Wurz: Radio impatience helped Raikkonen ‘brand’

Kimi Raikkonen may have been tired of his engineer’s radio messages, but he was also looking after his “brand” en route to Abu Dhabi victory.

That is the view of former F1 driver Alex Wurz, referring to Finn Raikkonen’s series of pit-to-car radio exchanges that culminated in the now-famous refrain ‘Leave me alone – I know what I’m doing’ as he added a win to his 2012 F1 comeback.

2007 world champion Raikkonen is ‘the iceman’ — a laid-back, cigarette and alcohol-loving racer who in Monaco paid tribute to his hero by wearing James Hunt’s helmet colours. When asked about Raikkonen’s radio impatience in Abu Dhabi, Austrian Wurz said: “Well, Kimi is the way he is.

“But he’s also a clever guy who understands what his ‘brand Kimi Raikkonen’ needs. Kimi knows very well the importance of his engineers — after all, he took his McLaren engineer, Mark Slade, with him to Lotus,” Wurz told motorline.cc.

Source:GMM

Wurz: Comeback ‘bad for Schu, good for F1’

His three-year return to F1 has been “bad for (Michael) Schumacher, good for Formula One”.

That is the claim of Alex Wurz, who at the height of the seven time world champion’s powers in the late 90s once famously went wheel-to-wheel with the great German and emerged from the Monaco tunnel with his car in pieces. A still highly competitive Schumacher retired from F1 in late 2006 but then returned with Mercedes three years later, but – now in his 40s – only managed to add a mere podium to his giddy tally of 91 victories.

Now, after Austin and Brazil in the next two weekends, Schumacher is retiring again.

“He was not able to do what he expected,” Wurz told Sportwoche. “At the end it is a sign of the times that everything in F1 is so fast-paced, and hard as nails,” he said.

Wurz, however, said he thinks Schumacher’s comeback was not a failure.

“The fact that someone who dominated so much was not able to dominate again after a three-year break is a compliment to the drivers who dominate now,” he said. “It shows that they are the best in the world today,” added Wurz.

For that reason, 2010, 2011 and 2012 will be remembered as “bad for Schumacher, good for Formula One”, he concluded.

25 F1 drivers to tackle Le Mans race

More than 25 drivers with Formula One experience will be on the grid at this weekend’s 80th running of the fabled 24 hour Le Mans race.

Near the front, in the premier LMP1 prototype class, will be Allan McNish and Marc Gene, driving for Audi. Scot McNish raced in F1 with Toyota in 2002, while Gene drove for Minardi and is still a Ferrari test driver. Toyota has since left F1 and for 2012 has entered Le Mans, and the Japanese marque’s number 8 entry is a grand prix-superteam featuring Anthony Davidson (Super Aguri), Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) and one-off 1999 Minardi driver Stephane Sarrazin.

Another hybrid Toyota prototype will be raced this weekend by Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima. Also in the premier prototype class will be the F1 veteran Nick Heidfeld, driving a Lola-Toyota. His teammates are Neel Jani, a former third driver for Toro Rosso, and quadruple F1 world champion Alain Prost’s son Nicolas.

Also driving in the LMP1 class this weekend are Franck Montagny (Super Aguri), Jean-Christophe Bouillon (Sauber/1995), Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso/2008-9), David Brabham (Simtek/1994) and Karun Chandhok (HRT/2010).

In the LMP2 class, former Ferrari and McLaren driver Stefan Johansson, now 55, will be driving a Lola-Nissan. Also racing will be the Swiss Jean-Denis Deletraz (Pacific/1995) and Bas Leinders, a Belgian who was Minardi’s Friday practice driver in 2004.

British veteran and highly respected F1 commentator Martin Brundle, meanwhile, is sharing a Zytek-Nissan with his son Alex, who this year is a regular in the support series GP3. Also in the LMP2 class are Shinji Nakano (Minardi/1998) and Brendon Hartley, the 22-year-old New Zealander who was an official Red Bull reserve driver in 2009.

Driving a Ferrari 458 in the GT class is grand prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni. Italian Bruni, now 31, raced for Minardi in 2004.

Ferrari test driver Andrea Bertolini and Olivier Beretta (Larrousse/1994) share the other Ferrari-linked AF Corse entry, while Jan Magnussen (Stewart/1997-8) is driving a Corvette.

In another Corvette will be the former F1 safety car driver Oliver Gavin, while former Minardi driver Pedro Lamy is set to race a similar car.

Source:GMM