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DATE News (chronologically)
04/05/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Renault says Hamilton weaving should have been punished
  • Press hails Hamilton, Alonso, after Sepang struggles
  • HRT must look beyond finishing races - Senna
  • Rivals still rate struggling Schumacher
  • 'Lucky' F1 needs to fix boring formula - Ecclestone
  • Ferrari and Sauber engine problems not related
  • Ferrari to race F-duct 'as soon as possible'
  • Sepang promises track improvements for 2011

Renault says Hamilton weaving should have been punished
(GMM)  Renault team boss Eric Boullier believes Lewis Hamilton should have received an actual penalty for weaving during Sunday's Malaysian grand prix.

During the McLaren driver's battle with Vitaly Petrov, Hamilton made four or five weaving maneuvers on a single straight in order to prevent the Russian rookie from passing him.

According to the rules, drivers may only make one defensive move, and then another before the brazing zone to return to his racing line.

The incident, successfully enabling Hamilton to stay ahead of Renault's Petrov, was reported by the race director to the stewards during the Sepang race.

But the 2008 world champion was merely warned, and shown a black and white flag for bad conduct.

Renault did not mention the weaving in its official press release, but Boullier is quoted as saying by Spain's AS newspaper: "We have expressed our opinion (to the FIA).  The warning was not enough."

The newspaper also quoted Ferrari test driver Marc Gene as describing Hamilton's driving as "wrong", while Virgin tester Andy Soucek said the Briton should have penalized "absolutely, without any doubt".

And former Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson told BBC radio: "I don't know what Lewis was doing, weaving all over the track.  I think he thought he was playing a Playstation rather than real life."

Press hails Hamilton, Alonso, after Sepang struggles
(GMM)  Alex Wurz told the Austrian broadcaster ORF that Lewis Hamilton's dash from 20th on the grid to 6th at the flag, while his McLaren teammate Jenson Button only moved from 17th to 8th, made him "the man of the race".

The British press therefore put the 25-year-old's Melbourne weekend woes in the past, with the Daily Star newspaper applauding his "superb drive" in Malaysia.

The Sun said Hamilton can now "lay claim to being the world's best driver", the Daily Mail said he had been the "best in the show", and the Times crowned him "a one-man entertainment industry".

The Sunday Express said Hamilton "performed near the height of his powers" at Sepang, while Mercedes' Norbert Haug issued a two-sided compliment by congratulating Force India's Adrian Sutil for staying ahead of his British friend.

"If there is someone who will attack unconditionally, it is Hamilton," said the German.

But Hamilton said he is pushing McLaren to iron out its mistakes and pave the way for better grid starting positions.

"Unfortunately, we are leaving us drivers with a lot to do," he said.  "I don't know how many of these (sorts of races) I can do."

Fernando Alonso, who eventually retired with an engine failure, was also praised for keeping up the pace despite an obvious gearbox problem.

"It was tough to say which (Hamilton's or Alonso's) was the most impressive performance," said the Telegraph, while Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the Spaniard was the race's "quiet hero".

"When I am older, I think I will say that my best race was Malaysia 2010," Alonso told the Spanish press.

HRT must look beyond finishing races - Senna
(GMM)  Finishing races is good, but not good enough, Bruno Senna said after Sunday's Malaysian grand prix.

Having barely survived the winter, and then making its track debut in Bahrain without any prior testing, the fact that HRT's Senna and Karun Chandhok both reached the checkered flag in Malaysia was hailed by boss Colin Kolles as a "fantastic day".

But rookie Senna, 26, told Globo: "Everyone is happy (with the double finish) because it is a feat for a team that did not have any testing and started the season with so many problems.

"But we cannot stay content just to finish.  The car was very bad under braking," said the Brazilian.

Virgin, famously with too small a fuel tank, was also happy just to get Lucas di Grassi across the line, with technical boss Nick Wirth saying "fuel saving techniques" were deployed "to excellent effect".

Much less happy was Rubens Barrichello, however, whose lapped Williams was not competitive throughout the Sepang weekend.

"I'm smiling, because otherwise I would be crying in the corner," joked the veteran.

Rivals still rate struggling Schumacher
(GMM)  F1's new generation is convinced that Michael Schumacher still has what it takes to succeed in formula one.

Three unexceptional races into his 2010 comeback, the most successful driver in the history of the sport is struggling to motivate a positive review from the world's press corps.

Seven time champion Schumacher, 41, retired early in Sepang with a missing wheel nut, but 24 hours earlier he was outqualified for a third consecutive time by his teammate Nico Rosberg, who went on to achieve Mercedes' first podium of the season.

