TMR Team | May 7, 2012
  • Red Bull 'all but ready' to re-sign Webber - report
  • Red Bull could resume dominance now - Lauda
  • Brother tips Schumacher to keep racing
  • Schumacher's Pirelli spat 'exaggerated' - Vettel
  • Ferrari getting ready for 'double-DRS'
  • Perez treated after 'acrid' smoke incident
 

Red Bull 'all but ready' to re-sign Webber - report

Mark Webber's future in F1 seems secure, after reports this week linked him to two top teams for the 2013 season.

First, Spanish specialist reports said Ferrari is interested in the experienced Australian to replace struggling Felipe Massa next season.

And now, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper claims Red Bull, 35-year-old Webber's current team, is "all but ready" to extend his contract through 2013.

That would give junior team Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, tipped to eventually replace Webber, "a further season to adjust to the category and prove themselves worthy of the top drive", the report added.

Whatever top team he is in, Webber confirmed he is not ready to retire.

"I'm really enjoying my driving and clearly I'm off to a really good start this year," he said.

"I feel completely reinvigorated and am just really enjoying it, which has been reflected in my driving and my results.

"So I'll keep pressing on. Retirement isn't even on my radar at the moment. The results are there and when they are there I keep driving," added Webber.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull could resume dominance now - Lauda

After Sebastian Vettel's first win of the season in Bahrain recently, Red Bull could now maintain its grip on 2012.

That is the claim of the legendary triple-world champion Niki Lauda.

Red Bull has been the dominant force since late 2009 and 2010, and Vettel was untouchable last year as he successfully defended his drivers' championship breakthrough.

But four different teams have won so far in 2012, and only the last of them were Red Bull and Vettel, as the energy drink-owned team's superiority appeared to have waned.

After Bahrain, however, Red Bull and Vettel are back, Lauda told Germany's Auto Bild Motorsport.

"In Bahrain, they got the car and the tyres right for the first time, and they won," said the Austrian.

"They will have improved the car further in Mugello, so I see enormous potential for another dominant season," he added.

Lauda acknowledged that the blown diffusers of the past seasons was Red Bull's "great strength", and now that is gone.

"Nevertheless, Red Bull is the team to beat," he insisted.

(GMM)

 

Brother tips Schumacher to keep racing

Michael Schumacher's brother has tipped the seven-time world champion to keep racing beyond his 44th birthday.

Schumacher's Mercedes deal runs out this year, but talks about a new contract for 2013 are yet to be discussed.

Ralf Schumacher, also a GP winner and six years younger than his more famous sibling, was asked by Bild am Sonntag newspaper about Michael's recent anti-Pirelli outburst.

Asked if it was an overreaction to the fact his teammate Nico Rosberg was the first Mercedes driver to win in 2012, Ralf answered: "It has nothing to do with it.

"But for sure Michael came back to celebrate successes with Mercedes. And until he succeeds, he will not give up.

"I still see a lot of fire in Michael," said Ralf Schumacher, now a DTM driver with Mercedes.

"He is pushing hard, as we saw as recently as Mugello last week."

Ralf said Mercedes' 2012 F1 car, the W03, is well built.

"I think we will see Michael on the podium soon," he insisted.

"At some point, there surely comes a point when the body can't do it any more. But when I look at Michael, that's still a few years away.

"I certainly won't be racing as long as he has," he laughed.

(GMM)

 

Schumacher's Pirelli spat 'exaggerated' - Vettel

Sebastian Vettel has hit back at what he thinks was an "exaggerated" reaction to Michael Schumacher after the recent Bahrain GP.

Schumacher, Vettel's countryman and friend, had heavily criticised the sport's official supplier Pirelli, despite the Italian marque's 2012 tyres being widely credited for the exciting grands prix seen so far this year.

"It's been a bit exaggerated," world champion Vettel, referring to the reaction to Schumacher's comments, is quoted by Sport Bild.

"Ultimately, we all have the same tyres, but of course as a driver you always want more grip, whether from the tyres or from the car.

"It is in our nature to want more - more especially than the others," he smiled.

"When I talk about this with Michael, it's not so dramatic. He has been around for a long time and has seen a lot, also when it comes to tyres.

"I don't think he is so easily shocked," insisted Vettel.

* Energy drink Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz made a rare visit to the sport's action on Thursday, catching the final day of Mugello testing.

(GMM)

 

Ferrari getting ready for 'double-DRS'

Ferrari might be gearing up to incorporate a 'double-DRS' setup aboard its improving F2012 car.

If true, the famous Italian team would be the first team to successfully emulate the controversial Mercedes system, which has been declared fully legal by the governing FIA.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said a new rear wing was among the very last upgrades to be trialled by Fernando Alonso as the Mugello test concluded late on Thursday.

"The wing has only minor changes. You have to look closely," read the report.

The magazine reported rumours that the wing might eventually accommodate the so-called 'double-DRS' or 2012-style F-duct, which would work in conjunction with a new and so far unseen front wing.

"That (wing) will debut along with a new diffuser and nose in Barcelona," added Auto Motor und Sport.

There were happy faces in the Ferrari garage on Thursday, as - despite a minor off by Alonso - the upgrades appeared to work well.

"Barcelona will be a key moment in the season, but not a decisive one," the Spanish driver insisted.

"It's not a case that we will suddenly find ourselves back on pole position, because there is no magic button."

Echoing the earlier words of Mark Webber, Alonso said the "fastest car" at Mugello this week was the Lotus.

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko agrees: "It looks like Lotus are the quickest."

Veteran Swiss correspondent Roger Benoit wrote in Blick newspaper: "Lotus, with Kimi Raikkonen in super shape, is the championship dark horse."

(GMM)

 

Perez treated after 'acrid' smoke incident

Sergio Perez had to be treated at Mugello on Thursday following a smoke-exposure incident.

Blick newspaper reports that, early on the final day of the rare in-season test, "acrid black smoke" emanated from Sauber's upgraded C31 car at the Italian circuit.

"The smoke was so strong it could be smelt in the media centre," wrote veteran correspondent Roger Benoit.

"Sergio Perez had to have his eyes treated with drops because of the fumes."

The Mexican driver admitted: "It was very unpleasant."

Blick said the cause of the smoke was a burned plastic cover.

Perez went on to complete 118 laps on Thursday.

(GMM)