Ferrari targeting China upgrade
F1 split after 'confusing' Malaysia GP
(GMM) Sunday's Malaysian grand prix has raised fears that formula one may now be too confusing for spectators.
"It was a really confusing race in a way, trying to understand the pitstops," said Jenson Button, who finished second behind Sepang winner Sebastian Vettel.
"I don't think anyone really knew who was going to finish behind Seb," he added.
The confusion was caused by the Pirelli tires and how the drivers managed their degradation over a range of mainly 3 and 4-stop strategies apiece.
"I need to analyze this race with the engineers because, to be honest, I don't really understand what happened," admitted Jaime Alguersuari.
Button expanded: "It is complicated and I think at this point of the season it's going to be because there's a lot that we're trying to learn ourselves on the circuit.
"If we had one tire for the whole race and didn't have pit stops, would it be exciting? I don't know.
"It made the racing (in Malaysia) exciting and as the season goes on we will realize and understand the tires a little bit more every race," said the McLaren driver.
Paul Hembery said the kind of racing witnessed at Sepang was exactly what Pirelli had been asked to design through its 2011 tires.
"We either go back to a one-stop strategy, if that's what they feel is better, or we continue to do what we have been asked to do," he said.
On Friday, drivers tested an experimental hard compound but Hembery warned that it might be too "conservative" if rolled out for racing.
"It's hard for us -- we are in the middle," he said. "I am not being defensive because we are doing what we have been asked to do.
"If I am going to be criticized for making the races more exciting, I don't know what to say," he told the Telegraph.
Nick Heidfeld, whose gentle driving style was credited for his podium finish, and Fernando Alonso said Sunday's race was good.
"The races are more exciting than last year," Fernando Alonso told AS newspaper. "For us (teams and drivers) it's a bit more of a hassle, but the racing is better."
Added Heidfeld: "It's probably more complicated to understand from the outside, at the same time the show is better."
Di Resta stung by flying Pirelli 'marbles'
(GMM) Paul di Resta claims he was hit several times by tire "marbles" during the Malaysian grand prix.
Off the racing line, the Sepang circuit was littered with discarded chunks of Pirelli's synthetic compounds that roll off the tires as they degrade.
"Come the end of the race, it gets difficult to overtake," Scottish rookie di Resta is quoted by the Telegraph.
"The other big thing is that they kept coming up and hitting me in the hands. In the middle of a fast corner, these lumps of rubber would be smacking into my hands as I turned the wheel.
"Rubber is not the softest material and if it got you in the right place, it could hurt," said the Force India driver.
Pirelli motor sport director Paul Hembery said he was not aware if di Resta's complaint was widespread.
"I have not had those comments from the top three (finishers) but if it's an issue, we will have to confront it," he said.
"There was a lot of overtaking though. We will have to analyze all the overtaking maneuvers but the marbles have to go somewhere and that is a difficulty for us," the Briton added.
Sauber pays points bonus despite Aus exclusion
(GMM) Sauber team members were paid their contractual monetary bonuses despite the double-disqualification in Melbourne two weeks ago.
Both Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez were thrown out of the points after the season opener when the curvature of their rear wing top elements were found to breach the rules by 4mm.
Most teams pay financial bonuses to the drivers and staff on the basis of points scored.
"Despite the disqualification, we paid the drivers and the entire team their bonuses in full," confirmed team CEO Monisha Kaltenborn to Sonntagsblick newspaper.
For most of Sauber's 280 staff, the bonus per point is reportedly $90.
Hamilton excused after Sepang strategy outburst
(GMM) McLaren excused Lewis Hamilton after denouncing his "very poor" race strategy in Sunday's Malaysian grand prix.
The Briton started second but finished just seventh at Sepang, and was further demoted to eighth place following a penalty for weaving in front of Fernando Alonso.
"I tried my best," the visibly angry 2008 world champion said after stepping out of the MP4-26, while his teammate Jenson Button climbed the podium.
"I stopped before everyone else and then the wrong tires were put on. It was very poor strategy but there's nothing I can do," added Hamilton.
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he understood the 26-year-old's initial frustration.
"Lewis said a few things straight after the race which were from his view in the cockpit," he said. "He's already smiling and laughing and when he looks back and sees the full picture I think he'll have a different opinion."
Whitmarsh also said he thought Hamilton's post-race 20-second penalty for weaving was "harsh", but Ferrari driver Alonso said his former teammate had been "very aggressive".
