Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
Whitmarsh resisted urge to issue team orders
|Button and Perez were at odds in Bahrain|
- Webber eyes 'few more years' on grid
- Teams should not expect major changes - Pirelli
- Alonso must chase down Vettel in 2013 - press
- Hulkenberg pushing for car upgrades
- 'Sochi venue is very impressive' – Vettel
- Porsche: F1 not a logical option
- McLaren Electronics wins major award
Whitmarsh resisted urge to issue team orders
(GMM) McLaren resisted the urge to call off the on-track spat between teammates Jenson Button and Sergio Perez in Bahrain, boss Martin Whitmarsh has revealed.
Button could be heard angrily remonstrating on the radio for the British team to "calm" Mexican newcomer Perez's wheel-to-wheel charge.
Afterwards, the 23-year-old was rebuked by Whitmarsh because "endplate to rear tire could have punctured Jenson and broken his (Perez's) front wing".
But McLaren, he says, prides itself on not issuing the kinds of team orders that Red Bull and Mercedes controversially imposed in Malaysia recently.
"I had a lot of noise in my ear from people suggesting I should stop them racing. We didn't," Whitmarsh said.
"I think it was the right thing in the long term for both drivers to know they are racing each other and be competitive.
"We've seen it a couple of times this year, and the driver behind is always going to believe he was quicker, he's always going to be aggrieved."
Whitmarsh said breaking with a long-standing policy of strict driver equality would not have been the right choice.
"Those guys are out there fighting and you can't suddenly decide halfway through a race 'Oh, by the way, I didn't mean it. Don't fight because it looks uncomfortable for me'."
Lewis Hamilton, the former long-time McLaren driver who in Malaysia was protected from new Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg's charge, backed Whitmarsh's stance.
"That's the good thing about Martin," the 2008 world champion told the Telegraph.
"He allows his drivers to race. He doesn't change. We are there to race -- as long as it is effective, and with respect with each other."
F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello, however, has a slightly different view.
Having analyzed Sunday's race for Brazilian television Globo, he said: "I think McLaren was trying different strategies to separate its drivers because they were fighting.
"Five laps later they were fighting again," he told Brazil's Totalrace. "Sometimes different strategies have the same result."
Button, meanwhile, declared the 'team war' with Perez to be over, because the Mexican had apologized.
"Checo has apologized," the 2009 world champion is quoted by the Sun. "We had a good discussion."
Webber eyes 'few more years' on grid
(GMM) Mark Webber has cooled speculation he is on the verge of quitting formula one by insisting he is still "hungry" for success.
Amid rumors his team is lining up Kimi Raikkonen to replace him in 2014, the 36-year-old Australian flew straight from Bahrain to Austria to appear on a Red Bull-owned Servus TV broadcast.
"I'm still hungry, I still want to do well," German-language reports quote him saying.
"I think I still have a few years left in me.
"As long as I'm fit, the performance is still there and the job is fun ... that's actually the most important thing, that it's fun," said Webber.
"How it's going to go exactly, I don't know," he added, following reports Porsche is keen to finalize a long-term agreement with him for its Le Mans prototype project.
"I have never decided what I'm doing for the next year in April, and I'm not going to start now," said Webber.
Webber's comments are unlikely to calm the speculation about his future.
Asked after the Bahrain grand prix if Red Bull is still interested in Raikkonen, Dr Helmut Marko admitted: "We have always admitted that we are looking at him.
"And, for the umpteenth time, Red Bull traditionally looks at its driver issues only in the summer," he is quoted by Speed Week.
Webber sat out Red Bull's post-race victory team photograph following teammate Sebastian Vettel's second win of the season last Sunday.
Teams should not expect major changes - Pirelli
(GMM) Pirelli has all but confirmed reports it will make only minor changes to its controversial 2013 tires for next month's Spanish grand prix and beyond.
It was thought Sebastian Vettel's dominance in Bahrain last weekend might calm Red Bull's loud criticism of this year's heavily degrading Pirelli tires.
But team boss Christian Horner was quoted by AFP news agency after the race: "I think the tires are still too on an edge."
Earlier, we reported that most teams are in fact pushing for the status quo, moving Pirelli to decide simply to tweak the operating ranges for the 'hard' and 'soft' compounds only.
"The final decision will be made on Tuesday in Milan," wrote Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motor sport director, confirmed the Milan meeting.
"The teams should not expect anything fundamentally new," he is quoted by Speed Week.
"In the end, nothing has changed -- a year ago the complaining was just as great, but the teams learned over time how to deal with the tires.
"The criticism got quieter until eventually it stopped."
Hans-Joachim Stuck, the former F1 driver and now German motor racing federation chief, said Red Bull is probably quietly happy about Pirelli's decision.
"Clearly, Vettel and his team know now how to make the tires work. Or at least they have understood it better," he said.
Auto Motor und Sport's theory, however, is that the particularly high temperatures in Bahrain simply suited the correlation between the RB9 and the Pirelli tires.
Alonso must chase down Vettel in 2013 - press
(GMM) The Italian press hailed Sebastian Vettel's return to top form in Bahrain, whilst lamenting the bad luck that prevented Fernando Alonso from challenging.
