TMR Team | Nov 15, 2012
  • Circuit says 'no more F1' at the Nurburgring
  • Ecclestone wants many more US races on F1 schedule
  • Massa reveals he had talks with other teams
  • Red Bull on brink of third teams' title
  • Hamilton right to bet on Merc's 'long term' success - Rosberg
  • HRT wants EUR 40m for dying F1 team - report
  • Rosberg says one F1 driver smokes cigarettes
 

Circuit says 'no more F1' at the Nurburgring

The Nurburgring's chances of staging the German grand prix as scheduled next year have receded yet further.

Bernie Ecclestone was already in talks with Hockenheim about replacing the mid-July event next year, while the crisis-struck Nurburgring is grappling with an insolvency process.

Still, there was a chance the Nurburging would pull through.

However, multiple German reports - including in the daily Rhein and Allgemeine newspapers - have now revealed that negotiations between the existing management and the managers of the insolvency have broken down.

A circuit spokesman confirmed to the DPA news agency that there will indeed be "no more formula one" at the Nurburgring, as talks with Bernie Ecclestone had also ended.

But Pietro Nuvolini, the spokesman for the financial recovery experts in charge of the Nurburgring situation, insisted: "If the tenants want to return to the negotiating table, our door is not closed."

(GMM)

 

Ecclestone wants many more US races on F1 schedule

Bernie Ecclestone has hinted he wants many more American races on his F1 calendar.

After a five-year absence from the country, F1 has returned to the US in 2012, this weekend christening the brand-new and bespoke Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

And Ecclestone wanted two American stops on next year's schedule, until plans for a street race amid the Manhattan skyline were put on hold for financial reasons until at least 2014.

"It's a world championship, so you need the US," the F1 chief executive is quoted by German news agency DPA.

"America is about as big as Europe. So we should have the same number of races (in each)," said Ecclestone.

In 2013, seven of the 19 grands prix - Spain, Monaco, the UK, Germany, Hungary, Belgium and Italy - will be in Europe, the sport's traditional homeland.

For now, many in the F1 paddock are simply relieved that the US is back on the calendar at least with one race -- Norbert Haug pointed out this week that it is Mercedes-Benz's single biggest road car sales market.

But F1 chief executive Ecclestone acknowledged that his sport is "not very big" in America, causing the US-naturalised Mario Andretti to proclaim: "I can only say thank god for the Texans!"

"This," agreed McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, "is a golden opportunity for the sport to finally put down roots and find a long-term home (in the US)."

After contractual and construction delays, the Circuit of the Americas is a hive of activity in the hours before the F1 paddock comes alive on Thursday.

Signs, seats and landscaping are still being finished off, circuit spokeswoman Julie Loignon admitting: "Things are very hectic, but everyone is making steady progress."

Michael Schumacher, a regular visitor to the US, is already in town, kicking off his stay by watching the NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Bild newspaper.

(GMM)

 

Massa reveals he had talks with other teams

Felipe Massa has confirmed he had talks with some other teams before Ferrari re-signed him for 2013.

Earlier this year, as the Brazilian's form slumped to a low, it was an open secret that the Maranello based team was seeking a new teammate for Fernando Alonso.

"There seemed to be a black cloud above me. Nothing was going right," Massa was quoted this week by Italy's Tuttosport.

Ultimately, as the F2012 got better, so too did the 31-year-old's confidence, form and results. He will spend an eighth consecutive season wearing red overalls in 2013.

But during his "black" period, he truly feared for his career.

"I was doing a job that is a dream for millions of people, but I was not happy," said Massa, "because in many races I knew that the main culprit was me."

When asked what his plans were had Ferrari decided to pull the plug, Massa admitted there had been some talks, without "naming names".

"But what I really wanted was to continue with Ferrari," he insisted.

Meanwhile, while some suggest Massa's teammate Alonso is the more 'deserving' champion of 2012, the Brazilian thinks Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel would also be a worthy winner.

"I think Fernando did an incredible job up to now, Sebastian as well, especially in the second part of the championship," said Massa.

"So I think we are not talking about one guy who has many victories and the other one not. I think we are talking about two drivers, one of which will win and who we will say deserved it."

(GMM)

 

Red Bull on brink of third teams' title

Red Bull is on the brink of wrapping up the 2012 constructors' championship.

