Latest F1 news in brief

  • Hot Hungary could swing supremacy back to Brawn
  • Political crisis damaged F1 – poll
  • Fatalities can also happen in F1 – Lauda
  • Senna not interested in mid-season F1 drive
  • Alguersuari's biggest worry is fitness
  • F1's engine rules do not interest Mario Illien

Hot Hungary could swing supremacy back to Brawn
(GMM) Forecast hot weather in Hungary this weekend is expected to help Brawn GP get back on terms with the pace of championship chasers Red Bull.

The weather in the capital Budapest, just a short drive from the Hungaroring in nearby Mogyorod, has been very hot so far this week and is expected to remain in the mid and even high thirties until Friday practice.

Saturday and Sunday will be cooler, but the sunshine has the Brackley based team hopeful for better performance than at Silverstone and the Nurburgring, where Red Bull's RB5 was dominant.

The heavy braking nature of the twisty track, and a significant aerodynamic upgrade, is also buoying the mood of the Brawn team.

Team boss Ross Brawn thinks the Mercedes-powered car's problems at the last two venues were magnified by Red Bull taking "a good step forward".

"We are confident that the inherent performance of the BGP001 which was demonstrated during the first half of the season has not disappeared and the problems that we faced were unique to the circumstances of those races," he said.

If the Hungarian weather helps Brawn get more out of the Bridgestone tires, while Red Bull hope for cooler ambient temperatures, Jenson Button is confident that more good results should follow at the remaining races of 2009.

"The second half of the season has more warm-weather tracks," the championship leader said in an interview with Motorsport Aktuell.

Political crisis damaged F1 – poll
(GMM) F1's long and bitter political war of the past months did some damage to the sport, according to a poll.

Germany's RTL broadcaster reports that 18.9 per cent of surveyed fans indicated that their interest in formula one has declined as a direct result of the saga.

73.2 per cent, meanwhile, said their interest in the sport remains the same in the wake of the Max Mosley power struggle and the F1 teams' breakaway threats.

It is now expected that the Concorde Agreement, a binding contract that will guarantee stability at least until the end of 2012, will be imminently signed off and ratified by the FIA's World Motor Sport Council.

It is hoped this can occur before this weekend's Hungarian grand prix.

"We are on a very good way to achieving the set goals," admitted Mercedes' Norbert Haug during a teleconference with German media this week.

The German said he hopes a new period of "cooperation" will follow.

"Confrontations must only occur when there is no alternative," Haug added, insisting that the FOTA teams are not "revolutionaries" but rather "the core of formula one".

Fatalities can also happen in F1 – Lauda
(GMM) Niki Lauda insists Henry Surtees' death at the wheel of a formula 2 car on Sunday should be a reminder that fatalities in premier open wheel categories remain possible.

"There can always be accidents like that, also in formula one," the former triple world champion, who nearly died after his fiery Nurburgring crash in 1976, told Germany's Sport Bild.

Some reports have indicated it is the inferior and low-cost nature of the F2 series that contributed to the death of Surtees, who was struck on the helmet at 200kph by the flying wheel of a crashed competitor.

In fact, the single seaters in the relaunched FIA series were designed by Williams and passed all the tests and safety standards seen in formula one in 2005, even though the safety of some of the circuits used is not as high.

"The safety standard in formula one is very high, no question, but we should not be dazzled by that," the Austrian, who learned of Surtees' crash by text message from his own racing son, said during the interview.

Mathias Lauda, 28, drives for Mercedes in the DTM series.

"As a racing driver and a father it is very clear to me that motor sport is dangerous," Niki Lauda continued.

Senna not interested in mid-season F1 drive
(GMM) Bruno Senna has said he would be reluctant to enter formula one in the middle of a season with no testing experience.

This weekend in Hungary, new Toro Rosso recruit Jaime Alguersuari, 19, will become the youngest ever F1 rookie, with only two straight-line tests in grand prix machinery under his belt.

25-year-old Senna, who is not racing full time in any category this year, had been similarly linked with the Faenza based team, but he told GP Week that it is "too late" to be still aiming for a drive in the 2009 championship.

