F1: 2012 'Lottery' Set To End Now?

TMR Team | Jun 12, 2012
  • Analysis - 2012 'lottery' set to end now?
  • Button 'very lost' as title hopes lose grip in 2012
  • Schumacher's bad run mere 'fate' - Brawn
  • Alonso hails Ferrari's unprecedented progress
  • Villadelprat slams Red Bull cheating 'witch hunt'
  • Brawn no longer strategy 'super brain'
  • Dennis hints money at heart of new Hamilton deal

Analysis - 2012 'lottery' set to end now?

Seven so far, so why not eight?

The world of formula one on Monday was contemplating the likelihood that a once-predictable sport has now become a race-by-race quest for all new and different winners.

So far in 2012, there have been an unprecedented seven different winners from the opening seven races, including all-new victors like Nico Rosberg, and the return of once-great names including Mercedes and Williams.

"Let's see for how long it goes on," former Force India driver Adrian Sutil said on German television Sky.

"I would guess there are one or two more (different winners to come). Kimi Raikkonen is on the list and also I think the Sauber is a very fast car."

He failed to mention Monaco pole sitter and seven time world champion Michael Schumacher, the improving Felipe Massa, Montreal podium-getter Romain Grosjean -- the list could genuinely go on.

Another view is that, although Pirelli's 2012 tyre has been difficult to unlock, the clever engineers are getting there now.

"We're starting to get a better hand on these tyres," confirmed Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso agrees: "Lewis (Hamilton) was the seventh winner in the seventh race. Surely we will not see any more now," the Spaniard predicted on German television RTL.

"I think now we will see some consistency, starting with a repeat winner at the next race."

Sebastian Vettel thinks similarly, as was revealed when he was asked if - as in 1982 with Keke Rosberg - this year's world champion will have just a single win on his tally.

"No, I don't think so," the Red Bull driver said.

But Montreal winner and new championship leader Lewis Hamilton is not so sure.

"I think it will continue to be like this throughout the year," he said, "but then again my guess is as good as yours."

(GMM)

Button 'very lost' as title hopes lose grip in 2012

Former championship favourite Jenson Button is being swallowed up by F1's fascinating 2012 season.

The first winner this year, Briton Button's form has been sliding recently and it hit rock bottom in Canada, where he finished sixteenth whilst Lewis Hamilton won in the sister McLaren.

He admitted afterwards that he leaves Montreal "confused and very lost".

He has qualified tenth or lower throughout May and June, and has only half of championship leader Hamilton's points tally, and is just eighth in the title standings.

"There was nothing there," Button told reporters after Sunday's race.

"It has been the same at the last couple of races. I don't know why that is."

Button, the 2011 championship runner-up, also admitted he is at a loss to explain how his celebrated skill of looking after his tyres is proving no benefit this season.

Compounding the mystery is that Hamilton, actually the more aggressive driver, is making the heavily-degrading Pirellis work for him.

"I haven't got a clue at the moment," Button said when asked what he and his engineers will do to rectify the situation between now and Valencia in two weeks.

"Driving around one and half seconds slower than the leaders, one of whom is my teammate ... I don't know why because I can't push the car any quicker.

"It is not the tyres. I cannot be the only person who can't drive the tyres. It's impossible.

"That felt like the limit of the car. I am leaving here confused and very lost," he said.

(GMM)

Schumacher's bad run mere 'fate' - Brawn

Michael Schumacher's run of terrible luck is raising questions about equality within the Mercedes team.

His 2012 title hopes already effectively over due to a spate of incidents and technical problems, the seven time world champion once again failed to finish on Sunday when his DRS rear wing stuck open in Canada.

"It's hard to understand why the problems affect only one driver," former Force India racer Adrian Sutil said on German television Sky.

"If you compare his points with Nico (Rosberg)'s, the difference is significant," he added.

Team boss Ross Brawn said: "I can only apologise to Michael for a further technical failure."

Schumacher, however, denied any suggestion he is being given inferior equipment, mechanics, or attention to detail.

"I am one hundred per cent convinced of that," he is quoted by Bild newspaper.

Brawn agreed.

"In my time at Ferrari is the was the reverse: it was said we favoured Michael and gave his teammates something less," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

"Of course it's nonsense. A team always tries to give both the drivers exactly the same. If there is a one-sided series of defects, then that is down to fate alone," Brawn argued.

It is bad timing, however, that Schumacher's string of problems coincides with his expiring Mercedes contract, and the talks and decisions that must precede a new one.

"Obviously it's not a help," said Sutil. "At some point it can affect your motivation, as it happens no matter what you do or how strong you are.

