Vettel still shocked by Schumacher accident

Four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel has said he is still coming to terms with the serious injuries suffered by compatriot Michael Schumacher in a skiing accident last month.

Vettel still shocked by Schumacher accident
"I was as shocked as everybody else in the paddock," Vettel said in a press conference on the first day of testing ahead of the 2014 season in Jerez, southern Spain. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Schumacher, himself a seven-time world champion, remains in a medically-induced coma following the accident whilst skiing off-piste in the French Alps.

"I was as shocked as everybody else in the paddock," Vettel said in a press conference on the first day of testing ahead of the 2014 season in Jerez, southern Spain.

"I have known him for a long time and looked up to him my whole life.

"I got to know him better when he made his comeback and we spoke to each other regularly.

"We still don't know what shape he will be in when he wakes up, which is awful for his family and friends.

"I am still in shock, but hoping the miracle happens and he can be the same guy he was before."

One of Schumacher's former teams Mercedes has included the message "keepfightingmichael" on their W05 car for the new season, which has become a hastag on the social networking site Twitter for fans to send their own tributes to the 45-year-old.

Vettel added that he hadn't been to visit Schumacher in the Grenoble hospital where he is being treated.

And he echoed the sentiments of Schumacher's wife, Corinna, who asked for the press to respect the family's privacy.

"I'm sure the pressure from the media on the hospital didn't help.

"It is about Michael and his family and it is good for the hospital to be able to focus on their job."

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Fernando Alonso laughs off Red Bull rumours

Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso on Sunday tried to distance himself from speculation that he is considering a switch from Ferrari to partner defending champion Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next year.

Fernando Alonso laughs off Red Bull rumours
Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso sits in the pits during the first practice session at the Hungaroring circuit in Budapest on July 26th. Photo: Tom Gandolfini/AFP

The two-time champion Spaniard said he was not aware that his management had gone to speak to Red Bull boss Christian Horner during the Hungarian Grand Prix and blamed the rumours on the media and Formula One's four-week European summer break.

"Always with four weeks with no Formula One it's a very dangerous period for us, and the media, but hopefully we will have a quiet summer," he told reporters.

He continued in enigmatic vein when pressed for an answer by the BBC and laughed when he said he could not say if he knew if his management had spoken to Red Bull.

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Meanwhile, Red Bull boss Christian Horner was also not very keen to snuff out rumours of a possible move by Alonso, according to the UK's Daily Mail newspaper.

“We are in a fortunate position that there is a lot of interest in the seat for next year," said Horner.

"We had a look at Daniel [Ricciardo] in the [Silverstone] test, so we will take a little time over the summer and look at the options and look to make the right decision with the right pairing," the Daily Mail quoted the Red Bull chief as saying.

“Is [Alonso] available? We are going to take a bit of time to make the right decision. We have some great options and we don’t need to rush," Horner added. 

Red Bull is seeking a replacement driver for Australian pilot Mark Webber.

The 36-year-old Webber retired in June after 12 seasons at the wheel. He started 206 times and won nine races in total.