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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Kubica takes turn for worse
    Senna not considered for Kubica sub role
  • Buemi puts on 3 kilos to fight for career
  • Champions Red Bull retain pace lead for 2011
  • Vettel concerned about F1's focus on 'the show'
  • McLaren to supply electronics to NASCAR series
  • Girlfriend says Kubica's condition has worsened
  • Lotus Renault contacted me says Heidfeld
  • Hamilton denies there is any issue with Button or new car
  • Mercedes car still has problems New

Senna not considered for Kubica sub role
(GMM)  Bruno Senna was never a contender to replace the injured Robert Kubica at Renault this year.

That is the explanation of team boss Eric Boullier, after Senna tested the R31 at Jerez following Heidfeld's audition for the newly-available car number 9 race seat.

"Senna's day of testing was not to evaluate him, but rather to give him some mileage to prepare him in his role as the third driver," Boullier said at Jerez on the weekend.

The media made much of the fact that Brazilian Senna was significantly slower on Sunday than Heidfeld had managed 24 hours earlier.

Senna insists he was not disappointed.

"The work I did gives me new chances with the team for the future, and they seemed to like what I did," said the former HRT racer.

Indeed, after his maiden outing with Honda more than two years ago, Jerez was only Senna's second ever F1 test day.

"I was not competing with him," he is quoted by Globo Esporte when asked about Heidfeld.

"I came here in my role as third driver.  For preparation you need more than one day in the car -- they need a driver that's ready to do it," added Senna.

Buemi puts on 3 kilos to fight for career
(GMM)  Bucking the current trend in F1, Sebastien Buemi has revealed that he has put on weight ahead of the 2011 season.

After a disappointing finish to last season, the Toro Rosso driver changed his chief mechanic and fitness trainer.

With new Finnish physio Antti Kontsas, the 22-year-old said he has put on three kilograms since the 2010 finale in Abu Dhabi.

Swiss newspaper Blick said the extra weight is muscle bulk.

"I am now 66 kilos," said Buemi, who is 175 centimeters tall.

"In Bahrain, I have to be ahead of Alguersuari in qualifying and the race," he said, amid reports he is under serious pressure from Toro Rosso's new Friday driver Daniel Ricciardo.

Champions Red Bull retain pace lead for 2011
(GMM)  The test timesheets have been confusing so far, but Red Bull is apparently still on top of the formula one world.

Since pre-season group testing kicked off this month in Valencia and Jerez, a plethora of other teams - notably Renault, Mercedes and even Williams - have looked up to the task of taking on Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren in 2011.

But Toro Rosso's Franz Tost told Blick newspaper: "Red Bull was clearly the best and the strongest at Jerez."

According to Estado de S.Paulo, Williams' Rubens Barrichello - fastest as the four-day test concluded on Sunday - agrees: "Red Bull are in front."

2010 runner-up Fernando Alonso said in the Spanish press: "On the basis that Red Bull had a half-second advantage at the end of last year, they remain the reference for everybody."

McLaren's pace at present is unclear, after Lewis Hamilton said the MP4-26 is a step ahead of last year's car, before Jenson Button struggled with balance and was notably slow on Sunday.

"I haven't got a clue where we are, really," Briton Button told reporters.

But Red Bull's Mark Webber is adamant: "In general, teams that were fast last year are still fast, us included."

Meanwhile, photographers captured an interesting innovation on the RB7 at Jerez; a much bigger than usual opening at the rear of the Red Bull's engine cover.

Cologne's Express newspaper said the 20-centimetre wide hole is tied up with the channeling of airflow to increase downforce.

"From what I've seen so far, I would say Red Bull remains the favorite," Nick Heidfeld is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Vettel concerned about F1's focus on 'the show'
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has expressed concern about the increasing focus on F1's "show" factor.

The reigning world champion was referring to the adjustable rear wing innovation for 2011, as well as new supplier Pirelli's intention to increase the need for pitstops by supplying less durable tires.

"F1 is becoming more radical, with more and more attention being put into the show.  I wonder if this is necessary," he told the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Fernando Alonso infamously declared a few years ago that F1 is "not a sport".

"It is too much a business to be a sport, and too much a sport to be a business," he now clarifies in AS newspaper.

"But it is not just a sport purely and simply, because there are too many interests and too much at stake," added the Spaniard.

There have been rumblings within the paddock that, with KERS also returning in 2011, the demands on the drivers are becoming unreasonable.

"If a critical point is reached," German Vettel said, "we would sit down together and discuss it.  It's about our safety."

One of the safety concerns is an apparent delay between the pressing of the button and the time it takes for the adjustable rear wing to click back into place before braking.

At Jerez last week, observers said there were several drivers having problems under heavy braking after the long straight.

"There is a sort of 'no man's land' of at least 5 meters when the load on the wing is not felt yet," Jarno Trulli confirmed, according to Autosprint.

But McLaren's Jenson Button countered: "Actually I was quite surprised how quickly it (the wing) reacts to the pressing of a button."

McLaren to supply electronics to NASCAR series
(GMM)  McLaren will supply standard electronic engine control systems to the NASCAR series from 2012.

At the Singapore grand prix, NASCAR vice chairwoman Lesa Kennedy's attendance coincided with rumors the American series was set to arrange the deal.

The contract is with Woking based McLaren Electronic Systems, who also supply mandatory electronic control units to all the formula one teams.

