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DATE News (chronologically)
05/23/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Nico Rosberg could not find a way past his teammate Schumacher
    Mercedes
    Kolles threatens exhaust protest in Monaco
  • Rivals eye Red Bull defeat in Monaco
  • Rosberg would have liked team order in Spain
  • Alonso angry with Pirelli after Spanish struggle
  • Red Bull's Marko accuses Ferrari of spying
  • Kubica will not return in 2011 - Lopez
  • Ecclestone meets with Sutil, Bahrain prince in Spain
  • Alonso cops $80m tax bill for return to Spain
  • Karthikeyan burnt during Spanish Grand Prix
  • F1 to generate at least $30 million in Texas

Kolles threatens exhaust protest in Monaco
(GMM)  HRT team boss Colin Kolles is threatening to protest the legality of most rival cars in Monaco this weekend.

He said in Barcelona he is unhappy with what he calls "illegal" blown exhaust configurations, vowing to possibly protest at "some time" in the Principality.

The threat follows the FIA crackdown on "hot exhaust" blowing through sophisticated diffuser systems, but that ban will not be rigorously enforced for a few more races.

But Charlie Whiting admitted in Spain that a protest before then cannot be ruled out.

"If this (hot exhaust blowing) is not going to be stopped before Monaco we have no other choice than to make a protest," Kolles is quoted as saying by the BBC.

The move would further isolate struggling Hispania, the only team in pitlane not a member of the teams organization FOTA.

"I would have thought he (Kolles) had bigger issues than exhaust blowing at the minute," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that Kolles' Monaco protest would theoretically affect 16 cars; the entire field except HRT, Virgin, Sauber and Force India.

The report said Williams may be affected due to the FW33 using the method known in the paddock as "cold (diffuser) blowing".

Rivals eye Red Bull defeat in Monaco
(GMM)  Sunday's was the best drive in the meteoric career of Sebastian Vettel.

That is the claim of triple world champion Niki Lauda, who said despite Spain being the reigning world champion's fourth win of 2011, the pressure applied by Lewis Hamilton made it clearly the best.

"I've always said Sebastian is a great racing driver, but today he drove the biggest and best race of his life," Lauda said on German RTL television.

Barcelona did, however, raise a crucial question: how could McLaren's Hamilton apply so much pressure in the race following Red Bull's clear superiority in qualifying 24 hours earlier?

"I cannot give the answer," Alex Wurz said on Austrian television ORF, "or I could immediately sell it for a lot of money."

Asked the same question, Vettel is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport: "We've got a few theories."

The mystery raises an interesting prospect for Monaco, where Fernando Alonso expects 'DRS', KERS and the Pirelli factors to not be great enough to overcome the overtaking problem on the famously tight street circuit.

"In Monaco, if you are in front, it will be difficult for anyone to pass you," the Spaniard, who was lapped on Sunday despite leading the Barcelona race early on, told reporters in his native tongue.

"We know the important day in Monaco will be Saturday," Alonso continued.  "For the first time this year qualifying will be more important."

Michael Schumacher
Mercedes
Rosberg would have liked team order in Spain
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher was happy with his step forward in Barcelona, while his teammate Nico Rosberg rued a step backwards.

After the "big joy" saga following Schumacher's poor showing in Turkey two weeks ago, Rosberg was narrowly beaten to sixth place in the Spanish grand prix by his famous teammate.

Auto Motor und Sport believes Rosberg, who openly said the sister W02 ahead of him was struggling with "balance problems", would have been happy if Mercedes had ordered Schumacher aside.

"Whoever wants to pass, must pass," said Norbert Haug, ruling out the imposition of team orders in those circumstances.

"When the drivers are on different strategies, it might be an option.  But today they both had the same strategy," he added late on Sunday.

While Schumacher was happy to beat Rosberg, the latter was not happy with the performance of the team in Spain.

"We did a small step backwards," he said.  "The guys up there (on the podium) are pretty far away."

Haug admitted: "We didn't have a good speed.  Red Bull and McLaren were in a different league, even if we were not the only ones who looked bad.

"But that's no consolation," he lamented.

Alonso angry with Pirelli after Spanish struggle
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso was angry with Pirelli after Sunday's Spanish grand prix.

To the delight of the partisan Spanish crowd, the Ferrari driver audaciously led at the start but ultimately finished a lap down and fifth.

"The superhard tires ... it's a question for the Pirelli guys," Alonso told EFE news agency after the Barcelona race.

"Why did they bring a harder tire that grips less than the other one, degrades more and goes two seconds slower?"

Pirelli motor sport director Paul Hembery, however, insisted he was pleased in Spain, despite agreeing that four pitstops per driver is still too many.

"It was fantastic," he said of the developed hard tire.  "There was zero wear, but of course you had to make it work.

"We did not want to see four pitstops (per driver), but you have to look at the leaders, who lapped the entire field.

"It is difficult for us to develop a tire strategy that covers everybody," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

He said one solution to the four-stop problem would be, when the hard tire is to be supplied, for Pirelli to drop the soft tire and replace it with the medium.

Red Bull's Marko accuses Ferrari of spying
(GMM)  Helmut Marko suspects Ferrari is using a method to secretly listen in on Red Bull's race strategies during grands prix.

