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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ferrari wants illegal passing rule change
  • Domenicali 'hurt' by Ferrari 'disarray' claims
  • Ferrari cools Rossi F1 switch rumors
  • 13th team place may not be filled in 2011
  • Buemi confirms he is staying with Toro Rosso
  • Unnamed engineer 'surprised' by Webber's outbursts
  • Vettel admits tense relationship with Webber
  • 'No panic' in Schumacher's push for pace - Vettel
  • No sell-out for German GP at Hockenheim
  • Heavy rain on way for Hockenheim GP weekend

Ferrari wants illegal passing rule change
(GMM)  Ferrari wants a rule change in the wake of Fernando Alonso's drive-through penalty imposed during the recent British grand prix.

The Italian team criticized the time it took for race director Charlie Whiting to answer a query about whether Alonso, who cut a corner, should hand back the position to Robert Kubica.

Ferrari claims it took the FIA almost two minutes to respond, by which time giving the place back to Kubica would have been complicated.

"We will discuss an amendment to the regulations: if the race directors are not involved within 3-4 corners afterwards, the maneuver is considered to be correct," team boss Stefano Domenicali said in an interview with La Stampa.

Following Ferrari's furious criticism of the safety car rules after the preceding Valencia race, the regulations were tweaked at Silverstone.

When mischievously asked whether the rules need changing after every race, Domenicali smiled: "It's a very complex sport."

Domenicali 'hurt' by Ferrari 'disarray' claims
(GMM)  After a run of poor results for the Maranello based team, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says he wants to see a "strong reaction" this weekend at Hockenheim.

"Whoever does not believe we can win the world championship should find another job," he insisted.

Domenicali said abandoning the 2010 car to focus on its successor is not yet a consideration.

"Before making calculations we must take home podiums and victories," he said in an interview with La Stampa.  "There is a tide of points at stake."

Domenicali said he can understand some recent criticism of Ferrari, but reveals he was "hurt" when it was suggested the team is in "disarray".

One criticism is that while Red Bull pioneered the blown diffuser and McLaren the F-duct, Ferrari has recently been light on innovation.

"We have done less visible things: the wheels, some aerodynamic.  But I do accept the criticism: some striking solutions have come out."

He defended the arguably erratic performances so far of team newcomer Fernando Alonso.

"Driving for Ferrari has a different weight.  Some say that once you are in the car it is all the same, which is absolutely not true: the pressures on our team are not comparable to the other teams, Red Bull, McLaren or Mercedes."

Domenicali believes Ferrari is simply in a period of "renewal".

"To win, you need to go through those periods.  After a wonderful time, the basic rules have changed: at first everything was unlimited but now you must think about budgets and simulations.

"Imagine that tomorrow all football is played on synthetic grass; the sport is the same, but the preparation, the materials, the techniques would all change."

Ferrari cools Rossi F1 switch rumors
(GMM)  Ferrari has cooled speculation that Valentino Rossi might be ready to push for a switch to formula one.

When the Italian recently broke his leg in a MotoGP practice crash, the rumor mill suggested the timing might be right for Rossi to turn his attention to four wheels.

But with the 31-year-old now back to racing fitness and tipped to sign a deal with Ducati, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has indicated that Rossi is still focused on bikes.

"It (Rossi switching to F1) would be great, but he has many more years on two wheels," the Italian said in an interview with La Stampa.

13th team place may not be filled in 2011
(GMM)  It is possible that formula one's 13th and final team place for 2011 will not be filled.

It has emerged that Villeneuve Racing/Durango, Epsilon Euskadi and Stefan GP are all vying for the grid berth, but Italy's 422race.com indicates that the FIA could actually leave the position vacant.

The website said the decision "will be down to money", with the successful team needing to provide "an economic guarantee".

It emerged a few days ago that Bernie Ecclestone wants a 16 million British pound deposit from the 13th team.

That deposit could be avoided, however, if the new team buys one of the existing teams, with the F1 chief executive admitting he is "not happy" with the performance of some of this year's new outfits.

Autosprint magazine in Italy said Ecclestone's attitude about the 13th team has been hardened by "the USF1 experience".

It is now expected that the FIA's decision about the 13th team place will not be made until late August.

Buemi confirms he is staying with Toro Rosso
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi has confirmed he will still be driving for Toro Rosso in 2011.

The Swiss 21-year-old initially denied team boss Franz Tost's announcement that he had signed a deal for next year.

"I haven't signed yet," Buemi told Switzerland's Blick.

"There are some details missing and the driver market is still open," he added.

Sunday's edition of the same newspaper then explained the discrepancy by revealing that Toro Rosso had the right to retain Buemi due to his ongoing Red Bull contract.

