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DATE News (chronologically)
09/05/12
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday  
  • Watch 20 second animated GIF based on the recent F1 Spa accident. It’s a little PG-13, but very amusing nonetheless!
    Lotus delays 'the device' debut until Suzuka
  • No 'wedge' between McLaren and Hamilton - boss
  • Grosjean hasn't blown second shot at F1 - Boullier
  • Alonso says Ferrari career could stretch into 2017
  • FIA wants to hike top teams' F1 entry fees
  • F1 must not axe standing-starts - Alonso
  • Grosjean apologized to Alonso by text message
  • Glock wants to 'solve' issues with teammate Pic
  • Webber not worried after dropping to third in title chase
  • Magny Cours applies for place on 2013 calendar
  • Ma Qing Hua to debut at Italian GP
  • Fry: McLaren are a step ahead New

Lotus delays 'the device' debut until Suzuka
(GMM)  Lotus will not race its highly-anticipated double DRS-inspired 'device' at least until Suzuka next month.

The Enstone based team intended to use the straight-line speed-boosting system at Spa, but Friday's practice sessions were a washout.

And Lotus will also not fit the device to Kimi Raikkonen and Jerome d'Ambrosio's cars at Monza, due to the unique low-downforce configuration of the historic track.

"In Singapore you won't see it either," said technical director James Allison, "because it's too high a downforce circuit with insufficient straights for it to be worthwhile.

"The earliest you might see it now is Suzuka," he added.

No 'wedge' between McLaren and Hamilton - boss
(GMM)  McLaren has denied rumors the British team and Lewis Hamilton are falling out of love.

Amid reportedly intense negotiations over the 2008 world champion's new contract, the parties got caught up in the 'Twittergate' scandal last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

Then, some noticed that McLaren's media focus of the Belgian grand prix weekend was conspicuously slanted in favor of pole and race winner Jenson Button.

"It (the affair) hasn't driven a wedge" between Hamilton and McLaren, team boss Martin Whitmarsh has told British newspapers.

"I've known Lewis since he was 11 years old.  He's someone who has grown up in the team, he's grown up in the glow of public criticism.  Some things he has learned, some things he is yet to learn," he said.

"He is a deep and soulful individual, but he is going through a difficult time.  I predict he is going to bounce back and we will see a different Lewis Hamilton in a few days' time in Italy," added Whitmarsh.

Grosjean hasn't blown second shot at F1 - Boullier
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean's race ban - the first in formula one for almost two decades - has not damaged the Frenchman's relationship with Lotus.

That is the claim of his boss and manager Eric Boullier, who fended off speculation Grosjean, 26, could be on the verge of blowing his second and final shot at a grand prix career.

Boullier's other Gravity-managed driver, Belgian Jerome d'Ambrosio, is sitting in for Grosjean this weekend, prompting the risk the usually-happy Frenchman could lose momentum and - as he did at the end of 2009 - once again slide off the grid.

Asked if Grosjean will definitely be on the Singapore grid, Boullier told RMC Sport: "Of course."

And 2013?  "He has a one-year contract as well as a long-term renewable contract," said the Lotus team boss.

"A priori, he will be with us next year and for a long time beyond," revealed Boullier.

Boullier also revealed that Grosjean has sat down for a team meeting to discuss his race ban, which according to speculation was applied because the FIA ran out of patience following a sequence of incidents for the Swiss-born driver this year.

"It (the meeting) was neither severe nor relaxed," said Boullier.

Asked if Lotus will add its own penalties to Grosjean's official FIA sanction, he insisted: "Not at all."

Rather, Boullier said Lotus will try to help Grosjean.

"This is an important point that has been raised with Romain.  In formula one, there is a very high level of stress, especially in qualifying and the start.

"We have spoken with Romain about how to set up a structure so that he can manage his life as a driver and all of his functions.

"I would say that when you have your second chance in F1, there is more pressure.  We put a structure in place last winter and now we might have to renew it."

Part of that structure might be to relegate Grosjean to a 'number 2' role for the rest of 2012, also given the fact Kimi Raikkonen is the driver most likely to challenge for the title.

"No," said Boullier.  "But we will do everything to avoid penalizing Kimi, who is likely to be fighting for the championship."

Alonso says Ferrari career could stretch into 2017
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has admitted he could stay at Ferrari beyond his 36th birthday.

The former double world champion, in his third year with the Italian marque and leading the world championship, is currently under contract until the end of the 2016 season.

"It's too early to think about 2017," the Spaniard is quoted as saying by the EFE news agency.

"I cannot know what my feelings will be then or if I'll be similarly motivated.

"If I am hungry and I have to race, I love doing it and - if I do - it will be with Ferrari, that's for sure," said the 31-year-old.

"If I feel it is time to stop and lead a different life, that is a decision that I can only make at that precise time," added Alonso.

Alonso debuted for Minardi in 2011 and has also driven for Renault and McLaren.