"I was pacing myself," Schumacher is quoted as saying by the Sun newspaper.  "I am not a magician.  I need more races."

And to Germany's Bild, he added: "Personally, I am on schedule, but we are not where we want to be with the car.  When I was world champion, I always had the car to make me world champion.

"But we're not so far away, as Nico has shown," said Schumacher.

2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton is convinced the great German will soon be back on the pace.

"In a very short time he will be an extremely difficult opponent for all of us," the Briton said in the German press.

Rosberg, 24, told Bild newspaper: "I have the strongest teammate in formula one.  If I'm equal with him at the end of the season, it will be a success for me.

"It was always clear he would take a few races, as he's been gone for three years, which is a damn long time," the German added.

And when asked by Spain's El Pais in Malaysia to name the best current drivers in F1, Fernando Alonso replied: "It's hard to say.

"Hamilton, Kubica, Vettel, Massa, Schumacher."  But when asked if he thinks any of those five are quicker than him, the Spaniard answered: "I think not."

'Lucky' F1 needs to fix boring formula - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Even though Melbourne and Sepang hosted two exciting races within eight days, Bernie Ecclestone believes F1 still needs to implement changes.

After the debut of the sport's new refuelling ban era produced a highly-criticized processional race in Bahrain, rain is taking at least some of the credit for the better spectacles witnessed at the next two races in 2010.

Before sodden Sepang shook up the grid order for the Malaysian GP, F1 supremo Ecclestone met with team bosses on Friday to discuss the problem of boring races.

"Don't be fooled," the 79-year-old is quoted as saying by the Telegraph.  "We have been lucky with the rain.  We have got to do something.

"For the first time the teams have realized that they have to do something about it.  We don't need reverse grids, we just need more overtaking," said Ecclestone.

Asked what could be done, he suggested F1 should "make the front wing smaller and get rid of the double diffuser".

Ferrari and Sauber engine problems not related
(GMM)  A cursory look back at the opening three races of 2010 would seem to indicate a major engine reliability problem for Ferrari.

As well as his gearbox glitch during Sunday's race, former championship leader Fernando Alonso retired in Malaysia with a spectacular engine failure.

Both Ferrari drivers also had to change engines in Australia, and before he even got to the grid in Malaysia, Pedro de la Rosa's Ferrari-powered Sauber stopped at the side of the track.

The sister C29 of Kamui Kobayashi also retired in Malaysia with an engine failure.  Both Ferrari units had been fitted new on Saturday.

But it has emerged that Sauber and Alonso's engine problems on Sunday were not related.  The Swiss team said the fault was actually caused by the car's pneumatic system, while Alonso's problem was a sudden engine failure.

"In this regard, we believe we have the situation with the engines under control," said Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali.

Ferrari to race F-duct 'as soon as possible'
(GMM)  Back at Maranello, Ferrari is hard at work to emulate the success of McLaren's so-called 'F-duct' downforce-spoiling innovation.

On the British team's 2010 car, the once-controversial solution - with the drivers controlling a flow of air through to the rear wing with their left knee - passed scrutineering at the Bahrain season opener.

At the next race in Melbourne, Sauber's similar system made its first appearance, amid reports that Red Bull, Force India, Williams and Mercedes were also working on F-ducts at their respective factories.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said after Sunday's Malaysian grand prix that Ferrari is also working on a version for the F10.

"We have seen that the advantage (of the system) is very, very big," said the Italian, referring to the straight-line speed advantage enjoyed by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

"We will bring it to the races as soon as possible, once we are sure that it is 100 per cent," added Domenicali.

Sepang promises track improvements for 2011
(GMM)  Some improvements to the ageing Sepang circuit will be ready ahead of the 2011 Malaysian grand prix.

The track's boss Razlan Razali admitted last week that the Hermann Tilke-designed venue has not had any significant upgrades since it first hosted formula one in 1999.

As long as three years ago, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone described Sepang as "shabby", and Razali admitted that he would like to spend $60 million on bringing the track up to the standard of Bahrain and Shanghai.

Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Rarak was at Sunday's race, and given a garage tour of the new Malaysian-owned Lotus team by Ecclestone.

Track chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir then said Sepang is planning to build a new support paddock, new hospitality suites, and fix the leaking roof of the main grandstand.

"We have promised FIA that we will have those facilities ready so it will be more comfortable for the teams, participants and spectators," he is quoted as saying by the local Star newspaper.

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