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Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Christian Horner
    Glock to race in Valencia with cut finger
  • McLaren drivers play down team switch rumors
  • Schumacher admits 'no friend' of mid-season rule change
  • Even Renault happy with V6 compromise - Boullier
  • Approval delay threatens 2012 US GP
  • Horner blasts rule changes timing

Glock to race in Valencia with cut finger
(GMM)  Timo Glock will race on at Valencia this weekend despite nursing a deep cut on his left index finger.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the Virgin driver cut himself whilst slicing break earlier this week.

"I did it on Tuesday.  It's a pretty deep cut -- I thought I had cut it (the finger) off," he laughed.

"I have to use the steering wheel slightly differently because I can't really bend it, and I will use the gear shift paddle with the three lower fingers."

The 29-year-old admitted Virgin has bigger problems than his sore finger.

"Hispania have taken a giant step," said Glock in Valencia.  "I'm afraid that they will be in front of us here."

McLaren drivers play down team switch rumors
(GMM)  Just as Christian Horner and Lewis Hamilton were diffusing the rumors, Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko was stirring them up.

"It is our goal to have the two best available drivers, and it's also good for Vettel to work with the very best," said the outspoken Austrian.

"I think everyone in the paddock at the moment is interested in getting a seat at Red Bull," he added.

The comments were doing the rounds in the Valencia paddock along with the cover of the Austrian magazine Sport Woche, depicting McLaren's Hamilton mocked up in a pair of Red Bull overalls.

The 2008 world champion had met with team boss Horner in the Red Bull motor home for between 5 and 15 minutes in Canada two weeks ago.

Horner admitted the visit was a "surprise" but would not talk about what was discussed.  Vettel is under long-term contract and the Briton said Red Bull is "very happy" with Mark Webber.

"Of course, there are always positives and strengths you can have to help you in negotiations with your team, but that wasn't the aim," Hamilton said in Valencia on Thursday when asked if he is using the Red Bull rumor to get more money from McLaren.

He indicated a new deal with McLaren is the most likely scenario, telling Auto Motor und Sport that "I don't see myself in that team (Red Bull).

"Definitely, hopefully, by the end of the year I'll have something in place and I can continue on," said the Briton.

The other big rumor on Thursday was that Hamilton's teammate Jenson Button is either on the verge of getting a lucrative new McLaren contract, or kicking off talks with Ferrari.

The 2009 world champion said the latter speculation is "hilarious because it's not true.

"I don't know who put that out there, but it wasn't us and it wasn't Ferrari.  I think it's just some column inches," said Button.

He indicated the next step will be sitting down with his current boss Martin Whitmarsh.

"I'm sure we're going to have to talk about it soon because it's been mentioned so much in the press.  We didn't plan on talking about it quite yet," said the 31-year-old, who can be retained by McLaren in 2012 due to a contract option.

Schumacher admits 'no friend' of mid-season rule change
(GMM)  An off-the-record Adrian Newey was furious on Thursday as the big topic in Valencia was the FIA's mid-season clampdown on blown exhausts.

"I'm not really a friend of rule changes during a season," agreed Michael Schumacher, whose Mercedes team as well as Renault and Red Bull are tipped to be the biggest losers of the clampdown that takes effect across this weekend and also the British grand prix in two weeks.

"I don't know or understand all the background," added the seven time world champion, indicating the FIA decision has a political flavor.

Schumacher predicted the clampdown will affect all the top teams but is a "big blow" to runaway championship leaders Red Bull, the pioneers of the technology.

Eric Boullier, Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov were also outspoken about the fact the ban is taking place right in the middle of the 2011 season, because the Renault R31 is built entirely around the innovative concept of its front-exiting exhausts.

Red Bull designer Newey said: "Renault is going to feel it because their entire exhaust concept is based on having the exhaust gases (flowing) all the time."

When talking about the impact on Red Bull, Newey's private conversation to Brazilian journalist Livio Oricchio was off the record.

