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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Adrian Sutil
    Sutil eyes 'next step' in stalling F1 career
  • End of Vettel streak 'good' admits Webber
  • Red Bull hopes for KERS fix by Turkey
  • Sauber close to new sponsor deal
  • Rosberg angry after missed chance in China - reports
  • Pirelli finally praised after Shanghai spectacle
  • Red Bull still best after McLaren victory - Alonso
  • Red Bull mechanic scolds 'cheat' Button
  • No penalties after di Resta/Heidfeld collision
  • Michael: Williams 'not good enough' 

Sutil eyes 'next step' in stalling F1 career
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil is not ruling out a change of teams as his career threatens to stall at Force India.

The German has been at Force India since before the Vijay Mallya takeover, and several times he has been linked with a team switch as he dominated his previous teammates.

But in 2011 the 28-year-old has been joined by the meteoric rookie and reigning DTM champion Paul di Resta, who at the first three grands prix of his career outqualified the highly rated Sutil.

Sutil likened his recent career to "the stock market"; capitalizing at the right moments.

"You want to continue and make the next step up -- either with a new team or with the same team, you still want the next step," The National quotes him as saying at the Chinese grand prix.

"In a way we did that last year -- 2010 was a good season for me.  The problem was the last few races, and that is where you want to impress," added Sutil.

He denied he if fazed by di Resta's stirring early form, but at the same time pointed out that the Scot is not a normal F1 rookie.

"I always want to compete against the best --- I am not here to compete against drivers who can't drive in a straight line," said Sutil.

He added: "He (di Resta) is not like a typical rookie.  He had four years in DTM with a factory team.  It is not like he is someone to come out of Formula 3 or GP2 and doing mistakes."

End of Vettel streak 'good' admits Webber
(GMM)  Mark Webber checked himself on Sunday after admitting he was happy to see teammate Sebastian Vettel's winning streak end in China.

Australian Webber had seared through the Shanghai field from 18th on the grid, after losing the 2010 title to Vettel at the last hurdle and then enduring three difficult opening weekends of the new championship campaign.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton broke 23-year-old German Vettel's perfect 2011 record on Sunday.

"It was good that someone finally ..." said Webber, stopping when he realized he had described a rival team's victory as a 'good' outcome.

"Of course Seb is in the same team but he has been on a phenomenal run and we are all here together fighting for victories," he added.

"(It's a) shame McLaren won in a way but also we can't let Seb get too far away, so it was good day for the racing and good day for us in terms of points for the team," said Webber.

Red Bull hopes for KERS fix by Turkey
(GMM)  Red Bull will use the three-week break before F1's next outing in Turkey to get to the bottom of reliability problems.

Sebastian Vettel won the opening two races of 2011 from pole but finished second in Shanghai, with his RB7 and particularly the sister one driven by teammate Mark Webber regularly suffering from malfunctioning energy-recovery KERS systems.

Team consultant Helmut Marko told Germany's Focus publication that a problem had contributed to Vettel dropping to third from pole at the start of the Chinese grand prix.

"At the start his KERS was working only partially," said the Austrian, who said there is no guarantee a final remedy will be in place by Istanbul next month.

A more optimistic team boss Christian Horner told the BBC: "We need to improve it and have got three weeks to make sure we have it available on every lap of the races."

Another problem encountered by Vettel in China was his communication with the pitwall.  The German was spotted adjusting the drinking straw in his helmet just prior to the start.

"Maybe some water from the drinking system got in the microphone," Horner speculated to the Austrian press.

Sauber close to new sponsor deal
(GMM)  Sauber is close to signing yet another new sponsor to the Swiss team.

Following the departure of owner BMW at the end of 2009, Hinwil based Sauber struggled through last season with a livery mainly uncluttered by sponsor logos.

The situation is vastly different in 2011, with the heavily backed Sergio Perez bringing a raft of Mexican backers, while other names including NEC and Asia Jet are also on the new C30.

Swiss newspaper Blick said yet another sponsor is coming soon.

"We are close to signing the contract," confirmed team boss Peter Sauber.

Rosberg angry after missed chance in China - reports
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg was angry after Sunday's Chinese grand prix, according to German media reports.

The 25-year-old hailed such a "big step" for the W02 car in Shanghai that he spent time leading the race.

But he was then told on the radio to slow down to save fuel, and finished fifth.

"The win would have been possible," Bild newspaper quoted the 'angry' Rosberg as saying.

Niki Lauda said he understands the German's frustration.

"If you have to save fuel, you are no longer competing with the others," said the triple world champion.

"They had too little in the tank for this race, which shouldn't happen.  They got it wrong," added Lauda.

Mercedes competition director Norbert Haug agreed: "I can understand Nico's disappointment."

Explaining the mistake, he added: "When your car is going faster than before, it uses more fuel than before."

Pirelli finally praised after Shanghai spectacle
(GMM)  After all the criticism, Pirelli is finally receiving some high praise for its new role in formula one.

Drivers, teams and commentators were earlier critical of the sport's new official supplier for producing tires that degrade too quickly and flick rubber 'bullets' into the faces of chasing competitors.

But after a mediocre season opener in Melbourne, the back-to-back outings in Malaysia and China in the last two weeks were widely hailed as "thrilling", apparently vindicating Pirelli's pre-season claim that quickly-degrading tires will add to the F1 spectacle.

"Thank you Pirelli," said BBC commentator David Coulthard on Sunday.  "What they've given us is great, strategic racing."

McLaren and FOTA boss Martin Whitmarsh agreed: "I think today (Sunday) showed that formula one can deliver spectacular, fast, close, nail-biting racing."

