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DATE News (chronologically)
01/31/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday UPDATE Updates shown in Red below.

01/31/11
  • Alonso to shave beard before 2011 season
  • Most drivers feel sick in simulators - Schumacher
  • Williams and Ferrari used Toyota wind tunnels
  • Pirelli denies Ferrari bias fears
  • Todt admits 'admiration' for Red Bull's Mateschitz
  • Team Lotus confirms no KERS for 2011 car
  • New Lotus called T128, not TL11
  • Dyer demoted to factory-based role in 2011
  • Alonso comment 'logical' not comical - Schumacher
  • Niki Lauda accused of homophobia after attacking TV dancing show
  • Perez not focused on possible Ferrari future New
  • Senna joins Renault as 2011 'third' driver New 

Fernando Alonso and his hideous beard
Alonso to shave beard before 2011 season
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has vowed to shave off his beard before the 2011 season begins officially in Bahrain.

The Spaniard has been wearing a 'three musketeers'-style goatee at Ferrari's 'Wrooom' media event and also for the launch and track debut of the team's new 2011 car.

Asked if it will still be there when the racing begins in March, Alonso told Reuters: "I don't think so.  My mother doesn't want it."

A more important issue for the 29-year-old is the seating position of the new F150 car due to the higher nose.

Both Alonso and his shorter teammate Felipe Massa appeared to be straining over the cockpit to see the corners when they tried the car for the first time at Fiorano.

"We've had to change it (the seating position) as visibility could be a problem," said Alonso before the maiden test.

Michael Schumacher
Most drivers feel sick in simulators - Schumacher
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher insists he is not the only driver who suffers from motion sickness at the wheel of simulators.

A major story broke last week suggesting that Schumacher's limited time in Mercedes' Brackley simulator could explain his struggle to keep up with Nico Rosberg after returning to F1.

But little coverage was given to former drivers including Martin Brundle and Alex Wurz who said they also feel sick when using simulators.

"I think almost all the drivers that I know have had it (motion sickness)," agreed Schumacher, in conversation with Telegraph Sport.

"When we had our first simulator at Ferrari I had exactly this feeling already so it's nothing to do with age.  People get used to it by going through certain processes," he added.

Schumacher revealed that Rosberg also had problems with the Mercedes simulator in 2010, and played down the usefulness of the technology.

"As far as I understand there are some other top teams that have a simulator but make very little use of it," said the German.

"For us drivers the main benefit of them would be to get used to a track.  But for me personally that has never been an issue.  I don't see the big advantage of them," added Schumacher.

Mercedes' new state-of-the-art simulator is not expected to be up and running until next year.

Williams and Ferrari used Toyota wind tunnels
(GMM)  Two teams have recently utilized the facilities of the departed formula one team Toyota, it has emerged.

The German-language Speed Week said Cologne based Toyota Motorsport GmbH, whose impressive facility including two wind tunnels is available for external parties to hire, has counted Williams and Toyota among its latest clients.

The report said Ferrari has confirmed that some of the development of Ferrari's new F150 car was done after booking time in the Toyota tunnels.

Technical director Aldo Costa has reportedly confirmed that Ferrari turned to Toyota due to the cost-cutting limitations placed on staff and wind tunnel time.

Williams, meanwhile, has two wind tunnels of its own at its Grove headquarters, but Speed Week said the British team "has developed parts for its new car at Toyota".

The report said as many as six other teams will also use the Toyota facilities.

Pirelli denies Ferrari bias fears
(GMM)  Pirelli boss Marco Tronchetti Provera has dismissed claims the Italian tire marque might favor Ferrari this year.

With Ferrari naming its 2011 car F150 in tribute of Italian unification and painting a tri-color on the rear wing, the national link between the Maranello marque and Milan-based Pirelli had raised some fears among Ferrari's rivals.

But Tronchetti is quoted by Spain's Diario AS newspaper: "We are a company, not a flag."

