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DATE News (chronologically)
06/09/10
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • KERS should be compulsory in 2011 - Williams
  • Fisi tests F10 as Button ponders 'unusual' Ferrari slump
  • Montreal to suit McLaren car - Villeneuve
  • Villeneuve on Red Bull crash - 'drivers are drivers'
  • McLaren right to run cars light on fuel - Button
  • Whitmarsh plays down chance of three-car teams
  • FIA could penalize drivers for road offenses - Todt

KERS should be compulsory in 2011 - Williams
(GMM)  KERS should only return to the F1 grid next year if every car is fitted with the energy-recovery technology.

That is the claim of Sir Frank Williams, whose Grove based team is reportedly keen to see KERS make a comeback in 2011.

Williams has its own hybrid technology company, whose unique flywheel KERS unit was fitted to the Porsche 911 GT3 R at the recent Nurburgring 24 hour race.

FIA president Jean Todt is pushing hard for the F1 teams alliance FOTA to overturn its gentleman's ban on KERS.

KERS therefore already features in the technical regulations, but - if the FOTA ban is dropped - its use is voluntary.

"I am a strong supporter of the use of KERS," Williams is quoted by the Dutch publication formule1.nl.

"The automotive industry is working on reducing CO2 emissions, and for that reason alone formula one must take the lead.

"But it should be compulsory -- either we all use it, or we all do not," added Williams.

Interestingly, the 68-year-old suggested that if Williams does use KERS in F1 next year, it would not be the flywheel system produced by Williams Hybrid Power.

"Our system works well and is being used by Porsche in long distance races," he confirmed.

"But it is bigger than the electrical systems.  As we now drive with bigger fuel tanks, it no longer fits in a formula one car.  It would make our car like a London double-decker!"

Fisi tests F10 as Button ponders 'unusual' Ferrari slump
(GMM)  As Ferrari bids to return to the pace, test driver Giancarlo Fisichella was at the wheel of the F10's latest specification late last week.

On Thursday, the Roman conducted an aerodynamic test at Vairano, with the specific package to be raced at Montreal's unique Circuit Gille Villeneuve this weekend.

However, the major upgrade is not due until the following Valencia round, with the Maranello based team confirming that in Canada the car will be in essentially "the same specification" as it was in Turkey two weeks ago.

At Istanbul Park, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were notably off the pace.

"It's quite unusual," McLaren's Jenson Button told the Toronto media at an event on Tuesday.

"They (Ferrari) had the perfect winter.  They were very quick, very consistent and very reliable and we were thinking, 'Wow, those guys are going to be untouchable'.

"But they can come back.  They're a very strong team, Fernando and Felipe have the experience.  You can't ever count them out.  We never forget them," added the reigning world champion.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali said Ferrari must avoid becoming downbeat about its situation.

"That would be no use when there are still two thirds of the season yet ahead," he is quoted by the French language Canadian newspaper La Presse.

"We put a lot of energy into developing our F-duct and that may have delayed slightly other areas," added Domenicali.

"Many things can change from race to race and we are certainly not lowering our heads and becoming downcast -- that is for those who do not reach their goals, and that is certainly not the case with Ferrari."

Montreal to suit McLaren car - Villeneuve
(GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve is tipping a strong race for the McLaren team in Montreal this weekend.

The 1997 world champion will be at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, whose layout is named after his late and revered father.

"I really love this track and I think the cars equipped with the F-duct should have a good performance," Villeneuve, 39, is quoted in a column at rds.ca.

"It is a circuit requiring low downforce and with low speed corners, which I think will suit McLaren," added the French Canadian.

"But we must not forget about Red Bull, whose qualifying this year has been monumental."

The Red Bulls have indeed monopolized pole position so far in 2010, and for the past couple of months have been the standout favorites for grand prix victories.

But Turkey two weeks ago showed that McLaren's MP4-25 is stepping up to the pace of the RB6, and combined with the Mercedes engine and the F-duct, the British team might now be seen as the favorite for the Montreal win.

"A few races ago people were predicting a Red Bull runaway and I think people now suspect that the whole thing's going to be a lot closer than that," said team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

"I think predicting the outcome of this coming weekend is impossible for any pundit to do and that's how the sport should be," he added.

Villeneuve on Red Bull crash - 'drivers are drivers'
(GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve has become the latest pundit to comment on the crash between the Red Bull cars at the recent Turkish grand prix.

The aftermath of Sebastian Vettel's clash with Mark Webber was highly controversial, as most outsiders initially blamed Vettel but Red Bull chiefs pointed the finger at Australian Webber.