"Although his car broke, he miraculously captured eighth place," Tuttosport, referring to Spaniard Alonso's mere points haul after a recurring DRS rear flap failure, wrote.
"But Vettel is on the run," added the Italian daily.
"He built his success on his ability to stand alone at the front, without having to compete with his opponents.
"If he can run away like a hare, he is matchless, and this time Alonso was out of action and Lotus too far away."
Corriere dello Sport lamented Ferrari's bad luck, including the twice-failing DRS on Alonso's red car, and two separate tire problems for Felipe Massa.
"Rarely has a team been the victim of such bad luck as Ferrari in Bahrain," wrote the national sports newspaper.
La Repubblica, Italy's largest-circulation general interest newspaper, hailed Vettel's command from the front, mere weeks after the damaging 'Multi-21' affair.
"The more his rivals berate him, trying to destroy him psychologically, the harder he strikes back," read the editorial.
"He wins with an incredible ease."
But the Milan daily Corriere della Sera concluded: "Alonso's eighth place amid adversity, although disappointing, testifies that Ferrari has huge potential."
According to Germany's Die Welt, Alonso agreed: "Without these problems I would have finished first or second, because the car is the best I've had in the last four years."
Hulkenberg pushing for car upgrades
Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg says the C32 chassis is in need of significant upgrades following the Bahrain Grand Prix, with the German unable to record a points finish at the end of what was an extremely challenging weekend for the Hinwil-based outfit.
After finishing 12th and almost half a minute behind the final top ten spot last Sunday, the former Williams and Force India driver called for a quick response from his team.
"It was a difficult and frustrating weekend," said Hulkenberg. "It was clear from the beginning that we were not fast enough and that it would be challenging. We are lacking speed and eat up the rear tires too much so it simply wasn’t enough.
"We pitted a bit too late, as we expected to have more problems on low fuel, which in the end we didn’t have. That cost us at least one position. This weekend clearly showed we need to bring some new parts to Barcelona in order to improve our speed and fight for points."
Gutierrez, who ultimately finished 18th after losing his front wing in an opening lap clash with the Caterham of Giedo van der Garde, echoed his team-mate's thoughts:
"I expected a difficult race and this is what I got," explained the Mexican. "We need to find more speed. On the first lap I had contact down into Turn 10, which was really hard to avoid. Apart from that, things were quite OK, but, of course, finishing a race like this is definitely not enough and we need to improve. We have to analyze the strategy and hopefully we will bring some good updates to Barcelona."
Sauber occupies eighth in the Constructors' standings after the opening four flyaway races, ahead of the non-scoring Williams, Marussia and Caterham outfits.
'Sochi venue is very impressive' – Vettel
Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to experience the new Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi on Monday, making a promotional visit to the part-completed venue directly after his victory in Bahrain. The German, who was joined by ex-Formula 1 star David Coulthard, drove various Infiniti road cars on tarmacked areas of the track.
Vettel later toured the facilities with Russian Government officials and Formula Sochi, the body behind the circuit's construction, before explaining in a press conference: "It is a great privilege to be the first Formula 1 driver to visit the new Sochi venue.
"After trying a section of the track in the FX Vettel Edition, I can already see it will be a fun circuit to drive in a Formula 1 car and the rest of the venue is very impressive. I’m really looking forward to coming back here for the Grand Prix next year."
Russia is scheduled to join the Formula 1 calendar in 2014, having initially agreed upon a seven-year deal with Bernie Ecclestone. Circuit organizers predict the venue to be completed by July of next year, while a race date has not yet been confirmed.
Porsche: F1 not a logical option
Porsche chose a return to top-flight sportscar racing over Formula 1 because it has more relevance to road cars, according to its head of R&D Wolfgang Hatz.
The firm will enter the top LMP1 sportscar racing category in 2014 with hybrid power.
Porsche has already said that there has been a technology transfer both ways between the race car and its Porsche 918 Spyder road car that will go on sale later this year as a rival to the Ferrari La Ferrari and McLaren P1.
Speaking to AUTOSPORT's sister title Autocar at the Shanghai motor show, Hatz said: "We are a sportscar company.
"Porsche has always lived for the transfer of racing to production cars. For that reason it was clear two or three years ago that we had to be back in high-level motorsport, and it was a choice between top-flight sportscars or Formula 1.
"But the final decision was the only logical one. F1 was an alternative, but the road relevance is not there.
"Also, there is a lot of publicity around politics and tires, but not so much about the engines and chassis.
"The aero, too, is incredible, but so extreme that it cannot result in any development in our road car understanding."
Mark Webber has been linked to joining Porsche's sportscar program in 2014, but last weekend in Bahrain he denied making any decisions about his future.
McLaren Electronics wins major award
The firm, the McLaren Group's electronics division, also won a Queen's Award for innovation in 2009.
MES supplies control ECUs to Formula 1, the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the IndyCar Series, alongside activities in non-racing industries.
Dr Peter van Manen, MES managing director, said: "We are delighted to have been recognized in the Queen's Awards for the growth of our international trade.
"We are proud that our technology is at the heart of international motor racing and that we are able to translate it into other important markets."