F1: 'Rambo' Schumacher Punished, Alonso Sees Strange Things

TMR Team | May 15, 2012
  • 'Rambo' Schumacher punished after Senna crash
  • Unpredictable F1 became 'strange' in Spain - Alonso
  • Massa's problems 'in the head' - Alguersuari
  • Sutil resurfaces as Massa axe rumours louden
  • Barcelona still hoping for annual F1 presence

'Rambo' Schumacher punished after Senna crash

Michael Schumacher will start next Sunday's Monaco GP five places lower than he qualifies.

Despite the furious seven-time world champion moaning "idiot" on the radio after the incident, stewards found him guilty of causing the rear-end crash with Williams' Bruno Senna.

"It was clearly Michael's fault," triple world champion Niki Lauda told Bild newspaper, whose headline slammed 'Rambo Schumi'.

Brazilian Senna, whose famous uncle Ayrton raced against Schumacher until his death in the mid 90s, replied: "Michael shouldn't call me the idiot.

"I didn't crash into him. Yes, I braked earlier with my old tyres, but Michael should have enough experience to anticipate that."

The FIA stewards agreed, ruling that 43-year-old Schumacher must drop five places on the grid in Monaco.

"That was completely Michael's fault," former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari said on British radio BBC 5 Live.

"He ran into the back of Senna's car without an intention of overtaking."

(GMM)

Unpredictable F1 became 'strange' in Spain - Alonso

F1's unpredictable season became simply "strange" in Barcelona, Fernando Alonso said after finishing second on Sunday behind Pastor Maldonado.

Once derided as a mere pay-driver, Maldonado was in Barcelona hailed by French-language commentator Patrick Tambay as "a new champion".

Reporters could hardly believe they were asking the Venezuelan with braces on his teeth if he is a contender for the 2012 title, and then hardly believe the Williams driver answered seriously in the affirmative.

"Some of the results that we saw this weekend feel very strange," said Ferrari's Alonso.

Even until Spain, it had been strange - McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull had shared the winning spoils, mainly due to the tyre situation, as teams grapple to understand the product Pirelli is supplying.

Now, after Barcelona, minds have to go back to 1983 for the last time five different winners won the first five races of a season.

"At one race one team is there (at the front) and then suddenly they are tenth in the next race, so it's bit of an odd situation," agreed the 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who finished behind Alonso in his Lotus on Sunday.

Many thrill-seeking spectators are hailing F1's unprecedented uncertainty, whilst the purists join the engineers in scratching their heads.

Asked if he is enjoying it, former double world champion Alonso admitted: "I don't know. I don't know how to answer."

On the one hand, uncertainty is good for a sport, but the teams and the drivers are just lost at sea.

"With seven laps to go I got to a curve and suddenly the grip was gone. I even radioed the box to see if the car had been damaged," said Alonso.

His countryman Jaime Alguersuari has a clearer view.

"This is the most even formula one we have seen for 20 years, so it means you really see the work of the driver, especially with the tyre management," the former Toro Rosso driver told AS newspaper.

"From my point of view this is the best F1 we've had for a long, long time, with the best man winning each time."

Reigning back-to-back world champion Sebastian Vettel, however, joined Alonso in the head-shaking.

"Three weeks ago Williams was nowhere, now they're beating everyone into the ground," he is quoted by spox.com.

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Mario told Kleine Zeitung newspaper: "If we knew why, we'd be very happy."

Some think the magic recipe is the ability to look after tyres, but in Spain arguably F1's best driver at tyre management - Jenson Button - was lost.

"I work hard at it," the Briton is quoted as saying, referring to his famous driving style, "but right now it's not working and I have no idea why."

Shanghai winner Nico Rosberg added: "Two races ago we were at the top and now everything is changed. What's up with Formula One?" he is quoted as saying in German-language reports.

From a purely sporting point of view, however, 2012 is a compelling tale.

"I think it's going to be a big fight right to the end with some very close racing. Anyone can win," Lotus' Romain Grosjean is quoted by RMC Sport.

(GMM)

Massa's problems 'in the head' - Alguersuari

Felipe Massa needs to relax and focus on getting his F1 career back on track.

