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DATE News (chronologically)
04/14/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Glock 'uneasy' as FIA settles diffuser saga
  • Cosworth return due to Max-Bernie 'deal' - report
  • Briatore cuts own pay, not Piquet's
  • Ferrari to leave Baldisserri at factory
  • FIA requests BBC interview over 'lie-gate'
  • Button, Branson in angry run-in - report
  • Williams to rethink practice strategy - Rosberg
  • More members add strength to GPDA
  • Piquet admits frustration with Renault role
  • Renault to assess KERS benefit race-by-race

Glock 'uneasy' as FIA settles diffuser saga
(GMM)  Timo Glock has admitted to having an "uneasy feeling" as the FIA prepares on Tuesday to settle the diffuser controversy.

The German and his Toyota teammate Jarno Trulli, along with the Brawn and Williams drivers, have among the fastest cars on the 2009 grid.

But their pace has been questioned by the affair, with four teams pursuing formal protests about rear diffuser designs, and every outfit except Toro Rosso and Force India to be involved in the Court of Appeal hearing in Paris.

It is almost guaranteed that the FIA panel will not rule against the stewards of the Australian and Malaysian grands prix, and the pre-season ruling made by Charlie Whiting, when the decision is published on Wednesday.

Ross Brawn said: "Even if they decide there is a different interpretation, I don't think they'll wipe out what went before (the race results) because we've been told our car is legal."

Team boss Brawn's long-time friend and former colleague Rory Byrne, however, staunchly disagrees that the diffusers are legal.

"If you look at the Brawn-Mercedes from below, you can see the suspension -- and that is forbidden," the Ferrari design consultant is quoted as saying by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that, because of the layout of the Ferrari rear suspension and gearbox, technical director Aldo Costa is believed to be targeting only June's Turkish grand prix for the debut of a double-diffuser for the F60.

Red Bull is apparently in a similar situation, while McLaren, BMW and Renault may be able to debut new diffusers at the start of the forthcoming European season.

Cosworth return due to Max-Bernie 'deal' - report
(GMM)  The possible return to the F1 scene of the British engine specialist Cosworth was reportedly facilitated by a deal brokered between Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone.

It has emerged in recent days that USF1/USGPE - the prospective American team entry for 2010 - is seriously considering using the homologated Cosworth V8 engine from next year.

At the end of last year, Cosworth won an FIA tender to supply a low-cost engine and transmission package in 2010.

To guarantee Cosworth's ability to finance the project, it was necessary for FIA president Mosley to garner the support of F1 chief executive Ecclestone.

To do this, it is reported by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that Mosley - keen for the Cosworth proposal to work in order to reduce F1's reliance on car manufacturers - decided to fully back Ecclestone's proposal for the 'winner takes all'-style scoring system.

In return for the FIA's support, Ecclestone promised to guarantee the viability of the Cosworth deal.

Briatore cuts own pay, not Piquet's
(GMM)  Even Renault team boss Flavio Briatore has taken a pay-cut, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

We reported recently that Fernando Alonso's 2009 retainer was slashed by millions, as Briatore reacts to the global recession.

The actual amount of 59-year-old Briatore's contracted salary this year is not known, but Auto Motor und Sport claims the Italian has voluntarily reduced it by 20 per cent.

Team engineers are reportedly also earning 10 per cent less this year than in the past, but Alonso's teammate Nelson Piquet has not had to accept a pay-cut at all.

It is suggested the Brazilian's current retainer is around $1m, but other estimates of Piquet's pay have been significantly lower.

"With me, there is hardly anything to reduce," the 23-year-old is quoted as saying.

Ferrari to leave Baldisserri at factory
(GMM)  After a disastrously point-less start to the 2009 season, Ferrari has consigned Luca Baldisserri to a factory-based role.

Advisor Michael Schumacher took much of the high-profile criticism for the famous team's strategy foul-ups in Australia and Malaysia, which left Ferrari dead last in the constructors' championship.

But it is 46-year-old Italian Baldisserri, commonly known as the team manager or sporting director, who is actually accountable for the track and pitwall operations.

Following last week's crisis meeting at Maranello, it was decided that he will not accompany Ferrari to the Chinese grand prix, with chief engineer Chris Dyer, an Australian, to assume the duties instead.

Ferrari said Baldisserri will instead now head a working group to study technologies with the aim of closing the gap to F1's new pacesetters.

FIA requests BBC interview over 'lie-gate'
(GMM)  The FIA is investigating what role team boss Martin Whitmarsh played in the 'lie-gate' scandal.

F1's governing body, having already summoned the Mercedes-powered team to an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council later this month, has requested tapes from the British broadcaster BBC.

Based on the interview in question with Whitmarsh, we reported immediately after the Australian grand prix that the Briton seemed to back the untrue argument that would subsequently be presented to the stewards by Dave Ryan and Lewis Hamilton.

"Trulli took back the place under the safety car, which ordinarily you wouldn't do," Whitmarsh had said in Melbourne.

