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Latest F1 news in brief
  • FOTA survey shows Schu most famous F1 driver
  • Hulkenberg 'tried too hard' in Bahrain - Barrichello
  • Red Bull not 'ridiculously faster' than Ferrari
  • Ricciardo is Red Bull reserve for all of 2010
  • Mercedes eyes 2.5 second pitstops in future
  • Kobayashi learned Albert Park on Toyota simulator

FOTA survey shows Schu most famous F1 driver
(GMM)  The first results of the latest formula one fan survey have emerged.

The survey was launched in early February with the backing of Formula One Management and the teams association FOTA.

"We would like to thank all those who took part and completed the survey.  The results will be published and used by FOTA to help it decide what changes need to be made to make F1 better for fans," reads the front page of the survey website.

It is believed that more than 90,000 fans answered the survey.

Full results have not yet been published, but it has emerged that Michael Schumacher was nominated as the best-known F1 driver with 19.5 per cent of the vote.

Next-best was Fernando Alonso with 9.7 per cent, followed by Kimi Raikkonen, even though the Finn has switched for 2010 to world rallying.

Hulkenberg 'tried too hard' in Bahrain - Barrichello
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg tried "too hard" during his grand prix debut in Bahrain last weekend, but Rubens Barrichello backs the young German to get up to speed.

22-year-old Hulkenberg, with A1, F3 and GP2 titles all under his belt, was outpaced in qualifying to the tune of a half-second by his Williams teammate Barrichello at the 2010 season opener.

After an early spin, Hulkenberg then finished a lap behind in the race, while the veteran Barrichello scooped the final point in the sister FW32.

Barrichello set the sixth fastest lap of the race, while Hülkenberg’s was nearly 2 seconds slower, and the youngster also lost time on the way into the pits.

"Sometimes, Nico wants too much," his manager Willi Weber is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Barrichello, 37, agrees: "Nico is a very good driver, but he is also very young.  In formula one you can try too hard.

"It was his first qualifying," added the holder of a record 289 grands prix.  "In qualifying it is not just about driving, but also your head, and this is what he has to get used to.

"It would be unfair to expect more," Barrichello said.

Red Bull not 'ridiculously faster' than Ferrari
(GMM)  Felipe Massa does not agree with Lewis Hamilton that Red Bull's car is "ridiculously" faster than the rest of the 2010 field.

Having finished third behind the Ferraris in Bahrain, after Sebastian Vettel's pole-setting RB6 dropped behind with a problem, McLaren driver Hamilton told British reporters at the weekend that the performance advantage enjoyed by Red Bull is "insane".

But Ferrari's Massa, who qualified just over a tenth behind Vettel in Bahrain, is not as downbeat as Hamilton about the pace of the Adrian Newey-penned Red Bull.

"In testing, the Red Bull might not have been the quickest car in terms of lap times, but I had noticed their pace over the longer runs had been very strong, so its speed in Bahrain qualifying was not a surprise.

"Overall, we were very similar and that reinforces the need to try and improve our car at every race through the season," said the Brazilian.

Massa believes Ferrari was even quicker in Bahrain than Red Bull on the harder of the two Bridgestone tires.

Ricciardo is Red Bull reserve for all of 2010
(GMM)  Red Bull's reserve drivers will not alternate their duties between the energy drink company's two formula one teams in 2010.

When Daniel Ricciardo and Brendon Hartley were confirmed as joint reserves earlier this year, a statement said the respectively Australian and New Zealand-born drivers will alternate "on a race by race basis".

This was interpreted to mean that at one race Ricciardo, 20, would be the potential substitute for Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, while Hartley stands to fill in for the Toro Rosso duo.

The reverse would then be true for the next event on the calendar.

But while it is true the pair can move freely between the Red Bull and Toro Rosso camps at grands prix, Dr Helmut Marko clarified that Ricciardo will be the reserve driver for Red Bull Racing throughout 2010.

Hartley, also 20, is therefore the full-time substitute for Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari.

"In a grand prix weekend our juniors do PR tasks, do visits for guests of Red Bull and need to attend all the technical meetings.

"It would make no sense if they switch back and forth, because the working practices of each team is slightly different," Marko, Red Bull's motor sport advisor, said in an interview with motorline.cc.

In fact, it is further believed that with Ricciardo the preferred reserve driver at Red Bull Racing, he would also substitute in the event that Buemi or Alguersuari is unable to race.

That means that Hartley would only be put to use in the unlikely event that a regular at both Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso is unable to race.

Mercedes eyes 2.5 second pitstops in future
(GMM)  Mercedes hopes to race ahead in the pitstop department starting with this weekend's Australian grand prix.

Team boss Ross Brawn has admitted that the W01 is not currently on the pace of the frontrunners, but that steps over the "next few races" should bring it closer to the lead.

But the German weekly Der Spiegel claims that the Brackley based team could immediately lead the pack in terms of the speed of its tire-only pitstops in Melbourne and beyond.

A newly-shaped front jack has been designed so that mechanics can get to work more quickly on removing the old wheels and fitting new ones.

Ahead of the Bahrain season opener, it emerged from Red Bull that the actual wheel-changing time was as short as 1.8 seconds, even though the total stationary time of a good pitstop was closer to 3.5 to 4 seconds.

A Mercedes spokesman confirmed that a sub-3.5 second pitstop was until now a "great result".

But in the near future, "2.5 seconds would be a realistic goal", he added.

Kobayashi learned Albert Park on Toyota simulator
(GMM)  In the wake of its withdrawal from formula one, and the lapsing of an arrangement with Stefan GP, there is still activity at Toyota's Cologne headquarters.

Sauber revealed in its official Australian GP media preview that Kamui Kobayashi, the Swiss team's new Japanese and Toyota-backed driver, learned the layout of the Albert Park circuit last week on the "Toyota simulator".

When it became clear after scrutineering for the 2010 opener in Bahrain that Stefan GP would not be racing, Toyota issued a media statement.

Stefan intended to race this year with Toyota's support and the Japanese marque's 2010 package, including a rebadged car and engine.

But with no entry for 2010, it is believed the Stefan/Toyota alliance therefore lapsed, with all the equipment sent to Bahrain set to be returned now to Cologne.

Toyota said on 12 March, the day of free practice in Bahrain, that its F1 factory now enters "a new era", with 200 staff still on site to serve "external clients".

As well as the driver simulator with "14 laser-mapped circuits", Toyota is offering for use its CFD capabilities, two wind tunnels, manufacturing machines and test rigs.

"We are excited by the challenges our various clients will bring us in 2010 and beyond," said executive vice president Yoshiaki Kinoshita.

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