Added Pirelli chief Paul Hembery: "It's hard to imagine how we can top this at the next grand prix in Turkey, but we're certainly going to try to have something just as good."

The Italian marque will supply the same hard and soft compounds at the forthcoming Turkish and Spanish grands prix, following speculation an experimental 'extra-hard' compound might need to be used at Istanbul.

And the 'super-soft' will make its 2011 debut in Monaco.

"It's quite a different tire to the rest of the range and should be very effective around the streets of Monte Carlo," added Hembery.

Red Bull still best after McLaren victory - Alonso
(GMM)  McLaren won in China but the Red Bull is still the car to beat.

That was the claim of Fernando Alonso, after Ferrari had yet another disappointing outing in Shanghai while McLaren and Mercedes' competitiveness took a step forwards.

Spain's AS newspaper asked Alonso if Lewis Hamilton's win on Sunday means Red Bull's dominance has finally been stopped.

"No, Red Bull are still ahead," he answered.

Ferrari brought some improvements to China, notably a new front wing, but Alonso revealed that it was not raced because it was "not ready".

"Our car was the same, aerodynamically and mechanically, as it was in Malaysia.  Mercedes and McLaren had improvements so maybe that's why they were better," he said.

The famous team will use the three weeks before Turkey to prepare a round of more significant updates for the 150 Italia.

"We need to get to the bottom of our situation, to the core of the problem, and improve from there," said Spaniard Alonso.

"For Turkey there will be some improvements, but the other teams are not going on holiday so you can't think the rankings will change too much.

"Personally, I'm going to take a break, as we've been a month away from home.  I will get on my bike and clear my mind," he promised.

Teammate Felipe Massa denounced the "wrong" pit strategy for China but outraced Alonso and admitted he was "very happy" with his performance.

"It was my best race this year and probably all of last year as well," he is quoted by Brazil's Globo.

Alonso, however, said the strategy cannot be blamed for their sixth and seventh placings in Shanghai.

"The reality is that 2 or 3 stops are not going to change the situation much when your car is not fast enough," he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Realistically, I do not expect to see a Ferrari capable of beating Red Bull or McLaren in Turkey, but at least we need to bring them closer," he added.

Red Bull mechanic scolds 'cheat' Button
(GMM)  At least one Red Bull team member did not see the funny side after Jenson Button drove into the wrong area for a pitstop in China.

"He is obviously so eager to drive for Red Bull that he wanted to stop there," joked team boss Christian Horner, after McLaren's Button stopped for service on Sunday surrounded by the gesticulating blue-clad Red Bull pit crew.

Button realized his error quickly and did not hold up the chasing Sebastian Vettel, who in fact took race position from the Briton.

"I was like 'Oh my god, I can't believe I just did that'," the red-faced 2009 world champion said afterwards.

Button's own boss Martin Whitmarsh was not overly impressed but he saw the funny side, describing the faux pas as "comical" and joking that his driver "must have liked the look of Red Bull's tires".

British comedy lover Vettel smiled when asked about Button's mistake but also furrowed his brow to point out the more serious side.

"I lost a little bit of time because I waited, I didn't want to stop and then go again.  It's also not easy for the (pit) guys, it's very easy to lose the rhythm," said the reigning champion.

Even more irritated was Red Bull's left-rear wheel-gun operator Mark Lenton, otherwise known as Mark Webber's number one mechanic 'Crunch'.

"I realized they were cheating from the beginning," he said when asked about the incident by the BBC's David Coulthard after the race.

"I was pretty disappointed when he wanted to stop, to slow us down," added Lenton.

Asked by Coulthard if he was joking, 'Crunch' - clarifying that his view was a personal opinion rather than a team one - continued: "I honestly think they were trying to cheat.

"I thought it was a very cheeky move to try to slow us down."

No penalties after di Resta/Heidfeld collision
Chinese Grand Prix stewards have confirmed that no punishments will be handed out for the last lap coming together between Paul di Resta’s Force India and Nick Heidfeld’s Renault.

After dropping out of the points when passed by Kamui Kobayashi, Heidfeld tried to go around di Resta on the outside of the Turn 14 hairpin but they touched and both cars suffered light damage as a result of the contact.

‘The Stewards having received a report from the Race Director in relation to the incident between cars 9 and 15, analyzed the evidence and heard from the team representatives and the drivers, who all agreed that it was a "racing incident". The Stewards decide to take no further action,’ reads an official FIA communication.

Michael: Williams 'not good enough'
Williams technical director Sam Michael says that changes 'will' be made to the organization to turn around its disappointing start to the season - and he has not ruled out moving to a different role or leaving the outfit totally if needed.

"I think the job that we have done this year clearly is not good enough," Michael told AUTOSPORT.

"There are lots of different reasons why. But either way, whatever team you are, I can easily see that where we are at the moment is not good enough and that falls down to me. So, we are currently reviewing that inside Williams – I am contributing to that and I am happy to do what the team wants me to do, to an extent.

"What I would not be happy with doing would be not changing anything – even myself. Even if everyone said everything is perfect, I know it is not. So, I am not happy with the job that we have done as a group. I would review that anyway – including myself. I don't exclude myself from any of that.

"I, as technical director, have chosen the technical team that works for me – the aero team, the design team, the operations group, the vehicle dynamics, the KERS guys. They are all people that I have chosen to put in those positions, so if it doesn't work then it is my responsibility. That is what we are in the middle of at the moment."

"Obviously the team has to decide what it wants for itself and I will be part of that process, and then also I have to make a decision whether I think that is good for the team in terms of whatever I do."

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