"I'm in Miami, having some time off and waiting for the (political) mess in formula one to resolve itself so that I can manage to have some productive chats with people," he said.

Senna added that an opportunity to jump into the sport now as a rookie amid the in-season testing ban would not be overly attractive.

"It would do more harm than good to jump in with no testing," the Brazilian insists. "It's better to wait and do things properly for next year."

Senna attended the recent British grand prix and reveals he has been in contact with some of F1's existing teams as well as the "new teams".

Alguersuari's biggest worry is fitness
(GMM) Jaime Alguersuari, the youngest ever rookie in formula one, has revealed that his biggest worry for his debut race this weekend is his physical condition.

"The most difficult thing will be the fitness," said the teenage Spaniard, who has replaced the ousted Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso.

Alguersuari may be young and inexperienced but he is no stranger to single seater racing.

He is the reigning champion of British F3 and now racing in the World Series by Renault, which was also the stepping-stone to F1 for big names including Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel.

In the middle of June, he was racing at the Hungaroring, and while grand prix pilots were idle last weekend, Alguersuari was in action at the Le Mans circuit.

But as for this weekend's 70-lap Budapest challenge, he admits: "The race is much longer than I am used to." Fellow Spaniard Marc Gene concurs, believing Alguersuari may struggle in Hungary particularly in the area of neck strength.

Otherwise, Alguersuari is not overly worried, and mature enough to understand that although with no promises beyond the end of the season, Toro Rosso is allowing him to use the opportunity to prepare for 2010.

"In a lot of ways formula one is the very top, but it is still a racing car," he told Spanish media on Tuesday. "There are two pedals and a steering wheel, like all the others.

"I know that it is going to be very difficult for me to arrive immediately with the same speed as the others, but I am calm and the team is not putting pressure on me."

With a draconian testing ban in force, Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost believes Alguersuari's debut is an example of how grand prix careers will now begin. He rejects outright any fears the youngster might be a danger either to himself or his F1 rivals.

"Jaime has a similar amount of experience (for F1) as did Sebastian Vettel in 2006, when he drove for the first time (in practice) for BMW in Turkey," he told Sport Bild.

"And Kimi Raikkonen had substantially less experience when Peter Sauber gave him his chance in 2001," Tost added.

"Jaime is ready, I have no doubts. He is the most developed in the Red Bull junior program, we are not going to put pressure on him and he will get better and better with every race as he learns."

F1's engine rules do not interest Mario Illien
(GMM) Mario Illien, formerly the designer of Mercedes-Benz's championship winning formula one engines, insists the current rules do not inspire him to consider a return to the sport.

Since Mercedes bought the F1 related part of his Ilmor firm in 2005, the Swiss began focusing on his ties with the IRL and NASCAR series in America and even attempted a foray into the world of MotoGP.

Since he departed the F1 paddock, the world championship has switched to V8 engines and progressively eased down the development chase to today's era of rev limits and an engine 'freeze'.

In 2009, drivers are allowed only 8 engines for the entire championship, and there is talk of reducing this number even further to just five in 2010.

In Ilmor's era, such as when Mika Hakkinen won the 1998 and 1999 titles, engine makers were building up to 200 engines a season.

Today, arguably the most important element is reliability, with most F1 engines actually performing on a similar level.

"Personally I don't find it very interesting any more," he said in an interview with "I have to say on one hand I am glad that I am no longer there.

"The worst thing is that they are spending exactly the same money today as we spent in the past, but for relatively little progress."

Illien said that although the modern engine regulations have introduced "stability", he joked that the same principle of stability can also be applied to how fascinating this era of F1 engine development is.

"Now no one talks about the engines," he lamented. "(In F1) it is practically a standard engine, with too much regulation. A great many parameters (of the designs) are prescribed.

"My passion in racing is for the development, and that is no longer present."

Asked if he would consider returning to F1, Illien said the "conditions" would have to be correct, in terms of the ability for engine makers to be "creative" with modern rules such as limits on the amount of fuel that can be used per race.

"We will see what happens," he added.

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