TMR Team | Aug 2, 2012
  • Domenicali hints Ferrari seeking 'number 2' driver
  • Lotus 'definitely' eyes same drivers for 2013
  • Jealousy fuels Red Bull controversies - Marko
  • 'Double DRS' to be banned for 2013 - reports
  • Schumacher mistakes 'shouldn't happen' - Danner
  • Technical reshuffle at Mercedes
  • Rossi hails Ferrari's 2012 recovery
 

Domenicali hints Ferrari seeking 'number two' driver

Stefano Domenicali has warned that Ferrari is on the market for only a 'number two' driver.

With the 2013 option on Felipe Massa's contract running out last week, a large number of drivers have been linked to his seat for next season.

Reportedly the latest on the list is the team's 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

"Kimi was a world champion with us and I have seen the gossip - but nothing more than that," team boss Stefano Domenicali is quoted by the Sun newspaper.

Quotes attributed to Domenicali by the German broadcaster Sky, however, appear to play down the likelihood that Fernando Alonso will be paired with an equal next year.

"It has always been Ferrari's philosophy," the Italian explained, "to have a great champion and then a very good driver who is close to him."

In effect, he is referring to the paddock perception of Ferrari's 'number 1 and number 2' approach to its driver line-ups.

So does that mean drivers like Raikkonen, or McLaren's Jenson Button - both world champions - are actually unlikely teammates for Alonso in 2013?

"I think these drivers have contracts with other teams," Domenicali answered. "And we are not in a rush."

Number 2 or not, however, money could be a factor.

Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio thinks Lotus' Raikkonen could double his estimated EUR5 million in 2012 retainer by taking Massa's Ferrari seat.

And according to Raymond Blancafort, writing in El Mundo Deportivo, the transaction would also work out for Ferrari, because a Raikkonen-like haul of points for Massa would see the Italian team in front in the lucrative constructors' championships.

With Ferrari currently ranked just fourth due to Massa's meagre tally of 25 points, the situation stands to cost Ferrari many tens of millions when the sport's 2012 income is divvied up.

"The Brazilian at the moment is very expensive to Ferrari," Blancafort said.

Domenicali is keen to play down the speculation for now.

"We are aligned with Felipe and we want to protect him. It is important for this championship," he said.

(GMM)

 

Lotus 'definitely' eyes same drivers for 2013

Eric Boullier has revealed he "definitely" plans to keep not just Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus in 2013, but also the Finn's impressive rookie teammate Romain Grosjean.

The Enstone-based team's boss has dismissed speculation Raikkonen could return to Ferrari next year, where he won the 2007 title before he was ousted at the end of the 2009 season.

"It's nice that Ferrari is in the newspapers," Boullier is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, "but to my knowledge Kimi has no intention of going back to Ferrari."

When asked if he also wants Grosjean to stay in 2013, Boullier answered: "Definitely. There is no reason why either of them should leave us."

Rival teams have been impressed by the former Benetton and Renault squad in 2012.

"Their car has been quick all year, and they have two good drivers, so Kimi is a factor in the drivers' championship," Red Bull chief Christian Horner is quoted by AFP news agency.

(GMM)

 

Jealousy fuels Red Bull controversies - Marko

Aug.1 (GMM) The paddock noise about Red Bull 'cheating' is fuelled by jealousy, the team's Dr Helmut Marko has claimed.

So far in 2012, the reigning champions have been at the centre of most of F1's technical controversies, including holes in the floor, wheel hubs, engine mapping and ride height adjusters.

In a headline-writer's dream, team boss Christian Horner let his temper slip this week when German reports quoted him as denouncing the sagas as "bulls**t".

And Austrian Marko, who is team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's right hand man, denied in an interview with the German broadcaster RTL that Red Bull is overly "aggressive" when it comes to interpreting the rules.

"We are just more creative," he said.

"We live within the regulations, but of course we also see how we can make them work best for us."

Marko said "other teams" are simply not as good as Red Bull on that front.

"When they see us do something, they either copy it or they try to have it forbidden," he said.

"The jealousy and envy that we see in the paddock is because we have won for the past two years, and because we are not a traditional racing team.

"I think this has fed this resentment and these attempts to disturb us in some way," he added.

(GMM)

 

'Double DRS' to be banned for 2013 - reports

The technical concept known in the paddock this year as 'double DRS' looks set to be banned for 2013.

Mercedes debuted the controversial straightline speed-boosting concept earlier this year, moving Lotus to lodge an official protest.

But instead of taking the FIA's decision to allow Mercedes to keep the system to the international court of appeal, Lotus emerged with a new interpretation of 'double DRS' during practice at Hockenheim recently.

The team practiced with the system on Kimi Raikkonen's car again at the Hungaroring, technical boss James Allison saying the tests helped "bring it a step closer to deployment in a race sometime in the future".

Speculation suggests Lotus will indeed debut it at the forthcoming Belgian GP, with Spa-Francorchamps undoubtedly Raikkonen's favourite track, and the system said to provide a good advantage on the long straights.

"Spa has always agreed with Kimi," former Finnish driver Mika Salo told the broadcaster MTV3, "and if the updates improve what is already the best car, he will be looking very good if he is able to start from the first two rows."

Media headlines at Marca (Spain), Turun Sanomat (Finland), Globo Esporte (Brazil) and elsewhere, however, say the entire 'double DRS' concept looks set to be banned for 2013.

(GMM)

 

Schumacher mistakes 'shouldn't happen' - Danner

Former F1 driver Christian Danner has scolded Michael Schumacher for making rookie errors in Hungary last weekend.

Germany's Bild claims the 43-year-old is very close to announcing a new deal to keep racing at Mercedes beyond 2012, but at the same time the newspaper wondered if the seven time world champion might "need glasses?"

"It had nothing to do with poor vision," the German's manager Sabine Kehm insisted. "Don't worry, Michael is more than fit."

She had been asked about Schumacher's strange pre-race mistakes at the Hungaroring: first lining up in the wrong grid spot, and then turning off his engine when the start was aborted.

"We're all only human and can make mistakes," Danner told the German news agency SID, "but really they shouldn't happen to an F1 driver.

"If it had happened to a young driver, we'd all say he's not ready for F1."

(GMM)

 

Technical reshuffle at Mercedes

Mercedes has started a process of restructuring its technical team, Italy's Autosprint reports.

The report said the Brackley based team's aerodynamics chief John Owen is moving up to be technical director.

Owen's role is being filled by a new signing, Mike Elliot, who has joined from Lotus.

Autosprint wonders, however, "What will happen with the trio (Aldo) Costa, (Geoff) Willis and (Bob) Bell?"

At last count, the well-known trio held high-ranking technical roles at the carmaker-owned squad.

Autosprint said Mercedes could be scaling-down.

(GMM)

 

Rossi hails Ferrari's 2012 recovery

Valentino Rossi has used Ferrari as an example of an Italian racing team that managed to emerge from a deep crisis.

Increasingly frustrated with his MotoGP outfit Ducati's lack of progress, the Italian motorcycle great said Maranello-based Ferrari turned around a similar slump in a matter of mere months.

"They too were far behind at the beginning, and it was Fernando (Alonso) who made a difference, but then the team also progressed.

"But, us (Ducati), we do not improve," he told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

(GMM)

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