Ecclestone: Vettel lacks charisma

Sebastian Vettel lacks “charisma”, his friend Bernie Ecclestone has acknowledged.

But the F1 chief executive, who plays backgammon with the 25-year-old reigning world champion at grands prix, doesn’t blame the sport’s latest crop of stars.

“He (Vettel) lacks a little charisma,” Briton Ecclestone, 82, told Bild newspaper, as Vettel looks set to match the achievement of greats Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher with his third consecutive drivers’ crown. “Guys like Hunt, Rindt, Lauda, Senna were real characters, but they can’t be like that anymore because they are protected by the team bosses far too much. Now the FIA gives them a muzzle,” said Ecclestone.

“They’re not even allowed to show their emotions,” he exclaimed.

Source:GMM

Red Bull left Austin without buying Vettel’s boots

Reigning world champions Red Bull left Austin without paying a bill.

Germany’s Bild newspaper reports that, prior to the US grand prix, the team pre-ordered a pair of customised, Red Bull-branded cowboy boots for Sebastian Vettel. But Noel Escobar, the Austin-based master boot maker, told the newspaper: “We worked through the night but no one came to pick them up.

“Red Bull owes me $2,150.”

Red Bull told Bild it had to cancel the order at short notice, but is happy to pay the bill.

Source:GMM

Marko ‘not relaxed’ as alternator crisis looms for F1 finale

On paper, Sebastian Vettel is the overwhelming favourite to seal his third consecutive drivers’ crown this weekend in Brazil. His 13-point lead over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso means he can steer his ultra-competitive Red Bull to just fourth place at Interlagos and still set off for his winter slumber with the title.

“But Alonso still must win,” Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko is quoted by Speed Week. “He must take the risk. That’s the important thing.”

But it’s not quite as simple as that. First, there is the pressure of the season finale, with Alonso a hardened, never-say-die samurai-loving competitor. And Marko acknowledged that Brazil is often a “crazy race”, even without the forecast high probability of rain.

But the Austrian insisted: “The only question mark is reliability. So no, I’m not relaxed.”

Marko is undoubtedly referring to Red Bull’s recurring alternator failures in 2012, the latest of which struck Mark Webber’s car in Austin. It was believed Renault offered Red Bull a brand new specification of the Magneti Marelli unit for the US grand prix, but in fact the reigning champions opted for the tried-and-tested previous version.

Spain’s Mundo Deportivo newspaper said Red Bull will definitely use the brand new specification for the Sao Paulo finale.

“We are ready with the new one,” Renault’s Remi Taffin is quoted by Brazil’s Globo Esporte. “Generally we feel more comfortable with something we have known for a long time, but we have tested the new design and so there’s no need to be worried,” he added.

Source:GMM

Karthikeyan says FIA on his side after Vettel criticism

Narain Karthikeyan has hit back at Sebastian Vettel, following the latest bout of criticism from the reigning world champion.

Vettel’s Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, pointed the finger at HRT’s Karthikeyan after Vettel lost the lead of the US grand prix on Sunday to Lewis Hamilton.

“The race unfortunately hinged on one backmarker that didn’t use his mirrors,” he said.

Vettel screamed angrily into his radio after losing the place to Hamilton, and some immediately thought the German was being critical of the McLaren driver.

“It was not targeted at Lewis,” Vettel clarified afterwards, “it was more targeted at the backmarker which gave a nice big envelope with an invitation to Lewis.”

Red Bull and Vettel claim Karthikeyan failed to get out of the way to be lapped fast enough, which gave the chasing Hamilton the momentum to launch his successful pass.

Vettel and Indian Karthikeyan already have an unhappy history, after the German called him a “cucumber” following another track run-in earlier this year. Now, after Vettel’s latest criticism, Karthikeyan said: “I can’t hear the bulls**t anymore.

“At the drivers’ briefing Charlie Whiting told us very clearly that it is not possible to let the leaders past in the very fast first sector,” the HRT driver is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

“Charlie told us that we should let the faster cars go from turn 8, the first slower corner, which is exactly what I did. Vettel was at the briefing. Did he not hear? He complains too often and too hard.”

Indeed, one of Vettel’s closest friends in the paddock is Timo Glock, but on this occasion he is siding with fellow backmarker Karthikeyan.

“We drive our own race in these fast corners, because there are so many pieces of rubber off the racing line. The rule is that you have to let them pass by the third blue flag, not before.”

F1 legend Niki Lauda also saw nothing extraordinary about the Vettel/Karthikeyan incident.

“Lapping cars is always better for the pursuer than for the leader,” he said.

Soucrce:GMM

Danner: Vettel won’t win title in Austin

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.”

Source:GMM

Glock always beats Vettel – at chess

Reigning back-to-back world champion and 2012 points leader Sebastian Vettel has admitted that F1 backmarker Timo Glock always beats him — in a game of chess.

