Maldonado can survive without Chavez – Brundle

Pastor Maldonado can probably survive in F1 even without Hugo Chavez. That is the view of former F1 driver turned respected British television commentator Martin Brundle, whilst musing the consequences of the death of the late Venezuelan president.

Until Chavez’s death early this week, Maldonado enjoyed the personal backing of the controversial leader, with his Williams seat secured by the multi-million dollar sponsorship of the state-controlled oil company PDVSA. But now, with Venezuelan elections looming, it is possible Chavez’s ruling socialist party will lose power altogether.

“There are few 27-year-olds whose livelihood is determined not only by the whim of a kindly oligarch, but by the political machinations of an entire country,” noted Telegraph correspondent Oliver Brown.

Brundle, however, thinks the situation is slightly less dramatic for Maldonado.

“He became a national hero for winning the Spanish GP last year and I think that has been good for Venezuela and good for his sponsors, so why would they want to run away?” he told Sky.

Damon Hill partly agrees, but pointed out that “in this day and age, a driver needs more than just ability”.

In fact, the 1996 world champion is now looking for just that kind of support for his son Josh, who this year has stepped up to European F3, one of the last hurdles before F1.

“You need a South American country; we’re looking for one,” Hill joked to Reuters. “Chile, Argentina, any one will do.”

Source:GMM

Alguersuari decries F1 seat ‘auction’

As the F1 world looks set to race on without him, Jaime Alguersuari has decried a sport whose seats are now sold to the highest bidder.

Accepting that his hopes of returning in 2013 are dashed, the former Toro Rosso driver revealed that he had talks with a team this year that ultimately decided to sign a different driver. In a statement issued by his management, Alguersuari indicated he will keep working with Pirelli instead.

“I have been convinced most of the 2012 season that my seat was secured in a team that usually scores,” said the Spaniard. “They did tell me and I believed it to be true.”

However, it “has not happened,” the 22-year-old acknowledged, adding that F1 in the pay-driver era has “become an auction”.

But he has not given up hope completely, insisting he is “convinced” he deserves a place on the grid even though the only Spanish sponsor that considers F1 a “profitable and sustainable business” is Ferrari’s Santander.

Another former F1 driver, Martin Brundle, said the fact economics are locking talented names out of the sport is “sad” but simply “the business” of grand prix racing.

“They all had their chances to shine,” the vetearn of 158 grands prix told broadcaster Sky’s F1 Show. “Maybe that sounds a bit brutal, but they had their chances to shine,” he added, also referring to the newly-ousted talents including Timo Glock, Heikki Kovalainen and Kamui Kobayashi.

“Just like when I got kicked out of F1, you had your chances, nothing else was there and it’s about the fresh blood,” said Brundle.

Instead, the Briton said he is looking forward to watching newcomers like Max Chilton, Giedo van der Garde, Luiz Razia, Esteban Gutierrez, Valtteri Bottas and others try to prove themselves.

“I looked at Gutierrez (at the Jerez test) and thought ‘how’s he going to go?’,” Brundle said. “If it had been Kobayashi, you’d pretty much know how he was going to go — he’d be amazing from time to time, pull off a few great overtakes, and be on the missing list for the rest of the season.”

Source:GMM

F1 experts say Button new McLaren number 1

Jenson Button has de-facto ‘number 1′ status at McLaren this year.

That is the view of F1 experts and former drivers Martin Brundle and Sir Jackie Stewart, despite team boss Martin Whitmarsh’s claim that Sergio Perez will enjoy full equality at the British team as he replaces Lewis Hamilton from 2013.

“That is the mentality in our team,” the McLaren chief told British broadcaster Sky. “They will have equal treatment. I think that competition in the team is good.”

But F1 legend and triple world champion Stewart said: “It’s not a question of equal footing this year.

“You’ve someone in Jenson who knows the business and who has been there, seen it and done it,” he is quoted by the Daily Express. “He has to see himself as number 1.”

Former McLaren driver turned top television commentator Brundle agrees: “With Lewis’ departure, Jenson takes the lead of the team.