"Too bad I can't write what he said.  Nor use the tone of his comments," said the O Estado de S.Paulo correspondent.

Team boss Christian Horner added: "Directly, the FIA's decision was based on a technicality.  Indirectly, you should ask the FIA."

The ban that takes effect this weekend applies to the aggressive engine mapping settings that some teams, notably Red Bull, have been using in qualifying before reverting a race mode.

Red Bull's engine supplier Renault admits it is worried.

"If Saturday is 30 degrees and Sunday is 15, the temperature difference requires a very different operation of the engine," said Renault Sport F1's Brazilian engineer Ricardo Penteado.

"So (the ban means there could be) a high risk of damage to the engine.  We have explained it to the (FIA) officials and they said we will only be allowed to intervene with their consideration."

Even Renault happy with V6 compromise - Boullier
(GMM)  F1 engine supplier Renault is happy with the new engine rules for 2014, despite recently threatening to quit if four-cylinder rules did not debut a year earlier than that.

With Bernie Ecclestone and all of F1's other engine makers opposed to Jean Todt's original plan, the F1 Commission this week agreed on a turbo V6 formula.

But even Renault is happy with the compromise, customer Lotus-Renault GP's team boss Boullier is quoted by autohebdo.fr.

"Everybody is willing to have the V6 as the base for 2014, including Renault, who support the project," said the Frenchman.  "But there is still a lot to do to finalize the project."

Boullier admits he likes the idea of a V6 much more than Todt's now-scrapped inline four.

"V6 is more interesting than four cylinder from a technological point of view.  Also for the image of formula one, which has to be a showcase of technology," he added.

Meanwhile, it might be said that Mercedes-Benz is not keen on the idea of new engine rules, because its current V8 is regarded as the very best on the grid.

Mercedes GP's Michael Schumacher insists: "I don't think it makes a big difference whether it's six, four, eight or ten cylinders.  The rules are the same for everyone," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

As for the possible erosion of Mercedes' advantage, the German added: "Whoever builds the best engine now can build the best engine in the future.

"I can see Mercedes out the front again, and actually it could even mean a step forward," said the seven time world champion.

Approval delay threatens 2012 US GP
(GMM)  A dark cloud of uncertainty has gathered above preparations for the 2012 US grand prix in Austin.

Shortly after it emerged that the Texas comptroller is being sued by a group of taxpayers over the Circuit of the Americas' state support, the Austin City Council met on Thursday to vote on the release of the funding.

But local news outlets KXAN, KVUE, YNN and the American Statesman report that the vote has been postponed for a week, by which time a new council member who is opposed to the F1 project may be able to cast the deciding vote.

"We felt we had support going into this meeting," said the F1 circuit's president Steve Sexton.  "We thought we would get the necessary approval today to move forward, but any support is welcomed and encouraged.

"For a $300 million economic project, we would hope to gain support certainly next Wednesday and move on," he added.

The F1 project's lawyer Richard Suttle admitted he is also nervous.

"I can't say it any more emphatically that we are now nervous from a daily basis.  If you push it, it gives us great trepidation on this thing pulling off," he said.

Suttle added during the meeting that a delay is "a major concern", while Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell said it could "kill the project".

Horner blasts rule changes timing
Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner says he does not understand why the FIA chose to make a move on the blown diffuser regulations mid-season, rather than waiting until the end of the year..

"It is slightly confusing with the technical directive that it was not addressed at the end of the year going into next year," he told Autosport. "Why has it been done mid-season, rather than like the F-duct or the double diffuser (that were allowed to remain on all season)?

"But at the end of the day, it is the same for everybody and we will deal with it starting at Silverstone."

When asked whether he was worried about the consequences of the changes on Red Bull Racing's title challenge, Horner said: "To be totally honest it is impossible to predict.

"We know what benefit we see, but we don't know what benefit others see. I think in reality it will affect the front-running teams probably a very similar amount to be honest, but until we get to Silverstone it is impossible to predict."

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