Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday
- First run down straights 'crucial' for Red Bull
- 2011 Mercedes car 'more innovative' than W01 - Haug
- FIA cannot guarantee Spa's F1 race - Todt
- Talk of Ferrari switch 'not realistic' - Kubica
- Money to play role in 2011 driver decision - Head
- Brawn commits to Mercedes but thinking about retiring
- More rain heading to wet Yeongam for Korea GP
- Cars spinning before joining grid for Korea GP
- 10 minute delay for Korea GP safety car start
First run down straights 'crucial' for Red Bull
(GMM) It is expected that the race order after the first few corners in Korea on Sunday will set the scene for the checkered flag.
Although the weather and the durability of the tires are expected to play a role at Yeongam, arguably the biggest factor will be the dubious performance of the Red Bull cars on the 1.2 kilometer straight after turn 2.
"It's so long you could drink a couple of beers," joked Sebastian Vettel ruefully.
"There is not much we can do (there), so we have to fight back even harder in the corners," added the German, whose RB6 qualified immediately ahead of his teammate Mark Webber on the front row.
And to make things worse for championship leader Webber, he is on perhaps the dirtiest side of the grid seen all season for the start, and therefore expecting a "pretty solid" challenge from Fernando Alonso into turn 1.
Team boss Christian Horner also acknowledged the importance of the first lap.
"The start and the first two straights will be crucial," he said. "As long as we are okay by turn 4, we have a good chance."
But after the start-finish straight, and the huge 1.2km straight, there is yet another long straight. Ralf Schumacher thinks the superior top speed of Red Bull's chasers will be decisive on lap 1.
"I can't see Red Bull winning," the German, in Korea to commentate for German television, told Bild newspaper.
2011 Mercedes car 'more innovative' than W01 - Haug
(GMM) The design of Mercedes' 2011 car is already in the wind tunnel and "more innovative" that its disappointing predecessor.
That is the claim of the German marque's Norbert Haug, one day after team boss Ross Brawn admitted the W01 was designed too conservatively amid Brawn GP's 2009 title challenge.
"The prototype of the new car is in the wind tunnel," Haug told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "It will be more innovative, the result of taking more risks.
"The development of the current car is finished, so our engineers have more time to perhaps pursue some ideas that initially might seen outlandish.
"At the same time, our competitors are designing their new cars for 2011 whilst still fighting hard for this world championship," added Haug.
In the same interview, the German also scotched reports he is at loggerheads with Brawn.
Working in the same office as his British colleague in the team's offices at Yeongam, Haug insisted: "Does it look as though we cannot work with one another?"
However, much more pressing is the speculation that - at the end of another disappointing season next year - the team's parent Daimler might pull the plug.
"Absolutely not," Haug insists. "We certainly do not intend to be in the midfield, but no one at Mercedes is talking about quitting."
FIA cannot guarantee Spa's F1 race - Todt
(GMM) Jean Todt insists the FIA cannot guarantee historic Spa-Francorchamps' place on the annual formula one calendar.
The much-loved Belgian venue is struggling with profits and facing down Bernie Ecclestone's threat that one or two European races will need to be scrapped to make room for incoming events in the US and Russia.
F1's governing body once insisted that certain events should be safeguarded by the FIA.
But on a visit to the new Korean circuit, Jean Todt told the Flemish daily De Standard: "The world and the economy is constantly changing.
"So we have to be careful. In Belgium, the problem is less a sporting one, and more one of government.
"We hope the Belgian grand prix will be on the calendar for a long time, because it is a fantastic circuit. But when the money runs out, there is a problem," added the Frenchman.
FIA president Todt also spoke about France's chances of returning to F1 in the near future.
"I am French but I am not responsible for putting a grand prix in France," he is quoted by L'Equipe.
"It is about the country, the national federation, the promoter, and Bernie Ecclestone's FOM.
"When these things come together, the FIA - as legislator - has the responsibility to endorse the circuit. But we are not involved in the (other) process.
"If you think France should have a grand prix, I think so too. But, unfortunately, not everything is in place to allow this," added Todt.
He also dismissed as "speculation" reports that his authority at the FIA is set to be challenged by a coup headed by Max Mosley and Ecclestone.
"We are serious people," said Todt. "I have known Max for many years and I would never have been a candidate if he had wanted to stay.
"He clearly said that it was time for him to step away. I have a very good relationship with Max, but he is very busy with his own affairs," he added.
