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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Kimi Raikkonen
    'No comment' amid Raikkonen/Sutil/Kubica rumblings
  • Good news for Renault amid 2011 'difficulties'
  • Vettel cried after loss of Red Bull team member
  • Heat, humidity and rain forecast for Singapore
  • Petrov travels early to Singapore 
  • Singapore and the Safety Car
  • Sutil to Williams reports dismissed

'No comment' amid Raikkonen/Sutil/Kubica rumblings
(GMM)  An authoritative German magazine has questioned Renault's rush to finalize its 2012 driver lineup.

Boss Eric Boullier said recently he wants to decide the next race lineup by mid October, despite injured regular Robert Kubica - who does not have a contract - only planning to get back at the wheel of a touring car next month.

The Genii-owned team already has Vitaly Petrov under contract for next season, while Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean are both currently available for the other race seat.

Renault remains one of the few attractive teams with an available seat for 2012.

Potentially available will be Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi and Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), as well as Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India).

Williams, meanwhile, is yet to decide upon Pastor Maldonado's teammate for 2012, meaning that Rubens Barrichello could also be on the market.

All of the drivers looking for a seat will probably therefore wait for Williams and Renault rather than sign for one of the potential alternatives, such as Virgin or HRT.

So why Boullier's rush?

"One can imagine that by mid October Kubica will not be able to say definitively whether he is race-ready for 2012.

"By imposing a strict deadline, has the 26-year-old from Krakow (Kubica) been rejected already?" wondered Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

One alternative for Kubica might be Williams, despite the Pole not having any sponsorship to add to the millions brought by his theoretical teammate Maldonado.

The famous British team, however, would have some money to spend by ousting Barrichello, amid reports Kimi Raikkonen recently visited the factory at Grove.

Also linked with Williams is German Sutil, who could transfer the backing of his personal sponsor Medion from Force India.

"I am afraid we have no comment to make on this subject," Williams spokeswoman Claire Williams, asked for confirmation German Sutil also recently visited Grove, told us on Monday.

Good news for Renault amid 2011 'difficulties'
(GMM)  Enstone based F1 team Renault plans to have a new driver simulator up and running in time for the 2012 season.

The outfit announced on Monday that the local council has granted permission for the new facility to be situated next to the upgraded wind tunnel.

Renault, whose existing simulator was once derided by then team driver Fernando Alonso as no better than a Playstation, said "building work will begin imminently".

"The confirmation that our simulator is on the way is further evidence of our continued investment for the future," added team boss Eric Boullier.

Group Lotus-sponsored Renault has had a difficult 2011 season; trailing the top four teams, batting off speculation of financial troubles and experimenting first with Nick Heidfeld and now Bruno Senna due to Robert Kubica's absence.

"Well, it has been challenging," admitted Frenchman Boullier.

"I cannot say all the challenges were enjoyable – going through the difficulties we had after Robert's crash was not easy – but overall I enjoy being tested with the issues that come my way, and tackling them in the best way I can for the team.

"Overseeing these challenges is part of my job.  There's certainly never a dull moment," he smiled.

Vettel cried after loss of Red Bull team member
(GMM)  A death inside dominant formula one team Red Bull added to the emotion of Sebastian Vettel's win at Monza recently, it has emerged.

As he closed almost definitively on his second consecutive title, the 24-year-old German cried on the podium in Italy, the scene of his first ever win three years ago.

"Yeah, very emotional," he admitted afterwards.

At the time, however, Vettel did not mention that team members at Red Bull were grieving the recent loss of accounts staffer Erin Pezzella, who according to Cologne newspaper Express lost her battle with cancer during the Monza race week.

Pezzella was 31.

"She was with the team for four years," confirmed team boss Christian Horner.  "She lost a very brave fight against cancer and we would like to dedicate this result in her memory."

Heat, humidity and rain forecast for Singapore
(GMM)  The F1 world is expecting a warm, humid and possibly stormy and wet grand prix under lights in Singapore this weekend.

It has already been raining heavily this week in the Asian city-state, and more of the same is forecast for the weekend, set to be the fourth floodlit Singapore street race.

In previous years, drivers have expressed concerns about the effect rain would have on visibility around the tight layout, with the bright lights potentially reflecting off the raindrops and puddles.

Moreover, the skies amid the Singapore skyline are already hazy at present, due to forest fires burning in Indonesia.

And the street circuit "dries incredibly slowly" due to the high humidity, observed Mark Webber after some Singapore rain last year.

"It's something I haven't seen in my entire career," said the Australian.

Triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart also commented on the challenge of Singapore rain.

"In daylight, we can see beyond the track if we're heading into rain.  But here, the light is contained on the circuit and everything else is dark," he said.

Petrov travels early to Singapore
Vitaly Petrov is heading to Singapore by as early as Monday in order for what he considers the best possible preparation for Formula 1’s only night race. This weekend’s event promises to be one of particular excitement, with some rain forecast.

