- Massa ousting 'inevitable' now - Zanardi
- Title chase entering decisive phase at Spa - Lauda
- Button tips Hamilton to stay at McLaren
- Manager denies Hulkenberg not paid in 2012
- Manager warns Petrov may quit F1
- Marussia to use Williams KERS in 2013
Massa ousting 'inevitable' now - Zanardi
Alex Zanardi thinks it is now "inevitable" Ferrari will replace Felipe Massa at the end of the season.
The Italian, whose return to F1 in 1999 ended after just one disappointing season with Williams, thinks struggling Brazilian Massa has "run out of excuses" as he continues to flounder behind his standout teammate Fernando Alonso.
"For me, Felipe is a driver with great qualities, but his anxiety crisis got the better of him," Zanardi, who returned to American open-wheeler racing after leaving F1 and lost his legs in a crash in 2001, told the Italian magazine Autosprint.
"I think if he had tried to be himself, and not Alonso, I'm sure that by now he would have seen the podium quite often.
"But, after all, he is a human being, and more 'Latin' than Fernando in the sense that the British give to the word.
"It's a difficult job, and definitely not easier if you drive for Ferrari. For me, though, at this point of the season, the time for excuses has run out.
"Ferrari will have to stand by him and see if the guy comes out of the crisis, because there are important points that they can bring in 2012.
"But I have to say at this point that I think it is inevitable that they (Ferrari) will replace him."
Zanardi, now preparing to race in the hand-cycling classes at the Paralympics, said that in a 'free market' situation, Lewis Hamilton would be his number one choice to replace Massa.
"Number two," he explained, "is Edoardo Mortara."
Mortara, 25, was the 2010 F3 euroseries champion who now races for Team Rosberg in DTM.
"If I was Ferrari, I would do with him (Mortara) what McLaren did with Lewis. But if we're talking about someone for just one season, then I would take someone like Paul di Resta or Nico Hulkenberg," said Zanardi.
The best car of 2012, Zanardi said, is the black and gold one fielded by Lotus.
"You know why?" said the 45-year-old. "Because as I always said to Morris Nunn - the best car is not the fastest, it's the one that allows you to put the wheels where you want them."
Zanardi told the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail recently that, after the Paralympics, his next goal might be to race a hand-controlled car at the fabled Indy 500.
"In a perfect world," he said, "Chip Ganassi would call me and ask if I wanted to do the Indy 500. That would be cool. Let me do this first and then we will see."
Title chase entering decisive phase at Spa - Lauda
With the long August break now over, Niki Lauda thinks the 2012 championship is entering a decisive phase this weekend at fabled Spa Francorchamps.
Asked if he is looking forward to the highly popular Belgian GP, the triple world champion and F1 legend admitted: "Thank god we at least had the Olympics since the last race.
"Otherwise it would have become really boring," the 63-year-old Austrian told Osterreich newspaper.
"We can expect a spectacular weekend at Spa."
Lauda said it is time Fernando Alonso's pursuers get to grips with his runaway 40-point lead in the drivers' standings.
"For Vettel, Hamilton and the others, it is now something of a preliminary decision time. Now is the need to score points.
"If they are not the front runners at Spa and a week later in Monza, Alonso will be gone."
Lauda said he doubts Michael Schumacher will celebrate his 300th GP with a victory at his favourite circuit.
"I wish him all the best for his anniversary race, but Spa is a very difficult track aerodynamically.
"I see Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull at the front instead. But if it rains, as the forecast seems to show, it could be better for him (Schumacher) to show his skills."
Button tips Hamilton to stay at McLaren
Jenson Button has admitted he thinks Lewis Hamilton will still be his teammate in 2013.
McLaren chiefs including Martin Whitmarsh have insisted they are "close" to signing a new deal with the 2008 world champion, but rumours suggest the two sides are at odds over Hamilton's right to keep his original trophies, and money.
Fellow Briton Button, who is already signed up for 2013, reportedly 'laughed' when Brazil's Totalrace asked him if he thinks Hamilton will ultimately follow suit.
