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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Red Bull team services Mark Webber
    Red Bull has fastest pit crew in F1 - analysis
  • Lotus signs Renault's Nielsen before Caterham rebirth
  • Piquet to wave checkered flag in Brazil
  • Ferrari expects no wing 'fluttering' in Abu Dhabi
  • Massa happy to have Ferrari's support for 2012
  • Vettel apologized for ignoring India go-slow - Horner
  • Toro Rosso could not have kept Vettel - Tost
  • Officials coy amid ongoing Bahrain axe rumors

Red Bull has fastest pit crew in F1 - analysis
(GMM)  Red Bull has not only the fastest car, but also the fastest pit crew in formula one this year.

With Pirelli supplying heavily degrading tires this season, the efficiency of a pit crew has taken on a new importance.

An analysis distributed by Mercedes has found that Red Bull Racing, the reigning and now back-to-back drivers' and constructors' champions, has left a grand prix event this year with the fastest pitstop time on eight separate occasions.

In second place is Mercedes, with seven fastest pitstops, while F1's traditional grandees McLaren and Ferrari recorded only a single fastest pitstop apiece.

Red Bull is also leading the pack in terms of the consistency of its pitstop times, with the analysis showing the team changed its cars' tires fastest on average at nine of the 17 grands prix in 2011 so far.

Again, Mercedes comes a close second, with five best average pitstops (China, Germany, Singapore, Japan and Korea).

McLaren had the fastest average pitstops twice, and Force India once (at Monaco).

Overall, Red Bull and Mercedes' pitstops have been 0.3 seconds faster than McLaren, with Force India (+0.4) and Ferrari (+0.5) next best.

Interestingly, HRT's pitstops have been by far the slowest in 2011, a huge 1.6 seconds off the next-slowest pit crew, Virgin.

And the other new-in-2010 team, Team Lotus/Caterham, is mixing it with established names including Williams, Sauber and Toro Rosso.

"That sort of attention to detail is what separates the quick from the really quick and it is down to hard work, practice and attention to detail," said technical boss Mike Gascoyne.

Lotus signs Renault's Nielsen before Caterham rebirth
(GMM)  Steve Nielsen, who left Renault in June, has re-emerged at Team Lotus.

Team boss Tony Fernandes revealed that he offered Nielsen, Renault's long-serving sporting director, the same role at Team Lotus a year ago.

"I first met Steve in Singapore 2010 and offered him a job which he turned down, so I am delighted he has finally taken up the chance to join us," he revealed.

Nielsen, who has worked with Mike Gascoyne at Tyrrell and Renault, will start his new job in December, replacing Dieter Gass who is returning to Germany ahead of Team Lotus' rebirth as Caterham in 2012.

"Off track all the pieces are falling into place and we have now taken full control of our own destiny," said Fernandes.  "I think we can guarantee that we have a very bright future."

Piquet to wave checkered flag in Brazil
(GMM)  Nelson Piquet, the triple world champion and father of the 2008 and 2009 Renault driver, will wave the checkered flag at the end of the 2011 season finale at Interlagos later this month.

Marking 20 years since his last F1 win, and more than thirty years since his grand prix victory debut, the 59-year-old will also drive his 1981 Brabham at the Brazilian venue, Globo reports.

"The choice of Nelson Piquet to wave the checkered flag and drive his Brabham at Interlagos is to honor the importance of what he did for Brazil and in the history of formula one," said a spokesman for the promoter.

Ferrari expects no wing 'fluttering' in Abu Dhabi
(GMM)  Ferrari is pressing ahead with a front wing design that violently "fluttered" when attached to Felipe Massa's car recently in India.

In parc ferme, viewed alongside the dominant Red Bull design, the 2012-style Ferrari wing is nearly identical to the ones raced by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber and reportedly designed to 'flex' at high speed.

But in India, one version fitted to Massa's car behaved oddly, with technical director Pat Fry pointing to a "quality issue".

"Much work has been done to modify certain aspects of it before both drivers will try it this coming weekend," the Briton added ahead of the penultimate race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Fry said the development is worth persevering with.

"It does change the characteristics of the car and getting to understand how to get the most out of it is certainly an interesting challenge," he explained, "and in the short term it has helped our performance."

Massa happy to have Ferrari's support for 2012
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has admitted he is glad his bosses re-confirmed his place at Ferrari for 2012 following recent media speculation.

It has been reported that, despite Brazilian Massa having a firm contract for next season, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was being considered as a potential new teammate for Fernando Alonso.

