Latest F1 news in Brief UPDATE A reader adds, Dear AR1.com, We have seen now with both McLaren two years ago and Renault last year that Alonso more than likely does bring a substantial talent to the team in being able to work with the engineers and technical staff to develop the car into a winner. It will be interesting to see as this year progresses if he can apply this magic touch yet again to Renault. I suspect that they will improve as the year goes on better than the rest and we will once again see that Alonso plays a big part in this equation. That, coupled with the fact that he is an awesome race driver bodes well for his future with Ferrari if this rumor turns out to be, as suspected, a fact. This cannot be lost on the Formula One fraternity. Additionally, Hamilton's behavior vis-à-vis Ron Dennis this year also highlights the suspicion that Alonso was not the real troublemaker at McLaren, and in fact, Hamilton was the one who stirred up the mess that ensued (can you say "Hungary"?). Sure, Alonso reacted poorly but can you blame the guy? He hasn't been a troublemaker anywhere else in his career and I suspect that Hamilton was much to blame for the disharmony that ensued at McLaren.
Finally, wouldn’t it be interesting if when Vettel's contract expires with Red Bull this year, McLaren (particularly, Mercedes) snatches up the uber talented German driver? What would become of Hamilton? Would he go elsewhere or stay and pull the same antics towards Vettel, but with Dennis gone ironically, I doubt the effect would be similar to what we saw at McLaren with Alonso. It would be great to see Vettel beat Hamilton in an identical car. Ralph Monroe
- Ferrari needs Alonso not Raikkonen - Coulthard
- Hamilton will 'never forget' Dennis' input
- Comments 'not criticism' of McLaren - Haug
- Merc eyes role as sole KERS supplier
- No signage for Mercedes' customer teams
- Bourdais 'too negative' says Alain Prost
- Vettel 'not for sale' - Mateschitz
- Red Bull confirm Monaco target for diffuser
- Gascoyne wants to oust Jordan from BBC
Ferrari needs Alonso not Raikkonen - Coulthard
(GMM) Ferrari's fortunes may rise again "if and when" Fernando Alonso joins the famous Italian team.
That is the opinion of David Coulthard, who in his column for the Daily Telegraph newspaper was less than complimentary about the contribution to a formula one team of his former McLaren teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Maranello based Ferrari is enduring its worst start to a season since 1981, having attended the first three races of 2009 without collecting a single point.
"I don't know Felipe Massa that well, so I can't really comment too much on him, but Raikkonen is a former teammate of mine and the Finn has never shown me he can lead a car's development," Coulthard, now attending grands prix as Red Bull's reserve driver as well as a pundit for British TV, wrote.
"Sure, he has blistering natural speed, but I suspect Ferrari will improve dramatically if and when Fernando Alonso arrives," the Scot added.
It is an open secret in the F1 paddock that Alonso, who currently drives for Renault, has signed some sort of document that could see him move to Ferrari in 2011 or even sooner.
38-year-old Coulthard is not only worried about Ferrari's driver lineup, but also the managerial setup in the period following the departure of imperious boss Jean Todt.
"Team principal Stefano Domenicali is a young, approachable and thoroughly nice man. In formula one, those ingredients do not always work," said the veteran of nearly 250 races.
"His McLaren counterpart, Martin Whitmarsh, may well be suffering from a similar problem. Are these two young, able team leaders tough enough?" Coulthard wonders.
"Kimi Raikkonen would never have been wandering about the pits with a choc-ice and a coke, as he was in Malaysia when the race was still technically in session, had Todt still been in charge," he observed.
Hamilton will 'never forget' Dennis' input
(GMM) After expressing a less than shining tribute to his departed mentor Ron Dennis in China, Lewis Hamilton now insists the 61-year-old is an "incredible man".
Surrounded by reporters in Shanghai, the reigning world champion's assertion that he was "surprised" but "not disappointed" about Dennis' decision to pull away from the McLaren team entirely did not go down well with the British press.
But in an interview subsequently posted on his official website this week, the 24-year-old had more to say about the impact of the man who invested in him as a youngster and groomed him all the way into a Mercedes-powered F1 debut.
"We all owe him more than we could ever repay him for building this great team," the Briton said.
Hamilton also seemed to address speculation that Hamilton is being non-committal about the health of his long-term allegiance to the Woking based squad, with father-manager Anthony reportedly furious about his family's tarnished image amid the 'lie-gate' scandal.
Referring again to Dennis, he said: "Both my family and I are going to do our best to continue the progress we have made over the past two seasons with the team and hope that we can continue to make him proud of having invested in me.
"I was 12 when I first met Ron and, without his vision, I would not be here. I'll never forget -- and neither will my family."
Comments 'not criticism' of McLaren - Haug
(GMM) If McLaren is not in a position to win grands prix this season, that is not the fault of engine and equity partner Mercedes-Benz.
That was the message this week of the German carmaker's motor racing chief Norbert Haug, after Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen put just 4 points apiece on the board in the first three races of 2009.
"If everything was working in the way our KERS and engine is working, we would be fighting for the title," Haug said from Stuttgart.
He insisted, however, that his comments "are not a criticism" of the McLaren team, despite the fact that everything except the engine and KERS is produced at Woking.
Haug admitted: "On the aerodynamic side we could have done a better job."
Merc eyes role as sole KERS supplier
(GMM) Like BMW, Mercedes-Benz may also be interested in becoming the sole supplier of standard KERS systems in formula one next year.
