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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Webber has to wait for 2012 contract
    Red Bull 'happy' with Webber but no 2012 talks yet
  • Heidfeld settled in quickly at Renault - Boullier
  • 'Useless' to criticize 'interesting' tires - Domenicali
  • McLaren launches Specialized pro road bike
  • Haug doubts Bahrain GP rescheduled in 2011
  • Brawn pleased with F1's new exhaust era
  • Virgin 'quite a bit' slower than Lotus - Glock
  • Big teams pay parts suppliers more - Gascoyne

Red Bull 'happy' with Webber but no 2012 talks yet
(GMM)  Christian Horner insists Red Bull is "happy" with Mark Webber, even though the team boss is holding off on re-signing the Australian for 2012.

It emerged this week that the team not only secured the services of Sebastian Vettel and Adrian Newey through 2014, but also about 50 other top personnel.

But when asked if Webber, 34, will also be getting a new contract soon, Horner told the Sun: "Mark is at a different stage of his career to Sebastian.  At 34 he is not just starting out -- he has done 160 grands prix."

The Briton said the team is "very happy" with Webber, but he will have to wait until later to discuss 2012.

"When the time comes with Mark, if he still has the motivation, desire and is competitive, it's logical to talk about extending his contract.

"But it's too early for either him or us to be having that conversation at the moment.  That will take its natural course later in the year," added Horner.

Heidfeld settled in quickly at Renault - Boullier
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld has settled in well at Renault ahead of the 2011 season.

That is the news of boss Eric Boullier, who has also given a promising update on the progress of the team's injured regular Robert Kubica.

"Nick has a very good approach," the Frenchman is quoted by Swiss website 20min.ch.

"He gets deeply involved and has already convinced the technical team of his value," explained Boullier.  "He has quickly built around himself a climate of confidence."

Heidfeld recently said he does not feel treated like a "stop-gap" by Renault.

On Kubica, Boullier said the Pole is "ahead of all expectations" in an Italian hospital.

"He is extremely motivated and upbeat, and even if it's not rosy every day, overall he is doing exceptionally," added Boullier, who said he keeps in contact with Kubica by text message.

Boullier reiterated that he does not regret allowing Kubica to go rallying in between his F1 duties, but admitted he would perhaps rethink the "category" of vehicle used by the driver.

'Useless' to criticize 'interesting' tires - Domenicali
(GMM)  Stefano Domenicali has backed away from the criticism that some formula one figures have been making about this year's Pirelli tires.

The biggest talking point about the 2011 product has been extreme degradation in comparison with last year's Bridgestones, with three and four-stop races expected to be customary.

But Ferrari boss Domenicali, who said the 2011 Pirelli is "interesting", told Sky Italia: "If the tires have a different degradation, it is because it is a different product, so you must react.

"Who has known how to react better at first will have a competitive advantage," added the Italian.  "This is a logic that applies to everyone from the drivers to engineers."

Domenicali revealed that he has told his team that it is "useless" to complain or create excuses, and that the only response is "to work, to develop, to improve".

McLaren launches Specialized pro road bike
(GMM)  McLaren, most famous for its top formula one team, has developed a racing road bicycle in collaboration with American manufacturer Specialized.

Briton Mark Cavendish, who rides for HTC-Highroad, will attempt to take the carbon-fiber S-Works McLaren Venge - launched at McLaren's Woking headquarters on Thursday - to victory in Saturday's Milan-San Remo race.

Riders for the Astana and Saxo Bank-Sungard teams will also debut the carbon bike, whose frame weighs less than one kilogram and has an electronic gearshift.

"We can optimize a bike to levels that have never been achieved before," claimed McLaren Applied Technologies' design director Duncan Bradley.

The bike will be available from about $9,000 later this year.

Haug doubts Bahrain GP rescheduled in 2011
(GMM)  Norbert Haug on Thursday said he was doubtful the Bahrain grand prix should be rescheduled in 2011.

An FIA spokesman this week said the May 1 deadline for a possible rescheduling is still in place, despite the island Kingdom declaring a state of emergency as unrest continues.

And on Tuesday, FIA president Jean Todt wrote to permanent media pass holders saying "We wish them (Bahrain) well in their ongoing attempts to resolve their issues".

But according to the Times of London, the situation has considerably worsened late this week, with hospitals claiming they were attacked by the regime's forces and violence returning to the protest headquarters at Pearl Square.

"What is happening in Bahrain now confirms that it was the right decision," said Mercedes' Haug, referring to the decision to postpone the 2011 season opener that was scheduled for last weekend.

"I can not imagine that between now and May 1 there will be the conditions to say we can have a race," he added.

"I don't want to prejudge anything, but there are very different priorities (in Bahrain) now than a formula one race," Haug told German reporters.

Brawn pleased with F1's new exhaust era
(GMM)  Innovative exhaust layout is F1's new equivalent of the double-diffuser saga, according to Ross Brawn.

The Mercedes team boss, referring to the controversial diffuser designs of 2009 and 2010 that have now been banned, said he thinks the emergence of clever exhaust layouts could become a huge performance differentiator in F1.

"This is an important area," he is quoted by French language autohebdo.fr, "and maybe even more significant than the double diffusers in terms of performance."

The front-exiting exhaust exits on the new Renault surprised the F1 world when the R31 was launched, and Brawn said teams are also "working with their engine partners to make the most of the exhaust energy".

"This is an interesting new development," admitted the Briton.

"The nature of F1 is that the interpretation of the regulations is a challenge for the engineers.

"It is very rare for people in F1 to cheat, but what engineers do is push the limits of what they are allowed to do."

Brawn said that while the double diffusers did push the bounds of the regulations, the new blown exhaust era is slightly different.

"I think it's a great idea, and I don't think it poses a regulatory problem so I don't see why it should be controversial," he explained.

Virgin 'quite a bit' slower than Lotus - Glock
(GMM)  Timo Glock has admitted that Virgin is set to have a difficult start to the 2011 season.

The team had hoped to take a step up after an uncompetitive debut in 2010, but the new MVR-02 has looked significantly slower than the Team Lotus car in recent testing.

"I have to say our lap times do not look good," admitted German Glock, who will also start the season at less than 100 per cent after recent appendix surgery.

"Compared to Lotus, we are lagging behind quite a bit on the long runs.

"We are definitely a bit off where we wanted to be and I can only hope that our technical director Nick Wirth can give us a good car for the fourth race in Turkey," he told spox.com.

Big teams pay parts suppliers more - Gascoyne
(GMM)  Even in the race for suppliers, F1's better funded bigger teams are winning the race.

That is the claim of Team Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne, after a report in Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the grandees are paying the limited number of suppliers extra money for faster service.

That has meant that some of the smaller teams, paying suppliers regular prices without the premiums, have had to wait longer for parts.

The Resource Restriction Agreement means less can be bought by teams from outside suppliers, with the result that the better-funded teams can simply make the required parts in-house.

That frees up more money to legitimately spend externally.

"The big teams get something made quickly by paying an extra bonus, slipping a small team a few places back on the waiting list," said Gascoyne.

The Briton said the situation has been caused by the financial crisis, with many existing suppliers going out of business.

"There is a high demand, also because there are twelve teams today instead of ten," added Gascoyne.

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