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F1 news in brief - Thursday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Monisha Kaltenborn
    Sauber makes Kaltenborn first female F1 team boss
  • Lauda makes a move to poach Newey - Marko
  • Mercedes denies Schumacher was sacked
  • Perez a 'rough diamond', not crazy - Whitmarsh
  • Korea among least-popular races on F1 calendar
  • Sister thought de Villota had died in Marussia crash
  • Ecclestone urges Lotus to test Grosjean's vision
  • Montezemolo urges 'huge effort' for 2012 title battle
  • Renault Technical feature - Engine Torque Map New
  • Maldonado: I really want to stay at Williams New
  • Hamilton might stop using Twitter New

Sauber makes Kaltenborn first female F1 team boss
(GMM)  Peter Sauber has handed over the role of team principal to Monisha Kaltenborn, making her the first female boss on the pitwall.

The Swiss squad announced in a statement that, two days ahead of his 69th birthday, founder Peter Sauber "is stepping back from the day-to-day running of the team".

41-year-old Kaltenborn, an Austrian with Indian origins and already a team co-owner, will take over as team boss "with immediate effect".

Sauber will stay as president of the board of directors and remain responsible "for the group's strategic direction", the media statement added.

"Now is a good time for both of us, so this is the right moment to pass on the baton," he said.

"After all, there have been a number of races I've been unable to attend -– most recently the Japanese Grand Prix, where the team put in an excellent performance," added Sauber.

Lauda makes a move to poach Newey - Marko
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has already made a move on Adrian Newey.

Austrian great Lauda, having negotiated Mercedes' new Concorde Agreement and wooed Lewis Hamilton to the German squad, has also joined the team as non-executive chairman.

And according to Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko, "Herr Lauda has been looking into how long Adrian Newey still has a contract with us", he is quoted by Bild newspaper.

The report said Briton Newey, F1's most respected car designer and aerodynamicist who reportedly makes EUR 8 million a year at Red Bull, is under contract until 2014.

"There is an existing contract to be complied with," insisted Marko, who is team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's right-hand man on F1 matters.

"And what would he (Newey) do at Mercedes anyway?  With Ross Brawn there are three other technical directors.  Too many chiefs and not enough Indians," Marko insisted.

Austrian Marko said Newey has not been Mercedes' only target.

"They also wanted to have Vettel," he alleged.

Mercedes denies Schumacher was sacked
(GMM)  Mercedes chiefs Niki Lauda and Norbert Haug have scotched claims the German squad sacked Michael Schumacher.

Mere days after Mercedes signed Lewis Hamilton to be Nico Rosberg's teammate next year, seven time world champion Schumacher announced he is returning to retirement.

The obvious conclusion is that the 43-year-old German was pushed out of his seat against his will.

But Lauda, Mercedes' new non-executive chairman, is quoted by Bild newspaper: "He was not forced out.  I want to emphasize that very clearly."

Faced with the same accusation about Schumacher being deliberately ousted, Mercedes' Haug insisted: "That was not the case.

"Michael's thought process about a contract extension was not yet complete, which we not only respected but also understood," he told Sport Bild.

"Michael also understands that the team had to use that available opportunity when Lewis Hamilton was available."

Perez a 'rough diamond', not crazy - Whitmarsh
(GMM)  Martin Whitmarsh has defended McLaren's 2013 signing, Sergio Perez.

After their on-track battle at Suzuka, in which Perez spun his Sauber into retirement, departing McLaren protege Lewis Hamilton described the Mexican's driving as "crazy".

But team boss Whitmarsh, who has signed the 22-year-old to replace the Mercedes-bound Hamilton in 2013, told the Independent he disagrees with the 2008 world champion.

"It (the Suzuka incident) shows we have someone (Perez) who wants to go out there and race and challenge," he said.

"There is a diamond that needs to be honed there and that is quite an interesting challenge," added Whitmarsh.

Korea among least-popular races on F1 calendar
(GMM)  Korea, among F1's new breed of grands prix, is far from the most popular stop on the sport's annual calendar.

Well-known British F1 photographer Darren Heath tweeted from the metropolis Seoul: "Fantastic 3 days.  Early train to Mokpo tomorrow.

"(It's) like being in London then heading to Shetland for an F1 GP.  Mad," he concluded.

According to the German news agency DPA, formula one drivers "like the track" in South Korea but are "bugged by the strange atmosphere".

Michael Schumacher confirmed: "We don't get too many fans at the race.  It's a pity."

Correspondent for the British newspaper The Times, Kevin Eason, said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is a supporter of the event "but then he does not have to stay in the Adam and Eve love motel".