Red Bull's F1 consultant revealed his sensational suspicions on German RTL television after the Spanish grand prix on Sunday.

"We have noticed that Ferrari is doing some kind of espionage," said the Austrian.

Explaining his suspicion, Marko said: "We called Mark (Webber) into the box relatively late, and yet they (Ferrari) managed to get Alonso in as well.  They had been able to respond to us."

It is believed Marko's suspicions hardened when Red Bull issued fake commands for its drivers to pit in Barcelona, and Ferrari still moved to respond.

Bild newspaper said Ferrari has not yet commented.

Kubica will not return in 2011 - Lopez
(GMM)  Robert Kubica will not be returning to his race seat in 2011, team owner Gerard Lopez has announced.

The injured Pole left hospital after a nearly 80-day stay a month ago to begin rehabilitation.

But Lopez said on Onda Cero radio: "Maybe he will get to do a Friday test at some point, but for sure returning (to race) this season will not be possible."

He added that "nobody knows, neither he nor the doctors nor ourselves" how Kubica's injuries will affect his ability to race in F1 in the long term.

Ecclestone meets with Sutil, Bahrain prince in Spain
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone had meetings with two key people on the sidelines of the weekend's Spanish grand prix.

Bild newspaper reports that the F1 chief executive met first with Adrian Sutil.

Force India's Sutil is engulfed in a scandal that endangers his entire formula one career, with Renault team co-owner Eric Lux threatening to press criminal charges.

Bild said Ecclestone summoned Sutil in Barcelona because he "wanted to hear from Adrian the truth about the nightclub incident".

Sutil was then photographed shaking 80-year-old Ecclestone's hand.

Also in Barcelona at the weekend was Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, according to British newspapers the Telegraph and Guardian.

He was a guest of McLaren, which is part-owned by a Bahraini state-controlled company, even though the Telegraph's Tom Cary said the British team "kept their royal visitor under wraps".

It emerges that as Ecclestone admitted in Spain that the 2011 calendar could be extended into December to make room for a rescheduled Bahrain race, the 80-year-old Briton had a "brief chat" with the Crown Prince.

Alonso cops $80m tax bill for return to Spain
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso's decision to return to live in Spain will cost him $80 million in tax, according to the British tabloid newspaper The Mirror.

The report said the Ferrari driver had been living in Switzerland for tax reasons but decided to move back to his native Oviedo to be closer to family and friends.

"It's great to go home.  I'm happy to pay the money.  I'm not poor -- just a little bit less rich now," he smiled.

Meanwhile, the Swiss newspaper Le Temps has quoted F1 team boss and owner Peter Sauber as admitting he is happy with a modest lifestyle.

The 68-year-old lives on the shores of Lake Zurich but he reportedly does not have a yacht, jet or luxury villa.

And he recently moved out of a five bedroom house in exchange for a three bedroom apartment.

"My children have left home and we don't need much space," he said, explaining that he doesn't even drive a sports car.

"I have a car, that's enough.  Yachts, I like them but I admire them only in the port of Monaco.  I don't have enough time to be really interested."

Amazingly, he also revealed he is not really a motor racing fanatic.

"I'm not a big fan of racing.  What interests me is not winning but the path it takes to get there," said Sauber.

Karthikeyan burnt during Spanish Grand Prix
Narain Karthikeyan explained how he was injured in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, with a melting seat slowing his drive to 21st position. Five laps down at the checkered flag, the Indian was the sole Hispania finisher after team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi was struck by gearbox problems.

“It was a very hard race,” said Karthikeyan. “The tires were degrading a lot, especially the rear ones, making it very difficult to drive. The first few laps were alright but then the rear started giving me a lot of problems.

“I also had some trouble with my seat, I burnt my back and at times the pain was unbearable. The positive aspect was that I finished the race, although we didn’t get much out of it. We need to find out why we were off the pace - we thought our race pace would improve this weekend but that has not been the case.

“Qualifying was good but our race pace wasn’t good unlike in previous races; perhaps that is because of the drastic difference between Prime (Hard tire) and Option (Soft tire) compounds, which made the setup very difficult and resulted in massive oversteer. So we now need to work on that.”

F1 to generate at least $30 million in Texas
Officials at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas insist that the returning United States Grand Prix will be profitable, as the event comes back to Formula 1 with a brand-new circuit next year. Rumors have recently surrounded the Hermann Tilke-designed venue, with financial reward having been the main topic.

It has now been noted that private investment in the circuit will fuel some 1,300 jobs, with the economic impact of F1 being estimated at a figure between 400 and 500 million dollars (245-310 million pounds).

“By my own firm's conservative estimates, more than 30 million dollars in additional sales tax will be generated by the Formula 1 event alone,” Angelos Angelou, economist and Principal Executive Officer of Angelou Economics, writes in a column for The Austin Statesman newspaper.

“Overall, the comptroller's preliminary economic impact study completed in 2010 suggests accrued benefits to the Texas economy of just under $300 million from the Formula 1 race event.

“My own calculations peg the actual economic impact at well over $500 million, when one considers benefits derived from the construction of the facilities and additional revenue generated from other events to be hosted year-round at this venue.”

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