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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Webber not angry about Hamilton's quit comments
  • Ferrari not ready with McLaren-type air system
  • Coulthard expects to agree 2010 DTM race deal
  • Tom Kristensen to be F1 driver steward in Australia
  • FIA asks Bridgestone to tweak tire offerings
  • Hamilton 'simply faster' than Button - Ecclestone
  • Di Resta paddles with shark before F1 debut
  • Kubica, Alonso, Schumacher defend F1 'show'

Webber not angry about Hamilton's quit comments
(GMM)  Red Bull's Mark Webber on Thursday said he was not angry despite Lewis Hamilton telling the media in Melbourne that he might retire at the end of 2010.

2008 world champion Hamilton, who drives for the rival McLaren team, said 24 hours earlier that he gets "the sense" that Webber, 33, would quit if successful at the wheel of the highly-competitive RB6 car.

"He has the best chance to end on that high this year and I wouldn't be surprised if he is considering it," said Briton Hamilton, 25.

Webber on Thursday denied he is thinking about retiring, and contrary to expectations he was not upset about Hamilton's comments.

"I have no intention of retiring whatever kind of season I have," he said at Albert Park.

"It's Lewis' opinion and he's free to have that.  I've not got a big problem with what he said.  I'm very happy at the moment.  It's a good situation for me."

Ferrari not ready with McLaren-type air system
(GMM)  With Sauber preparing to try a McLaren-style air inlet system in Melbourne, Ferrari has revealed it is not ready to race a similar innovation on its F10 car.

Designer Nikolas Tombazis told Turun Sanomat that he thinks the knee-operated system contravenes the spirit of the rules, but nonetheless praised it as an "ingenious solution".

"We are building a similar one, but we do not know if or when we will finish it," he is quoted as saying by the Finnish publication.

Pioneered by McLaren, the British team's MP4-25 was controversially cleared to race by stewards in Bahrain two weeks ago.

Some observers were surprised that Sauber had managed to so quickly design and implement a copy, but the Swiss team's driver Pedro de la Rosa on Thursday admitted that he knew about McLaren's incoming system when he left the British team as test driver.

"I knew basically what they (McLaren) were thinking about," said the Spaniard, "but this is our system.  It is a different, Sauber system."

Coulthard expects to agree 2010 DTM race deal
(GMM)  David Coulthard has hinted he is close to agreeing a deal to race with Mercedes in the German touring car series DTM in 2010.

After a couple of tests with the marque, it was suggested the Scot's move might have been thwarted by the strained relationship at present between Mercedes and Red Bull.

"The only thing left to do is to sit down with Norbert Haug to complete the final details," said the former grand prix driver, who turns 39 on Saturday.

It was suggested Red Bull, with whom Coulthard is seen at grands prix, was unhappy after Mercedes recently inked a sponsorship contract with rival energy drinks brand Monster.

But Coulthard suggests that his DTM ride is still on.

"Maybe I will get a chance this weekend in Australia to try to talk to him (Haug).  Failing that, it will be before the (DTM) season opener in Hockenheim (in late April).

"A handshake is enough for me to seal an agreement," added the Scot.

Dutch press reports said Coulthard will continue to travel to the grands prix as an expert pundit for British television.

Ralf Schumacher has now signed up for another DTM season, and other F1 names in the 2010 series are McLaren reserve Gary Paffett and Force India's Friday driver Paul di Resta.

Tom Kristensen to be F1 driver steward in Australia
(GMM)  Tom Kristensen has been named as the driver representative on the F1 stewards panel at this weekend's Australian grand prix.

After Alain Prost took up the duties in Bahrain two weeks ago, now it is the turn of Kristensen, a famous Danish sports car driver at Le Mans.

The 42-year-old's actual F1 experience is limited, including test driver roles with Minardi, Tyrrell and Jaguar, and with Michelin as the French supplier prepared its F1 foray with a Williams car in 2000.

But he has won Le Mans no fewer than 8 times, and was a champion in F3 before racing in F3000 and DTM.

FIA asks Bridgestone to tweak tire offerings
(GMM)  According to rumors in the Albert Park paddock on Thursday, the FIA has asked Bridgestone to consider supplying a more extreme selection of tires at future grands prix.

The news follows an intense media period for formula one in the wake of the 2010 opener in Bahrain, which was slammed for being too processional after a winter of hype.

It has been suggested that more extreme tire offerings might open up more options in terms of race strategy, after an early single pitstop was the order of the day in Bahrain.

