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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
  • McLaren to follow Red Bull to Abu Dhabi
    McLaren to join Red Bull teams at Abu Dhabi test
  • Grosjean can win grands prix - Alonso
  • Top teams criticize in-season testing
  • Ferrari 'dangerous' with new B car - Vettel
  • Lotus and Sauber set for Barcelona shock - reports
  • Lotus 'biggest surprise' of 2012 - Mateschitz
  • Upgrade last chance for F2012 project - Massa
  • Hamilton 'lucky' to escape Bahrain penalty - Whiting
  • Red Bull loyalty 'a mistake' - Alguersuari
  • Kaltenborn has 'big plans' for Sauber
  • Williams also 'pretty good' 2012 option - Raikkonen
  • New Light Shining at Scuderia Toro Rosso

McLaren to join Red Bull teams at Abu Dhabi test
(GMM)  A third team has decided to join Red Bull in Abu Dhabi for the young drivers' test.

Due to the calendar congestion at the end of this season, and also to cut costs, most teams have opted to drop the Abu Dhabi option in favor of testing young drivers in July, at Silverstone.

But Red Bull, and its second team Toro Rosso, are sticking with the original November plan, amid criticism July is too early to be assessing young drivers.

McLaren is now following suit.

"Our plan at McLaren at the moment is to test in Abu Dhabi," said the British team's sporting director Sam Michael, who said another factor against Silverstone is that teams are only half-way through their engine mileage allocations in July.

"Engines is a significant factor," the Australian explained.

"If you want to test at the end of the year, you have so many part-mileage engines that all have a little bit of mileage on them so you can effectively do it for free, in terms of your race engines," said Michael.

"If you try and do that in the middle of the year, you can't use your race engines so you have to prepare a special test engine."

Grosjean can win grands prix - Alonso
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean is a potential grand prix winner.

That is the claim of the Frenchman's first F1 teammate Fernando Alonso, who shared the Renault team with Grosjean in 2009.

The Enstone based team, however, was imploding amid the crashgate scandal, and Grosjean struggled to perform after being drafted in to replace the sacked Nelson Piquet.

He lost the drive at the end of the season and then found himself in the odd situation of farewelling his girlfriend, the French F1 presenter Marion Jolles, as she departed for a grand prix.

"She was there and I was home," Grosjean is quoted as saying in Barcelona by the Gulf Daily News.  "Honestly, I thought it was over and I would never come back to formula one."

But, now as the new reigning GP2 champion, he is back in 2012 at the wheel of Lotus' black and gold E20 -- a car tipped by many as the favorite for victory this weekend.

Many naturally tip Grosjean's famous teammate Kimi Raikkonen as the most likely winner, but Spaniard Alonso rates the Swiss-born 26-year-old as well.

"When his car was not so good he was criticized a lot," Alonso told RMC Sport, "but when he has a good car he does very good results.

"He has won GP2 and has a fantastic career.  He has talent and I'm happy he went onto the podium (in Bahrain).

"He can win a grand prix," the Ferrari driver professed.

Top teams criticize in-season testing
(GMM)  Top teams McLaren and Red Bull have questioned whether F1 should have tested last week.

Since the sport clamped down hard on private testing for cost reasons some years ago, there remained many in the paddock - notably Ferrari - who argued that at least some in-season testing should still take place.

So, for 2012, it was agreed that Mugello would host a three-day session in between the Bahrain and Spanish grands prix.

Every team except HRT attended.

But there were rumblings that not everyone was happy.  McLaren, in fact, did not even send its race drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to Tuscany.

Then, on Friday in Spain, the British team's regular duo was busily testing in official practice, fielding extravagant sensors and experimental components.

"We would have had a very similar program whether we went to Mugello or not," said sporting director Sam Michael.

"All the teams are geared up to not have testing, to not having test teams and that means we're equipped and do our planning to do all of that work on Friday.

"I think the (Mugello) test itself, personally, I think you could do without it," Michael continued.  "I think it's a lot of energy and expense during the season that we probably don't need.

"Of course McLaren will gain a lot out of that test but formula one is all relative, so all we really did was spend a load of money."

Red Bull's technical boss Adrian Newey agreed.

"I think we learnt the pasta in Italy is still the best in the world and that's about it really," he said when asked about the Mugello test.

"I'd agree with what Sam says.  To me, yes you go to the test because it's available.  We all spent money but the value of in-season testing has to be questionable."

