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F1: Webber Has Fresh Engine Advantage, Push On To Move Melbourne GP: Report Photo:
Mike Stevens | Sep, 23 2010 | 1 Comment

From the perspective of spare fresh engines in the bank, championship leader Mark Webber has an advantage in the five-race run to the 2010 finale.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have each used their full allocation of eight engines for the season, meaning that if they need to use more engines in 2010, they will incur ten-place grid penalties.

"We preferred to use a new engine at Monza and then manage the mileage for the next five races," team boss Stefano Domenicali is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have used 7 engines apiece, so they each have a spare engine in the bag.

"The McLaren drivers (are a threat) because they look to have a bit more reliability up their sleeve with engines, and we don't know what's going to go on at the end of the year," Webber said in an interview with BBC Sport.

Also having used 7 engines so far are the Mercedes, Force India, Toro Rosso, HRT, Virgin and Lotus drivers, Williams' Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi.

Sebastian Vettel has a spare Renault engine in the bank, but Webber has two fresh engines still to fit in the rear of his RB6.

"Singapore should suit us if Monaco is anything to go by," said the Australian, who won that famous street race in May.

"We've seen performance move around a little bit - not much - against the form card but on paper the next few circuits look like they should be good for us," added Webber.

Also with two spare engines left are the works Renault drivers, and Williams' Rubens Barrichello.

Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa, meanwhile, ran out of engines in Belgium last month, forcing him ten places down the grid after a ninth Ferrari unit was installed.

Nick Heidfeld is now taking over car number 22, meaning that if a tenth engine needs to be fitted at any of the five remaining races this season, it will be the German serving a grid penalty.



Moves Afoot To Move Melbourne GP Beyond 2015 Contract

A new venue for the Australian grand prix beyond 2015 could be shaping up near Melbourne.

Earlier this month, Calder Park owner Bob Jane denied a major redevelopment of his circuit was a move to become an alternative for current F1 host Albert Park.

The Australian round, currently hosted on a mainly temporary circuit south of the city, made international headlines last week when an unprecedented $50m taxpayer's loss for the 2010 edition was revealed.

The local morning newspaper Herald Sun now reports that the state Victorian government, the sanctioning body CAMS, and Jane have signed an agreement.

The report said the agreement might also be to investigate options for a F1-standard circuit at Avalon, about a 45 minute drive from Melbourne, adding that FIA officials were expected to visit Calder Park to assess the suitability of the site.

"I know they are happy at Albert Park," Jane, who organised non-championship F1 races at Calder Park prior to Adelaide joining the calendar in the 80s, said.

"But in the future there has to be options, and at the moment there are none," said the former touring car driver, whose circuit is about 25 kilometres from Melbourne.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker played down the news by insisting Albert Park is the best F1 venue for Melbourne because it "showcases the city".

And government spokesman Luke Enright said there are no plans to relocate the race.



Massa to Sauber, Kubica to Ferrari: Report

Rumours of driver movements within the top teams are yet again gaining traction.

Recently, a Spanish television station reported that, notwithstanding the existence of new contracts, Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica could be set to swap seats for 2011.

The Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell is now reporting a similar rumour, whereby Massa would leave Ferrari at the end of the season to make room for Pole Kubica.

But the report said Brazilian Massa would be accommodated not by Renault but by Ferrari powered Sauber, where he drove as a rookie in 2002 and again in 2004-2005.

"Of course I read all the rumours," Kubica said in an interview with spox.com, "but in the end the only thing is winning.

"We are all here because we want to win and you need the best car for that. Currently I'm at Renault and so I am focused on this team and on improving together.

"In 2011 we want to fight for the world title. We'll see what happens next," the 25-year-old added.

Kubica admitted that he would like to race for Ferrari one day.

"In karting, Formula Renault and F3, I've always been with Italian teams and I even lived for more than a year near Monza.

"Ferrari is a team unlike any other," he acknowledged. "The emotion and the history is unique. I think every driver would like to drive for Ferrari."


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