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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Vettel's controversial finger gesture
    Force India considered KERS axe for Silverstone
  • Red Bull visit was Hamilton 'misjudgment' - boss
  • Montreal's other car race faces axe
  • Vettel vows to annoy some with victory finger
  • Only one 'DRS' zone for British GP - Whiting
  • FIA clampdown to be 'intriguing' - steward Mansell
  • Williams calls off F1 test in rain

Force India considered KERS axe for Silverstone
(GMM)  Force India reportedly considered dropping KERS at Silverstone this weekend as the blown exhaust clampdown takes its full effect.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the Silverstone based team was concerned that the handling effect of the off-throttle blowing ban would be further exacerbated by KERS, the system that reuses power collected under braking.

"It will upset the brake balance so that the benefits of KERS are reduced," admitted team manager Otmar Szafnauer.

But Force India ultimately decided to keep KERS on the car following last-minute simulator tests.

"In the braking zone, we will definitely have less downforce on the rear, making the car unstable.  But we will get used to it, hopefully quickly," said Adrian Sutil.

And the German driver said braking is not much of a worry at Silverstone anyway.

"There are only three hard braking areas," continued Sutil.  "We have tested it in the simulator and it was fine, we will run as normal with KERS."

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, who acknowledged the "problem" of KERS alongside the clampdown, confirmed that the British team's car will also be using its energy recovery system as per usual at Silverstone.

But Auto Motor und Sport said Red Bull might ultimately decide to do without its system.

Red Bull visit was Hamilton 'misjudgment' - boss
(GMM)  Team boss Martin Whitmarsh concedes Lewis Hamilton's visit to the Red Bull motor home in Canada was a "misjudgment" but urged the McLaren driver to move on.

The visit, dismissed as a mere social visit by both sides, fuelled the speculation about a possible switch to Red Bull for the 2008 world champion.

"It was a misjudgment by Lewis because it gave ammunition," Whitmarsh told the Daily Mail.  "I feel sorry for Lewis because I know he is a little bit more sensitive than me on these subjects.

"I went to see Christian (Horner too) and I don't think I am going to join Red Bull next year!"

26-year-old Hamilton's sensitivity was evident this week when he reacted to Niki Lauda's latest criticism, and to the advice of former champions Nigel Mansell and Jacques Villeneuve about the wisdom of staying at McLaren.

"What Niki Lauda thinks about me, I really couldn't give a toss about it," said the Briton.

And as for Mansell and Villeneuve, Hamilton added: "I find it kind of funny and am not sure anyone really cares what some people think.  If you have an opinion, just keep it to yourself."

Montreal's other car race faces axe
(GMM)  The other major race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is in danger of being scrapped.

In addition to hosting the grand prix, Montreal is the only Canadian stop on the NASCAR schedule.

But AP reports that the Quebec government turned down a request for $1 million in support to offset the event's expected $1.6m loss.

"Efforts were made," Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay said.  "It's unfortunate, but maybe there will be other events in the future."

Promoter Francois Dumontier is quoted by CTV Montreal: "We were shocked when we learned about it (the decision)."

Vettel vows to annoy some with victory finger
(GMM)  It annoys some, but Sebastian Vettel has vowed to keep showing the back of his index finger when he wins F1 poles and races.

The gesture is much loved by the German media, but interpreted as irritating and even arrogant by some other figures and paddock pundits.

"It was never my intention to make it a trademark," British newspapers quoted the German as saying ahead of this weekend's Silverstone race.

Vettel, 23, said he pointed his finger as a natural reaction of jubilance when he won his first grand prix in a Toro Rosso in 2008.

"I was so happy because we were always like 17th, 15th, 10th, or maybe seventh on a good day," said the reigning world champion and current runaway title leader.

"There is no deeper meaning.  I do it after qualifying but (that's) not to say I will be first in the race.

"It's funny, I hear some people like it, some people get offended.  Unfortunately there will always be some people offended by what you do, but that's how it is," added Vettel.

McLaren's Jenson Button, meanwhile, has vowed to perform a sequence of illegal 'doughnuts' on Sunday if he wins his home British grand prix for the first time.

"We aren't allowed to pick up flags any more, and it would be nice to do that, and if I win I would be doing doughnuts even if they aren't allowed either; I wouldn't care about that by that point," said the 2009 world champion.

Only one 'DRS' zone for British GP - Whiting
(GMM)  There will only be a single 'DRS' overtaking zone at Silverstone this weekend.

In Canada and again at Valencia two weeks ago, there were two overtaking zones but only a single detection point -- a system that arguably worked too well in Canada, and not well enough on the streets of the Spanish port city.

For Silverstone, the FIA has reverted to the formula of the first six races of 2011, with a single detection zone at the new Village corner (turn 3) and eligible drivers able to trigger the rear wing after turn 4.

This weekend is the F1 debut of Silverstone's new Wing pit and paddock complex, but the only real changes for the drivers is the pitlane and the location of the new Turn 1.

"The (pit) entry is shorter than staying on the circuit, so we will have to ensure that drivers don't use these changes to the pits to their advantage," said race director Charlie Whiting.

On the stewards' panel this weekend is 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell.

"As for the (pit) exit," continued Whiting, "this is now quite a steep uphill into an extremely fast corner, so it's certainly going to be different.  It's going to be quite significant in terms of strategy as there's not too much cost in changing tires."

FIA clampdown to be 'intriguing' - steward Mansell
(GMM)  Nigel Mansell thinks the debut this weekend of the full FIA clampdown on off-throttle engine exhaust blowing will be "intriguing".

"It is going to be very intriguing to see who is affected the most, and who can move ahead on the grid," the 1991 and 1992 Silverstone winner, who will be the driver steward this weekend, said.

Many of Red Bull's rivals are hoping the dominant RB7 is the car most affected by the clampdown.

"I hope not, although our car was designed to be more effective with the blown diffusers," team boss Christian Horner told AS newspaper this week.  "We trust in our solutions."

The car's designer Adrian Newey is openly worried.

"Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari copied our solution," he told O Estado de S.Paulo.

"It's impossible to predict what will happen at Silverstone, but it may well be that they lose less than us because they had to adapt their cars to it while our car was conceived entirely for it (the blown exhaust)," added Newey.

Another hope among the pitlane's non-Red Bull contingent is for bad weather at Silverstone.

"Realistically, Sebastian Vettel would need to do a really crazy job to lose the title," admits Ferrari's Felipe Massa, "but we can't give up and this situation changes nothing in our approach."

Agreed Vettel's teammate Mark Webber: "For someone to outscore him by 80 points will be a phenomenal effort so you have got to keep boxing and hang in there."

Williams calls off F1 test in rain
(GMM)  Williams abandoned a straight-line aerodynamic test this week due to bad weather.

The British team's Finnish test driver Valtteri Bottas and the FW33 were ready to roll at the Kemble airfield when the British skies opened, according to Turun Sanomat newspaper.

"With direct tests so limited, we don't want to waste our days in the rain," said Bottas, 21.

"As soon as you put a wheel on the track, you have one test date less.  So I didn't drive," he explained.  "I went there (to Kemble) and I came back."

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