"Yeah, I think so," he is quoted as saying.
"I don't know what options he has, but Lewis entered F1 with a team that gave him opportunities to win races and fight for championships.
"He might not have the chance to be champion every year, but the team gives him the conditions to fight for victories every year, and when you have that, it's very difficult to go somewhere else and try to build a winning team.
"Some drivers, like myself, needed to do this (move teams), but once you're in a team like this you don't want to look back.
"I don't know what his options are," Button continued, "but I don't think it's Ferrari and nobody knows if Michael is going to be at Mercedes or not (next year).
"It would be a big change for him (Hamilton), but sometimes you do need a change."
For Button, it has been an up-and-down 2012 season, who after winning the opening Australian GP is now six places and 88 points behind Fernando Alonso in the drivers' standings.
"The first races were good," he said, "and then I had a hard time when we tried new things for the car which I don't think were ideal.
"After some races we decided to go back to where we were. The reasons we did what we did was to try to understand the behaviour of the tyres.
"In some ways it was my fault for not going back earlier. I insisted on following this path. From Germany onwards things got better for us," said Button.
As for Alonso's 40-point lead in the world championship, Button said the Spaniard has done a "phenomenal job" in 2012, but warned that the situation can quickly change.
"Each of the coming races will be difficult," said Button. "He could easily lose 10, 15 points to someone each time."
Manager denies Hulkenberg not paid in 2012
Nico Hulkenberg's manager has denied reports the German driver has gone without pay so far in 2012.
Austria's Sportwoche mentioned speculation Hulkenberg, 25, and his teammate Paul di Resta might have been the latest victims of Force India team owner Vijay Mallya's struggling Indian airline Kingfisher.
The report cited "several" paddock sources who believe the duo have not yet been paid anything this season.
"These are rumours," Hulkenberg's manager Timo Gans is quoted by Germany's Sport1.
"I really wonder where this information comes from - maybe people know more than we do," he added.
When asked specifically if Hulkenberg has been paid in 2012, Gans answered: "Yes."
Manager warns Petrov may quit F1
Vitaly Petrov's manager has warned she will find another pursuit for the Russian driver if they cannot make money in formula one.
Since 2010, when the now 27-year-old made his debut for Renault (now Lotus) before switching to Caterham this season, Petrov has funded his race seats through private backing and sponsorship.
But his manager Oksana Kosachenko warned that they may change direction for 2013.
"If the presence of a Russian driver in Formula One will be interesting to no one else but Vitaly Petrov and Oksana Kosachenko, we'll find what to do outside the grand prix," she told Sport-Express.
"Formula one is great and very prestigious, but for Vitaly it's a job that brings no money. Why? There are many reasons.
"In Russia, it's difficult to sell an athlete, but to sell a formula one driver is almost impossible," added Kosachenko.
Marussia to use Williams KERS in 2013
Marussia will use a KERS system supplied by rivals Williams in 2013.
Technical consultant Pat Symonds also revealed on Wednesday that Marussia, the former Virgin team he joined after bowing out of F1 amid the 'crashgate' affair, will remain with Cosworth power next season.
The former Renault veteran said next year's Marussia, to be called the MR02, will be an evolution of the single seater currently raced by Timo Glock and Charles Pic.
"We will continue with the Cosworth engine. We are concentrating on improving the driveability of the engine and enhancing its performance as a unit with the car," said Symonds.
But the most surprising news is Marussia's decision to link up with Williams for KERS, having not used the energy-recovery technology since debuting in 2010.
Marussia already has a technical collaboration in place with another British team, McLaren.
"We will be using KERS next year," Symonds announced. "We plan to adopt the system that has been developed by Williams, which was used by them with the Cosworth engine last year and is currently with their Renault-engine car.
"Our 2013 unit is a development of this. We've been very impressed with the engineering, the efficiency and the weight. Williams are also a pleasure to work with both technically and commercially."
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