F1: Vettel Says Melbourne Overtaking Zone Confusing Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Mar, 15 2011 | 2 Comments

Drivers will be allowed to activate their adjustable rear wings on the pit straight during next weekend's Australian Grand Prix.

The overtaking zone for the Albert Park track was formally decided during a recent F1 team meeting with the FIA's Charlie Whiting at the Barcelona test.

Because the Melbourne straight is quite short, the chasing car's requisite one second gap will be measured at the circuit's third to last corner, according to a report in Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

The rear wing adjust button may then be pressed at the exit of the final corner, with the wing needing to be back in place for braking for Turn 1. The overtaking zone is slightly more than the previously announced 600 metres.

Sebastian Vettel is staunchly opposed to the system, arguing that the Melbourne solution is confusing.

"Let's say I'm further away than one second from the car in the (designated) corner, but I get closer in the last three corners and I'm not allowed to press the button.

"How do you try to explain that?" said the Red Bull driver.

The report also said the FIA has declared the location of the overtaking zone in Malaysia to be the long pit straight, with the one second interval timed in the final corner.

In China the zone is the long straight between turns 13 and 14, with the decisive zone before Turn 13.

Meanwhile, also during the meeting with Whiting, some teams proposed that the wings not be allowed to be triggered in practice and qualifying in a bid to reduce the drivers' workload.

Reportedly, Red Bull wanted the limitation to be imposed, while the likes of Ferrari and McLaren did not agree.

"Presumably, McLaren and Ferrari have developed techniques that make it easier for the drivers to operate the systems," said Whiting.

Indeed, close inspection of the McLaren and Ferrari steering wheels reveals extra paddles on the back, reportedly simplifying the use of KERS and the rear wing.



Williams To Use KERS In Australia

Williams' FW33 car will feature its KERS system for the season opening Australian Grand Prix next weekend.

Rubens Barrichello had admitted last week that the British team was considering not using the system in Melbourne due to not fully understanding recent technical problems.

The latest problem was at the Barcelona test, with technical director Sam Michael admitting to Auto Motor und Sport: "We know what caused the failure, but we don't know why."

Having not used KERS in 2009, Oxfordshire based Williams designed its own battery-based system for this season.

"Just spoke to Sam," a spokesman said on Williams' official Twitter feed. "(He's) back in factory with designers. Reviewed KERS problem and good news is we'll be racing KERS in Melbourne."

Australian Michael told Auto Motor und Sport that KERS is worth at least four tenths per lap at Barcelona.

And he said the FW33 will make "a big step" forwards in Malaysia early next month when a Red Bull-like exhaust layout is ready.



Barrichello Impressed By Lotus While Virgin 'Slow'

Rubens Barrichello has revealed he has been impressed with the step forward taken by Team Lotus for 2011.

Lotus finished its debut season as the best of the three newcomers, but still significantly off the pace of the established teams.

"Lotus were four seconds behind Red Bull in 2010," Williams driver and grand prix veteran Barrichello told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

"They seem to have improved two seconds for this year."

Little can be said about HRT's untested new F111 car, but Barrichello has admitted he is worried for the Virgin team.

"With the return of the 107 per cent rule, it is possible that a few times they will not qualify. At the moment they seem slow," said the 38-year-old.


(top photo: Clive Mason / Getty Images)

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