Gerhard Berger has scolded Mercedes for apparently imposing team orders during last weekend’s Belgian grand prix.
Shortly before Michael Schumacher passed his teammate Nico Rosberg at Spa-Francorchamps, the younger German was told by the pitwall to conserve fuel.
Berger told Servus TV that the position switch was conceived deliberately to give Schumacher a grandstand finish on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his debut.
“It should have been a race and not a commercial shoot,” the Austrian commented.
Team orders are legal in 2011 but Berger believes that “in the circumstances it is totally wrong for Mercedes to do such strategies”.
“They should be putting more thought into making a winning car,” he said.
Berger also commented on McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who was involved in two crashes last weekend at Spa.
“He is extremely aggressive and the best overtaker in the field, but at times he overdoes it.
“If he was sitting in the Red Bull, he would not have to take so many risks and so he would get into a lot less mischief,” he said.
A deal between Red Bull’s second F1 team Toro Rosso and the Spanish oil brand Cepsa is racing ahead according to the Spanish sports daily AS, despite the Cepsa-linked, Abu Dhabi state-owned Aabar recently denying the reports.
In June, part Mercedes GP-owner Aabar admitted to the talks with Red Bull but said they were not about the energy drink company’s “formula one teams”.
But AS says Toro Rosso’s 2011 car will be wearing Cepsa colours starting from next weekend’s Italian grand prix at Monza because Red Bull “has already closed the deal”.
The report said other brands linked to Abu Dhabi and its International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) will also be added to the STR6’s livery.
The main one will be existing Toro Rosso sponsor Falcon Private – a Swiss bank – and another is Canadian company Nova Chemicals.
A full title sponsorship is then likely for 2012 and beyond, probably resulting in a wholesale livery change for Faenza based Toro Rosso.
The appointment of Bruno Senna has already delivered two new sponsors to the Renault team.
With Nick Heidfeld contentiously stepped down before Spa-Francorchamps, Senna fended off speculation his sponsors had paid for the race seat.
“If you look at the team then there are no new logos on the car or on myself,” he insisted.
But that was before Sunday, when on the grid Brazil’s Globo Esporte spotted two new logos.
One belongs to the major Brazilian oil company OGX, headed by business baron Eike Batista da Silva who is the eighth richest person in the world.
A spokesman for Senna, the nephew of Brazil’s famous triple world champion Ayrton Senna, confirmed the deal with the holding company EBX.
The other new logo on the black Renault in Belgium was the razor brand Gillette.
Globo said both sponsors “were negotiating with (Senna) for the 2012 season” but the Heidfeld replacement “accelerated the deals”.
After impressively qualifying seventh at Spa, Senna finished outside the points due to smashing into Jaime Alguersuari at the first corner and receiving a drive-through penalty.
He will definitely race at Monza next weekend.