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DATE News (chronologically)
07/26/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Sweet revenge for Whitmarsh
    Chandhok expects 'more chances' in Lotus car
  • Jury out on Vettel rivals' title chances
  • Korea to be Michael's last race with Williams
  • Axe reports made Nurburgring win sweet - Whitmarsh
  • Heidfeld not fulfilling leadership role - Boullier
  • Austin track receives funds from Texas
  • FIA confirm Hungaroring DRS zone
  • Williams to run KERS on both cars 

Chandhok expects 'more chances' in Lotus car
(GMM)  Karun Chandhok thinks he will get more time at the wheel of the Team Lotus car after replacing Jarno Trulli at the Nurburgring.

It is rumored the Indian driver's outing in Germany, with Trulli returning to his car this weekend in Hungary, is part of the deal struck to take his sponsorship money to the Tony Fernandes-led team as third driver.

"I believe I'll get some more chances because Tony seems quite happy with the job I did, the engineers seem happy with the job I did," Chandhok, who struggled on Sunday and finished last, told Reuters.

The 27-year-old is also strongly supported by his father Vicky, a leading Indian motor racing official, as well as F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who will be pushing for Chandhok to reappear on the inaugural Indian grand prix grid in October.

The trio, as well as Fernandes, were spotted in conversation on the Nurburgring grid.

Chandhok revealed on Monday that they had "basically told me to go away and leave it to Tony and my dad and him (Ecclestone).  I think his (Ecclestone's) last words were, 'Get on with your job and leave us to it'."

Jury out on Vettel rivals' title chances
(GMM)  According to the Tuscan newspaper Il Tirreno, the Nurburgring last Sunday proved that "The world championship is not over."

France's L'Equipe agreed that, with the championship leader Sebastian Vettel uncharacteristically off the front row and podium, Germany was a "cold shower" for the Red Bull driver.

Lewis Hamilton surprised himself with victory in a McLaren well-suited to the unseasonably cold conditions, but he remains 82 points behind Vettel with just nine races to run.

And the Briton expects the 23-year-old to bounce back.

"This was a small glitch over a long period.  I have no doubts he (Vettel) will have some interesting comments made about him but he will be back, no doubt," said Hamilton.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso has scored more points than any other rival in the past three grands prix, but he too is cautious about rating his chances of chasing down the leader.

"We need some help from Red Bull," said the Spaniard.  "If they keep finishing the races, even third or fourth, it's enough for them."

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh agrees that Vettel's chasers need to keep the pressure on because the world champion "made a couple of mistakes" in Germany.

But he, as well as his Ferrari counterpart Stefano Domenicali, stop short of being confident. 

"I don't think we can say that this victory shows we are on a roll," said Whitmarsh, whilst Domenicali noted: "I don't forget that last year in Hungary we were one second off the pace of Red Bull."

One theory on the recent change in form is that, with Jenson Button's 2009 feats in mind, Vettel has calculated that a low-risk strategy will still deliver him the title.

It's also possible that he and Red Bull have begun to struggle.

"I tend to think Seb is young enough to absorb the hit of last weekend and not tighten up, but we shall see," wrote David Coulthard in his telegraph column.

Another former McLaren driver John Watson insists that Vettel is far enough ahead to relax.

"The only thing that can have a bearing would be something that would stop Vettel from competing in the next three or four races and that's very unlikely," he told the Guardian.

Korea to be Michael's last race with Williams
(GMM)  Departing technical director Sam Michael's last grand prix with the Williams race team will be Korea in October.

Jacques-Armand Dupuis, writing for France's autohebdo.fr, reported that the Australian is not sure if he will then revert to a factory-based job or be sent on 'gardening leave' as the British team looks ahead to 2012.

"Most of the technical directors go to the races, but the (new) structure at Williams means that he will not.

"Mark Gillan is the chief engineer and he will be in Japan and Korea and he will then take my place," said Michael, who has been linked with a move to Force India.

Dupuis reported that moves to Mercedes and Ferrari have also been touted for the 40-year-old.

"Everything is open for the future," insisted Michael.

Meanwhile, after Williams experimented with a no-KERS configuration for Rubens Barrichello at the Nurburgring, Michael confirmed that the energy recovery technology will return to the Brazilian's car this weekend.