Massa, 30, was not at Ferrari's Finale Mondiali event last weekend, where his bosses Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo confirmed he will still be racing a red car next year.

"Of course I am aware of what our president Montezemolo and Domenicali said about me over there, making it clear once again that I am definitely driving for the Scuderia next season," he said.

"From my point of view, it is important that I have the full support of the team behind me, which is always very positive," added Massa.

Since returning from his near-fatal crash in 2009, Massa has had a hard time alongside the highly competitive Alonso, who is now seen as arguably just as close to Ferrari as Michael Schumacher was half a decade ago.

"I know that next year will be a very important one for the whole team, given that this season did not go as well as expected and it will also be a very important time for me," Massa acknowledged.

Vettel apologized for ignoring India go-slow - Horner
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel apologized after ignoring instructions to slow down en route to victory in India recently.

That is the claim of Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who along with advisor Dr Helmut Marko reportedly chided the back-to-back world champion for pushing for the fastest race lap not only in Korea but also two weeks later in India.

On both occasions, the energy drink-owned team's engineers instructed Vettel, 24, to bring the car home rather than try to record the fastest lap of the race.

Former racer Horner, however, said he has some sympathy for the young German.

"You can't get out of your own skin," he told Die Welt newspaper.  "I understand that.  He's a thoroughbred racer and on a football field he would be like Wayne Rooney, always wanting to score another goal.

"He apologized to me for his little show, but Sebastian is reasonable.  I don't think he was going to the limit, I think he just wanted to do something for his statistics."

Vettel, who is highly superstitious, always denies that his growing collection of statistics is important to him.

"I'm not so sure about that," smiled Horner, who denied that Vettel might therefore be labeled a "nerd".

"Nerds are tense but he has a sober intelligence and a killer instinct, even though he looks as innocent as a lamb," he continued.  "He is a perfectionist and extremely ambitious.

"When he walks from the paddock to the parking lot and there's someone in front of him, he has to overtake!" laughed Horner.

Toro Rosso could not have kept Vettel - Tost
(GMM)  Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has revealed he had no argument when Red Bull poached Sebastian Vettel after the 2008 season.

Vettel, then in his very early 20s, showed immense potential at Red Bull's Faenza based junior team in 2007 and 2008 before he moved to the parent squad for 2009.

In 2010 and 2011, he won back-to-back world championships, but Toro Rosso's Tost has no bitterness at the thought that with Vettel on board, the former Minardi team might have been pulled up the grid.

"It (keeping Vettel) was never an issue even for one second," the Austrian told Sportwoche magazine.

"In that situation, Vettel would not have been allowed to stay with us.  It probably would never have been even considered," added Tost.

He conceded that a large part of Vettel's success at Toro Rosso in 2008 was due to Red Bull.

"We are ultimately about the future of the drivers and in 2008 we were using the car from Red Bull Technology, designed by Adrian Newey," added Tost.

And when Vettel left Toro Rosso for Red Bull, Tost said he was sure it would be a formidable alliance.

"It was clear to me that that combination - Red Bull, Vettel and Newey - would be dominating sooner or later," he said.  "In fact they would have taken the title already in 2009 if it wasn't for the double diffuser story with Brawn."

But even though he sees Vettel's departure as inevitable, Tost said he is not happy to simply look back on 2008 as Toro Rosso's finest hour.

"No, it should be repeated," he answered confidently.  "As often as possible."

Officials coy amid ongoing Bahrain axe rumors
(GMM)  FIA officials as well as Bernie Ecclestone are coy this week amid continuing uncertainty about Bahrain's return to the F1 calendar next year.

After this year's race in the troubled island Kingdom was cancelled, Bahrain is scheduled to return to the schedule next April.

Team bosses, however, have expressed concern that the unrest within Bahrain is not yet resolved, leading to a discussion during the recent F1 Commission meeting.

But it is believed that, for now, the 2012 calendar as published by the FIA stands firm.

A report in the Gulf Weekly on Wednesday said F1 officials in Bahrain, who are determined to organize the 2012 race, regard the continuing rumors as "unsettling".

An FIA spokesman said: "The calendar for the 2012 (season) has been ratified by the FIA, therefore all listed events are scheduled to run, as planned.

"The position is simple -- there is a calendar for races for 2012, it has been approved and all teams and promoters work on that basis."

The spokesman, however, did not comment on reports that Turkey has been unofficially appointed as a 'standby race' in the event Bahrain is called off.

And F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said in a notably terse statement: "The 2012 calendar is as has been published."

Bahrain's circuit chairman Zayed R Alzayani said: "We are on the calendar and that is it."

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