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DATE News (chronologically)
05/12/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday  
  • After a 3rd for Alonso in Turkey, more Ferrari upgrades in the works
    Ferrari returning to Vairano for Barcelona upgrade
  • Salo follows F1 drivers to NASCAR trucks
  • Turkey matched record for most overtaking moves
  • Glock denies wanting 'coffee' over Virgin tests
  • Mateschitz insists F1 return for Austria unlikely
  • Massa reveals racy pre-race ritual
  • Hamilton too aggressive in Turkey - Whitmarsh 

Ferrari returning to Vairano for Barcelona upgrade
(GMM)  Ferrari is preparing to return to the long straight of the Vairano circuit to test the latest upgrades for the team's improving 2011 car.

After a disappointing start to the season, Fernando Alonso secured the 150 Italia car's first podium in Turkey and more upgrades will be brought to the Circuit de Catalunya in a week.

Before the Spanish grand prix, test driver Jules Bianchi will run up and down the Vairano straight in one of the team's allocation of aerodynamic test days.

"We hope that as early as Barcelona we will have new parts that allow us to take an important step forward in qualifying as well," said Alonso after Turkey.

Frenchman Bianchi had run the Istanbul package at Vairano before Turkey, and it was scheduled that Italian Davide Rigon, a member of Ferrari's development team and a regular in the Maranello simulator, would get his chance this time.

But Rigon is instead recovering from surgery to have more than 20 pins inserted into his badly broken leg after a GP2 crash in Turkey.

"He was doing precious work for us in the simulator," said Alonso.  "I'm very sorry for him and we hope that he recovers soon."

Salo follows F1 drivers to NASCAR trucks
(GMM)  Mika Salo is reportedly following the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya, Nelsinho Piquet and Kimi Raikkonen in moving to the world of NASCAR racing.

Finn Salo, the former Ferrari and Toyota driver, almost made the NASCAR switch a couple of years ago.

"This year it is finally happening," the 44-year-old confirmed to Turun Sanomat newspaper.

Salo, who contested more than 100 grands prix and stood on the podium twice, said he will make his debut in the formative Truck series in July.

He was in Turkey last weekend as a commentator for Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

Commenting on his famous countryman Raikkonen's move to NASCAR, Salo said: "Of course it would be nice to race in the same league as him, but I understand that at the point I will be starting he will already be in Nationwide or perhaps even Sprint Cup."

Turkey matched record for most overtaking moves
(GMM)  The Turkish grand prix last weekend set a new record for the most overtaking moves during a single formula one race.

It was already known that the Istanbul Park race broke the previous record for the most number of pitstops.

Finland's Turun Sanomat now reports that Sunday's 79 overtaking maneuvers was the highest number recorded since 1983, when John Watson and Niki Lauda carved through the Long Beach field from the rear in their McLarens to finish one-two.

It brings the 2011 tally past 200 overtakes in four races, almost half the total of the entire 2010 season.

Virgin driver Timo Glock admits the 'DRS' overtaking system made passing arguably too easy in Turkey.

"When you get within one second to the guy in front (to use the rear wing), the chances to overtake are very big," the German told Sport1.  "In Istanbul it was almost guaranteed.

"Perhaps it would have been a bit more exciting if the zone in which you can use the wing was a little smaller," added Glock.

Lotus technical boss Mike Gascoyne, however, has labeled those complaining about the ease of overtaking in 2011 as "whingers".

"There are complaints about too much overtaking, which is actually great to hear," he wrote in his Telegraph column.  "You can't please all the people all the time but we are here to race and, most importantly, we have had some cracking races."

Glock denies wanting 'coffee' over Virgin tests
(GMM)  Timo Glock has denied he might throw in the towel, also playing down suggestions his patience with Virgin is running low.

Updates to the German's MVR-02 car failed to work properly in Turkey, and he then did not even make the grid due to a gearbox failure that could not be fixed in time.

"Every weekend we seem to start at the beginning," Glock was quoted as saying in Istanbul by Die Welt newspaper.

