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DATE News (chronologically)
10/02/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Will F1 get the race in ahead of the Typhoon?
    Typhoon headed for Korea
  • Valsecchi 'ready' to replace Raikkonen
  • Caterham drivers unsure over 2014 seats
  • Kvyat admits 2014 F1 move too soon
  • Webber says 2013 struggle due to tires
  • Marko says Vettel cheat claims 'nonsense'
  • Sirotkin-Gutierrez lineup could work - Kaltenborn
  • Alonso denies struggling with qualifying discipline
  • Second DRS zone added on pit straight in Korea
  • Ayrton Senna's death still haunts designer Adrian Newey

Typhoon headed for Korea
(GMM)  Just as formula one sets up at the Yeongam circuit, a typhoon is headed for Korea.

The state news agency Yonhap said Typhoon Fitow is currently scheduled to hit the very south of South Korea on race-day Sunday.

And the Chosun Ilbo daily said the typhoon is expected to bring "a lot of rain" and gusty winds.

If the typhoon does strike, it will not be the first time bad weather has affected the Korean grand prix.

In 2010, heavy rain delayed the start of F1's first race in Korea.

Valsecchi 'ready' to replace Raikkonen
(GMM)  Davide Valsecchi insists he is "ready" to make his formula one debut this weekend.

Lotus regular Kimi Raikkonen struggled through the recent Singapore grand prix with a back injury.

So ahead of the Korean grand prix this weekend, the Finn said: "We will have to see how it is when I get out on track on Friday."

Meanwhile, Raikkonen suggested in Singapore that because he has not yet been paid by Lotus, he is technically entitled to sit out races.

Asked if he might sue the Enstone based team, he admitted: "I don't know.

"Obviously there is a reason why we make up contracts."

With that uncertainty lingering, it is no surprise Valsecchi - Lotus' reserve driver - is being asked if he is preparing to make his debut in Korea.

"My role requires me to be ready," the reigning GP2 champion told Italy's Autosprint.

"The rest are situations and decisions that are taken by the team alone," added Valsecchi, 26.

Caterham drivers unsure over 2014 seats
(GMM)  Caterham's current race drivers have admitted they are not sure if they will stay with the team beyond 2013.

Team figures have hinted throughout Caterham's difficult season so far that signing two sponsored drivers might have been a mistake, even though supremo Tony Fernandes insists both Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic have improved.

The Malaysian entrepreneur has also admitted, however, that bringing the highly-rated Heikki Kovalainen back into the lineup for 2014 is a possibility.

It was believed Frenchman Pic's form and contract made him the more likely to stay next year, but he has now told Italiaracing magazine: "Honestly, I still don't know what I will do (in 2014).

"I think it is logical to suppose that I will have a second year at Caterham, but in F1 situations can change so quickly that it's difficult to say right now where I will be," added Pic.

Dutchman van der Garde, meanwhile, is quoted by the Dutch website autosport.nu: "My management is in talks with several teams, including Caterham."

Kvyat admits 2014 F1 move too soon
(GMM)  Daniil Kvyat has admitted the vacancy at Toro Rosso for 2014 may have come too soon for him.

It is believed the Red Bull-owned team is on the cusp of confirming Portuguese Antonio Felix da Costa as Daniel Ricciardo's successor for next year.

But Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost said last month: "We (Red Bull) have some young drivers with extraordinary talent.

"One of them is Carlos Sainz jr but we also have (Daniil) Kvyat.  And Felix da Costa."

But Tost admitted that the young age of Russian 19-year-old Kvyat is a factor playing against him.

Asked what he sees as his next step beyond 2013, Kvyat told the Italian magazine Italiaracing: "Definitely I will not stay in GP3, so we are in the period where we are deciding what will be my future.

"The logical passage for the Red Bull (development) drivers would seem to be to the Formula Renault 3.5 series.  To go to formula one, the others (sponsored by Red Bull) have passed through there.

"But it's not for me to decide, so I am waiting for Red Bull and will be ready to do anything they decide," he added.

Kvyat drove the Toro Rosso at the young driver test at Silverstone earlier this year; an experience he admits was "unforgettable".

