TMR Team | Oct 24, 2012
  • Title not Vettel's yet - Lauda
  • Massa admits to Ferrari's car development problems
  • 'Emotional' Hamilton says goodbye to McLaren
  • Di Resta swerves Mallya's Kingfisher crisis
  • 'Customer cars' discussed at F1's Paris meeting
  • Petrov likely to race at Sochi in 2014 - manager
  • Karthikeyan denies considering Indycar switch
 

Title not Vettel's yet - Lauda

Sebastian Vettel may be on form and at the wheel of the fastest car, but the 2012 championship is not settled yet.

That is the warning of F1 legend Niki Lauda, despite German Vettel recently managing to track down Fernando Alonso's big championship lead to now top the championship with just four races to go in the currently dominant Red Bull.

"At the moment everything is going in Vettel's favour, but it would be premature to celebrate the world championship yet," triple world champion Lauda told Osterreich newspaper.

"Not long ago Alonso looked like the safe world champion, but he was shot down twice. It shows how fast things can turn around.

"So Vettel needs to be careful," he added.

Romain Grosjean, the French driver for Lotus, thinks Vettel is the favourite now.

"I've always said this season that Fernando Alonso is the favourite," he is quoted by RMC, "but you have to change your tune now because Sebastian Vettel has taken a step ahead of everyone.

"They (Red Bull) are almost unbeatable in the race -- very fast," added Grosjean. "It will be difficult to beat them before the end of the season."

(GMM)

 

Massa admits to Ferrari's car development problems

Ferrari have admitted they are concerned crucial upgrades to the F2012 car will not work as expected.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali has said the Italian squad needs to find at least 2 tenths of a second to boost Fernando Alonso's chances of competing for the title against Red Bull's on-form new championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

With tester Davide Rigon at the wheel, Ferrari - with its 2012 car featuring a number of upgrades - reportedly ran a "secret" straightline aerodynamic test at the Idiada facility in Spain last Thursday.

Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa admitted the team has had problems this year with the correlation of the data produced by its Maranello wind tunnel, which will be closed for a time during the winter for repairs.

"We are working on a lot of things in the development of the car," the Brazilian is quoted by Totalrace.

"(But) we have had some problems with parts we have brought to the last few races not working when we go onto the track."

Totalrace said Ferrari is already working and checking data in Toyota's state of the art Cologne wind tunnel.

Domenicali, however, said he does not want the news to be interpreted as an "excuse" for Ferrari's recent development problems.

"That's part of the development process we are doing to improve the team, but I don't want to hear that it's an excuse for this championship.

"We need to keep pushing to make sure Fernando has the best car for the end of the season," he added.

(GMM)

 

'Emotional' Hamilton says goodbye to McLaren

Lewis Hamilton has said farewell to McLaren ahead of his final four races with the famous British team.

Before setting off to India and then Abu Dhabi, the US and Brazil for the final 'flyaway' phase of the 2012 season, the 2008 world champion made an "emotional" speech to staff at McLaren's Woking factory, the Sun newspaper reports.

Hamilton had intended to farewell his McLaren teammates during a night of ten-pin bowling in Japan recently, only to find they were already committed to a 'fun run' with Jenson Button.

So the 27-year-old told them last Friday: "I've spent half my life at McLaren. The team, the cars, the place, the people -- they'll always be special to me.

"The Mercedes building definitely isn't as spectacular as the MTC (McLaren technology centre)," he smiled.

"I hope to bring great success to Mercedes, but McLaren will always have a special place in my heart," added Hamilton.

(GMM)

 

Di Resta baulks at questions on Mallya's Kingfisher crisis

Paul di Resta has swerved around a question about his Force India boss Vijay Mallya's financial problems.

Earlier facing arrest for bounced cheques, billionaire Mallya can now expect to face the angry, grounded and unpaid staff of his ailing Kingfisher airline as they protest at their local Indian grand prix this weekend.

