Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Ross Brawn

    Brawn admits 'cheap' F-duct not easily copied

  • Whiting admits exhaust rule tweak likely for 2013
  • Ligier pushing Magny Cours as French GP host
  • Major Upgrades in Pipeline for Marussia
  • Brawn: Mercedes to sacrifice qualifying pace for race
  • Ferrari to launch the 'Ferrauber'
  • Newey: I’m very proud
  • Lotus have ‘exciting’ upgrade package

Brawn admits 'cheap' F-duct not easily copied
(GMM) Ross Brawn has confirmed reports that Mercedes' 2012 'F-duct' will not be easily copied by rival teams.

We reported on Thursday that while Red Bull and now Ferrari worked quickly to copy Sauber's clever exhaust solution, they are crying foul over the Mercedes F-duct.

Is it because they really believe it breaks the rules, or is the system simply difficult to copy?

Red Bull designer Adrian Newey was quoted by Brazilian O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper in Malaysia: "In regard to the aerodynamic (F) duct of the Mercedes, and sending the airflow from the back to the front, it is necessary to review the entire project."

Mercedes team boss Brawn confirmed: "The opposition is so fierce (because) there's a recognition it's quite difficult to do."

He rejected the rivals' arguments about cost, however, insisting Mercedes' system consists mainly of carbon tubing costing no more than thousands of pounds.

"It's a very simple, cheap system, but not so easy to implement if you haven't integrated it into your car," said the Briton.

"This is at the heart of the frustration of some of our opponents. If someone could put it on their car easily, I promise you we wouldn't be having these discussions."

It emerged this week, however, that despite the FIA having consistently sided with Mercedes on the F-duct issue, Lotus' technical boss James Allison has come up with two new arguments that will be put to Charlie Whiting next week in China.

"We would obviously be extremely disappointed if someone was to take a different view," said Brawn.

"The FIA have been fairly consistent over their position so we have faith that they'll maintain that consistency."

Whiting admits exhaust rule tweak likely for 2013
(GMM) Charlie Whiting has admitted F1's governing body will likely have to change the exhaust rules yet again for 2013.

Led by technical delegate Whiting, the FIA clamped down hard for this season on the sort of 'exhaust blown diffuser' layouts that had become widespread last year.

New exhaust layout rules, combined with new restrictions on engine mapping, have made it much more difficult for teams to achieve an aerodynamic effect from the fast-moving hot gases produced by the engine.

"We are aware, however, that they (the teams) will do as much as they can to direct the exhaust gases down into the area where they want them," Whiting said in the FIA's Inmotion magazine.

"I think (the effect) will be 20 per cent of what they had before."

Among the cleverest and most effective solutions for the 2012 rules has been seen on the Sauber, and so Red Bull has followed suit and it is believed Ferrari will be next.

But Whiting hinted that the 2013 rules will clamp down even harder: "I suspect we'll have to have another go at it in 2013," said the Briton.

He admitted, however, that the egg cannot be unscrambled.

Referring to the jet of high-speed gas emanating from the exhausts near aerodynamic surfaces, Mercedes' Aldo Costa confirmed to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "You can't ignore a gift like that."

Whiting explained: "It is a classic case of not being able to unlearn things once they have been invented. The engineers know that there are benefits to be had and there is still some scope for development in this area.

"And we can't wipe the memories of the engineers like a computer, can we?"

Ligier pushing Magny Cours as French GP host
(GMM) Amid France's push to return to the F1 calendar, it appears Magny Cours is not yet out of the game.

Prime minister Francois Fillon, however, has earmarked Paul Ricard – the well-known test circuit at Le Castellet near Marseille – as the host.

But it was Magny Cours that hosted the French grand prix between 1991 and 2008.

The local Nievre department's president Patrice Joly last week accused Fillon of "bias in favor of Le Castellet" for the 2013 deal.

He said Magny Cours has "all the facilities, infrastructure and expertise needed to organize such an event".

Championing Magny Cours' renewed push to host the 2013 French grand prix is Guy Ligier, the now 81-year-old Frenchman who once had his own formula one team based at the circuit.

"I am trying to lend a hand," he confirmed to the sports daily L'Equipe.

"I have had Bernie (Ecclestone) on the phone several times, as a friend, and have asked for his advice. We talked about the hotel business around (Magny Cours).

"He said to me, 'Guy, I know you're in the know.'

"I have a feeling that Bernie is not going to sign anything before he knows the outcome of the presidential election.

"I'll tell you honestly what I feel: nothing is lost for Magny Cours," added Ligier.

Major Upgrades in Pipeline for Marussia
The Marussia Formula One team will race an upgraded car in China next weekend, with major revisions to come when the series arrives in Europe next month, the team said Friday.

Rivals Caterham, with Russian driver Vitaly Petrov, have also tweaked their car, with the focus on cooling to cope with the heat in Shanghai, while Sauber and Lotus have also confirmed upgrades.

“We have some aerodynamic and systems refinements for the MR01 in China, ahead of a more substantial upgrade for the start of the European season next month," Marussia team principal John Booth said on the team’s website.

“It has been full steam ahead in terms of our development program."

The Russian-owned team has been struggling to catch up with the competition after missing all the pre-season testing days because the car failed a mandatory crash test.

Marussia driver Timo Glock finished 14th in the first race of the season in Australia, equaling the team’s best result in its previous two seasons as Virgin Racing, with rookie teammate Charles Pic in 15th.

The second race of the season saw Marussia slip back, with Glock finishing 17th and Pic 20th.

