- ???FIA says Red Bull floor 'holes' illegal
- Hamilton may have decided to quit McLaren - source
- Steering issue creating Lotus-Raikkonen rift
- No 'race win' ultimatum at Williams - Senna
- Alonso tips Massa to maintain Monaco form
- Curtailed 'creativity' causing championship chaos - Alonso
- 'No one knows why' small teams best - Marko
- Small teams ramp up pressure on Red Bull spending
FIA says Red Bull floor 'holes' illegal
F1's governing body has declared illegal the 'holes' in the floor of Red Bull's 2012 car.
Rivals teams including Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes had raised concerns about the design at Monaco last weekend, but opted not to protest on the promise that the FIA would issue a clarification prior to Canada next weekend.
"I think the regulation is quite a grey area," Red Bull's Christian Horner acknowledged to Sky Sports, "and I think a clarification will come out before Montreal that will tidy it up through a technical directive."
The crux of the highly-anticipated technical directive was reported by the German media on Saturday.
Named 013-12, the directive reportedly said there is a "misunderstanding" on the basis of a technical regulation about the meaning of a "fully enclosed hole".
It concluded that the design featured on Mark Webber's winning Monaco car is in fact not allowed.
The team and Australian Webber will keep the win, but the RB8 will have to be modified in order to pass scrutineering next weekend in Montreal.
Hamilton may have decided to quit McLaren - source
Lewis Hamilton may already have decided to quit McLaren, according to a reliable source.
That is the claim of the French TF1 television commentator Jean-Louis Moncet, writing in his Auto Plus column.
It emerged recently that McLaren has offered the 2008 world champion - whose current contract runs out this year - over $30 million a season to stay at the British team for five more years.
But Moncet said "one of my best sources" is reporting that Briton Hamilton has effectively already decided to leave McLaren at the end of 2012 "and even earlier if the situation does not improve".
British newspapers reported after Monaco that Hamilton was angry at the end of last weekend, the 27-year-old insisting "the team definitely have some work to do" to cut out errors and return to the pace.
Moncet said there has been "serious contact between McLaren and Paul di Resta", the rising Force India driver who ironically is managed by Hamilton's father Anthony.
Referring to the speculation surrounding Hamilton at present, former driver, driver manager and respected British commentator Martin Brundle noted: "He's comfortable at McLaren.
"But will he fancy a bit of fresh oxygen by going somewhere else?" he wondered to Sky Sports. "I imagine he's weighing that all up at the moment."
Steering issue creating Lotus-Raikkonen rift
The mere issue of 'steering' risks creating a rift between Lotus and its star driver Kimi Raikkonen.
The 2007 world champion has complained about the steering system aboard the black and gold E20 from his very first lap this season.
For Monaco, the team debuted a special system tailored to the Finn's needs, but it lasted just a single out-lap on Thursday morning.
"He was asked to consider running the session with it as it was (but) he refused and took no further part", Sky Sports' technical expert Mark Hughes reported.
That has triggered speculation Lotus is close to "giving up" on fixing the issue for the famously laid-back Raikkonen, who might have to simply adapt instead.
"By no means are we 'giving up' on fine tuning the development of the steering system according to Kimi's exact preferences," a Lotus team source is quoted by the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.
But the Enstone based team also appears to have highlighted the impact of Raikkonen's refusal to practice on Thursday.
Monaco, according to a report on Lotus' official website, showed "the importance of getting the steering system exactly as he likes it, whilst also underlining the fact that even an experienced challenger can be affected by missing running time at such a technical circuit".
No 'race win' ultimatum at Williams - Senna
Bruno Senna has played down suggestions he is under pressure to match the achievements of his teammate Pastor Maldonado.
While Maldonado confounded his critics by winning from pole in Barcelona, Brazilian Senna has failed to similarly shine in 2012, scoring half as many points so far at the wheel of the sister Williams.
But Senna, 28, denied that he must win in order to save his race seat, amid speculation Williams is keen to promote its reserve driver Valtteri Bottas.
"I know that I don't need to win this year," Senna is quoted by Globo Esporte.
"I have to have consistency, to score regularly, and have races that show a lot of potential.
"To win in formula one, everything has to be right: the car has to be fast, you have to be in the right position, using the tyres correctly and the strategy working out for you.
"All those variables are difficult to put together, and everybody in the team knows that," he insisted.
"They are giving me the chance to learn this year so that next year I can be expected to be in a position to win a race," said Senna.
According to Globo, Senna pointed out that the fact he is sitting out most Friday morning sessions in deference to Bottas is affecting his ability to fully understand Pirelli's tyres.
He said the effect of that lack of running was most obvious in Barcelona, where Maldonado won.
"Pastor has been able to learn very well about the condition of his tyres. This all comes with experience and it's not something you can skip over," said Senna.
Meanwhile, when asked about a likely title winner in 2012, Senna said it has rarely been more difficult to predict the outcome of the world championship.
