F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • McLaren tells Hamilton to reverse his defeatist attitude

    McLaren reads Hamilton the riot act

  • Valencia wants earlier F1 calendar slot
  • 'Too soon' to give title to Vettel – Gene
  • Buemi moves under spotlight at Toro Rosso – reports
  • Brawn asks Rosberg to have 'faith' in Mercedes' future
  • Manager insists Schumacher's 2012 seat secure
  • D'Ambrosio still working to outpace Glock
  • Williams F1 Appoints Jason Somerville and Mark Gillan
  • Sutil: DRS didn’t work in Valencia
  • Williams to run pre-Silverstone aero test

McLaren reads Hamilton the riot act
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton had a change of heart after writing off his world championship chances in Valencia.

The McLaren driver as well as Ferrari's Fernando Alonso had played down their hopes of chasing down runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel in 2011.

"It's finished really, in the sense of the championship it's almost over already," said Hamilton.

But a day later, the 26-year-old appeared to point his finger at the media.

"To all our supporters, ignore what you read in the papers today. My team will never give up and I will never give up!" Hamilton wrote on Twitter on Monday.

British journalists were unimpressed, including the Sunday Express' Bob McKenzie who presumed Hamilton had woken on Monday morning "with a flea in his ear from McLaren".

And the Telegraph's Tom Cary said "a night's sleep seemingly restored Hamilton's fighting qualities".

But realistically, many observers think Hamilton was right in the first instance, L'Equipe claiming Vettel is now "alone in the championship".

Said Hamilton's teammate Jenson Button: "Silverstone is not going to be a better circuit for us.

"Let's hope (British tennis player) Andy (Murray) does a good job this weekend (at Wimbledon) then there won't be so much pressure on us."

Valencia wants earlier F1 calendar slot
(GMM) Organizers of the European grand prix would like an earlier date on formula one calendars of the future.

The streets of the Spanish port city Valencia hosted last weekend's race, the ninth round of the original 2011 schedule and the fourth in Europe.

City mayor Rita Barbera told the EFE news agency that an earlier date would be "an improvement" for the future in terms of being attractive to "avid" F1 fans.

"We are talking about changing dates," she said, admitting it would be an "advantage" for Valencia over other European events.

Sunday's race was criticized for being processional, but Barbera insisted Ecclestone is willing "to bet on Valencia being an important capital of Europe" in the future.

"It (F1) is spectacular in terms of boosting the economy through tourism," she said.

80-year-old F1 chief executive Ecclestone was however seen leaving Valencia 20 laps into the race on Sunday.

'Too soon' to give title to Vettel – Gene
(GMM) It's "too soon" to say Sebastian Vettel has run away with the 2011 title.

That is the claim of Ferrari's test driver Marc Gene, despite Fernando Alonso admitting at Valencia that his 99 point deficit to the leading Red Bull is now too big to bridge.

"What should you do when the gap is 99 points? When it no longer depends on you, there is no choice but to go race by race," the Spaniard is quoted by El Mundo newspaper.

"The truth is that we (Ferrari) are fighting face-to-face and that's good news. Alonso was on the pace for the whole (Valencia) race and they (Red Bull) had to push hard.

"I did wonder how much was due to the street circuit so I think at Silverstone we will see things clearer.

"Will Vettel be champion? That kind of talk is premature. He is three race wins ahead of Button so it's clear that his dominance is overwhelming.

"At other times they've experienced difficult situations. I don't think Ferrari will give up. We must continue to develop. They are not champions yet, and to see them as such would be a mistake," added Gene.

Buemi moves under spotlight at Toro Rosso – reports
(GMM) Sebastien Buemi is now the Toro Rosso driver under pressure after two strong races by his teammate Jaime Alguersuari.

Alguersuari was besieged at Valencia by widespread speculation that he will soon lose his race cockpit to the promising Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

But he ran strongly to eighth place in both Canada and Spain, and the AS and Blick newspapers now believe it is Swiss Buemi who is most at risk of losing his seat.

"With these two races he has secured his year and his future," the Faenza based team's boss Franz Tost is quoted as saying, referring to Alguersuari.

Veteran Blick correspondent Roger Benoit wrote: "Must the Swiss (Buemi) now tremble?"

Ferrari test driver and Alguersuari's countryman Marc Gene agrees that the Spaniard has looked stronger of late.

"Previously his big problem was understanding the behavior of the tires, but his pace is now impressive. Valencia was a super result when he needed it the most."

Alguersuari, 21, is quoted by El Mundo newspaper: "My goal is to finish races, score points and be ahead of my teammate."

Brawn asks Rosberg to have 'faith' in Mercedes' future
(GMM) Nico Rosberg may be losing patience with Mercedes' lagging form.

The German moved from Williams last year expecting to fight for wins with the famous marque, but – while he has shown the way to Michael Schumacher – Mercedes is not yet ready to challenge the 'big three' teams.

"It can not go on like this," Bild newspaper quotes the veteran of almost 100 grands prix, who turned 26 on Monday, as saying after Valencia.

He added: "I have spoken with Ross (Brawn) and Norbert (Haug) and they have a clear plan about how to get this team back to the front."

But Rosberg's strong form against Schumacher has reportedly attracted the attention of faster teams, moving boss Brawn to admit Mercedes might have to fight to keep him.

"Well, I guess I am asking for his faith," the Briton told F1's official website, "and asking him what he sees.

"I am sure it is a frustration for him and he is definitely a driver good enough to win races. So it is up to us to prove to him that we know what we are doing — and we are getting there.

"We have faith in him and I hope he has faith in us — that's the basis we have to work on. I hope he stays in our boat because our boat is getting there!" added Brawn.

Manager insists Schumacher's 2012 seat secure
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's manager insists the seven time world champion is staying at Mercedes next year.