He also said he is proud of Pirelli's efforts so far as the marque returns to F1 in 2011.

"In a very short time, the drivers have said we (the tires) have a great performance," said Tronchetti.

Todt admits 'admiration' for Red Bull's Mateschitz
(GMM)  FIA president Jean Todt has revealed a "great admiration" for Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz.

Although with a relatively hands-off role personally, Austrian billionaire Mateschitz's main F1 team secured the drivers' and constructors' titles last season, just six years after taking over struggling Jaguar.

At the pinnacle of motor racing and against industry stalwarts including Ferrari and McLaren, and after carmaker giants including BMW and Toyota gave up on the road to success, energy drink Red Bull's 2010 achievement was unique.

"I have great admiration for him," Todt said when asked about Mateschitz on a visit to Vienna.

"He is a sports fanatic, especially motor sports," the Frenchman told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

"When he started (in F1), many didn't think he could be so successful, but he has shown what can be done with enthusiasm, energy and dedication," added Todt.

When asked about the forthcoming 2011 season, the FIA president summarized: "We will have the longest ever season with new rules and tires and a grand prix in India.

"It is all very open and interesting, but I won't talk about the favorites," smiled Todt.

Team Lotus confirms no KERS for 2011 car
(GMM)  Team Lotus has confirmed reports that the 2011 car does not feature a KERS system.

We reported recently that HRT and Virgin will also be starting the forthcoming season without the energy-recovery technology.

"The decision made the design job slightly easier, because packaging it in the car is always a bit more of a headache," chief designer Lewis Butler said in the Team Lotus Notes magazine.

Confirmed head of aerodynamics Marianne Hinson: "It's the same for us in aerodynamics -- no KERS is actually easier because packaging all the bits you need for it is actually quite limiting for some of the aero shapes you need in some areas."

Lotus is not ruling out installing KERS at a later date, but chief operating officer Keith Saunt suggested it is not necessary for the team to take its next step.

"If KERS was going to get us from eighth to sixth then we'd have it," he said.  "But when you look at the weight of it and some of the engineering challenges, I think it's a good decision not to start with it.

"We might end up with it, who knows?" added Saunt.  "But if we did we've got a lot of experienced people who could turn their hands to it."

New Lotus called T128, not TL11
(GMM)  This year's Team Lotus car is called T128, not TL11 as was previously announced.

"Why the change of name?" wrote team boss Tony Fernandes on Twitter.  "Because we are continuing with history.  We are a new dynasty but tradition continues."

Last year, the team - then called Lotus Racing under official license from the Proton-owned carmaker Group Lotus - raced its 2010 car with the T127 designation.

T127 was the continuation of the original Lotus team's traditional vehicle designation system, and it was thought that the reversion to TL11 for this year was to avoid yet another clash with Group Lotus amid the naming dispute.

Indicating that the designation of the 2011 car was an issue right until the T128's reveal very early on Monday morning, the launch magazine made no mention of the two variations.

Dyer demoted to factory-based role in 2011
(GMM)  Chris Dyer's redefined role at Ferrari is factory-based and on "the production side", according to a specialist report. Following the race strategy gaffe that cost Fernando Alonso the 2010 title, Australian Dyer was stepped down as head of track engineering.
Ferrari said he would get a "redefined" role for 2011.

An article by veteran correspondent Heikki Kulta in Finland's Turun Sanomat claims that role is relating to production, with 42-year-old Dyer - formerly race engineer to Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen - to be stationed at Maranello.

The report also said Schumacher would be happy to reunite with Dyer at Mercedes.

Ferrari's post-Dyer engineering structure features ex McLaren and Red Bull men Pat Fry and Neil Martin in newly prominent roles.

Alonso comment 'logical' not comical - Schumacher
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher believes it was "logical" for Fernando Alonso to recently nominate him as the major challenger for the 2011 title.
Some insiders and pundits have played down the seven time world champion's chances of success on his return to F1, particularly after a mixed performance in the wake of his three-year retirement in 2010.

