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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes
    Red flag tire rule tweak good for F1 - Pirelli
  • Team to keep 'Lotus' chassis name - Fernandes
  • Daimler chief Zetsche backs Schumacher return
  • Perez leaves hospital but stays in Monaco
  • Ferrari plans summer assessment of 2011 progress
  • FIA 'gathering information' after Hamilton outburst
  • Hamilton trying to smooth over his Monaco outburst
  • Stewart joins Hamilton critics

Red flag tire rule tweak good for F1 - Pirelli
(GMM)  Pirelli has admitted a rule tweak could have ensured an exciting finish to the weekend's Monaco grand prix.

With leader Sebastian Vettel's tires wearing, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were shaping up to challenge him when the race was red-flagged for the Vitaly Petrov crash.

On the grid, Vettel was allowed to change to a fresh set of tires and he duly strolled to victory.

Acting as a steward in Monaco, sports car driver Allan McNish told the Guardian that at Le Mans, tire changes are not similarly allowed during red flag periods.

"Even if you have bodywork damage you can't repair it, you've got to restart the race as you finished, so that if you've got a good strategy or a bad strategy, you have to restart as if nothing had happened," he said.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motor sport director, admits it might be a good idea if F1 adopts a similar rule.

"I had a lot of people shouting at me from the boats around the harbor, saying 'Why were they allowed to change?'" he is quoted as saying by The Sun.

"It (Vettel's tire change) took away something from the race.  I don't really understand why they are allowed to change tires.  It was a shame," he added.

Team to keep 'Lotus' chassis name - Fernandes
(GMM)  Tony Fernandes has denied he will have to change the name of his formula one team.

Despite the Malaysian millionaire Fernandes retaining the rights to the Team Lotus name after a court battle with Group Lotus, F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone suggested the actual chassis might need to be called something else - perhaps Caterham - in 2012.

Fernandes, however, denies this.

"We have the spirit of Team Lotus and the team has always raced with the Lotus chassis name.  We are not changing," he is quoted in French by autohebdo.fr.

Daimler chief Zetsche backs Schumacher return
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has received the full backing of Mercedes' top brass Dieter Zetsche.

Zetsche, the chairman of the German carmaker's parent Daimler, was responding to renewed calls for 42-year-old Schumacher to return to retirement after disappointing performances since he returned to F1 last year.

But the seven time world champion had a better weekend in Monaco, where he won five times in his initial career, and Zetsche said Schumacher still has time to show he is in top form.

"Last year we gave him a bad car," Zetsche told Bild newspaper.  "So it was difficult for him to come back like that and prove himself again.

"I think we will see some positive surprises this year," he added.

Perez leaves hospital but stays in Monaco
(GMM)  Sergio Perez left the Princess Grace hospital on Monday but he remains in Monaco.

He spent two nights under observation following his high speed Monaco crash but was discharged on Monday reportedly with some leg and neck pain and a headache.

The 21-year-old is targeting a return to his Sauber cockpit in Canada in less than two weeks, but an obstacle could be concussion that was severe enough to affect his memory of the accident.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Perez must stay in the Principality this week.

"Now I have to stay here for two or three days to recover fully," confirmed Perez, who lives in Berlin.

"I took quite a blow to the head, and now it's still not the moment to fly.  I plan to relax here in the hotel, take all the time needed and start to live normally again," he added.

Perez insists, however, that he will be back up to speed in Montreal.

"There is no problem for Canada.  It is the main objective and I see no reason why I should not be there."

Ferrari plans summer assessment of 2011 progress
(GMM)  Ferrari is not ruling out switching focus to 2012 if this season's championship campaign continues to falter.

After an appalling performance in Spain a week earlier, the Monaco circuit last weekend suited the 150 Italia car and Fernando Alonso finished second.

The Spaniard, however, admitted afterwards that Sebastian Vettel, who has won five of the six races so far this season, would be a good bet for the title.

"We are not giving up," insisted team boss Stefano Domenicali, according to Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The next two races next month, in Canada and Europe, will see the same super-soft Pirelli tire supplied that contributed to Ferrari's good performance in Monaco.

"The situation in the two championships continues to become more difficult," conceded Domenicali.  "But now we're coming up on two races in which, on paper, we should be competitive.

"Then, before the summer break, we'll make an assessment," he said.

Before that assessment of the championship situation takes places, there will be new parts in Canada next weekend and then another significant step in early July.

"I've been talking to the engineers about the new parts we will have in Montreal, but above all, of the steps forward we must take for Silverstone, when we will be back at a track which requires a lot of aerodynamic downforce," said Alonso.

"That's where we will really see how our season is going to pan out."

FIA 'gathering information' after Hamilton outburst
(GMM)  The FIA is keeping a close eye on the aftermath of Lewis Hamilton's Monaco grand prix.

After the McLaren driver's two penalties for crashes in the Principality, he returned to the track late on Sunday to explain his 'Ali G' remark to the stewards.

It is believed the British team feared Hamilton, 26, was in danger of being charged of contravening Article 151c by bringing the sport into disrepute.

