F1: Schumacher 'Certain' To Stay In 2012, Championship Title Unlikely Photo:

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Mike Stevens | Aug, 16 2011 | 0 Comments

Michael Schumacher on Sunday moved to quash rumours he is set to return to retirement at the end of the season.

The Mercedes driver's manager Sabine Kehm has slammed an Italian website for apparently fabricating quotes that suggested Schumacher, 42, was considering his seat.

"These (were) words reported on our website and our editorial staff didn't know anything about it. When we noticed that news, we invited the website to remove it, which was done," a Corriere dello Sport editor told 422race.com.

And at the Mercedes event called Stuttgarter Sternstunden at the weekend, Schumacher moved to end the speculation himself.

"I'll certainly be racing next year, that is definite," the seven-time world champion said.

But Niki Lauda thinks Schumacher should quit.

"I have said that if Schumacher cannot make it work by the end of this year he should go, and I stand by it," the triple world champion told the Osterreich newspaper.

Schumacher however hinted that he could stay even beyond his 2012 contract.

"We will have to see how things develop and how much energy and fun is still there," he said.

Willi Weber, Schumacher's former manager, is sure the winner of 91 races is not about to give up.

"He has started something and he will also see it to the end," he is quoted by Die Welt.

Mercedes' competition director Norbert Haug insists that Schumacher is still competitive.

"His speed in the last race was mostly on a par with Nico Rosberg," he said. "He will continue and succeed."



Mercedes figures admit 2012 title tilt unlikely

According to Michael Schumacher, "the train has already left" when it comes to fighting for this year's title.

He also doubts Mercedes' next car will be good enough to challenge the leaders.

"It would be presumptuous if one expects us to fight for the title next year. At the moment we are too far behind," the 42-year-old German said at the weekend during the Mercedes event Stuttgarter Sternstunden.

The German marque's competition director Norbert Haug made a similar admission.

"Under normal circumstances, you do not go from fourth to first in one jump," he said.

Mercedes' board, however, has the patience to wait, according to head of group research Thomas Weber.

"We will give (the team) the time that is necessary to get to the top," he said.



Petrov closer to Kubica's pace in 2011 - Permane

The battle between Vitaly Petrov and Robert Kubica would have been much closer in 2011.

That is the claim of Renault's chief engineer Alan Permane, who acknowledged that Russian Petrov was well off the pace of his Polish teammate last year.

But in his second year of F1 Petrov is much improved, with Permane claiming that had Kubica not sat out the season through injury, he would have faced a good challenge from the sister R31.

"(In 2010) Robert was ahead most of the time, but he (Petrov) did a good race in Abu Dhabi at the end of the year.

"But we found a new Vitaly when we arrived in Melbourne," said Permane, referring to the performance that culminated in Petrov's podium. "He was really focused and didn't make a single mistake throughout the weekend.

"Last year Robert was much faster than him and Vitaly could do nothing about it. He (Kubica) would have been the faster of the two this season but with not such a difference."



Team Lotus boss to buy Ecclestone's QPR stake

Yet another F1 name is being linked with Queens Park Rangers (QPR), the London football club that will contest the 2011-12 Premier League.

The Financial Times (FT) and The Observer report that Tony Fernandes, owner and team principal of Team Lotus, is set to buy 51 per cent of the club from F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone, 80, is said to be selling the remaining part of his 62 per cent stake to steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, with an announcement possible on Monday.

FT said Malaysian Fernandes, who earlier expressed interest in buying the London club West Ham United, "is close to finalising a deal" for QPR.

The report said former Renault boss Flavio Briatore, who watched QPR lose to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday whilst sitting alongside Fernandes, may retain his small stake.

Ecclestone reportedly did not return calls on Sunday.

A source close to Fernandes said: "Until the deal is done (it) is not done. But we are hopeful that by Monday it could be complete."


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