the former Lotus team decided at the last minute to sign the well-backed Russian Petrov.

Caterham explained that Petrov brings "fresh impetus" to the team, whilst also admitting that the decision was made "with a realistic eye on the global economic market".

One French report has calculated the 27-year-old's sponsorship contributions at EUR 12 million, including money from Russia's largest petrochemical company Sibur.

But the straight-talking Australian Jones, who won Williams' first drivers' title three decades ago, said Caterham was also right to oust Italian Trulli on performance criteria.

Told that Heikki Kovalainen "destroyed" Trulli in 2011, Jones said: "I think he was destroyed by everybody, wasn't he?"

On Caterham's decision, he told GMM: "In my opinion Trulli wasn't doing the job so it would have made it a pretty easy decision to get in this younger guy who is perhaps a bit keener, a big hungrier.

"It's also a fact that he (Petrov) is bringing in money, so to me it's a no-brainer," added Jones.

(GMM)

 

2012 cars 'not ugly' insists Alan Jones

Amid all the 'ugly' talk, Alan Jones doesn't mind the look of F1's field of 2012.

With McLaren the notable exception, every team has incorporated an awkward 'step' into its nose design as the optimum solution to new FIA rules.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motor sport director, recently decried the look as "pig ugly".

But 1980 world champion Jones doesn't think so.

"I don't think aesthetics matter, and anyway I don't really find them (the 2012 cars) particularly ugly," the Australian told GMM.

"There's a couple of interpretations of the new nose that aren't as nice as some of the others, but there are a few out there that don't look too bad at all," said Jones.

"And I've never seen an ugly car in the winner's circle," he smiled.

Meanwhile, another former world champion - 1982's Keke Rosberg - described McLaren's solution as aesthetically pleasing, but hopes the British team has not made a mistake by going a different route to the rest of the grid.

"At least it's nice looking and I wish the others would have done the same," said the Finn.

"Jenson Button is quite a big guy and he has said he is sitting significantly lower than last year.

"If it (McLaren's solution) suddenly becomes a problem for them, with the chassis already homologated then that's just what they've got," he told the MTV3 broadcaster.

(GMM)

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