Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

UPDATE Updates shown in Red below.


  • Vettel has the same equipment as his teammate Webber, but Vettel is so much better than the rest of the drivers in F1 he makes the races sometimes look like a snoozefest

    F1 circuits want 18,000rpm for new engine rules

  • Hamilton criticizes McLaren for avoiding 'risk'
  • Media slams Vettel's 'snooze control' in Valencia
  • Alguersuari 'shuts mouths' with improved form
  • Schumacher must trigger 2012 contract option
  • Newey expects some rivals to gain from exhaust clampdown New
  • FIA to discuss red flag regulations New
  • Teams consider option of Formula 1 buyout New
  • Haug insists Schumacher has three-year contract New

F1 circuits want 18,000rpm for new engine rules
(GMM) The vast majority of the formula one race promoters are threatening to boycott the sport over proposed engine rules for the future.

The FIA is set to scrap the controversial four-cylinder rules for 2013 after the teams and engine makers agreed instead to run turbo V6 engines in 2014.

But every grand prix race promoter except China and Korea remains unhappy, signing a letter threatening to drop F1 and instead host IndyCar events if the rev-limit does not remain at 18,000 in 2014 and beyond.

The letter, dated one day after last week's F1 Commission meeting in London, said the sound of the new engine rules in the future "is to be the same as the current (V8) engine".

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday told the German news agency SID that he was aware of the letter and supported the promoters.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Walker, from whose office the letter was penned, is quoted by the UK Express newspaper as saying the proposed low-revving engine "would be like a tin can rattling".

"We are not going to have our customer base destroyed. I told them (the FIA) that the circuits would not run it. The sound is part of the brand."

Walker also confirmed that Ecclestone backs the promoters' position.

Hamilton criticizes McLaren for avoiding 'risk'
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton left Valencia unhappy that McLaren has not taken more risks in the development of the 2011 car.

The MP4-26, recently Red Bull's closest challenger, struggled on the streets of Valencia, leaving Jenson Button pleading for "some really good upgrades" for Silverstone and beyond.

"We need to take some risks," said the 2009 world champion. "I do know of some new parts that are coming but we need some more."

Now approaching 100 points behind runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton and also Ferrari's Fernando Alonso on Sunday wrote off their 2011 title chances.

And Hamilton sounded critical of his McLaren bosses.

"They didn't want to take the risk," the 26-year-old is quoted by the Telegraph. "For safety reasons.

"The question is whether or not we would have finished (the race) if we had taken the risk, but then that is what risk is all about.

"We had another couple of tenths available to us which I think would have been quite strong and it would have helped look after our tires," added Hamilton.

The Briton admitted that the risky components ruled out by his bosses related to exhaust blowing. "I pushed as hard as I could (to have them)," he insisted.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh, however, appeared to lay the blame elsewhere for his drivers' poor afternoons.

"It was a tough afternoon for the guys which was a consequence of starts which weren't optimal," he is quoted by the Guardian. "Then we were overheating the tires."

Media slams Vettel's 'snooze control' in Valencia
(GMM) The media slammed the sagging spectacle of Sunday's European grand prix.

After seven exciting races boosted by the new overtaking 'DRS' system and heavily degrading Pirelli tires, the formula did not conspire to spice up the usually-processional action on the streets of Valencia.

Making the situation worse was Sebastian Vettel's further extension of his runaway championship lead, and then his exuberant celebration on the radio.

His upbeat message "Fantastic boys, I can't tell you how good this feels" was met with "deafening silence in the multinational media centre", according to the Telegraph's Tom Cary.

The Sunday Express' Bob McKenzie agreed that the 23-year-old German shifted F1 into "snooze control" in the Spanish sun with the Valencia "yawnfest".

Agreed the Independent's David Tremayne: "If all the races were run on tracks as infernally dull and uninvolving as the one here, the FIA might as well hand another world champion's trophy to Sebastian Vettel right now.

"For heaven's sake, even kids with their Scalextric come up with better layouts," he added in a barb apparently pointed at F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke.

Added the Daily Star's James Murray: "Sebastian Vettel won one of the most boring races ever and there are fears the rest of the season will be the same."

And the Sun's Michael Spearman said: "The street race around the Valencia Marina complex was about as thrilling as a four-hour Wagnerian epic."

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport pointed out that there was not a single "retirement, safety car or crash" and the DRS proved "inefficient despite the two overtaking zones".

Bild am Sonntag newspaper said: "The best things about the Valencia race were the sea, the blue sky, the bobbing yachts and the bikini girls."

"It was the first horribly boring race of the season," agreed Austria's Kleine Zeitung.

"Most viewers felt overwhelmed with boredom by the procession," added the Swiss daily Le Temps.

The Times' Kevin Eason observed on Twitter that Vettel said the race was "maybe boring" for the spectators. "Too right chum," the journalist quipped.

But the Telegraph's Cary said it is wrong to blame the smiling Red Bull driver.

"The index-finger waggling celebration is becoming irksome but only because he is jabbing it in our faces every fortnight," he said.

Meanwhile, European grand prix promoter Jorge Martinez Aspar insisted the event had been "excellent" and attended by a healthy 85,000.

But he told EFE news agency that there is "no rush" to sign a five-year option for more Valencia races post 2014.

"We are happy with the situation and want to make the project viable. Ecclestone is willing to help," said Aspar, "but we need to further involve the city."

Alguersuari 'shuts mouths' with improved form
(GMM) Jaime Alguersuari was asked on Sunday if he hoped his improved form in the month of June had silenced the doubters.

Daniel Ricciardo is waiting in the wings at Toro Rosso and Spaniard Alguersuari's sagging form in 2011 had marked him out as the cockpit occupant most likely to make way.