Another of Mallya's businesses is Force India, but Scottish driver di Resta - who is expected to stay at the Silverstone based team in 2013 - said on Tuesday it is not his place to respond to questions about Mallya's troubles.

"These (Kingfisher and Force India) are two different businesses," the 26-year-old is quoted by the Indian Express.

"We," he said, referring to himself and teammate Nico Hulkenberg, "are part of the racing team based in the UK. And racing has been a success so far. So it's not for us to comment on.

"It (Kingfisher) doesn't affect us," he added, even though the 'Kingfisher' logo was emblazoned on his and Hulkenberg's team t-shirts at the press conference.

Di Resta, as well as his current teammate Hulkenberg who is believed to have agreed a switch to Sauber for 2013, refused to comment on their respective futures.

(GMM)

 

'Customer cars' discussed at F1's Paris meeting

Jean Todt had a "constructive meeting" with Bernie Ecclestone and the twelve team bosses in Paris on Monday, the FIA said in a media statement.

The meeting, at which a "fruitful and helpful debate" ensued, was to present the teams with the 2013 Concorde Agreement and "new conditions of entry".

The FIA said it expects a "final settlement" in the "coming weeks".

More detail emerged in the pages of Italy's Autosprint.

The magazine said the meeting will continue on Tuesday, where it will be discussed that only the 6 top teams - Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus - will have a say on the composition of future rules.

Another topic is the "definition of a customer car", the report added, relating to the possible sale of complete chassis from one team to another.

Autosprint said customer cars could be a solution for struggling teams like HRT and Marussia, after Renault said it was not interested in supplying the currently Cosworth-powered pair with engines in the future.

If they were able to buy a complete car-engine package, however, it could reportedly be a different proposition.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, meanwhile, reported recently that some teams objected in writing to FIA president Todt's plans to dramatically increase the entry fees for 2013.

(GMM)

 

Petrov likely to race at Sochi in 2014 - manager

Vitaly Petrov will almost certainly contest Russia's inaugural grand prix at Sochi in 2014, his manager Oksana Kosachenko has revealed.

But whether the 28-year-old will still be on the grid next season is a different matter, with Rusnovosti reporting that staying at Caterham in 2013 appears "unlikely" for Petrov.

Kosachenko said she is examining two options.

"We are working hard, there are some plans and a particular programme we have," she said. "We have almost absolute certainty that Petrov will start in Sochi in 2014."

She admitted the main glitch for 2013 is related to sponsorship.

"The issue of transition to another team is rather painful," said Kosachenko. "At the moment, I have offers from two teams on my hands, but they require some solutions to be made and details settled.

"Not in the sense (of) whether there will be sponsors or not -- because they are difficult, but not impossible, to find.

"The question is if those sponsors who are willing to support Vitaly will be able to coordinate with those that are already with the team," she added.

Petrov debuted for Renault in 2010 and 2011, switching to Caterham this year to replace Jarno Trulli.

(GMM)

 

Karthikeyan denies considering Indycar switch

Narain Karthikeyan has played down reports he is eyeing a switch to Indycar racing for 2013.

While Pedro de la Rosa is expected to remain at HRT next season, the Spanish team is believed to be assessing its options regarding the sister cockpit.

35-year-old Karthikeyan, however, insists he deserves to stay in 2013.

"I think I have been driving well and out-qualifying a senior pro like Pedro de la Rosa on a couple of occasions has given me immense confidence," he told the IANS news agency ahead of his home grand prix in India this weekend.

"I am fit and good enough to be in F1 for another two/three seasons."

The Indian, who was establishing a Nascar career in 2010 until he returned to F1 with HRT, denied he is now looking at returning to the American scene by seeking an Indycar test.

"I don't know where these rumours of me switching to Indycar emanated from," said Karthikeyan. "The brightest thing for 2013 will be another season with HRT."

(GMM)