- Millionaire Alonso 'a bargain' for Ferrari
- F1 awaits Red Bull rule clarification for Hungary
- Marko accuses FIA of passing rule 'double standard'
- 'Realistic' Sauber targets F1 giant Mercedes
- Nurburgring 'not annoyed' by Ecclestone snub
- Wolff to assist team boss Frank Williams
Millionaire Alonso 'a bargain' for Ferrari
Fernando Alonso is F1's highest paid driver, and he's worth every penny.
That is the view of Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio, who said after Hockenheim that the Spaniard's estimated EUR25 million salary is "a bargain" for Ferrari.
Another observer told the Times newspaper: "Whatever Ferrari are paying him, it is not enough."
Former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari told El Mundo: "If you're a team manager, you want a driver who is fast consistently, adding many points and committing few errors.
"That is exactly what Ferrari has in Alonso."
Alonso, the only driver with three wins to his name in 2012, is now so far ahead of the field that even if he stayed at home instead of racing in Hungary this weekend, he would return even after the long August break with a healthy lead.
Niki Lauda, who interviewed the 30-year-old on the podium at Hockenheim, said he thinks Alonso's latest win was "a provisional decision" in the 2012 world championship.
"He is doing a flawless job so far and he's not going to forget how he's done it in the second half of the season," the triple world champion told Die Welt newspaper.
F1 legend Lauda insists it will be a "difficult task" for any of Alonso's pursuers - chiefly the Red Bull and McLaren drivers - to beat him now.
"We are talking about an absolutely extraordinary driver," former Ferrari driver Patrick Tambay told France's RMC Sport.
"He was opportunistic with a less efficient car at the beginning of the season, and always getting the points or even the win when he could.
"He is exceptional at motivating the team, and being consistent in always scoring points at every race, even when it's just a few points, he still collects them," he added.
Jenson Button, buoyed by McLaren's return to form in Germany, acknowledged that he needs to start stringing race wins together in order to get back in the title hunt.
He also warned Alonso that things could "easily turn around for him but he is doing a great job and he deserves to be where he is".
But Alex Wurz, a former driver and now commentator for Austrian ORF television, agrees with Lauda that Hockenheim was a "preliminary decision" for the 2012 outcome.
"Ferrari have caught up with the car, so that on the bad days they are losing far fewer points than they were, and they have Alonso who at the moment is in perfect form and putting the team in a good mood," he said.
"In this respect," added Wurz, "the points lead that Alonso has now is definitely worth a lot."
Italy's sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport insisted: "Ferrari is now in a position to dominate the world championship."
"Alonso has never been so strong," agreed Tuttosport.
F1 awaits Red Bull rule clarification for Hungary
F1 insiders are expecting the FIA to clamp down on Red Bull's clever engine mapping that has been likened to a form of legal traction control.
Technical directors met on Monday to discuss the situation, triggered by the stewards' admission at Hockenheim that they were powerless to ban the system despite not accepting "all the arguments" put forward by the team.
Insiders therefore expect a rules clarification, probably on the Wednesday or Thursday ahead of this weekend's Hungarian GP.
"Clearly the FIA is frustrated by it," McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said, "so I think it will be better for there to be clarity and to stop doing it in the future."
Joan Villadelprat, a veteran F1 engineer who now writes a column for El Pais newspaper, explained: "In F1 the regulations are very strict in some respects, and in others there is some flexibility."
Even Christian Horner, the Red Bull boss, indicated a rule tweak is likely.
"The (current) regulations are clear, so there could well be further technical directives that are designed to try and further clarify those regulations," he said.
Marko accuses FIA of passing rule 'double standard'
Dr Helmut Marko has accused the FIA of sometimes using a "double standard" when it comes to dishing out penalties.
Sebastian Vettel on Sunday was demoted from second at the flag to fifth in the classification after passing Jenson Button while off the circuit at Hockenheim.
Marko, Red Bull's motor racing consultant, insists his driver did nothing wrong.
"The whole situation was triggered by Button, who left Sebastian no room and pushed him out," the Austrian told Servus TV.
"Sebastian had to move out to avoid a collision."
Many commentators likened Vettel's move to Nico Rosberg's overtaking antics in Bahrain, for which the German escaped penalty.
Marko pointed out that "the defendant" is often given "the benefit of the doubt".
"That wasn't the case now (for Vettel)," he said. "There is a bad aftertaste. There is a double standard."
Unfortunately for Marko, most paddock residents do not agree with him, including Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg who said Vettel's move was "not right".
"The rules are very specific," ORF commentator Alex Wurz agreed. "You can leave the track with all four wheels as long as you have no advantage."
Former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari added: "I think Vettel's overtaking was totally illegal.
"He was clearly outside the boundaries of the track."
'Realistic' Sauber targets F1 giant Mercedes
Sauber has set its sights on chasing down Mercedes.
Team boss Peter Sauber, however, admitted the task will be no mean feat.
With half of the 2012 season now gone, the Hinwil based team is sixth in the constructors' standings, a healthy haul at Hockenheim bringing Sauber within 25 points of Mercedes.
"It doesn't matter who is ahead of us, we need to always focus on attacking this opponent," Sauber told the Swiss newspaper Blick.
But he acknowledged: "We are realistic and know that Mercedes is a big adversary for a small private team."
Blick said Mercedes' driver duo of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg are paid a combined EUR30 million approximately, compared to the no more than two million apiece earned by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.
Last year, Sauber finished the world championship in seventh place, three places and almost 100 points behind Mercedes.
Nurburgring 'not annoyed' by Ecclestone snub
Nurburgring officials might be forgiven for feeling "annoyed" after being stood up at the weekend by Bernie Ecclestone.
Despite the Nurburgring entering an insolvency process, bosses Jorg Lindner and Kai Richter took the time and expense to travel to Hockenheim, specifically to meet with Ecclestone and discuss their circuit's crisis.
"They waited and waited, but Bernie did not come," revealed the Suddeutsche newspaper.
Media reports speculated that the F1 chief executive stayed away for fear German prosecutors would order his arrest as they push forward with a bribery investigation.
"We are not annoyed," a spokesman for the Nurburgring told DPA news agency.
"We are in contact in other ways (with Ecclestone) regarding formula one at the Nurburgring in 2013."
Already convicted and jailed for receiving Ecclestone's bribes is the former F1 banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, whose lawyer Daniel Amelung says 81-year-old Briton Ecclestone cannot hide forever.
"I wonder how in the future he can fulfil his duties in Germany, in Europe, indeed in the entire world if the prosecutor should apply for an international arrest warrant," he told Bild newspaper.
Ecclestone has been unavailable for comment.
Wolff to assist team boss Frank Williams
Williams has finally confirmed reports Toto Wolff is ramping up his role with the Grove based team.
Even before chairman Adam Parr left the team recently, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said he thinks "people like Toto Wolff should get more control" at Williams.
Wolff, a young Austrian businessman and former racer, bought a stake in the famous British team in 2009.
He is also team test driver Susie Wolff's manager, and Friday driver Valtteri Bottas' manager.
But until now, he has had a non-executive role, despite his increasingly obvious presence at grands prix.
Williams announced on Tuesday that has become an executive director.
"In his new role Toto will assist and support Sir Frank Williams in his continuing position as team principal," a media statement said.