Indeed, the FIA told the Telegraph on Monday that it was "gathering all the relevant information" about the incident.

So also on Monday, the 2008 world champion appeared in British newspapers with further explanations of the Monaco aftermath, and apologized to Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Massa via his Twitter account.

In his post-race tirade, Hamilton had labeled the pair "ridiculous" and "stupid".

"Hey guys," he wrote.  "I wanted to apologize for last weekend's performance and also my comments after, I never meant to offend."

The Briton said he had "respect" for some of the "angry messages" he had received since Sunday.

"To Massa and Maldonado, with the greatest respect I apologize if I offended you.  Both of you are fantastic drivers who I regard highly.

"To my fans lost and my fans won, I wish you nothing but love and happiness," he tweeted.

Quoted by British newspapers, meanwhile, Hamilton explained that his loss of temper was a reflection of his racing style.

"I don't do it to offend people or to hurt anyone.  I do it because I love racing.  I feel like I can do it better than others," he said.

He also said his desire to succeed in Monaco, the past playground of his hero Ayrton Senna, is higher than ever.

"In my heart of hearts I believe I can own this circuit," said Hamilton.  "I feel like I can be the fastest here.  I was, and not with the fastest car."

Fascinatingly, he also revealed that his defiance began long before he spoke with reporters after the checkered flag on Sunday.

"I got hit (in the race) and my rear wing was hanging off and I was asked to come in and retire, and I refused," said Hamilton.  "The first pitstop I was asked to pit and no one was there.  So all the tension just boiled up."

Perhaps tellingly, Jenson Button declined to comment on his teammate's weekend, and when told he is aware of Hamilton's character he responded: "No, I don't."

Hamilton trying to smooth over his Monaco outburst
Via his personal Twitter account, Lewis Hamilton has apologized to Formula 1’s fans as well as Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado for his words after the Monaco Grand Prix. When talking to BBC Sport, the 2008 Champion described the drivers with whom he collided as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘stupid’.

Having already been penalized after qualifying, dropping to ninth on the grid, Hamilton made contact with both Massa – just before a crash for the Brazilian – and Maldonado, putting the Venezuelan out of a potential first points finish, in Sunday’s race.

“It’s a joke,” the McLaren driver commented afterwards. “It’s an absolute frickin’ joke. I went up the inside of Massa and the guy turned so early and just turned into me…then I went up the inside of Maldonado, and you can see on the screen that he turned a good car length too early to stop me from overtaking him, and crashed into me. It’s just ridiculous, man. These drivers are frickin’ ridiculous, it’s stupid.”

Hamilton has now followed up with a string of four Twitter messages, posted from his iPhone at 9:40pm BST on Monday:

‘Hey guys. I wanted to apologize 4 last weekends performance & also my comments after, I never meant to offend no1. I would also like to say thank u 2 everyone on here, 4 their positive messages & also 2 the angry messages. I can respect them both.

2 Massa & Maldonado, with the greatest respect I apologize if I offended u. Both of u r fantastic drivers who I regard highly. 2 my fans lost & my fans won, I wish u nothing but love & happiness. God Bless u. Onwards & upwards, Montreal next. Lewis’

Stewart joins Hamilton critics
British motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart added his voice on Monday to the rising chorus of seasoned observers who believe Lewis Hamilton was wrong to criticize the stewards following Sunday's tempestuous Monaco Grand Prix.

Stewart, a triple world champion and widely regarded as one of Formula One's greatest ambassadors, offered the opinion that Hamilton was in the wrong in both of the collisions that created his problems.

He added that Hamilton should learn from the lessons of Monte Carlo and instead of delivering controversial outbursts during television interviews would be well advised to listen carefully to what the stewards say.

"When you are a driver, you don't see it from the other side. They get all the angles. They get the videos," said Stewart. "And they can sit up there and get all the replays. So they analyze it even better than the man in the cockpit. If there is a degree of unfairness, and it is really obvious, then you appeal, and you make suggestions to the governing body of what might be done better to ensure that there is no penalty or loss to the person involved, but you also have still got to keep in mind that you are very exposed. Your own car is likely to be damaged in incidents in a big way and I actually said I thought there would be a question mark when they happened."

Hamilton collided with Brazilian Felipe Massa of Ferrari and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado of Williams during Sunday's race won by reigning world champion and runaway leader this year German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.

The 26-year-old Briton, champion in 2008, was given a drive-through penalty for each offence, the second taken retrospectively as a 20-second time penalty after the race ended. Maldonado was knocked out of the race by the incidents, while Massa crashed into the barriers inside the Tunnel after the collision with Hamilton at the Hairpin.

After seeing the stewards following the race, Hamilton told BBC television that he had been called before them five times in six races. He later re-visited the stewards to apologize and explain his remarks were delivered in the heat of the moment during a post-race rant when his emotions ran away with him.

"I think both incidents were questionable - and he was lucky to get off without any front wing damage in the final incident," said Stewart. "You make your own luck and you create your own situations, but the key is that you should not put yourself in a position where the other driver can retaliate in a fashion that will be negative to you, or will be seen by the stewards as negative." Supersport

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