TMR Team | Jul 4, 2012
  • Marussia says de Villota 'conscious'
  • 'New' Hamilton to carry Olympic torch
  • Alonso eyes F1 team ownership after driving career
  • Kovalainen deserves another top team chance - Brundle
  • Buemi hoping for Friday practice drive this year
  • Sutil still pushing for F1 comeback
  • Sauber and Williams could shine at Silverstone
  • F1 in Bahrain 'a good decision' says Prost
 

Marussia says de Villota 'conscious'

Amid reports test driver Maria de Villota is fighting for her life in hospital, the Marussia team has responded with a statement that she is "conscious" and that the team will await medical assessments "before providing further comment".

The 32-year-old Spanish female driver crashed this morning into the side of a loading ramp of a team truck whilst conducting straightline aerodynamic testing in the team's 2012 car at Duxford airfield.

Reports have said de Villota's head and facial injuries are life-threatening.

"A woman has sustained life threatening injuries and following treatment at the scene by paramedics, she has been taken to Addenbrookes Hospital for further care," an ambulance spokesman is quoted as saying by Bloomberg news agency.

But Marussia on Tuesday afternoon said only that de Villota is receiving the "best medical attention possible".

"Maria is conscious and medical assessments are ongoing," said the team. "The team will await the outcome of these assessments before providing further comment.

"The team's first priority at this time is Maria and her family," Marussia added.

On Twitter, former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld said he had heard a "rumour she (de Villota) already spoke to (her) family".

(GMM)

 

'New' Hamilton to carry Olympic torch

Lewis Hamilton has accepted an invitation to carry the Olympic torch early next week.

The 2008 world champion reportedly wanted to run with the iconic flame through his home town of Stevenage, but that leg clashes with Sunday's British GP at Silverstone.

Instead, McLaren driver Hamilton will carry the torch on its journey to London on Monday, as it travels from Luton to Oxford via Milton Keynes and Buckingham.

"I've no idea at this stage where I'll be running," he told British newspapers. "But to be selected to do my bit is a real privilege."

It is not the first bit of good news for Hamilton this week, after F1 legend Sir Stirling Moss and even his arch-rival Sebastian Vettel hailed his talent.

"The ones (rivals) that stand out are probably Fernando (Alonso), he's one of the most complete drivers, and Lewis.

"Lewis is very, very quick," reigning double world champion Vettel said at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend.

Hamilton endured a tumultuous 2011 season both on and off the track, but this year he is back on form and wielding a more relaxed attitude, and within striking distance of the top of the drivers' points standings.

Experts also agree that the Briton appears to be maturing.

Pastor Maldonado slammed Hamilton for being "aggressive" in their Valencia crash recently.

But Hamilton said this week: "Regardless of the comments he has made about me I still respect him and I think he's a great young driver."

The McLaren driver had even been mildly rebuked for the crash by his boss Martin Whitmarsh, but Hamilton added: "Hindsight's a great thing. It's easy to say that.

"But when you've worked your arse off to get to where you want to be, you have to hold on to every position you have.

"But if you're in that position again, you definitely approach it differently. And I will, but I don't feel I have been aggressive one bit."

British F1 legend Moss believes Hamilton has matured.

"I think Lewis now understands what it's about and I wouldn't say it has been easy going because it hasn't," Sir Stirling is quoted by the Guardian.

"He is one of the greats, and exciting to watch, but I think he has learned quite a lot and one hopes that he will remember the things he's learned."

(GMM)

 

Alonso eyes F1 team ownership after driving career

Fernando Alonso has revealed he might consider team ownership after his F1 driving career is over.

When asked by one of his 800,000 Twitter and Facebook followers if the Ferrari driver can imagine following fellow champions like Alain Prost and Jackie Stewart onto the pitwall, 30-year-old Alonso answered: "Maybe."

"Why not?" the Spaniard, who won his titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006 and is the 2012 championship leader, elaborated.

"It would be a nice adventure!"

Alonso admitted he is also interested in F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke's job.

"If Bernie would allow it," he explained, "I would like to design a real race track, like the kart circuit I designed at Oviedo which is due to open soon."

(GMM)

 

Kovalainen deserves another top team chance - Brundle

Heikki Kovalainen deserves another chance to prove himself at the front of the F1 grid.

That is the view of former F1 driver, manager and now respected television commentator Martin Brundle, following the latest wave of reports about Finn Kovalainen's future.

After struggling at top teams Renault and McLaren at the beginning of his career, 30-year-old Kovalainen has rebuilt his reputation at the back of the field with the 2010 startup team Caterham (nee Lotus).

His current contract runs out this year, and so far he is not committing to a new tenure for 2013.

Kovalainen has admitted disappointment with Caterham's failure to drive into the midfield so far this season, and late last year insisted he does not feel "in any way" obligated to staying put for 2013.

"I want to see what we can do together and what is the situation in the summer," he has said.

Brundle said on Sky Sports F1 HD recently: "Heikki has just kept his head down and delivered, he looks a superstar and he drives like one.

"I think Heikki has staked a claim for another chance in a top team," said the former McLaren driver.

But like many others in the pitlane, Kovalainen has admitted he will have to wait for the 'silly season' to develop further before making plans for next year.

Early this year, he signed on with the well-known management firm IMG, saying at the time: "Either we continue with Caterham or pursue at some other place, so in either case this (signing with IMG) is the right solution."

