Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
Ferrari wins top GT class at Le Mans
|Grosjean says Lotus team needs to qualify better to win|
- Sauber team victim of Montreal robbery
- Qualifying key to victory for Lotus - Grosjean
- Button hits back at 'whining' criticism
- Pirelli: Valencia emphasis on qualifying
- FIA close to agreement on Formula One cost controls
Ferrari wins top GT class at Le Mans
(GMM) Luca di Montezemolo has hailed Ferrari's victory at Le Mans.
The premier prototype class was dominated by the German marque Audi, but on the top of the podium for the leading GT category - GTE-PRO - was a Ferrari 458 Italia.
The car was fielded by the closely Ferrari-linked AF Corse team, and driven by the Ferrari test driver and former grand prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella.
"It is an important victory in an important race which has always been important in the history of Ferrari," Ferrari president Montezemolo said.
Another Ferrari 458, fielded by Luxury Racing, finished second.
Meanwhile, former Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson is likely to be missing in the Valencia paddock this weekend following his huge airborne crash late on Saturday.
The 33-year-old Briton, also an expert pundit at grands prix for British broadcaster Sky, will remain in a French hospital until Wednesday, with two broken vertebrae.
"It's more like three weeks until the pain subsides and I get my mobility back fully," said Toyota prototype driver Davidson.
Sauber team victim of Montreal robbery
(GMM) The Sauber team was the victim of a robbery in Canada recently, it has emerged.
The Swiss newspaper Blick reports that a team van was broken into in the carpark of a Montreal shopping centre on the Wednesday before the race.
Catering supervisor and truck driver Fritz Steinmann was shopping when the thief stole a laptop, mobile phone, passport, money and credit and ID cards.
"We were also the victims of a robbery in Canada three years ago," Steinmann revealed.
Qualifying key to victory for Lotus - Grosjean
(GMM) Victory will be within Lotus' grasp if the Enstone based team can improve its qualifying pace.
Romain Grosjean finished within sight of Lewis Hamilton in Canada earlier this month, having qualified only seventh.
Also driven this year by 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, a black and gold E20 has not started a single grand prix from the front row of the grid in 2012.
But reigning GP2 champion Grosjean insists that the difference between the performance of the Lotus and the very best cars in 2012 is "not that big".
"We need to qualify better, that is not our strength this season but we are working on it," said the Frenchman.
"If we are able to have a strong weekend from the beginning, we are able to fight for the podium and even for victory," he is quoted by Brazil's Globo.
Button hits back at 'whining' criticism
(GMM) Jenson Button has hit back at claims he complains too much when at the wheel of his grand prix car.
The 2009 world champion is currently suffering one of the lowest periods in his formula one career, summed up by his sixteenth-place finishes in Monaco and Canada whilst teammate Lewis Hamilton raced into the title lead.
Some analysts have correlated his slump with the fact that the tone of the in-car radio transmissions broadcast from his McLaren are usually negative.
"It's not moaning," Button is quoted by the Mirror. "People say 'He always whines'. You are not whining.
"A driver doesn't just drive the car, he engineers the car with his engineers."
Button left Canada admitting he is "confused and very lost" about his performance slump.
Since then, he has analyzed the event with his engineers at McLaren's Woking headquarters.
"A day (at the factory) like that is enormously productive and I think we covered a lot of ground," said Button.
Pirelli: Valencia emphasis on qualifying
Although the behavior of this year’s Pirelli tires has resulted in much action during Grands Prix, the tire manufacturer is sure that qualifying will still be the biggest factor at this weekend’s European Grand Prix. Although the race is staged on a street circuit, track temperatures are set to be some of the highest for the season.
“Valencia could not present a bigger contrast to the street circuits that have come before it: the track is faster and the temperatures higher, with plenty of energy going through the tires,” explains Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery.
“What it has in common with the others is the difficulty of overtaking, which will put the emphasis on qualifying.
“We are expecting a fairly straightforward race, with either two or three-stops depending on which tactics the teams use – although one team tried a one-stopper last year as well. The weather should be consistently warm throughout the weekend, which should lead to fewer variables in terms of temperature, so there probably won’t be many big surprises to emerge.”
Valencia also marks the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona that the Super Soft compound – used in Monaco and Montreal – will not be on-track.
“We’ve used the combination of Soft (yellow markings) and Medium (white markings) more than any other line-up so far this year, as it has shown itself to be a perfect compromise between performance and durability, allowing drivers to show their speed when they need to but also benefit from longer stints in the race,” Hembery adds.
In last year’s first European Grand Prix since Pirelli returned to the sport, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull enjoyed a clean sweep of pole position, race victory and fastest lap.
FIA close to agreement on Formula One cost controls
The FIA has confirmed that it will finalize the implementation of cost-control measures by the end of June after a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Friday. Only days after Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and FIA president Jean Todt called for a curb on spending, the WMSC has agreed that any changes regarding cost control and technical regulations need to be submitted by June 30.
However, it is possible talks could continue beyond that deadline although a source told the BBC that "they were nearly there" and added: "So far everything we want to put in the rules has the support of a majority of teams."
In recent weeks the FIA has been under significant pressure to cut costs in Formula One, both from the smaller teams for whom cost-cutting is a necessity, and from those who have seized on cost-cutting as a means of further delaying the 2014 engine specification change.
It has been in cost cutting discussions with the teams ever since it became clear that the Resource Restriction Agreement was not operating as effectively as it should. But discussions reached a new level during last week's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, and cost cutting will now be included in Formula One's technical regulations.
It is expected the deal will not involve take the form of a formal cap on budgets, but rather adopt a form of restriction on the way the teams can commit their resources.
"It's true that the  package will be more expensive, but it is also true that the FIA has been in consultation with the engine suppliers in order to reduce the cost increase," Todt told Autosport. "For example we have already agreed to a reduction in the number of power units. From eight per driver per season in 2012, we will reduce this to five per driver in 2014 and to four per driver per season in 2015."
The statement added that the deadline for entries for next year's world championship had been deferred from July 15 until September 30. ESPN F1