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DATE News (chronologically)
02/18/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I agree 100% with Max Mosley and Jackie Stewart's comments (below) regarding the fatality at the Winter Olympic Games. Athletes crash, fall, and miss in all sports. That's why we have devices such as helmets, restraints, padding, catch fencing, and the multitude of other protective efforts put forth to protect competitors.  To allow an unrestrained occupant of a 90 mile per hour vehicle to impact a bare metal post standing only a few feet from the course is inconceivable. Speed was not the issue. It would have been the same result if he was going 60 miles per hour or even less. We learned in automobile racing many years ago that walls, trees, and other obstacles need to be padded or removed and that the vehicles must be kept inside the course if at all possible. We use guardrails and well designed fences. In Vancouver, what if the sled had left the track and hit one of the spectators/officials peering over the edge. Let's put the blame where it belongs and not on a world class athlete who pushed himself to the limit.

Stephen Olvey, M.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
Division of Neurocritical Care
Director Neuroscience Intensive Care
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Founding Fellow FIA Institute for Motor Sports Safety

02/18/10
  • Di Resta to test again in Barcelona
  • More rain expected for Thursday's Jerez testing
  • Hakkinen not considering F1 comeback
  • New Ferrari better than 2009 Renault - Alonso
  • Schu 'clever' to cancel 2009 comeback - Andretti
  • Mosley, Stewart, slam luge safety standards
  • Vettel rues F1's refuelling ban
  • De la Rosa says offshore 2011 testing 'irresponsible'

Di Resta to test again in Barcelona
(GMM)  Paul di Resta will drive Force India's new car again at the last test of the pre-season.

The 23-year-old Scot, recently signed as the Silverstone based team's reserve and Friday driver for 2010, drove the VJM03 at Jerez on Wednesday.

He will have a busy year, continuing to race in the German touring car championship DTM and driving in practice at every grand prix except the new event in Korea.

Di Resta's running on Wednesday also qualified him for a mandatory FIA super license, and he will return to the Mercedes-powered cockpit in Spain next week.

"I'll be back in the car in Barcelona and am looking forward to it already," he said.

More rain expected for Thursday's Jerez testing
(GMM)  After intermittent rain disrupted the opening of Wednesday's Jerez test, the weather is expected to be even worse on day two.

"The forecast (for Thursday) is not really encouraging," Ferrari's Felipe Massa acknowledged after braving the slippery conditions alongside 11 of his peers on Wednesday.

Also frustrated on Wednesday was Pedro de la Rosa, the Spanish veteran who is desperate for some dry running in order to cast out the rust of his seven years on the test bench.

"Last week (at Jerez) we had some very bad days, and it seems like it is going to be raining tomorrow (on Thursday)," he said.

Wednesday was another very bad day in the short history of the Virgin team, whose VR-01 circulated just 10 times all day due to an "elusive hydraulics problem".

In Timo Glock's hands, the Cosworth powered car was slower even than the brand new Lotus, despite the T127 not yet featuring power steering due to "supplier issues".

The system will be up and running when Heikki Kovalainen tries the car for the first time on Thursday.

Some lap times were lost forever when Jerez's official timing system crashed on Wednesday, but Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull recorded the fastest recorded time of the day.

Meanwhile, reserve drivers Paul di Resta (Force India) and Fairuz Fauzy (Lotus) circulated enough to qualify for their mandatory FIA super licenses.

Hakkinen not considering F1 comeback
(GMM)  Mika Hakkinen has ruled out following his contemporary Michael Schumacher back onto the formula one grid.

The Finn, who like Schumacher is 41 and a former multiple world champion, retired in 2001, five seasons before his German title rival called it a day.

Asked by Gulf News' Xpress if he has considered re-joining Schumacher in F1, Hakkinen answered: "No I did not, because I knew with formula one, you need a massive commitment from your life.

"You cannot just go there to think this is my hobby, you really have to work hard," he added.

Hakkinen said he is confident Schumacher is fully committed to his comeback.

"In my case, I looked at all those elements and I know how hard the world of formula one is.  At the moment my life is fulfilled with being ambassador for different companies like DHL, Laureus, Mercedes, AMG, the list is long," he said.

"It would first be a case of (there being) no time (to make a comeback), and it would be more to lose than gain," said Hakkinen.

New Ferrari better than 2009 Renault - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has updated his cautious appraisal of Ferrari's new car by admitting it feels better than his 2009 mount.