"But there are still races to go and it can turn around," he insisted.

(GMM)

Alonso hails Ferrari's unprecedented progress

Rather than rue a lost victory, Fernando Alonso hailed Ferrari after the Canadian grand prix.

The Spaniard and former championship leader was at the head of the Montreal field late on Sunday, until his Pirelli tyres gave up their grip.

His team, however, persevered with the one-stop strategy, while Sebastian Vettel gave up, pitted and ultimately passed him, and Lewis Hamilton won with the clearly superior two-stop strategy.

The struggling Alonso was even passed by Hamilton's fellow podium-getters Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez, and he ultimately finished just fifth.

According to Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo, the 30-year-old conceded that, in hindsight, making another pitstop would have been the better choice.

But he hailed Ferrari anyway.

"I've never before seen a kind of progress as we have made this year, and this development (in Canada) was the most significant we have made for a long time.

"At the beginning of the season we were struggling to get out of Q1, and now we are fighting for the first places on the grid and for victories," added Alonso.

(GMM)

Villadelprat slams Red Bull cheating 'witch hunt'

Joan Villadelprat has slammed the anti-Red Bull "witch hunt" that is casting the reigning world champions as F1 cheats.

Recently, the energy drink owned team has been told not only to modify small holes in the floor ahead of the RB8's rear wheels, but also holes in the wheel hub that reportedly also gave an illegal aerodynamic benefit.

Villadelprat, a former veteran F1 engineer and manager, wrote in El Pais newspaper that top team rivals McLaren and Ferrari are having to "do anything" to get back on terms with the sport's recently dominant team.

He said the saga surrounding the apparently minor floor and hub holes was "nonsense".

"The regulation specifies that there can be no hole (in the floor) ... but it is no longer considered a hole if you put a slot to the outside. Then it becomes a legal system.

"And that solution is used by almost all of the teams.

"Even worse is that no one even made a formal protest. If someone is doing something illegal then you should protest it, as has happened before, not throw dirt on a rival through the media and the gossip of the paddock," he charged.

"Neither Ferrari nor McLaren wanted to enter directly into this war against Red Bull, but instead subliminally suggested to the FIA an intervention.

"This puts a halo of cheating around the Austrian team that is totally unfounded," Villadelprat said.

"It's like a witch hunt," he charged, "which is something that I lived through at Benetton in 1994 when Michael Schumacher was dominating and the other teams accused us of using traction control.

"There are many who react badly to the creativity of their rivals because it covers up their own negligence.

"But with all the obstacles, Red Bull remains competitive and they are the team that seems to best understand the behaviour of these tyres, which is one of the keys that will decide this championship," said Villadelprat.

(GMM)

Brawn no longer strategy 'super brain'

In his Ferrari era, Ross Brawn was hailed as F1's 'super brain'; the strategic mastermind behind Michael Schumacher's most memorable wins.

The duo are together again at Mercedes, but Briton Brawn admitted that in these days as team principal, he is no longer steering the actual race strategies during grands prix.

That role, he said, is occupied by James Vowles, a 32-year-old Briton.

"We have a very good guy for the strategies," Brawn told Finnish broadcaster MTV3, "but he presents his ideas to me to hear what I think of them.

"Sometimes with my experience I am able to give a different view of things, but James is very good and I need to intervene very rarely," Brawn revealed.

(GMM)

Dennis hints money at heart of new Hamilton deal

Ron Dennis has hinted the hold-up regarding a new contract for Lewis Hamilton is a disagreement about money.

The Montreal winner and new championship leader's existing long-term deal runs out this year, but so far the two sides have been coy about the likelihood of a new contract for 2013 and beyond.

McLaren, however, has hinted it definitely wants to keep the 2008 world champion, while 27-year-old Hamilton has hinted he wants to stay, triggering speculation the dispute is over the details of the new contract.

Dennis, McLaren's executive chairman who was in Montreal on Sunday, suggested to Sky Sports that money is indeed a factor.

"He's on the end of a contract which was signed at a time when the economy was somewhat different and now there has to be a balance," he said.

Asked if that means a pay-cut for Hamilton, Dennis answered: "He's very highly paid. He's certainly paid more than I am!"

Hamilton has been linked with moves to Red Bull and Mercedes, and Dennis confirmed that McLaren also needs to look at its options on the driver market.

"You're obviously going to look at what's available; where can he go - he's going to look at that - (and) we're going to look at who's available," he said.

"At the end of the day, hopefully, the fact that he's been part of this team from the beginning of his career will pay a significant role in whatever decisions both sides make."

(GMM)

Filed under: f1, Racing, News, motorsport, enthusiast

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