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F1: Staying At Red Bull More Sensible Than Ferrari Switch - Webber Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | Jun, 16 2011 | 0 Comments

Moving to Ferrari would be interesting but staying at Red Bull makes more sense, according to Mark Webber.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said in Montreal that it is likely the 34-year-old Australian will extend his contract to stay with the dominant team in 2012.

But, after challenging for last year's title, he has had a difficult start to his 2011 camapign while teammate Sebastian Vettel dominated.

And the pair, separated in age by more than a decade, are clearly not best friends.

Asked by Germany's Sport Bild if he speaks a lot with his German teammate behind the scenes, Webber answered: "No. Why? There's no reason for it."

Told that they must for example have discussed the Bahrain situation, Webber said: "I'm 34 years old, I read the newspaper. Why should I ask him for his opinion?"

Asked if there is too big a gap between his contemporaries and F1's newest generation, Webber admitted: "Yes, could be. You could be right."

"Why do we always have to talk about Sebastian Vettel? If you want to know about him, ask him," the fiery Australian added.

He admits he has struggled with the Pirelli tyres so far this season but confirms team orders at Red Bull "will not happen".

Webber is more willing to talk about his future. "I will decide in the coming months," he said. "Ferrari is something special, but it would make the most sense to stay at Red Bull.

"I feel good, I'm happy here with the guys and the mechanics, everything. We will talk but there's no hurry, there's enough time."

(GMM)

 

Button denies wanting long-term McLaren deal

Jenson Button has eased speculation he is set to sign a long-term contract with McLaren.

The 2009 world champion, who joined the Woking based team last year as the reigning title winner, said earlier this year he might stay "for three years, five years ... I don't know".

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh added: "If Jenson says he is totally committed and wants to do 'x' more years, then I suspect that we could quickly come to an agreement."

But after Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso recently signed new long-term contracts, Button on Wednesday denied he is poised to do the same.

"For me it makes no sense to sign a long-term contract," he told the Swiss newspaper Blick. "I don't know how I'm going to feel in a few years.

"I can't imagine racing at 40," said the 31-year-old. "I just want to race for as long as I can win," added the Montreal winner.

"McLaren has an option on me for next year, that's all I know. Many of my colleagues don't hesitate to secure for the long term, but I like it when my future is open," Button insisted.

He denied he has had any talks with McLaren about his future yet.

Button said he is still hungry for more titles but will be eternally satisfied with his 2009 triumph.

"It still feels like yesterday and it will even when I'm old and grey. If I didn't win any more championships I definitely wouldn't leave Formula One thinking that I've missed something."

"But the hunger for victory doesn't disappear so easily. I will stop when I'm bored to keep going around in circles, or if I'm not fast enough," he said.

(GMM)

 

Hamilton plays down chats with Horner, Domenicali

Lewis Hamilton has played down his conversations with rival team bosses Christian Horner and Stefano Domenicali at the Canadian grand prix last weekend.

Media reports have made much of the fact that, with his contract expiring next year, the highly rated 2008 world champion sought out the Red Bull and Ferrari chiefs in the Montreal paddock.

But Hamilton, speaking as he swapped his McLaren car for Tony Stewart's NASCAR at the Watkins Glen circuit for a PR stunt, said those sorts of social chats are entirely normal.

"I know all the managers, the bosses, all the teams. I know Stefano Domenicali, we chat all the time.

"I've known Christian since I was in the lower series ... and I used to speak to him back then. I spoke to a lot of people last weekend," said the 26-year-old.

Hamilton insisted he is "very fortunate" to be a McLaren driver and played down suggestions he is eyeing a team switch.

But he admitted: "I've definitely not achieved all that I want to.

"But we are the only other team that has won grands prix this year, so I don't see why you'd particularly want to move.

"So as long as we have the car that can do the job, then there will be no reason to leave."

(GMM)

 

Mercedes too weak technically to compete in 2011 - Brawn

Ross Brawn has admitted Mercedes GP is currently too weak technically to take on F1's strongest teams.

The German squad, formerly run as Brawn GP following Honda's exit at the end of 2008, had hoped to compete for wins in 2010 as Michael Schumacher entered the second year of his F1 comeback.

But team boss Brawn told German Sky: "The reason we are not as successful as we would like is that the team is not physically strong enough."

Both Schumacher and Nico Rosberg have new race engineers in 2010, while former Renault technical director and team boss Bob Bell has joined the Brackley based team.

Brawn admitted: "We do not have the technical strength to compete with Red Bull, Ferrari or McLaren, but we are working on it and that's happening right now."

He said he is seeing "progress" but insisted: "These things go step by step, season by season. For next year's car we will have a much stronger team than now."