The Spaniard has switched to the famous Italian team from Renault, the scene of his back to back title wins of 2005 and 2006.

Renault endured an awful 2009, suffering the spiraling consequences of the crashgate scandal and finishing the constructors' championship eighth of the ten teams with its R29 car.

But 2009 was also a season to forget for Ferrari.

Alonso, 28, was cautious about assessing the new F10 when he drove it recently at Valencia and Jerez.

But he admitted to France's Auto Hebdo: "I felt the differences between it and the 2009 Renault.

"There was obviously more downforce!" Alonso is quoted as enthusing.

"But I am not going to say now that it is capable of fighting for victories and the world title.

"Before the first race, everyone is optimistic and I'd rather wait a bit.

"The new rules are in their second year, the double or now triple diffusers have become widespread, and I want to see what the others have done," he added.

Schu 'clever' to cancel 2009 comeback - Andretti
(GMM)  1978 world champion Mario Andretti says Michael Schumacher was "very clever" to call off his formula one comeback last year.

The 41-year-old German, who will in 2010 return full-time with Mercedes GP, agreed to fill in for Felipe Massa last year following the Ferrari regular's crash in Hungary.

But before the Valencia race in August, Schumacher said he could not drive as scheduled due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle testing crash some months earlier.

69-year-old Andretti, however, believes the seven time world champion called off the Ferrari comeback for other reasons.

"I was a little bit disappointed that he didn't come back last year," he said in an interview with Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell.

"But that he did not (return then) was a wise decision for many reasons; he had never been to Valencia before, Ferrari's was not the best car, he didn't know the tires.

"Altogether, very clever," said Andretti.

The Cologne publication Express scolded Andretti for apparently not believing that it was Schumacher's injured neck that prevented his 2009 return.

"Mr. Andretti: take care before making distant diagnoses from America," read the report.

Mosley, Stewart, slam luge safety standards
(GMM)  F1's foremost champions of safety have slammed the governing body of the winter Olympic sport luge.

After young Georgian competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili died in a violent crash at the Vancouver games last week, Max Mosley and Sir Jackie Stewart blamed the safety standards of the high speed sport.

"The International Luge Federation (FIL) is where formula one was 40 years ago -- the whole mindset is wrong," Mosley, the former long-time president of F1's governing FIA, told The Times.

Mosley hit out at FIL and Canadian Olympic officials' attempt to say driver error caused the crash, in which the 21-year-old died of head injuries after he left the luge course and struck a metal girder.

"Instead of seeking to blame an accident on driver error, they should be seeking to minimize the probability than an error will lead to a tragedy," said the Briton.

Former triple world champion Stewart said the sport has been lucky not to suffer more serious injuries and deaths.

"Clearly it was almost impossible for the luger to miss hitting one of the metal girders on the edge of the racing line because of the angle at which he came off," said the Scot.

"Had it been motor sport, there would have been a debris fence to stop a sled or a rider from coming into contact with those sort of structures," Stewart added.

Vettel rues F1's refuelling ban
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has warned that F1's refuelling ban may lead to less exciting races in 2010.

The 22-year-old German, a championship favorite who was quickest at Wednesday's Jerez test in the new Red Bull car, said not allowing mid-race pit stops for additional fuel could make it harder for chasing drivers to catch up.

"It means there are far fewer strategic options," Vettel told Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell.

"As long as you can drive away in front, the new rules are fine.  But if you start further back, you will be missing some of the tactical components that refuelling allowed," said the 2009 championship runner-up.

De la Rosa says offshore 2011 testing 'irresponsible'
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa has criticized moves to take next year's winter pre-season testing offshore.

With this winter's entire testing schedule slashed to just 15 days in February, some teams - notably Ferrari - are ruing the persistent rain at Jerez.

"Next year it would be more efficient to go in another warmer and drier country for (pre-season) testing," the Italian team said this week.

But while also admitting to frustration about the lack of dry running as he prepares to return to the F1 grid full-time, Spaniard de la Rosa said the sport's moves to "strongly reduce costs" should take precedence.

"We have to stay in Europe and southern Spain is the best place for tests," the 38-year-old is quoted as saying by the Spanish language Motor21 website.

"Speaking now of (testing in) Bahrain, of exotic places, to me is irresponsible," he added.

De la Rosa also spoke against proposals to extend next week's final test in Barcelona.

He said doing that would require unanimity, "and that is impossible; one more day is more expensive, and there are teams that cannot afford it".

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