Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • F1 world awakes in Korea to news of Wheldon death
  • Alonso annoyed after media's interest in new wing
  • Alguersuari eyes 'great' Toro Rosso car for 2012
  • Hamilton slams McLaren row rumors as mood improves
  • Hamilton, Button pay tribute to Indy racer Wheldon

F1 world awakes in Korea to news of Wheldon death
(GMM) After drinking in Red Bull's title success in Korea, formula one awoke on Monday morning to terrible news from the world's other premier single seater series.

33-year-old Dan Wheldon, the 2005 IndyCar champion and two-time Indy 500 winner, was killed on Sunday during the American category's 2011 finale at Las Vegas speedway.

Given his nationality and his earlier links with a possible move to formula one, the Briton was well-known in the F1 paddock.

"On a train from Mokpo to Seoul," wrote Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary on Twitter. "News from Vegas puts everything in perspective."

Agreed the Mirror's Byron Young: "Usual cheerful voices that fill the train leaving Mokpo are absent today."

Wheldon, who due to an IndyCar promotional gimmick stood to win $5 million if he won on Sunday, was caught up in a spectacular 15-car crash on lap 12.

Series CEO Randy Bernard said he died "from unsurvivable injuries".

"Rest in peace Dan," tweeted Mark Webber. "I remember our early days in the UK (in) 95/96. Miss ya."

Added The Times' Kevin Eason: "Dan Wheldon reminds us that motor racing remains almost the only sport in which death is the highest price."

And former Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson said: "Spent so many races trying to match Daniel as we grew up and raced together. I'm utterly devastated to hear the sad news."

Wheldon leaves behind his wife Susie and sons Sebastian (2) and Oliver, who was born this year.

"This is a cruel sport," said BBC commentator Martin Brundle.

Added Jenson Button: "I can't begin to imagine what his family are going through and my thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.

"I have so many good memories of racing with him in the early 90s, a true fighter."

Alonso annoyed after media's interest in new wing
(GMM) The interest in Ferrari's 2012 front wing in Korea left Fernando Alonso annoyed.

"I think it's to do with the team, not the journalists," La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes the Spaniard as saying in Korea, where his 150 Italia was fitted with the radical new wing.

Media reports analyzed in detail the difference between the new and old wing and its performance in Korea relative to the regular specification driven by Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa.

"As I've said before, in these last four races we need to learn a lot about 2012," Alonso said. "Gaining or losing a tenth is a very low priority at the end of this season compared to finding the direction for next year's car.

"We are working with a specific goal that is not easy for you (reporters) to understand," he added.

"I do not think the readers are interested to get up in the morning and read about three or four points of downforce, certain diameters — I think they want to know who is fourth or fifth or whether you are working for the grand prix or the next year.

"The details seem very superficial to me."

On the radio towards the end of Sunday's Korean grand prix, Alonso was heard to tell his team "I give up" — a call rarely heard from the double world champion.

Alonso insists his focus is on what will make the 2012 season better.

"I will come to work (in 2011) to gain experience for the things for next year," he is quoted by AS sports newspaper. "We can try some experimental parts and also (experiment with) how to deal with the weekends."

The 30-year-old is currently third in the drivers' championship.

"If we can get one tenth (for the 2012 car) from the information and yet finish fifth in the championship, I would sign it now," insisted Alonso.

"No one expects us to come to India and have the pole and the win. Expect us to be fourth or fifth in qualifying and third, fourth or fifth in the race," he said.

Alguersuari eyes 'great' Toro Rosso car for 2012
(GMM) Jaime Alguersuari is staking a claim to a 2012 Toro Rosso race seat.

The Spaniard made his debut with the second Red Bull team in mid 2009, but Dr Helmut Marko is known to be considering the future of the current Toro Rosso lineup.

At the Brazil finale next month, whether Alguersuari or his more experienced teammate Sebastien Buemi will sit out Friday practice for French hopeful Jean-Eric Vergne will be decided by the points standings.

Spaniard Alguersuari, 21, was already ahead of Buemi prior to Korea, but he extended the gap to 7 points by finishing a strong seventh on Sunday.

He will therefore also be in boss Franz Tost's good books, given the team's late-season development push to catch up with Sauber for seventh place in the constructors' championship.

Alguersuari told EFE news agency Korea was "my best" result in his 43 career races, as he was the highest placed runner behind the grandee Red Bulls, McLarens and Red Bulls.

"I think we've taken a huge leap," he added. "I am very excited because next year we can have a great car."

And if Marko decides to drop just one Toro Rosso driver at the end of the season, Swiss Buemi appears very much in the hot seat now.

"This is not important, only getting Toro Rosso ahead of Sauber," insisted Alguersuari. "He (Buemi) is also doing a good job."

Hamilton slams McLaren row rumors as mood improves
(GMM) Second place improved Lewis Hamilton's mood in Korea, but not much.

The unshaved 2008 world champion was strangely miserable as he started from pole in Sunday's grand prix, but he at least managed some small smiles after finishing the race behind Sebastian Vettel.

His mood, however, had triggered some wild speculation, including that he has split with his girlfriend, joined the celebrity religion Scientology, or had a raging row with his McLaren bosses.

On the latter theory, Hamilton told reporters: "Whoever wrote that, it's a load of rubbish; I am very happy."

But he also admitted that a single second place was not going to completely brighten his misery after what he calls the "worst year" of his career.

"So if you expect me to be all happy-doolally after a race like that you're not going to hear it," said the 26-year-old.

On Monday, the British Mirror and Daily Mail tabloids are reporting that Hamilton is on the verge of splitting with his Pussycat Dolls girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

But the British driver on Sunday indicated that it is the specialist motoring publications that worry him the most.

"Time will tell," Hamilton said when asked if his performance had "redeemed" him after a run of bad races.

"It depends what you guys write. It depends how people perceive how the race went, how my attitude is, how I behaved. I am sure it is a few brownie points that I scored.

"It's (about) positivity, positive stories, positive fans, it's standing on the podium smiling. It's that energy that you get that stays with you until the next race and then you do it again," he added.

Hamilton, Button pay tribute to Indy racer Wheldon
British Formula One world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have paid tribute to fellow Brit Dan Wheldon, the IndyCar driver killed in a 15-car crash during an Indy 300 race in Las Vegas.

Wheldon, 33, was airlifted to hospital after he was involved in the horrific crash in lap 11 of the race on Sunday but died of his injuries.

Button, the 2009 Formula One world champion, posted his condolences on Twitter.

"Just woken up to the most horrific news… Dan Wheldon RIP.

"I have so many good memories of racing with Dan in the early 90's, a true fighter. We've lost a legend in our sport but also a great guy.

"I can't begin to imagine what his family are going through and my thoughts are with them at this very difficult time."

Hamilton, Button's Mercedes McLaren teammate, also spoke fondly of Wheldon, who leaves behind a wife and two young children.

"This is an extremely sad day.

"He was an extremely talented driver. As a British guy, who not only went over to the States but who twice won the Indy 500, he was an inspirational guy, and someone that every racing driver looked up to with respect and admiration."

Wheldon moved to the United States in 1999 and six years later became the first Englishman since Graham Hill in 1966 to win the Indianapolis 500.

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