Mike Stevens | May 24, 2011

Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix was the best drive in the meteoric career of Sebastian Vettel.

That is the claim of triple world champion Niki Lauda, who said that despite Spain being the reigning world champion's fourth win of 2011, the pressure applied by Lewis Hamilton made it clearly the best.

"I've always said Sebastian is a great racing driver, but today he drove the biggest and best race of his life," Lauda said on German RTL television.

Barcelona did, however, raise a crucial question: how could McLaren's Hamilton apply so much pressure in the race following Red Bull's clear superiority in qualifying 24 hours earlier?

"I cannot give the answer," Alex Wurz said on Austrian television ORF, "or I could immediately sell it for a lot of money."

Asked the same question, Vettel is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport: "We've got a few theories."

The mystery raises an interesting prospect for Monaco, where Fernando Alonso expects 'DRS', KERS and the Pirelli factors to not be great enough to overcome the overtaking problem on the famously tight street circuit.

"In Monaco, if you are in front, it will be difficult for anyone to pass you," the Spaniard, who was lapped on Sunday despite leading the Barcelona race early on, told reporters.

"We know the important day in Monaco will be Saturday," Alonso continued. "For the first time this year qualifying will be more important."

(GMM)

 

Red Bull's Marko accuses Ferrari of spying

Helmut Marko suspects Ferrari is using a method to secretly listen in on Red Bull's race strategies during Grands Prix.

Red Bull's F1 consultant revealed his sensational suspicions on German RTL television after the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.

"We have noticed that Ferrari is doing some kind of espionage," said the Austrian.

Explaining his suspicion, Marko said: "We called Mark (Webber) into the box relatively late, and yet they (Ferrari) managed to get Alonso in as well. They had been able to respond to us."

It is believed Marko's suspicions hardened when Red Bull issued fake commands for its drivers to pit in Barcelona, and Ferrari still moved to respond.

Bild newspaper said Ferrari has not yet commented.

(GMM)

 

Cosworth can't afford 2013 engine rules: report

While rival engine manufacturers are playing their cards close to their chests, it is believed Cosworth's support for the 2013 engine formula is definitely wavering.

In a meeting with the suppliers and the FIA in Barcelona, the federation's President Jean Todt reportedly proposed that detuned V8s be able to compete alongside the new four-cylinder turbo engines.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that Cosworth, the independent British marque that was heavily supported by the FIA for its F1 return last year, told Todt they are not in a position to provide four-cylinder engines at a competitive price in 2013.

"The one aspect of the 2013 regulations that concerns us," admitted Cosworth's Mark Gallagher, "is that we know that our customers do not have an appetite to spend more money on formula one engines."

But an unnamed team boss believes Todt's proposed compromise would require that the four-cylinder turbos perform better than the V8s in 2013.

"Then Cosworth will have no more customers," he is quoted as saying. "Who will voluntarily buy an engine that is worse than the others?"

Bernie Ecclestone, therefore, proposes an alternative compromise.

"Jean can achieve all of his goals with the current V8s," said the F1 Chief Executive. "He can equip them with KERS, he can limit the fuel and we can postpone the introduction of the four-cylinders for two years."

(GMM)

 

Alonso cops $80m tax bill for return to Spain

Fernando Alonso's decision to return to live in Spain will cost him $80 million in tax, according to the British tabloid newspaper The Mirror.

The report said the Ferrari driver had been living in Switzerland for tax reasons but decided to move back to his native Oviedo to be closer to family and friends.

"It's great to go home. I'm happy to pay the money. I'm not poor - just a little bit less rich now," he smiled.

Meanwhile, the Swiss newspaper Le Temps has quoted F1 team boss and owner Peter Sauber as admitting he is happy with a modest lifestyle.

The 68-year-old lives on the shores of Lake Zurich but he reportedly does not have a yacht, jet or luxury villa.

And he recently moved out of a five bedroom house in exchange for a three bedroom apartment.

"My children have left home and we don't need much space," he said, explaining that he doesn't even drive a sports car.

"I have a car, that's enough. Yachts, I like them but I admire them only in the port of Monaco. I don't have enough time to be really interested."

Amazingly, he also revealed he is not really a motor racing fanatic.

"I'm not a big fan of racing. What interests me is not winning but the path it takes to get there," said Sauber.

(GMM)

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