- Nurburgring future looking brighter this week
- 2012 sagas 'binding Red Bull together' - Vettel
- Former drivers impressed by Raikkonen in 2012
- Perez pushes Ferrari for 2013 seat decision
Nurburgring future looking brighter this week
The embattled Nurburgring's F1 future is looking brighter this week.
With the fabled circuit now in an insolvency process, reports last week said F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone could be the Nurburgring's saviour.
But when asked in Hungary if he is buying the German track, Ecclestone told Der Tagesspiegel newspaper: "No.
"I don't think it is for sale in that way," the 81-year-old Briton added.
The latest news from Germany however, is much more positive.
The Rhineland-Palatinate state government has agreed to guarantee a EUR254 million loan so that the Nurburgring can service its debts, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper reports.
And Nurburgring Automotive GmbH (NAG) chief Jorg Lindner said: "I am very optimistic that Formula One will be going to the Nurburgring next year."
FAZ said negotiations with F1 officials will take place over the summer period.
Ecclestone said: "We don't want to lose any of the racetracks, and we need to keep the race in Germany. We will do our best.
"It has surprised me that all these tracks in Germany have financial problems - maybe they gave all their money to the Greeks," he joked.
F1 chief executive Ecclestone was also asked about his comments ruling out buying the Nurburgring.
Did he mean that any sort of financial help is out of the question?
"Let's wait and see. At the moment we are having talks."
He also said that if a solution for the Nurburgring cannot ultimately be found, his sport will "go to Hockenheim" instead in 2013.
"We're also in talks for that," Tagesspiegel quoted Ecclestone as saying.
2012 sagas 'binding Red Bull together' - Vettel
World champion Sebastian Vettel insists he and Red Bull will keep their eyes on the ball in 2012, despite the rocky road of the opening half of the season.
The 25-year-old German began the season bidding to join very illustrious company, with Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher the only other drivers in modern F1 history to have won three drivers' titles on the trot.
But with half of this year's Grands Prix now gone, Vettel is 42 points adrift in the 2012 chase and just third, with his team Red Bull seemingly always in the middle of one sort of controversy or another.
Whether it's the latest technical saga, or a post-race penalty described by Dr Helmut Marko as the "death penalty for stealing chickens", it has not been plain sailing for Red Bull.
Some even smell a conspiracy.
"We had a good car with a double diffuser, but it was banned," Vettel told Germany's Sport Bild. "We had a good car with a blown diffuser - it was also banned.
"Why?" he wondered. "I have no idea."
Add to that the separate 'hole in the floor', wheel hub, engine mapping and ride-height adjuster sagas of 2012, and Vettel might be forgiven for wondering if Red Bull's focus could be at risk of succumbing.
Not so: "All the trouble lately is not pushing us apart," said Vettel, when asked about Red Bull's unity. "Actually it binds us together even more."
But for now, he is just happy to be staring into a long break.
"It's a long season," said the German. "If you compare it to a lot of other sports, it's one of the longest seasons there are.
"I think it's important, even if sometimes you would like to carry on, I think you need the break, so it's important to make use of it."
Former drivers impressed by Raikkonen in 2012
Former F1 driver Karl Wendlinger has admitted he has been impressed with Kimi Raikkonen in 2012.
After sitting out two full F1 seasons while he forayed in world rallying and Nascar, F1's 2007 title winner returned with Lotus this year and after the first half of the calendar is within reach of the top of the standings.
"He is at a very high level," Austrian Karl Wendlinger, who raced with Sauber in the mid-90s, said on Red Bull-owned Servus TV.
"After a two year break, to have a lot of podiums already is sensational. He is very fast in the races and again and again is going for the wins.
"I think everyone up to and including Raikkonen in fifth place can still fight for this championship," Wendlinger, also referring to Lewis Hamilton, the Red Bull drivers and title leader Fernando Alonso, added.
Wendlinger, now 41, admits Raikkonen is "quiet" and has not always had the best reputation in terms of how dedicated he is to his chosen sport.
But he insisted: "Kimi was not world champion for nothing.
"His lifestyle was maybe not the best, but whoever can fight in the temperatures we saw in Hungary until the last lap must be in good condition."
Martin Brundle, also a former F1 driver and now a commentator for British television Sky, admitted he was impressed with Raikkonen's "face like a wet Monday morning" after missing out on the win in Hungary.
"It really impresses me that he takes that much pain on what by any standards is a very successful return," said the Briton.
Perez pushes Ferrari for 2013 seat decision
Alongside the high-profile champions Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button, a hatful of candidates are also in the running to secure the second Ferrari seat next year.
That is the claim of Blick (Switzerland) and La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy) newspapers, conceding that Raikkonen and Button are much more likely to stay with their respective current teams - Lotus and McLaren - in 2013.
According to Gazzetta, that leaves candidates like Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta, Heikki Kovalainen and Kamui Kobayashi.
Another driver who this week has confirmed he might be in the running is Sergio Perez, the young Mexican who already races a Ferrari-powered Sauber, and who is the cream of Ferrari's driver development 'academy'.
"If there is an opportunity with them (Ferrari) or another team then it's the time to know," the 22-year-old was quoted on Wednesday by the Press Association.