"To have earned a role as a standard equipment supplier to the two most important motor sport series in the world is an incredible achievement for us," said MES managing director Peter van Manen.

Girlfriend says Kubica's condition has worsened
(GMM)  Robert Kubica's condition has worsened over the weekend, according to his girlfriend.

Polish news channel TVN 24 quoted the Renault driver's partner Edyta as saying Kubica is not as well as he was before his latest surgery.

"His state has somewhat worsened, both in regards to his physical and psychological state," she said.

Kubica, 26, had been removed from intensive care but he is back, Edyta Witas confirmed.

"Robert has had worse days, but he is strong and he knows that staying in ICU is the best solution for him.  His life is not in danger," she clarified.

Lotus Renault contacted me says Heidfeld
Nick Heidfeld has stressed that the Lotus Renault GP team contacted him, as opposed to the other way round, when it came to viewing the German as a possible replacement for the injured Robert Kubica. The Sauber driver of last year tested with the Enstone outfit in Jerez on Saturday, topping the timesheets.

With Kubica in an Italian hospital and possibly out of action for the entire campaign, Heidfeld – whose Formula 1 career had seemingly come to a halt – now looks highly likely to be moving in alongside Vitaly Petrov.

“The first news was that I saw on the internet that Robert had an accident in Italy last Sunday,” the German is quoted as saying by the official F1 website. “First the talk was that he had injured his leg. The first thought of course was that I hoped that it is not too bad. The second thought then was probably I could step in for him.

“I was locked into the internet to find out what was going on and the real unhappy aspect was that if it is worse for him it could be better for me - that’s a very oppressive feeling. You don’t want anything bad for someone. On the other hand, it can mean a real chance for yourself.

“I want to point out that the team contacted me and not vice-versa. I know that some drivers contacted the team. On Tuesday I was already visiting the team in Enstone and was speaking with Eric (Boullier, Team Principal) and the engineers - but no seat fitting then. The seat was done in Jerez in two nights because during the days Vitaly was driving.

“On Wednesday I was heading home to get my license - as a Formula 1 license at that time was not very high on the agenda - and from one moment to the other it became a paramount issue.”

Heidfeld added that he had also been in discussions with – as well as DTM teams - Mercedes GP with regards to a 2010-like reserve driver role for this year.

"There are going to be guys that take the risk and try it. We're here to do whatever it takes to win the race. So we'll see kind of what happens over the next few days. We are going to take it day to day and make our plan from there."

Hamilton denies there is any issue with Button or new car
Lewis Hamilton has downplayed concerns that McLaren could be in for a rough season should their MP4-26 move to the front of the pack.

Despite having two World Champions on the payroll in Hamilton and Jenson Button, last season proved to be a harmonious one for McLaren.

Many believe this was because the McLaren drivers were not regularly squabbling over race wins while Button's quest was further undone by his poor qualifying performances.

But should McLaren's new MP4-26 prove to be a regular race winner, F1 commentator Martin Brundle reckons the duo will soon find themselves fighting on the track - and off it.

Hamilton, though, is adamant himself and Button can avoid the pitfalls that befell Red Bull rivals Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber when they were fighting each other for race wins in 2010.

"We're both racers, but we're both sensible," the 2008 World Champ told the official F1 website.

"We both know that to win in Formula One you need the best equipment. Is there any sense in Jenson and me fighting against each other if it damages our chances of having the fastest car?

"As we've said all along, we need to work together to develop our car, move it into the best possible position, and only then can we start thinking about the World Championship. What's the use in battling tooth and nail over 10th place?

"Having said that, Jenson and I also get on very well together - we've both grown up within British motorsport, we've shared a lot of the same experiences and it's brought us to the same point in our lives, driving for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and doing our very best to win the World Championship for ourselves and our team."

As for whether McLaren's MP4-26 will rise to the front, Hamilton insists it's too early to tell.

"Performance is relative. You can pull out all the stops over the winter and still not know what shape you'll be in at the first race.

"All I can say is that every single person within our organization has been flat out to ensure the car is the best it can be.

"Will that be good enough? We won't know until we get to Bahrain next month." Planet F1

Mercedes car still has issues
Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn admitted that the squad still had some issues to tackle after poor reliability plagued Nico Rosberg's test days at Jerez.

Michael Schumacher had buoyed Mercedes with the fastest time of the Friday session and third place on Saturday, enjoying two trouble-free days.

But both Rosberg's tests were compromised by glitches, with the need to make a precautionary engine change sidelining him for much of Sunday.

"Every lap is beneficial in pre-season testing and the work that we achieved was good, however the long stoppage was unfortunate," said Rosberg.

Brawn conceded that Mercedes' burst of pace on Friday and Saturday didn't means its problems were solved.

"The four days in Jerez have proved to be extremely useful for the team, although the test has not been without its challenges," he said.

"We had good reliability for the middle two days which allowed us to accumulate a lot of mileage, however there are issues to be resolved so that we can maximise our track time for the remaining two tests.

"Both Michael and Nico continue to feel comfortable in the car and our priorities remain on reliability, developing our understanding of the tyres and the KERS, whilst simultaneously pushing on with the
developments still to come."

Rosberg added that he was confident Mercedes would be in good shape by the time its final winter package arrived in Bahrain.

"It's a steep learning curve and there is a lot of hard work ahead, but with the developments that we have to come, I am confident that we will continue to progress," he said. ITV-F1

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