Mike Stevens | May 17, 2012
  • Vettel defends Schumacher after Senna crash
  • D'Ambrosio linked with Massa's 2012 seat
  • Alguersuari says 2013 return '100 per cent' sure
  • New winner Maldonado looks for Monaco repeat
  • Russia has GP preparations 'on back burner' - source
 

Vettel defends Schumacher after Senna crash

Sebastian Vettel has defended his former mentor Michael Schumacher.

The seven time world champion has been roundly criticised since last Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, after crashing into Williams' Bruno Senna at the end of the Barcelona straight.

He called the Brazilian driver an "idiot" on the radio and later defended the outburst, but the FIA did not agree, imposing a five-place qualifying penalty for Monte Carlo for causing a collision.

"For us, that manoeuvre of Michael's cost us a lot," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said on Austrian Servus TV.

He said the debris from the crash not only damaged Vettel's front wing, but led to the reigning world champion having to serve a drive-through penalty due to activating his DRS wing in the yellow-flag zone.

German Vettel, however, defended Schumacher.

"In those situations we don't have much time of course," he said, "and you can get very great speed differences (between the cars) on the straights.

"I think it should be classified simply in the category of racing accidents. Unfortunately it happens," said the reigning world champion.

"Of course you can always say what is what afterwards," added Vettel, "just as you can say that it always takes two to tango."

Mercedes' Norbert Haug was less eager to comment, although he did tell Germany's Sport1 that the team "accepts the verdict of the race stewards".

(GMM)

 

D'Ambrosio linked with Massa's 2012 seat

Jerome d'Ambrosio is the latest name linked with struggling Felipe Massa's Ferrari race seat.

While Mark Webber or Sergio Perez are the Maranello team's more likely longer term solutions, Ferrari may be looking simply for a stop-gap solution, having reportedly run out of patience for Brazilian Massa's lack of pace and results.

The French sports daily L'Equipe named d'Ambrosio, the Belgian driver who lost his Virgin/Marussia seat at the end of last season.

He is managed by Eric Boullier, and now Lotus' reserve driver.

Also named as potential substitutes for Massa in recent days were Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta and Kamui Kobayashi.

But, according to L'Equipe, d'Ambrosio "has the advantage of being immediately available, giving Ferrari time to find a more permanent solution" for 2013.

Also ready to step in now is Adrian Sutil, the former Force India driver who is putting his career back together after the Eric Lux assault affair.

"I have no money to offer," the German is quoted as saying. "After five seasons, people know what is my level. I want a normal salary, that's all."

(GMM)

 

Alguersuari says 2013 return '100 per cent' sure

Jaime Alguersuari has told Spanish publications he is "absolute certain" he will be on the 2013 grid.

"This is the best year of my life," he told Mundo Deportivo, referring to 2012, the year after his young F1 career stalled when he was dropped by backer Red Bull.

"I'm only 22," said Spaniard Alguersuari, who is now Pirelli's main test driver and a co-commentator for British radio. "I'm in the prime of my life.

"It is increasingly clear that what happened with Toro Rosso was not a sporting decision. It was an internal decision and I don't want to go deeper."

He sounded confident about the future.

"It is 100 percent that I will return in 2013. After being with Pirelli I will have very important knowledge. I knew that this transitionary step was necessary and I'm very happy," said Alguersuari.

"If I had gone (to be test driver) with a team, with all due respect, I'd have no options now.

"I am developing a product (Pirelli) that nobody understands but that is vital for formula one - to know the tyres and to understand them. I'm in the right place," he is quoted by La Vanguardia newspaper.

"I chose to be with Pirelli because I knew it would be the most important (element) in Formula One.

"I know where I am and I know where I'll be next year," he insisted.

(GMM)

 

New winner Maldonado looks for Monaco repeat

The oddest element of the 2012 season so far is that the unlikeliest of candidates could now be genuine title contenders.

Before the Spanish GP weekend, Pastor Maldonado was a commonly derided 'pay driver' with 500-1 odds of winning in Barcelona, and just a single point to his name in 2011.

Now, he is F1's newest pole-getter and race victor, and genuinely regarded as a potential contender for the world championship.

And Dr Helmut Marko, the reigning world champion Red Bull's motor racing manager, said: "If the Williams really has traction that good, then Maldonado will run rings around everyone in Monte Carlo," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Maldonado travelled straight from Spain to Caracus, where he was being quizzed by the local media as to his chances of a back-to-back victory repeat in Monaco next weekend.

"I think it's going to be a great opportunity for us to be strong again," he said.

(GMM)

 

Russia has GP preparations 'on back burner' - source

Preparations for the inaugural Russian GP in 2014 appear to have hit a roadblock.

We reported last weekend that rumours were circulating in the Barcelona paddock that the Sochi race now appears "doomed".

The state owned Moscow news agency Ria Novosti now reports that political issues have created "serious delays" in the race's preparations, according to an adviser with the Russian Automobile Federation.

The official, Igor Yermilin, insisted that the project is not doomed, but he said very few efforts have taken place following the bureaucratic reshuffling of the local Krasnodar region.

He said some officials of the Omega company, responsible for the F1 circuit project, have lost their jobs.

"In the Krasnodar region there has been have been quite serious changes in the leadership," Yermilin said, "including people from Omega who signed the contract on holding the Russian Grand Prix".

The coastal city Sochi is also scheduled to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"The main thing at the moment is the Olympics - the Grand Prix is on the back burner," said Yermilin.

(GMM)

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