Mike Stevens | May 11, 2011

The F1 paddock is split between either raging against Sebastian Vettel's current dominance, or accepting that the 2011 crown seems destined for the head of the 23-year-old German.

"If he keeps it up like this, the season will be over at half distance," the blunt RTL commentator and triple world champion Niki Lauda said after Turkey.

At Istanbul Park, Vettel continued his perfect pole record and won his third race of the season, moving France's L'Equipe to dub him 'Mr 93 percent'.

That is a reference to the fact the Red Bull driver is only seven points short of having captured a maximum 100 points haul from the first four rounds of 2011.

"If it continues like this, it is no longer a question or if (Vettel) will win the championship, but just when," wrote La Gazzetta dello Sport.

McLaren's Jenson Button, however, sounded angry when told by reporters that Vettel will almost certainly defend his title.

"What's the point in saying that? We might as well fu**ing go home. I mean, come on guys, let's not make it too negative," said the Briton.

But Button's teammate Lewis Hamilton acknowledged: "It's very similar to when Schumacher was dominating. Now Sebastian is dominating."

Told the season could be over after as few as 10 races, he responded: "I don't have a fear that will happen, but it is possible. But it is also possible we could catch up and overtake them."

(GMM)

 

Renault Eyes Williams As Fourth F1 Engine Customer

Renault is looking for a fourth customer team in F1 and Williams has emerged as the frontrunner.

Rumours in Turkey last weekend said the troubled British independent Williams is considering switching from Cosworth.

Renault Sport F1, now only an engine supplier to the sport, currently supplies the two Lotus teams as well as Red Bull.

Managing director Jean-Francois Caubet told Germany's motorsport-total.com that talks with Williams have begun, "But not only them", the Frenchman insisted.

"Our goal is to have four teams," he added, clarifying that the FIA would have to agree to Renault expanding beyond three engine supply contracts.

Another stumbling block could be adapting the Renault engine to accommodate Williams' own KERS system.

And team shareholder Toto Wolff suggested the Oxfordshire based team has bigger problems to solve at present.

"The fact that the (Cosworth) engine might not be as strong as the Mercedes, we have known for some time, but this is the last issue that is under discussion," said the Austrian, referring to Williams' worst start to a new season in its long history.

(GMM)

 

Renault Car More Impressive Than Ferrari's: Newey

Renault's 2011 car has impressed leading designer Adrian Newey more than the latest single seater produced by Ferrari.

"The Renault has impressed me the most," Red Bull technical chief Newey said in an interview with Spain's El Pais newspaper.

"It's exhaust system is completely different to the others. I haven't analysed it deeply but the path they have taken is completely unique and very brave, and that's always good," he added.

As for Ferrari's 150 Italia, Newey said it is "a conventional car".

And McLaren "have worked hard on the sidepods, which are different, but I think the change is more visual than anything else.

"I think the vast majority of teams chose to evolve their previous cars," said the Briton.

For that reason, Newey said rival teams subsequently copying the dominant RB7's exhaust layout is simultaneously "flattering" but also "irritating".

(GMM)

 

Pitstop Frenzy 'Too Much' In 2011: Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali has warned F1 to proceed with caution as its new chaotic formula leaves spectators dazzled.

After many seasons in recent history featuring predictable strategies and few overtaking moves, many pundits are hailing the Pirelli tyres and 'DRS' system for radically transforming the races in 2011.

But Sunday in Turkey hosted more pitstops than even the chaotic rain-affected 1993 race at Donington, and Nico Rosberg admitted afterwards that he had no idea of his race position until the closing corners.

And race winner Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso also admitted that Turkey must have been confusing for the spectators, while Domenicali raised a safety issue relating to the orgy of pitstops.

"Four pitstops I think is too much, personally," agreed Ferrari team boss Domenicali to Diario Sport newspaper.

"Especially for the safety in the pitlane. In Istanbul it is not such a concern but with other grands prix there will be more difficulties. We will have to be very careful," he added.

Domenicali was happier with FIA president Jean Todt's intention to push for some in-season testing to be allowed in 2012 or 2013.

"It was extreme to go from so many miles of testing in the past to an absolute prohibition," agreed the Italian.

"I have always thought that a compromise was more sensible," added Domenicali.

(GMM)

 

Buemi 'A Driver With A Future': Ascanelli

Sebastien Buemi's future looks brighter after a shining performance in Turkey.

The 22-year-old Swiss was earmarked as the most likely to move over at the end of the season so that Daniel Ricciardo can make his Toro Rosso debut in 2012.

But Buemi drove a brilliant race at Istanbul Park, running seventh near the end after starting 16th on the grid, and eventually crossing the line in ninth place.

"We have rarely seen so much fight from Sebastien," team boss Franz Tost told the Swiss newspaper Blick.

Agreed Toro Rosso's highly respected technical boss Giorgio Ascanelli: "Buemi has really matured. He has learned from his mistakes and with his new fitness coach is now focused on his job.

"He's a driver with a future," added the Italian.

(GMM)

 

Alonso: Briatore 'Not Mourinho' As Ferrari Rumours Swirl

Fernando Alonso would like to see Flavio Briatore back in F1, but he denies his arrival at Ferrari "would be like Mou in Madrid".

The 'Mou' reference is to Jose Mourinho, the highly respected Portuguese football coach who arrived at Real Madrid last year and is regarded as one of the best managers in history.

In Turkey last weekend, rumours that Briatore - currently banned from Formula One for the 'crashgate' scandal - could be heading to Ferrari were mentioned by Sky Italia.

"I would like Flavio to return, we miss him," Alonso told Spanish broadcaster TV3. "He is an unique character but it wouldn't be like Mou in Madrid", he added, possibly referring to Mourinho's latest controversies.

Instead, Alonso said Ferrari has important questions to ask itself regarding its overall approach to designing its single seaters.

"I think Ferrari has to try to change a little bit the way we work, risking more and being more innovative," he said. "From now on we have to start inventing."

The Spaniard insists the 2011 season is still long but acknowledged the challenge of chasing down Red Bull's runaway Sebastian Vettel.

"We will not give up so soon but we are aware of the difficulty of having this championship," said the 29-year-old.

Ferrari technical director Aldo Costa also said it will take some more time before the 150 Italia car is a winner.

"Probably in Barcelona we will take another step forward," he told Diario Sport, "but we will have to wait for some more races to fight for victory."

(GMM)

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