Mike Stevens | Aug 10, 2012
  • Schumacher not 'the reference' at Mercedes - Vettel
  • Whitmarsh to step down as FOTA president
  • Mercedes engines wearing out Pirelli tyres
  • Glock counts himself out of 2013 'silly season'
 

Schumacher not 'the reference' at Mercedes - Vettel

Nico Rosberg has undoubtedly had the measure of Michael Schumacher since the seven-time world champion returned to the sport in 2010.

That is the reluctant view of Sebastian Vettel, the reigning world champion who is so close to Schumacher that the German press still often refers to him as 'Baby Schumi'.

Throughout most of Schumacher's initial 16-year F1 career, the great German utterly dominated the sport, becoming its most successful driver ever and always standing tall over those at the wheel of sister cars.

But since returning with Mercedes in 2010, it is teammate Nico Rosberg who has shone the brightest in the silver cars, with Germany's Sport1 pointing out that the younger German has beaten Schumacher in qualifying 36:13.

And in the races, the Rosberg-to-Schumacher points ratio is 308:177, the 27-year-old scoring five podiums to Schumacher's single top-three finish, while Rosberg has a pole and win.

Vettel has to admit that his friend and mentor has been outshone.

"On the one hand you can say that Michael has forgotten nothing and is clearly not struggling, which he has proved very often," the Red Bull driver is quoted as saying.

"But Nico has done an awfully good job and has usually been the reference (at Mercedes)," Vettel acknowledged.

"There's no way of talking around it," he said.

Nevertheless, it is strongly rumoured that 43-year-old Schumacher will sign on to remain alongside Rosberg beyond his 2012 contract.

Mercedes chief Norbert Haug recently said he doubts "there will be an announcement at Spa" next month, which was widely interpreted as a clear sign that an announcement of a new deal will be made eventually.

Team Ross Brawn is hinting similarly, telling F1's official website this week that Mercedes' current driver lineup is working well.

He said Schumacher and Rosberg are "very professional, very committed, good attitude, speed, work very well in the team, work well together as a pairing - which is not always easy with drivers - and I believe both are more than capable of winning races if we provide the equipment."

So why the delay in signing off Schumacher's 2013 contract?

"I think this is a very important decision for all the people involved," said Brawn. "We won't be rushed on the decision and when the time is appropriate we will announce what we are going to do.

"I don't want to increase speculation by commenting on where we are."

(GMM)

 

Whitmarsh to step down as FOTA president

Martin Whitmarsh has flagged his intention to step down as president of the teams association FOTA.

The union was created in the heat of the Max Mosley political war in 2008, with McLaren team boss Whitmarsh then taking over from FOTA's first chairman, Luca di Montezemolo, at the end of 2009.

Since then, the group has fractured, with Ferrari, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Sauber and HRT all no longer listed as members on the official FOTA website.

And in a report by Dieter Rencken and Mario Fritzsche on the German website motorsport-total.com, Whitmarsh announced it "would be good if, after three years, someone else takes over the role" now.

He said it will be up to the FOTA members to elect a new chairman. The FOTA website lists Lotus' Eric Boullier as the current vice-chairman.

And the media report said Ross Brawn is another candidate.

"I would support either," said Whitmarsh.

(GMM)

 

Mercedes engines wearing out Pirelli tyres

McLaren, Mercedes and Force India are all struggling with excessive tyre wear this year.

And according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, the likely culprit is the trio's common engine supplier.

"Lotus, Red Bull and Ferrari can make a set of tyres last longer than we can," said McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

Auto Motor und Sport said one theory doing the rounds is that the superior mid-range power of Mercedes' V8 engine is wearing the rear Pirelli tyres too much.

"On the way out of corners, we are able to keep up," said Sauber's Sergio Perez. "But then there comes a phase when the Force India can pull away, so long as their tyres are fresh."

Mercedes' team boss Ross Brawn acknowledged that the "characteristic of the engine has a large influence on the degradation of the tyres".

Auto Motor und Sport said Mercedes has "recognised the problem" and is working at full speed to improve its engine torque maps.

(GMM)

 

Glock counts himself out of 2013 'silly season'

Timo Glock has counted himself out of this year's driver 'silly season'.

Theoretically, there are 2013 race seats up for grabs at teams including grandees Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes.

But Timo Glock, whose career has floundered at the back of the grid since Toyota pulled out of the sport three years ago, suggested to German website motorsport-total.com that he remains committed to Marussia.

When asked if he is watching the 2013 driver market very carefully, the 30-year-old answered in the negative, because "I know how my future looks".

Asked specifically if that means he is already under contract to his current team for a fourth consecutive season in 2013, Glock answered: "Yes, correct."

As for whether he would answer his phone if the boss of another team tried to call him, he admitted: "No matter who it is, I always politely answer the phone!"

The German might however be forgiven for regretting his decision to turn down an offer from the then Renault team at the end of 2009.

Although the Enstone based squad - now Lotus - is fielding one of the very best cars in 2012, the team's future was very clouded three years ago.

So Glock instead signed with Virgin, now Marussia.

"No. In the same situation, I would do the same now," he insisted when asked about his Renault snub.

But has he ever wondered how his career might have panned out differently, had he taken a punt and signed with Renault/Lotus?

"No, never. If I make a decision, and I know why I made the decision, then there's no point whining or wondering 'what if' afterwards.

"Only I know the situation as it was then, no one else (does). So what I decided was absolutely correct," insisted Glock.

(GMM)

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