"But right now I am concentrated on the (junior) championships so that I can arrive in formula one as soon as possible," he insisted.

Webber says 2013 struggle due to tires
(GMM)  Mark Webber has pointed to Pirelli's 2013 tires as the reason for his struggle against dominant teammate Sebastian Vettel this year.

The Australian, who is heading to Le Mans with Porsche next year, fought Vettel hard for the title in 2010, but the German utterly dominated in 2011.

"In 2011 I was only behind Sebastian in qualifying," Webber told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"It was clearly something to do with the fact that his driving style was better suited to the car.

"In the race, we were pretty much the same -- I got a lot of fastest laps," he added.

Last year was a better season for Webber, because he said the RB8 was "more of a normal race car".

In 2013, however, Vettel has been dominating again.

Again, Webber points to the tires.  "They are not always easy to understand," he said.  "You lose a lot of time if you don't bring them into the right working window."

Referring to Singapore, where Vettel's dominance moved into an even higher gear, Webber said: "On the medium tires, I had a good balance.  I was able to get the very best out of them.

"But as soon as we went onto the softer ones, it was very difficult to drive."

Marko says Vettel cheat claims 'nonsense'
(GMM)  Red Bull has slammed reports it is flouting the rules as Sebastian Vettel stamps his dominance on the 2013 season.

After Singapore, former F1 team owner Giancarlo Minardi raised doubts about the German's RB9, saying its handling and engine tone reminded him of traction control.

"Utter nonsense!" Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko told the German newspaper Bild.

Reports have suggested Red Bull might actually be mimicking the banned 'blown exhaust' era with a clever engine mapping solution.

Bild said F1's governing FIA would not comment.

Sirotkin-Gutierrez lineup could work - Kaltenborn
(GMM)  Monisha Kaltenborn insists Sauber would not be afraid to pair two young drivers together in 2014.

The struggling Swiss team is almost resigned to losing the highly rated Nico Hulkenberg to a more competitive outfit like McLaren, Lotus or even Force India.

As long as he gets a F1 super license, the 18-year-old Russian Sergey Sirotkin will replace Hulkenberg, as he comes with Sauber's Russian rescue deal.

Some, however, have expressed doubts that Sirotkin should be paired with current Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez, a 22-year-old rookie who has often struggled in 2013.

"Hulkenberg is likely to leave," former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov said this week, "and they are not too happy with Gutierrez."

Sirotkin, however, told Russia's Championat that Petrov's claims are not true.

"As far as I know," he said, "inside the team they are very happy with him."

But when asked if he would prefer a more experienced teammate in 2014, Sirotkin answered: "It's hard to say.

"Very often someone who you do not expect actually goes very well, and sometimes someone with a big name does not cause much excitement," he said.

"I'm ready for any option, because I know what job I have to do."

Team boss Kaltenborn said Sauber is yet to decide who Sirotkin's teammate will be, but is approaching the decision with an open mind.

"If you look at the history of our team," she said, "we often had two young and not very experienced drivers, and often we did some of our best seasons.

"It is always good to have a certain mix of qualities, but our team has vast experience of working with young drivers," added Kaltenborn.

Asked specifically if a Sirotkin-Gutierrez lineup could work, she insisted: "We would not have any reason to worry about it, no."

Alonso denies struggling with qualifying discipline
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has hit back at suggestions he could up his game in the discipline of qualifying.

When it was announced that Kimi Raikkonen is heading back to Ferrari in 2014, Alonso's friend Mark Webber said that is good news for the Spaniard.

"Fernando needs to be pushed more on Saturday afternoons," said the Australian.

Indeed, in Alonso's four seasons wearing red, he has been on pole only four times, compared to 36 in the same period for Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

Alonso told Brazil's Totalrace: "It's on Sunday that the points are given.

"But even if Saturday is not the priority, I have been the best in terms of qualifying that Felipe has had as a teammate.

"My advantage compared to him is 82 per cent," he insisted.

"So even if Saturday is not my strongest point, in eight out of ten weekends, I'm in front of him.  So I don't think this is a problem for me," Alonso added.

