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DATE News (chronologically)
04/01/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • No points for Toro Rosso on Tilke tracks - Alguersuari
  • Bigger 'shark gills' to help cool Ferraris at Sepang
  • Schu hits back after reports say comeback underwhelming
  • 'Shabby' Sepang eyes revamp to please Ecclestone

No points for Toro Rosso on Tilke tracks - Alguersuari
(GMM)  Toro Rosso is not likely to trouble the points-scoring ranks on the "predictable" circuits like Malaysia.

That is the admission of Jaime Alguersuari, who battled throughout last Sunday's Australian grand prix with Michael Schumacher but ultimately lost the final championship point to the seven time world champion.

But ahead of this weekend's event at Sepang, which was the first of the modern breed of Hermann Tilke-designed circuits in F1, the 20-year-old Spaniard is not confident of a repeat of his Melbourne battle.

"At the permanent circuits, especially the wide, safe and predictable Tilke ones, right not we are not able to score," said Alguersuari, who was just a 1-year-old baby when Schumacher made his grand prix debut in 1991.

Quoted by the Spanish agency Europa Press, he added: "But I am convinced that we are close and soon we will have aerodynamic improvements that will help us make a good step."

Bigger 'shark gills' to help cool Ferraris at Sepang
(GMM)  The first major evidence of Ferrari's push to improve the cooling efficiency of its 2010 car can now be seen in the team's pit garage at Sepang.

Boss Stefano Domenicali vowed to improve the F10 after both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa's engines had to be changed due to heat stress after qualifying for the season opener in Bahrain.

"The temperature of the engine is the result of the aerodynamics of the car, so we have to work on that in order to make sure that we don't have any more of these kinds of issues for the next hot races," he said.

Although rain is forecast in Malaysia this weekend, the ambient temperatures are nonetheless certain to be high, and Ferrari confirmed that the red cars "will have some updates aimed at dealing with the unique characteristics of this event".

The most obvious change is to the engine cover, which now features much more pronounced 'shark gills'.

The (smaller) gills were present in Bahrain, but not at all during the cold winter testing period.

Schu hits back after reports say comeback underwhelming
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher bristled in Malaysia when asked whether failing to record higher than a sixth place finish on his return to F1 so far has been "disappointing".

"Why?" the seven time world champion told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, where in rainy conditions on Wednesday he demonstrated last year's Brawn car in Mercedes colors in the shadow of the famous Petronas Twin Towers.

"That is what people like to see at the moment, but it's not what I see," the 41-year-old German added.

Schumacher was outqualified by Nico Rosberg, whose points tally is more than double that of his famous teammate, in both Bahrain and Australia.

In response to reports that his comeback has been underwhelming so far, the German said: "I'm sorry that my opinion is different to what some media feel I should be happy with or not happy with.  But it's a free opinion from everybody.

"I am quite happy.  I have made the maximum out of my possibilities and from what we can do," he added.

His Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn backed Schumacher by insisting a two or three-race readjustment to F1 following three years of retirement is "normal".

And Norbert Haug, the German marque's racing director, agreed that during that readjustment period, Schumacher is not being disgraced by Rosberg, whose four-year F1 career has included the three seasons in which Schumacher was absent.

"I think (Nico) is one of the highest-rated guys of the current generation," Haug is quoted as saying by the Sun.

"Michael is missing three years of these four (Rosberg) years but he is here to be competitive.  We have one of the strongest driver pairings in the field," added the German.

F1's youngest driver Jaime Alguersuari spent much of the Melbourne race last Sunday fighting with Schumacher, but the 20-year-old Spaniard is not expecting to be on the same section of track as the winner of 91 races later in 2010.

"I think he will end the season in the top group," the Toro Rosso driver told AS newspaper.

'Shabby' Sepang eyes revamp to please Ecclestone
(GMM)  Malaysia's F1 venue is "tired" and needs a "revamp", track boss Razlan Razali admitted at the Sepang circuit.

It was the first of the new wave of Hermann Tilke-designed tracks to join the formula one calendar, but the inaugural event now dates back 12 years.

Razali told the Singapore newspaper Today that, for example, the rooves of the unique grandstands are in need of major repairs after years of exposure to the weather.

"We need to revamp the whole circuit," he admitted.  "The membrane on the roof of our main grandstand has already outlived its usefulness and has to be replaced.

"We are still 'version 1', but I am not saying Sepang should be like Abu Dhabi, which is already 'version 1001', but at least our track needs to get on par with Shanghai and Bahrain," said Razlan.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said three years ago that the track had become "shabby", but there have been only minor renovations.

Razali said the cost of bringing Sepang up to Ecclestone's expectations is more than $60 million.

"Without it (the money), we have been able to improve only the paddock area, which Bernie usually frequents.

"But, seriously, lots more need to be done, there are cracks here and there that need patching," he added.

He said the Malaysian government was fully supportive of the grand prix for the first "four or five years" but then "lost interest".

"Maybe with the change in leadership, some ministries did not think Sepang and motor sport were important to Malaysia," said Razali.

Government officials visited the track last week.

"It is a good sign," said Razali.  "I think with Lotus F1 on the grid and our very own Fairuz Fauzy in the team, interest from the government is returning.

"Should they approve our request for funds, we can get to work immediately and get Sepang up to speed by next year."

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