But Schumacher told Bild newspaper that Alonso's prediction was not empty flattery. zzzz

"Fernando knows how to count and that things are going better and better, with the curve clearly on the up at the end of last season.

"He also knows that we have been working on our new car for a long time, so I think it's realistic for him to put Mercedes on the bill," said the 42-year-old.

Schumacher was also asked about the latest rumors surrounding Sebastian Vettel, including claims he is eyeing a future tie-up with either Ferrari or Mercedes.

"Purely hypothetically," answered the German, "it would be unreasonable if Mercedes didn't try to figure out if Sebastian wants to be with us in the future."

Niki "The Mouth" Lauda in hot water again
Niki Lauda accused of homophobia after attacking TV dancing show
Austrian gay groups have demanded an apology from the former racing driver Niki Lauda after he made disparaging remarks about the pairing of a gay male celebrity with a male dancer on Austria's version of Strictly Come Dancing.

Alfons Haider, a 53-year-old TV presenter from Vienna, is set to waltz with another man in the forthcoming series of Dancing Stars on the state-owned ORF channel.

Lauda, the three-times world Formula One champion, told the Austrian daily newspaper Österreich he didn't want to have to explain to his children why two men were dancing together on prime time TV.

"There are some good traditions in our culture, one of which is that men dance with women," he said. "Soon we will reach the stage where we will all have to publicly apologize for being heterosexual."

Lauda, 61, said he was upset "that I have to explain to my children why men no longer dance with women on TV, as is traditional".

The German tabloid Bild asked Lauda if it was really so bad for two men to dance together. "No," said Lauda. "As long as they do it at home and not on TV, when children are watching."

He insisted he was not homophobic and that he would not mind at all if his son was gay. He employed "loads" of gay people on his airline, Niki, "even as instructors", he added.

Christian Högl, the chairman of the Vienna-based gay rights group Hosi, said: "We are really shocked and very surprised that Mr. Lauda harbors such prejudice against homosexuals to make such an unjustified attack."

The group has invited Lauda to the city's Rainbow Ball next month in a bid to educate him about homosexuality.

Dancing Stars is not due to start until March, but Lauda wants ORF bosses to pull the plug on the gay pairing.

"I demand that the general director Alex Wrabetz, who is in an upright marriage, stops this gay dance number – and that the PR-crazy Alfons Haider is not permitted to put on a gay show on state owned television," Lauda told Österreich.

Wrabetz said : "I don't chose Mr. Lauda's pilots and he doesn't choose our dancers." The Guardian

Perez not focused on possible Ferrari future
(GMM)  Sergio Perez insists he is not getting carried away with thoughts about one day racing in F1 for Ferrari.

As well as being Sauber's new rookie for 2011, the 21-year-old Mexican is also a part of Ferrari's young driver program.

In Valencia on Monday as Ferrari-powered Sauber pulled the wraps off the C30, Perez insisted his main focus "is only Sauber".

"Obviously the dream is one day to drive for Ferrari (but) my main job is in Sauber and Ferrari knows this very well," Perez, who has taken a raft of Mexican sponsors to Sauber, is quoted by The Associated Press.

He finished last year's GP2 championship in second place.

Senna joins Renault as 2011 'third' driver
(GMM)  Bruno Senna has resurfaced at Lotus Renault GP.

The Brazilian, whose late uncle Ayrton is the subject of a new award-winning documentary, had a difficult debut in 2010 with the struggling HRT team.

He has not been retained for 2011, instead resurfacing in the Valencia pitlane on Monday morning as Renault launched its new black and gold R31 car.

"It's a great leap of faith from them to give me this shot, so I'm very happy," 27-year-old Senna, who like Frenchman Romain Grosjean was introduced as a 'third' driver, said whilst wearing his new black overalls.

Among Renault's other non-race drivers for 2011 are reserves Fairuz Fauzy, Jan Charouz and Ho-Ping Tung.

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