Mike Stevens | Mar 9, 2012
  • Red Bull to discuss Webber future mid-year
  • Kubica 'cannot pick up a glass to drink' - Alguersuari
  • Horner, Ecclestone, predict Button title challenge
  • Ferrari predicament 'dramatic' - Lauda
  • De la Rosa admits HRT 'worst' team in F1
  • Senna confirms Williams deal for one year only
  • Alguersuari in McLaren test driver talks - report
 

Red Bull to discuss Webber future mid-year

Mark Webber is yet to secure his place at Red Bull for the 2013 season.

Team boss Christian Horner said the Australian has a "spring in his step" after a strong winter following Sebastian Vettel's dominance last year.

But as for the future, he said that will only be discussed "in the summer".

"We've extended his contract on a year by year basis, I think that's something that Mark and the team agreed was the right way forward," Horner told Sky Sports.

"His motivation is high at the moment, he's still delivering and undoubtedly will sit down later in the summer to discuss the future."

The biggest threats to 35-year-old Webber's place are rookie team Toro Rosso's new signings, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Horner admitted the young duo is "being groomed for the future".

But the real tension for Webber will be in the Red Bull garage, as another trouncing by Vettel could signal the end of his tenure.

"(Vettel is) probably one of the best, if not the best driver on the grid at the moment and that's what Mark Webber's got to come up against, unfortunately," 1980 world champion Alan Jones told News Limited newspapers.

"This is why I think Mark's really got to come out of the blocks flying, he's got to come out firing."

(GMM)

 

Kubica 'cannot pick up a glass to drink' - Alguersuari

Jaime Alguersuari has revealed he has heard bad news about Robert Kubica's condition.

With official news about the injured Pole scarce, one of his friends said last week Kubica is close to returning to a normal life, raising hopes he might soon be back in F1.

But former Toro Rosso driver Alguersuari has heard something very different.

"I think Robert is and was a fantastic driver, fast and complete. I am sure that he could have been a world champion without a doubt," he said this week when he was revealed as a co-commentator for British radio in 2012.

"At the moment the latest information I have about him is not very good," the Spaniard admitted. "He can not drink using his hand - I mean he cannot take a glass and drink, so it doesn't look too good."

Kubica, formerly with BMW and Renault, crashed during a minor Italian rally early last year, forcing a metal barrier through the car.

Alguersuari revealed that Kubica's co-driver, Jakub Gerber, initially saw such horrific injuries that he "thought he (Kubica) was dead".

More than a year on, "I think his injury is worse than expected," the 21-year-old continued.

"Of course I would like him to come back, because without a doubt he deserves to be in F1."

(GMM)

 

Horner, Ecclestone, predict Button title challenge

Christian Horner and Bernie Ecclestone have singled out Jenson Button as potentially the biggest rival to Red Bull's dominance in 2012.

McLaren's Button surprised many observers by beating his highly rated teammate Lewis Hamilton last year, and finishing runner-up behind Red Bull's dominant Sebastian Vettel.

"Jenson seemed to get the team around him and strung a set of results together that was very impressive," Red Bull team boss Horner told Sky Sports.

And when pressed on BBC radio to name Vettel's biggest rival, he admitted: "Probably Jenson."

F1 chief executive Ecclestone, meanwhile, tipped 32-year-old Button to give Hamilton yet another headache in 2012.

"Jenson looks after the car and tyres better, so it is more than likely he will be a big problem for Lewis," he told the Sun newspaper.

(GMM)

 

Ferrari predicament 'dramatic' - Lauda

Ferrari has set to work to fix a problem at the rear of its troubled F2012 car, Italy's Autosprint reports.

The report said initial winter testing highlighted problems with the car's exhaust solution, prompting Pat Fry to order the outlets be moved inwards.

This, however, left the homologated portion of the chassis that housed the original exhausts intact, with modification to require a new FIA crash test.

"I want to understand what is happening, and how many seconds it will take to be fixed," president Luca di Montezemolo is quoted as having said.

Triple world champion Niki Lauda is alarmed.

"I have never heard comments like this from within a team - this is dramatic," the great Austrian told Blick newspaper.

