Christian Danner, a former F1 driver turned commentator from Germany, does not believe countryman Sebastian Vettel will wrap up his third consecutive drivers’ title in Austin this weekend.
Mathematically it could be done, but the relative competitiveness of the Red Bull driver’s championship rival Fernando Alonso means a finale in Brazil next weekend is more likely.
“I think we will wait until Sao Paulo, no matter what happens in Austin, really,” Danner told RTL. “If the race in Austin is fairly normal, with both of them reaching the finishing line and taking a lot of points, there will be no decision here,” he added.
“I think we can look forward to a nice season finale in Brazil,” said Danner.
With a faster car than Alonso’s Ferrari and a ten-point buffer, Vettel is the hot favourite on paper. But Jacques Villeneuve, the outspoken 1997 world champion, admitted he is rooting for the Spaniard.
“Seb is super quick,” the French Canadian is quoted by the Sun newspaper, “but there is a difference with Fernando that emerges in the case of an unfavourable situation. Alonso remains calm, cool, and rational, while Vettel most times gets upset, angry, screams and flicks the middle finger. He reacts like a child.”
A German F1 pundit has advised Niki Lauda to take an axe to Mercedes’ current personnel lineup.
Lauda, the great Austrian triple world champion, has been signed on as Mercedes’ non-executive chairman — effectively a decision-making link between the German marque’s Stuttgart headquarters and the racing team in the UK. So far, he has negotiated Mercedes’ new Concorde Agreement deal and lured Lewis Hamilton onto the team for 2013. RTL commentator Christian Danner, a former driver, now wants Lauda to sack staff.
“The people who built this car should really all be fired,” he told Bild newspaper. “It can’t be that you drive all around the world for nine months only to find that your car is as fast as a Toro Rosso,” added Danner.
Danner said it is now up to Lauda to put things right.
“He is responsible to make the next decisions. And those decisions will primarily be about the personnel.”
Christian Danner, a former grand prix driver and now German television pundit, is sure Michael Schumacher will still be on the grid in 2013.
Seven time champion Schumacher, now 43, signed a three-year contract when he agreed to return to formula one in 2010 with Mercedes. The two sides are yet to agree an extension for 2013 and beyond. But Norbert Haug, Mercedes’ motor racing vice-president, ramped up speculation recently when he responded to a question about a new deal for Schumacher: “I doubt there will be an announcement at Spa.”
Rumours indicate the great German could ink a new two-year contract, which would mean he is still pushing for championships at the age of 45.
Asked about the age factor, Schumacher told DPA news agency this week: “Age has nothing to do with it. Anyway, at the moment it (the title) is not a topic as – unfortunately – we are no longer fighting for the championship. We’ll see what the future brings,” he added.
Danner, who contested grands prix in the mid 80s and now travels to the races for German RTL television, said: “I’m quite sure the decision has been taken now.”
Former F1 driver Christian Danner has scolded Michael Schumacher for making rookie errors in Hungary last weekend.
Germany’s Bild claims the 43-year-old is very close to announcing a new deal to keep racing at Mercedes beyond 2012, but at the same time the newspaper wondered if the seven time world champion might “need glasses?”
“It had nothing to do with poor vision,” the German’s manager Sabine Kehm insisted. “Don’t worry, Michael is more than fit.”
She had been asked about Schumacher’s strange pre-race mistakes at the Hungaroring: first lining up in the wrong grid spot, and then turning off his engine when the start was aborted.
“We’re all only human and can make mistakes,” Danner told the German news agency SID, “but really they shouldn’t happen to a Formula One driver. If it had happened to a young driver, we’d all say he’s not ready for F1.”