Mike Stevens | Apr 19, 2012
  • 2012 rules 'deliberately' attacked Red Bull - Marko
  • No bitterness as Red Bull congratulates Mercedes
  • 'Long way' until Schumacher contract decision - Brawn
  • New York trouble could be good for Austin
  • Ferrari setting 2012 pace in the pits
  • Ecclestone proposes 'Grand Slam' F1 races
  • Ecclestone confirms Concorde row with Mercedes
  • Ecclestone backs customer cars, not budget cap
 

2012 rules 'deliberately' attacked Red Bull - Marko

Dr Helmut Marko has aimed fire at F1's new rules for 2012, claiming they were devised "deliberately" to end the era of Red Bull dominance.

"We no longer have the superiority that we had last year," the energy drink owned team's Austrian consultant acknowledged on Servus TV this week.

"This is due to several technical changes that were introduced deliberately against Red Bull," said Marko.

He conceded that the new rules apply to every team, but is clearly suggesting that the exhaust blown diffuser clampdown, and the tougher rigidity tests for the front wings, were devised with Sebastian Vettel's utter dominance of the 2011 season in mind.

"But that is not an excuse for our car not being at the level it should be at," Marko insisted.

(GMM)

 

No bitterness as Red Bull congratulates Mercedes

Apr.18 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko insists there are no hard feelings between Red Bull and Mercedes, after Nico Rosberg last weekend scored the German carmaker's first works grand prix win in half a century.

Earlier, the two teams had been at loggerheads over the controversial 'double-DRS' innovation, with Mercedes returning fire by questioning the legality of Red Bull's engine settings.

When asked if the spat meant Sunday's Shanghai result was sour in Red Bull advisor Marko's mouth, the Austrian insisted: "We're competitors, and of course we all try to get the best outcome for our own teams.

"But I congratulated Norbert Haug sincerely at the airport in Shanghai."

Marko said the double-DRS argument is effectively now over.

"The unsuccessful protest means that the F-duct system is legal," he said, "so for us that's it."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted this week that it is "inevitable" other teams will now seek to develop their own double-DRS.

"First of all, like any component," he is quoted by the Daily Mail, "it has to earn a place on the car as a package.

"It's not a given that on everybody's car it's bolt-on lap time."

(GMM)

 

'Long way' until Schumacher contract decision - Brawn

Mercedes will decide later this season if Michael Schumacher's contract will be extended beyond 2012.

The current three year deal, which began when the seven time world champion decided to return to F1 from retirement with Mercedes in 2010, runs out this season.

Schumacher struggled notably in 2010 and 2011 but appears to have returned to form with the W03, which in teammate Nico Rosberg's hands won the recent Chinese grand prix from pole.

So will the famous German, who will be 44 next year, race the W04 in 2013?

"Everything is completely open," team boss Ross Brawn is quoted by German publications, including Sport1.

"It will be clear what is best for him, what is best for us, and what is best for all of us together, at some point in the season," he added.

"But there is still a long way to go until then," said Brawn.

According to paddock insiders, a new deal for Schumacher is highly likely.

"He's a fantastic driver and a great team player," Briton Brawn, a close colleague and friend dating back to their successful days at Ferrari, concluded.

(GMM)

 

New York trouble could be good for Austin

Apparent troubles for New York's inaugural grand prix could be good news for Texas, according to reports in the United States.

Bernie Ecclestone said on Tuesday that the race scheduled for mid next year on the streets of New Jersey could be pushed back to 2014.

Austin broadcaster KXAN reported that the news could mean the organisers in Austin, scrambling to have the bespoke Circuit of the Americas ready for this November's US grand prix, can get immediate access to state funding.

But a spokesman for the Texas comptroller said: "Any situation with the New Jersey race would not change the decision to not pay funds in advance of Austin's formula one race."

(GMM)

 

Ferrari setting 2012 pace in the pits

Ferrari does not have a leading car so far in 2012, but when it comes to pitstops, the famous Italian team is setting the pace.

That is the finding of the Spanish sports daily Marca, reporting that Fernando Alonso's 2.4 second pitstop in Shanghai was the fastest of all.

And the report said Ferrari's pitstops were on average six tenths better than those performed by rival top teams Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull in China.

Marca also said Ferrari has managed to speed up its pitstops compared with the 2011 season, despite the FIA's ban on helium-powered air-guns that has cost every team at least two tenths of a second.

"On a grid as tight as this one (in 2012), it is very important to take care of these sorts of details," Fernando Alonso is quoted as saying.

"They can gain you positions and points, which could be decisive at the end of the season."

Ferrari test driver Marc Gene agreed that the only missing element at the Maranello based team at present is a good car.

"On the other hand," he told Diario Sport newspaper, "it is noteworthy that we have done the best pitstops, the strategies have generally been good, and the car is reliable.

"What we lack is the pure speed, both in qualifying and the race," added Gene.

(GMM)

 

The Ecclestone Extra

 

Ecclestone proposes 'Grand Slam' F1 races

Bernie Ecclestone's latest proposal is that F1's most important races become a tennis-like 'Grand Slam'.

Insisting that the calendar will probably not expand much beyond 20 races, the F1 chief executive also admitted that "circumstances change".

If that's the case, the most important races could be like international tennis' Slams.

"Absolutely," Ecclestone told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport. "I'm working on it.

"And if it gets that far, then there would be more points for the Grand Slam races."

(GMM)

 

Ecclestone confirms Concorde row with Mercedes

Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed he is still at loggerheads with Mercedes over the new Concorde Agreement.

The German carmaker's team is the big missing name, after F1 chief executive Ecclestone announced recently he has agreed terms with "the majority" of the teams including Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull.

"Mercedes is very important to formula one. I have always supported them and I will always.

"I'm talking about the car company," Ecclestone told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

The distinction he is making is that the disagreement he is having is with Brackley based Mercedes GP, the Ross Brawn led works outfit.

The team believes it should have been offered a better deal, based on Mercedes' long history in the sport.

Ecclestone disagrees.

"If you trace the roots of that team, they started as Tyrrell," he said. "Since then, there have been four different owners and four different names.

"I can see little history with this (Mercedes) team," Ecclestone insisted.

The Briton confirmed that teams will receive bonuses under the new Concorde for "history and success", adding that Mercedes has won "one race" so far.

He confirmed that he has been in contact with Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche.

"I talked to him last week about my position on Mercedes. I think he undertood," said Ecclestone.

"I have spoken to the team manager about it and he seems to believe that the team has won a few world titles and about 80 races since the Tyrrell days."

(GMM)

 

Ecclestone backs customer cars, not budget cap

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he does not support moves to install a budget cap in F1.

"It wouldn't work," the sport's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

The big teams are also unlikely to join the cause, after Lotus and Sauber said recently a capped budget would provide a fairer playing field.

Ecclestone continued: "You can't stop people from spending the money they have. They will always find a way to get around whatever you try to do to control it.

"Instead, the technical rules should be written so that it is not possible to just use money to make a faster car," he insisted.

Another solution, said the 81-year-old Briton, is to allow smaller teams to buy year-old customer cars.

He said a clause will "probably" be written into the next Concorde Agreement.

Ecclestone acknowledged the dilemma that allowing customer cars could result in all the small teams buying the best car off-the-shelf, resulting in there being only a handful of constructors left on the grid.

"The way I'm imagining it, this would not be possible," he insisted. "I'll tell you about it soon."

(GMM)

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