Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
Red Bull's KERS problems now fixed - Marko
|Nico Rosberg believes upgraded Mercedes will be fast in Turkey|
- Passing 'too easy' in F1 now - Heidfeld
- Turkey upgrade 'fast' admits Rosberg
- Only Glock to have full Turkey upgrade
- Ferrari-linked company confirms F1 takeover interest
- Ferrari admits conservative approach wrong
- Crash investigators clear Kubica, rally team
- 2011 no cakewalk for Red Bull - Heidfeld
- Pirelli pushing to improve hard tire
- Ecclestone again insists F1 is not for sale
- FIA confirms Istanbul DRS zone
Red Bull's KERS problems now fixed - Marko
(GMM) Red Bull has fixed its KERS problems ahead of the weekend's Turkish grand prix, the team's F1 consultant Dr Helmut Marko has confirmed.
The championship leaders have had problems with the energy-recovery technology so far in 2011 aboard the otherwise-impressive RB7 car.
Red Bull vowed to get to the bottom of the issue in the three week gap between China and Turkey.
"Our KERS system is fine, over the Easter break we have made some modifications," Austrian Marko told the German newspaper Bild.
It was believed the main problem was overheating.
"It is much better now," added Marko. "It works."
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel, although losing to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in China three weeks ago, is confident not only for Turkey but also Barcelona two weeks later.
"The next two tracks should be good for us," the German is quoted as saying by Kleine Zeitung.
Passing 'too easy' in F1 now - Heidfeld
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld has expressed concern that overtaking is becoming too easy in formula one.
For 2011, given the loud calls from fans who wanted to see more passing, the FIA introduced the 'DRS' rear wings that make it easier for chasing cars to mount a challenge.
And the severe degradation of the new Pirelli tires have also contributed to more passing, Renault driver and F1 veteran Heidfeld told RTL in an interview.
"If you look at how much overtaking there has been so far, it is probably the most extreme thing I've seen in formula one for a long time," said the German.
"Sometimes it's been a little too easy maybe," he added.
Heidfeld, who made his grand prix debut in 2000, said passing in the past was "something special".
"Now? If you have old tires and the other has fresh (ones), then he runs around the outside, the inside -- wherever," said the 33-year-old.
Turkey upgrade 'fast' admits Rosberg
(GMM) After appearing to have podium-winning pace in China three weeks ago, Mercedes could be set to make another major step towards the front this weekend.
Bild newspaper reports that Nico Rosberg tried the W02 car's Istanbul upgrade in the Brackley simulator last week.
"In the simulator I was fast," the German confirmed.
Bild said the upgrade package could amount to as much as one second per lap in qualifying.
"We need to keep pushing to try to get closer to Red Bull," added Rosberg.
Only Glock to have full Turkey upgrade
(GMM) Jerome d'Ambrosio will not enjoy Virgin's full car upgrade in Turkey this weekend.
After a very disappointing start to the team's second championship campaign, team boss John Booth said the improvements for Istanbul are "significant".
"It represents a new direction for us and we're hopeful that it will help us start to turn the corner," he said.
Virgin has been working on the Turkey upgrade since before the 2011 season even began, but only the car raced by Timo Glock will feature all of the new parts.
"Jerome will not have the benefit of the full upgrade package until Spain but he will get a taste of some of the elements this weekend," said Booth.
Ferrari-linked company confirms F1 takeover interest
(GMM) F1's owner CVC Capital Partners has confirmed that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and the Ferrari-linked Exor company have made a "friendly" approach.
News Corp and Exor SpA, controlled by the Agnelli family and with a significant shareholding in Ferrari parent Fiat, confirmed jointly on Tuesday that they are "formulating a long-term plan for the development of formula one".
CVC responded by insisting the potential takeover consortium knows F1 is "not currently for sale".
"CVC recognizes the quality of Exor and News Corporation as potential investors, but any investment in formula one will require CVC's agreement and will need to demonstrate that it is in the interest of the sport and its stakeholders", added the London based private equity firm.
Since news of the consortium's interest in F1 broke, the sport's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has said repeatedly that CVC does not want to sell.
"You would think if somebody wanted to buy it they would approach the people who own it to see if they want to sell it," he told the Press Association.
Ferrari admits conservative approach wrong
(GMM) Ferrari's chief designer has accepted the criticism that the Italian team must become more innovative.
While its less-famous rivals pioneered double diffusers, F-ducts and blown exhausts in recent years, Ferrari single seaters have become more conservative, with the latest 2011 incarnation enduring a difficult start to the season.
The Maranello based team has been getting to the bottom of a wind tunnel calibration problem, but designer Nikolas Tombazis does not dismiss commentators who say Ferrari must also become more technically creative.
