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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Peter Sauber
    Rosberg to ease disappointment with Easter triathlon
  • Vettel in Senna's league, Schumacher not - Ascanelli
  • Montezemolo admits opposition to 2013 engine plan
  • Mixed feelings for Gascoyne as Lotus targets Williams
  • 'Worst' McLaren winter in 20 years - Lowe
  • Another fatality at Brazil GP venue Interlagos
  • Sauber: “We’ve reached our first target, now we have to keep on improving.”

Rosberg to ease disappointment with Easter triathlon
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg will put the disappointment of his missed Chinese grand prix podium behind him by taking part in a triathlon.

The Mercedes driver was reportedly angry after the Shanghai race when, in a strong position at the wheel of a resurgent W02, he was told to conserve fuel.

"Of course I was disappointed," he confirmed to German news agency SID, "because I was so close to a good podium and had even led the race."

Rosberg denied the team mistake has affected his motivation.

"We want to keep going forward and are all working extremely hard.  I feel comfortable about it and highly motivated," he insisted.

He said he will be using the three-week gap between China and Turkey to recharge his batteries.

"On Easter Sunday I'm doing a triathlon with some friends in Nice, which is exciting," said Rosberg, referring to the Nice-Cote d'Azur.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug said he is also upbeat about the "marked improvement" in the 2011 car seen in China.

"We were at McLaren's race speed so we will have to keep understanding the car better," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

Vettel in Senna's league, Schumacher not - Ascanelli
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel is in Ayrton Senna's league, but Michael Schumacher is not.

That is the sensational claim of Giorgio Ascanelli, the highly talented engineer who worked closely not only with Vettel at Toro Rosso, but also with the great Senna at McLaren.

"I am very lucky," the Italian told Sport Bild.  "Twice in my life I have experienced perfection; once with Senna, again with Vettel."

But Ascanelli also worked with Schumacher, the most successful F1 driver of all time, at Ferrari.

"In one respect Michael was different because he had to work harder for his success than did Senna and Vettel.  With those two it was something else," he insisted.

Added Gerhard Berger: "Before the season began I thought Alonso was the best driver, but maybe now it's Sebastian."

Luca do Montezemolo
Montezemolo admits opposition to 2013 engine plan
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo has made clear his opposition to the 2013 engine rules.

With Bernie Ecclestone staunchly opposed to the end of the V8 era in exchange for small low-revving turbos, Williams chairman Adam Parr this week insisted that formula one must keep moving in the 'greener' direction.

"The (V8) technology is dated, it's not what's going on out in the real world and I think it's a major, major barrier to bringing in new partners and growing the sport," Parr told Reuters.

He sounded excited about the new direction for 2013, including much more powerful hybrid elements and the fact that the cars will run "on pure electric" when moving down the pitlane.

Parr also said Ferrari president Montezemolo was once in favor of the new rules, but the Italian is now fiercely on F1 chief executive Ecclestone's side of the argument.

"We must not lose the DNA of formula one," Italian Montezemolo told Auto Motor und Sport, scoffing at the fact F1 is moving to four-cylinders.

"What's next is one cylinder -- we're not building motorcycles.  The real challenge is to make an eight or 12-cylinder engine economical," he added.

Mike Gascoyne
Mixed feelings for Gascoyne as Lotus targets Williams
(GMM)  Team Lotus is aiming to climb the formula one grid, but Mike Gascoyne has admitted mixed feelings at the thought of vanquishing the next target.

Asked by The Sun to name Lotus' likely next scalp, he nominated the famous British marque Williams; winner of 16 world championships but not a single race since 2004.

In 2011, the Grove based team has fallen to a slump not suffered by Williams since 1979, ignominiously joining Virgin and HRT as non-points scorers after three races.

"Unfortunately, (the next target is) probably Williams.

"I say unfortunately because it's a great team and a great name, and you'd like to see them nearer the front," said Lotus' technical chief Gascoyne.

"So maybe I'm a bit of an old git and there's a bit of nostalgia there.  But we're Team Lotus now and if we're racing Williams then that's good for us."

'Worst' McLaren winter in 20 years - Lowe
(GMM)  The period between February and March was the "worst I've experienced in 20 years at McLaren", the British team's technical director has admitted.

Briton Paddy Lowe was referring to McLaren's recent winter campaign, when the new MP4-26 was proving not only slow but also terminally unreliable as the team persevered with an exhaust concept so complex it was dubbed 'the octopus'.

Following Lewis Hamilton's Shanghai win last weekend, he confided to Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport that 2009 was also a bad start.

"But this was even worse, because then the problem was merely performance.  At the final (2011 Barcelona) test the new items didn't work and the car was unreliable," said Lowe.

At the urging of team boss Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren decided to scrap the 'octopus' and revert to a Red Bull-style solution.

"After the first practice session in Australia I was hugely relieved," admitted Lowe.

Two races on, Hamilton sensationally beat the dominant Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull in Shanghai.

"That (McLaren) car, if you really knew how bad it was behaving ... we were being quite cool about it but it was worrying for sure," said the 2008 world champion, reflecting upon the recent winter.

Another fatality at Brazil GP venue Interlagos
(GMM)  Yet another racer has died at Interlagos, the scene of November's formula one season finale.