But F1's most experienced active driver, Rubens Barrichello, refused to blame Bridgestone for the narrower front tires that he said have made overtaking nearly impossible.

"It's not the weakness of the tire, its the weakness of the rule," the Brazilian said in Melbourne.  "We need more mechanical grip, its the only solution.

"Its very dodgy to overtake a car in front because we don't have the front tires," he added.

Bridgestone's Hirohide Hamashima on Wednesday said "safety is the overriding concern" in the process of selecting compounds for grands prix.

The supplier has already locked in its selection of compounds until the Turkish GP at the end of May -- which is five races after Sunday's second round of the 2010 calendar.

"I hope there is something (changed), but first of all I think we need to wait four or five races before we actually take a conclusion on how it is," said Barrichello.

Hamilton 'simply faster' than Button - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he was not surprised when Lewis Hamilton outpaced F1's new reigning champion in Bahrain two weeks ago.

Much has been written about the new pairing at McLaren, with many observers predicting that Jenson Button will need a few races to get up to speed with the team's incumbent Hamilton.

But in a joint interview involving both Hamilton, 25, and the F1 chief executive, Ecclestone seemed to indicate that he expects the gap between the British pair will remain.

When asked by Germany's Sport Bild if he was surprised to see Hamilton in front of Button in Bahrain, Ecclestone answered: "I would have been very surprised if he (Hamilton) was not."

Why?  "Because he is quite simply faster."

Not surprisingly, Ecclestone's comments were not included in the English-language transcript of the interview posted on the official website F1.com.

But in both German and English-language versions, the 79-year-old was not shy to make his feelings clear about the likely travels of F1's three new teams this season.

When Hamilton said "never say never!" when Virgin's title prospects were discussed, Ecclestone quipped: "In this case I can (say never).

"I don't think that the new teams will raise their performance significantly over the season," he added.

Di Resta paddles with shark before F1 debut
(GMM)  Within two minutes of Paul di Resta's first beach visit in Australia, he was within meters of a seven-foot shark.

Paddling in the shallows at St Kilda beach, located near Albert Park, Force India's rookie 'Friday' driver pointed out the shark to his teammate Tonio Liuzzi.

"It was quite big, within about six feet of us," the 23-year-old Scot is quoted as saying by The Sun.

"It doesn't give you much confidence to go in the water!"

The shark encounter, with plenty of photographers and reporters in tow, ensured some national news bulletin coverage around Australia.

Now set to experience the piranhas in the F1 paddock, di Resta - who will be in Adrian Sutil's VJM03 on Friday morning - admitted that he hopes his new role leads to a full-time race seat in 2011.

"This year is about gaining experience on the tracks so if a drive comes up I am in the scenario without thinking of it too much," he said.

Kubica, Alonso, Schumacher defend F1 'show'
(GMM)  Three leading formula one drivers on Thursday leapt to the defense of formula one, after a fortnight of criticism about the "show" in Bahrain.

After a winter of unprecedented hype came together at the Sakhir season opener, many pundits, journalists and even drivers slammed the spectacle of the processional race.

Chiefly blamed was the new ban on refuelling and the thinner front tires, as many called for immediate rule changes such as an extra mandatory pitstop or more radical tire compounds.

But Renault's Robert Kubica said at Albert Park on Thursday: "From a show point of view, I don't think it (Bahrain) was worse than it was last year.  It was the same."

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso also argued that the new rules have not changed the "show", despite initially saying after winning in Bahrain that qualifying and the starts will determine the outcome of races in 2010.

In a team media document earlier this week, he described those sorts of comments as "hot headed".

In Melbourne, he defended F1, insisting Bahrain had been a "normal" race for the sport, and denied that a second mandatory pitstop will make a big difference.

"This (sport) is about technique, about how precise everything is in terms of the mechanics, the engineering, everything.  People who want extra show perhaps need to reconsider if they want to watch formula one," said the Spaniard.

Michael Schumacher had been another to initially criticize the Bahrain spectacle, but at Albert Park he echoed Alonso's insistence that overtaking has always been rare in F1.

"If a football match is 0-0, is it boring?" said the seven time world champion.  "If a basketball game is 100-100, is it exciting?

"Formula one is not motorcycle racing, it's not basketball.  Formula one has always had less overtaking.  The excitement is still there for the fans," said the German.

Schumacher, 41, said it is not right to say F1 is now less exciting than it was two decades ago.

He made his debut in 1991, and said on Thursday: "Tell me when there has been more overtaking.  Formula one has always had this situation."

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