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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ride height saga shows Red Bull 'feared' - Vettel
  • Drivers part of Sauber's problems in 2010 - boss
  • Piquet tips former teammate Alonso for 2010 title
  • Hakkinen - look deeper before slamming 'boring' F1
  • Rosberg's girlfriend designing Lotus motor home
  • USF1/Brawn trucks seized and put on eBay
  • Michelin demands tire war for F1 return

Ride height saga shows Red Bull 'feared' - Vettel
(GMM)  The FIA's rule clarification about adjustable ride-height mechanisms has no impact on Red Bull, boss Christian Horner and designer Adrian Newey insist.

Following speculation that the ride-height of the RB6 car is somehow being altered between qualifying and the race, the governing body said last week that such a system would theoretically be a breach of the regulations.

But Horner says the FIA is "completely happy" with the car after detailed inspections, adding that it will be transported to China in an identical mechanical specification to the one raced to first and second places in Malaysia.

And Newey told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "We have neither an illegal, automatic system, nor a legal one like Ferrari's which allows an adjustment at the pitstops."

However, it also emerges that while Horner said recently he would welcome an FIA rule-tweak to legalize a ride-height change between qualifying and the race, Red Bull actually voted against the proposal.

Auto Motor und Sport said a second team also vetoed the rule change.

But the reason for Red Bull's veto reportedly has nothing to do with a secret system aboard the RB6, but instead the fact that its design is more efficient than its rivals with both high and low ride-heights.

The team's German driver Sebastian Vettel told Sport Bild magazine: "It is always the case in formula one that the fastest cars are observed closely by the competition.

"There is always speculation and it's actually a compliment, because it shows that we are feared," the 22-year-old added.

Drivers part of Sauber's problems in 2010 - boss
(GMM)  Part of the reason for Sauber's competitive struggle so far in 2010 is the drivers, according to boss and founder Peter Sauber.

In the wake of former owner BMW's withdrawal at the end of 2009, this year's C29 showed well during winter testing, but Sauber is now the only established team yet to score a single point.

Sauber, 66, has now admitted that the car was probably more lightly fuelled than its rivals during the pre-season, while also acknowledging that the "uncertainty" about the team's future, and the reductions in staff and budget, had an impact.

But in an interview with F1's official website, the Swiss also admitted: "I am convinced that the fact that both our drivers are new in the team plays a certain role."

Sauber signed long-time McLaren driver Pedro de la Rosa, as well as feisty Japanese rookie Kamui Kobayashi, for the 2010 season, but contrary to earlier reports, the pair have not brought any significant sponsorship to the team.

Sauber admitted: "The communication and cooperation between the drivers and engineers at the moment is not where it ideally should be.  That is not a criticism, just a sort of diagnosis."

He refused to say whether, with hindsight, he would make the same decision to sign Spaniard de la Rosa, 39, alongside 23-year-old Kobayashi.

"I do not want to touch on the issue of the drivers as it would be inappropriate.  I took this driver lineup decision, and the considerations that led to the decision are still valid.

"What we probably underestimated is the time it would take for the drivers' familiarization.  Pedro, after many years as a test driver, is now back racing and that acclimatization process is probably more challenging than we anticipated," said Sauber.

Piquet tips former teammate Alonso for 2010 title
(GMM)  Asked to nominate his favorite to win the 2010 world championship, Nelson Piquet said he would bet money on Fernando Alonso.

In the wake of last year's 'crashgate' scandal, the former Renault driver is now building a stock car career in America.

He has also raced stock cars in Brazil, and later this year will return to a European track when he drives a Ferrari 430 in the Open GT race at Barcelona.

In between stints in a Brazilian stock car last weekend, the 24-year-old Brazilian told Globo: "I cannot say that I will never return to formula one."

Piquet said he rates Alonso for the 2010 title after spending the 28 races of his entire F1 career as the Spaniard's teammate.

"He was such a good driver that, to try to get to his level, I had to push myself in ways I did not know even existed," he said.

Hakkinen - look deeper before slamming 'boring' F1
(GMM)  Formula one is not a sport of pure spectacle, according to its back-to-back world champion of 1998 and 1999, Mika Hakkinen.

In the wake of accusations that new rules have made the races even more boring than before, the 41-year-old Finn said it is wrong to judge F1 based purely on its appeal as a television event.

"People have to have a deeper and better understanding of F1 and understand what the driver is going through and what the teams are doing," said Hakkinen, who won 20 grands prix with McLaren and retired in 2001.

When the pure spectacle of the Bahrain season opener was slammed, fellow double world champion Fernando Alonso also defended his chosen sport.

"This (F1) is about technology, about how precise everything is in terms of driver, mechanics, engineering, everything.

"So people that want extra show, maybe they should reconsider whether they want to watch formula one," said the Ferrari driver.

Similarly, Hakkinen urges critics to look deeper before dismissing the pinnacle of motor sport.

"They should study it.  If you just turn on your television and watch the grand prix and watch people go around and around, it's boring and you change the channel.

"The more knowledge you have, the more interesting it is," he told the New Zealand newspaper Weekend Herald.

Rosberg's girlfriend designing Lotus motor home
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg's girlfriend is designing the interior of the new Lotus motor home.

Vivian Sibold, who is the 24-year-old Mercedes driver's long-time partner, studied interior design in New York and Milan and is now establishing her own business.

They live together in Monaco, and spent the weekend of the Malaysian grand prix together, as Sibold - whose family has been friends with the Rosberg family for years - is working on three-storey penthouses in Kuala Lumpur.

Another of her projects is the paddock presence of the new Lotus team, which will debut ahead of the European season next month.

"I've seen the plans and they're very cool.  It will be the new party-central of formula one," Rosberg told Bild am Sonntag.

USF1/Brawn trucks seized and put on eBay
(GMM)  Two transporters intended to move the USF1 team around Europe this year have been seized and are now for sale.

London's High Court issued the seizure order on behalf of a UK creditor, and the writ enforcement officer has placed the items on eBay.

"As a keen motor sport fan, it is certainly one of the more interesting seizures we've made," said David Carter in a statement.

"The trailers were recently bought from Brawn GP by the judgment debtor and really are something special."

Defunct USF1 had not even re-painted the trucks, so they still feature the Brawn GP logo and the words 'Jenson Button - 22' on the side.

Michelin demands tire war for F1 return
(GMM)  Michelin will only return to F1 next year if it has at least one tire supplier to compete against.

With Bridgestone pulling out as the official sole supplier, the French marque Michelin has admitted it is considering returning to the sport it left at the end of 2006.

It has been rumored that Michelin not only wants to be paid to supply 18-inch tires in 2011, but that it would welcome a rival competitor.

At the opening round of the 2010 Le Mans series at Le Castellet, a senior Michelin spokesman said: "Certain things have to be done, we must have competition, we do not want to be the only supplier."

Reports suggest that if the F1 rim size is increased to Le Mans-type specification as per Michelin's wishes, Yokohama and Dunlop may also be interested.

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