Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
Hamilton-Massa feud enters 'dangerous phase'
|Massa's shredded tire courtesy of Hamilton in Singapore|
- 'I don't understand the penalty ' - Felipe Massa
- Whitmarsh denies McLaren breaching constructor definition
- Ferrari to 'analyze' front wing fluttering
- Buemi close to tears as 2012 decision nears
- Vettel ignores team again to achieve 'clean sweep'
- Podium finishers remember Wheldon, Simoncelli
- Whitmarsh: Hamilton pressured by Button
- Renault rule out works team return
Hamilton-Massa feud enters 'dangerous phase'
(GMM) The feud between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa is entering a "dangerous phase", a Brazilian correspondent wrote after Sunday's Indian grand prix.
The 2008 championship challengers' series of on-track collisions continued at the new Buddh circuit, but this time it was Massa who was penalized.
The suspicion is that by finally putting some blame on the Ferrari driver, tensions might equalize and the quarrel may end.
Johnny Herbert was the driver steward in India, but Alex Wurz has also fulfilled the FIA role in the past.
"In my opinion," said the former Benetton and Williams driver, "it was 50:50. It was a normal racing incident."
Still, tensions are high. Briton Hamilton put his arm around Massa after the minute's silence on the grid to mark the deaths of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli.
"He hadn't spoken to me for a long, long time," revealed the McLaren driver. "I wished him good luck for the race and he gave me a really small acknowledgement, but I wasn't expecting anything more really."
Brazilian Massa later rubbished Hamilton's pre-race efforts.
"He just said 'Have a good race'. This is trying to -- what?" he asked reporters. "'Have a good race' is not part of any talking."
Then came the collision, and Hamilton did not comment at length afterwards as, according to the Telegraph, boss Martin Whitmarsh advised the driver to leave the track quickly.
According to O Estado de S.Paulo journalist Livio Oricchio, it is not just the media intrigue that must stop.
Shortly after two fatalities in premier motor racing, "Next time, it is them (Massa and Hamilton) who could be hurt," he noted.
Sir Jackie Stewart, a staunch advocate of safety, was told the pair have touched on track in six of the 17 grands prix so far this year.
"It's an alarming statistic," said the triple world champion.
Whitmarsh urged them to sort it out.
"They're young drivers but they're not that young," said the McLaren chief. "They're men. They've been coming together too frequently.
"Felipe is under enormous pressure within that team and that causes him to react and, in truth, Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performances of Jenson Button at the moment," he added.
'I don't understand the penalty ' - Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa cannot understand why he was penalized for his accident with Lewis Hamilton at the Indian Grand Prix and insists he does not hold a grudge against the McLaren driver.
The pair have collided six times this season, with tempers fraying at the Singapore Grand Prix following two incidents in one weekend. In India Hamilton found himself behind Massa after a grid penalty and a bad start and tried to make a move stick into turn five on lap 24. Massa saw Hamilton alongside him on the straight but turned across the McLaren's bows under braking and the pair made contact.
Hamilton came off worse with a broken front wing, while Massa was issued with a drive-through penalty before retiring with broken suspension in a separate incident.
Whitmarsh denies McLaren breaching constructor definition
(GMM) Martin Whitmarsh has fended off claims teams like McLaren are already breaching the current definition of a F1 'constructor'.
The issue is on the agenda for this week's F1 Commission meeting in Geneva, with the possible outcome to be the legalization of the sale of entire 'customer cars' to small teams.
Whitmarsh, the McLaren and FOTA chief, is opposed.
But the proponents, understood to be powered by Ferrari, will reportedly argue on Thursday that McLaren for example already shares its intellectual property with customer teams including Force India and Virgin.
Whitmarsh rejects the link.
"Our agreement with Force India has been approved by the FIA and FOM," he said, referring to the technology deal in place with Vijay Mallya's team.
"It is a collaboration in some areas in which third-party services are allowed," insisted Whitmarsh, referring to transmission and hydraulics.
As for the deal with Virgin, this covers mainly the renting of infrastructure.
"For us this is a business model that is within the rules," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Ferrari to 'analyze' front wing fluttering
(GMM) A point of interest throughout the Indian grand prix weekend was Ferrari's "fluttering" front wing.
It is believed the Italian team, with a firm eye on 2012, is publicly experimenting with the sort of legal wing flexibility that is being mysteriously achieved by Red Bull.
At high speed at the Buddh circuit, a prototype version on Felipe Massa's car was often seen wildly oscillating; a phenomenon referred to in the aviation industry as "flutter".
"It does seem a bit exciting," chuckled Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn after seeing the television images.
Given Ferrari's good pace in India, some observers wondered if the wing movement might even be intentional.
Ferrari chief Stefano Domenicali played down that possibility.
"We will analyze the data now to see what causes this fluttering," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
An amused onlooker this weekend was Adrian Newey, Red Bull's revered designer.
"I don't think Ferrari had this effect in mind," he said. "Somehow it doesn't look quite right. But if we are being used as a model, we take it as a compliment."
Buemi close to tears as 2012 decision nears
(GMM) Sebastien Buemi was close to tears after exiting Sunday's Indian grand prix in a cloud of smoke.
The Swiss is under immense pressure to prove to Toro Rosso that he should be retained for 2012, as team owner Red Bull looks to place young hopefuls Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Jaime Alguersuari on the other hand appears increasingly established at the Faenza based team and in India pulled out his gap to Buemi to 11 points.
Buemi however was running eighth when his Ferrari engine failed.
He solemnly admitted to Blick newspaper that, given the driver situation for 2012, his current form is worrying.
"Sure. For 2012 only the results matter," said the Swiss on the eve of his 23rd birthday.