South Korea DRS Zones
Second DRS zone added on pit straight in Korea
The Korea International Circuit will have a second DRS zone this year on the pit straight, and the configuration of the original DRS zone has been changed.

Drivers will still be able to use DRS on the longest straight on the track but the length of the DRS zone has been shortened by 40 meters. The detection point for it has also been moved – having previously been on the entry to turn one it is now after turn two.

The new DRS zone on the pit straight has its detection point between turns 15 and 16. Drivers can then open their rear wings 95 meters after the high-speed turn 18.

Sergio Perez said teams will set their cars up to take maximum advantage of these overtaking opportunities: “The aim is also to have a car that works well in the principal overtaking areas – into turns one and three – which means making a little bit of a compromise to the set-up.”

“That’s particularly important because it’s very difficult to overtake once you get into the twisty section, as there’s really only a single racing line.”

Ayrton Senna's death still haunts designer Adrian Newey 
Design legend Adrian Newey says he is still troubled by Ayrton Senna's death in one of his cars 19 years ago.

Red Bull's Newey was chief designer at Williams when the three-time world champion was killed in a crash during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

"What happened that day, what caused the accident, still haunts me to this day," he told BBC Sport.

Newey said "no-one will know" whether the accident was caused by driver error or steering-column failure.

The Brazilian suffered fatal head injuries in a crash at the 190mph Tamburello corner at Italy's Imola race track on 1 May 1994.

Newey and Patrick Head, Williams technical director at the time, were prosecuted in Italy for manslaughter but eventually acquitted. 

The prosecution argued a poorly manufactured modification to the steering column had caused it to fracture and break at the crucial moment.

Williams said all the data pointed to a driver error caused by Senna pushing too hard over bad bumps in a corner made more challenging than normal by the handling problems the car was suffering from at the time.

"The steering column failure, was it the cause, or did it happen in the accident?" said Newey, speaking in an exclusive interview to be broadcast on 5 live F1 on Thursday.

"There is no doubt it was cracked. Equally, all the data, all the circuit cameras, the on-board camera from Michael Schumacher's car that was following, none of that appears to be consistent with a steering-column failure.

"The car oversteered [when the rear tried to spin] initially and Ayrton caught that and only then did it go straight.

"But the first thing that happened was oversteer, in much the same way as you will sometimes see on a superspeedway in the States - the car will lose the rear, the driver will correct, and then it will go straight and hit the outside wall, which doesn't appear to be consistent with a steering-column failure."

Ayrton Senna

Three-time world champion Senna was killed in his third race for Williams

Newey said he was still upset by the knowledge Senna joined Williams to win a fourth title and the car they gave him was not initially up to the job. He was killed in his third race for the team.

"There was an aura about him, something that's difficult to describe. He most certainly had a presence," Newey said of Senna.

"I guess one of the things that will always haunt me is that he joined Williams because we had managed to build a decent car for the previous three years and he wanted to be in the team he thought built the best car - and unfortunately that '94 car at the start of the season wasn't a good car.

"Ayrton's raw talent and determination... he tried to carry that car and make it do things it really wasn't capable of.

"And it just seems such a shame and so unfair he was in that position. And then, of course, by the time we did get the car sorted, he wasn't with us any longer."

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is poised to pass Senna's mark of three titles this season - the German heads into this weekend's Korean Grand Prix with a 60-point lead over his closest rival, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, with only 150 still available in the remaining six races.

But Newey, 54, said it was "completely unfair" to compare drivers he had worked with in his long career.

Asked if he felt Vettel, still only 26, could match Schumacher's record of seven titles, Newey said: "Yes, of course it would be fantastic if Sebastian could go on to eclipse Michael's record. But that doesn't necessarily define greatness.

"When we talk about the all-time greats, the names of Ayrton Senna, Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi they come up, as well as Michael of course, [Juan Manuel] Fangio of course, all those names jump to mind.

"Some of them have had, in terms of championships, a fraction of the success of Michael.

"So there is that intangible thing that defines greatness, which isn't simply results. And I think what Sebastian is well on the way to doing is establishing himself as one of the all-time greats." BBC Sport

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