Join us for coverage in preparation for the upcoming Singapore Grand Pix. We will be providing F1 team and driver commentary as we do each Thursday prior to the race!
Button And Perez Say Their McLaren Deals Are Done
Jenson Button and Sergio Perez have both implied that their contract discussions with McLaren are finalized and that they will soon be confirmed for the 2014 season.
The team has always insisted that both men will stay on, although it has been in no hurry to formally take up their options.
“I’ve got a good feeling I’ll be here next year. That’s as much as I can say,” said Button. “I’m very happy that I’ll be in this team next year.”
When asked about the 2015 season, when Honda joins McLaren, he said: “Don’t know about that yet. I couldn’t comment, anyway, but I have a good feeling about that, as well. The big ‘H’ is very interesting for the future.”
Perez voiced similar sentiments about his deal.
“We’ve been having some discussions about the contract,” said the Mexican. “The contract is done but we are just finalizing the final dots. Obviously, I cannot give much detail about them, but everything is pretty much done.”
I Wanted Raikkonen At Ferrari, Says Alonso
Fernando Alonso insisted Thursday that he was totally happy with Ferrari’s decision to re-hire Kimi Raikkonen, and had agreed that the Finn was the best driver available heading into 2014.
“I was always informed about the team movements,” said Alonso. “And it’s true that I think until the last moment the team didn’t make a decision, and then when they decided that it was better to change Felipe (Massa). They told me what was my opinion; my opinion was he (Raikkonen) was the best out there in the market, and especially for a championship with many changes for next year, in terms of developing the car in January/February. A teammate that is many years in F1 was important. The team chose Kimi, so I’m happy.”
Alonso denied that having Raikkonen on board would make any difference to his current motivation.
“I think the motivation will be always similar; I think I will do my best all the time,” he said. “Sometimes you deliver the results that people expect, sometimes not, but I don’t think anyone will push me more than what I push now.”
Alonso does not see any drawbacks in having two World Champions in the same team: “I don’t think that makes any difference. It’s something that you keep writing these days and many people try to say, which is exactly the same as when I arrived here with Felipe – ‘it will be a disaster, Felipe is in Ferrari many years already, it will be a very difficult relationship.’ And after four years he’s one of the best friends that I have here.
“Felipe, I consider him like a World Champion, as well. It’s not that one title will change anything in the relationship or in the team in terms of pushing. Felipe was World Champion when he crossed the line in 2008, so it’s not that he’s a rookie driver.”
I Want A Winning Seat In 2014, Says Massa
Felipe Massa insists that he wants to find a competitive seat for 2014, and doesn’t want to just make up the numbers.
Massa has been linked with Lotus, in effect making for a straight swap with Kimi Raikkonen.
“We are talking with some teams,” said the Brazilian. “I hope we find the best direction for me. I know I have a lot to do, still. I want to find a good car. As I’ve said many times, I’m not interested to be part of F1 just to be there on the grid, just to be there on the picture. I want to be there for the good opportunity, to fight for the best results possible. Starting the race just to be there on the grid, I’m not interested.
“I want to find the best car, I want to be in the best opportunity to fight for victory, to fight for the championship, and to fight for the best for me. That’s what I’m looking for, so I hope we can find this direction. We’re trying everything I can, and I know I have a lot to give to a team, to the drivers as competitors on the track; that’s what I’m looking for.”
Massa is hoping to end this season on a high.
“I think the expectations are always to try to do the best that I can in these last seven races,” he said. “I think I had a fantastic career together with Ferrari for a long time. It’s part of my story. The most years of my career were with Ferrari, so eight years as an official driver, but also a few years as a young driver.
“I lived in Ferrari in 2003, I was going every day to the team, to the track, so I know everybody who is working there. I have a lot of friends inside the team. So I want to finish in the best way possible these seven races. I will try the best I can to have the best result. A victory will be fantastic, to finish these seven races. I always push very hard for that.”
Massa was asked about a comment he made in Brazil to the effect that he will be driving for himself until the end of the season, and chose to humorously answer: “About Fernando (Alonso, teammate), I don’t help Fernando, for sure. I never help, I don’t help anything, I don’t help Fernando, I don’t help Ferrari, I don’t help anything. I just help myself!”
McLaren, Button Optimistic For Singapore Grand Prix
Jenson Button is confident that McLaren will have a “reasonable” weekend in Singapore, at least in terms of the team’s usual 2013 form.
However, he cautioned that managing ride height could be a problem, since all season the team has found it hard to run the car low enough to be aerodynamically efficient.
“We haven’t driven high downforce for a little while,” said Button. “Hungary we did, and we had a good package on the car there. But the problem was that with the package that we had, we had nowhere near enough front end to put into the car, so we couldn’t benefit from the downforce we put on the car. Now it’s a different situation. I do feel that we should be alright here. I’m quite excited about driving it.
“The only thing is we’ve got to be careful with the ride quality of the car, because it’s very bumpy. That’s obviously been a weakness over the whole season, really. It has got better, and we just have to hope that we can put the car somewhere in terms of aerodynamics that keeps us off the deck, because that causes us a few issues. If we can do that, then I’m positive that we can have a reasonable weekend. It’s never going to be a good weekend at the moment, but I think it can be reasonable.”