TMR Team | May 24, 2012
  • ​Brawn returns to paddock, praising Schu 'quality'
  • Static electricity may have caused Williams fire
  • 'Banned for life' Maldonado lucky to be in Monaco
  • Kovalainen wants midfield push for Caterham - manager
  • Amid Mercedes rumours, di Resta eyes 'great car'
  • Marussia thinking 'seriously' about KERS - Booth
 

Brawn returns to paddock, praising Schu 'quality'

Ross Brawn should be firing on all cylinders as he returns to the pitwall in Monaco this weekend.

Mercedes' team principal sat out the recent Spanish GP due to illness, but a scarcity of extra information triggered speculation.

One rumour was that he is seriously ill, while another that his absence may have been due to his German employer's high-stakes spat with Bernie Ecclestone.

The latter theory gained traction since Barcelona, with acting team boss Nick Fry taking a much higher than usual profile, including naming Paul di Resta as a possible 2013 successor for Michael Schumacher.

Explaining his absence, Brawn told Bild newspaper: "On the Tuesday before Barcelona I felt unwell so I went to the doctor and then stayed a night in hospital for some tests.

"When I got home, I decided on the advice of doctors to give myself a weekend off, to be sure that I am fit for Monaco," the Briton said.

Partly because of Brawn's deputy Fry's recent comments, and also due to his paltry points tally and his crash with Bruno Senna, rumours about Schumacher's future have intensified since Spain.

"A lot has been said and written," acknowledged Brawn, "but we should not forget that we - the team - have let him down in three of the fives races, not delivering the job we should have.

"We must do better," Brawn, who worked closely with Schumacher during the seven time world champion's ultra successful Ferrari era, added.

"We saw Michael's real quality again in the first race, so it's for that reason that I believe we will see him on the podium this year."

As for a possible contract extension for the 43-year-old, Brawn said: "When the time comes, we will sit down together and talk about the future.

"I'm sure it will become clear very quickly in what direction we will go."

(GMM)

 

Static electricity may have caused Williams fire

It is believed static electricity could have sparked Williams' garage fire two weeks ago in Barcelona.

Even in the Monte Carlo paddock, the huge Spanish blaze was still a hot topic.

The British team and the FIA conducted investigations, but there has been no definite finding about the cause of the fire.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reported suggestions simple static electricity, caused by the specific weather conditions and the fact a container was not grounded at the time, was the culprit.

Williams has scrambled to be ready for Monaco, but the only obvious sign of the fire on Wednesday was one missing mechanic, who is still recovering from burns.

"He's on the road to recovery," said co-owner Toto Wolff.

It is believed the mechanic was pumping fuel from one container to another when the fire started.

Wolff confirmed the static electricity theory.

"This is extremely rare. The weather may have played a role, as we had low pressure over Barcelona that day," he explained.

Auto Motor und Sport said Williams lost mainly computers in the fire, but the crucial data survived. Of the team's 150 radios, only 40 were intact.

Wolff said Bruno Senna's chassis survived because of the partitions at the back of the main pit area.

"They are flame retardant," he confirmed. "This meant the fire did not come beyond the back (area). The walls melted in the heat, but they didn't burn."

And financially, the Oxfordshire based team is completely undamaged, due to insurance.

(GMM)

 

'Banned for life' Maldonado lucky to be in Monaco

A favourite for victory this weekend, Pastor Maldonado is reportedly lucky to be gearing up to race in the Principality at all.

Bild newspaper recalls that the Venezuelan, who defied his 'pay driver' critics by winning for Williams in Spain two weeks ago, was actually banned after an horror incident on the streets of Monte Carlo seven years ago.

Racing in the Renault World Series in 2005, the then 25-year-old ignored yellow flags before striking and severely injuring a marshal.

Organisers of the Monaco GP reacted by banning Maldonado from the street circuit for life.

Germany's Bild revealed that Maldonado's wealthy father intervened, promising to pay for the marshal's recovery and rehabilitation from a broken back.

