Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday
US GP circuit asks supporters to pressure council
|Lewis Hamilton wants to keep Jenson Button as teammate|
- Red Bull powers ahead despite engine mapping clampdown
- PM wants winning Frenchman on F1 grid - Boullier
- Marko weighs up future for Webber, Alguersuari
- Hamilton wants McLaren to keep teammates together
- Pirelli want qualifying changes
US GP circuit asks supporters to pressure council
(GMM) The Circuit of the Americas has moved to play down fears its 2012 US grand prix project is under threat.
The Texas state funding for the project is reportedly in doubt, after a group of taxpayers filed legal action against the public comptroller, and the Austin City Council delayed a crucial vote on the receipt of the money.
"(The) council voted to delay taking action this past week," the circuit confirmed in a statement, "but all indications are they will provide the official endorsement once event contract details are finalized."
The document however urged supporters of the event, which is provisionally scheduled to make its formula one debut mid next year, to apply pressure on the Austin council.
"It is important for council members to know of your support because they have been asked to officially endorse the race," said the Circuit of the Americas, directing supporters to the austinf1facts.com website.
"Urge them to support endorsement of the race and let them know you want to see formula one come to the US once again."
The delayed council meeting takes place on Wednesday.
Red Bull powers ahead despite engine mapping clampdown
(GMM) After all the talk that the engine mapping clampdown would slow Red Bull in qualifying, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber locked out the front row of the grid at Valencia.
The FIA's Charlie Whiting had earlier denied the banning of extreme qualifying engine maps after qualifying - and the further clampdown set for Silverstone - is a "political" move against the Austrian team's dominance.
But Niki Lauda admitted to Kleine Zeitung that the affair "smells like an arbitrary move to disrupt the world championship".
Anyway, German Vettel raced to yet another pole. zzzz
"I thought they would lose a bit more, but obviously that was not the case," lamented McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, third.
Agreed Ferrari's Felipe Massa: "For this race, nothing changes. For the next ones, let's wait and see.
"Most cars will lose some performance so we'll have to see if it's more or less than the others," he told TV Globo.
Actually, the change may have affected Mercedes the most, with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher both admitting they could feel "a difference" without their qualifying engine mode as they trailed the pace by more than a second.
"One source told me Mercedes would be most affected because they are blowing hot air over the diffuser, rather than cold air," explained David Coulthard in his Telegraph column.
Ross Brawn disagrees, telling Auto Motor und Sport that, "at the most, Force India seems to have made up some ground".
And stragglers Virgin are hoping the Silverstone clampdown also brings them closer to the field.
"The rule changes will mainly affect the top teams," said Timo Glock, "while we lose nothing, so I hope the 107 per cent in qualifying will no longer be an issue for us."
Meanwhile, Red Bull's position at the front looks unlikely to be troubled.
"The Red Bull is undoubtedly the most dominant car I've faced," Ferrari's Fernando Alonso admitted to El Mundo newspaper on Saturday.
PM wants winning Frenchman on F1 grid - Boullier
(GMM) Part of Francois Fillon's plan is to see a French driver back on the formula one podium.
That is the admission of Renault team boss Eric Bouller, who has been appointed by the French prime minister to help restore a strong French presence in formula one.
Already known is Fillon's desire to revive the French grand prix, with Paul Ricard touted as the most likely venue for an event to be perhaps alternated annually with Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps.
"This is part of a comprehensive project that includes a new awareness of France, a French driver and perhaps other things like that," Boullier is quoted as saying by L'Equipe sports daily.
"There are some assumptions that have been developed that are valid, invalid or potentially achievable. When he is sure they will come true, Mr. Fillon will speak," he added.
"Everyone benefits," Boullier continued. "If there is a French driver doing podiums and winning races in F1 again, it will restore the public's passion for French F1.
"It will work for TV, and the French grand prix will be legitimate. So everything fits," he added.
Boullier's management company Gravity handles the career of Swiss-born Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who won the GP2 race at Valencia on Saturday.
Marko weighs up future for Webber, Alguersuari
(GMM) Helmut Marko insists Red Bull has not decided whether Mark Webber should remain Sebastian Vettel's teammate at the dominant team in 2012.
All the 'silly season' talk in the last few days has been about Lewis Hamilton switching from McLaren, but Red Bull's driver manager Marko told Bild am Sonntag that he doesn't think the 2008 world champion is available.
"To our knowledge he is with McLaren until 2013, which is a long time," said the Austrian.
"We need someone who is as good as Sebastian, because we have found that the constructors' title is very interesting financially, and you can do it only with two strong drivers," insisted Marko.
Australian Webber, 34, helped Red Bull win the 2010 titles and almost won the drivers' championship himself, but has struggled alongside Vettel in the otherwise-dominant RB7.
"He has told us that he wants to go on with us for another year. We are looking at this," admitted Marko. "Stability is important for a team."
He played down the likelihood that Toro Rosso drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari are ready for the move to Red Bull.
"Our young guys at Toro Rosso have missed the last little spark (for that)," said Marko.
The heat is particularly on Jaime Alguersuari, who is said to be in immediate danger of losing his seat to the next Red Bull hotshoe, Daniel Ricciardo.
"In the simulator and in practice, his results are very good, but we need to see what he can do in the race," said Marko.
Hamilton wants McLaren to keep teammates together
(GMM) Amid all the talk about their possible defections, Lewis Hamilton has urged McLaren to keep him paired with Jenson Button "for another three years".
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," the 2008 world champion told the Mirror newspaper at Valencia.
"I'd love to race alongside him (Button) for another three years," said Hamilton.
While the 'silly season' predicted a move to Red Bull for Hamilton while Ferrari was reportedly eyeing Button, McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh had already indicated that he wants to keep the British team's lineup together.
More immediately important for Hamilton at Valencia is getting a solid result under his belt after a run of collisions and criticism.
Earlier this weekend, he said he believed entirely in Ayrton Senna's famous quote about racing drivers needing to unquestionably "go for that gap".
Hamilton however said after qualifying third: "When I am behind someone, if I have been thinking once or twice, I will definitely think a third time before making a maneuver.
"That's a part of growing. It's important I finish every race," he added.
But his old nemesis Fernando Alonso, who is immediately behind Hamilton on Sunday's grid, hopes his British rival keeps up recent habits.
"I'm right behind Hamilton and just hope he takes out the Red Bulls at the first corner," the Spaniard is quoted as joking to Speed Week.
Pirelli want qualifying changes
Pirelli motor-sport boss Paul Hembrey said he has suggested to the sport's ruling body, the FIA, that any teams that miss a part of qualifying must start the race on a pair of used tyres.
He said: "We are talking with the teams about the regulations.
"At the moment, if you don't set a time, for example in Q3, then you are able to choose the tyres that you start on.
"It means people could be saving a set of tyres because then they would be better off in the race.
"I've made a suggestion to put to the Sporting Working Group to say that, actually, in those circumstances, you should be made to use your Q2 tyres in that situation - so there is no advantage from not setting a time."
Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld, one of two drivers not to set a time in Q3 along with Adrian Sutil, says his Renault team made the right call.
The German reckons that it was not realistic to try and match the qualifying times of rival teams Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes, and was much more sensible to save an extra set of the super soft Pirelli tyres for the race.
He said: "When I went out in Q3, we saw that Sutil was not going to do a lap time so we quite rightly came back in because the cars ahead had posted times that were considerably quicker."