“I don’t think you can easily prepare for this race,” says the Russian Renault driver. “The conditions will be the same as we faced in Malaysia and we can’t simulate these weather conditions back in England!

“I like the fact that we will be working at night and sleeping during the day; I actually think that in adopting this pattern I will be able to sleep more!

“The best way to prepare is to arrive in Singapore as early as possible to acclimatize oneself. It will be the same for everyone so I don’t fear this race, not at all.”

Singapore and the Safety Car
When it comes to planning race strategy, a key component is factoring in the probability of a Safety Car deployment. This is dependent on factors such as circuit layout, the ease of clearing an incident and predicted weather conditions. In Singapore, these factors come together to produce something close to a perfect storm: the Safety Car has appeared a total of five times in the three races held there since 2008. That means that the Mercedes SLS AMG is almost certain to make an appearance next weekend...

Which races have the highest probability of Safety Car deployment?
Calculated in historical terms over the past ten years, both Singapore and Korea have a 100% record of Safety Car deployment - although, in the case of Korea, this is calculated on the basis of a single race. Every one of the three Singapore races so far has seen the Safety Car deployed, for a total of 20 laps. Indeed, this total means that only Fernando Alonso (93 laps) and Lewis Hamilton (57 laps) have led more laps than Safety Car driver Bernd Marylander since the first Singapore Grand Prix in 2008. After Singapore, the races with the highest historical probability of Safety Car deployment, during the past ten races, are Brazil, Monaco and Canada (all at 70%).

How much has the Safety Car been used so far in 2011?
After 13 races in the current season, just four have featured Safety Car deployments - Monaco, Canada, Belgium and Italy. In total, there have been nine deployments, of which five occurred during the Canadian Grand Prix, for a total of 5.5% of the racing laps. By way of comparison, after 13 races in 2010, there had been a total of 12 deployments in seven different races, accounting for 5.1% of the racing laps. The reduction in the number of Safety Car deployments, and the significant reduction in the number of races at which it has been deployed, are perhaps surprising given the increase in wheel-to-wheel racing that has occurred this year. Indeed, the Safety Car wasn't used at all in the first five races of the 2011 season - the first time this had occurred since 2004, and only the second time in the past ten years. Furthermore, the 2011 season has seen two wet-dry races in which the Safety Car has not appeared at all - Britain and Hungary.

How many laps has the Safety Car led in total this year?
So far, the Safety Car has led a total of 49 laps, equivalent to 218.3 km. Of these, 140 km were accounted for by the Canadian Grand Prix. Indeed, the five Safety Car deployments during this race lasted for 45.7% of the race distance - the longest Safety Car total laps recorded in the past ten years. The next longest deployments were at the 2010 Korean Grand Prix (26 laps, 146 km) and the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix (26 laps, 119 km). The race with the most individual Safety Car deployments was the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix.

Which season saw the most Safety Car use in the past decade?
Since the start of the 2001 season, the Safety Car has led almost 2,500 km - equivalent to approximately eight Grand Prix distances. 75 races have seen the Safety Car deployed a total of 117 times for 510 laps. The season which saw the most Safety Car deployments was 2010, when it appeared 21 times at 12 races, for a total of 7.8% of the racing laps; in total, the Mercedes SLS AMG led a total of 87 laps for 452.3 km, equivalent to one-and-a-half race distances.

Which seasons saw the least Safety Car usage?
The seasons with the fewest deployments were 2001 and 2002, both of which saw just five Safety Car periods. In 2001, Safety Car periods accounted for 2.6% of all racing laps, while in 2002 this figure decreased to 2.3%. Overall, between 2001 and 2010, Safety Car deployments accounted for an average of 4.2% of all racing laps. This means that the 2011 season has seen above-average Safety Car usage;  however, if one does not include the Canadian Grand Prix, Safety Car deployments would account for just 2% of racing laps in 2011, well below the ten-year average.

Sutil to Williams reports dismissed
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil's manager has rubbished reports the German driver is looking to switch to Williams for 2012.

It has emerged in recent days that Kimi Raikkonen as well as Force India's Sutil recently made separate private visits to Williams' Grove headquarters.

The famous British team on Monday refused to deny or confirm the rumours.

But the suggestion is that Sutil, 28, would make an ideal replacement for veteran Rubens Barrichello thanks to his backing by the German computer company Medion.

Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann said the story is "nonsense".

"Our first choice for 2012 is Force India," he told the Daily Mail newspaper.  "At this time there is no action talking to other teams."

Zimmermann also rubbished the suggestion it is Sutil's sponsorship that makes him a frontrunner for the Williams seat.

"There is no need to bring sponsors or money to a team for Adrian," he insisted.

"Last year and this year, he is fighting for a top ten result in the world championship.

"Medion make their decision after we have signed a contract.  If there is a nice offer they become a sponsor of the team, if not, they will not."

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