According to reports in Britain, including in the Telegraph newspaper, the FIA wants to study the original BBC recording of the Whitmarsh comments.

If its team boss backed the Ryan-Hamilton argument prior to the stewards hearings, McLaren could be accused of also lying about Whitmarsh's involvement in and knowledge about the affair.

Button, Branson in angry run-in - report
(GMM)  The health of Brawn's new sponsorship by the Virgin brand came under threat even before the first race of the 2009 season, according to a report in the British tabloid press.

The News of the World newspaper claims Jenson Button, on the night of his Melbourne pole, almost came to blows with the British billionaire Sir Richard Branson.

Button was reportedly furious when he believed the married 58-year-old Branson made advances on his new girlfriend Jessica Michibata, a Japanese-Argentinean bra model.

"Brawn GP team chiefs and Virgin execs watched in stunned silence as the pair flew at each other during a boozy dinner -- just one day after their sponsorship deal was clinched," the report said.

A source said: "The whole thing got very, very heated.  Richard thought Jenson was over-reacting, and gave as good back.  Both of them were livid."

Williams to rethink practice strategy - Rosberg
(GMM)  Williams might have to rethink its approach to the official track sessions prior to qualifying, leading team driver Nico Rosberg has suggested.

At the end of five of the six free practice sessions in 2009 so far, the 23-year-old German has emerged on top of the timesheets.

However, although the Grove team has clearly produced a good car this year, Rosberg is yet to replicate his top practice form in qualifying or in the race -- even though he led the race early in Malaysia.

"We know that we use less fuel in practice than some other teams, for example BMW," Rosberg told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

But he said the low-fuel policy was always to ready the car for the highly-competitive 'Q2' qualifying session.

Now clearly with a top-ten potential car, Rosberg suggests Williams should now be spending more time focusing on strategies for the race-fuel 'Q3' phase.

"We will have another look at the strategy," Rosberg, holidaying in Bali prior to flying out to Shanghai, is quoted as confirming.

More members add strength to GPDA
(GMM)  Ferrari driver and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen is now the only active formula one race driver who is not a member of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA).

Last year, the Finn's teammate Felipe Massa withdrew from the body for personal reasons, while his championship rival Lewis Hamilton, as well as Force India's Adrian Sutil, refused to join the GPDA.

Prior to the Melbourne season opener last month, however, it emerged that Hamilton became a member on the persuasion of his McLaren teammate Pedro de la Rosa, who is GPDA president.

It was subsequently reported not only that Brazilian Massa, 27, rejoined the body in 2009, but also that reigning world champion Hamilton and his close friend Sutil have finally become members.

Rookie Sebastien Buemi has also signed up, as has BMW-Sauber third driver Christian Klien.

The GPDA is designed to give an influential voice with F1's ruling authorities about the concerns of drivers, ranging from safety matters to issues such as the cost of their mandatory licenses.

Piquet admits frustration with Renault role
Aug.14 (GMM)  By the Italian and Spanish press, Nelson Piquet has been quoted as expressing frustration about his role alongside Fernando Alonso at Renault.

With pressure mounting on the 23-year-old Brazilian to show better in comparison to the former double world champion, Piquet reportedly admitted that the French team is built up around his Spanish teammate.

"I have a teammate that is quite strong and the team looks towards him," the European publications, including Spain's AS and Italy's Corriere dello Sport, quote Piquet as saying.

"I would like a situation in which the team looks towards me," he admitted.

We reported in the recent winter period that Renault was the only team that weighted the bulk of pre-season testing towards one race driver.

"Fernando wanted the most amount of time for testing and the team wanted it as well because they thought it was the fastest way to develop the car," Piquet agreed.

He also spoke about Renault's team boss, Flavio Briatore.

"He is not always right, and he can be very hard," Piquet said.  "You have to be able to ignore the bad things and absorb the good ones."

He recalls times, such as in Singapore last year, when the team exercised perfect strategy calls for Alonso while "all the crap happens to me".

Eddie Irvine once likened being Michael Schumacher's teammate at Ferrari for four years to being repeatedly hit over the head with a cricket bat.

"It is very hard, yes," Piquet agreed.  "I would say that it is almost just like that."

Renault to assess KERS benefit race-by-race
(GMM)  Renault has joined BMW in making decisions about deploying F1's controversial new KERS technology this season on a race-by-race basis.

Fernando Alonso said recently that the French team should consider whether using the heavy system was the right call in Australia and Malaysia.

In a team preview, the Spaniard now insists KERS was a "clear benefit" at the start of the race in Malaysia.

Technical director Bob Bell agrees, but he also backs Alonso in wondering in hindsight whether KERS should have been used by the team in Australia last month.

"As the year unfolds there will be circuits where it may be debatable whether running KERS is an advantage or not," he said.

"So we need to evaluate its merits on a race-by-race basis, but China is definitely a track where we should see a benefit," added Bell.

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