- Webber low on fuel during Vettel attack - report
- Ecclestone not worried about Bahrain unrest
- Engine makers to get extra January test - report
- Di Resta worried about 2013 development balance
- Pirelli seeks 'balance' between sport and show - Brundle
Webber low on fuel during Vettel attack - report
Almost two weeks after the fact, the 'Multi-21' affair keeps racing.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport now reports a new facet: just as Sebastian Vettel ignored the team order to hold station, Mark Webber had turned down his engine because he was saving fuel.
"The truth in F1 usually only comes to light piecemeal," correspondent Michael Schmidt said.
It was already known that the chasing Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were having fuel-saving issues.
But Red Bull claimed it issued the team order because it was worried about the drivers burning up their fragile Pirelli tyres and being swallowed up by their silver rivals.
"Obviously there was more to it than what Red Bull wanted to say," Schmidt added.
"Apparently in the first 42 laps Webber had consumed clearly more fuel than Vettel and was already in the red.
"Vettel was also able to drive in (Webber's) slipstream for 12 laps and use DRS.
"So Red Bull not only feared an accident, but also that Webber could run out of gas. So he was asked to turn down his performance just to get to the line."
Ecclestone not worried about Bahrain unrest
Bernie Ecclestone has played down reports civil unrest could yet again affect the running of Bahrain's grand prix.
Ever since the revolutionary Arab Spring of early 2011, formula one's annual visit to the island Kingdom has been under a dark cloud of controversy and uncertainty.
A report in the Daily Mail this week said there could be problems yet again, with fresh graffiti on a wall west of the capital Manama depicting an F1 car with the words 'No for the bloody formula'.
F1 chief executive Ecclestone, however, said he is not concerned.
"I haven't had any negative reports from anybody there," he told Reuters, ahead of his sport's forthcoming double-header in China and then Bahrain.
"Somebody who actually lives there came to see me yesterday and said everything's very normal.
"I think (the opposing sides) are talking now anyway, so I don't think they'll upset the talks by making protests," the 82-year-old added.
"It didn't help them last year, so if they had any brains they'd just get on with their talks."
Ecclestone also suggested that the long-term future of the controversial race is secure.
"They do a very, very good job of the race, the whole support from the top is good. No problems," he said.
Engine makers to get extra January test - report
F1's engine manufacturers have reportedly won the battle for an extra pre-season test for 2014.
Apparently against the resistance of some teams, the engine suppliers had argued that - given the workload and complexity of preparing for the new V6 rules - next year's pre-season test period should be extended.
Writing in Speed Week, correspondent Rob La Salle said the manufacturers have indeed won the argument for a fourth test, possibly in the Middle East.
La Salle quoted Renault's Rob White as saying a proposal is on the table for a January test, in addition to the usual three tests in February.
White said an earlier test, perhaps at the tail end of this year, is not feasible.
"To be at a test track for example in October, the engines would have to be built in September.
"There is a lead time of three months, so you would have to decide upon the specification in May. We would prefer to have that time on the test benches instead.
"With some components, we are still in the design phase. A test in October would be just too early."
Ferrari, a staunch critic of F1's now severely limited track testing, will be happy with the news of an extra pre-season test.
"The testing situation is ridiculous," team boss Stefano Domenicali told the latest edition of the British magazine F1 Racing.
"With the other teams, we'll try to convince them that we need to find another balance -- and I am positive we can find a solution."
Di Resta worried about 2013 development balance
Paul di Resta is worried Force India will struggle to keep up with the development race in 2013.
Driving for one of F1's small-to-middle budget teams, the Scot is concerned that the huge technical challenge of improving the current car as well as preparing for the radical new rules in 2014 will be a major hurdle for the Silverstone squad.
"We have fewer resources than the top teams," the 26-year-old is quoted by Speed Week.
"This will be a disadvantage. At some point we will need to shift development to the 2014 car. Until then, we need to develop really well, because from June or July we will have to stop (developing the 2013 car)."
Some, however, are concerned about the noises being made by di Resta; linking his dip in form late last year to his disappointment in missing out on a top drive for 2014.
"Paul di Resta seems to moan quite a lot," Speed Week quoted a source as saying.
"I would like to see him focus more on beating his teammate."
Pirelli seeks 'balance' between sport and show - Brundle
Amid criticism of the Italian marque's approach, Martin Brundle has defended F1 tyre supplier Pirelli.
After the winter test period and the first two races of 2013, countless drivers and top teams including Red Bull and Mercedes complained loudly that disintegrating tyres are now overly and artificially dominating the sport.
Mark Webber sees it as a balance between competition on the one hand, and 'the show' on the other.
"I think it's quite good for the neutral, good for the fans and probably good for new people that are following formula one," said the Australian.
"But for the old, let's say people who have more of a grasp of the sport and more education of where the sport was, it's still a little bit hit and miss."
The plain-speaking Red Bull driver's gripe is that F1 drivers are now becoming experts at tyre management, rather than flat-out sporting superstars.
"You watch Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer and it's playing with the lines, it's playing with precision for a five set match and we all enjoy watching that.
"But at the moment we're driving at eight and a half tenths, eight tenths. The racing is completely around nursing and trying to make the tyres survive rather than driving a car on the limit. You don't see us really pushing on the limit (now).
"That's my little rant," he concluded.
Understandably, Pirelli is copping the brunt of the blame for the situation.
But former driver turned television pundit Brundle insisted: "They (Pirelli) have only done what was asked of them -- to make the race more exciting.
"They could easily come out with hard tyres for the next grand prix. But do we really want that?" he is quoted by Speed Week.
"The balance has to be right. I don't think anybody wants to see boring one-stop races. On the other hand, five stops would be farcical.
"I think two to three stops is a good compromise," Brundle added.
"I can understand if some drivers are not happy -- we do want to see the fastest guy win, not the best at managing the tyres.
"It is a dilemma: should the sport have the upper-hand, or (should) the entertainment value? We must never forget that the first could not exist without the second," he said.
Amid the criticism and the pressure applied by big-hitters like Red Bull, Pirelli has agreed to "review" the situation after the Bahrain grand prix later this month.
But, in the end, Pirelli has the support of the ultimate decision-maker.
"Do you prefer the racing today, or when nobody was overtaking and everybody knew before the start, with a fair degree of certainty, who would win?" F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo.
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