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DATE News (chronologically)
04/19/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Massa unhappy with Alonso after pit entry clash
  • Ecclestone insists Spanish GP will go ahead
  • Sauber not yet pointing fingers at Ferrari
  • Red Bull eyes Spain debut for F-duct
  • Brawn baffled by Schumacher's Chinese burn
  • Ecclestone tells drivers to 'stop moaning' about Hamilton

Massa unhappy with Alonso after pit entry clash
(GMM)  Felipe Massa was not happy with his Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso in the wake of Sunday's Chinese grand prix.

With Alonso facing the prospect of queuing in the pitlane for service behind the sister Ferrari, he overtook the Brazilian on the pit entry road, forcing Massa to take avoiding action on the grass.

Stefano Domenicali said afterwards that he only saw the incident later in a video replay, but Italian reports say the team's boss threw his hands into the air when he saw the pass on the pitwall live.

The Italian said it had been "just a racing incident", and played down suggestions of "problems" between the Latin pair.

But Brazilian reports said Massa was visibly upset with Alonso as they emerged from their cars in parc ferme, and reportedly only raised his eyebrows before refusing to comment when asked if he thought the Spaniard's move was rude.

And he told Brazil's Globo: "Alonso put his car next to mine and, when I saw him, I knew that we could have an accident.  So I thought about the team and it made me lose more than three places.

"Of course I'll talk to him," Massa, 28, added.

Alonso, now three places ahead of former title leader Massa in the drivers' standings, played down the incident.

"If he was not my teammate, there wouldn't be so much talk about it and for me it was a normal move and it definitely won't compromise our relationship," he said.

Ecclestone insists Spanish GP will go ahead
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed claims that next month's Spanish grand prix could be cancelled.

It was confirmed on Monday that this weekend's Japanese round of the MotoGP series has been called off due to the travel disruptions caused by the volcanic ash above Europe.

And football games on Thursday between Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, and Hamburg and Fulham, could also be scratched, with UEFA to make a decision "in the coming days".

Mercifully for F1, there is now a rare three-week break between Sunday's Shanghai round and the opening of the European season in Spain.

But with the hundreds of tons of freight, including the cars, stranded at Shanghai airport - while F1's six 747 jets are grounded in Europe - it is currently impossible to predict when the team factories will be reunited with their equipment.

"The main concern is getting the engines back because they have to be worked on," F1 chief executive Ecclestone told the Times.

"But I am sure everything will be all right," said the 79-year-old, who despite having a private plane in Shanghai is currently unable to return to Europe.

"We know there will be a Spanish grand prix, we just don't know where yet," he joked to another reporter in China, adding that his plan-B is "suicide".

"There is no question of cancelling the Spanish grand prix," he insisted.  "Of course, it is causing everybody problems, but we will find a way to get everyone home."

The movement of F1's actual people is less problematic, albeit expensive: several teams - including Ferrari and McLaren - are organizing private charters on Tuesday or Wednesday into Spain, where some major airports are still landing planes.

The personnel will then return to their respective team headquarters by bus.

Other F1 people have diverted to Dubai or even as far afield as the US, in the hope of finding another air route back to Europe.

As for the freight, the end of the air chaos could even be nigh, after British Airways, Air France and KLM tested planes in European skies without problems, and Niki Lauda's airline conducted a test with an Airbus A320 from Vienna to Salzburg.

"The flight was the best ever, with blue skies.  I don't understand what all the fuss is about," said the triple world champion.

Sauber not yet pointing fingers at Ferrari
(GMM)  Despite Sauber suffering yet another engine failure in China on Sunday, the fingers of blame did not immediately point in Ferrari's direction.

After engine overheating problems in Bahrain, Fernando Alonso's retirement and two Sauber failures in Malaysia, and then a practice blow-up for Alonso in Shanghai practice, the 2.4 liter unit in de la Rosa's C29 then expired in the early stages of the Chinese grand prix.

Having dodged the strategy chaos to be running fourth, the failure was particularly bitter for the Spaniard and the struggling Swiss team.