Talk of Ferrari switch 'not realistic' - Kubica
(GMM) Robert Kubica has confirmed he would like to race alongside his friend Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.
Asked the question directly by the Spanish newspaper El Pais, the Pole answered emphatically: "Yes."
But 25-year-old Kubica, who is under contract for the coming seasons with Renault, added: "It is not realistic to speak about it, even less so after Massa renewed until 2012."
He said he is not concerned with F1's incessant rumors and speculation.
"For me it's no problem. In 2008, when Alonso left McLaren, it was said that he could come to BMW and I would have liked that. But it's just speculation.
"Anything can happen -- maybe in five years when Alonso's contract ends we will be together at Renault," added Kubica.
Before joining Ferrari for the 2010 season and beyond, Alonso insisted that it was the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition.
Is it the same for Kubica? "Yes and no," he answered.
"Ferrari is a great team with a long history of successes behind it. In Italy, it's an institution; more than a team.
"So it is understandable that the Latin-character drivers have a lot of interest in racing with them," he added.
Also in Korea, Lewis Hamilton dismissed a suggestion from a reporter that the career of a great driver would be incomplete without a stint at Ferrari.
"Ayrton Senna was the best of all time and he was at McLaren," said the Briton.
"You never know what's going to happen and you can never say never. But I will be here (at McLaren) for as long as they want to keep me."
Money to play role in 2011 driver decision - Head
(GMM) Considerations about money will play a role in the formulation of Williams' driver lineup for 2011.
That is the admission of the famous British team's co-owner Patrick Head, amid speculation Nico Hulkenberg could be dumped in favor of new GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado.
Maldonado is heavily backed by the state Venezuelan petroleum company PDVSA, to the tune of a reported EUR 15 million.
When asked about the rumors, Head told reporters on Sunday that the question should be directed to team chairman Adam Parr, who is not in Korea this weekend.
But when pressed about the role to be played by funding, he acknowledged: "Those are things which we will weigh up."
Head added: "It's terrible to hide behind a board but these things will be debated and are being debated in the Williams board."
Brawn commits to Mercedes but thinking about retiring
(GMM) Ross Brawn has admitted he has begun to think about retiring.
The Briton has played down rumors he is at loggerheads with Norbert Haug, but acknowledged that if the 2011 car is disappointing, his role as Mercedes team principal will be in danger.
As for next year, the 55-year-old told the Telegraph: "I will definitely be there next year. 100 per cent. I don't have any ambitions to be anywhere else."
But Brawn, who stepped down from Ferrari a few years ago before taking a sabbatical and returning with Brackley based Honda, also admitted that "I will retire one day".
"For the next few years I will focus totally on getting this team to the front of the grid and then, almost like at Ferrari, I want to start working on a succession plan so that I can ease back a bit," he added.
Brawn said he plan is to stay in F1 "but maybe not have to come to 20-odd races every year".
More rain heading to wet Yeongam for Korea GP
(GMM) More rain is headed to the already wet Yeongam venue.
With only 40 minutes to go before the scheduled race start at 3pm, plenty of earlier rain has soaked the new Korean layout and grid.
For the Hyundai support race, there was a crash on the first lap and the rest of the race took place behind the safety car as marshals struggled to clear the cars.
Fears about a safety car start for the grand prix eased along with the easing rain a couple of hours ago, but the radar is now showing more showers on the horizon.
"It feels like it is going to rain again before the race starts," said a media source at Yeongam at 2.15pm.
Cars spinning before joining grid for Korea GP
(GMM) As the pitlane opened 30 minutes before the race start in Korea, cars immediately started spinning on the wet and slippery Yeongam circuit.
Drivers were experimenting with both full wet and the intermediate tires provided by Bridgestone, and Timo Glock and Felipe Massa had spins before forming up on the dummy grid.
Michael Schumacher, meanwhile, ran wide immediately after exiting the pitlane, as more spots of heavier rain began to fall and speculation returned that the race might have to be started behind the safety car on the oily surface.
It has also emerged that Ferrari had to hurriedly replace Fernando Alonso's water pump, but he will not be penalized.
10 minute delay for Korea GP safety car start
(GMM) The FIA has decided to delay the start of the inaugural Korean grand prix for ten minutes.
The race will then start behind the safety car, due to the intensifying rain on the dummy grid.
The weather radar suggests the current rain is set to ease in the next few minutes.