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DATE News (chronologically)
03/30/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Burnout car for sale as Hamilton puts Aus behind him
  • Schu's blocking suspicion 'nonsense' - Alonso
  • Horner insists title not over for Vettel
  • Technical rows 'part of the game' - Domenicali
  • Lotus to unveil new Malaysian sponsor

Burnout car for sale as Hamilton puts Aus behind him
(GMM)  Despite Lewis Hamilton being crassly branded a "d**khead" by the local roads minister, the car he used to do burnouts before it was seized by police outside Albert Park last Friday is now a sought-after item.

A Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman said "more than half a dozen" phone calls have been made by dealers on behalf of potential buyers for the $150,000 silver C63 AMG.

He confirmed that McLaren paid the fee to have the car released from the police garage on Monday.

On the same day, the British team's 25-year-old driver said he was no longer angry about being told to make an extra pitstop last Sunday, despite saying on the radio that it was a "freaking terrible idea".

"The team has explained to me their reasoning behind the second pitstop, and I can understand what they were trying to do in trying to cover both Mark and Nico for later in the race," said Hamilton.

Interestingly, Sauber's C29 car was hailed in the pre-season for being the kindest on its tires, but Pedro de la Rosa late on Sunday was ruing the decision not to make a second tire pitstop.

"In the end I really had no rear tires left.  I was absolutely helpless when Michael and Jaime came in the end to overtake me," said the Spaniard.

Hamilton, meanwhile, is now relaxing in Malaysia, relieved that the burnout saga and the fallout of the botched race strategy will soon be replaced by the buildup to this weekend's grand prix.

"It was an interesting weekend.  I am glad to be back in Malaysia and to be having a bit of space," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"It wasn't a great few days in Australia," Hamilton admitted.

He denied that the events are proof that he needs to quickly appoint a replacement for his former manager Anthony Hamilton.

"I'm leaving it for a while.  I am happy at the moment.  It's a big transition, and I have a lot of good people around me.  There is no need to rush," said Hamilton.

Schu's blocking suspicion 'nonsense' - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has revealed that Michael Schumacher suspected he deliberately held up the German during qualifying in Melbourne.

With their helmets on and Alonso still in the cockpit of his Ferrari, the pair had been spotted in animated discussion in Albert Park's 'parc ferme' area.

Schumacher, formerly a five-time champion with Ferrari, explained to reporters that he had asked the Spaniard "whether the team had told him (he was on a flying lap) and he said no."

In an interview with Germany's spox.com, Alonso adds: "Yes, he thought I had held him up intentionally on his fast lap.  But that's nonsense.

"I could not see him in the mirrors and there was no info on the radio.  So I was only able to move over after he was already there."

Also in the wake of the Australian GP, many of Alonso's Spanish supporters were scathing of Ferrari's decision not to move aside Felipe Massa so that the championship leader could challenge Robert Kubica for second place.

Stefano Domenicali has confirmed that team orders are no longer in the team's armory, and Alonso told Spain's El Pais newspaper that he did not want to upset his boss.

"If it was another driver I would have tried, but it's difficult to fight with your teammate," he said.  "I thought of the boss and did nothing strange."

Horner insists title not over for Vettel
(GMM)  According to Niki Lauda, Red Bull could look back on the first two rounds of 2010 and rue precisely where the team blew the world championship.

Back-to-back pole sitter Sebastian Vettel left Melbourne on a direct flight to Malaysia on Monday, after retiring from the lead of the Australian grand prix with a wheel-mounting problem caused by a loose wheel nut.

Two weeks earlier, also whilst leading in the dominant RB6, he dropped to fourth place with a failed spark plug.

"There will be consequences," triple world champion Lauda told the German newspaper Bild, in an article headlined "Vettel mad at his Schrott (Scrap)-Bull".

Added Lauda: "Red Bull can forget the title."

But team boss Christian Horner has urged Vettel's fans not to "panic", arguing that it is not the end of the world for the 22-year-old to be travelling to Kuala Lumpur with a 25-point title deficit.

"We know we have got a fast car and I would far rather have a fast car than a slow car.  It's a long season," the Briton is quoted as saying by The Sun.

"There is still a long way to go and the season will have many different twists and turns," added Horner.

Technical rows 'part of the game' - Domenicali
(GMM)  Stefano Domenicali insists that a new technical row will not threaten the harmony of the formula one teams' alliance FOTA.

After Red Bull dominated qualifying in Melbourne last Saturday, McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh suggested the RB6 might be hiding a controversial adjustable ride-height system.

But Red Bull's Christian Horner hit back by issuing an "absolute guarantee" that Whitmarsh, who is also the new FOTA chairman, is wrong.

Tension between those two teams was already high, after Horner blew the lid on McLaren's 'F-duct' innovation that is now in the process of being imitated by many in pitlane.

FOTA, then headed by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, survived last year's double diffuser row, but in 2009 their harmony was arguably tied together by the bitter political war with the FIA.

But with that war over, Ferrari boss Domenicali was asked if the new scuffles might now threaten FOTA's unity.

"On the technical side, I have nothing to say, because the Federation (FIA) must be the arbiter in these situations," the Italian is quoted as saying by Tuttosport.

But he added: "It is part of the sport -- putting pressure on the other teams and what they're doing," added Domenicali.  "It's just a part of the game."

Lotus to unveil new Malaysian sponsor
(GMM)  Lotus is expected to shortly confirm a new sponsorship deal with Maxis, a leading Malaysian mobile network.

The logo of the Kuala Lumpur based company, whose headquarters is the impressive Maxis Tower near the Petronas Twin Towers, was seen on the front nose of the green T127 car at an event on Tuesday.

The branding was not on the cars driven by Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen in Melbourne last weekend.

But the deal is likely to be confirmed this week, as the team embarks on a busy round of promotional activities leading into its home race.

The Maxis logo was seen on the front nose assembly in Kuala Lumpur, at the launch of the new Lotus-branded Proton Satria road car.

Headed by Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, Lotus was disappointed when state oil company Petronas decided to sponsor Mercedes' new team in 2010 and beyond.

Lotus' other third party sponsors are the well-known American news network CNN, and the London clothing label Hackett.

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