Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday
Ecclestone asks teams to oppose 2013 engine - report
|To the victor go the spoils - Adrian Newey (L) and Sebastian Vettel (R)|
- Newey important for new Red Bull contract - Vettel
- Raikkonen's NASCAR switch surprises F1 drivers
- Bahrain cancellation saved HRT team - Willis
- Virgin has 'too little downforce' - Glock
- Ferrari to run flexible front wing 'soon' - Costa
- No quick fix for Mercedes rear wing problem
- Alonso and Hamilton being questioned
- Buemi miffed at severity of penalty
Ecclestone asks teams to oppose 2013 engine - report
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone in Malaysia has continued his push against F1's radical new engine rules for 2013.
The sport's chief executive met with all the team bosses at Sepang and outlined his plan to keep the current V8 formula rather than see F1 switch as scheduled to 'green' turbo 4-cylinder engines.
The FIA, headed by president Jean Todt, has already announced the new rules, but Auto Motor und Sport reports that Ecclestone wants the F1 Commission to formally propose that the V8s be kept in 2013.
80-year-old Ecclestone's argument is that he is feeling pressure from the race promoters and television broadcasters to drop the four-cylinder plan because the engines will "sound terrible".
It is believed that Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is backing the push to stick with V8.
"Funny," said Todt. "All the teams voted for the new engine last year -- even Ferrari."
But it is argued that no new manufacturers have said they are entering F1 because of the new rules, which according to some estimates are costing more to develop than was originally planned.
"They've obviously got a different calculation than we do," said Cosworth's Mark Gallagher, with it believed the independent British marque is spending only EUR 30 million on the 2013 formula.
Newey important for new Red Bull contract - Vettel
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has admitted he signed on through 2014 with Red Bull when he knew that top car designer Adrian Newey is also staying put.
It is believed Ferrari also made a push to sign the 23-year-old German as well as Briton Newey, but the pair are keeping the 2010 world championship team together.
"Ferrari is special, a legend and I would be proud to put my name among their list of drivers," Vettel told Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo.
"But for now I am happy where I am."
When asked if his extended stay is linked to Newey, Vettel answered: "Yes, before planning for the future I wanted to understand what will happen inside the team.
"And it's not just Adrian, but others that are also important to Red Bull," he added.
Raikkonen's NASCAR switch surprises F1 drivers
(GMM) A handful of F1 drivers have admitted surprise at hearing 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen's plans to race in NASCAR.
The Finn left Ferrari at the end of 2009 to race full-time in the world rally championship, but this year he will split his WRC duties with a foray in the American scene, starting with some races in the minor pick-up truck series.
"I don't understand," Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi told Finland's Turun Sanomat in Malaysia. "I thought Kimi was focused on rally and then it's a completely different story.
"Did he change his mind? The most important thing for Kimi is for him to enjoy whatever he is doing. Definitely he will learn to drive in NASCAR faster than the rally," added the Swiss.
Raikkonen's former McLaren colleague Pedro de la Rosa agrees: "I thought he was committed to rallying so on one hand it's disappointing he is not staying full-time because he seemed to be getting better all the time."
Added Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg: "If Kimi is happy driving a NASCAR then I'm happy for him and wish him all the best.
"100 per cent for sure I will not do it myself because I know I wouldn't enjoy it at all," added the German.
And Michael Schumacher agreed that exploring the world of NASCAR "doesn't interest me at all".
Bahrain cancellation saved HRT team - Willis
(GMM) The cancellation of the 2011 Bahrain season opener was a god-send for the HRT team, technical boss Geoff Willis has admitted.
Both Hispania cars failed to qualify in Australia two weeks ago, after the new front nose failed the FIA crash test and the Cosworth-powered F111 completed only a handful of laps with a plethora of other problems.
But so troubled was the Spanish team two weeks earlier, when Bahrain had been scheduled to host the first race of the season in mid-May, Willis admits HRT would not have been able to travel to the Gulf Kingdom at all.
