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DATE News (chronologically)
04/24/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday (Updated)  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

04/24/13
  • No Porsche in F1
    F1 'not logical' for Porsche
  • Tire talk dominating 2013 season
  • 'No chance' of beating Barrichello record - Webber
  • Lotus expects to stay with Renault in 2014
  • Lotus tougher challenger than Ferrari - Marko
  • Marussia plays down Lloyds exit
  • Ferrari say component breakage responsible for Alonso's DRS failure
  • Mercedes F1 team signs deal with Tata Communications New
  • Williams F1 Team Drivers Visit Qatar to Highlight Growing Ties New
  • Silverstone to host young drivers' test in July New

F1 'not logical' for Porsche
(GMM)  German carmaker Porsche has revealed it considered entering formula one.

Instead, the iconic marque is preparing to field a prototype design in the first-tier Le Mans-style sports car world championship in 2014, and Red Bull's Mark Webber has been linked to the project.

But Porsche executive Wolfgang Hatz told Autocar: "Porsche has always lived for the transfer of racing to production cars.

"For that reason it was clear two or three years ago we had to be back in high-level motor sport, and it was a choice between top-flight sports cars or formula one.

"The final decision was the only logical one.  F1 was an alternative, but the road relevance is not there," he added.

Hatz said there are other reasons Porsche decided against formula one.

"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," he added.

Tire talk dominating 2013 season
(GMM)  Amid all the noise and criticism surrounding Pirelli's approach to formula one, the Italian marque has won the backing of Bernie Ecclestone.

Many drivers, experts, pundits and teams - and particularly world champions Red Bull - have been strong in their criticism of the 'show'-oriented formula created by heavily degrading control tires.

"If the tires lasted from January to December," F1 chief executive Ecclestone told Reuters, "there'd be something else to talk about.

"What is good about this (situation) is that it really comes back a little bit to what it used to be when the guys had to look after their brakes and gearboxes and things like that," he added.

However, the tires wearing out quickly is arguably not even the major issue.

The biggest problem is that the teams and engineers do not understand how to make the tires work.

Red Bull complained loudly at the opening rounds in 2013, but then Sebastian Vettel utterly dominated in Bahrain.

"We had been really worried, but in the end it was actually quite easy," Dr Helmut Marko told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

But on the sister car driven by Mark Webber - who "had to fight in the middle of the pack" - the tires "just fell apart", Marko explained.

It was a similar story for Nico Rosberg, whose Mercedes gripped perfectly to pole in Bahrain before the high temperatures on Sunday left him fumbling backwards through the field.

"We know the much cooler (temperatures in) Europe will be good for us," teammate Lewis Hamilton told German news agency DPA.

Agreed team boss Ross Brawn: "The tires are the same for everyone, but under these (hot) conditions we are just not as good as our competitors."

But it's not even as simple as getting clear air, or finding temperatures that suit the car-tire combination.

"I think these tires are very complex," Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told British Sky.

"When you're in the window ... then you can have a dominant display like we had (in Bahrain).

"But that window is very, very fine and if you're outside of it then you can be four or five-stopping."

Alex Wurz, a former F1 driver, doubts Red Bull really understands why it suddenly leapt into apparent dominance last weekend.

"If they do know, then they will be extremely strong until the end of the season," he is quoted by motorline.cc.

"But sometimes it just happens and you don't know why.  It's a science no one really understands."

Red Bull's Webber agrees: "The tires dictate everything.  If you are not in the right working window, the lap times fall into the basement.

"We've seen Lotus able to do two stop strategies, while Jenson Button has had to come in four times, even though he's known as a 'tire whisperer'," the Australian said on Servus TV.

"We are still in a learning process."

'No chance' of beating Barrichello record - Webber
(GMM)  Mark Webber has scoffed at the suggestion he might one day beat Rubens Barrichello's all-time race record.

In the last couple of races, Australian Webber and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso surpassed the ultra-rare 200-grand prix barrier, which only a handful of drivers have ever reached in formula one history.

So might Webber, 36, now be eyeing Brazilian Barrichello's all-time record, which stands at 326 grands prix?

