Latest F1 news in brief
- Fisi urges Renault to make 'radical' changes
- FIA clamps down on flexing floors
- No need for 'new' Honda - Barrichello
- Sauber, Kubica, play down BMW's Sepang pace
- Honda still looking at Andretti - de Ferran
Fisi urges Renault to make 'radical' changes
Giancarlo Fisichella has backed speculation that Renault should build a 'B' version of its 2007 car.
After finishing more than a minute behind the winner in Australia, the Roman told the Italian magazine Autosprint that making "radical" changes might be the only way to "save" the reigning champions' season.
"We should build a whole new front suspension and modify the chassis, but even that would take a lot of time," Fisichella, 34, said.
"In order to save our season, it's better to make radical changes and solve the whole problem than limp slowly forward."
The disappointed Italian veteran rejected theories that Renault has dropped back simply because Fernando Alonso is no longer in a cockpit by insisting that the R27 is the "weakest" car he has driven for the team since rejoining in 2005.
Referring to Melbourne, Fisichella admitted: "It was a shock to see how big an advantage Ferrari and McLaren had over us.
"It was 1.6 seconds to Kimi Raikkonen and half a second to McLaren. You obviously can't accept that."
Despite some new parts for the Malaysian GP next weekend, Fisichella - who will not test this week at Sepang - is not predicting a short-term return to form for the Enstone based squad.
"There isn't much to do about it," he said.
"No matter how much we improve, Ferrari will be a long way ahead of us for several races."
FIA clamps down on flexing floors
Ferrari and BMW-Sauber are likely to have to modify the designs of their cars' floors after a warning was issued by FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting.
Apparently following an informal complaint made by formula one rival McLaren at the Australian grand prix, Whiting has sent a letter to all teams informing them that detailed checks will be carried out on cars' underbodies during scrutineering in future to ensure that teams are adhering to the spirit of the rules about banned moveable devices.
The floor designs of both Ferrari and BMW passed the former flexibility checks in Melbourne, but the teams are likely to present modified cars to scrutineers on the Thursday of the upcoming Malaysian GP.
Spain's 'Marca' newspaper, meanwhile, revealed that McLaren brought the matter to the FIA's attention with a letter from engineering chief Paddy Lowe, in which he asked the governing body for permission to apply a similar design to its own MP4-22 model.
No need for 'new' Honda - Barrichello
Honda driver Rubens Barrichello has backed team boss Nick Fry's claim that the Japanese squad can soon catch up with its rivals in 2007.
Although dismissed as fanciful by some observers, Honda principal Fry proclaimed after the team's dismal showing in Australia that the RA107 car can be "up there with Renault and BMW" in less than one month.
Brazil's Barrichello failed to make it through the first fifteen minutes of qualifying at Albert Park, and both he and teammate Jenson Button were lapped in the race.
Sources have pointed out the Brackley-built car's badly flawed front aerodynamics, but Barrichello backed Fry's suggestion that the problem is fixable.
He told the April edition of British magazine F1 Racing: "I know for a fact actually that this Honda isn't bad.
"It'll become competitive. This team have everything to be able to solve the problems, and even build a new car if that's what it takes.
"But I don't think we're in that situation."
Barrichello tested several new parts at Sepang on Tuesday and was fourth quickest of the ten runners in action.
Sauber, Kubica, play down BMW's Sepang pace
Team founder Peter Sauber has played down the significance of Robert Kubica's quickest lap time on the first day of Sepang testing on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old Pole outpaced even championship leader Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari, whose mileage was reduced at the circuit near Kuala Lumpur by a hydraulic problem.
Observing the test's progress from the distance of a vacation in the Maldives, however, Sauber observed to the Swiss newspaper 'Blick': "Everyone knows that Kimi never goes flat out just for testing."
Sauber will fly to Malaysia on Friday.
Kubica, meanwhile, struck another gearbox problem at Sepang, after failing to finish the Australian grand prix with a similar glitch.
He was quoted as saying on Tuesday by the Bernama news agency: "The performance of the Ferrari cars is like a machine from another planet."
His pace at the Sepang test aside, Kubica therefore ruled out charging for his maiden win at the same Malaysian venue next Sunday.
"McLaren and Ferrari, especially Ferrari, is not our target," Kubica added.
"We have to be realistic. If I can finish in the top five, I'll be happy."
Honda still looking at Andretti - de Ferran
Honda's sporting director Gil de Ferran at the weekend was a surprise visitor to this season's opening round of the American IRL open wheel category in Miami.
The 39-year-old Brazilian is a former winner of the series' fabled Indianapolis 500, and he also took time out to meet with his old Penske colleagues, but he admitted that Honda formula one bosses are still "looking at" young Indycar talent Marco Andretti.
Andretti, 19, recently tested Honda's single seater on more than one occasion, and has been tipped for a one-off Friday seat at the US grand prix later this year.
"It was a last minute decision to come here," de Ferran, who has been based in England since commencing his role in formula one, told the official website of the IRL.
De Ferran insisted that he is simply holidaying in America prior to the second round of the grand prix season, but admitted: "We would be remiss if we weren't looking at promising talent from around the world.
"We would not be doing our job if we weren't paying attention to who is coming up."