"I somehow have the feeling that we could save all the test driving and just have a coffee instead," he added.

But in an interview with Sport1, Glock denied that his 'coffee' comment was a stark criticism of the struggling team.

"It had nothing to do with the team," he insisted.

"I had told a journalist that it was difficult to understand why we had so many problems with the deterioration with the tires, but the issue looked very different for the actual race," said Glock.

"I was commenting generally on the tire situation, but it was neither a criticism of the team or of Pirelli.  I read the (coffee) comment but it was never explained what I meant.

"That's why I was surprised that it was portrayed so clumsily," explained Glock.

However, he does not hide the fact that he is disappointed, after joining the start-up team following Toyota's withdrawal from formula one.

"I knew it would be a difficult first year but we all hoped to make a big step forward and we didn't quite make it.  We need to ask ourselves and understand why we are not on par with Lotus," said Glock.

As for whether he has considered throwing in the towel, the 29-year-old insisted: "No, never.  We must keep going together as a team.

"It's going to be difficult but we have to do all we can to come forward.  That's the only goal we can have at the moment."

Virgin will attempt to get to the bottom of its problems with the Turkey upgrade during a straight-line test at the Idiada facility in Spain this weekend.

Mateschitz insists F1 return for Austria unlikely
(GMM)  Dietrich Mateschitz has repeated his recent claim that formula one's return to Austria in the near future is a "more than minor" chance.

The Red Bull mogul was speaking as the former grand prix venue at Zeltweg, previously called A1-Ring but now re-christened the Red Bull Ring, is ready to re-open.

Mateschitz has rebuilt the facility, having been demolished following its last F1 event in 2003, at the cost of a reportedly nine-figure euro sum.

It has obtained F1 homologation status, moving the likes of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel to admit they would like to see the Red Bull Ring added to the calendar.

Bernie Ecclestone said in Turkey that a return to Austria is "possible".

But Austrian billionaire Mateschitz told Kleine Zeitung: "If you look at the new F1 circuits, the ones that came recently and the ones that are coming, one has to say the probability of formula one returning to Spielberg is more than minor."

Triple world champion and Austrian Lauda agrees that the chances are small, but he said: "There are several obstacles to overcome, but, firstly, no one knows what Mr. Mateschitz is planning."

Massa reveals racy pre-race ritual
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has revealed a racy detail of his preparation for a grand prix.

The Ferrari driver told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport: "On the Saturday night before the race I always have sex."

30-year-old Massa, who has not won a race since his championship challenge in 2008, is married to 33-year-old Raffaela, with whom he has a 1-year-old son Felipe Jr (Felipinho).

The Brazilian said he enjoys his qualifying night ritual "even though I know it doesn't make me faster!"

He had another disappointing outing in Turkey last weekend but Massa said he is buoyed by the aerodynamic upgrades introduced at Istanbul Park.

"They definitely increased our performance level," he said.

Hamilton too aggressive in Turkey - Whitmarsh
(GMM)  Martin Whitmarsh had some criticism of Lewis Hamilton's driving after the Turkish grand prix last weekend.

After the 2008 world champion damaged his tires in qualifying in Malaysia, he conserved his allocation in China and duly beat Sebastian Vettel.

But Hamilton struggled at Istanbul Park, and his McLaren team boss Whitmarsh blames the 26-year-old's early aggression including his scrap with teammate Jenson Button.

"We want Lewis to attack but sometimes it does not pay off," he is quoted as saying by British newspapers.

"If you look at Lewis's race pace it was ok later in the race but the tires are so delicate and if you scrap with others including your own teammate you will damage your tires.  In a race that critical you can't do that," added Whitmarsh.

Hamilton, who finished the race in fourth place, acknowledged the mistake.

"If I hadn't damaged the tires at the beginning, we would have been a lot closer," he conceded.

"The race is not won at the first two corners.  I was impatient and that was my fault but it was a good recovery," said the Briton.

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