"I'll never reach it -- absolutely no chance," he told Austrian television Servus TV.

"He drove over three hundred grands prix and was in formula one for 17 years -- a great career," said Webber.

"But it's a long time.  The record will probably last forever.  Definitely I can't challenge it -- I'd have to still be here another seven seasons!" he exclaimed.

Indeed, some believe Webber will exit F1's paddock turnstiles at the end of this season, having been linked with Porsche's new Le Mans prototype project.

Lotus expects to stay with Renault in 2014
(GMM)  Team owner Gerard Lopez thinks it is likely Lotus will stay with Renault power beyond 2013.

Next year, F1 is switching to all-new and more expensive turbo V6 engines, and Luxembourger Lopez admitted Lotus is yet to sign a new Renault contract for 2014.

"However, it's no secret that we have a close relationship with them," he told the French magazine F1i.

"In my opinion, there will be no surprises," added Lopez.

Lotus tougher challenger than Ferrari - Marko
(GMM)  According to Dr Helmut Marko, Lotus is a bigger challenger to Red Bull's championship hopes in 2013 than Ferrari.

Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel are leading Lotus and Kimi Raikkonen in both the constructors' and drivers' world championships after the first four 'flyaway' races.

But it might be argued that the bulk of Ferrari's deficit is because of Fernando Alonso's crash in Malaysia and malfunctioning DRS rear wing flap in Bahrain.

Asked, however, if Red Bull expected Lotus' Raikkonen to be challenging so hard in 2013, Marko told Kleine Zeitung newspaper: "We've known for a long time that they will be maybe the toughest opponents.

"At the moment we fear Lotus more than we do Ferrari," he insisted.

Asked if he really thinks Lotus will be a tougher challenger than Ferrari all season, Marko answered: "At the moment it looks like it.

"But there's only been four races, and we know that things can change.

"Actually, what is making the Lotus so quick in the races is a mystery to us."

Marko would not comment on the speculation the Enstone based team has perfected an hydraulically-controlled form of legal 'active suspension'.

But Red Bull is keeping an eye on Lotus for another reason.

Finn Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion and former McLaren and Ferrari driver, has been strongly linked with the race seat currently occupied by Mark Webber for 2014.

Asked if there is anything new to say on that topic, Marko insisted: "No.

"I've said it several times.  We make our driver decisions before August, and that will be the case this year too."

Marussia plays down Lloyds exit
(GMM)  Marussia has played down the impact of the withdrawal of a team co-owner.

It emerged this week that Lloyds, the part government-owned British bank, has sold its 25.3pc stake due to huge losses and the team's lack of results.

A spokesman told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt and the Telegraph newspaper that Marussia, the Russian carmaker, bought the Lloyds stake.

Chief executive Andy Webb denied the move is bad news for the Marussia team.

"In terms of stability, the team is now in its strongest position since it was founded in 2009," he is quoted by the Express newspaper.

Ferrari say component breakage responsible for Alonso's DRS failure
Ferrari have confirmed Fernando Alonso's DRS failure in Bahrain was caused by the 'breakage of a mechanical component within the system,' and insist the Spaniard could have challenged Sebastian Vettel for victory had he not suffered the problem.

The double World Champion was forced to make two early pitstops after his rear wing flap failed to close after being deployed during the race, forcing Alonso to complete the Grand Prix without the overtaking aid.

It is the first time Ferrari have suffered such a failure since DRS was introduced in 2011 and the team are not unduly worried about the incident happening again.

"The failure is not something that causes concern for the long term, however, paying great attention to reliability must always remain at the highest level," a statement from the Scuderia read.

"It has often been the case that it takes only a small problem to prevent the car's full potential from being exploited. The disappointment at what happened is even greater when one looks at the usual analysis of performance over the race weekend, which shows that Alonso could definitely have been fighting with Sebastian Vettel for the win."

Mercedes F1 team signs deal with Tata Communications
The Mercedes F1 team is pleased to confirm a new partnership with Tata Communications which will see the delivery of world-class trackside connectivity for the team at all Formula One race locations using the Tata Communications global network. With the new partnership, Tata Communications becomes the 'Official Managed Connectivity Supplier' to the team.

