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DATE News (chronologically)
05/18/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Teams to discuss spare car revival - Domenicali
  • Ferrari to make F-duct easier for drivers
  • Bernie helping HRT with 2011 plans - Kolles
  • Media, pundits divided over Schumacher penalty
  • Hill not sure drivers should be full F1 stewards
  • No contract talks with Webber yet - Horner

Teams to discuss spare car revival - Domenicali
(GMM)  Stefano Domenicali has raised the possibility that the ban on spare cars may be overturned.

Fernando Alonso had to sit out qualifying for last weekend's Monaco grand prix because his chassis was written off in a practice crash.

It meant he started the race from last place in the pitlane.

The availability of complete spare cars was banned a few years ago as a cost-saving measure.

Now, teams may transport spare monocoques to races and build up a new car in the event that one is damaged.  But in Alonso's situation, there simply was not enough time.

Ferrari team boss Domenicali said he agrees with cutting costs, but argues that in the case of banning spare cars, "you lose value in other ways".

"You cannot leave the spectators without the possibility of enjoying one of the biggest stars in qualifying," he is quoted by Spain's Diario AS newspaper.

"We will discuss it with the other teams to see if we can change it (the rule)," said the Italian

Quoted by Italy's Tuttosport, Domenicali added: "Nothing has been decided, but I hope it happens soon."

Ferrari to make F-duct easier for drivers
(GMM)  Ferrari might modify its F-duct system so that it is easier for the drivers to use.

Team figures defended the ease of use and safety of its solution when it debuted in Barcelona, after video footage showed Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa using their hand to block the cockpit air inlet.

McLaren's drivers block the air inlet with their knee.

Maranello based Ferrari has already vowed to modify the system for Turkey, after analysis of its use in Spain showed that downforce was being shed even when the F-duct was not being activated.

And Stefano Domenicali told Spain's AS newspaper: "We are working on different solutions that will be more comfortable for our drivers than the first version.

"We have not yet decided what will be the position (of the cockpit air inlet)," the Italian added.

Bernie helping HRT with 2011 plans - Kolles
(GMM)  Colin Kolles has confirmed reports that Bernie Ecclestone is helping the struggling HRT team with its plans for the future.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone was quoted in Monaco as suggesting he is helping the new Spanish outfit to get out of financial trouble.

But subsequent reports have clarified that the 79-year-old's assistance may in fact be in the form of HRT's technical plans.

The team's contract with its car designer Dallara has lapsed, and boss Kolles has been working on securing a deal with a wind tunnel in view of designing an all-new car for 2011.

"Obviously we are still not competitive enough, even for our expectations as a new team, and we are seeking solutions for the future," the Romanian-born German is quoted by Spain's AS.

"We are optimistic and Bernie is helping us to ensure a better 2011," he added.

Kolles insists the speculation about HRT collapsing is wide of the mark, amid suggestions the team could run out of spare parts by June's race in Montreal.

"The team will complete the season and we are already planning for the next one," he said.

"We hope to make an announcement next month - certainly before the Canadian grand prix - about our plans to build our own chassis," said Kolles.

It is also reported that Geoff Willis, currently just a consultant to HRT, is set to stay with the team because of its ambitious technical plans for 2011.

Media, pundits divided over Schumacher penalty
(GMM)  F1's media and pundits are divided over Michael Schumacher's late overtaking move on Fernando Alonso in Monaco.

The stewards, including Schumacher's former title nemesis Damon Hill, penalized the seven time world champion for illegally passing the Spaniard during a safety car period.

But the safety car had actually pulled into the pits, prompting the message 'track clear' on the official monitors, and video evidence showed green flags and green lights.

Former driver Marc Surer told the German news agency SID: "I think the stewards have made a mistake, because they had shown green (flags)."

He insists there was at the very least no "clear" breach of the rules, given that the stewards took more than three hours to decide to impose the 20-second time penalty.

The Italian press was less sympathetic.

"Is he not 41 years old?" read an editorial in the Tuttosport newspaper.  "He should know the rules by now."

Epsilon Euskadi boss Joan Villadelprat wrote in his El Pais column that Schumacher's was a "monumental error", but former German F1 driver Christian Danner said the mistake was the FIA's for ordering that green flags be waved.

Bild newspaper published a photo proving that Schumacher drove past a green light in the Rascasse corner prior to passing the Ferrari, even though Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali argues that the race ended "under yellow conditions".

But Alonso insists he was "immediately certain" that the Mercedes driver would be penalized.

"That's why I let him go," the Spaniard told spox.com.

"My team had told me that you can't overtake.  I had wanted to try to pass Lewis Hamilton but they told me I could not."

And Sebastien Buemi told the Swiss newspaper Blick that Toro Rosso ordered him to hold position.

"I was surprised when the team told me not to attack Liuzzi, because there were green lights flashing everywhere!" he said.

Hill not sure drivers should be full F1 stewards
(GMM)  Damon Hill is no longer sure former drivers should be acting as full FIA stewards at grands prix.

The 1996 world champion said he has been receiving "hate mail" ever since he and the three regular stewards signed off on a 20-second time penalty in the wake of Michael Schumacher's late pass on Fernando Alonso at Monaco.

In 2010, a new initiative by new FIA president Jean Todt has seen former drivers including Alain Prost, Alex Wurz, Derek Warwick and Johnny Herbert act as stewards.

Hill's duties were at Monaco, where he admitted his former title nemesis Schumacher had a "wry smile" when he walked into the stewards room in the wake of the Monaco incident.

The 49-year-old told British newspapers he has been receiving "stinging emails" accusing him of prejudice ever since.

"I was uncomfortable being put in that position of being a full FIA representative.  My expertise is as a driver rather than a lawmaker or interpreter of regulations," said Hill.

"Partly my discomfort was because I was called on to make a ruling on an incident involving Michael.

"I know most people will believe me when I say I acted entirely properly and correctly, but perhaps it might be more appropriate for drivers to act as consultants to the stewards rather than as stewards," he added.

Schumacher said he believes Hill would have acted appropriately.

"I know Damon.  He is a good guy," said the German.

No contract talks with Webber yet - Horner
(GMM)  Red Bull's team boss insists talks about extending Mark Webber's contract have not yet begun.

After the Australian driver commandingly won the back-to-back Spanish and Monaco grands prix from pole, the energy drink's racing adviser Helmut Marko admitted it is "our desire to continue with Vettel and Webber".

And on Sunday night, team boss Christian Horner was spotted out for dinner with Webber's famous manager Flavio Briatore.

But Horner is quoted by the Sun newspaper as clarifying that no actual negotiations with the 33-year-old world championship leader have yet taken place.

"The team and Mark are very relaxed about the situation," said the Briton.

"He is an important member of the team and he is driving fantastically well.  But we have not spoken, and have no real interest in speaking, with any of our drivers.

"When the time is right, we will sit down and look at the paperwork," added Horner.

Webber's contract runs out at the end of the season, while it is believed Sebastian Vettel's current deal - announced last August - was for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

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