Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • New rule has slowed F1 pitstops

    Frentzen has fix for 'processional' F1

  • Security plans in place for Bahrain GP
  • New rule has slowed F1 pitstops – report
  • Red Bull issues ultimatum to struggling Renault
  • Ferrari sponsor eyes 'ten more years' with Alonso
  • F1 legend Moss backs Massa over team order
  • Doctor says return home 'safe' for Schumacher
  • Sauber working on lightweight chassis
  • No 'magical change' for Bahrain-Alonso
  • Ferrari boss calls for swift improvement – [Solution: Boss needs to be fired]

Frentzen has fix for 'processional' F1
(GMM) A bit more fuel and a drill — that is how former F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen would spice up the 2014 spectacle.

"I saw the first part of the race," recently-retired Red Bull driver Mark Webber told Talksport radio when recalling the Malaysian grand prix.

"I didn't watch it all — it got a little bit processional," said the Australian.

German Frentzen thinks part of the problem is all the fuel-saving, now that drivers can only use 100 liters from the start of the race to the end.

"I would give them ten more liters in the tank," he told Austrian television Servus TV. "Then they could drive fast for the whole race.

"And I'd drill a hole in the exhaust," Frentzen smiled, referring to the quieter sound of the turbo V6 engines.

However, he said he is supportive of the move to more relevant 'hybrid' technology.

"Rather than spending all the money on a front wing, now they're investing in sustainable technology," said Frentzen.

Daniil Kvyat, a teenage rookie on the 2014 grid, said he is proud to be a part of the 'new' F1.

"I remember seeing cars going 330 (kph) on the Monza straight when I was a kid, but this year we will be going 360 or even more.

"With each revolution, something is lost and something is gained," the Russian told La Repubblica newspaper.

Security plans in place for Bahrain GP
(GMM) Bahrain is planning tight security for this weekend's formula one race.

"The plans will be implemented based on our studies and the experience gained during the events of previous years," said the Sakhir circuit's head of security, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

Security in Bahrain has always been a relevant topic, particularly since the civil uprisings of 2011.

Again ahead of the 2014 Bahrain grand prix, opposition groups are reportedly organizing disruptive anti-F1 protests.

According to Arabian Business, the opposition is urging Bahrainis to burn race tickets and sabotage F1-themed billboards.

"There are conflicts all around the world, but that does not mean banning or stopping sports activities as it has nothing to do with those issues," argues parliamentarian Ahmed Al Sa'ati.

New rule has slowed F1 pitstops – report
(GMM) A new rule has slowed down F1's impressive pitstops.

Last year in Malaysia, Mark Webber entered the pitlane, had all four wheels changed and reached the pit exit in the space of 20 seconds.

But according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, the best total pitstop time at Sepang last weekend was Fernando Alonso's 24 seconds.

The main change since 2013 is that pitstop incidents are now penalized more severely.

In Malaysia this year, for instance, when Red Bull released Daniel Ricciardo with a wheel not attached securely, the Australian had to serve a ten-second stop and go penalty.

He will also start ten places down the Bahrain grid this weekend.

"I think it's unfair to be punished twice," Dr Helmut Marko is quoted as saying.

But an FIA source hit back: "The new rule was introduced at the request of the teams."

Ron Meadows, the Mercedes team manager, said the rule has had the effect of slowing down the pitstops because a mistake "hurts you for two races".

"In a situation like ours, it is better to be on the safe side and do a pitstop that's one second slower," he explained.

Red Bull issues ultimatum to struggling Renault
(GMM) Red Bull has issued troubled engine supplier Renault with an ultimatum — improve or be dumped.

Although the reigning world champions have emerged from the depths of a winter crisis, Dr Helmut Marko insisted Renault has a long way to go if it wants to stay under the engine cover of the team's Adrian Newey-penned cars.

Indeed, Marko has claimed the credit for much of Renault's improvement since the winter, revealing he installed a crisis team comprising Red Bull and Toro Rosso engineers at the French marque's Viry headquarters.