"The team and the driver did everything right," Peter Sauber told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Ferrari didn't mention the failure in its official post-race report, while Sauber said de la Rosa suffered a "technical failure" with a cause that "still needs to be analyzed".

Said new technical director James Key: "It is engine-related but we can't say whether it's a specific engine problem or a problem related to the chassis."

As for the currently uncompetitive C29 car, Key admitted his early impressions were not all good.

"It's a very well-built car, but there are some areas that we need to work on," the former Force India man is quoted as saying.

Red Bull eyes Spain debut for F-duct
(GMM)  Red Bull could be the next team with an 'F-duct' type system running on its 2010 car.

After McLaren pioneered the initially controversial innovation, Sauber, Ferrari, Williams and Mercedes have subsequently been tinkering with their own systems at recent races, with varying success.

It was rumored in Shanghai that Red Bull, Renault and Force India are now close to having F-duct systems ready to add to their respective cars.

Red Bull's Christian Horner said the RB6 could be equipped with a downforce-spoiling system in Barcelona, "providing we make it back to Europe" amid the volcanic-ash air travel disruptions.

Meanwhile, it also emerges that the system running on Mercedes' W01 car in China might be referred to as an 'F-duct light', given that a more extreme version could debut in Spain.

The Shanghai version did not channel air through the engine cover, but rather from underneath the car, with the flow then flicked aerodynamically into a slot in the rear wing.

A system with a cockpit inlet adjustable by the driver was not seen in China but it could be ready for Turkey late next month, said team boss Ross Brawn.

He told Auto Motor und Sport that the China version brought about a tenth per lap, and that the full-blown system will be worth several tenths.

Fernando Alonso also suggested that Ferrari's "full version" will only be ready for a grand prix "later".

Brawn baffled by Schumacher's Chinese burn
(GMM)  Ross Brawn admits to being baffled by Michael Schumacher's Shanghai struggles.

While marginally outpaced by teammate Nico Rosberg also in the first three races of his 2010 comeback, the seven time world champion was seven tenths slower in Chinese qualifying and then a minute behind at the checkered flag.

So slow was Schumacher that Mercedes' Norbert Haug suspects a chassis flaw, telling the German press on Sunday evening that a new W01 will be supplied to the 41-year-old in Barcelona.

"Give us a chance to look at that (theory) and we can come up with a good explanation," he said.

Team boss Brawn, who in the past worked with Schumacher also at Benetton and Ferrari with astonishing success, admitted after China that the German's "pace is a problem".

The Briton told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "Michael's problems are difficult to understand.

"It's not the difficult corners, but the technically simple ones (where he is struggling).

"Until now he has been getting closer and closer to Nico, so what happened in China is totally against the trend," added Brawn.

Ecclestone tells drivers to 'stop moaning' about Hamilton
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has told Lewis Hamilton's rivals to "stop moaning" about the on-track tactics of the 2008 world champion.

The McLaren driver's weaving in front of Vitaly Petrov in Malaysia was a theme throughout the Chinese GP weekend, discussed at length in the media and in the drivers' briefing by many of Hamilton's opponents.

The 25-year-old - as well as Sebastian Vettel - was then reprimanded by the stewards in Shanghai for a pitlane incident, but it was Vettel who complained, saying afterwards that Hamilton "was keen to touch me".

Referring to the Sepang weaving saga, Hamilton told reporters in China that he did not understand "why everyone was fussing about it".

Asked if he thought the issue was overblown, he answered: "Yeah -- they seemed to be talking about it for some time."

F1 chief executive Ecclestone also thinks Hamilton's rivals should focus harder on their own driving.

"What are they talking about?" he is quoted as saying by the Mirror.  "Isn't this sport all about racing?

"I thought Lewis had a fantastic race.  He drove really well and they should stop complaining and get on with the racing.

"I loved watching his performance in Sepang.  I bet the fans did too.  It (the reaction) was a whole lot of moaning about nothing," Ecclestone added.

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