Ferrari 'dangerous' with new B car - Vettel
(GMM)  Ferrari's heavily upgraded F2012 has caught the eye of reigning world champion and last-start winner Sebastian Vettel.

The famous Italian team and its lead driver Fernando Alonso have tried to play down the improvements made to the recently struggling red car.

"It was good acting," said Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo's correspondent Livio Oricchio on Friday.

"The truth is that Ferrari have debuted a new car.  Almost everything is different."

Red Bull's Vettel has spotted the same thing.

"If you ask me, Ferrari are dangerous," Bild newspaper quotes the German as saying on Friday.

The 'B' Ferrari features new front and rear wings, floor, sidepods, engine cover, exhaust and brake ducts.

"A total reconstruction for a million euros," said the newspaper.

Alonso was quickest on Friday morning in Barcelona but then a long way down the order in P2.  He played down his victory chances.

But Vettel's boss Dr Helmut Marko insists: "They (Ferrari) have become really fast."

Lotus and Sauber set for Barcelona shock - reports
(GMM)  Despite not topping a Friday timesheet in Barcelona, one specialist publication sees Lotus as the favorite for Spanish grand prix victory.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the 'long run' pace of the black and gold E20 was studied carefully after Barcelona practice.

"Kimi Raikkonen made a great impression on the critical soft tires," the report read.

"First, it (the field) is incredibly close.  Second, Lotus could win its first grand prix here."

If true, the former Renault team would become the fifth different winning constructor in the opening five races of the extraordinary 2012 season.

"Our biggest opponent for Sunday is not Red Bull," an unnamed McLaren engineer is quoted as saying.  "It's Lotus."

And another surprise pacesetter is Sauber.  "Over 15 laps we were better than Red Bull," team manager Beat Zehnder enthused.

"If everything goes right, we can be on the podium," he is quoted by the Swiss newspaper Blick.

Agreed McLaren's Jenson Button: "The Lotus, Sauber and Williams look very strong."

But in reality, in F1's new guise of 2012, no one knows what is going to happen on Saturday and Sunday.

"Lord knows what will happen here tomorrow," wrote The Times' Kevin Eason.  "Well, perhaps He is the only one who does know what is going on -- F1 hasn't a clue."

Lotus 'biggest surprise' of 2012 - Mateschitz
(GMM)  Lotus is the "biggest surprise" of the 2012 season so far, Red Bull's team owner Dietrich Mateschitz has admitted.

In an interview with Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper, the billionaire mogul was mildly critical of the "lottery" that is this year's championship, with Pirelli's unpredictable tires setting the scene.

"That is going to continue," Mateschitz said.

"Then it will gradually turn into a duel between McLaren and Red Bull Racing," he predicted.

"Mercedes are still not able to keep doing in the race what they are doing in qualifying.  So we are not convinced of their F-duct (double DRS) system and we won't try to copy it.

"Ferrari needs to try the hardest to catch up.  And Lotus are the big surprise for me," he insisted.

Upgrade last chance for F2012 project - Massa
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has hinted that Ferrari should consider moving on if major improvements to the F2012 do not push the team forwards this weekend.

The Maranello based team played down the extent of the upgrade seen in Barcelona on Friday, but one media pundit surmised that "almost everything is different" compared with the car in Bahrain three weeks ago.

It might, therefore, be seen as a last roll of the dice for Ferrari, who could therefore be advised to turn attention to the 2013 project should the upgrades not work as expected.

But when that was put to Fernando Alonso in Barcelona, the Spaniard answered: "I don't think so.  I don't think so."

Brazilian Massa doesn't agree.

"If you have a car, you introduce a number of significant changes and you don't get the response you expected, it means that the project is not good," he is quoted by Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

"You would have to leave it in order to create a new base," added Massa.

But Alonso doesn't agree with his teammate's final point, either.

When asked if the disappointing F2012 could nonetheless be used as the basis of Ferrari's 2013 project, he insisted: "I think so.  Yes."

Hamilton 'lucky' to escape Bahrain penalty - Whiting
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton on Friday was told he was lucky to escape penalty in Bahrain.

Nico Rosberg's defensive driving got the lion's share of the media attention three weeks ago, but in fact it was Hamilton's pass on the Mercedes that was a more contentious topic during Friday's drivers' briefing in Barcelona.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reported that the topic was discussed between the drivers and the FIA's Charlie Whiting for no less than fifty minutes.

