F1: Massa Takes Step Towards 2013 Contract Photo:
TMR Team | Jun, 26 2012 | 0 Comments
  • Massa takes step towards 2013 contract
  • Vettel criticises safety car call after failure
  • New Jersey 'definitely' off for 2013 - Ecclestone
  • Talks on to organise Spanish race alternation - Valencia
  • Shame victory chance slipped for Grosjean - Tambay

Massa takes step towards 2013 contract

Felipe Massa has received strong backing from Ferrari despite a bad race for the Brazilian on Sunday.

The 31-year-old struggled so markedly early this season that some believed he would lose his race cockpit for 2013.

But the last few races have been much better for Massa, including in Valencia, where he was right on eventual winner Fernando Alonso's pace in qualifying.

Then came Sunday.

"I am very sorry for Felipe," said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, "who was really unlucky.

"He was going very well and I'm sure he could have brought home a good result if not for all the problems he had."

Indeed, Massa's pace was struck early on by rear end damage, his strategy was ruined by the safety car, and Kamui Kobayashi crashed into him.

Otherwise, "He started in fine style and had everything in hand to get a really good result," team boss Stefano Domenicali insisted.

So is Ferrari still on the market to replace Massa for 2013?

"This is not the moment to talk about contracts," Montezemolo said.



Vettel criticises safety car call after failure

Sebastian Vettel pointed a finger at the race director after retiring from Sunday's European Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver suffered a car failure having dominated from pole in Valencia.

He questioned the call to bring the safety car out, ostensibly to clear away crash debris.

"I think we could have been spared the safety car period," Vettel told German television Sky. "I think the reason is clear. I don't think there was a danger.

"There were pieces on the track earlier and it was acceptable.

"I think in a sense the safety car was to break our neck," said the 24-year-old German, who at the time of the call was approaching 40 seconds ahead of Romain Grosjean.

Vettel thinks the safety car period also contributed to his car failure.

"It's not exactly clear," he said. "Perhaps a combination of the safety car period when you have to drive slowly, and a similar problem that Mark had on Friday.

"It just went to sh**," Vettel shrugged. "I think it was clear to see that (until then) we were pulling away without problems.

"I think the important that is that we have shown that we can be really fast, as we made a step forward this weekend."

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, was keeping his temper under control after being punted out of the race by Pastor Maldonado.

In the cockpit, he slammed his steering wheel before throwing it against the barrier, but when flanked by press officers the McLaren driver told British Sky television he would "suck it up".

And on the BBC, the Briton said "That's life, you have to deal with it."



New Jersey 'definitely' off for 2013 - Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone has, for a third time, questioned the viability of next year's scheduled New Jersey street race.

Organisers have consistently sounded puzzled by the F1 chief executive's continual scepticism.

The 81-year-old's latest comments prompted race president Tom Cotter to insist that preparations for the event amid the Manhattan skyline are actually ahead of schedule.

But when asked if the race will go ahead next year, Ecclestone told the BBC on Saturday: "No. Definitely, no."

Confusingly, he then added: "If they can get it (the circuit) completed and confirm to us it will be done, for sure, they'll be on the calendar."

After the recent Canadian GP, Sebastian Vettel and David Coulthard travelled to New Jersey for a promotional event to sample in road cars the curves of the proposed layout.

"The circuit is not anywhere near close to being ready," Red Bull driver Vettel admitted, "but as I said, it would be great."

Former grand prix driver Coulthard added: "They think they're ahead of schedule. They're talking about 12 months from now, but it's a lot of work - the road is so bowed in the middle."



Talks on to organise Spanish race alternation - Valencia

Valencia president Alberto Fabra on Sunday sounded confident the Spanish port city will return to the F1 calendar in the future.

Amid Spain's harsh economic crisis and the strong protests of angry residents, the circuit - despite showcasing a thrilling race on Sunday - struggled this weekend to fill its vastly-culled capacity.

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But Fabra insisted it is not too late to rescue the event.

"We are negotiating, and hopefully not before too long we can realise this potential alternation and set new conditions," he said on Sunday, according to El Pais newspaper.

He is referring to his talks on Sunday with Bernie Ecclestone, and the proposal that Valencia and Barcelona from now on share a single annual GP race date.

Asked if the F1 chief executive will also agree to reduce Valencia's race sanctioning fee, Fabra answered: "Everything is being negotiated.

"All this is happening, of course, because there is little money, but the negotiations continue and there is a willingness on both sides."



Shame victory chance slipped for Grosjean - Tambay

Romain Grosjean on Sunday lost his chance to become F1's eighth different winner.

The Frenchman was running comfortably behind eventual winner Fernando Alonso at Valencia when his Renault alternator failed - the same component that halted Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull charge.

"We need to hold our hands up and apologise," said Renault's Remi Taffin.

Former F1 driver Patrick Tambay told France's RMC: "It's a shame, because the opportunities for victory are rare and you can't let them pass.

"Today it passed for Romain but it wasn't his fault," he insisted. "Until then his race was truly remarkable; his pass on Hamilton, the wisdom of his duel with Alonso in the heat.

"There are many positive things to take away for Romain.

"Unfortunately the next race will be more difficult because of the cold in England, which does not really suit Romain's Lotus.

"But I think that in Budapest we can really count on him again," added Tambay.

Grosjean's Lotus teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished second on Sunday.

"Lotus continues to demonstrate its ability in 2012 with a car that has great grip and little tyre degradation," Jaime Alguersuari said in Mundo Deportivo newspaper.

"Both Grosjean and Raikkonen are potentially the eighth winner of this season. For them it's about time," the former Toro Rosso driver added.


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