"(Mokpo) is not a grand prix destination," he insisted, adding that the Hermann Tilke-penned facility is a "huge and costly folly on the outskirts of a city that neither cares nor wants" F1 to be there.

"There is no vote for the worst location in the sport, but Mokpo would be a strong contender, even over riot-ravaged Bahrain, or Brazil, where crime is rife," Eason wrote.

CNN Korea quoted a fan as saying: "Last year, it was a complete mess.

"The traffic is so awful and there were a lot of hard-core racing fans who created a pretty hostile atmosphere amidst the whole mess outside."

The report concluded that "press and public opinion have not been kind to the first two years of the Korean grand prix".

She lost an eye but she is alive
Sister thought de Villota had died in Marussia crash
(GMM)  Maria de Villota's sister has revealed she thought the former Marussia test driver had died in her formula one test crash earlier this year.

Spaniard de Villota has this week given her first interview since recovering from the Duxford straight-line testing crash that cost her an eye.

She told Hola! magazine that she will probably endure "years" of headaches and has lost her sense of taste and smell.

Sister Isabel revealed that she was the first to arrive at the crash scene after de Villota's helmet struck a transporter's loading ramp.

"I tried to pull the car from underneath (the transporter) and started screaming, which is when the mechanics came.

"They separated me from the car and no longer let me return to where Maria was.  I kept asking 'Is she dead?' and they told me they didn't know.

"I threw myself down on the track and began to pray, and after the agonizing minutes when she was unconscious, someone said 'She's moving'.

"I just thought 'Thank god'," added Isabel.

Ecclestone urges Lotus to test Grosjean's vision
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has urged Lotus to organize a round of vision tests for Romain Grosjean.

Since returning to F1 as reigning GP2 champion this year, the French driver has been often praised for his pace but labeled a "first-lap nutcase" by Mark Webber following numerous early-race accidents.

He served an ultra-rare one-race ban at Monza but last weekend caused yet another incident at the start of the Japanese grand prix.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone thinks he could have a vision problem.

"Lotus should take him away and get all the tests done," he is quoted by The Times newspaper.

"It seems to me that he is a very fast driver but seems to have trouble in seeing what is around him.  A lot of what has happened to him this season has involved not being able to react to things happening in his peripheral vision.

"That could be the problem.  If it was up to me, I would have him stand down for a grand prix, send him for every test and be sure that his eyesight was ok.

"It could be that simple," added Ecclestone.

Montezemolo urges 'huge effort' for 2012 title battle
(GMM)  With the title battle now essentially a head-to-head between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, Ferrari has acknowledged that its F2012 was outclassed by Red Bull's improved single seater at Suzuka last weekend.

"We cannot go at Sebastian's pace at the moment," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is quoted as saying by German Bild newspaper.

"I expect a huge effort from our engineers now."

Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa, who finished second behind Vettel in Japan last Sunday, added: "Red Bull had a much faster car than everyone at Suzuka.

"It was hard fighting with them in qualifying and virtually impossible in the race," he is quoted by Brazil's Totlrace.

"Let's see, but I hope that each track is a different story."

At Suzuka, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said he understood Alonso's frustration when he wrongly surmised that Ferrari had not improved the F2012 in the last six races.

Spaniard Alonso said the media spotlight is always brightest on Ferrari.

"A lot's been said about us," he said.  "If we try a wing once, then don't use it, it becomes news, but these things happen regularly in all teams," insisted Alonso.

Ahead of Korea, where he will defend a mere 4-point advantage over Vettel with five races still to go, he said he is confident Ferrari can improve the car.

But in Japan, even before seeing his championship lead shrink in the Suzuka gravel trap, Alonso had said his 2012 advantage was a "miracle".

Now, he insists: "We have not been gifted anything, indeed Spa and Suzuka deprived us of places that were easily within our grasp.

"It's not through some sort of divine miracle that we are in this position, it is down to the work of all us, from first to last."

Speaking at an Italian university this week, Montezemolo said he had spoken "at length" on the telephone with Alonso since Suzuka.

"We will play to the end and I have great confidence in the drivers," he said, also referring to Brazilian Massa who is now expected to stay in 2013.

"If Alonso had not been put out at Spa and Suzuka then we would still have a great safety (points) advantage," added the Italian.

Renault Technical Feature - Engine Torque Map
The torque map is probably the single most important reference map used in Formula 1 engine management.

It is the fingerprint of an engine and of critical importance for engine engineers to help optimize the on track engine performance.