Brawn: Mercedes to sacrifice qualifying pace for race
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn says that the team has understood why its qualifying and race performances have been so imbalanced this season and that he is willing to give up some qualifying pace to have stronger races.

Mercedes has scored just one point so far this season from a potential maximum of 86, and trails McLaren by 54 points already. This is despite qualifying one car in the top two rows of the grid at both races.

Mercedes issued a pre-race bulletin today with some findings from the first races, which showed that they were caught out by not getting the tires into the operating temperature range for the race, despite hitting the sweet spot in qualifying both times.

In Australia the tires got too hot in the race, in Malaysia the opposite. Speaking this afternoon in a follow-up conversation, Brawn said, “We have a situation where we have ultimate performance but it’s ‘peaky’. Perhaps we should move towards a broader base. We would not make compromises to work just for qualifying. “In both races, our problems have been related to getting the tires into the correct working window.

“However, at each race it was at different ends of the scale: in Melbourne, we overheated the tires – it was under control on Friday, then we developed the set-up in a direction which did not prove helpful in the warmer conditions. In Malaysia, having done a lot of work in practice to make sure we didn’t suffer from the same problem, the cooler conditions on Sunday dropped us out of the window again."

Brawn revealed that the tires on the Mercedes have been running between 15 and 20 degrees outside the optimum temperature range and this is enough to knock them off the optimum performance. It seems that the new generation Pirelli tires are quite ‘peaky’ themselves and getting them to work is proving tricky for other top teams too.

Interestingly this is an area where teams like Sauber and Williams appear to have done a good job so far this season, hence their strong showings. James Allen

Ferrari to launch the 'Ferrauber'
Ferrari will be unveiling the front half of a F2012 and the rear half of the Sauber C31 when they launch their B-spec car at Mugello next month.

Although Ferrari clinched the victory last time out in Malaysia, in dry conditions their 2012 car is sorely lacking compared to its rivals – even the Sauber if the latter stages of the Malaysian GP are any indicator.

As a result, Ferrari are set to unveil a dramatically altered car at the only pre-season test at Mugello at the start of May.

According to reports, the 'new' car will look very similar to Sauber's C31 at the rear so much so that Autosprint have dubbed it the 'Ferrauber'.

Incorporating Sauber's exhaust layout, rear solution and sidepods, the two models will not only share looks but also engines and gearboxes as Sauber use Ferrari's.

The B-spec Ferrari, though, will stay retain its current front-end design.

The car is expected to be unveiled on the first day of a three-day in-season test at Mugello on May 1st.

Newey: I’m very proud
Fresh from becoming Adrian Newey OBE, Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer spoke about surprising first pay packets, engineer’s pride and of course what it means to receive the honor of those three letters after his name.

So tell us, what was Tuesday like for you?
Adrian Newey: I had a very special day, a day that only the English can have. I went to Windsor castle and was lucky enough to have the Queen give me my OBE. It was an absolutely amazing day, she is a phenomenal woman. We did have a quick chat when she handed the medal over, or when she pinned the medal to me I should say. She knew I was involved in motor racing. I told her I’d had the honor of meeting her once before when she opened the McLaren factory and had shown Prince Phillip around. She remembered it and recalled that I tried to get him in the car. She knew I had moved to Red Bull, so she’s obviously incredibly well informed. We had a quick chat about Red Bull and shook hands.

What does it mean to you to get an OBE?
AN: It’s funny, I’m not very good at thinking about these things until I actually get there, as I tend to live in the present, so it was only really when I sat down having received it and waited to meet my family again that I thought, this is amazing. I very clearly remember getting to the end of my first month at Fittipaldi’s, the first team I worked for, and, on receiving my salary for the month, thinking ‘This is amazing, I’m actually being paid for a job that I love doing – I don’t think I’m very good at it and they haven’t even rumbled I’m not good at it yet!’ So, to be sitting there receiving an award from the Queen thirty-odd years later was an amazing experience. I’m also very proud of the fact that engineering has been recognized, in as much as obviously I’m an engineer, and therefore as a profession, we’ve been recognized. I think that unfortunately Britain does have a habit of forgetting its proud heritage in respect of the industrial revolution and its ingenuity over the years of coming up with amazing designs. So, for it to come to the forefront again in terms of an OBE made me very proud as an engineer.

Where is your medal now?
AN: At the moment it’s lying on the kitchen table, but my grandfather received two medals during the Second World War, so it will be very shortly taking its place proudly alongside his two medals.

It’s a fantastic achievement and well done from all of us at Red Bull Racing
AN: Thank you very much.

Lotus have ‘exciting’ upgrade package
(PVM) For China, Lotus are expected to run with a big upgrade package, which has been described as ‘exciting’ by Romain Grosjean and also prompted a visit to Enstone by comeback world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
When asked about the update package for the E20, which are believed to include aero improvements and damper mods, Grosjean revealed, “It’s great to see how much the factory is behind us and working very hard to give us updates. We’ve had a promising start to the season and we all want to get the best in every area, so a new aerodynamic package is quite exciting; I can’t wait to see how it looks and then experience how it feels on track. Then, most importantly, I want to see the lap time gain."

Although the Frenchman has had a luckless couple of races, he has shown strong pace in qualifying while Raikkonen has extracted good results in the first two races of the season – both drivers are confident that the E20 is a good car and capable of strong results.

Raikkonen said, “The car feels good and we clearly have the pace to be at the front; we just need some better luck."

During his visit to the team factory in Enstone, the 2007 world champion, was briefed on the upgrade package and also mods to the power steering which the team have made in an effort to make him more comfortable in the cockpit of the E20.

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