"In my opinion, the fastest car is the Lotus, but they're not always getting it into the right window," he said, referring to his former team that was in 2011 known as Renault.
Alonso tips Massa to maintain Monaco form
Fernando Alonso has tipped his beleaguered teammate Felipe Massa to continue to recover from his career low.
Prior to Monaco, speculation hinted that the Brazilian Massa could be imminently ousted by Ferrari, having struggled so much at the wheel of the F2012.
But in the Principality, where Massa has a home, the 30-year-old seemed to bounce back onto form, quelling for now the calls for him to be dumped.
And Spaniard Alonso, who is unquestionably Ferrari's lead driver, backed his teammate to continue to recover form.
"It's hard to think that Felipe will not get many points, podiums and fight for victories in the second half of the year," he told the EFE news agency at an event in Madrid.
"I have repeated a thousand times that he has the talent to do so.
"It has been an unfortunate start to the year for him for a number of reasons: bad luck, by adapting a little slower than normal to the tyres.
"The results he had were not normal for Felipe," insisted Alonso.
"He has my full support, and the support of the team, to change the situation. Or to change the results, because many times in practice or in qualifying he was very close to me and then something happened.
"Rather than the pure speed or the talent, the change that is needed for Felipe is the results," he insisted.
"In Monaco things seemed to have changed, so hopefully from now on it will be good for him," said Alonso.
In a separate interview with Spanish radio Cadena SER, Alonso was also asked about other drivers.
When asked if it is true that the driver he respects the most is Lewis Hamilton, the Spaniard answered "yes".
Alonso had the same single-word answer when asked if the last two titles were more about Red Bull than they were about Sebastian Vettel.
Finally, when asked if engineers generally have a greater influence than the drivers in today's F1, Alonso once again answered simply: "Yes."
Curtailed 'creativity' causing championship chaos - Alonso
The 2012 field is so even because the rules are so restrictive, according to Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard admitted to worrying about the "credibility" of the sport, in light of the common view that the tyres supplied by Pirelli this year are making winning and losing grands prix akin to a "lottery".
But Ferrari driver Alonso has another theory.
Asked by the Spanish news agency EFE why he thinks the championship is so closely contested, he said it is "partly because of the restrictions that occur each year in the rules".
"When someone discovers a double diffuser, the following year it is banned.
"When someone does the 'F-duct', the next year's it's banned. Last year there were the exhausts blowing into the diffuser, and this year they are gone," said Alonso at an event in Madrid.
"Every year there are more and more limits on creativity and the potential development of a car. We are seeing more and more similar cars, all the time (F1) becoming closer to GP2."
The 30-year-old insisted, however, that the cream always finds a way of rising to the top.
"Despite it being an incredibly tight championship, the first (placed) constructor is Red Bull, and then McLaren and Ferrari.
"And the first six or seven in the drivers' championship are the same names from last year," added Alonso.
'No one knows why' small teams best - Marko
Dr Helmut Marko has responded to claims a couple of regular midfield teams are actually fielding the very best cars in 2012.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport this week cited GPS evidence in reporting that the Williams and the Sauber feature the most aerodynamic cars, based on data from Barcelona's demanding turns 3 and 9.
And at Monaco, Sauber's Sergio Perez recorded not only the fastest lap of the race, but he was the quickest circulating car "for long periods", according to team boss Peter Sauber.
Journalist Michael Schmidt said: "With Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton in the cockpit, Williams or Sauber would probably be leading the championship."
Red Bull's Marko responded: "They have good cars, but no one knows why.
"They are not as highly bred as a Red Bull and McLaren, but apparently easy to drive and understand. In the present situation, anything is possible."
Small teams ramp up pressure on Red Bull spending
The small teams are continuing to heap pressure on Red Bull, casting the energy drink company as a barrier to reducing costs in F1.
On Monday in Monaco, the teams got together with Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt, with cost-cutting a headline subject of discussion.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that Todt indicated that the Paris based federation is willing to police cost cutting as part of the formal regulations in 2013 and beyond.
Ten of the 12 teams are pushing for that scenario, the only exceptions being Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso - the two teams owned by Dietrich Mateschitz.
Sauber chiefs Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn were heavily critical of Red Bull last week, insisting some in F1 "don't care whether (the sport) is even here in ten years".
For the smaller teams, the situation is urgent because if there is no agreement before June 30, cost-cutting FIA regulations cannot be in force for 2013.
Williams shareholder Toto Wolff has now joined Sauber in pushing Red Bull to move.
"At the moment they spend an estimated EUR 250 million (per season)," he said, "so the cost ceiling would save Mr Mateschitz a hundred million euros.
"It would be doing him a favour," said Mateschitz's fellow Austrian, "because his model of unlimited spending no longer has the same advantage due to the current rules.
"The results of the first six races should have convinced him," added Wolff.
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