“In its simplest form, the engine torque map is a theoretical model of the engine. It represents the torque output of the engine for a given engine throttle position and engine speed. In this respect it appears outwardly similar to a driver torque pedal map, the only change being the look-up against engine throttle position instead of the driver’s pedal. However, in reality, the differences are far more complex and wide reaching. From this map, you know for any given speed or throttle position that you should produce a certain amount of engine torque,” says Renault Sport F1 engine engineer David Lamb. “We then use that reference map to ensure the engine is behaving as it should out on the circuit. We measure the actual engine torque with an on-car sensor, and when you overlay this with the value predicted by the torque map, you shouldn’t notice any large differences. If you have a hesitation or a drivability issue, you will see it clearly because the measured torque will not match the reference torque."

The torque map doesn’t change much over the course of a weekend, or between races. “Under the new technical directive, issued between the German and Hungarian Grands Prix, you can’t really change the maps that much over a weekend or between races. It’s like a fingerprint of the engine. There will be subtle differences between the teams due their respective air boxes and exhausts, which will slightly change the form of the map. Prior to this directive, we would change the torque map freely to suit the climatic conditions. For example, the engines will produce nearly 10% less torque at Sao Paulo than they will this weekend in Korea due to Sao Paulo’s high altitude. By changing the torque map to the prevailing conditions the engine response will feel the same to the driver across the season. Nowadays we have to request this torque map change from the FIA, and fully justify our reasoning.”

As well as ensuring the engine behaves as it should, the map is also used to improve the drivability of the car for the driver. “When the driver lifts off the pedal the engine can be either fired in four cylinders or fully cut, depending on the level of overrun support he requires,” explains David. “When the driver goes back on the pedal from full ignition cut, you need to inject more fuel than usual to ‘wet’ the engine. Inject too little or too much and you will have a torque deficit from target, which can cause a hesitation and a loss of lap time. The initial torque demand will generally be met with only four cylinders, as you’d rather save a bit of fuel and have four cylinders firing strongly using a more open throttle than have eight coming into life rather weakly with a relatively closed throttle.

"When the torque demand exceeds that which can be met with just four cylinders, the remaining cylinders need to be fired. These will also require ‘wetting’. At this point you also have to close the throttles at a rate which coincides with the final four coming back into life – this is the tricky bit! Get it right and the driver should feel nothing across the transition, just a change in engine pitch. In all cases, the torque map is used in conjunction with other settings to govern both the fuelling requirements and throttle position."

The engine torque map is used for a multitude of other processes, such as the pit limiter, rev limiter and downshift control. “The engine torque map is without doubt one of the most important calibrations in the SECU. It really is the reference point. When the driver lifts of the pedal, it’s the engine torque map that decides by how much we close the throttles. When he goes back on power, it’s the engine torque map that stipulates to what point they open. It all works off that map.”

Maldonado: I really want to stay at Williams
(GMM)  Pastor Maldonado has revealed he wants to stay at Williams in 2013.

With his PDVSA backing and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez freshly re-elected, the Barcelona winner's place at the great British team was considered firmly secure.

But he surprised the paddock in Japan last weekend by admitting he might switch teams for 2013.

Maldonado said in Korea on Thursday: "To be honest I really want to stay with Williams.

"I have good confidence with them but at the moment there is no confirmation.  So (I'm) looking forward to seeing that but otherwise looking forward to remaining in formula one for sure," he added.

Hamilton might stop using Twitter
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has admitted he might stop using the popular social media service Twitter.

The McLaren driver has come unstuck with his 'Tweets' this year; infamously publishing secret team telemetry and, most recently, accusing teammate Jenson Button of disrespect by 'unfollowing' him.

However, it turned out Button never followed the 2008 world champion, and Hamilton has not issued a single 'Tweet' ever since.

"I think in my life I am going to make lots of mistakes and that was one of them," he said in Korea on Thursday.

"But you learn from your mistakes and maybe Twitter is not the one for me."

Button was also asked about Hamilton's Twitter problems on Thursday, and was forced to explain why he follows active drivers like Pedro de la Rosa, Paul di Resta and Mark Webber, but not his own teammate.

"There are millions of people to follow on Twitter," he told reporters.  "I see him (Hamilton) every weekend."

Button also follows Sauber driver Sergio Perez, who is replacing Hamilton in 2013.

"I follow him (Perez) because I purposely wanted to say welcome.  And now I can't unfollow him.  I'm not allowed to do anything on Twitter these days.

"For me it's just amazing that we're sat here talking about this, here at a grand prix."

Button admitted Hamilton had apologized for accusing him of disrespect.

"You have to be careful what you put on Twitter.  We've got over a million followers," he added.

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