FIA president Max Mosley is not keen on the idea of standardizing the energy re-use technology, but it was reported last month that BMW might be eager to take up the FOTA alliance's plans for a common KERS next year.
BMW-Sauber is not even using KERS on both its cars at present: a strategy that makes little sense to Mercedes' racing chief Haug.
From Stuttgart on Tuesday, Mercedes' Norbert Haug said it is "surprising" that despite BMW's total enthusiasm about implementing the technology this year, only German rival Mercedes has so far been totally committed to using it at races.
As for FOTA's eagerness for a standard KERS solution from 2010, he added: "We would have interest in being the supplier."
No signage for Mercedes' customer teams
(GMM) Mercedes-Benz powers six of the 20 cars on the F1 grid this year, but only two of them carry the branding of the Stuttgart marque.
When asked if the customer Brawn and Force India cars might at some point bear the famous German name, or the three-pointed star, racing chief Norbert Haug answered in the negative.
"That could be the wrong signal and look opportunistic," the German said.
Championship leaders Brawn GP were only able to receive Mercedes engines this year with special FIA dispensation, due to the rule about manufacturers supplying a single customer team.
While customer Brawn excels, Mercedes' works partner McLaren is just fourth in the championship as it struggles with the MP4-24.
Haug revealed: "McLaren's people have said to us, 'give us a chance. We want to pull ourselves up in the next five or six races in the same way that we earned the number 1'."
Bourdais 'too negative' says Alain Prost
(GMM) France's only formula one driver Sebastien Bourdais is "too negative", according to quadruple world champion Alain Prost.
Despite achieving immense success in American Champ Car racing, 30-year-old Bourdais has comparatively struggled as he begins his second season with Toro Rosso.
Last year, his teammate Sebastian Vettel was the Italian team's standout performer, while in 2009 F1's only rookie Sebastien Buemi is already turning more heads than the bespectacled Frenchman.
Bourdais strongly bemoaned the last two wet races, including last weekend in China, when he said the race should not even have started.
Moreover, after saying last year's STR3 didn't suit his driving style, he has told the press this week that the new Toro Rosso is even less to his liking due to the harder Bridgestone tires.
But countryman Prost is not impressed with Bourdais' rhetoric, believing the complaint about the Shanghai rain was just "one more excuse".
"Toro Rosso actually went very well in the rain," the winner of 51 races told French radio Europe 1.
"I think it is more the fact that he could not make do, especially in relation to Buemi," Prost, 54, surmised.
"One gets the impression with him that he begins to look at things in a negative way very quickly," he said of Bourdais.
"It's not my place to attack him," Prost acknowledged, "I am just trying to explain it. I appreciate his reservations about the rain. It is more to do with his negativity."
Vettel 'not for sale' - Mateschitz
(GMM) Dietrich Mateschitz is delighted with Red Bull's driver lineup, insisting it is among the very best on the formula one grid.
The team owner's comments follow Mercedes boss Norbert Haug's confession this week that he would like to see Shanghai winner Sebastian Vettel in a McLaren "some day".
German Vettel, 21, is under contract until next year.
"Besides Ferrari, we have with Vettel and Webber absolutely the strongest driver pairing in the field," Mateschitz, 64, told the German newspaper Bild.
And as for rivals' interest in Vettel, the Austrian billionaire added: "At the moment Sebastian is not for sale."
Red Bull confirm Monaco target for diffuser
(GMM) Red Bull's plan is to introduce a 'double diffuser' by next month's Monaco grand prix, designer Adrian Newey and racing advisor Helmut Marko have confirmed.
"Adrian is working hard. If all goes to plan, our car will be ready (with a new diffuser) for Monte Carlo," Marko told the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
Many teams are pushing to introduce the concept earlier than Monaco, including Renault and McLaren, who already had early versions running in Shanghai last weekend.
Ferrari is heading for a Barcelona debut, while BMW is in a similar position to Red Bull in needing to substantially revise the rear of the car to accommodate a double diffuser.
"Given the design of RB5, it's not the easiest task getting it to fit the car," said Newey. "The unique feature of the Red Bull cars is the pull-rod rear suspension, which is a good solution when you don't have a double diffuser.
"Getting it to work with the diffuser will be more difficult. It will certainly involve a lot of work. We won't have a double diffuser before Monaco," the Briton confirmed.
Gascoyne wants to oust Jordan from BBC
(GMM) Mike Gascoyne is eyeing a regular role as an expert pundit for Britain's television coverage of formula one.
The former Renault, Toyota and Force India technical boss, ousted by the latter team at the end of 2008, substituted in Shanghai for BBC regular Eddie Jordan.
Former team owner and boss Jordan will be back in the role this weekend in Bahrain, but Gascoyne was a hit with both producers and viewers as he sparred with fellow pundit David Coulthard in China.
The Daily Mail quotes Briton Gascoyne, formerly perhaps the highest paid engineer in formula one, as revealing that feedback from his one-off appearance was "brilliant".
The newspaper said Gascoyne, who is also keen to get back into the sport as an engineer, now wants to replace Jordan permanently.
"(He) is making no secret of his ambition to usurp EJ, who will be back for the Bahrain GP," the Daily Mail said.
Gascoyne worked for Jordan between 1998 and 2000, before departing for the Benetton/Renault team.