F1: Vettel Not In Trouble, No Mercedes Talks With Hamilton Photo:

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Mike Stevens | Apr, 02 2012 | 0 Comments
  • Vettel not in trouble, Marko insists
  • No Mercedes talks with Hamilton - Haug
  • Teams ready for last-minute Bahrain axe - report
  • Sauber undecided on copying Mercedes F-duct
  • Sutil withdraws appeal against assault conviction

Vettel not in trouble, Marko insists

Dr Helmut Marko has denied reports Sebastian Vettel was summoned to Red Bull's headquarters this week to explain his behaviour at the recent Malaysian GP.

The Narain Karthikeyan-saga aside, reports suggested the German deliberately ignored his bosses' instruction that he retire his RB8 - ostensibly due to a brake issue - so that he could fit a new gearbox without penalty in China.

The reports suggested Vettel had confessed immediately after the race that he heard the instruction but chose to ignore it.

"That is all nonsense," Red Bull's motor racing consultant Marko told Sport Bild.

"Sebastian did nothing - absolutely nothing - that was against our wishes."

Marko said Vettel's visit to Milton Keynes this week was scheduled long ago, adding that he will be working inside the driver simulator amongst other things.

He also hit back at claims the 24-year-old could be penalised by the FIA for breaching the code of conduct when he showed the 'middle finger' to Karthikeyan.

"The matter was resolved during the meeting with the stewards (in Malaysia). For me, the case is closed."

Speaking to Kolner Express newspaper, however, an FIA spokesman confirmed that the code of conduct forbids superlicence holders from insulting their rivals.

But he added: "I imagine the application of this paragraph was considered by the stewards in Malaysia."

And Sebastian Vettel's spokeswoman said: "We know of no investigation."



No Mercedes talks with Hamilton - Haug

Norbert Haug has dismissed reports linking Lewis Hamilton with a switch to Mercedes for 2013.

With the 2008 world champion's McLaren contract expiring, speculation had linked Briton Hamilton with the race seat currently occupied by Michael Schumacher.

"I can dismiss that speculation out of hand, as it was only ever conjured by putting two and two together," the German marque's Haug told Sport Bild.

"Lewis was and is a Mercedes man," added the competition director, "but there are no agreements or conversations in that direction.

"At the moment we have one interest only - making our car as fast and reliable as possible, and then we'll see where we stand.

"Only then will we talk to Michael about a possible extension," said Haug.



Teams ready for last-minute Bahrain axe - report

Teams are making preparations just in case the Bahrain GP is called off at the last minute.

That is the claim of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, reporting that the teams could put their back-up plans into action even as late as the Sunday in China - mere days before they are expected to be at Sakhir.

In London this week, F1 chief executive and team bosses stood side by side with Bahrain circuit officials, insisting the race will go ahead despite defiant speculation to the contrary.

But Auto Motor und Sport reveals that the teams will also be ready if the plug is indeed pulled at the last minute - for example, their freight would go not from Shanghai to Bahrain, but back to Europe via Dubai.

And the report also said tickets have been reserved for the teams' travelling staff, in the event they do not have to hop directly to the island Kingdom.

Michael Schumacher, however, insists he is not worried about going to Bahrain.

"I'm pretty relaxed, honestly," said the seven-time world champion.

"From our perspective, we're going to be very well looked after, because they (the race organisers) might foresee whatever and be prepared.

"I'm pretty sure we're going to be ok," added Schumacher.



Sauber undecided on copying Mercedes F-duct

Sauber has revealed it cannot afford to simply jump in and copy Mercedes' innovative F-duct solution.

The small Swiss team had almost winning race pace in Malaysia last weekend even without the extra straight-line speed that would be provided by a system along the lines of Mercedes' DRS-complimenting concept.

Despite their complaints about the legality of the system, there is little doubt the big-budget teams will be working frantically to emulate the Mercedes' concept, which to date has the blessing of the FIA.

According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, however, it will be a different story for the smaller teams.

"If we started now with a blank sheet of paper, we would be ready in two months," said Sauber's chief designer Matt Morris.

"But it would really add up. We have to ask ourselves whether it's worth it for us, or whether we would be better off chasing the laptime with more conventional steps.

"On the other hand the big teams can handle a development like that in parallel to their normal programmes," he added.

Also on the technical front, Auto Motor und Sport reveals that rival teams are closer to getting to the bottom of Red Bull's ever-flexible front wings.

After the last day of testing in Barcelona, detailed photographs emerged of Sebastian Vettel's stricken RB8 that appeared to show a sort of torsion bar inside the damaged front wing.

The report said the torsion bar may be pre-loaded in order to pass the FIA's static load tests, but then bend at speed.

An FIA insider suggested the system, although permitted in private testing, "would not be allowed" at the actual Grands Prix.



Sutil withdraws appeal against assault conviction

Adrian Sutil's dispute with Eric Lux is now formally over, after the former Force India driver withdrew the appeal against his assault conviction.

In late January, the German was found guilty of grievous bodily harm following a Shanghai nightclub incident that occurred early last year, and was handed a suspended 18-month jail term and EUR 200,000 fine.

Sutil's lawyers immediately filed an appeal against the Munich court's penalty, prompting the prosecution to do the same.

But Bild-Zeitung reports that the 29-year-old has now withdrawn that appeal, the German newspaper adding that the prosecution followed suit.

"I am very happy that I have been able to express myself to Eric Lux and don't have to go to court again.

"I don't want to have to go through another year like the one past.

"The topic is finished and I want to resume doing what I do best as quickly as possible - racing in Formula One," said Sutil.

Bild said Sutil's FIA superlicence is not affected by his criminal conviction or his accepting of the sentence.

"We are very pleased that Eric Lux and Adrian have spoken and the topic is now closed," said his manager Manfred Zimmermann.

"From now on we will concentrate only on the sport and do everything to get Adrian back in Formula One."


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