Mike Stevens | Feb 21, 2012
  • Red Bull has 'clever' exhaust solution - Caubet
  • Bahrain disappointed to lose season open date
  • Keke Rosberg tips Caterham to step up in 2012
  • Trulli proud of F1 career 'without help'
  • 2013 France GP project 'not dead' - minister
  • Perez backer Slim not ruling out Ferrari future
 

Red Bull has 'clever' exhaust solution - Caubet

Red Bull has devised a "clever" way of reclaiming some of the downforce lost through the banning of blown diffusers.

That is the claim of Jean Francois Caubet, who is in charge of the team's engine supplier Renault.

Red Bull, the reigning back to back world champions, and Renault Sport F1 have worked more closely than ever before ahead of their 2012 title defence.

"Formula one is about creativity," Caubet is quoted by Germany's Auto Bild, "and although the rules have changed, we have worked with Red Bull and found a solution to compensate for the loss of performance."

Last year, the cars acquired extra downforce through the 'blowing' of hot engine exhaust gases into the diffuser, even when the driver was off the throttle.

It is rumoured that, despite the FIA's ban, some teams have flown close to the letter of the new rules with their new solutions.

"It is not the same as before," Caubet continued, "but a clever development that could make the difference."

After the first week of testing at Jerez recently, some observed that Adrian Newey's new Red Bull RB8 was cornering as though on rails.

"That's because we all used to play with model trains," joked team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

Added Newey: "The exhaust is one of the areas in which we still have some ideas up our sleeves."

(GMM)

 

Bahrain disappointed to lose season open date

Organisers of the Bahrain grand prix have admitted disappointment with being bumped from the head of the 2012 calendar.

Following the cancellation of its 2011 race and test over the civil unrest early last year, Bahrain was provisionally scheduled to return to F1 by opening this season's championship.

However, when the calendar was ultimately published, Bahrain was given a late April date, making it the fourth round after Australia, Malaysia and China.

Reports at the time said Bernie Ecclestone had "responded to teams' fears over the uncertain political landscape" in the island Kingdom.

So as tickets go on sale this week, the Sakhir circuit's chief executive admitted he is disappointed Melbourne will be kicking off the sport in less than a month's time.

"I think formula one should start the world championship in a timezone that makes sense," said Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa.

"We have a lot of support in Europe for our grand prix and to start in Australia, where it is 2am or 3am in Europe, that to me doesn't make sense," he is quoted by The National newspaper.

In addition to not being the season opener, Bahrain is also the second leg in a logistically-difficult 'back to back' pairing with China.

"Hosting the first race, you benefit obviously by people talking about you in the lead up to the start of the season," continued Al Khalifa.

"Now we are going to be after China so our event will come into play only after the third round. For us, it is important to host the race and we plan to make it a success," he added.

The slogan for Bahrain's 2012 return to F1 is 'Unified, One nation in celebration".

On the continuing security fears in Bahrain, Al Khalifa insisted: "I don't see an issue.

"Obviously, there are always concerns and the authorities are aware of that, but my main concern is that everybody is secure in and around the circuit and I am confident we can provide that."

(GMM)

 

Keke Rosberg tips Caterham to step up in 2012

1982 world champion Keke Rosberg has tipped Caterham to take a "step forward" in 2012.

But the Finn, whose son is the Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, also said Heikki Kovalainen's team could face a speed-bump in the form of its scheduled factory move.

"That will be a big distraction," Rosberg, 63, told the MTV3 broadcaster.

"It's not just moving a few machines but hundreds of people, not all of whom will want to move schools and children and the like. Let's see how they cope with it."

As for the former Lotus team's overall prospects for this season, however, Rosberg said: "They will probably go one step up from where they were last year, if only because they now have KERS in the picture.

"That should reduce the gap to Williams and Force India."

Rosberg said he is a supporter of the small teams, like Caterham and the struggling Marussia and HRT.

"You have to start somewhere; you can't come along and be Ferrari. And there is a need for the small teams, otherwise you would just have McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull. You need the top teams, the midfield teams and the small teams.