Alguersuari lost his temper with the "boring" speculation earlier at Valencia, where on Sunday he made up for a bad qualifying with a second consecutive run to eighth place.

"It's not my intention to shut mouths," he told AS sports newspaper after the race when asked if the good results in Canada and Valencia would silence the critics.

"I'm here to do the best job I can but I don't think it was better than Monaco, Barcelona and Canada. I'm not superman and have always done the best that I can do."

Earlier, Alguersuari had gritted his teeth when informing reporters that the only figure who will decide his future in formula one is Red Bull's driver manager Dr Helmut Marko.

But Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost seemed happy on Sunday.

"Jaime demonstrated he can deliver a strong race drive, getting a good start and then running at a fast pace from the early stages onwards.

"In general, his performance curve is going upwards so we can expect more races like this from him in the future."

Schumacher must trigger 2012 contract option
(GMM) Michael Schumacher can decide if he stays at Mercedes or hangs up his formula one comeback at the end of this season.

After a disappointing season and a half since returning to F1 with Mercedes looked to have turned a corner in Canada, the famous 42-year-old German had yet another bad race on the streets of Valencia.

He admitted he was to blame for colliding with Renault's Vitaly Petrov and finishing seventeenth.

"Not a very satisfying race for me," said Schumacher.

Earlier at the Spanish port venue, it emerged that Schumacher's three-year contract was in fact a two year deal including a one-side option for 2012.

The Cologne tabloid Express reports that it is therefore still possible that Nico Rosberg will be partnered next year by the heavily Mercedes-supported Force India rookie Paul di Resta.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn was asked before the European grand prix on whose side – team or driver – Schumacher's 2012 option can be triggered.

"Michael's," the Briton answered.

Newey expects some rivals to gain from exhaust clampdown
Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey expects Mercedes and Ferrari to benefit most from the clampdown on off-throttle exhaust blown diffusers at the British Grand Prix, and admitted RB7's loss of performance will be significant.

All the teams use exhaust gases to enhance the performance of their diffusers and most have developed elaborate engine maps to maintain a constant stream of gases to the rear of the car, even when the driver is off the throttle. At the British Grand Prix the sport's governing body will restrict off-throttle exhaust blowing to 10% of full throttle, which should result in a decrease in performance for all of the front-running teams.

Red Bull initially questioned the decision to make such a significant rule change mid-season and Newey is concerned it could give some of its rivals an advantage.

"We've got a regulation change, let's face it," Newey told BBC Sport. "How that is going to affect us compared to the others is difficult to tell. Lotus Renault, they're the ones who have clearly designed their car around the exhausts, so they I would imagine must be concerned. We designed our car around the exhaust in as much as we had the exhaust solution that you see on the car from very early on in the research of RB7.

"So we've never taken it off before and we don't know how that is going to affect us compared to our direct competitors. I think probably that Ferrari and Mercedes will be less affected than we are, McLaren may also be less affected. We designed and develop the car around it the others fitted it basically for the first race." ESPN F1

FIA to discuss red flag regulations
FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting has explained that Formula 1’s governing body is to discuss the sporting regulations involving red flag periods. In Monaco last month, a potentially thrilling top three finish was compromised as leaders – in a completely legal fashion – were able to switch to new tires during the stoppage.

“I think there are two things we've learned from suspending a race this year," Whiting said in Valencia. “One is we need to discuss with the teams whether or not working on cars should be allowed and whether a change of tires should be allowed during a suspension."

He also discussed the duration of delays following the lengthy stoppage for heavy rain just over a fortnight ago in Canada:

“I never would have thought it, but we maybe need to think about a maximum time for the race. At the moment, as you know, the time for any suspension is added onto the two hours (maximum time limit) – that's why we ran for four hours and four minutes. We're going to discuss that with the teams."

Teams consider option of Formula 1 buyout
Formula 1’s teams have discussed the possibility of buying out the sport when its current commercial rights holders elect to leave. This follows earlier bids this year from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and Ferrari-connected Exor, which is a holding company of the Agnelli family which owns Fiat.

Although CVC Capital Partners have expressed no desire to sell, having bought the sport’s commercial rights for an estimated 1.7 billion dollars (£1.06bn) in 2006, teams have conversed over the prospect of owning F1 themselves in the future.

“The teams have discussed the possibility," Williams Chairman Adam Parr explained to The Independent.

“It would be great for us to have a significant stake, though I don't think we should control the commercial rights. We could work alongside Bernie (Ecclestone, Chief Executive of the Formula One Management) and someone like CVC."

Haug insists Schumacher has three-year contract
(GMM) Norbert Haug has dismissed the latest speculation about Michael Schumacher.

At Valencia, Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn suggested that the seven time world champion's current three-year contract might be in fact a two-year deal with an option for 2012.

But Haug, the German carmaker's motor racing vice-president, insisted on Monday: "Michael says himself that he has a three-year contract. Until then we are not thinking even a bit about what is going to happen."

However, 42-year-old Schumacher said when he returned last year that he is not interested in racing in F1's midfield.

But Haug has told the German news agency SID that Brackley based Mercedes GP is yet to make its most difficult step.

"The fact is that in this business there are three top teams, and we have established ourselves as the fourth," he said.

"I don't think you jump so easily from fourth to first. From sixth to fourth is already difficult, but from fourth to third, second and first — those are the hardest steps," insisted Haug.

He refuses to blame Mercedes' budget.

"We can't hide behind it, because I don't think it is the limiting factor," said Haug. "We definitely don't have the highest budget, but it is good enough. So we need to keep working."

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