That is the advice of Jaime Alguersuari, the former Toro Rosso driver who is now trying to rebuild his own career by testing tyres for Pirelli and working as a co-commentator on British radio.

Asked about Massa's continuing crisis, Spaniard Alguersuari acknowledged it is a "difficult time" in the Brazilian's career.

"Right now the most important thing for him is to stop thinking about the external pressure and just focus on his work and his problems.

"Sometimes you're not competitive, something has happened and you don't know what it is," Alguersuari told the Spanish newspaper AS.

"But the worst thing you can do is doubt, hesitate, get nervous and start looking at your teammate, because all that will happen is it will get worse," he added.

"Being in elite sport does not, as many believe, depend just on your skills, it's about managing the psychological, physical and technical elements.

"I am convinced that Massa is not now a slow driver, he can get back to being like Fernando (Alonso) and some days - why not? - faster.

"The only difference between the two is in the head; that's the difference between good and best," said Alguersuari.

Livio Oricchio, the respected F1 correspondent for O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, fears the sport's last Brazilian drivers - Massa and Bruno Senna - could soon lose their seats.

"As a driver, your main reference is always the work of your teammate, so in the sense that (for Massa and Senna) they are Fernando Alonso and Pastor Maldonado, it's going very badly.

"At this point, only a miracle will keep Massa at Ferrari.

"He would have to do what he has failed to do in the last two championships, which is to qualify close to Alonso and score points regularly.

"Neither is what a Ferrari driver is really about," admitted Oricchio, "but it's a huge challenge given Massa's loss of confidence and an unbalanced car."

(GMM)

Sutil resurfaces as Massa axe rumours louden

Rumours that Felipe Massa is now on his last legs at Ferrari are beginning to gain in volume.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali fueled the speculation on Sunday by insisting Ferrari expects the struggling Brazilian to "fight back starting in Monaco".

"We absolutely need his points to also fight for the constructors' title," said the Italian.

Before Domenicali's words, whispers were already doing the rounds that Adrian Sutil could be set to play a role, should Ferrari bite the bullet and dump Massa.

The former Force India driver could either replace him directly, or replace a driver who moves from his existing team to Massa's cockpit.

It is the latter scenario that seems most likely.

Sutil, trying to resurrect his career after the Eric Lux assault affair, returned to the F1 paddock at the weekend in Barcelona, accompanied by his manager Manfred Zimmermann.

They spent a lot of time at Force India, his old team.

The big rumour, therefore, is that the Anthony Hamilton-managed Paul di Resta could be set to move to Ferrari, with Sutil to fill the Force India vacancy.

But there is also a whisper that Nico Hulkenberg's manager Timo Gans has been spotted in the Ferrari motor home.

"It's important to be here," Sutil told German television RTL at the Circuit de Catalunya. "Hopefully something comes of it.

"It's still very early in the season, so I have to wait a bit, but on the other hand maybe I can get back into a cockpit quite quickly."

He admitted that he spent "most of the time" during the Spanish GP with Force India.

(GMM)

Barcelona still hoping for annual F1 presence

Organisers of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona are clinging to the idea the race can continue to be an annual presence on the F1 calendar.

Bernie Ecclestone said last weekend that, amid Spain's economic crisis, a deal has effectively been struck to alternate a single annual race date between Barcelona and the sport's other struggling Spanish host, Valencia.

But the president of the Catalonia government, Artur Mas, is not so sure.

According to El Pais, he said on Sunday that - together with the city of Barcelona - it is still being contemplated whether the alternating scheme with Valencia is the only option.

"Rather than talk about the alternation with Valencia, now in Catalonia we are focused on making efforts to hold a grand prix that takes us to the world, from many points of view," he said.

"What we have is an economic promotion, and work for many people, which is exactly what the country needs," he is quoted as saying by Catalunya Radio.

"(The alternation) with Valencia, we'll see. For now what is needed is to make efforts in Catalonia," he said at the Spanish GP.

(GMM)

Filed under: f1, Racing, michael schumacher, fernando alonso, News, bruno senna, enthusiast

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