“He can now concentrate on that role and I think he will grow into it,” he is quoted by Speed Week.

Source:GMM

Brundle tips Hamilton to win race in 2013

Former F1 driver Martin Brundle expects Lewis Hamilton to win a race for Mercedes this year.

But the 53-year-old, who like Hamilton is a former McLaren driver, admitted he would have advised the 2008 world champion to make a different decision as he picked a team for 2013.

“Had I been his manager then I think I would have said ‘let’s do a short-term deal at McLaren, for one or two years, and let’s see what is out there and see who is moving’,” Brundle, who used to be David Coulthard’s manager, said.

“Having said that, I do think Mercedes will be much better this year and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he (Hamilton) wins a race in 2013 — in fact, I would be surprised if he doesn’t win a race because Lewis has got such speed.

“If Mercedes can harness that speed and give him the car, he will drag another quarter of a second per lap out of it somewhere and I think he’ll do a great job,” Brundle, now a TV commentator, told British broadcaster Sky.

“Time will tell,” he said at the Autosport International show in Birmingham.

Source:GMM

Brundle tips Grosjean criticism to fade

Martin Brundle is tipping the furore surrounding Romain Grosjean’s antics to calm down in the coming weeks.

In Korea recently, the Frenchman was notably cautious on track, amid suggestions he faced multiple race bans if he got himself into yet more trouble. Grosjean has been involved in several incidents near the start of races so far this year, and was banned at Monza.

But former McLaren driver and British commentator Brundle backed the 26-year-old, insisting: “You can make a fast driver more cautious, but you can’t make a cautious driver faster.

“Romain just needs a few races under his belt without incident, then the criticism will subside,” he is quoted by the German-language Speed Week.

Source:GMM

Brundle: Alonso is the hero of 2012 season so far

Aug.23 (GMM) Former F1 driver Martin Brundle has hailed Fernando Alonso as his “hero” of the 2012 season so far.

But the veteran of 158 grands prix, who for the past 15 years has been a commentator for British television, is not so rude as to describe Michael Schumacher as the contrasting “zero”.

“I don’t like (saying) that sort of thing because I know how hard being an F1 driver is. Michael Schumacher has had a pretty grim year,” he admitted to the Sun newspaper.

Brundle is less reluctant to hail Ferrari driver Alonso’s title-leading campaign so far.

“It (the hero) must be Alonso because against all odds, and without a teammate helping him out, and not having a fast car on the track, somehow he keeps coming through and winning races,” he said.

Brundle, 53, was speaking in London before teaming up with his GP3-racing son Alex in the LMP2 class of this weekend’s world endurance sports car race at Silverstone.

Source:GMM

Brundle: Kovalainen deserves another top team chance

According to former F1 driver Martin Brundle, Heikki Kovalainen deserves another chance to prove himself at one of the top Formula One teams.

After struggling at top teams Renault and McLaren at the beginning of his career, 30-year-old Kovalainen has rebuilt his reputation at the back of the field with the 2010 startup team Caterham (nee Lotus). His current contract runs out this year, and so far he is not committing to a new tenure for 2013.

Kovalainen has admitted disappointment with Caterham’s failure to drive into the midfield so far this season, and late last year insisted he does not feel “in any way” obligated to staying put for 2013.

“I want to see what we can do together and what is the situation in the summer,” he has said.

Brundle said on Sky Sports F1 HD recently: “Heikki has just kept his head down and delivered, he looks a superstar and he drives like one. I think Heikki has staked a claim for another chance in a top team,” said the former McLaren driver.

But like many others in the pitlane, Kovalainen has admitted he will have to wait for the ‘silly season’ to develop further before making plans for next year. Early this year, he signed on with the well-known management firm IMG, saying at the time: “Either we continue with Caterham or pursue at some other place, so in either case this (signing with IMG) is the right solution.”

He says now: “We haven’t looked at it seriously, I think it is a bit too early and there are a few guys ahead of me in the queue, things like what Lewis (Hamilton) will do or what Michael (Schumacher) will do will probably have an impact on what everyone is doing.”

Source:GMM