According to the Concorde Agreement, if a team skips a race for any reason other than genuine force majeure, it can be thrown out of formula one.
"We know it's been a difficult start," Briton Willis is quoted as saying by f1today.nl from Malaysia, where both Vitantonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan managed to qualify on Saturday.
"If the season had started in Bahrain we may not have participated because we were not ready. We were lucky it was turned into a test in Barcelona," he admitted.
Virgin has 'too little downforce' - Glock
(GMM) Even the prospect of torrential rain on Sunday is not buoying the hopes of Timo Glock.
The German driver, who has previously admitted frustration with the stalling development of the Virgin team, qualified 2 seconds off the pace of the Lotus cars in Malaysia.
Moreover, the MVR-02 is only marginally quicker than the HRT cars at Sepang.
"The gap to Lotus is the same as it was in testing," Glock complained to Auto Motor und Sport.
"Even the rain is not going to help because we simply have too little downforce -- lightening would have to strike the KERS cars," he joked.
Ferrari to run flexible front wing 'soon' - Costa
(GMM) Ferrari is the first team to announce its intentions to follow Red Bull down the path of 'flexible' front wings.
Red Bull's rivals had hoped a new bodywork flexibility rule for 2011 would close the loophole that allowed the front wing of some cars last year - notably the title-winning RB6 but also the Ferrari - to bend towards the track.
Ferrari technical director Aldo Costa admitted Red Bull has run into the distance with the concept in 2011.
"We are going deeper in the evaluation of front wings and we will do a flexible front wing soon," he announced in Malaysia.
Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn said 24 hours earlier that he believed Red Bull's approach was one of "concept" that other teams might now need to look into.
But he told Auto Motor und Sport on Saturday: "For conceptual changes, there is a limit to the resources you can tie up.
"You have to ask yourself whether it makes tense to change tack. McLaren have shown today that you can be fast even with a completely different approach (to Red Bull)," added Brawn.
No quick fix for Mercedes rear wing problem
(GMM) The adjustable rear wing problem on Mercedes' 2011 car might not be fully fixed until the Turkish grand prix next month.
Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg both had problems with the movement of the moveable flap in Malaysia as they settled in the middle of the grid.
According to Auto Motor und Sport, the problem is arising when the drivers trigger the wing to fold back into the normal position before a corner.
Engineers have designed the wing to return to normal downforce within 50 meters of the pressing of the foot-pedal, but on the W02 this is not always occurring.
"The balance can be disrupted by two to three per cent, which is enough to affect the drivers," admitted team boss Ross Brawn.
Alonso and Hamilton being questioned
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are now speaking to Malaysian Grand Prix stewards following their Malaysian Grand Prix collision on Sunday afternoon.
The incident occurred on Lap 46 as the Ferrari attacked the McLaren for third position. However, although the Englishman did not change line, the Spaniard was caught out by the difference in speed.
After losing his left-front wing endfence against Hamilton’s right-rear wheel, Alonso was forced to pit and dropped to an eventual sixth place.
Buemi miffed at severity of penalty
Sébastien Buemi was miffed at the stewards’ decision to hand him a 10-second stop/go penalty in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, dropping the Toro Rosso driver back to 13th position after speeding in the pit lane.
“I made a good start, passing Rosberg and was running well, closing up on Kobayashi and Schumacher, but at my first pit-stop I had the impression that the pit lane speed limiter had not been engaged,” he explained shortly after the race.
“I immediately pressed it again, which deactivated it, so I speeded in the pit lane and picked up a ten second stop-go penalty, which I felt was a bit severe, as usually you get a drive-through penalty which loses you less time.
“After that I gave it my best shot but it was not enough to get a reward for the work, as I felt we could have got the Force Indias and at least finished ninth. I only changed tires twice and it’s true that the last few laps were very difficult because of the degradation.”