Tata Communications, a leading global provider of 'a new world of communications', will work closely with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS to deliver high-speed, high quality and secure trackside connectivity, enabling the team to transfer vital real-time data from the Silver Arrow cars at any Grand Prix location to its headquarters in the UK, three times faster than at present. The improved trackside connectivity will enable the team to react more quickly to developments at the track and help to increase car performance.

Part of the worldwide Tata group, Tata Communications owns and maintains a complete ring of cables around the world including the world's first wholly-owned subsea fiber ring to circle the globe. The Tata Communications global network comprises over 500,000 km of subsea cable and over 200,000 km of terrestrial network fiber, allowing a data transfer capacity of one terabit per second, high bandwidth availability and seamless scalability. In February 2012, Tata Communications announced a multi-year technology service and marketing agreement with Formula One Management to deliver world-class connectivity to all Formula One race locations over its world-first wholly-owned subsea fiber ring. It also provides global hosting and content delivery services to the official Formula One website Formula1.com

Williams F1 Team Drivers Visit Qatar to Highlight Growing Ties
The Williams F1 Team drivers Pastor Maldonado, Valtteri Bottas and Susie Wolff visited Qatar this week for a series of events at some of the country’s key locations to further cement the relationship between Williams and Qatar.

All three drivers made the trip to Qatar along with Team Principal Sir Frank Williams. The visit started at Aspire Zone, one of the world’s leading sports training facilities. The trio were given a guided tour and then spoke to an audience of Aspire Academy students. The visit concluded with the students being presented with a certificate highlighting 10 "Golden Rules" for better road safety, a key part of the FIA’s Action for Road Safety campaign. Road safety is an important part of Williams’ activities in Qatar, developing road safety simulators at its Technology Centre in Qatar Science and Technology Park.

The trio also visited one of Qatar’s most iconic cultural buildings, the Museum of Islamic Art. They were given a tour of the new Olympic exhibition and signed caps and autographs for members of The Youth Company, a social enterprise that is committed to empowering local youths, alongside a Williams Formula One car.

The drivers then paid a visit to Qatar Foundation’s (QF) headquarters in Education City. They were greeted by senior QF officials who explained the organizations ambitious plans in the areas of education, science and research and community development. The drivers were also given a tour of the Texas A&M University in Qatar (TAMUQ) campus. Williams has close links with the university, working together on a research project studying the effect of tires on road safety.

Commenting on the trip, Pastor Maldonado said; "It was great to visit Qatar and learn more about what Williams has been doing to adapt Formula One technology. The people we met were very enthusiastic and the sporting and educational facilities are second to none." His teammate Valtteri Bottas added; "This was my third trip to Qatar and I always look forward to coming back. The passion for sport and cars seems to be growing all the time." Development Driver Susie Wolff praised Qatar’s growing ranks of influential women; "It was fascinating to visit QF in particular and learn about their projects. Williams is working hard to promote women in engineering and Qatar has some very inspirational women such as HH Sheikha Moza, Chairperson of QF, who are playing a key role in Qatar’s development."

The Williams F1 Team’s Founder and Team Principal Sir Frank Williams, concluded; "One of the key pillars of the 2013 Qatar-UK Year of Culture is the shared passion our two countries have for sport. Britain leads the world in motorsport, with eight of the eleven Formula One teams based in the UK, and over the past three years we have been working hard to bring some of Formula One’s sporting and technical excellence to Qatar through our Technology Centre and promote an interest in engineering careers. The drivers all seemed to enjoy themselves and hopefully we have inspired many of those who turned out to meet them."

Silverstone to host young drivers' test in July
(GMM)  This year's young drivers test will take place at Silverstone in July, it has emerged.

Last year, the concept for giving young drivers a break into formula one amid the sport's tight testing regulations became highly farcical, with the running split over three different locations and dates.

But according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, the teams have decided on a common date for 2013.

The test will not, however, take place at the end of the season, and Abu Dhabi will not be the venue.

Rather, the teams will gather at Silverstone in mid July, just before the August or 'summer' break.

The three day test will take place between July 17 and 19, during the three week gap between the races in Germany and Hungary.

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