As the free practice sessions get underway in Northamptonshire, the world of Formula One has experienced a very busy week in terms of news. Struggling to keep up at the best of of times, reporters have been rushing around trying to get the next headline, be it about Nigel Stepney, Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton. Below are some highlights of the big news events to reach my feed reader this week.
The biggest story this week, and quite possible for the season, is the alleged espionage between a disgruntled Nigel Stepney at Ferrari and chief designer Mike Coughlan at Ferrari. Stepney is now back from his vacation in the Philippines and he has immediately responded to the Italian police investigation by answering their questions. Stepney has spoken of his atonishment about the whole saga, and sat with the authorities for three hours while they interrogated him.
Mr Stepney answered their questions and expressed his astonishment about the accusations against him. He will prove his innocence. Sonia Bartolini.
The hot rumour regarding the silly-season this week centres around the youngest point scorer of them all so far, Sebastian Vettel. Debuting at Indianapolis last month for Robert Kubica, Vettel managed to bring his BMW home in eighth and thus scoring his first Formula One point at only 19 years of age. Understandably, the German is hot property at the moment, and while BMW would love to put him in one of their cars next year, they currently have another two drivers doing well already – Nick Heidfeld and Kubica. So what can they do. A common course of action these days is to loan out their up-and-coming pilot to another team, allowing the young charger to gain valuable experience before returning to the home team when a seat becomes available. And it seems Scuderia Toro Rosso could be that seat.
We have not spoken about anything yet in the sense that I can say anything about it now. It is still fairly early in the season. But it is clear that every racing driver wants to race. Sebastian Vettel.
While neither confirming nor denying the story, the first sentence there gives it all away in my mind. “…in the sense that I can say anything…” So he has spoken with STR, both sides are interested, but as nothing is officially signed yet, neither party can say anything. That’s my take on the situation and the quote, anyway.
Staying with BMW a little longer, Nick Heidfeld has insisted that while he wants to remain with the German-Swiss outfit, he hasn’t actually signed an extension to his contract yet. Nick stated that it would make sense to remain with the team, and BMW seem to pretty happy with him at the moment. It is likely that Heidfeld will continue, probably partnered yet again with Polish driver Robert Kubica for next year.
And finally, the British and Spanish media are all interested in the apparent ‘icy’ relationship between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. The two drivers don’t appear to get along as well as the team would like everybody to think, and while at Silverstone, the pair shared a handshake in public in an attempt to quell the speculating reporters. However, Fernando may have forgotten to make eye contact with his rookie team mate during the act of hand shaking, leading the gaggle of journalists to report a “courteous, but cold” greeting.