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F1: More Of The Same As Webber Flies In Spain Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | Mar, 10 2011 | 0 Comments

After topping the times in the field-leading Red Bull, Mark Webber told reporters in Barcelona that he is tiring of their stale questions.

"It's a bit like a stuck record," said the Australian when asked if his relationship with his teammate Sebastian Vettel is now better.

"I hope that when I am 70-years-old, people will not still be asking me whether I like Sebastian," he added.

More interesting is the RB7, and ever-hardening predictions that it is even quicker than the also-impressive new Ferrari.

"Not much has changed since last week," said Webber.

But Renault's Nick Heidfeld said he thinks Red Bull is sand-bagging: "I think they are still not showing something."

Webber denied that charge but admitted that he expects to be riding at the front in Australia in a fortnight.

"Yes, we have a good car," he said on Tuesday.

Vettel thinks the same but is similarly cautious.

"The test results are difficult to read," the reigning World Champion told La Stampa newspaper.

"For now we are very pleased with the reliability and the performance."

(GMM)

 

Vettel Admits 'Problems' With Alonso In 2010

Sebastian Vettel has revealed a less than rosy relationship with his 2010 Championship rival Fernando Alonso.

"We did have some problems," the German said in an interview published by La Stampa.

"But the event was judged by outsiders wrongly, and Fernando and I have since spoken and our relationship is now good.

"Two people can have different ideas but still respect each other," insisted the 23-year-old German.

Asked, however, whether the Spaniard congratulated him after winning last year's title, Vettel answered simply: "No.

"Nothing in Abu Dhabi. In Monte Carlo (for the FIA prize giving) he shook my hand.

"That's normal," the Red Bull driver explained. "If you win, others are disappointed and some need five minutes to move past it, others two weeks," he said.

In 2011, their relationship might be further strained, after Vettel admitted he covets Alonso's Ferrari race seat.

Asked about those rumours, he answered: "I have a contract with Red Bull this season and an option for 2012. After that, you never know what can happen.

"Right now I'm happy where I am," Vettel said.

And asked who he thinks his main contenders will be in 2011, the reigning World Champion said: "Massa and Alonso are looking strong. Then McLaren and Mercedes."

(GMM)

 

Heidfeld's Test Marred By lingering Cold

Nick Heidfeld sat out the afternoon test session at Barcelona on Tuesday with a lingering cold.

A few days earlier, the German revealed his illness but said he was nonetheless scheduled to drive on the first and last days of the final pre-season test this week.

Actually, the R31's settings had to be switched over to teammate Vitaly Petrov at the lunchbreak.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that Heidfeld has now been sick for a week.

"I thought I would be over it by now, but the cold will not go away," confirmed the 33-year-old. "I didn't feel good in the car in the morning (on Tuesday)."

The report said Renault is now scheduling to have Heidfeld back to the car on Thursday afternoon, before he drives all day on Friday.

"When I sit back in the car, the new package will be complete," he said. "What I have tried already, felt alright."

(GMM)

 

Bahrain 'Very Happy' With Delayed GP Date Deadline

The boss of Bahrain's F1 circuit has admitted relief about an extended deadline for the rescheduling of the 2011 race.

Bernie Ecclestone said recently that he and FIA President Jean Todt agree that if the postponed event is to be rescheduled this season, the new date must be firmed by the time of the opening Australian Grand Prix late this month.

The only way for that to be formalised by Melbourne would have been a decision of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Tuesday.

Instead, the FIA body announced that Bahrain now has until 1 May for a new date to be arranged.

"I am very happy that we have been given more time by the FIA to accomplish our national goals, so that we may hopefully stage our grand prix later this year," circuit boss Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa told the Gulf Daily News.

"When things get better, we will do what we can to be back on the race calendar," he added, referring to the political situation in Bahrain.

"While it is important for us to have our race, our complete concentration right now must be on a national dialogue."

The Bahrain Motor Federation could not be reached for comment, but it is believed some of their officials were in Paris on Tuesday.

Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary wrote on Tuesday that the delayed rescheduling deadline "will do nothing to alter the perception that the whole affair has been handled messily".

(GMM)

 

Suzuka Inks New GP Deal For 2012

Suzuka will continue to host the Japanese Grand Prix beyond this October's race.

Last October, the boss of the Honda-owned Mobilityland company admitted that its F1 race at Suzuka is "only marginally profitable".

Honda pulled its team out of F1 at the end of 2008, while Toyota and Bridgestone have also left the sport, as has the other Japanese venue Fuji.

But the Japan Times and the Kyodo news agency both reported on Tuesday that the grand prix will take place in 2012 after a new agreement was reached between Mobilityland and F1 authorities.

(GMM)

 

FIA Eyes Track Changes To Increase F1 Overtaking

The FIA has formalised its push to increase overtaking in Formula One by looking closely at the design of circuits.

Influential figures including Sir Jackie Stewart and FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh have recently said circuit design is the best way to minimise processional Grands Prix.

And the Daily Mail on Tuesday said Williams technical director Sam Michael "recently voiced his opposition to all chicanes, remarking they should be banned".

Late last year, foreign media sources quoted FIA President Jean Todt as saying that "From now on, before a new circuit is approved, we will evaluate the potential for the spectacle as well as the safety".

The FIA's World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on Tuesday, and later said in a statement: "The Circuit Design Group is examining Grand Prix circuits to identify the possibility of increasing the opportunities for overtaking."

 
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