The 2010 and 2011 title winners - whose German driver Sebastian Vettel also secured back-to-back drivers' championships - are 82 points ahead of nearest challengers Ferrari with just two races to go.

If the points gap is more than 43 after Sunday's US grand prix, Red Bull will be the 2012 champions with still the Interlagos finale in its pocket.

To stop Red Bull becoming champions this weekend, Ferrari would need to score an almost perfect 39 points in Texas, with Red Bull failing to score at all.

The drivers' title is the one hailed by the media and fans, but the constructors' championship is highly lucrative -- worth, according to Speed Week, about $100 million to the winner.

Sir Frank Williams, whose eponymous team has won 9 constructors' titles, said: "The team that gets the most points, has done the best job.

"The drivers come and go, the team stays," he added.

(GMM)

 

Hamilton right to bet on Merc's 'long term' success - Rosberg

Nico Rosberg has fended off suggestions Lewis Hamilton is unwise to have decided to switch to Mercedes in 2013.

Some have questioned the 2008 world champion's move from a front-running McLaren to Mercedes, whose Michael Schumacher failed to score a point despite finishing the race in Abu Dhabi recently.

Explaining the Brackley based team's slump, German Rosberg said: "We have changed the scale of our wind tunnel from 50 to 60 per cent.

"It's a very complicated job but we anticipate to be more competitive in 2013."

Asked if Hamilton's move from McLaren is surprising, he insisted: "Not at all. He is one of the best drivers available."

That, however, explains Mercedes' decision to pursue the highly rated Briton; not Hamilton's decision to flee established grandee McLaren.

"He is thinking about the long-term," Rosberg said. "This is a strong team that is developing more and more and will certainly succeed eventually."

'Eventually' is the keyword -- Hamilton has already said he doubts he will win races next season.

"I think he's leaving space open for something spectacular," Rosberg smiled. "Anyway, I have learned not to comment on quotes that are reported by newspapers!"

(GMM)

 

HRT wants EUR 40m for dying F1 team - report

The current owners are seeking EUR 40 million for the struggling backmarker HRT, according to the Spanish sports daily AS.

The newspaper also revealed that talks with potential buyers from India and Abu Dhabi are underway.

HRT, currently owned by Madrid based investment company Thesan Capital, confirmed this week that "the time has come for the team to continue growing with new financial backing".

Media reports suggested HRT was in the process of sacking 32 employees, and needed a buyer before the first days of December to avoid closure.

AS claims that the situation inside the team has become dire, to the point that engineers are concerned that Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan are being put into grands prix at the wheel of unsafe HRT cars.

Indeed, at the most recent grands prix in Abu Dhabi and India, Karthikeyan and de la Rosa respectively retired in spectacular style with fundamental technical failures.

De la Rosa crashed due to brake failure, while Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was sent airborne when Karthikeyan slowed because his steering wheel "locked solid".

"Narain told me that his steering broke," said Rosberg, "and he needed to brake which I didn't expect in a high speed corner."

AS suggests that HRT has considered simply withdrawing from the 2012 championship, but is pushing ahead for now due to its commitment to the Concorde Agreement.

According to the report, HRT was hoping its association with Chinese reserve driver Ma Qinghua would bear fruit.

Chief executive Saul Ruiz de Marcos reportedly wrote a letter to China's motor racing federation, saying Ma would make his F1 debut in 2013 if he could bring EUR 30 million in backing.

(GMM)

 

Rosberg says one F1 driver smokes cigarettes

According to Nico Rosberg, a current formula one driver smokes cigarettes.

The conversation of smoking come up when Rosberg was recalling the last time F1 visited Texas.

The Mercedes driver's father, the inimitable 'Flying Finn' Keke Rosberg, won that 1984 race in Dallas.

"Yes," Rosberg told Italy's La Stampa, "it was 40 degrees and while the other drivers wore refrigerated suits, he (Keke) was bare-chested in the sun, smoking a cigarette.

"He had beaten them all before it started," Nico smiled.

The La Stampa newspaper said the behaviour of Rosberg's father almost 30 years ago would today be "unthinkable". Indeed, it was believed the last smokers in F1 were Jan Magnussen at the end of the 90s, or perhaps Mika Salo.

"About the smoking?" Rosberg wondered. "No, you're wrong -- there's one driver who lights one cigarette after another.

"I'm not naming names," he quickly added.

(GMM)