Buemi subsequently said he is "very happy" to be staying in the Red Bull family.

And he is now quoted by Brazil's Globo Esporte: "I have been with Red Bull for almost my entire career in motor sport and I have a contract with them for the near future, including next year.

"If I had not signed anything before, it is because there was nothing to sign.  I'm very happy where I am and I am sure I would not be here if it wasn't for Red Bull."

Unnamed engineer 'surprised' by Webber's outbursts
(GMM)  An unnamed 'senior engineer' has prolonged Red Bull's Silverstone front wing saga.

The team official said he was "very surprised" when Mark Webber made a commotion about teammate Sebastian Vettel receiving his new-specification front wing prior to qualifying for the recent British grand prix.

"Throughout the period when he used the new wing, he complained that it did not work any better than the old one," the engineer is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat.

"Mark simply did not get a good feeling with it, but when there was only one left, Mark absolutely wanted to have it.

"He did not care about it at all when we still had two new wings," the engineer added.

On the other hand, German Vettel "immediately" liked the new wing when he ran it in practice, said the engineer.

"We believe that the team management's decision was well-reasoned and logical," he added.

Additionally, it is reported that Webber's RB6 chassis is actually slightly lighter than Vettel's, with the team working to equalize the Australian's naturally taller and heavier body.

Vettel admits tense relationship with Webber
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has confirmed that his relationship with teammate Mark Webber is tense.

In recent interviews in the wake of the Silverstone front wing affair, 33-year-old Webber has openly admitted that he is not friends with the younger German.

The story dates all the way back to 2008, when an on-track collision caused the Australian to denounce Vettel, now 23, as one of F1's "kids" who "do a good job and then f--k it all up".

Since Vettel gestured with his finger that Webber was crazy after their Istanbul crash in May, the German has been reluctant to talk about their relationship.

But now he has told Der Spiegel magazine: "There is a certain distance.

"The first priority is the team but racing drivers usually see things very stubbornly.  It's the same in this case.

"We work together where we must work together to bring forward the team and develop the car.  Otherwise, everyone is focused on himself to seek his own advantage," said Vettel.

And Webber has warned that the relationship could worsen as the fight for the 2010 title progresses.

"Who knows, in the next few months, if we're both still racing at the front, things could become more tense between us," he said.

'No panic' in Schumacher's push for pace - Vettel
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's return to F1 is on track, according to Sebastian Vettel.

Germany's newer sensation, once nicknamed 'Baby Schumi' by the domestic press, said he is not among those who believe 41-year-old Schumacher's comeback this year has been a failure.

"It is far from easy to return after a three year break, even though he was never entirely away from formula one," Vettel told the German magazine Der Spiegel.

"The cars have changed, the tires as well.  Many things are not the way that he had become accustomed to."

The 23-year-old backed F1's only seven time world champion to complete his return to full competitiveness.

"If someone can do it, it is him.  When I look at his face and read his body language, I do not see any confusion or panic," added Vettel.

No sell-out for German GP at Hockenheim
(GMM)  Hockenheim is expecting a race-day crowd of 65,000 for Sunday's German grand prix.

In 2010, with F1 featuring six German drivers including the returning Michael Schumacher, the capacity of the track is 75,000.

Organizer Georg Seiler said in May that, if demand were to surge, temporary grandstands could be built to accommodate a further 45,000 spectators.

But he has admitted to SID news agency: "It looks like we will have 65,000 spectators, achieving a balanced result."

62,000 spectators attended Hockenheim's last F1 race in 2008.

Seiler's 'balanced result' comment is a reference to the new contract with Bernie Ecclestone, in which Hockenheim no longer has to shoulder multi-million race losses.

There were a reported 120,000 spectators for a F1 street demonstration in Vettel's hometown Heppenheim last weekend.

"For us, Sebastian Vettel is a blessing," Seiler told Bild newspaper.

Heavy rain on way for Hockenheim GP weekend
(GMM)  Rain could affect this weekend's running of the German grand prix.

Although the preceding days at Hockenheim are expected to be very hot, severe weather - including heavy downpours - is predicted to be delivered by a cold front on Thursday and Friday.

Rain is also possible on Saturday, with only a low chance of scattered showers forecast for race-day Sunday.

Teams will be particularly hoping for a dry three hours of practice on Friday, given Bridgestone's extreme allocation of the hardest and softest compounds for Hockenheim.

The tire supplier's Hirohide Hamashima confirmed that weather at the German venue will be crucial.

"If it is hot then the super-soft will be a challenge to manage for stability and durability.  If it is cold then ensuring the hard is in its temperature operating window will be a tough task," he said.

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