"Unfortunately, we cannot claim this accusation is entirely without foundation," he told official online magazine Scuderia Ferrari Racing News.
"Maybe we were a bit too passive in our approach; we did not push hard enough in some areas of development and unfortunately, the results can be seen on track," admitted Tombazis.
Crash investigators clear Kubica, rally team
(GMM) Italian investigators have finally cleared both the Polish driver and his team in the wake of Robert Kubica's horror rally crash in February.
The 26-year-old spent 76 days in an Italian hospital after Armco barriers pierced through the Skoda Fabia S2000 car during a stage of the minor Andora rally.
Media reports, including those by SID news agency and the L'Equipe sports daily, said investigators looked into wrongdoing and have now cleared both Kubica and his rally team.
As for the Renault driver's future in F1, Santa Corona hospital's Orthopedics head Dr Francesco Lanza will not be drawn.
"His functional recovery surprised us (but) if this will let him do something very specific as driving a formula one car, it's still very difficult to say," he told Italian website 422race.com.
2011 no cakewalk for Red Bull - Heidfeld
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld is sure Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel will not walk away with the 2011 world championship.
The reigning champions enjoyed a dominant start to the season but German Heidfeld, who drives for Renault, has been particularly impressed with the improvements of the McLaren team.
"After the first races some people said it was going to be a walkover for Sebastian and Red Bull," he said in an interview with German broadcaster RTL.
"But if you look back on the past few years, something like that is really very rare. Particularly McLaren in recent years have often started a bit behind and then moved forward quite rapidly," added Heidfeld.
Indeed, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton won with a superior tire strategy in China three weeks ago, although insiders expect Red Bull to shine this weekend in Turkey.
Heidfeld said of McLaren: "If they have the development pace they've had in previous years, they will be a very serious challenger. And I hope that some other teams and us (Renault) as well can also be at the very front."
In a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday, McLaren's chief engineer Phil Prew admitted the gap separating Red Bull's RB7 from the MP4-26 is up to five tenths per lap.
Pirelli pushing to improve hard tire
(GMM) F1 teams will test an evolution of Pirelli's 'hard' tire compound in Turkey on Friday.
The sport's official supplier, worried in particular about Istanbul Park's awesome Turn 8, tested an ultra-hard tire at the circuit recently but ultimately decided to take its regular hard tire to the race this weekend.
Tire degradation has been high in 2011, and Turn 8 will be easily the toughest challenge faced by Pirelli so far.
"We will be interested to see if it (Turn 8) throws up an anomaly," admitted Virgin team boss John Booth.
Another tough challenge awaits two weeks later, where Circuit de Catalunya features an abrasive surface and the long sweeping right-hander near the start of the lap.
"If (in Turkey) we see the results that we expect from this life-sized test of the new tire, our aim will be to use it in Barcelona," confirmed Pirelli's research and development director Maurizio Boiocchi.
"This tire will provide less degradation and so we expect it to last longer, but the warm-up time will also be a little longer and there will be less grip," he added.
Ecclestone again insists F1 is not for sale
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has again reiterated the sport's current owners are in no mood to sell following further speculation regarding a potential takeover.
One of Europe's largest investment firms, EXOR, yesterday confirmed their interest in acquiring F1 alongside News Corporation.
EXOR are controlled by the Agnelli family who run car giant Fiat, which in turn owns Ferrari.
However, Ecclestone believes the most basic of questions should be asked of the current owners, private equity company CVC, for whom the 80-year-old serves as their chief executive.
Speaking to Press Association Sport, Ecclestone said: "You would think if somebody wanted to buy it they would approach the people who own it to see if they want to sell it.
"Personally, I know CVC don't want to sell, so it's going to be a bit difficult. I can see CVC in for the long haul, absolutely, 100%."
"If somebody come along and offered them (CVC) a lot more money than it's worth, they would obviously say 'Sit down, let's have a chat'," Ecclestone added.
"But I get the distinct feeling that's not going to happen. I can't understand why a company as big as News Corp need to keep looking for partners.
"First it was (Mexican billionaire) Carlos Slim, and now we've a new one."
FIA confirms Istanbul DRS zone
Formula 1 governing body the FIA has confirmed where the Drag Reduction System (DRS) will be operational in this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.
To be able to use the system when racing another car from Lap 3 onwards, the chasing vehicle must be within one second of that in front by the DRS Detection Zone, which is located several meters before Turn 10.
If the margin is one second or less, the system will then be useable between Turns 11 and 12, which features the straight on which leaders Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel came to blows last year. This also means that, for the first time, DRS will be useable in a corner during the race.
For practice and qualifying, usage of the system remains unlimited.