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Saturday, August 7, 2010

The week that was: Summer break edition

Aug. 01, 2010 - Budapest, Hungary - MICHAEL SCHUMACHER, right, (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01 squeezes former teammate RUBENS BARRICHELLO (BRA) Williams FW32 into the pit wall during the Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix. Schumacher was given a penalty for unsafe driving after the race.

“Yesterday, right after the race I was still in the heat of the action, but after I watched the incident with Rubens again, I must say that the stewards were right with their assessment: the move against him was too hard. I wanted to make it hard for him to pass me. I clearly showed him that I didn't want to let him pass but... I wasn't seeking to endanger him with my move. If he feels I was then I'm sorry, this wasn't my intention.” -- Michael Schumacher

Those words were in response to F1’s latest controversy: Schumi almost putting former teammate, Rubens Barrichello (well removed from the days of wearing the fat #2 on his hat) into the wall in Hungary.

The move resulted in a big penalty from the stewards to be served at Spa, but guest steward Derek Warwick says Schumacher came close to being black-flagged.

John Watson and Niki Lauda went on record with hard criticism of the seven-times world champion, but perhaps the most colorful response came (unsurprisingly) from ex-teammate Eddie Irvine.

With things looking increasingly drastic for the German, questions about his F1 future continue to swirl. Journalist Joe Saward takes a close look at the question, should Michael Schumacher retire?

Meanwhile, Schumacher’s boss, Ross Brawn, says the team will look closely to what happened during Nico Rosberg’s pitstop to trigger the mayhem that ensued last weekend to prevent a repeat.

Brawn also is on record saying, with the exception of an upgrade due for Singapore, the team will focus on the 2011 car post break.

Rosberg’s wheel was just part of the pitlane fun in Hungary. The other bit of excitement was when Renault released Robert Kubica into the path of Adrian Sutil. The mistake led to a fine and a stop/go for Kubica.

Sutil, who has been linked to a Renault seat, slammed the move:

“There wasn't anything I could do. They released him into my path and I just crashed into him and my car was damaged too badly to continue. It was definitely unsafe from their part.”

In Kubica’s defense, he only seemed to be following direction.

“I saw the lollipop go up and I started to go, but unfortunately we collided.”

In other Renault news, the team is set to introduce its long awaited version of the F-duct for Spa.

The driver’s title hunt

Aug 01, 2010 - Budapest, Hungary - Team celebration for winner Australian MARK WEBBER in REDBULL RB6 during the Formula One World Championship Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring.

Seven races and 175 points remain on the table. Mark Webber took a slight edge in the driver’s race, but though tipped to be the next champion by manager Flavio Briatore, the Australian downplayed the title talk.

“We are way too far out for that. We've got a lot of people that can win races at this level and we have already seen that. The most important thing for me is the next race. That's a bit boring, it's an old cliche, but that's what it is.”

Teammate Sebastian Vettel, whose mistake behind the safety car likely cost him the win in Hungary, has been told by his team to look at the brighter side of life and concentrate on the positives of a dominant weekend for Red Bull.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is one who believes it is a wide open championship, saying as much in a video interview on the Ferrari website.

“I think we have to be happy with our championship so far. We had some good races and some disappointing races as well, but overall I think we are in a position in the championship now very close to the leader. In a short distance we are five drivers fighting for the championship, so we are there. There are seven races to go now; anything can happen in these seven races. We always start from zero, so we need to be the best one in this last part of the championship.”

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, despite a disappointing weekend for McLaren, both feel the team has the stuff to rise to the occasion.

“I also know we can come back even stronger in the final seven races. We have some very promising developments in the pipeline, and we're making progress in lots of other areas, too. We have dug deep before, and I know absolutely that we will dig deep once more. With the championship so closely balanced, this is the perfect time for a break.” -- Lewis Hamilton

“It's the toughest day we've had this year, but this McLaren team has had dark days in the past and always bounced back from those so I am pretty confident that we can do it again.” -- Jenson Button

The FIA weighs in

July 22, 2010 - Hockenheim, Germany - FIA Logo...Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, German Grand Prix, Preparations.

A big factor in that race will likely be the argument of flexi wings. Martin Whitmarsh and Ross Brawn have both sought clarification on what they believe they have seen on the Red Bull and Ferrari front wings.

Though the wings have passed scrutineering in recent races, the governing body has said it will introduce more stringent load tests at Spa.

Meanwhile, Ferrari have a date with the World Motor Sport Council over the team orders issue September 8th, four days ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Already fined $100,000, the team could face a loss of points or exclusion from the championship.

Race news

In Texas, Clear Channel co-founder Billy Joe “Red” McCombs was revealed to be the key backer behind the new USGP project in Austin.

Still a member of the board of the media giant, McCombs said he intended to use the company’s resources to help promote the race, slated for 2012.

Clear Channel controls some 900 radio stations, as well as outdoor advertising space in 25 countries.

Meanwhile, journalist Adam Cooper takes a closer look at how things are developing in Korea. Specifically, is it? Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


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