F1: Abu Dhabi Eyes Changes To Improve Overtaking Photo:

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Mike Stevens | Apr, 08 2011 | 0 Comments

Organisers of the Abu Dhabi grand prix are contemplating making changes to the Yas Marina circuit.

The layout of the otherwise spectacular facility received criticism after last year's mainly processional season finale.

FIA president Jean Todt told Auto Motor und Sport this week that "Races like Abu Dhabi in 2010, where you cannot overtake, are not acceptable".

But Richard Cregan, Yas Marina Circuit chief executive, insists Abu Dhabi should not be singled out.

"You can see it around the world that you have tracks equally as good as Yas Marina Circuit, many of them with a longer heritage and still F1 becomes a procession," he told The National.

Cregan admitted, however, that circuit officials are discussing with the FIA as well as drivers ways to improve the track.

"We are looking at various track modifications that we have to do for MotoGP and also what impact they would have on formula one," he said.

"We want to be active in terms of increasing the spectacle."



F1 Popularity Waning Due To 'Unacceptable' Races: Todt

F1's global television audience is in decline, according to FIA president Jean Todt.

The Frenchman told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport that he thinks the problem is the questionable spectacle of some grands prix.

"Races like Abu Dhabi in 2010, where you cannot overtake, are unacceptable," said Todt, who appears increasingly at odds with F1's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

He said "Recent data indicates a fall in the numbers of spectators. People have many choices in how to spend their leisure and every day we must ask ourselves how we can improve the entertainment".

Todt repeated his recent claim that one striking problem is the visibility of the drivers.

"On television I can hardly tell who is at the wheel of each car," he said. "Only the experts know the helmets and many drivers change their design race to race.

"NASCAR does a good job. A driver, getting a starting number that he keeps for all his career, is immediately identifiable by the fans."

Todt also defended F1's new 'green' engine rules for 2013.

"One day governments will prohibit certain types of cars or engines. The FIA needs to demonstrate it is moving forward, even if it brings us no new fans," he said.

"The bigger you are, the greater the role model you have to be."



Button Glad Dominant Red Bull Struggling With KERS

Jenson Button believes F1 is yet to witness the true performance of Red Bull's 2011 car.

Reigning world champion and current championship leader Sebastian Vettel dominated the season opening Australian grand prix from pole, finishing 22 seconds clear of Button's McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel's Melbourne feats were without the aid of KERS, with Button believing Red Bull is struggling with the technology.

"That's good for us," the 2009 world champion is quoted by El Pais.

"We need a powerful KERS to compete against them because in every other area they are very competitive," said the Briton.

"At the moment I think we're a long way from Red Bull," the McLaren driver acknowledged. "I get the impression that Seb is yet to show the full potential of that car."

The Cologne tabloid Express said it is possible Vettel might lap the entire field this weekend in Malaysia.

"At Sepang the aerodynamics are much more important (than in Melbourne)," said Hamilton. "So Red Bull should be even better there."

Vettel said KERS is worth about five-tenths per lap, and his teammate Mark Webber on Thursday said using the system in Malaysia is a "no-brainer".



Barrichello Struggling With Modern F1: Report

Rubens Barrichello could be struggling with F1's ever-sophisticated steering wheels, an insider has suggested.

As the record-setting veteran began his 18th consecutive season two weeks ago in Melbourne, Barrichello oddly drove onto the grass and spun out of qualifying, and was penalised in the race for crashing into Nico Rosberg.

With many drivers complaining about the unprecedentedly high cockpit workload due to DRS and KERS systems, the insider indicated that modern F1 may have overtaken the 38-year-old Brazilian.

"Barrichello even had trouble with the multi-function steering wheel he had at Ferrari, and compared to a modern wheel that's like the Kreisliga (Germany's 9th-tier football league) versus the Champions League," the unnamed insider is quoted by Speed Week.

Meanwhile, double world champion of the late 90s, Mika Hakkinen, was asked by the Indian newspaper Mint if he would consider following his old nemesis Michael Schumacher back into F1.

"I would be racing against guys who are 20 years old and I am 42. I know I cannot take the time back and be young again. You have to be realistic," said the Finn.

"These guys are a different generation. Their mind is developed differently. I don't want to lose what I have got," added Hakkinen.



Renault Engine Burns Fuel To Help F1 Customers

Renault's 2011 engine is helping customer teams to speed into dominance in the crucial area of aerodynamics, the French marque has claimed.

Supplying identical V8 power plants to the Red Bull, Renault and Lotus teams, Renault Sport F1 revealed in a statement that its engines burned "10 per cent more fuel than normal" in Melbourne two weeks ago.

Renault said its RS27 unit is "extremely good" in the area of fuel consumption, meaning that its drivers can run for longer during grands prix at full power.

That gives "more exhaust flow to its partners using the blown diffuser", the statement revealed.

Since blown diffusers emerged last year, F1's engine makers have been perfecting new engine maps that keep the exhaust gases flowing quickly in the corners even when the driver is not on the throttle.

"Simply put, the more fuel burned, the more exhaust is produced and potentially more downforce," said Renault.

In Melbourne, Renault-powered Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull won from pole, and he was joined on the podium by Vitaly Petrov.

"Renault remained in F1 to show its technical capabilities and high level of performance and this result completely justifies the board's decision," said Renault Sport F1 managing director Jean-Francois Caubet.


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