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DATE News (chronologically)
04/02/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Red Bull 'concerned' about mirrors rule tweak
  • Herbert may also be steward later in 2010
  • Alonso happy with other teams' disputes
  • Alonso does not back Todt 'protocols' rumors
  • Fauzy not sure about future 'Friday' appearances
  • More Red Bull reliability scares in Sepang practice
  • Friday news briefs from Malaysia
  • 4pm and it's raining again at Sepang!
  • F1 mirror ban delayed until Barcelona

Sebastian Vettel
Red Bull 'concerned' about mirrors rule tweak
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has confirmed reports that Red Bull is "concerned" with the FIA's banning of outboard-mounted mirrors ahead of the forthcoming Chinese grand prix.

Like some key rivals including Ferrari - but not McLaren or Mercedes - Red Bull has been asked by the governing body to attach mirrors to the cockpit sides rather than far away from the driver on flimsy aerodynamic mountings.

Asked if he is worried about a recurrence of his recent reliability troubles this weekend, German driver Vettel is quoted as responding to the Independent newspaper: "We are much more concerned that from the next race we'll all have to run the mirrors inboard and our car is losing quite some performance due to that."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa said he does not think driver visibility needed improving.

"For me, I have no problem," he told Spain's AS newspaper, "but I don't think we are going to lose anything by moving them from one place to another."

Force India is another team that will need to move its mirrors.

Herbert may also be steward later in 2010
(GMM)  Johnny Herbert has indicated he might repeat his role as the driver-representative in the F1 stewards' room later this season.

Writing from Malaysia in his column in the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, the 45-year-old Briton said he "may well do others (races) during the season".

He fully backed FIA president Jean Todt's initiative, which so far in 2010 has also seen Alain Prost and Tom Kristensen act as a fourth steward.

"I think it is a really good idea as it can only bring a more informed view to why a driver tried to make a certain maneuver or tried to pass someone at a certain point on the circuit, and can only add more credibility to the decision-making," said Herbert.

Herbert won three grands prix during his F1 career spanning 165 races until 2000.

His last role in F1 was as sporting relations manager with Jordan and Midland in 2005/6.

Alonso happy with other teams' disputes
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has admitted he would have no problem if rival teams like McLaren and Red Bull continue to have disputes.

Earlier this season, Red Bull's Christian Horner questioned the legality of McLaren's F-duct system, but Martin Whitmarsh returned the favor in Melbourne last week by suggesting the RB6 features an illegal ride-height adjustor.

"It is true that all of these things can only be good for our team," Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who is leading the world championship from his teammate Felipe Massa, is quoted as saying by La Stampa.

However, it should also be noted that paddock rumors in Malaysia indicate that the F10 car is also somehow regulating the ride-height between qualifying and the races.

But Alonso said he is not particularly worried about the legality of any cars.

"Normally everything on the cars is legal, otherwise it is dealt with very quickly by the Federation," the Spaniard is quoted as saying by Italy's Tuttosport.

Alonso does not back Todt 'protocols' rumors
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has refused to back Jean Todt's reported decision to publish a list of local "protocols" prior to each grand prix.

In the wake of Lewis Hamilton's brush with police in Melbourne, prompting Mark Webber to slam the "nanny state", race promoter Ron Walker revealed that Todt will respond by issuing to teams a "list of what can be done in this country and the rules and regulations for the (other) places they visit".

Ferrari driver Alonso is quoted as saying by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport that he thought Todt's rumored reaction is "completely exaggerated".

"I don't know what happened with Hamilton, but if a 25-year-old guy is driving a sports car and makes a bit of noise with the tires, and then we talk about it for a week and then make a 'protocol' list, I think that's an exaggeration," said the Spaniard.

Alonso, 28 - who was also captured by a mobile phone video camera speeding through the Melbourne streets last week - said it would not be right if the GPDA issued any sanctions against Hamilton.

"No, it's a personal situation and I don't think we (the Grand Prix Drivers' Association) need to say anything," he added.

As for his own Melbourne indiscretion being captured and posted on YouTube, Alonso said: "The internet is a very good thing and also very bad; there are people who use it for the wrong reasons."

Fauzy not sure about future 'Friday' appearances
(GMM)  Fairuz Fauzy is not giving anything away about whether he might make more appearances as Lotus' Friday driver in the 2010 season.