It emerged that Webber's engine was in a fuel-saving mode - although team figures initially refused to confirm that was the case - and that his engineer had declined to pass on a radio message advising him to let his young German teammate through.

Then, as the official line became more conciliatory, figures close to team owner Dietrich Mateschitz including Max Mosley and Gerhard Berger renewed the criticism of Webber, before the 33-year-old was re-signed for the 2011 season.

The latest twist is that Mateschitz's right-hand man Dr Helmut Marko says the pair are still free to race, but must not stridently resist each other's advances.

"Both cars were out in the lead, but drivers are drivers and it is always difficult for one to give 110 per cent while the other does not," Villeneuve wrote in a column for rds.ca.

"After the race, the reaction of the team seemed strange -- to assign fault to someone so quickly and categorically.

"But you never know what really happened when you've looked at the situation from the outside as I did," added the 39-year-old French Canadian.

Meanwhile, 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen thinks the only lingering effect of the crash is that Vettel and Webber will from now on behave "a bit more carefully" when they are wheel-to-wheel.

"In a similar situation you would just behave a bit differently so that it doesn't happen again," the Red Bull-sponsored world rally driver told Austrian Servus TV.

"It was just an incident in the race and now it's finished," he added.

McLaren right to run cars light on fuel - Button
(GMM)  Jenson Button has played down claims that McLaren's risky gamble with its fuel loads was the reason for the near-disaster during the Turkish grand prix.

It has emerged that because Lewis Hamilton and teammate Button chased the Red Bulls so hard at Istanbul Park, the drivers were instructed throughout the race to conserve fuel.

Button's race engineer at one point described the situation as "critical", shortly after Hamilton had slowed down too much and triggered their wheel-to-wheel battle for the lead.

Afterwards, Hamilton lamented the poor communication and Button was accused of ignoring veiled team orders, sparking the rejoinder that McLaren could have avoided the entire situation by simply running a less aggressive fuel strategy.

But speaking to the Toronto media on Tuesday, 30-year-old Button said the team is right to run the cars as light on fuel as possible.

"If you're running with two and a half extra kilos in the car, that's one tenth a lap, which over the course of the race is five seconds.  So you try to be as close on fuel as possible," he insisted.

It is believed that Hamilton's winning car had just one liter of fuel left in the tank after he pulled into parc ferme, while Button's MP4-25 contained only slightly more.

Whitmarsh plays down chance of three-car teams
(GMM)  F1 is unlikely to consider three-car team entries while the grid is already healthily subscribed.

That is the insistence of FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh, amid Ferrari's continuing enthusiasm about entering a third Maranello built car for a driver like Valentino Rossi.

Rossi, however, broke his leg in a MotoGP practice crash last Saturday, and now Whitmarsh has revealed that the issue of three cars has not recently been discussed by the F1 teams association.

"It's really an idea if you get a reduced number of teams," said the McLaren boss.

Ferrari is a staunch critic of F1's struggling new teams, but Whitmarsh insists that FOTA wants the entire current grid to "develop and flourish".

"McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes would all probably be happy to have a third car, but I think in fairness to the smaller teams it would only disadvantage them further," he explained.

However, if the big teams were able to enter third cars, Whitmarsh acknowledges that it would be an opportunity for celebrity drivers like Rossi, Sebastien Loeb and NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson.

"So in the event that the number of teams drops below 10 - and at the moment we're hoping it is 13 next year - it would be a fantastic opportunity," added Whitmarsh.

FIA could penalize drivers for road offenses - Todt
(GMM)  F1 drivers could be penalized by the FIA if they behave badly on the roads, Jean Todt has suggested.

Lewis Hamilton was arrested after caught 'hoon' driving in Melbourne earlier this year and later charged and summoned to court.

But when asked about the incident in Turkey two weeks ago, the McLaren driver said the local authorities were "loving the publicity".

Victorian traffic commissioner Ken Lay was unimpressed with Hamilton's "flippant" reaction.  "The bottom line is people die on our roads because of hoon behavior and he has set a really bad example," he said.

Also apparently unimpressed is FIA president Todt, who was rumored to be considering commissioning a protocols list informing drivers about respecting the unique rules and practices of each GP host nation they visit.

It has additionally been rumored that drivers could face FIA penalties if convicted of committing traffic offenses.

"I have actually asked this question," Todt admitted to the French newspaper Le Parisien.

"There is an incompatibility between the status of a role model champion, and a possible infringement on the road.  We are therefore trying to see whether to do something, and how."

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