Less than three weeks after the death of Brazilian stock car driver Gustavo Sondermann, 67-year-old Stock Paulista driver Paulo Kunze has been declared dead a few days after another high speed crash.

Following Sondermann's death, F1's governing body agreed with local authorities to add some run-off to the treacherous Curva do Cafe, where in 2007 it claimed the life of Rafael Sperafico in a near-identical incident.

Kunze, who died in hospital on Wednesday after falling into a coma with severe head injuries, had crashed head-on whilst overtaking at the Curva do Sol, the sweeping left that leads onto the back straight after the Senna S.

Peter Sauber
Sauber: “We’ve reached our first target, now we have to keep on improving.”
After three turbulent races in Australia and Asia, the Sauber F1 Team Principal gives his verdict on the season so far.

How would you assess the first three races from the Sauber F1 Team’s point of view?
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: “This season we wanted to have a car that would be both competitive and reliable from the outset – and we have clearly achieved this initial aim. If it hadn’t been for the oversight with the rear wings in Melbourne, our points total would be excellent; as it is, seven points is still okay. The important thing is that in each race we have been in a position to fight for World Championship points on merit. However, the race in Shanghai also showed that the competition is getting tougher. It will therefore now be even more important to continue making improvements. Several teams have announced they will be bringing extensive development packages to the next race in Istanbul, and that could certainly shake up the order once again. We have a larger update scheduled for the race in Barcelona.”

Does this mean your aims for the season have changed?
Peter Sauber: “No, that’s not the case. It remains our aim to collect points in every race and improve our position in the Constructors’ World Championship.”

How happy are you with your rookie driver Sergio Perez?
Peter Sauber: “We knew that in Sergio we were getting a quick, young driver. Even so, with a rookie you never have a guarantee that he will be able to call on his full potential under the pressure of a race weekend. I had high expectations of Sergio, and I have to say that so far he has actually exceeded these. He not only has the ability to look after his tires extremely well, but also drives very consistently in the races. However, Sergio is also well aware that he is at the beginning of a long learning process, part of which will be incidents like the ones last Sunday in Shanghai. I’m in no doubt that Sergio will maximize his huge potential step by step. The critical factor here is that he feels comfortable within the team and has an environment which helps him to develop as well as possible.”

How has Kamui Kobayashi risen to the challenge of his new role as team leader?
Peter Sauber: “As a general point, I would like to emphasize that our drivers are given equal treatment. But when a rookie joins the team, the longest-serving of the two drivers – that’s Kamui in this case – takes on a certain leadership role. Kamui has developed wonderfully well as a driver over the course of the last year alone, and now he is also carrying out his new role by challenging our engineers and helping them to follow the right development path. And, of course, he continues to give us a lot of pleasure with his outstanding overtaking moves out on the track. Another very important factor is that he is a true team player, and that’s something Sergio also benefits from. The two drivers really work very well together.”

What’s your view on the introduction of adjustable rear wings?
Peter Sauber: “This new element has provoked an enormous amount of debate among the drivers, team principals and fans alike. The fact is that these rear wings are working less well for some teams than others, and are therefore causing a few difficulties for some. On our cars they have worked well from the first race and do the job the FIA had in mind for them as an overtaking aid. However, in my view it’s still too early to come to a definitive conclusion. I think it would be useful if all those involved could sit down in the summer and evaluate the experiences we’ve had with them.”

How do you rate the tire situation?
Peter Sauber: “Pirelli was given a baptism of fire; the requirements it was asked to fulfill were very tough and the amount of time for development extremely short. They were also asked to produce tires that would wear more rapidly to inject extra excitement into the races. After three Grands Prix we should applaud Pirelli for getting to grips with this tricky challenge so impressively. Our car is very easy on the tires, but this has not come about by chance. Our engineers started working on this issue at a very early stage and have carried out the requisite measures. And now we can enjoy the benefits of this work during races. Needless to say, the character of the races has changed markedly as a result of the frequent pit stops, and the fans and TV commentators now have quite a tough job keeping track of how the race is unfolding. The same applies for the team strategists on the pit wall.”

How would you sum up the all-round development of the Sauber F1 Team?
Peter Sauber: “The situation as a whole for our team already looks a lot healthier than it did 12 months ago. 2010 was a very difficult year for us. The transformation from a works team back to a private set-up used up a lot of our energy, and at the start of the season in particular, our results on the track were extremely poor. From this position it was also virtually impossible to find sponsors for 2011. However, our car is no longer all white and we can be proud of that. Inevitably in a team of our size – where the engineers’ ideas outweigh the resources available to them – additional financial resources are reflected directly in performance.

We are therefore continuing our search for sponsors. As far as the technical side is concerned, I would like to underline that the Sauber C30-Ferrari is the first car for which James Key has been responsible. It is now a year since he joined us, and he has done a lot of very good things. On the one hand, there are the structural changes he has implemented. Equally, the car is meeting the aims he set out for it. With the C29 the main problems concerned driveability on uneven circuits and over curbs, which could not be alleviated by mechanical adjustments to the car set-up. The C30 gives us significantly greater flexibility in terms of ride height and also has good aerodynamic efficiency. To sum up, I can say that the overall development of the Sauber F1 Team is progressing positively, but that we have to continue to work very efficiently and with great dedication against a backdrop of limited resources in order to achieve our goals for the season.”

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