Now, he told Germany's Bild newspaper his patience is running out.

"If there is no noticeable improvement in two or three months, we will definitely be talking about an alternative," said Marko, who is famously close to Red Bull's team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

Until then, he said Red Bull is working on compensating for an 80 horse power deficit through car changes — and hoping for trouble at the front of the grands prix.

"We cannot put additional horse power in the engine ourselves," said Marko. "But we can hope for trouble between Rosberg and Hamilton and drive past them."

He is referring to the internal battle between Mercedes' 2014 driver duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who so far in 2014 have traded easy race wins.

Mercedes' Toto Wolff admits he is aware of the potential for problems.

"We are spending quite some time discussing those things, discussing scenarios and discussing situations," he said when asked about the prospect of the driver relationship boiling over.

"It's Mercedes and it's the team that comes first, but one day it (the situation) will be rubbish," Austrian Wolff told the Mirror newspaper.

"What makes a difference is that these guys have known each other for such a long time and they have a fair relationship with each other.

"But it doesn't mean that they are not extremely competitive and that they will try to use every advantage they can," he added.

Ferrari sponsor eyes 'ten more years' with Alonso
(GMM) Ferrari's major sponsor Santander is going nowhere.

Emilio Botin, the Spanish banking group's chief, said this week: "We want to continue in F1 for at least ten more years," Marca sports newspaper quoted him as saying.

And Botin said Santander wants to remain hand-in-hand with Fernando Alonso for the same time period.

"I am convinced that, in ten years, Fernando Alonso will be as good as he is today," he insisted.

Also present for Botin's speech was Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali, who said: "I agree."

Botin also revealed why he allowed Santander's sponsorship with McLaren to lapse.

"There is only one Ferrari team, period," he said. "We were interested in being with McLaren still because we have a bank in England, but it was a small sponsorship.

"When (Lewis) Hamilton was there it was justified. (Jenson) Button is a great driver, but it's another matter," Botin explained.

He suggested that a difficult start to the 2014 season for Ferrari is not swaying Santander's loyalty.

"The partnership with Ferrari is the best we have had throughout our history," said Botin. "It is the key for Santander being known around the world."

Botin did, however, ask Domenicali when real improvements for Ferrari's 2014 car will arrive.

"China," the Italian answered. "Good, good," Botin replied.

F1 legend Moss backs Massa over team order
(GMM) F1 legend Sir Stirling Moss says he would have behaved just as Felipe Massa did in the Malaysian grand prix.

While some sided with the Brazilian in the wake of his tenure as Ferrari 'number 2', others referred to the long history of 'team orders' in formula one.

But although cited as a player and proponent of F1's 'team orders' history, 84-year-old Briton Moss said he too would have refused to let Valtteri Bottas past at Sepang.

Told by Motorsport Magazine that he surely would have given up the position, Moss answered: "Not a chance, boy.

"If it's not written into the contract that you must let your teammate through, you're racing him as much as anyone else on the track — and if it were in the contract I wouldn't sign it," he added.

"I only made an exception for one person and that was for (Juan Manuel) Fangio and out of respect."

Moss said Williams was not justified in telling Massa to give up a position so early in a world championship campaign.

"There might be other grounds, later in the season if only one of you has a shot at the title — but this was race two!" he exclaimed.

"In his shoes I'd have done exactly the same as Massa."

Doctor says return home 'safe' for Schumacher
(GMM) A leading sports doctor says it could be true that Michael Schumacher will soon be moved from the hospital in Grenoble to his Swiss home.

Amid fading fears the F1 legend will ever emerge from his now more than three-month coma, it has been reported Schumacher's wife Corinna is making arrangements for a multi-million dollar medical facility to be added to their house on Lake Geneva.

"A transfer can always be performed, ideally with a helicopter," said Reinhard Weinstabl, a well-known sports doctor with a private facility in Vienna.

"It would be safe to transport Schumacher," he explained.

