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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Teams not asked about scoring change - Briatore
  • Mallya only objects to scoring rule timing
  • Mosley rules show F1 politics at play - Lauda
  • Ferrari, not Force India, ready to race KERS
  • Chance of race wins 'not madness' - Barrichello
  • Diffuser saga shows F1 sour grapes - Michael

Teams not asked about scoring change - Briatore
(GMM)  In a continuing 'he said, she said' exchange between the two sides in F1's off-track war, Flavio Briatore has denied that the teams told Bernie Ecclestone they approved of the winner-takes-all scoring system for 2009.

Explaining the embarrassing about-face over the system's late introduction, FIA president Max Mosley explained that Ecclestone "told me that he talked to all the teams and everybody was happy".

Briatore, a leading light of the F1 teams' association FOTA, reacted: "It's not true that the teams had been informed, and with Ecclestone we talked about medals, but we never talked about the criteria approved by the World Council."

The Italian said the episode, with the FIA forced to back down and revert to the existing points system this year, proves the strength of the teams if they stay united.

"What has happened demonstrates that if the teams are together, their voice can count," Briatore is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

Mallya only objects to scoring rule timing
(GMM)  Force India head Vijay Mallya has revealed that although he thinks the move was too late for 2009, he supports the 'winner takes all' scoring system for formula one.

Baulking at the apparently flouted rules for late regulation changes by the FIA, the F1 teams' alliance FOTA objected to the introduction for 2009.

The FIA had to yield to the teams' position, but Bernie Ecclestone is adamant his concept will finally get a green-light for 2010.

Flavio Briatore insists the episode demonstrates the strength of the teams' voice when they are united, but only days earlier heralded the rejected system as "excellent motivation for drivers to win".

"I don't have any problem with the gold medals," he added.

Dr Mallya, owner and team principal of the Silverstone based privateers Force India, has a similar view, clarifying that his objection was only to the attempted introduction so close to the start of the season.

"The move to give the championship to the driver who wins the most races is great, as it will motivate the drivers to win more, but there has to be a procedure to make a rule," he told the Asian Age newspaper.

"I agree that the FIA is trying to make it (more) exciting but the timing of the rule change hampers the preparation for the season," Mallya added.

Mosley rules show F1 politics at play - Lauda
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has described the latest "ill-considered" moves of the FIA a typical attempt to catch the powerful teams offside.

The triple world champion, who has also tasted the flavor of the backroom politics firsthand as a Ferrari advisor and latterly Jaguar team boss, said he suspects the saga is a shot amid the sport's power struggle.

The 60-year-old told Sport Bild the row over the scoring system introduction, and the forthcoming voluntary budget cap, is a "typical high-speed" maneuver by Max Mosley "in order to pressurize the manufacturers".

"Everything was completely ill-considered," Lauda added.

Ill-considered, Lauda argues, but not necessarily a mistake by the FIA president.  Indeed, Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone have separately confirmed that the budget cap proposal is provisional and open to negotiation.

Less cunning, however, is the FIA's handling so far of the rear-diffuser issue, according to Lauda, with possible protests looming over the season opener due to the vague wording of the regulations.

"The FIA should have made (the issue) more clear, especially as it (the rear diffuser) is such an important part," he told the German newspaper Bild.

Ferrari, not Force India, ready to race KERS
(GMM)  With mere days until the 2009 season opener, Force India has become another team to make clear its current position regarding the new technology KERS.

On a late visit to India before heading to Melbourne, team driver Giancarlo Fisichella flagged a "step forward" for the 2009 car following the initial overseas races in March and April.

"A new aerodynamics package and KERS will be available by then," the Roman is quoted as saying by the Hindu newspaper, referring to the Spanish grand prix in May.

Of the other teams, while McLaren is expected to use its energy re-use system, others including Toyota, the Red Bull teams, Williams and Brawn do not intend to turn on their respective KERS units at Albert Park.

BMW-Sauber's system is fully active, although the team has not decided if it will be a performance gain or deficit on the Melbourne layout, and Renault became the first to confirm that it definitely will deploy KERS this weekend.

Ferrari is reported to have followed suit, confirming that Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen will have active 'boost buttons' ready to push in Australia.

Chance of race wins 'not madness' - Barrichello
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello insists he has travelled to Melbourne with a realistic chance of victory.

The Brazilian driver, who in 2009 will continue to extend the all-time record for the longevity of a grand prix career, has sprung from the verge of enforced retirement to become one of the bookies' favorites to take his Brawn to Sunday's Melbourne win.

Some observers have expressed astonishment that, despite the BGP001 being a re-badged 2009 works Honda effort, the Mercedes-powered car was clearly the pacesetter of the winter field.

The Spanish sports newspaper Marca asked Barrichello if it is "madness" to consider that he is widely tipped to fight for Australian GP victory against his teammate Jenson Button.

"No, it is not madness," he replied, insisting that despite noises from his rivals, the chassis is fully legal.

"I have waited a long time to find a team that gives me the conditions of Ferrari but the freedom to not have to race only for Schumacher.

"This is the first time I have had what I have always wanted, it's a little bit of pressure but I am right where I want to be," he insisted.

Barrichello said he would not voluntarily swap places with F1's reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, despite McLaren's big budget and status and the works backing of Mercedes-Benz.

"No, it is Brawn that has given me a very good machine so why would I want to change?" he enquired rhetorically.

He said that, despite the pre-season uncertainty about the Brackley based team's survival and speculation linking Bruno Senna with his seat, he put his head down over the winter to prepare for 2009.

"They were difficult months, but they are the moments in which you learn about how to be a better person," Barrichello told Marca.

"I knew there was a chance, so I maintained my physical condition and I even lost five kilos.  Everything was fine and luckily, in the end, I signed the contract," he added.

Diffuser saga shows F1 sour grapes - Michael
(GMM)  The controversy over the legality of rear diffusers is simply sour grapes about the cleverness of some teams, according to Sam Michael.

Williams, led technically by the 37-year-old Australian, is one of three teams in danger of being formally protested against this weekend, as some other competitors question the legality of the aerodynamic solutions.

"Our team is very much within the regulations.  I don't know what the fuss is about," technical director Michael is quoted as saying by the Mirror.

It was expected that - like Williams, Toyota and Brawn - other teams might now move to also exploit the loophole in the diffuser rules.

But it is understood that while some teams have experimented with the concept in their respective wind tunnels, the modified diffusers do not necessarily match up with the overall design philosophies.

Sam Michael said: "People are complaining rather than putting their hands up and saying 'we didn't think of it because we weren't looking at the rules hard enough'."

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