Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
- Singapore was 'one-off' race for HRT - Klien
- Force India missing Sauber-departed Key - Sutil
- Scare for McLaren in new front wing's transit
- Criticism for Massa after saying title chances over
- Massa's ninth engine used as precaution - Ferrari
Singapore was 'one-off' race for HRT - Klien
(GMM) Singapore was a "one-off" stint at the wheel of team regular Sakon Yamamoto's car, HRT reserve driver Christian Klien said after Sunday's night race.
Despite the struggling Spanish team saying Yamamoto was sidelined due to food poisoning, Klien's graduation to the race seat coincided with the arrival of the logo of a new Austrian sponsor on the Cosworth-powered car.
Paddock sources also said one of Yamamoto's personal sponsors was removed from the car in Singapore.
So just as Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna have also been sidelined by HRT earlier in 2010, paddock cynics now expect the Japanese to have to make way for the better-funded Klien.
The 27-year-old former Jaguar and Red Bull driver also performed well in Singapore, considerably outqualifying teammate Senna before retiring from the race with an hydraulic problem whilst running 18th.
When asked about the future, Klien answered: "Singapore was a one-off to replace Sakon Yamamoto. Anything else is not in my hands.
"It was really great to be feeling like a proper racing driver again and I do hope I could make my mark this weekend."
He was less flattering about the Dallara-designed F110 car.
"It behaves just like a rally car," he told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, before joking: "I should probably ask Kimi Raikkonen for advice."
Force India missing Sauber-departed Key - Sutil
(GMM) Force India is already missing the input of its departed technical director James Key.
The team is locked in a close battle with Williams for sixth and seventh places in the constructors' championships, which some analysts believe is worth $5 million.
Force India has had some difficult races recently, including in Singapore, where Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi qualified on the 8th and 9th rows of the grid.
The Silverstone based team and Williams then had a bitter post-race argument in the stewards' office, with Sutil initially penalized for cutting a corner and then Force India lodging a protest about Nico Hulkenberg doing the same.
Sutil confided to Auto Motor und Sport that the loss of Briton Key to Sauber has not been without consequence.
"I actually thought there would be no problem," said the German, who is thought to be close to deciding whether or not to stay at Force India beyond 2010.
"I have confidence in the people who have taken over," Sutil continued. "His successor Mark Smith is doing a good job, but I'm sorry to say that we have lost ground.
"It's no longer easy for us to get into the top ten in qualifying.
"You only see how good a person really is when he is no longer there," said the 27-year-old driver.
Scare for McLaren in new front wing's transit
(GMM) A striking new front wing for McLaren's 2010 car almost didn't make it to the Singapore circuit at the weekend.
Managing director Jonathan Neale travelled from the team's Woking headquarters to the Asian city-state with the brand new pieces in his luggage.
But Neale admits he began to worry when the new part did not emerge with his other luggage.
"First, one of Adrian Newey's (Red Bull) parts came out, but not our case.
"Because the wing was packed so well, the guys at the airport thought it was equipment for the aircraft rather than luggage. So they left it on the plane.
"We had to wait for a few hours to get it," he explained.
The new front wing was visibly different to its predecessor, and credited for allowing Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button to split the Red Bulls in qualifying.
"It is a bit different," Neale agreed. "We haven't seen its full potential yet. On the fast circuits it should give us even more."
Criticism for Massa after saying title chances over
(GMM) Felipe Massa furrowed his brow in Singapore when an Italian journalist dared to ask about the health of his world championship chances.
Brazilian Massa is mathematically still in the title chase, but the media is billing 2010 as a five-way contest between his Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso and the Red Bull and McLaren drivers.
29-year-old Massa is increasingly seen as a bit-part to number 1 Alonso's push.
So when asked by the Italian journalist about his chances, Massa angrily reacted: "On some questions, you could probably think of the answer.
"But I will say it again. The world championship for me is over."
Massa started from the rear of the grid in Singapore due to a gearbox failure in qualifying, but Brazilian journalist Livio Oricchio was unimpressed with his performance under the floodlights.
"He stayed behind Nico Hulkenberg's Williams most of the time," he wrote in his column for Jornal da Tarde. "But Massa has the same car as (race winner) Alonso.
"Ferrari can be accused of having team orders, but not of giving its two drivers different cars.
"Alonso proved that the car is very fast. But we didn't see a single attempt from Massa to overtake his opponent, even when his tires were new.
"What we're seeing is a disproportionate difference in competence between the two Ferrari drivers," charged Oricchio.
The press was also hard on Lewis Hamilton, who for the second race in a row retired due to a collision. The Mirror said: "Lew blew it ... again".
But Hamilton vowed to stay aggressive.
"It's the way I am," he said in the Spanish newspaper El Pais. "That's me, and I think this aggression is my main strength."
Massa's ninth engine used as precaution - Ferrari
(GMM) Felipe Massa's engine usage for the 2010 season ticked over to a ninth unit in Singapore, resulting in a grid penalty.
That news alone could be interpreted as a potential threat to the title chances of his teammate Fernando Alonso, who is now just 11 points behind leader Mark Webber having won the past two races from pole.
Like Massa, Spaniard Alonso entered the Singapore round having used eight engines, the maximum allowed during the entire 19-race schedule this year.
But Brazilian Massa's ninth engine was only installed in Singapore due to his technical problem in qualifying that stranded him at the very rear of the grid.
The necessary gearbox change resulted in a five-place grid drop, but Massa could not be pushed down the order lower than dead last.
So the Italian team also decided to install a new engine in his F10 - resulting in another negated grid penalty, this time 10 places - before the race.
A spokesman for the Italian team confirmed that the change was "entirely precautionary".
Massa said: "Now I only have three left which have each done one race, to rotate over the last four races of the season."