"I hope the bosses will see that out of us (Buemi and Alguersuari) I'm the fastest driver on the track.
"Without luck, what can I do? I give everything but you're helpless against fate. I will continue to push even though I've never seen so much Scheisse (sh*t)."
There are just two races left in 2011 for Buemi to show Red Bull that he should continue to be backed.
"In Abu Dhabi and Brazil you will again see a strong fight from me, even though I have much to lose in the battle. But I never give up," he said.
As for whether he sees himself at Toro Rosso for a fourth consecutive season in 2012, he answered: "I can only hope."
Vettel ignores team again to achieve 'clean sweep'
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel on Sunday couldn't resist pushing for F1's coveted 'clean sweep' in India.
Having started from pole, and while comfortably leading at the new Buddh circuit, the back to back world champion pushed hard towards the end of the race to also capture the fastest race lap.
Two weeks ago in Korea, the German - having similarly cruised to victory - was chided by his Red Bull bosses after ignoring a request to resist the lure of being the race's quickest driver.
In India, they tried again. "I got some calls from my engineer reminding me what is the target, (that) there is no trophy for fastest lap," confirmed Vettel.
Those calls came before the penultimate lap, when the 24-year-old sped up. On the last lap, he was faster still.
"We spoke about doing that after the last race and Seb apologized," smiled team boss Christian Horner, according to the Telegraph.
"And yet two weeks later here we are. But he's a sensible boy. I'm sure that he builds in a pretty big margin."
Red Bull did its best to guarantee that 'margin' by instructing Vettel to turn his engine down, and the KERS system off altogether.
"And he was still setting purple sectors at the end," added Horner.
Vettel denied that collecting statistics and challenging records at present is one way to motivate himself now that he is dominating the sport.
"We are still hungry so we are not lacking motivation," he insisted. "All the people come with their questions but we seem to give them the right answers."
Podium finishers remember Wheldon, Simoncelli
The podium finishers of the inaugural India Grand Prix on Sunday remembered IndyCar racer Dan Wheldon and Moto GP rider Marco Simoncelli who died recently in car crashes, with second-placed Jenson Button dedicating the race to the two drivers.
Wheldon was killed in a 15-car pile-up in an IndyCar race in Las Vegas while Simoncelli died due to injuries sustained in a crash in the Malaysian MotoGP last weekend, sending shockwaves through the highly competitive world of motorsports,
"It was a tough weekend last week with two fatalities. I knew Dan very well. It is a very sad race. I think we should dedicate this race to Marco and Dan," McLaren Mercedes' Button said.
Paying tributes to Wheldon and Simoncelli, race winner Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull said, "We pray that every time nothing happens as Marco Simoncelli and Dan Wheldon disappeared last weekend and we will never forget these young committed two drivers."
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who finished third, too, got emotional as he recalled the tragic accidents which led to the death of the two drivers.
"Mixed feelings after sad days for motorsports with two fatalities and we will remember these two fantastic friends," Alonso said.
Whitmarsh: Hamilton pressured by Button
Lewis Hamilton is under additional pressure because of team-mate Jenson Button’s sparkling 2011 performances and is driving in a more frenzied manner as a result. Those are the feelings of McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, after his drivers finished second and seventh in Sunday’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
With Button now 38 points ahead of Hamilton and with a maximum of 50 on offer from the final two races, chances are increasing of the 2008 World Champion being beaten by his team-mate for the first time since joining Formula 1 in 2007.
“Lewis - the great, exciting driver that he is - will not like being beaten by Jenson,” Whitmarsh is quoted as saying by BBC Sport. “Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performances from Jenson at the moment; I don't want him to enjoy being beaten by his team-mate - I want him to try to beat Jenson, just as I want Jenson to try to beat Lewis.”
Hamilton’s Indian race was plagued by another coming together with Felipe Massa, with the Ferrari driver being penalized on this occasion.
“Felipe is under enormous pressure within that team and that causes him to react,” Whitmarsh added, with the Brazilian furious once again, although the McLaren head believes his own driver pins blame on himself too much.
“Yes, I do frankly,” Whitmarsh continued. “I have told him on several occasions, 'Don't apologize, you're a racing driver. If you've made a mistake, accept it, learn from it and move on'. He is very analytical. He's very serious about trying to do the best job he can, but he's much too hard on himself.
“But I've known Lewis for a long, long time and he has always been like that since he was in karts; that's his way, that's his psychology and that's how he motivates himself. His body language this weekend has been much more positive than for the last races.”
Hamilton split up with pop star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger shortly before the Korean Grand Prix, where he claimed the first non-Red Bull pole position of 2011.
Renault rule out works team return
Renault has categorical said that it does not intend to return to Formula 1 with a works team, but continue to supply engines as it currently does. For 2012, the diamond marque is poised to provide no less than four outfits: Lotus Renault GP, Team Lotus, Williams and World Champions Red Bull Racing.
Although the Lotus-sponsored team has retained the ‘Renault’ name in its title, the company has not been a shareholder since the end of 2009 – a year blighted by the previous season’s ‘Crashgate’ race-fixing scandal of Singapore; the Enstone squad is still currently owned by Gerard Lopez's Luxembourg-based Genii Capital.
“For a car manufacturer, playing the role that we are playing today, providing engines and technologies to many teams is more in-line with the sustainability of the name and of the brand,” Carlos Ghosn, Renault Chief Executive, explained to Reuters.
“I feel much more comfortable with the strategy we have today, where we are a partner next year with four teams and providing engines.”
Renault’s tactics are not praised by all. In September, Craig Pollock – CEO of PURE, which will enter the sport as a new engine manufacturer for 2014 – explained to GPUpdate.net that the French company is attempted to ‘corner the market’.