FIA wants to hike top teams' F1 entry fees
(GMM)  F1's governing body wants to increase dramatically the entry fees of the sport's top teams.

Germany's motorsport-magazin.com reports that the new regime could come into force next year, ensuring a higher flow of income to the Paris-based federation.

The report said the FIA's intention is to charge teams more according to their position in the constructors' world championship.

If the new system is pushed through, top teams will be paying several million more than the current EUR 309,000 entry fee.

The FIA wants to charge a EUR 500,000 flat entry, and then 7,000 extra for each championship point.

If the regime was already in place, Red Bull would have paid more than EUR 5 million simply to enter the 2012 world championship.

F1 must not axe standing-starts - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has rejected claims F1 should consider abandoning its standing-starts in the wake of last Sunday's Belgian grand prix.

The Spaniard was lucky to escape serious injury when the now-banned Romain Grosjean's Lotus flew dangerously close to Alonso's exposed cockpit opening.

The incident has triggered renewed calls for F1 to ramp up the cars' head protection, while some have even suggested the sport might follow Indy's lead by getting its races up and running with a rolling start.

"The start is part of the charm of the competition (in F1)," Alonso is quoted as saying by the Spanish news agency EFE.

"I find the chase to the first corner good, where you are calculating risk and making decisions very quickly.  Together with the team, a lot of preparation is put into the starts.

"It's too important a part of F1 to lose," insisted Alonso.

The former two-time world champion also baulked at recent moves to further slow the cars, because F1 single seaters "should be the fastest".

"I am surprised and upset about some of the proposed changes in the future, like electric cars etcetera," Alonso admitted.

Grosjean apologized to Alonso by text message
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean has said sorry to Fernando Alonso.

"He apologized in an SMS," the Ferrari driver, whose hands and head were narrowly missed by Frenchman Grosjean's flying Lotus last Sunday at Spa, revealed.

2012 F1 returnee Grosjean, 26, was subsequently banned by the FIA for Monza, reportedly due to the high number of early-race incidents he has been involved with so far this season.

"I told him (Grosjean) it's okay and that we'll see him again in Singapore," Alonso is quoted by the Spanish news agency EFE.

Eric Boullier, Grosjean's team boss, revealed to the French-language RMC Sport that the Swiss-born driver has also spoken to the others caught up in Sunday's crash, such as Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez.

"They have spoken and the messages were very positive and cordial," said Boullier.

"There is no longer any animosity between them."

Boullier and Grosjean met for talks earlier this week at Enstone.

"I want to understand why, in this time of intense stress that is the F1 start, he behaves (that way) and how he can manage his emotions better," said Boullier.

According to France's well-known L'Equipe, Grosjean cancelled a media interview on Monday after struggling to sleep on Sunday.

French reports said Grosjean will definitely be at Monza this weekend, even though Lotus reserve Jerome d'Ambrosio will be racing his black and gold car.

Retired double world champion Mika Hakkinen told the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat that the FIA was right to suspend Grosjean.

"Alonso narrowly escaped a tragedy," he said.  "I see the penalty as entirely fair and gives him (Grosjean) a chance to reflect on the way he drives."

Kimi Raikkonen, Grosjean's teammate, said he is happy to continue to race alongside the usually-smiling Frenchman.

"He is a good teammate," said the 2007 world champion.  "We talk often and we work together well, even if we don't do anything together outside of the track."

Raikkonen would not comment on the first-corner crash or Grosjean's ban.

Glock wants to 'solve' issues with teammate Pic
(GMM)  Marussia teammates Timo Glock and Charles Pic are still far from the best of friends.

We reported in July that the pair are not getting along, after the experienced German Glock accused his rookie French teammate of blocking him in Hungary.

"Maybe he doesn't understand the English on the radio," the angry Glock said.

He insisted it is "pointless" to try to sit down with the 22-year-old, because the blocking had happened several times this year.

"It's up to the team to solve it."

The tension remains high, after the two Marussias fought hard for track position last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

Asked by Auto Motor und Sport if it was a "fair fight", Glock answered: "Only to a certain point.

"That's all I really want to say.  There have been a couple of hairy situations that we have to resolve internally."

Webber not worried after dropping to third in title chase
(GMM)  Mark Webber insists he is not too worried despite falling from second to third in the drivers' world championship at Spa last weekend.

The Australian was Fernando Alonso's closest challenger at the top of the points standings, but he finished just sixth in Belgium and therefore dropped behind his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel.

But because Ferrari's Alonso scored no points at all at Spa, Webber's deficit to the Spaniard has actually become smaller, and now stands at 32 points with eight races to go.

"At the moment everything is very tight at the top," the Red Bull driver told Austrian television Servus TV.

"Fernando has lost some of his lead, and that's good for all of us," added Webber.

He said dropping from second in the standings to third behind Vettel is not an issue.

"It is less about the position than about the points.  Whether you're second, third or fourth right now doesn't matter, what matters is that you stay in reach.

"For me and the others, everything is still open with so many races still to go," said the 36-year-old.