That intervention saved Maldonado's future F1 career, as no team would hire a regular driver that cannot participate in the sport's most famous race.

Maldonado is therefore a favourite for victory this weekend, with his Williams now acknowledged as arguably the best in the entire field when it comes to slow-speed traction.

And in his four seasons of GP2 between 2007 and 2010, Maldonado finished on the podium each time, winning and achieving pole position twice. In 2006, he won in Formula Renault.

Last year, in qualifying for his first Monaco grand prix, he qualified his then struggling Williams in eighth place, comfortably ahead of Rubens Barrichello.

"He is very good at Monaco," agreed Barrichello.

In the 2011 race, Maldonado was fighting for fifth when he crashed with Lewis Hamilton.

"If the last sector in Barcelona is the marker, then the Williams will be unbeatable in Monte Carlo," Germany's Auto Motor und Sport quotes Dr Helmut Marko as saying.

The breakthrough success in Barcelona has piqued the interest of Maldonado's native Venezuela, having not had an F1 points scorer since the ignominious Johnny Cecotto in 1983.

"My country will be following every second of the next race," Maldonado is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

"I love street circuits, this one in particular. My style of driving fits perfectly with Monaco. I am ready to get another great result."

(GMM)

 

Kovalainen wants midfield push for Caterham - manager

Heikki Kovalainen is looking for Caterham to move into the midfield, according to his new management company.

Having handled his own career in the wake of Flavio Briatore's demise, Finn Kovalainen recently signed up with IMG, the sports and entertainment management giant.

The 30-year-old has rebuilt his reputation since 2010 in the wake of mixed tenures for top teams Renault and McLaren.

According to IMG Motorsport's head of clients Martin Anayi, Kovalainen is now regarded by F1 one team bosses up and down pitlane as among the top best drivers.

"He is a great guy," Anayi is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper.

"Heikki's potential is obvious and he definitely wants to succeed."

There have been rumblings in the paddock that Kovalainen is disappointed that, despite being consistently the best of F1's new teams since 2010, Caterham is yet to break into the midfield.

"This is only the team's third season, so there are still some growing paints," IMG's Anayi acknowledged.

"Heikki has a strong desire to compete, and not just with his teammate Vitaly Petrov. The team's boss Tony Fernandes wants to get in with the middle group.

"This means that the team needs to regularly get into the Q2 stage of qualifying and in the race be aiming for the points," he insisted.

(GMM)

 

Amid Mercedes rumours, di Resta eyes 'great car'

Paul di Resta has hinted he would leap at the chance to replace Michael Schumacher at Mercedes.

The German marque's Brackley based chief executive Nick Fry this week earmarked impressive Force India driver di Resta, earlier a Mercedes protege, as an ideal successor should Schumacher not stay beyond his 2012 contract.

Asked about Fry's comments and the media speculation on Wednesday, di Resta said in Monaco: "It's always nice to have the press interest and people looking out for you, but I need to stay focused on doing the best job I possibly can."

He told Sky Sports News: "It's no secret that I want to be a race winner and world champion - and to do that, I need to be in a great car."

(GMM)

 

Marussia thinking 'seriously' about KERS - Booth

Marussia needs a KERS system to catch up with its direct rivals.

That is the admission of team boss John Booth, who told the Russian website championat.com that he is looking into adding the energy recovery technology to next year's Marussia package.

"First of all, I want to say that while it is said it (KERS) is a 'green' technology, in reality it's just a serious waste of money," he said.

"But in our situation it's time to start thinking seriously about KERS. Of the gap to Caterham, five or six tenths is due to KERS," added Booth.

"So we are thinking seriously about it for 2013, but so far there is no decision."

Both admitted the start of the 2012 season has been a disappointment so far for Marussia, which in its first two years was called Virgin.

He said the team has recently completed a phase of serious restructuring.

"We had a good team of people before, but now we have a good team of designers. Though we have been in F1 for three years, I have the feeling that we were actually born in July 2011."

Both is undoubtedly referring to the split mid last year with former technical chief Nick Wirth, and the relocation to a new headquarters.

(GMM)