"At 300kmh he did some very aggressive moves with the steering wheel," the Spaniard told AS newspaper, but he wasn't critical of the stewards for his own 20-second penalty.
"It was a normal racing incident," he explained, referring to when he clipped the rear of Hamilton's McLaren.
"We are racing drivers, I would do the same thing tomorrow, while others make the decisions," added Alonso.
Ecclestone confirms McNally set to retire
(GMM) F1's advertising supremo Paddy McNally is retiring, Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed.
Late last year, the sport's chief executive Ecclestone appointed David Campbell to "help" 72-year-old McNally with running the trackside advertising company Allsport and the Paddock Club.
"Paddy thinks someone younger should take over," confirmed 80-year-old Ecclestone to the Daily Mail. "He is one of the founding fathers of the modern grand prix set-up."
McNally is also one of the richest men in Britain.
Track changes confirmed for Abu Dhabi, Brazil
(GMM) Changes to the Abu Dhabi grand prix circuit are being made, chief executive Richard Cregan has confirmed.
Last week, we reported that changes were being considered following criticism of the processional 2010 finale at Yas Marina Circuit.
"Races like Abu Dhabi in 2010, where you cannot overtake, are not acceptable," FIA president Jean Todt had said.
The potential layout changes were discussed during meetings at Sepang between Cregan - the former Toyota team manager - and F1 officials.
He confirmed that changes between turns 6 and 9 will be made before November's penultimate round of the 2011 championship.
But Cregan insisted that the changes have not been requested due to flaws with the original layout.
"We spoke with Charlie Whiting and he spoke with the drivers and they actually had very few issues with the circuit," he said.
Meanwhile, it has been decided that some seating will be demolished at F1 track Interlagos to make room for an escape area, following the recent death of Brazilian stock car driver Gustavo Sonderman.
'Horrible' start to 2011 for Williams - Barrichello
(GMM) Rubens Barrichello has denounced a "horrible" start to his 18th consecutive season in formula one.
Williams was buoyed by a positive winter season, but the veteran Brazilian Barrichello said Melbourne and Malaysia have left him disappointed.
"It's sad, but after two trials, that is the right word. We expected a stronger start to the season," the 38-year-old told Brazilian television Rede Globo.
"I think there is potential to discover in this car, but the first two races have been horrible," he added.
Barrichello said the main problems are a lack of straight-line speed and "the lack of reliability to finish the races".
'Time short' for 2013 engine rule clarity - Kaltenborn
(GMM) Sauber chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn has confirmed a debate is in play regarding the engine formula for 2013.
The FIA has already rubber-stamped the impending beginning of a four-cylinder turbo era, but Bernie Ecclestone and Ferrari are pushing hard for the current V8 formula to remain.
Meetings were held at Sepang over the weekend and Kaltenborn - although with Ferrari as the Swiss team's engine and KERS supplier - said Sauber has not chosen a side.
"As a customer team we currently have too little information in order to argue for one (option) or the other," she is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
"But time is very short," added Kaltenborn.
"On the one hand, we support innovative technology, and on the other it must be affordable. You have to find a balance," she said.
Also discussed on the sidelines in Malaysia were a new Concorde Agreement for post-2012 and further cost reductions championed by the teams group FOTA.
On the latter issue, Kaltenborn urged caution.
"We must not forget that we are implementing cost reductions for the first time in the history of formula one.
"For us as a team in the midfield, it is important to ensure the preservation of the team and maintain both the appeal and the glamour of formula one," she said.
"Felipe and Fernando both drove great races: it's up to us to give them a better car," team boss Stefano Domenicali said. "We find ourselves in a situation where we need to be perfect to maximize our potential, given that we are lagging behind in terms of performance: we did not manage that and we must do all in our power to avoid that situation repeating itself.
"At the same time, we have to seriously ramp up the development of our car to make up the lost ground compared to the best. We will try and complete an analysis of the aerodynamics of the car as quickly as possible and introduce some developments as soon as we can, maybe right from the next race in China."
"We cannot be pleased with this result, because today, we had the possibility to finally leap up onto the podium," Domenicali said. "Two incidents, linked one to a reliability issue and one at a pit stop cost us very dear. It's a shame, because in terms of race pace the 150§ Italia seemed much more competitive when compared to its qualifying performance, as we had already seen in Melbourne. Once again today one driver, Vettel, was probably uncatchable but we were capable of fighting with all the others."