In front of his and the new team's home crowd at Sepang, the 27-year-old covered 19 laps in the green T127 car, with race regular Heikki Kovalainen sitting out the 90-minute opening practice session.

It had been rumored that the Malaysian would also appear in Bahrain and Australia, and it is now rumored that he may make more appearances later this year.

"Right now, I just know what I'm supposed to do and I want to do it well.  I'm not thinking about anything else," he is quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

Fauzy and Lotus' presence at Sepang on Friday, however, did not seem to have had a significant impact on poor spectator numbers, despite the track being open free of change to the public for the first day of practice.

He urged his countrymen to support Malaysia's new presence in F1.

"We have a Malaysian team now and now is the time they should come and feel a part of this whole thing," he said.

More Red Bull reliability scares in Sepang practice
(GMM)  Following his reliability problems in Bahrain and Australia, back-to-back pole sitter Sebastian Vettel had another scare during opening practice for Sunday's Malaysian grand prix.

The German, who ultimately posted the ninth fastest time of Friday's first 90-minute session, returned slowly to the pits at one stage after reporting that his Red Bull behaved "as if the brakes (were) stuck".

Mechanics worked on the RB6 and Vettel eventually returned to the track, and team boss Christian Horner told Germany's Sky that the problem had been a "slight hesitation" from the Renault engine.

Earlier in the session, Vettel's teammate Mark Webber returned to the pits with an apparently overheating car, as the bodywork appeared burned.  But Horner said the Australian's "cooling systems look fine".

Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari also reported a "problem with the (Ferrari) engine" during initial practice, but it is believed the glitch was actually located in the electrics.

Michael Schumacher's mileage was also limited due to an hydraulics problem.

Friday news briefs from Malaysia
(GMM)  Renault's rookie Russian driver Vitaly Petrov is wearing a black armband this weekend, in the wake of the subway bombings in Moscow.

-

Lotus' technical boss Mike Gascoyne was presented with a cake at the Sepang circuit on Friday, as he is celebrating his 47th birthday on the initial day of practice for the Malaysian grand prix.

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Jenson Button was drenched by the downpour late on Thursday afternoon at Sepang, as he was doing his circuit walk -- without an umbrella!

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Toro Rosso marked April Fool's Day by issuing a press release about the conversion of its redundant fuel rigs into giant ice-cream dispensers.  Nico Hulkenberg, meanwhile, posted a story on his official website about changing his name for marketing reasons to 'Nico Hulker'.

-

HRT is running a revised fuel tank system in Malaysia this weekend.  "It prevents the movement of the fuel when accelerating and especially under braking," Bruno Senna told Brazil's Globo.  "In Bahrain and Australia, it was like having a 150 kilo fat man dancing on the car at the start."

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Reserve driver Nick Heidfeld has not had any laps in Mercedes' current F1 car, but he did get some time this week at the wheel of the marque's famous 1954 W196R during a street demonstration in Kuala Lumpur.  Germany's Bild newspaper said the silver car is valued at EUR26 million.

Sepang Pit Lane
4pm and it's raining again at Sepang!
(GMM)  Sepang's tendency to host torrential rain in the late afternoon held true once again on Friday.

After the 180 minutes of practice throughout the first official day of the Malaysian GP event, it began to rain heavily around 4pm.

That is precisely the time at which qualifying and the grand prix are scheduled to begin on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

F1 mirror ban delayed until Barcelona
(GMM)  F1 teams have been given more time to adjust to the new ban on outboard-mounted rear view mirrors.

It emerged in Malaysia on Thursday that this weekend's race at Sepang will be the last for the sort of mirrors seen on the Red Bull and Ferrari cars.

In Australia last week, veterans Rubens Barrichello and Pedro de la Rosa led the calls for better driver visibility, with mirrors increasingly integrated on flimsy aerodynamic bodywork mounted away from the cockpit sides.

But Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel said his team is "concerned" about the ban, which according to Thursday's reports was to come into effect ahead of the next race in Shanghai later this month.

But because the McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus, Virgin, Toro Rosso and Renault teams are not at all affected by the ban, the topic was apparently a bone of contention as bosses met at Sepang on Friday afternoon.

We reported speculation on Thursday that the fuss being made about mirrors may have been part of an effort to haul in the dominant pace of the Red Bull cars.

Red Bull and Ferrari, as well as Williams, Force India, Sauber and HRT, have now been given until the Spanish GP next month to remove the offending mirror designs.

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