Axe reports made Nurburgring win sweet - Whitmarsh
(GMM)  McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has admitted Sunday's victory was extra sweet off the back of reports his job was on the line.

Before Lewis Hamilton won in Germany, the team had a disappointing and mistake-strewn home race at Silverstone, prompting Whitmarsh to give an unusual six-minute monologue to the international press.

Tom Cary wrote in the Telegraph that "if a football manager had done likewise, it would have been the last press conference he gave for that club".

But Whitmarsh insists that although he didn't pay "too much attention" to the speculation, Hamilton's win at the Nurburgring tasted particularly sweet.

"If I said it didn't I'd be lying," he smiled.

He added that journalists had misunderstood him "being honest about where we are and what we have got to do" prior to the Nurburgring.

"I was very honest at Silverstone and said that things were not going well and some interpreted it to be my job in danger," Whitmarsh is quoted by the Spanish El Pais newspaper.

"I don't think anyone in the paddock who is minimally intelligent really believed that was so.  When you're at the head of one of the strongest teams you do have a lot of pressure on you.

"But the pressure I put on myself is much stronger than the garbage that's in the press," he added.

Heidfeld not fulfilling leadership role - Boullier
(GMM)  Speculation that Nick Heidfeld might lose his Renault race seat is heating up.

Already this week, the German sources Bild and Auto Motor und Sport have wondered whether Heidfeld having to give up his Friday practice seat in Hungary is a sign he has lost the support of team boss Eric Boullier.

On Monday we quoted Boullier as having told France's Eurosport at the Nurburgring that he has been "clearly disappointed" with the performance of the German veteran so far in 2011.

"We rely more on Vitaly (Petrov) for performance, with Nick more suitable for the development of the car," said the Frenchman.

More of that interview has now emerged at the sports.fr website, with Boullier saying of Heidfeld: "He has not provided the leadership we wanted.  He hasn't taken hold of the team."

Speculation is now sure to fire up about Heidfeld being replaced in the near future by either Brazilian Senna or the Boullier-managed Romain Grosjean.

According to broadcaster James Allen's blog, the latter Frenchman could resume his abortive F1 career as soon as he wraps up the GP2 championship.

"He wasn't ready in 2009 and those seven races alongside Alonso did him a lot of harm," Boullier said at the Nurburgring.  "He's proved in GP2 this year that he's a very good driver and he deserves a chance."

Austin track receives funds from Texas
Following much speculation, the Circuit of the Americas – home of the returning United States Grand Prix from 2012 onwards – has received financial backing from the State of Texas. This follows news in late June that the Austin City Council had blessed the Hermann Tilke-designed venue with an official endorsement.

As reported by The New York Times on Saturday, a group of promoters - including circuit head Tavo Hellmund and former San Antonio Spurs basketball team owner Red McCombs - are to receive $25m (£15.4m) from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund.

“I think it’s a one-of-a-kind thing for our state,” McCombs commented. “I enjoy seeing world-class events made possible. It’s the biggest thing in every country when it runs, except here, and we’ve never really given it a full course of its own. To me it’s a Super Bowl every year.”

The payment – the first of ten annual subsidiaries - has been submitted in a promise to pay taxpayers back with jobs, tourism and other economic benefits.

FIA confirm Hungaroring DRS zone
The DRS zone for this weekend's Hungarian GP will be on the main start-finish straight, the FIA have announced.

The Hungaroring has traditionally been a relatively difficult track to pass on but despite this the FIA have decided to go with only one DRS zone.

The zone will start 70 meters after the apex of the final corner, with the detection point slightly in front of the final turn.

Williams to run KERS on both cars
Williams will once again be using its KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) on both cars in Hungary, having experimented with a different strategy at the Nürburgring. Last year’s Budapest race brought a positive result for the Grove team, with Nico Hülkenberg and Rubens Barrichello finishing sixth and tenth.

In Germany on Sunday, Williams elected not to use KERS on Barrichello’s car as Technical Director Sam Michael compared the rates of tire degradation.

“Budapest is a high-downforce circuit, with lots of slow-speed corners,” Michael explains. “It has quite a bumpy track surface compared to normal.

“Usually there is a reasonable improvement in grip as the weekend progresses due to the dusty nature of the circuit. We will have new bodywork to test on the Friday and we will also run KERS on both cars.”

The aforementioned new bodywork should provide better cooling for the cars.

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