Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
Mercedes boss Haug says di Resta 'exceptional'
- Sauber targets Spain for Red Bull-like exhaust debut
- Recovering Kubica to leave hospital soon
- Nearly 150 passing moves so far in 2011 - report
- Williams' Wolff not ruling out managerial role
- Stewardess Branson to finally honor losing bet
- Williams plans raft of updates for Turkey
Mercedes boss Haug says di Resta 'exceptional'
(GMM) The latest admiration of rookie Paul di Resta's stirring early form in formula one is sparking headlines and speculation.
Norbert Haug hailed the Scot as "exceptional" after he outqualified his experienced Force India teammate Adrian Sutil at the first three races of his career.
Haug is the motor sport boss for Mercedes-Benz, the German marque that still retains links to di Resta after his recent DTM career, including the highly respected German touring car series title last year.
But Mercedes also has its own formula one team, and it is believed that di Resta's placement at Force India this year is connected with the Silverstone based team's F1 engine and KERS supply.
"We always knew he was good but his start has been exceptional," Haug is quoted as saying by the Sun newspaper.
It should also be noted that, to Blick newspaper, Swiss F1 chief Peter Sauber hailed the 25-year-old as "the amazing rookie".
But it is the Mercedes link that is sparking the headlines, including correspondent Bob McKenzie's in the UK Express when he said di Resta could "fill Michael Schumacher's boots".
"If Schumacher's nightmare F1 return continues any longer there is a possibility that he or Mercedes could decide to terminate their arrangement at the end of the season," wrote McKenzie.
"And di Resta would be an obvious choice to step in."
Sauber targets Spain for Red Bull-like exhaust debut
(GMM) Sauber has earmarked May's Spanish grand prix for the introduction of a Red Bull-style exhaust layout.
"We will have the new exhaust system in Barcelona," confirmed team boss Peter Sauber to Blick newspaper.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Kamui Kobayashi will test the system, tipped to add at least five tenths per lap to the pace of the C30 car, on Friday at Istanbul.
"It will not come to the car until it has been properly tested," Sauber confirmed.
Teams are cautious about blown-exhaust upgrades, with the latest lesson taught by struggling Williams in China, when its Red Bull-style system burned holes through the floor of Rubens Barrichello's FW33 in practice.
Like Sauber, the British team will attempt to run the exhaust again in Spain.
"Let's wait until Spain before we rejoice," insisted Sauber, "although until now, every innovation has brought us a step forward."
Recovering Kubica to leave hospital soon
(GMM) Robert Kubica is now well enough to leave hospital, according to reports from the injured Renault driver's native Poland.
The news agency Polska Agencja Prasowa (PAP) said the Italian hospital has declared that Kubica, who suffered an horrific crash during a minor rally in early February, is no longer at high risk of infection in the wake of four serious surgeries.
The reports, also carried by Polish television TVN24, said Kubica will decide when to leave hospital but that it could happen "soon" -- even in time for Easter.
A spokesman for the Santa Corona hospital in Pietra Ligure confirmed the reports, while Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli said the Pole could leave by the end of April.
The reports also said Kubica has been able to stand and walk with assistance, and will continue his rehabilitation with regular visits to clinics.
Renault team owner Gerard Lopez said last week that it is too early to be speculating upon a possible return to F1 for the 26-year-old.
"Robert at the moment must keep his focus only on his recovery," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Nearly 150 passing moves so far in 2011
(GMM) There have been almost 150 separate overtaking moves since the five red lights faded at the 2011 season opener in Australia.
That is the finding of the Turun Sanomat newspaper in Finland, reporting on the success of F1's new formula featuring moveable rear wings, Pirelli tires and KERS.
The newspaper said Sunday's 63 passes in China was the highest number recorded in dry weather in more than 20 years.
That number was more than the number of passes in the Shanghai rain two years ago, and compares starkly with the mere 9 passing moves during the 2008 Chinese grand prix.
Turun Sanomat said there were 56 passes in Malaysia less than two weeks ago, compared to 24 at Sepang in 2010. In 2008, there were just 5 passes during the same grand prix outside Kuala Lumpur.
Australia, meanwhile, was the least spectacular of the three races so far in 2011, but there were 29 recorded passes; up 4 on 2009, 17 more than in 2008, and 21 more than the Melbourne race four years ago.
"Lots has been said about the new rules," said Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen after returning from China to Switzerland, where he lives.
"I agree they're a great success; the races are unpredictable, more overtaking is happening, so they're working."
Williams' Wolff not ruling out managerial role
(GMM) Williams shareholder Christian 'Toto' Wolff has not ruled out taking a more hands-on role at the struggling British team.
The famous outfit's chairman Adam Parr said in China that after Williams' worst start to a new season since 1979, changes are definitely on the table.
Media reports have focused on the possibility Sam Michael could lose his job as technical director.
But a less-reported fact was that Austrian Wolff - whose 10 per cent stake could reportedly increase over time - made a rare visit to the F1 paddock in China last weekend.
Asked by laola1.at if he is pushing for an actual managerial role, he answered: "In Adam Parr we have a strong man who runs the show while I look in mainly from the outside."
Pressed further, he added: "I have put my foot in the door, and whether this is good or not, we will see."
Stewardess Branson to finally honor losing bet
(GMM) A sure date has finally been set so that billionaire Sir Richard Branson can honor a losing bet by becoming an air stewardess.
Last November, the Virgin team figurehead left Abu Dhabi with a sexy red AirAsia stewardess uniform, after he and Lotus chief Tony Fernandes - also an airline owner - wagered on which of their teams would beat the other on their 2010 debuts.
"He'll have to work the whole flight. He'll have to serve, he'll have to clean, he'll have to clean the toilets," Malaysian Fernandes laughed after his British-based team finished the 2010 season in the coveted tenth place.
The originally scheduled date for Branson's stewardess flight was called off because the Briton apparently ruptured a ligament after colliding with a fellow skier in Switzerland.
But it has now been confirmed that the 13-hour charity flight from London to Kuala Lumpur will take place on May 1.
"Who would have thought my mentor will be serving as a flight attendant on AirAsia? I've got my razor ready, and I can't wait to shave his hairy legs!" laughed Fernandes.
Williams plans raft of updates for Turkey
Williams will be taking a selection of new car parts to the Turkish Grand Prix next month. The team has statistically suffered its worst start to a Formula 1 season since joining the sport in the late 1970s, although Sam Michael is confident that lap times can now be lowered for Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado.
“We had a number of new parts in China,” explained the Australian Technical Director. “The most visible one was the new exhaust system on Rubens’ car during practice.
“We saw some quite positive signs during the traction phase, but unfortunately we had some reliability issues with parts of the floor burning and subsequently causing degradation of aero performance. We’re redesigning some parts and intend to reintroduce an upgraded version of this exhaust system at the Barcelona Grand Prix.
“We are introducing a modified floor, new front wing, new rear wing and new brake ducts to both cars for Istanbul. We expect this to give us a few tenths to help our drivers get into the top ten.”