"Hopefully one day they can develop into a big team -- remember Stewart became Jaguar and finally Red Bull."

Rosberg said he rejects Ferrari's idea that small teams should give up on building their own cars and instead be allowed to buy a customer chassis.

"Imagine Ferrari is a half second faster than anyone else, so all of a sudden you have half the field with Ferraris all ahead of the others.

"If you could buy a last year's car, it increases the numbers and gives better access to the young drivers, engineers and mechanics," he added.

But the problem with that, he said, is F1's constantly changing rules.

"For example, the nose has changed for this year, so you can't really use last year's car (now). If you have a team that used to buy a car from someone else, what will they do then?

"F1 has always been the category in which teams build their own cars, otherwise it's GP2 with a lot of Ferraris," said Rosberg.

(GMM)

 

Trulli proud of F1 career 'without help'

The Italian press has pointed the finger at Vitaly Petrov's "rubles" as Jarno Trulli races out of formula one.

With Vitantonio Liuzzi replaced at HRT by Narain Karthikeyan, and veteran Trulli ousted at Caterham by Petrov, F1 history enters a new phase as Italy no longer has a single driver on the grid.

"If you look," said former grand prix winner Riccardo Patrese to La Stampa, "the drivers coming in now are from central America and the East."

The unsponsored Trulli, 37, said he still wants to race but also has his wine and hotel businesses to keep him busy.

"More than anything else, apart from the results, I am proud to have been able to fulfil my dream of racing in F1 for many years and stay on the grid on my own power, without anybody's help," he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Switzerland's Blick newspaper points out that no fewer than 81 Italian drivers have raced in the modern F1 championship.

And Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio reminded that in 1989, no fewer than 16 drivers in the field were Italian.

Some Italian fans are pointing the finger at Ferrari, annoyed that the famous marque has not signed a full-time Italian race driver for many years.

And why Felipe Massa? "Because we believe in him," an official of the Maranello based team is quoted by Spain's Marca newspaper.

"It's not enough to have an Italian passport to drive for Ferrari," he added.

(GMM)

 

2013 France GP project 'not dead' - minister

France's sports minister insists the country is still on course to return to the formula one calendar.

Recently, a deal to see the Paul Ricard circuit annually share a grand prix date with Belgium's fabled Spa-Francorchamps seemed imminent.

But although the key meeting with Bernie Ecclestone took place nearly a month ago now, sports minister David Douillet said the 2013 French grand prix "is not dead".

"We have three new French drivers in F1 and so we have to have a grand prix de France," he is quoted by TF1 television. "That's my job.

"France is the land of the grand prix," added Douillet. "I met with Bernie Ecclestone and he is totally willing to share it between Belgium and France.

"He has mobilised and motivated local governments for the financing of the event, even if we are yet to have all the details from our Belgian friends.

"There are also some details to go with one or two of the close cities. We are almost there," he insisted.

(GMM)

 

Perez backer Slim not ruling out Ferrari future

Sergio Perez's backer has admitted a move for the Mexican driver to Ferrari is not out of the question for 2013.

Already a part of Ferrari's driver programme, Perez is also strongly backed by Telmex, the telcom headed by the world's richest man, Carlos Slim.

Slim's son, Carlos Slim Domit, controls Telmex's formula one programme, which is currently in the form of sponsorship of the Ferrari-powered Sauber team.

But Perez, 22, is tipped to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari next year.

"His most important challenge is this season," Slim Domit told Spain's AS sports newspaper.

"A good championship in 2012 can put him into the frame with the best teams, but a bad year would have the opposite effect," he admitted.

"It is true that there is a relationship with Ferrari on two levels -- with them being the engine supplier of Sauber and the other because he (Perez) is in their young (driver) programme.

"It's a tough sport where results matter and, as such, the future will be clearer," added Slim.

He was also asked if Telmex has considered buying a F1 team, amid reports recently that the Slim family is interested in struggling HRT.

"I don't know," answered slim. "In our case, being not directly involved allows us to select the team we work with and we do not change our strategy."

(GMM)

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