He says now: "We haven't looked at it seriously, I think it is a bit too early and there are a few guys ahead of me in the queue, things like what Lewis (Hamilton) will do or what Michael (Schumacher) will do will probably have an impact on what everyone is doing."

(GMM)

 

Buemi hoping for Friday practice drive this year

Sebastien Buemi has revealed he is hoping to appear on the F1 timesheets in 2012.

The 23-year-old Swiss was dropped by junior team Toro Rosso at the end of last year but then appointed by Red Bull as the main team's 2012 reserve.

He works in the Milton Keynes simulator, does straightline aerodynamic tests and attends all the Grands Prix in case Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel cannot race.

And Buemi told Italiaracing: "I don't know if it's with Toro Rosso or Red Bull, but I hope to be able to drive in the first (practice) session of a grand prix soon."

No longer part of F1's headline act, he is still doing some driving: Buemi demonstrated the 2010 title-winning Red Bull at the recent Nurburgring round of the Renault World Series.

"It's a way to keep driving in some way," Buemi said. "For the demos the car is not the current one, but there are aerodynamic tests too.

"I went through a difficult winter after being released (from Toro Rosso)," he admitted, "but it is important that I stayed in the Red Bull family.

"Hopefully I can get back to racing in F1 - I'm working on it. I don't know if it can be with Red Bull, I think (Mark) Webber could stay, but there may be other options," added Buemi.

(GMM)

 

Sutil still pushing for F1 comeback

Adrian Sutil is pushing to return to F1.

Throughout Force India's F1 career, and even earlier during the Silverstone based team's days as Spyker and Midland, Sutil was regarded as a consistent and reliable race driver.

But he lost his seat to Nico Hulkenberg at the end of last year, also amid the Eric Lux affair in which Sutil was convicted of grievous assault.

Now, without a job at all except expert punditry for German television Sky, the 29-year-old German is making clear his ambition to return to formula one, where he amassed 90 races and almost 100 points since his 2007 debut.

Sutil attended the recent European grand prix at Valencia with his manager Manfred Zimmermann - and was even spotted inside the Force India garage.

Blick newspaper said he could also be a potential replacement for Sauber's struggling Kamui Kobayashi.

"I would love to race this year, but I just have to relax and wait for the opportunity," Sutil is quoted by the Spanish website Grand-Prix Actual.

"We are in contact and talking with some teams and right now I'm focused on coming back. I hope there's a seat for me," said the German.

He said he could have targeted a reserve driver's job for 2012 but "It didn't interest me".

Sutil is also quoted by the German-language motorsport-magazin.com: "When I return, I will say that this break did me well and was crucial for my second career.

"Of course I would like to be racing but sometimes you just have to be smart enough to learn from your situation. I'll be stronger when I come back, that's for sure."

As for the 2012 season, Sutil said it is a "good championship and it's great to see teams like Williams and Sauber capable of fighting for podiums".

(GMM)

 

Sauber and Williams could shine at Silverstone

Williams and Sauber could be in the mix for victory at Silverstone this weekend.

It is believed the high average corner speeds at the British track will suit the Williams - after Pastor Maldonado won the team's first race in seven years on the similar Barcelona layout - and Sauber's tidy C31, which has been on the podium twice in 2012 so far.

"The pace of the car in Valencia was very promising and we have a number of updates expected for this race," said Maldonado.

And Peter Sauber told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "We should look good at Silverstone."

The German magazine said the Swiss team is "secretly hoping for its first grand prix victory" this weekend, after GPS measurements showed the C31 was the fastest car overall through the similar Circuit de Catalunya's sweeping curves in May.

Championship leader Fernando Alonso won at Valencia, becoming the only multiple race winner in 2012 and the clear championship leader.

But his Ferrari is not the best single seater this season.

The otherwise fast and consistent Lotus is expected to struggle with Northamptonshire's cooler temperatures this weekend.

McLaren, though, is quite confident. "The car should suit the circuit," said Jenson Button this week. "It is a bit random (in 2012) but I feel it should work."

Arguably with the best chance, however, is Red Bull, after Sebastian Vettel's utter dominance at Valencia recently was stopped only by a broken Renault alternator.

"The pace he had at the last race was ridiculous," said Lewis Hamilton. "20 seconds in 10 laps or something - ridiculous," the Briton is quoted by the Guardian.

"It is going to be Red Bull, Ferrari and us - but maybe some other people."

(GMM)

 

F1 in Bahrain 'a good decision' says Prost

Four-time former world champion Alain Prost has admitted hindsight proves it was a "good decision" for F1 to race in Bahrain earlier this year.

But the great Frenchman, whose record of 51 wins was eclipsed only by Michael Schumacher, admits that in the days and weeks before the highly controversial event in the troubled Gulf kingdom, the right course was not so clear.

"I remember in 1985 when we went to South Africa, as a human and a driver you were attacked because you were there," 57-year-old Prost, referring to apartheid, told the Telegraph at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

"The main thing is, is it worse not to go? Or is it better to go and try and help people to make things more normal?

"I am in the middle because I did not have all the information," Prost said.

He said he actually sympathised with both sides of the argument, but ultimately decided not to go to the Bahrain grand prix.

"To be honest I didn't want to," said Prost, "because with all the controversy it's better to be outside.

"But I don't want to say we shouldn't have been there or we should have gone there.

"I think, in the end, when everything went well, you can say 'ok, it was a good decision'," he said.

(GMM)