Mike Stevens | Jun 6, 2012
  • 'Improving' Vettel happy at Red Bull
  • Vettel to appear on Letterman
  • Red Bull wants Canada to complete perfect record
  • New gov't looking at French GP revival
  • Massa to use Monaco setup in Canada
  • Glock back in game after season slump
 

'Improving' Vettel happy at Red Bull

After denying rumours of a Ferrari contract, Sebastian Vettel has now played down persistent suggestions he is eyeing a switch to the famous Italian team in the near future.

"How will this work if I don't know anything about it?" the German smiled after some British newspapers reported in Monaco that he had signed a pre-contract to move to Ferrari in 2014.

But the rumours only gained strength when Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko confirmed the existence of a clause in Vettel's contract allowing the 24-year-old to leave under certain conditions at the end of 2013.

"I'm fine where I am and I have no intention of leaving," Vettel is now quoted by La Presse newspaper ahead of the Canadian GP.

In the past, however, the reigning back-to-back world champion has refused to entirely rule out ever driving for one of F1's marquee names like Ferrari or Mercedes.

"I have worn a Red Bull helmet for most of my career," said Vettel. "It's difficult to imagine something else.

"It (leaving) would be like turning 18 or 19 and leaving home."

Team boss Christian Horner told the same French-language newspaper that Red Bull is very happy with Vettel.

"His character is his greatest strength," said the Briton.

"He is very determined, he is hungry, he is very professional, very dedicated," added Horner.

"He continues to improve and develop and is still so young that I doubt we have yet seen the best of Sebastian."

(GMM)

 

Vettel to appear on Letterman

Sebastian Vettel will appear on David Letterman's famous New York talkshow 'Late Show' next week.

The reigning and back-to-back world champion's appearance will be on Monday, the day after the Canadian GP in Montreal, a spokesman for the Red Bull team confirmed.

The first US Grand Prix since 2007 will take place in November at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Takuma Sato, a former F1 driver, drives for the Indycar team co-owned by Bobby Rahal and Indianapolis-born Letterman.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull wants Canada to complete perfect record

Red Bull sees this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix as a chance to set its almost perfect record straight.

Of the 20 circuits on the 2012 calendar, the energy drink owned team has won at all of them with the exception of newcomer Austin - and Montreal.

Sebastian Vettel came close a year ago, succumbing to Jenson Button's challenge only on the very last lap.

"I led every lap until part of the last one," the reigning world champion ruefully recalled.

Team boss Christian Horner told La Presse newspaper: "We love coming to Montreal. The city comes alive.

"It's always a great atmosphere. Even if the circuit is not the most exciting of the season, it has always produced exciting racing.

"This is one of the only races that Red Bull has never won, even though we came very close last year."

The 2011 loss was even sourer for Red Bull given the marathon day at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, due to an excruciatingly long red flag delay and torrential rain.

"It would be wonderful to come back and rectify the situation," Horner said.

Indeed, a win on Sunday would also mark a definite comeback for the reigning world champions, whose recent victory in Monaco meant Red Bull is the only constructor to have won more a single grand prix so far in 2012.

"In Montreal, power is crucial," said Horner. "It's the complete opposite of Monaco. Who knows if we'll be competitive, but we'll be in attack mode.

"We are still young," said 38-year-old Briton Horner, referring to the Milton Keynes based team.

"This is our eighth car for our eighth season in Formula One and we're still hungry. There is a great desire to do more.

"Our people enjoyed winning but we want more. Motivation at Red Bull has never been higher."

The team comes to Montreal having had the floor of its RB8 declared illegal by the FIA, following complaints to the governing body reportedly lodged by direct rivals Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes.

"It doesn't get easier," Horner admitted. "Everything we do is scrutinised much more than if we were in the middle of the pack."

(GMM)

 

New gov't looking at French GP revival

The attempted revival of the French GP is not yet dead in the water.

Until former president Nicolas Sarcozy lost the country's recent general election, France looked destined for a spot on the 2013 calendar, with Paul Ricard set to alternate an annual race date with Belgium.

But F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone admitted in Monaco: "I think maybe the election that has taken place might have put that back a bit.

"I think you will have to wait and see if we see more. Only time will tell," said the 81-year-old.

New president Francois Hollande had warned that he would "review" the F1 project if elected, his sports minister Valerie Fourneyron adding subsequently that the issue "deserves more attention than ten minutes".

Indeed, Fourneyron appears to be honouring her promise to give the project more attention.

The sports daily L'Equipe reports that she will meet early this week with Nicolas Deschaux, the president of France's motor racing sanctioning body FFSA (Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile).

Attending with Deschaux will be a delegation representing the Var region as well as Paul Ricard, the circuit owned by Ecclestone's family trust.

And recent French Grand Prix host Magny Cours is also not yet out of the picture, with a delegation representing the circuit and the Nievre region also scheduled to meet with Fourneyron in a separate meeting on Friday.

(GMM)

 

Massa to use Monaco setup in Canada

Although the complete opposite of Monaco, Felipe Massa on Tuesday was bound for Canada with his mind still firmly on the famous Principality.

Trapped in a worsening slump since the start of the 2012 season, Massa's tumbling form had triggered speculation the Brazilian was fighting for his career in Monaco.

But on those fabled streets, he appeared to turn the corner.

"I really liked the car there," the 31-year-old said on Tuesday, "and it was working in the right direction to suit my style and I hope this positive trend can continue, starting with the race in Canada and then through to the end of the championship."

Indeed, Monaco was apparently such a turning point that his engineering team, led by Briton Rob Smedley, intend to use Massa's Monaco car setup as the foundation for this weekend, in spite of the diametrically opposed lines of Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Massa admitted that "the setup required for Monaco is very different to that at other tracks", but "even if the street circuit is unique, we can at least follow the direction we took there and make it work at other tracks".

"It might not be a normal situation, but maybe it is the best direction to go in to make the F2012 work for me," he added.

(GMM)

 

Glock back in game after season slump

Still at the back of the grid, Timo Glock is nonetheless heading towards the middle of the 2012 season in a better mood.

Earlier this year, still struggling for the third consecutive year to pull Marussia from the back of the pack, the highly rated German appeared out of sorts.

He was at war with his Cosworth-powered car, and being genuinely outpaced by his rookie teammate Charles Pic.

"It was oversteering brutally," Glock told Auto Motor und Sport, "and after only a few laps the tyres were done."

The German suspected there was something fundamentally wrong with his chassis; a feeling confirmed when, at the Mugello test, he drove Pic's race car.

Modifications were made for Barcelona, but Glock's problems persisted.

"I even started to wonder if I had forgotten how to drive," Glock said.

Eventually, the mystery was solved, and a flaw in the rear suspension wishbone mountings fixed.

At Monaco, he looked back in the game - once again dominating young Frenchman Pic in qualifying, and lacking just half a second to the nearest Caterham.

And Glock's fastest race lap was just three tenths from a Caterham.

The next big step is Silverstone, where the 2012 Marussia will enjoy a substantial upgrade.

"If the data is right, then this is a really big step," said Glock.

(GMM)

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