Reports earlier this year revealed that the current car, the W02, has the shortest wheelbase in the entire field.

"When we made the decision on the layout, we had information that led us to believe it was right. In retrospect, we would probably decide differently," Brawn said.

(GMM)

 

Ferrari figures insist team not giving up

The last thing on Ferrari's mind is giving up, test driver Marc Gene insists.

"I am sure we will soon win races," the Spaniard told the Marca sports daily amid reports the Maranello based team might be nearing the decision to switch its entire focus to the 2012 project.

"In the last two races, victory was very close," said Gene. "It will not take long. Ferrari is not a team that throws in the towel even when the chance for the title is the slightest one.

"This is a policy I support 100 per cent."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo admitted on Italian Sky television that he thought both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa had a chance of victory in Canada.

"I don't like to talk about bad luck," he said. "At the time of Alonso and Button's accident, each had a 50-50 chance. Well, Alonso went out and Button won the race."

Montezemolo also spoke against the rumours that Ferrari will soon write off the 2011 campaign.

"We must keep pushing," he insisted. "In Canada we had a very competitive Ferrari and I think it will be the same in Valencia.

"After that comes a very challenging circuit (Silverstone), but we are working hard."

It is reported that, after Silverstone, Ferrari will take a decision on the direction of the 2011 campaign, but for now Montezemolo said Maranello is pushing on.

"I'd rather see a competitive Ferrari that stops rather than one that finishes sixth or seventh. This car was not born well but I know the quality and determination of my men.

"We must respond knowing that this season did not start as we wanted. But hope dies last," added Montezemolo.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali told Tuttosport that Ferrari is not giving up despite big points deficits in both championships after just seven races.

"It is pointless to look at the standings. We must do what a football team does when it is behind: play every match separately thinking only to attack and to win," he said.

"Then, if the others go wrong and the situation changes, we will see where we are."

(GMM)

 

Heidfeld eyes Renault seat beyond Kubica comeback

Nick Heidfeld has admitted he would like to keep racing a Renault even if Robert Kubica is able to return from injury some time soon.

Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli told the Italian press this week that the Pole might be fit enough to target a comeback in late November's Interlagos finale.

The first paparazzi photos of the 26-year-old since his horror rally crash earlier this year appeared on the internet this week, showing Kubica arrive at the rehabilitation clinic with his girlfriend.

Using crutches to walk into Ricciardo Ceccarelli's Formula Medicine in Viareggio, deep scars could be seen on his apparently immobile right arm.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, that arm was operated on yet again on Tuesday.

"Robert can once again clasp objects with his right hand, but he must still develop the muscle power," Morelli said. "The rehabilitation is running positively."

If Kubica can return in 2011, it's bad news for his current substitute Heidfeld, who is already under pressure from team boss Eric Boullier to up his game.

"I would gladly stay with this team," the 34-year-old is quoted by the Cologne tabloid Express.

"If Robert returns, maybe the second cockpit will be available," added Heidfeld, apparently referring to the car occupied by Russian Vitaly Petrov, who reportedly is already under contract for the 2012 season and backed by important sponsors.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said that just two weeks ago, Boullier said a return for Kubica in 2011 is "unlikely".

(GMM)

 

Alguersuari 'ready for better team' - Gene

Marc Gene has defended his countryman Jaime Alguersuari, arguing the young Spaniard is ready to prove himself in F1.

With Daniel Ricciardo almost certain to move up to a Toro Rosso race seat in 2011, it is suggested that Alguersuari is the most likely to move over given his recent struggles with the Ferrari-powered STR6.

After some untidy driving for the 21-year-old early in the Canada weekend, BBC pundit and former team boss Eddie Jordan remarked that if he was Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost, he would dismiss Alguersuari.

"He has talent but is he fast enough?" the Irishman is quoted as saying in the German press. "In my opinion it is unlikely he would ever be considered a replacement for Vettel.

"So they (Toro Rosso) might have to say 'Let's try to bring on the next one'," added Jordan. "Sympathy doesn't matter -- you have to deliver."

Alguersuari then had what he described to Spanish newspaper Diario Sport as a "perfect" Montreal race, finishing eighth and ahead of his teammate Sebastien Buemi despite having started from the pitlane.

And Gene, Ferrari's experienced test driver, told El Mundo newspaper that Alguersuari had a very good 2010 season, when it was Buemi who was thought under the most pressure at Toro Rosso.

"I know that this year he is struggling to adapt to the new tyres and the high degradation," he said.

"Jaime is aware of it and is working very hard with the team to improve it. Personally I have no doubt that he is ready to make the jump to a better team."

(GMM)

 
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