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Latest F1 news in brief
  • No 'will' to reform F1 says FIA figures
  • Sauber to drop 'BMW' name this season
  • Massa 'not an enemy' after Bahrain pass - Alonso
  • Mercedes denies it didn't want to supply Red Bull
  • Vettel to practice with Bahrain engine in Melbourne
  • Rosberg expects one Mercedes on Melbourne podium

No 'will' to reform F1 says FIA figures
(GMM)  Formula one lacks the "will" to make sweeping changes to address the problem of the sport's flagging spectacle, according to two prominent figures of the governing body FIA.

When expectations about the 2010 season were sky high, the Bahrain season opener last weekend was highly criticized after a mainly processional race.

But Peter Wright, a veteran engineer and long-time FIA technical consultant, predicted that the problem is not yet severe enough to motivate substantial reform.

"It's like climate change, it's got to be bad before it can get better," he is quoted as saying in an AP report.

"It's got to get bad enough for people to actually have the real will to do things that they wouldn't normally do," added Wright, whose experience dates back to roles with BRM and Lotus.

Another technical consultant Tony Purnell, who left the FIA earlier this year, is more critical of a formula that is not designed to stage good racing.

"The root cause is that the cars are not good racing cars, the formula is badly designed," said the former Jaguar boss, who was central to Max Mosley's failed attempt to cap budgets.

"The will to please the public really isn't there," he added.

"The sad thing is that there are solutions but no one is really brave enough or forceful enough or probably convinced enough that they will do anything about it.

"When they look at the politics of change they all just groan and say 'well, I don't want to fight that battle'," said Purnell.

Carlos Gracia, the Spanish motor racing federation chief and FIA vice president for sport, insists F1 should wait three more races before assessing the success or failure of the 2010 rules.

"It's clear that Fernando's overtaking of Massa (in Bahrain) was spectacular and he was planning an attack (on Vettel) in the closing laps," he told the Diario AS newspaper.

"Pedro also gave us a show with Kobayashi.  You can not assess regulations with a single race."

Sauber to drop 'BMW' name this season
(GMM)  Sauber has indicated it will apply to drop the 'BMW' from its official team title at some point during the 2010 season.

Although keeping the same name despite the withdrawal of its former owner, Sauber revealed a new red logo and name - Sauber Motorsport - in the days before last weekend's 2010 season opener.

The 'S' logo and new name was also featured on the engine cover of the Ferrari-powered C29 car in Bahrain.

The acronym of the famous German luxury carmaker, included in tiny letters on the nose of the C29, was retained in order to fully benefit from the commercial rewards of the team's sixth place in the 2009 world championship.

But the result is the awkward FIA constructor designation as BMW Sauber Ferrari, and team boss and founder Peter Sauber said a week ago that the timing of a name change "is still open".

But the 66-year-old Swiss is now quoted as saying by autocar.co.uk: "It (the name change) will happen some time this season."

Massa 'not an enemy' after Bahrain pass - Alonso
(GMM)  After a winter of warnings about Ferrari's new "Latin" driver combination, even an overtaking move at the first race did not threaten the apparent harmony between Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Alonso, the Italian team's new Spanish driver with two titles already under his belt, passed Massa from third on the grid at the first corner in Bahrain and went on to win the race.

But Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo played down the significance of the move.

"The team comes first, before the two drivers," he is quoted as saying by Spain's El Pais.

Alonso, 28, played down claims the pass on Massa was important, in order to "throw down a marker" to his Brazilian teammate.

"I think it is not very important," he answered.  "First of all, he's not an enemy, maybe a rival but not an enemy.

"And of course Felipe - with the same car - there will be races that one of us will win and some races that the other will win," added Alonso.

The Italian press does not entirely agree, with La Stampa noting that Bahrain was a demonstration that Alonso "wants to be the boss".

Mercedes denies it didn't want to supply Red Bull
(GMM)  Mercedes has denied Helmut Marko's claim the German marque "didn't want" to supply Red Bull with engines in 2010.

Dr Marko, the motor sport advisor to Dietrich Mateschitz, said this week that Mercedes rejected Red Bull's approaches because "they knew that if we had that engine, they wouldn't see us (on the track)".

But a Mercedes spokesman told the Cologne newspaper Express: "McLaren was (our) exclusive partner and did not agree.

"Mercedes would have leased its engine to Red Bull, and these facts are well known to Red Bull," the spokesman added.

The spokesman also rejected Austrian former GP driver Marko's claim that Mercedes has eked out an unfair engine advantage despite the freeze on performance development.

"Everything that our engineers do is strictly in conformity with the regulations and with the knowledge of the FIA.  The FIA would gladly confirm this," he added.

Vettel to practice with Bahrain engine in Melbourne
(GMM)  The Renault engine with which Sebastian Vettel limped his Red Bull to fourth place in Bahrain last weekend will be fitted to the German's car at the beginning of the forthcoming Australian grand prix.

A faulty spark plug in the unit caused the 22-year-old, who had started from pole position, to relinquish his lead to all three eventual podium sitters at Sakhir on Sunday.

It is the believed the engine itself was not damaged, and it will be used in Friday free practice in Melbourne, according to Germany's Auto Bild Motorsport.

Current F1 rules permit the use of eight engines for the entire 2009 season, with no engine needing to be used for qualifying and the race at consecutive events.

Red Bull is therefore expected to fit a fresh engine for Vettel ahead of qualifying in Melbourne, with the Bahrain unit to return to the RB6 probably at a less arduous event in 2010.

Rosberg expects one Mercedes on Melbourne podium
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg does not expect both Mercedes drivers to be podium contenders at next week's Australian grand prix.

The 24-year-old German was faster than his famous teammate Michael Schumacher all weekend in Bahrain, and in the race they duly finished in fifth and sixth places.

Referring to the next stop of the calendar in Melbourne, Rosberg told Bild newspaper: "The track is better suited to us than Bahrain.

"We want our first podium," he added.  "I do not think that we will both be on the podium, but one of us could do it."

Rosberg is quietly delighted at being able to outpace Schumacher's sister car in Bahrain, although it must be noted that it was the 41-year-old's first grand prix in more than three years.

"I am happy that I came to the finish line ahead of Michael," said the former Williams driver, who like Schumacher also made his Mercedes race debut at Sakhir.

"This is a super-duel between us that will get even tougher.  It is important to beat your teammate because he's driving the same car as you," added Rosberg.

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