"There is a question about whether he is still artificially ventilated, but although technically complicated, it is also feasible to transport even an intubated patient," said Weinstabl.

Asked what Schumacher would need once he arrived home, he explained: "There would need to be an intensive care room with ventilation facilities."

Sauber working on lightweight chassis
The Swiss team has been unable to hit Formula 1's minimum 692kg weight limit so far this year, which has been a significant factor in it struggling to get on the pace with its C33.

But as part of a major development push, it is working on a host of weight reduction measures that should be ready for the Barcelona race in May.

These changes are estimated to shave around 20kg from the car, with 10kg of weight worth around three tenths of a second over a lap.

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said that the team's focus now was on the issue of weight.

"We are planning a big upgrade for Barcelona, but on both coming races [in Bahrain and China] we will be especially introducing measures on the weight side," she said.

Sauber is one of four teams that is yet to score a point so far this season.

No 'magical change' for Bahrain-Alonso
Fernando Alonso is bracing himself for a tough race in Bahrain this weekend and admits there will be no quick fix for Ferrari's lack of pace this season.

Alonso finished fourth at the opening two races of the season, but Ferrari has not looked capable of competing for podiums and is lacking straight-line speed compared to the Mercedes-powered cars. He is confident his team can make the necessary progress to catch up later in the season, but does not think it will be possible in time for this weekend's race.

"For Bahrain, I don't think the picture will change that much from here [in Malaysia]," he said. "It's only five days [between] so there will not be any magical change in any of the teams.

"The track characteristics are a little bit different, so if we're slow on the straights probably we will see a weakness and cars that have a good top speed will be competitive in Bahrain, like Williams at the [pre-season] test with Massa and Bottas.

"It's going to be tough again, but somehow we manage to be in the top five and at the moment with the performance we have we have scored some good points. We must continue to finish the race."

Alonso said Ferrari is starting to realize what it needs to do to be competitive this year.

"It's not the ideal position to start the championship, we would have liked to win the first two races. The team is doing a massive effort to catch up and improve the situation. Personally I would like to fight for victories, but as long as you are in front of your team-mate you are doing something extra that the people expect.

"We will improve, that's for sure. We have only done two races, we are analyzing and we are going deep into the analysis of the areas we need to improve. It seems very clear to us." ESPNF1

Ferrari boss calls for swift improvement – [Solution: Boss needs to be fired]
Ferrari are under pressure to improve their Formula One car quickly after a stuttering start in order give Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen a realistic world title chance, according to principal Stefano Domenicali.

Domenicali told the Formula One website in an interview published Tuesday that the team must "make sure that we give them the best car we can. That is the urgent need, and it has to happen very soon."

Alonso placed fourth in the opening two season races in Australia and Malaysia, with the Bahrain race next on Sunday. Raikkonen, who won the last drivers' title for the Scuderia in 2007 and returned to the team this season, was seventh in Australia and 12th in Malaysia.

"So far Fernando has proved to be fast immediately. Kimi needs some time to understand the car, but you can see he is getting there. I am sure from the drivers' side there will not be a problem," Domenicali said.

Domenicali admitted that Mercedes are the team to beat after shining in the pre-season and winning the opening races with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

"If Mercedes keeps the pace it will be very difficult to match them," he said.

Domenicali said that teams and engine manufacturers like Mercedes had an advantage after sweeping rule changes because they can draw on their wide range of technology and expertise in all areas. But he said Ferrari are ready for the challenge and have invested big in development equipment they didn't have in the past.

"We need to work to have a more efficient car; we need to work to have a better engine; we need to work to exploit better the balance between electric power and traditional engine power. Everywhere!" he said.

"Sure it was more difficult for us – and we knew that. But that is the beauty of the challenge. We have to fight so that we can keep up … we love the challenge – it has always been part of Ferrari's nature and heritage." [Editor's Note: Ferrari has produced loser cars since Domenicali took over. Reach your own conclusions]

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