After a strong race in Canada, speculation about the 42-year-old's future returned when he finished a lowly seventeenth last Sunday at Valencia.

At the Spanish port venue, team boss Ross Brawn was quoted as suggesting Schumacher's contract actually covers only 2010 and 2011, with the famous German in control of a one-year 'option' for 2012.

But Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm told DPA that the subsequent media reports were wrong.

"The interpretation that has been applied is wrong," she said.

"Michael's contract for 2012 is secure — he has a three-year contract."

Mercedes' motor racing vice-president Norbert Haug agreed: "Michael has said it himself that he has signed a three-year contract with Mercedes GP, and I acknowledge that."

D'Ambrosio still working to outpace Glock
(GMM) Jerome d'Ambrosio has admitted he is still working to get up to speed against his Virgin teammate.

2011 is the Belgian 25-year-old's first season in formula one, and in the telling battle for grid position so far, the experienced German Timo Glock has been comfortably in charge.

"Clearly I still need to improve my Saturdays," d'Ambrosio told La Libre newspaper.

Glock made his F1 debut with Jordan in 2004, but he also raced with the top-budget Toyota team in 2008 and 2009 before moving to the start-up Virgin last season.

"His experience is the most prominent on stop and go tracks like Valencia, or Canada where there is little grip and braking is therefore difficult.

"I still have more to understand to get the last tenths in those conditions. But I'm not ashamed to say he was simply stronger," added d'Ambrosio.

He added: "What I'm thrilled about is that on race pace, I was consistently with his times."

There have been reports that Virgin is preparing to abandon the 2011 project in order to be much stronger next year, but d'Ambrosio insists there are "many things" the team is doing to be stronger this season.

"We do not want to end up with the red lantern," he said, referring to Virgin's battle to avoid finishing the world championship in last place.

Williams F1 Appoints Jason Somerville and Mark Gillan
In the latest stage of its technical renewal, Williams F1 is pleased to announce two new appointments to the team. Jason Somerville will take up the role of Head of Aerodynamics and Mark Gillan has been appointed Chief Operations Engineer.

Jason will start work at the factory on 15 August with Mark starting on 1 October and attending races straightaway. The pair will work with Chief Engineer Mike Coughlan on the team’s current race car and on the development of 2012’s FW34.

Jason Somerville has a history with Williams F1; he joined the company in 1997 as the aerodynamicist responsible for the design and development of the sports car that won the 1999 Sebring 12hrs and Le Mans 24hrs for Williams and BMW. He moved over to the Formula One team in 1999 where he worked on the race-winning FW23, FW24 and FW25 and was promoted to joint-head of the aerodynamics department.

Jason moved to Toyota F1 in 2003, where he became Deputy Head of Aerodynamics, contributing to an increasingly competitive F1 program there. Following Toyota’s withdrawal from the sport at the end of 2009, Jason joined Renault F1 as Project Leader – Aerodynamics where he played a significant role in this year’s innovative R31.

Mark Gillan brings a proven background in vehicle dynamics and race operations to the team. His Formula One career started at McLaren as a vehicle dynamicist in 1998, a position which saw him assist in the team’s Championships in 1998 and 1999 before promotion to Principal Operational Aerodynamicist in 2001. In 2002, Mark moved to the Jaguar F1 Team as Head of Vehicle Performance and Chief Race and Test Engineer.

At the start of the 2005 season, Mark left what is now Red Bull Racing to take up a Professorship at the University of Surrey before moving to the Toyota F1 Team as Head of Aerodynamics. Upon concluding his contract with Toyota, Mark returned to the University of Surrey as Professor of Vehicle Engineering while consulting on aerodynamics with a leading Formula One team.

Williams F1 is grateful to both Jason and Mark’s current employers for their co-operation in enabling a smooth transition for both parties into their new roles.

Of the new appointments, Frank Williams, Team Principal of AT&T Williams, commented, “Williams F1 is looking forward to welcoming Jason and Mark to the team. They bring with them talent, experience and good team skills. We now feel that, together with Mike Coughlan, Jason and Mark can form the right technical leadership to take the team forward as we work our way back to the front of the grid."

Sutil: DRS didn’t work in Valencia
Although DRS has statistically contributed to more overtaking this season, Force India’s Adrian Sutil believes the system did not work effectively in Sunday’s European Grand Prix. After making his third stop, the German was unable to overhaul the two-stopping Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari for eighth place.

“I realized after my stop because suddenly I was ninth and I thought, ‘Okay, there’s something wrong, for sure there’s someone on a two-stop!’" Sutil explained of the moment he fell behind the Spaniard. “And it was him. I had the feeling that two stops were possible before the race, but it was on the edge. Probably his advantage was the new tires that he had, so that’s why it worked out well."

Despite two DRS zones, Sutil was unable to pass Alguersuari.

“I was getting closer," he added. “We were both on Primes (Medium compound tire) and he lost his tire performance a little bit in the end. I had better tires, but there was just not enough to pass.

“I think the DRS zone didn’t work very well. The first activation point was far too late and the second was not necessary because there’s a third gear corner where you can’t be close at all and we lose so much in the exit that you are never close enough to pass. I would need the whole first straight with DRS, but the activation was (only) working 400 meters after the exit of the previous corner."

Williams to run pre-Silverstone aero test
Williams will travel to Kemble in the Cotswolds, scene of the recent Force India aerodynamics test, for a straight-line run of their own prior to the British Grand Prix.

“We have a new front wing and revised diffuser for Silverstone," explains Technical Director Sam Michael. “We will test two diffusers on Friday with the new off-throttle ban coming into play, as well as testing various new over-run maps. We are going to Kemble to undertake some additional aero testing in preparation for our home event."

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