Magny Cours applies for place on 2013 calendar
(GMM)  Magny Cours has lodged an application to be considered for F1's 2013 calendar.

French language sources RMC, L'Equipe and AFP said the application was given to the country's sanctioning body FFSA this week.

The reports said Paul Ricard also intends to apply for consideration next week.

RMC claimed that while the FFSA did not comment, both Magny Cours and Paul Ricard propose to host one race every two years, in alternation with another country.

F1's governing FIA is expected to publish the draft of the 2013 calendar in early October.

FFSA president Nicolas Deschaux is quoted by L'Equipe as saying France will only return to the calendar if it can convince F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

"The commercial rights holder does not hear arguments of the heart," he warned.

Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua
Ma Qing Hua to debut at Italian GP
Ma Qing Hua will make his official debut in the Formula 1 World Championship this upcoming Friday at the first free practice session of the Italian Grand Prix which takes place in Monza this week. The 24 year old Chinese driver will replace Narain Karthikeyan at the wheel of the number 23 F112-03 for this session.

Since joining the team, and following the development program that HRT Formula 1 Team specifically prepared for him, Ma Qing Hua has been preparing himself throughout these past months for the challenge presented by Formula 1 by testing with lower category cars, working on the simulator and going through a rigorous physical training regime. After the Young Driver Test celebrated at Silverstone, where the Shanghai-born driver completed 483.062 km that impressed the team, and being granted a Formula 1 Super License by the FIA, the team considers that he is ready to take the next step and has decided to line him up alongside Pedro de la Rosa for FP1 at the Italian Grand Prix.

Ma Qing Hua will make history once again this Friday alongside HRT Formula 1 Team by becoming the first Chinese driver to drive at a Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Ma Qing Hua: "This is a very important step towards my dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver. It will be my second time in the car, after the Young Driver Test in Silverstone, and I’m very excited about driving at a circuit like Monza. The objective of this session is to continue advancing with my program, rack up more miles and experience at the wheel of an F1 car and help the team with whatever they need. I’m excited but also calm about it because I’ve been training hard in the past months to be prepared when the opportunity presented itself. I’ve also worked on the simulator to get to know the circuits a bit better and how a Formula 1 car reacts. In the last months I’ve been with the team at grands prix I’ve also learned a lot from the engineers and my teammates, who have shared information and their experience, which will be very useful.

It will be the first time that a Chinese driver takes part in a Grand Prix and that, for Chinese motorsport, is another huge stride and a fantastic opportunity. I want to thank all the people who have supported and helped me to get here. From my parents and China Sport Management to the Chinese Motorsport Federation, the companies that have supported and support me, and of course HRT Formula 1 Team for giving me this opportunity. I won’t let them down”.

Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "Personally, it fills me with satisfaction to be able to give Ma the opportunity to make his debut at a Grand Prix, and to do it in FP1 at a classic circuit like Monza makes it even more special. Since we started working with him in March everything has been very quick but he’s responded and overcome every phase accordingly. From tests with World Series or GP2 cars, passing through sessions on the simulator, to the Formula 1 tests in Silverstone where he completed 500 km with no problems. He’s shown to us that he’s on a good level and has transmitted the necessary confidence to take the next step, which is to make his debut at a free practice session of a Grand Prix. He’s fulfilled our expectations without making any mistakes and has proven himself as a quick and safe driver with a great capability to adapt, besides also possessing a very positive and professional attitude. Without a doubt, this is a very important step which comes with great responsibility, but we consider that he’s prepared to take it on”.

Fry: McLaren are a step ahead
Ferrari technical director Pat Fry concedes that McLaren's back to back wins show they have stepped up a level.

Jenson Button's victory at Spa on Sunday followed on from Lewis Hamilton's triumph in Hungary prior to the mid-season break. While consecutive wins would be of concern for rival teams under any circumstance, the differing characteristics of Spa and the Hungaroring circuits make the achievement even more impressive.

"From a technical point of view, the outcome of the race shows that the McLaren is very strong on very different circuits like Budapest and Spa, therefore we still have a lot of work to do to get to their level," said Fry.

"Red Bull too was competitive but I think that Fernando could have had the better of them if he'd raced. We now look forward to the special event that is Monza, both because it is the Scuderia's home race and also because it is held on a track that is now unique on the current calendar in terms of its characteristics.

"It's hard to say now if we will be competitive at the highest level, but clearly we will do all in our power to succeed."

With the hilly twists and turns of Belgium behind them, Ferrari head to Monza where speed will be the key element.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali is optimistic that Ferrari will challenge on home soil despite having lacked raw speed in previous races.

"Am I confident? What I can say is that it is a one-off configuration for everybody, so we have to see how the others have prepared for Monza," he said.

"In my view it was good to see in Belgium that we have recovered speed, which is important obviously, as we can see up to now, every race is different.

"From my side it is important that what has been prepared for aero, with gear ratios, with set-up, is done right, because it will be a very important race for us."

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