Switzerland’s Blick newspaper reports that Red Bull driver Vettel only discovered his love of the famous board game in the past few weeks. So far, the German has played mostly against his countryman Glock, who drives for Marussia.

“Timo is the only one who is giving me real problems this year,” laughed Vettel. “Because he always wins!”

This weekend will be Vettel’s 100th grand prix, where in Austin the 25-year-old could theoretically wrap up his third consecutive drivers’ championship.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Lewis Hamilton’s latest pastime is recording music in a $2,400 per day London studio, the Sun newspaper reports.

“He’s very passionate about music and wants his work to be of good quality,” said a source. “He’s got the cash, so why not? But he has no intention of becoming a pop star.”

Source:GMM

Renault suspects supplier to blame for quali debacle

Renault suspects equipment failure caused Sebastian Vettel to be pushed to the back of the grid in Abu Dhabi.

Actually, Red Bull pointed the finger of blame at its French engine supplier, revealing that Renault engineers asked for the German to be stopped at the side of the track after he qualified third last Saturday. Then, when FIA scrutineers could not find the mandatory litre of fuel in the RB8’s tank for sampling, team boss Christian Horner insisted it is Renault’s decision to crunch the numbers for qualifying.

However, Renault’s top F1 engineer Remi Taffin suspects the French marque is actually not to blame.

“We need further investigation,” he is quoted by the Spanish daily AS. “We have checked the numbers, we have looked at what we did with the ‘robot’ and each number says there should have been enough (fuel). Along with the supplier, Red Bull is now checking (the fuel equipment/robot).

“We have checked everything on our side and we have not seen any problems,” added Taffin.

Source:GMM

FIA reminds drivers to watch their bad language

Formula One teams have been instructed to pull their drivers into line, after world champion Sebastian Vettel and former title winner Kimi Raikkonen swore during their post-race podium interviews in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

Speaking to former driver David Coulthard for the ‘world feed’-broadcast new podium interviews at Yas Marina, Raikkonen said the word “sh*t” and Red Bull’s Vettel “f**k”.

“I should just remind our audience that he (Vettel) is speaking in his second language,” Coulthard said immediately on the podium, “and so we apologise for the choice of words.”

But in a letter to team bosses, the FIA’s communications head Norman Howell said it is now their “responsibility to make sure drivers are aware such language has no place during media events”. Howell said the letter was just a “friendly” reminder, but that incidents in the future could lead to disciplinary action, according to a report by the BBC.

Source:GMM

Webber: Vettel must hope for dry weather in Brazil

If – as is expected – the 2012 title battle goes down to the wire, Mark Webber is not sure he would put his money on his Red Bull teammate.

With a 10 point lead over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and the faster car, Sebastian Vettel is the overwhelming favourite to win his third consecutive drivers’ championship late this month. But according to Webber, who like Vettel also races the RB8, the 25-year-old German should be worried if bad weather is forecast for Sao Paulo.

“Sebastian needs dry weather there,” the Australian told Austrian Servus TV this week. “He can also drive in the rain, but Fernando is very strong. And it can be wet in Sao Paulo.”

Another factor, he said, is the nature of championship showdowns, and the often tumultuous contests that take place at Interlagos.

“In Sao Paulo there is always some drama,” said Webber.

Indeed, he tipped the 2012 finale to be “very dramatic”.

Source:GMM

Lauda still tipping Vettel to beat Alonso

Sebastian Vettel remains the overwhelming favourite to become 2012 champion, despite Red Bull’s qualifying crisis and the loss of 3 points to Fernando Alonso in Abu Dhabi.

That is the view of F1 legend Niki Lauda, who was asked by Osterreich newspaper if he has changed his mind after Red Bull bungled qualifying last weekend, forcing Vettel to fight up to the podium from a pitlane start. With just two races to go now, Vettel is 10 points ahead of Ferrari’s Alonso.

“Nothing has changed,” Lauda insisted. “I believe Red Bull will have learned from its errors and now have everything technically perfect in the last two races. Then it will be up to Vettel, and he has the fastest car.”

Spaniard Alonso, however, remains determined and feisty, continuing to espouse samurai quotations and push Ferrari to improve the F2012.

“That’s what he’s paid for,” Lauda said, “but he can only carry on as before. “Although he does everything right, it’s not enough, because Ferrari cannot compete with Red Bull.”

Lauda, however, said he is not expecting Vettel to wrap it up in Texas next weekend, but that F1 will get its “super finish” to the championship in Brazil.

David Coulthard, the former McLaren and Red Bull driver, warned Vettel to be wary of the wily Alonso.

“Fernando is a teak-tough competitor and I have a feeling these last two races could get a bit dirty,” he wrote in the Telegraph. “Fernando wants to go to war, wants this to become a battle of wits as much as machines. He is trying to unsettle Seb, while at the same time exuding confidence and serenity. My money is on Seb, but only just.”

Source:GMM