"In the end, it was resolved that Rosberg did nothing wrong.  Lewis Hamilton was (unofficially) reprimanded.

"Charlie Whiting said the McLaren driver was lucky not to have been punished."

The report said Whiting warned the drivers that similar cases, in which passes are made with four wheels off the circuit, will be penalized.

Red Bull loyalty 'a mistake' - Alguersuari
(GMM)  Jaime Alguersuari has concluded he made "a mistake" to remain loyal to Red Bull late last season.

After testing Pirelli's 2010 Renault car last week at Jerez, the Spaniard moved on to Barcelona to continue his work as a co-commentator for British radio.

However, he revealed recently that he might have been on the 2012 grid, had he not believed Red Bull executives who told him he would be at Toro Rosso this year.

"It was definitely a mistake not to negotiate with other teams," said the Spaniard, "as I had the opportunity and declined offers," he told Marca sports newspaper.

"I did that because I had loyalty to Red Bull."

Asked if he has talked with anyone from Red Bull since his dismissal, the 22-year-old revealed: "The directors, no, the technical team, yes."

It still pains him that, in explaining their decision, the Red Bull officials like Dr Helmut Marko insisted Alguersuari was not a potential winner.

"If you think that for six years they supported me then they changed their opinion overnight.  One day you have a champion, the next you don't," he said.

Kaltenborn has 'big plans' for Sauber
(GMM)  Monisha Kaltenborn has revealed she has "very big plans" for Sauber.

Named by founder and team principal Peter Sauber as his forthcoming successor, the 41-year-old Indian is in effect already leading the Swiss team at grands prix.

She will take over in earnest at some point in the foreseeable future, thus officially becoming the first female team principal in the sport's history.

"I have very big plans for the team," she told the APA news agency in Barcelona.

"I am very happy with the trust that has been put in me," Kaltenborn, whose current title is chief executive officer, added.

She said she is not bothered that she is not yet the team boss in title.

"For me, it's never been important," said the lawyer.  "There are more important things."

Williams also 'pretty good' 2012 option - Raikkonen
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has admitted his failed negotiations with Williams ultimately turned out for the better.

When he decided to try to return to F1 this year, the 2007 world champion negotiated at length with Williams.

When those talks faltered, he turned to his second option, and quickly came to agreement with the former Renault team Lotus.

The Enstone based team has been the surprise of the 2012 season so far, and in Barcelona Finn Raikkonen is arguably the overall favorite.

He was asked by Turun Sanomat newspaper if the performance of Lotus, his only actual option for a race seat this year, has surprised him.

"Well, I had another option," said the 32-year-old, referring to Williams.

"It's hard to say what kind of results I would have had with Williams.  They would have been pretty good as well but perhaps not quite as strong as we are doing now," said Raikkonen, who finished second in Bahrain recently.

He said he has not been surprised.

"Last year (as Renault) they weren't bad at the start of the season," said the former Ferrari and McLaren driver.

"But they had decided to put the exhaust at the front of the car and were not then able to develop the way they needed."

New Light Shining at Scuderia Toro Rosso
Scuderia Toro Rosso is pleased to welcome TRILUX as a Technology Supplier to the team. TRILUX is a company pioneering lighting technology and is supplying lighting at the team’s Faenza factory and in the pit garages at the race tracks.

This weekend, for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Barcelona circuit, TRILUX has supplied a new high efficiency lighting concept based on LED technology in the Scuderia Toro Rosso pits. The lighting package has the advantages of being light, taking up little space and being easy to assemble, through a “plug and play” system, making it ideal for the Formula 1 environment. The system is also extremely energy efficient, putting out just 95 lm/w, a saving of up to 40% energy compared to conventional fluorescent technology.

The system has further advantages in that the illumination it provides is non-glare and flicker-free, which thus makes it ideal for TV broadcasting and also offers a more pleasant working environment for the crew.

Franz Tost: “Thanks to the foresight of its Chairman, Michael Huber, we are pleased to welcome TRILUX as Technical Supplier to Scuderia Toro Rosso. While the focus of our designers and engineers is always on the car, with TRILUX we now have a Supplier who is helping to make the working environment better and safer for our team at the race tracks. The innovative LED light technology used in our pit garage ensures that the illumination is always at a constant level, while also reducing glare, which can cause fatigue in what is already a high pressure environment. In addition, TRILUX will bring the same quality and standard to the lighting in our Faenza factory.”

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