Archive | September, 2012

Schumacher’s F1 future is unclear

28 Sep

There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding Michael Schumacher’s future in Formula One, following this morning’s news that Lewis Hamilton will switch to the Mercedes AMG Petronas team in 2013.

There has been significant shifts in the F1 driver market today; McLaren revealed that rapid Mexican Sergio Perez – who has so far achieved three giant-killing podium finishes for Sauber this season – will partner Jenson Button at the team next year, with Mercedes AMG confirming Lewis Hamilton as part of its 2013 driver line-up shortly after.

Of course, this leaves seven-time world champion Schumacher without a drive for 2013. Many of the rumours link him to Perez’s Sauber seat, but the German is yet to confirm his plans.

Instead, Schumacher said: “I have had three nice years with the team which unfortunately did not go as well as we all would have wanted on the sporting side.

“I wish Lewis well and for the team to achieve the success we worked so hard for in the build-up. I would like to thank the team for their trust and all the guys for their unconditional commitment. I will now concentrate on the next races.”

Mercedes boss, Ross Brawn praised Schumacher’s contribution over the last three years, even though both he and the Brackley-based team hoped for more from the partnership.

He said: “On behalf of Mercedes AMG Petronas, I would first of all like to thank Michael Schumacher for the important contribution he has made to the growth of our team over the past three seasons.

“His energy and commitment have never wavered, even when results have not matched our own expectations, and we are determined to finish the 2012 season together on a high. As always, it has been a pleasure to work with Michael.”

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Hamilton signs three-year deal with Mercedes

28 Sep

It has been confirmed that Lewis Hamilton has signed a three-year deal to race for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team from 2013 onwards.

Earlier today (Friday 28 September), McLaren revealed that Sergio Perez will replace Hamilton as of next season, ending weeks of speculation about the Briton’s future.

The 2008 world champion has been driving for the Woking-based team since first entering Formula One in 2007, but has decided it’s time for “a fresh challenge” and will race alongside his former karting team-mate Nico Rosberg who will contest his fourth consecutive season with the Silver Arrows squad in 2013.

“It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter racing for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team,” said Hamilton.

“Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning which I share. Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge. I believe that I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambitions of winning the world championships.”

Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn, added: “I am delighted to welcome Lewis Hamilton to our team. The arrival of a driver of Lewis’s calibre is a testament to the standing of Mercedes-Benz in Formula One and I am proud that Lewis shares our vision and ambition for the success of the Silver Arrows.

“I believe that the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid next year, and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together.”

Williams buoyed by Singapore speed

26 Sep

Williams F1’s chief operations engineer, Mark Gillan, says the Grove-based team is buoyed by the pace it showed at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix (23 Sept).

Pastor Maldonado stunned everybody by qualifying his Williams FW34 on the front-row of the grid alongside Lewis Hamilton and one-place ahead of the man many tipped for pole position, Sebastian Vettel.

Maldonado lost track position on the run to turn one but stood his ground against championship leader Fernando Alonso until, on lap 36, a hydraulic problem spelled the end of his race.

Bruno Senna in the sister Williams was also pacey. A collision with the wall in qualifying and a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change meant he started down in 22nd. But the Brazilian scythed his way up the order and was on for a points finish until an unconfirmed mechanical glitch brought his car to a halt on the final lap.

“It was an extremely frustrating weekend,” said Gillan. “It’s what I would call character building, with the high expectations following a front row qualification and fast race pace ultimately dashed due to a double DNF and a risky strategy call.”

But, while Maldonado was denied a potential podium result – his first points score since taking his maiden Formula One win at the Spanish Grand Prix in May – and Senna a strong points score, Gillian remains optimistic about Williams’s prospects for the remainder of the 2012 season.

“It gives us a tremendous amount of confidence,” Gillan continued. “We saw that the car was capable of qualifying on the front row and that the race pace was equally impressive. Both drivers did a very good job in the race, with Pastor fighting hard at the front and Bruno carving his way from the back into a points scoring position before having to retire the car.

He added: “The Singapore result was particularly painful so we are out to make amends and expect to be strong.”