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DATE News (chronologically)
08/23/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • FIA bans DRS for Spa's Eau Rouge
  • Debut failure was Jordan's fault - Schumacher
  • Vettel only fourth with speed of F1 success - analysis
  • Work currently stopped at 2012 US GP venue

FIA bans DRS for Spa's Eau Rouge
(GMM)  As reported earlier this year, the 'DRS' overtaking system will be banned completely at Spa-Francorchamps' fearsome Eau Rouge this weekend.

The BBC on Monday night reported that the governing FIA has informed the teams of the ban on safety grounds through the famous up-and-down, left-and-right sweeper.

At other circuits, drivers are free to trigger the adjustable rear wing in order to increase top speed throughout practice and qualifying sessions.

For the Belgian grand prix, there will be only one DRS overtaking zone, just after the Eau Rouge section through to the braking zone for Les Combes.

The BBC said the Eau Rouge ban will apply at all times from the entry to the La Source hairpin to the end of the Eau Rouge/Raidillon sequence.

"You really don't want to be going off there, even with the increased safety we have these days," said Red Bull driver Mark Webber.

The Spanish website motor21 quoted Pastor Maldonado's race engineer at Williams Xevi Pujolar as saying it is "a pity" the FIA has designated just one DRS zone for the race.

He said a second zone at the end of the lap to the Bus Stop chicane would have been a good idea.

Debut failure was Jordan's fault - Schumacher
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has pointed the finger at his first formula one boss Eddie Jordan as he recalled his grand prix debut 20 years ago.

At Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, the seven time world champion is marking the passing of two decades since he burst onto the scene with Jordan.

It was a one-off event as Schumacher, then 22, was snapped up after Belgium by Benetton after qualifying in seventh place.

But his actual race lasted less than a lap when he retired with a broken clutch.

"The story is that we had problems in the warm-up," Schumacher, now racing with Mercedes, wrote in a celebratory column for Auto Motor und Sport.

"I pointed it out at the de-briefing and we talked about whether we should change the clutch or not, but Eddie said that would cost too much money.  Then it broke," added the German.

Schumacher also recalled how he and his then manager Willi Weber had stayed in a hostel that weekend.

"I remember I was surprised because I had thought 'Yes, I am now in formula one, the premier class'.  I was not particularly bothered with the hostel except that it was cold and the heater didn't work," he said.

Weber had negotiated his charge's F1 debut after Jordan regular Bertrand Gachot was jailed for attacking a London taxi driver.

Weber told Jordan that Schumacher knew Spa well.

"I have to clarify the story that we lied about it," Schumacher said.  "Eddie had asked Willi if I had raced there before and Willi said yes, because he could not imagine that I had never been there."

Jordan reportedly wanted to draft in the experienced Stefan Johansson, but Schumacher's Sauber-Mercedes sports car team - headed by Peter Sauber - offered $150,000 in sponsorship.

"That was a pretty penny for a single grand prix," Sauber told the SID news agency this week.

The Swiss believes that Mercedes' other hotshoe, Heinz Harald Frentzen, "had a similar amount of talent and perhaps even a little more".

But Schumacher was "a hard worker, very ambitious, mentally strong and also so well prepared physically.  It soon became apparent that he was a very special talent", added Sauber.

"You also need talent and technical knowledge and if you get all these factors close to 100 per cent, you get Michael Schumacher who wins seven titles."

Sauber said Schumacher or Weber never repaid the $150,000.

"He didn't have to," Sauber explained.  "He was under contract to us and it was quite normal that we allowed him to have his first race.

"Ultimately it didn't work for us because Mercedes didn't come in as a works team and so we could not keep him."

Schumacher retired from F1 at the end of 2006 but returned three years later with Mercedes, where he is under contract for next year and even considering prolonging his comeback.

Eddie Jordan told The Sun this week: "Michael really is an old fart.  He's had his time.

"I don't think his legacy has been affected yet by what has happened in his comeback.  But he has to make sure he gets the timing of his exit from F1 right."

Vettel only fourth with speed of F1 success - analysis
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel's rise to the top of formula one has been meteoric, but three other grand prix drivers achieved even more in their first 73 races.

That is the finding of the veteran Swiss correspondent for Blick newspaper, Roger Benoit.

Vettel, 23, is the youngest ever race and title winner in F1 history and very likely to add a second consecutive championship to his impressive tally in 2011.

But in terms of how much he has achieved in his first 73 grands prix, Sir Jackie Stewart ranks slightly higher with his 18 race wins and two titles in the same period.

Vettel, by comparison, has only one title and 16 wins.

Achieving even more than Stewart in the 73-race period was Michael Schumacher, who had 19 wins and two titles.

And Damon Hill tops that list, amassing a single championship but no fewer than 21 wins within 73 races -- an almost 30 per cent strike record.

However, Vettel has achieved more in his career so far than had Alain Prost, Lewis Hamilton, Niki Lauda, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen in the same period, while the great Ayrton Senna in his first 73 races won just 13 times and had failed to secure a title.

Nigel Mansell, meanwhile, only won his first grand prix at the 72nd attempt, while Mika Hakkinen was approaching his 100th race before he finally broke through at Jerez in 1997.

Work currently stopped at 2012 US GP venue
(GMM)  Construction of the 2012 US grand prix venue in Austin has stopped, according to the local American Statesman newspaper.

Reporter Eric Dexheimer said he has received "several anonymous phone calls" informing that no work has been taking place at the site of the Circuit of the Americas for the past few days.

One caller reportedly said "the project's general contractor, Austin Commercial, had called a meeting of subcontractors last week and instructed them to go home for a couple of weeks; there was no money to pay them."

But circuit spokesman Jeff Hahn said that information is wide of the mark, insisting that the project is still alive.

Hahn said good weather had meant the initial construction was ahead of schedule and therefore contractors "now must wait a few days for the next installment."

"We're matching the (bank) draw schedule to the construction schedule," he added.

Meanwhile, contrary to reports last week, David Coulthard's demonstration of the Red Bull show car did go ahead in Texas at the weekend.

The events took place not only at a ranch owned by Circuit of the Americas backer Red McCombs but also in front of the Texas State Capitol Building and at the dusty grand prix site.

Also on Coulthard's agenda was showing Hollywood actor Tom Cruise how to drive the F1 car at the Willow Springs track in southern California.

Red Bull confirmed that Cruise hit almost 300kmh with competitive lap times, impressing Coulthard.

"I was surprised that he picked it up so quickly and is such an accomplished driver," he said.

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