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DATE News (chronologically)
05/03/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Klien eyes F1 return with new manager
  • Rosberg 'close' to maiden F1 win - Brawn
  • Schu motivated as more rumors predict comeback collapse
  • Grosjean not happy with new Silverstone layout
  • Alonso would repeat 'risky' Massa passing move
  • Rookie lineup 'a disadvantage' for HRT - Kolles
  • No anti-Hamilton 'witch hunt' insists Webber
  • Full Mercedes F-duct not ready for Spain

Klien eyes F1 return with new manager
(GMM)  Christian Klien has begun working with a new manager.

The former formula one driver is Peugeot's Le Mans reserve this year, after a career spanning 48 grands prix and recent stints as test driver with departed Honda and BMW.

Austrian Klien, 27, wanted to return to the grid in 2010, and was previously managed by his father Johannes.

"Already last year it became obvious that talent and speed are by far not a guarantee for a permanent race seat in the current economic climate," said the former Red Bull and Jaguar racer.

It is believed Klien was in the running for the HRT 'Friday' driver role that instead has been secured by Sakon Yamamoto.

"On two occasions I missed out on a contract literally last minute because other drivers had a more attractive sponsor package to offer," said Klien.

He did not confirm reports that he was among the drivers considered by hopeful Serbian team Stefan GP.

"In formula one you normally do not talk about unlaid eggs.  It may always weaken somebody's position in ongoing negotiations," insisted Klien.

"I would like to ask for everybody's understanding that I refuse to comment on anything the rumor mill spits out.  As a matter of fact we are in talks with several teams on a regular basis," he added.

Klien's new manager is German 28-year-old Roman Rummenigge, of the Rummenigge Sport Marketing company.

Rosberg 'close' to maiden F1 win - Brawn
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg will soon notch up the first victory of his formula one career, team boss Ross Brawn predicts.

The 24-year-old German finished on the podium just twice during his four-year tenure with Williams, but within four races has already finished in the top-3 twice at the wheel of a Mercedes.

"Nico is very close to winning a race," Brawn told the Daily Star newspaper.

"Things just need to fall into place -- but that will come.  I am sure he'll do it.  Definitely," he added.

Rosberg, whose Finnish father Keke won the world championship in 1982, finished third in both Malaysia and China, while his famous teammate Michael Schumacher's last two finishes have been in tenth place.

"Nico has raised his game," said former triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, who while a sponsor representative at Williams worked close up with Rosberg.

"The boy has extraordinary skills.  I think Michael has been taken aback by that.  It must be affecting him," added the Scot.

Rosberg's former boss Sir Frank Williams told the Daily Mail: "Nico is a very self-confident young man with a reasonable amount of justification for being so.

"He won't be overawed in Michael's presence."

But a report in the Telegraph newspaper expressed concern that Mercedes' decision to alter the wheelbase length of the W01 car could affect Rosberg's momentum.

"Instead of helping Schumacher get back up to speed, could it just upset Rosberg, costing him the chance to compete for the world title?" wondered writer Tom Cary.

Schu motivated as more rumors predict comeback collapse
(GMM)  Speculation about Michael Schumacher's mood continues to rise, but the seven time world champion insists he is "extremely motivated" ahead of the fifth race of his 2010 comeback.

After three years of retirement, the 41-year-old German has been consistently outpaced by his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg so far in 2010, but will have a car with a longer wheelbase in Spain that should better suit his driving style.

"When he has that (revised car) I think we will have to reassess the whole story," commented former triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart.

"If he then doesn't deliver, then I think he has a problem," added the Scot.

70-year-old Stewart thinks part of Schumacher's problem will be reassessing his desire to honor the full three years of his new contract.

"You know, I don't think he should have retired when he did in 2006 because I don't think it was out of his system," he said.  "This might take it out of his system."

Schumacher's old title rival of the 90s, Damon Hill, is not ruling out that "the old Schumacher magic" could soon return.

"Is it still there?" he told the Daily Mail, whose headline accuses Mercedes of "wasting money" on Schumacher.

"I'm sure that's a question Michael will be asking himself -- and it's one that is starting to become valid after four races," added Hill.

In an official Mercedes press release, Schumacher played down the likely effect of the car upgrades for Barcelona but sounded bullish about his own outlook.

Team boss Ross Brawn also said the German is "determined to succeed" despite the setbacks so far.

Added Schumacher: "Our step forward in Barcelona will be bigger than you can make at each race during the flyaways but it would not be realistic to expect us to suddenly be competing right at the front," he said.

"However the good news is that after three years away, I am feeling extremely motivated.  So I am clearly ready to take this challenge," added the record winner of 91 grands prix.

Grosjean not happy with new Silverstone layout
(GMM)  Former Renault driver Romain Grosjean has delivered a less than stirring appraisal after racing on Silverstone's revised F1 layout.

After his disappointing half-season in F1 last year, the Swiss-born Frenchman now drives a Ford in the FIA's new GT1 category.

That series was the first to race on the layout incorporating Silverstone's newly launched 'Arena' section.

The 760-metre stretch features some slower bends that could help overtaking, but Silverstone is nonetheless tipped to knock Monza off the perch as the fastest circuit on the F1 calendar.

"It's nothing special," Grosjean, 24, told the Guardian newspaper when asked about the new section, which is currently surrounded by building construction works and resembling Bahrain because grass verges have not yet grown.

"We have lost Bridge and the complex which was very nice, and we didn't gain much with the new part.  I'm not 100 per cent convinced.