However, the Swiss newspaper also said some of Ferrari's rivals are making similar modifications to their cars that will require new FIA crash tests.

Even so, "nobody at Maranello expected this", wrote the famous Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Corriere dello Sport, meanwhile, said the fact Ferrari gagged its drivers for the first time ever recently is "more worrying than the testing results".

Test driver Marc Gene told Spanish television Antena 3: "This will be a very long world championship, and we will fight to win.

"At the moment we are not at the level we wanted to be."

It is faintly possible Ferrari is playing an extreme hand of bluff, but Lauda insists that theory is now believed by "only a few".

"They've got a great team," Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports, "they haven't fully shown their hand yet. I think they're more competitive than people believe they are.

"I'm sure the car looks a handful but sometimes a difficult car can be a quick car so it would be foolish to write off Fernando (Alonso) going into Melbourne," he added.

(GMM)

 

De la Rosa admits HRT 'worst' team in F1

Pedro de la Rosa insists he is not afraid to admit he will tackle next weekend's Australian Grand Prix at the wheel of the "worst" car.

"We will have a difficult year," said the veteran Spaniard, who is yet to actually drive HRT's newly-launched F112.

"It will also be interesting because the team is 80 per cent new," added the 41-year-old former Arrows, Jaguar and Sauber driver, who for years was McLaren's main test driver.

"We should not be afraid to admit that we are the worst, but we must have the ambition to not stay that way," he told Antena 3 television.

"Our goal is to finish races, stop being the last across the line and to grow, trying to close the gap to pole position."

The next stop, he said, is the Melbourne pitlane.

"The team is packing up everything and preparing a second chassis. Tomorrow night it is all put onto planes and sent to Australia.

"I leave on Monday," revealed de la Rosa.

(GMM)

 

Senna confirms Williams deal for one year only

Bruno Senna has confirmed reports he has signed with Williams for a single season only.

We reported recently that the former HRT and Renault driver, reportedly taking EUR 14 million in sponsorship to the famous Oxfordshire based team, is guaranteed the seat for 2012 only.

With countryman Felipe Massa's Ferrari contract also expiring this year, the situation raises the prospect that there will be no Brazilians in F1 in 2013.

"All drivers, Brazilian or not, have great pressure to deliver results," Senna is quoted by Agencia Estado.

"Of course it is very important to have Brazilians in Formula One, but we always do the best we can, regardless of the duration of the contract.

"I think this is the beginning of my career, as with a good job this year, we can extend the contract and, god willing, keep on getting better in the future," he added.

"Last year at this time all I could do was work on my fitness, but now I am driving the car, working with the engineers in the team and doing everything else that has made all the difference in this pre-season.

"I have got to this stage of the championship with a preparation probably better than last year when I finished the race in Brazil," he added.

The 28-year-old said Williams' target for this season is to score points regularly, after a woeful 2011.

"All the teams have taken a leap forward; I think Force India, Toro Rosso and Sauber are strong," said the Brazilian.

"Lotus seems to be strong, Mercedes as well. Ferrari do not seem to have the performance, unless they are hiding their game.

"It seems like McLaren and Red Bull are a little in front of everyone.

"I think the big surprise has been Caterham, who seem to have a reasonable performance. So it'll be very interesting to see what will happen," added Senna.

(GMM)

 

Alguersuari in McLaren test driver talks - report

Jaime Alguersuari is reportedly in talks with McLaren about becoming a test driver.

The former Toro Rosso racer was speaking with Spanish radio Cadena Ser, after being revealed as a radio co-commentator for the 2012 season with Britain's BBC.

"I am talking to a top team and there have been several meetings," he said.

"Everybody was caught out with not enough time to think of everything, so I was left without a seat."

It is believed Alguersuari, 21, received a call from McLaren in January, enquiring about his services as a potential test driver.

The driver was asked about the rumour and he replied: "The person who has said it (the top team) is McLaren is you.

"There are several possibilities that are being talked about. For now I'm with the BBC as a commentator and I don't know how it's going to go watching the races, because I want to get back to racing."

(GMM)

Follow Mike Stevens on Google+