"With the single seater cars they are flat-out through Abbey and in formula one it is going to be very fast as well.  I don't think it gives any overtaking opportunities.  So that's a bit of a shame," added Grosjean.

Former F1 safety car driver Oliver Gaven, however - who now drives a Corvette in GT1 - was more positive.

"I think the circuit flows very nicely; I'm very happy with it," said the Briton.

"It's got a nice combination of corners and some nice challenging stuff for us.  There are two or three corners that are nearly flat and one or two that you have got to have a lot of commitment.

"The style of Silverstone has been carried on.  They have done a cracking job with it," said Gavin.

Meanwhile, BBC commentator Martin Brundle doubts the new section will boost overtaking, but fellow former F1 veteran Johnny Herbert thinks 'Arena' adds "one" additional overtaking place to the circuit.

Alonso would repeat 'risky' Massa passing move
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso's overtaking move on his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa in China recently was "incredibly risky", according to Mark Webber.

Australian Webber, who is known to be a friend of the Spanish double world champion, was commenting on Alonso's controversial move in the Shanghai pit entry that left his relationship with Massa the subject of speculation.

"It was very hard against your teammate, if fair, but also incredibly risky and incredibly opportunistic," said Webber, who drives for Ferrari's championship rival Red Bull.

"It could have been quite confusing for the team, because they needed to switch the tires around.  And I'm not sure I'd want to risk walking into the factory having taken both cars out at the entry to the pitlane," he added.

"That would have been a pretty serious one to try and get over.  But in the end it turned out ok for Fernando and he got away with it," said Webber.

Last week, 28-year-old Alonso hit out at the fact that the move and its after-effects were still in the headlines.

"What is clear is that two weeks after a race you can't keep talking about such unimportant things, so I'm going to refuse to answer," he is quoted as saying by the Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

And in a more recent interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera, Alonso was asked if he would repeat the pit entry move in light of the criticism it has generated.

"Absolutely yes," he answered.

Rookie lineup 'a disadvantage' for HRT - Kolles
(GMM)  HRT's inexperienced driver lineup is a "disadvantage" for a new formula one outfit, team boss Colin Kolles has admitted.

Of the three new teams on the grid in 2010, Hispania is the only one that arrived in Bahrain for its grand prix debut with two rookies.

Kolles told Finland's Turun Sanomat: "I am pleased with what (Bruno) Senna and (Karun) Chandhok have done, but it is useless to deny that their lack of F1 experience is a disadvantage at this point."

HRT has now signed former Super Aguri and Spyker driver Sakon Yamamoto, who also tested with Renault in 2008, to drive on the Fridays of grand prix weekends.

But even the 27-year-old Japanese is bringing sponsor funding to his cockpit.

"We could not afford to hire drivers like Jarno Trulli or Heikki Kovalainen, as Lotus did," Kolles insists.

"We have to take drivers who are good but who also come with budgets," added the Romanian-born German, who said Yamamoto will take HRT forward "because he has more experience than Bruno and Karun".

The team has announced that some new parts will be on the F110 car in Barcelona, but Kolles admits that "much work is needed to make our cars faster".

The end of the Dallara chassis contract has complicated the development process for the 2010 car, but Kolles said HRT will shortly announce a deal with a wind tunnel so it can develop its own aerodynamic pieces.

"Our competitors have quite a lead on us but I still believe that in the end Hispania will be the best of the new teams," he insisted.

No anti-Hamilton 'witch hunt' insists Webber
(GMM)  There is no vendetta against Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion's formula one competitor Mark Webber insists.

Australian Webber was heard on the radio complaining about the Briton during the recent Chinese grand prix, when a clash pushed the Red Bull wide.

After Malaysia, Hamilton was the subject of intense controversy surrounding his weaving in front of Vitaly Petrov, and in China he was again warned by officials after a pitlane encounter with Sebastian Vettel.

But Webber, 33, denies the McLaren driver's rivals deliberately give Hamilton a hard time.

"There's absolutely nothing against Lewis," he told the BBC.

Regarding the Petrov incident, Webber said the drivers wanted to clarify the FIA's future response to straight-line weaving, insisting there is no "witch hunt against anyone".

"If anyone had driven like that there would have been some questions asked.  It's totally fair to do that.  In the end it was nipped in the bud.  Lewis is fine with it and we move on," he added.

Triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart thinks it is Hamilton's overtaking skills and on-track "enthusiasm" that are causing the problems among his rivals.

"He has woken up a lot of drivers with his skills," he told the Mirror.

"I don't think he is dangerous.  He has got a lot of enthusiasm but he has to realize that can induce judgments you otherwise might not make.  That is part of the maturing process," added the 70-year-old Scot.

Full Mercedes F-duct not ready for Spain
(GMM)  Mercedes' full F-duct solution is not ready to debut in Barcelona this weekend.

The Brackley based team used an initial iteration of the blown rear wing concept in Shanghai two weeks ago, but unlike McLaren's pioneering version it was not operated by the driver.

Instead, air was 'flicked' at increasingly higher speed through a slot in the rear wing.

Team boss Ross Brawn said Mercedes was "working on the proper system" at the same time and hoping it will be ready for the Spanish grand prix.

But according to Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper, the final solution is not ready for round five of the 2010 world championship.

Mercedes will now aim to have the full F-duct up and running in Turkey, with Brawn admitting "there's no point in having it" on the twisty streets of Monaco in two weeks.

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